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Angvar Thestlecrit

Kolokotroni's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. 8,654 posts (8,682 including aliases). 17 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

I chose the Fire Domain as the Nature Bond, partly for thematic reasons, but also partly because I wanted some blasting (because aside from Flame Strike, Druids can't do crap for blasting), and stuff like Fireball is great for that; I'm our only full spellcaster, meaning I'm the only one with access to 3rd level spells currently, so having to fill the shoes of both a Divine and an Arcane full spellcaster is a very arduous task.

If you are worried about conserving spells over long dungeons blasting is an ATROCIOUS route to take. If you can ask your dm to undo this choice do it or ask about retraining it. Even if you want to go with a domain instead of a companion (which given all your cocerns you shouldn't) Fireball is literally the least efficient thing you can do with a 3rd level spell if you are worried about resources. Particularly if you are the only caster, your spells need to have more impact then that.


I considered an animal companion, but to be honest it's a lot of work, I'm not particularly familiar with their rules, and on its surface, they fall off very fast. If anything, right now they're at their strongest, but in the coming levels, they will become extremely weak, and really only serve the same role as a summoned creature.

This is rather inaccurate. Animal companions with proper equipment (at low levels this is barding, at higher levels it means an amulet of mighty fists and magic barding) hold up just fine so long as you pick the right one. In particular, the Big cat or the Deinonychus are quite effective.

Remember when you get higher level you will have more spells to buff the companion (and yourself). Those buffs are dramatically more efficient and resource saving then blasting spells. Up and until levels 14-16, the right animal companion with the right equipment and feats is not weak. Its quite good actually.


That tactic would work with stupid or animal-like enemies, but smart enemies would realize how pointless and weak they are and simply ignore them after maybe the first round. Sure, flanking is nice, that's why I try to set them up to get a Pouncing Flank, the burst damage on that, presuming some decent rolls, is pretty high. In our hardest encounter, I actually did ~70 points of damage in total between my summoned creatures in a single round on one enemy, and came very close to killing it outright.

So first of all, even if they aren't a massive threat, just being physically there in the opponents way is important. Even if the enemy attacks them once, and then they are just an obstacle and flanking buddy, that is a good use of a spell slot. Partiuclarly if with things like flanking bonuses of their own they actually get a few hits in. With just augment summoning, they are serviceable at least until you get to mid levels where you have more spells per day to work with.


My physical statistics aren't that great since I actually originally planned to build a sort of summoner type of character, but didn't realize that SNA is a crappy, ghetto version of SM. I am at a 16 Strength (it's 14, but with ABP at a rate of Level + 1, I get the +2 Enhancement bonus). With a Medium-sized Wildshape, that becomes an 18 Strength. I also acquired the Barbarian VMC and am able to apply the UCBarbarian Rage (which at this point in time is actually better for me), granting an extra +2 to attack and damage for those moments when casting spells is useless or isn't necessary, Elemental Assault through extra Race Points allows me to add 1D6 Acid/Cold/Electricity/Fire damage to all of my attacks, and I use Power Attack, which is at a -2/+4 rate [we are actually 6th level, I took a dip in UCMonk for better Wildshape survivability by adding my Wisdom bonus of +5 to my AC at all times over my crappy armor].

Unfortunately, my to-hit actually sucks, and as much as I'd like to remove Power Attack, I need the damage it provides, especially against enemies who have DR. Presuming my Deinonychus form, I have 5 attacks, with 3 Primaries. My total BAB is 4 Base + 4 Strength + 2 Rage + 1 Enhancement - 2 Power Attack = +9 to hit for my primaries, +4 to hit with my secondaries. Most enemies at 6th level that we've faced so far usually have ~24 AC, which is difficult for me to hit (and all of us, except our tank, is 3/4 BAB).

Presuming I hit, I have 1D3/1D6/1D8, depending on method of attack (1.5, 3.5, or 4.5), +4/2 Strength, +2 Rage, +4/2 Power Attack, +1 Enhancement, and 1D6 (3.5) Elemental Assault. This totals in an average output of 18/19 damage per Primary attack hit, or 12 damage per Secondary attack hit. Presuming they all hit (highly unlikely, but I've come close before), I'm dealing ~ 80 points of damage per round, which is pretty ridiculous considering that I don't have an optimized Strength, nor do I have access to Dragon Ferocity and Feral Combat Training, which would allow me to apply 1.5x Strength to my Natural Attacks (a plan that I just might pursue later down the road). Enemies with DR 10 or Resistances (which seem to be becoming commonplace) reduce that damage to 8/9 or 2, perhaps even less than that, which isn't much, even when they have average hit dice (and we have 3/4 Hit Dice).

The problem I have with Wild Shape as of right now, is that I only have one use of it. The duration is decent and good to last over the course of a few encounters, but it's not all-day, and I don't know how long we're going to be in this dungeon (if we plan to rest, the 5 hours that I have with Wild Shape won't last long enough to be relevant if we're ambushed), so I'd rather not waste it during the day, even if we could use it, when we're ambushed with low HP, when we'd need it.

So first of all, I understand wanting big damage numbers, but if you are worried about hitting don't always use power attack. If you are facing opponents with consistently high AC (24 is high for 5th level characters) STOP USING IT. More damage doesn't mean anything if you miss all the time. And remember this should only be PART of your contribution. If you do 50-60 damage and your companion does 40-50 damage, that adds up.

And while 5 hours isn't forever its a long time. Its more then 1/3 of your adventuring day and should cover at least a couple encounters. And for the others, you can use more of your available spells. But wild shaping as your first action of the first serious seeming fight of the day is a very good idea most of the time. Even if there are lots of encounters, it usually doesn't require more then 8 hours of in game time. And if the encounters are spaced out by the miles required to make a longer day feasible (meaning hours of travel between encounters) then you can probably rest at some point.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I like to host. Whether its parties, board game nights or gming. I like to be the provider of fun for my friends and myself.

First off it feels good to have people having fun around me. Second, I like to feel responsible and connected to what I am doing, and hosting helps with that.

And third it offers me a measure of control of the circumstances. Obviously if I am hosting/running I have a strong say in what we do. So for instance if I feel like some piraty fun, I can run a pirate game, if I want to see nations rise and fall, break out the kingdom building rules. I get to play with whatever rules or mechanics I want to (and I do like tinkering with different mechanics.

I am not much of a story teller and will usually pull that from some outside source, but in terms of playing with the wheels and cogs, I am all for getting creative.

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Wait your dm is running a gestalt AND mythic game? with stats of 18, 18, 16, 16, 16, and 17? You would have to work hard NOT to break that character.

Though if you truly want to go nuts with a gestalt bard, go paladin on the other side. You already have the high charisma, the full bab, complementary saves, and better HD will serve you well, and ofcourse, paladin archers are pretty outrageous, even when they cant also give themselves inspire courage. In my opinion that's a better choice then the zen archer, but ofcourse that depends on whether a paladin can fit your concept or not.

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Besides the casting time, the inefficient creature list, and the lack of further investments, the other big problem is that summoning creatures that are worthwhile take a lot of my Spell Power. Being a 5th level Druid, Summon Monster III costs 25% of my Spell Power for the day, and summoning anything less (even if I get more creatures out of it) seems like a waste of resources, especially because the only way they can contribute is by lucky rolls.

First of all, what is your natures bond? For this kind of game with a dm that obviously likes to stretch the party you should have gone with an animal companion in barding armor that has good combat options. In which case you can spend a lot of your time letting your tiger or what have you do your work for you.

Second, you are missing the point of summon spells. They are as much control spells as anything else. If an enemy spends 2 turns attacking your summoned creature instead of you or your allies, that IS a contribution. THey can provide flanking bonuses to your combat oriented allies (a +2 is nothing to ignore, particularly at 5th level, and if theres a rogue they will love it. You can also close down lanes of movement with the right summons with careful placement and consideration. One summon can have more of an impact then 3-4 other instantaneous spells even if it never does a single hit point of damage to the enemy.

I would also ask what your physical stats are like? You said without buffs you cant really make the best use of wild shape, why? Again, given the nature of the campaign, you should be going for a more combat oriented druid then a casting focused one. If you have low physical stats, well theres your problem. Wild shape should be 5 hours of at least mild contribution to every encounter per day all on its own.

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In terms of the crit builds, first and formost, there should never, ever be a single enemy in an encounter who if taken out, effectively ends the encounter. Always have at least two, preferably 3 or 4 meaningful enemies in every encounter. And if your party is taking out the enemies you put in too quickly, add more.

Second, in terms of the party resting too much. TALK TO THEM. Figure this out by sitting down and working something out with the group and figure out what is going on. There is a very real concern about running out of resources. The game is 'meant' for the party to go through 3-4 encounters in a day, but that is like 3 minutes of actual action. Players are aware of this and never know what is around the next corner, so they are worried about maintaining resources.

Trying to punish them for resting when the game actively encourages them to rest is stupid and will only create an arms race or resentment. Sure you can have the enemy 'organize' or what have you, but all that is going to do is increase the already present antagonism with the party. They will try to conserve resources even more.

Instead, talk to them. Figure out what they are worried about. Maybe give casters a few pearls of power (or the equivalent for other casters) or staff or two so they can comfortably contribute while conserving resources for the 'big fight'. Maybe institute house rules to recover some portion of party resources with a short rest. If you work with them and they don't feel like they are at a massive disadvantage for perusing the story at the pace you want, instead of trying to bludgeon them into the behavior you are looking for, you will all be better off.

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It depends on the campaign. There are some stories where it makes sense for the players to start out from meager beginnings, there are others where it ends up being really contrived as to why such relatively weak beings can interfere with the plans of powerful beings without being simply erased.

My personal preference is to start between 4 and 6. I feel like that is where characters sort of reach the thing they are going for but are still not all powerful.

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ChaosTicket wrote:

Spells take a while to become useful by increasing in duration and having more spells per day. They arent useless, but most having 1 minute duration means theyre only good for one combat. A continuous combat or multiple per day means that spell will probably be kept on hold until a boss enemy appears.

Correct, a druid should not be looking to contribute primarily with their spells in most combats. Those are held in reserve or used to buff the companion in tough encounters at low levels.


By level 5-10 alot of the Druid's problems go away, but before then it s aubpar Warrior. The animal companion is there to keep the Druid alive longer, but its not the answer ti everything.

Please explain to me how a class feature that is about as good at being a fighter as most fighters at 1st level isn't an answer? One of the druids class features is able to contribute as much as a whole entire character. The reason its a solution is because at low levels, most encounters can be handled by low level martial characters. You get one of those standard to go with your druid.


Ok, I dont think there is much more to anyone to add. Its now just a game of pingpong. the Druid painfully weak early on an animal companion is a nice crutch, but still a crutch. I plan to try it out, but Ill likely be KO'd just because the Druid lacks the practical combat equipment. The best Druid option early on would be to use a Club and Shillelagh, but even then a Warrior will do the same thing with a two Handed sword and without the duration.

Don't put the druid into combat, that is in fact a good way to get dead. Keep them out of combat until he starts getting wild shape and more spells. That crutch you mention is more then enough to allow the druid to do the low level version of Olympic sprinting. When your crutch has 3 melee attacks, the fact that your characters personal contributions is a sling or nothing is sort of irrelavent. Take the big cat companion, give it armor prof and light barding, give yourself hide armor, stay out of combat, and if you absolutely must, sling some stones while the cat does your fighting for you until you have enough spells to throw a couple in every encounter.


Ever hear of Magikarp? That is how I imagine the Druid, Cleric, and especially the Wizard.

So the 3 most capable classes in the game are magikarp? What planet do you live on? Sure they are a bit squishy at level 1, but that's why you have fighter types. To stand in front of the casters and keep them relatively safe.

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ChaosTicket wrote:

I know animal companions can be useful. Its when situations get harder that they turn up as really bad ideas. Flanking gives off attacks of opportunity, which an smart enemy can and will exploit.

Im brute force maybe I can try a pet, but its probably going to get into a simple situation where the enemy is smart and focuses on my character because i am weaker, or focuses on the animal and takes it out quickly.

Animals really dont have the versatility of a player. You have to teach them tricks to attack, not go into traps, follow you, or flank.

The Druid doesnt have equipment versatility. Im wondering if I should get heavy armor proficiency at level 1 so i can get Dragonscale Banded Mail at level 2. Racial Martial weapon proficiencies are mediocre for most classes, but very important for the Druid.

Deja Vu?

Why do you keep dismissing the animal companion as a solution to low level druid survival? Your problem is that you think a druid isn't capable enough at 1st level, when a first level big cat companion with light armor proficiency is a better tank then most fighters at 1st level.

The only tricks you need are attack, heel, down, and follow. You can get all of those. Your druid doesn't need equipment at first level because he will actively avoid getting into the fray and his tiger buddy will easily attract the attention of anyone who might be interested in the druid. Prepare a pair of cure light wounds spells, if needed turn them into summons in a pinch. Its VERY easy to survive at low levels as a druid. Your actual character is almost irrelevant to your survival. The character himself literally need not be involved in the dangerous stuff. Just say to the rear and order his companion around. Along with the rest of your party that should be more then enough to keep you safe.

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GM 1990 wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:

Before you head for the random encounter tables or weather charts. Ask yourself, what am I trying to accomplish here? Is it simply you don't want to screen wipe from one location to the other? Then I would ask why? Its entirely reasonable if the story is not served by in transit encounters to ignore it. Maybe have a few minutes of roleplaying/describing the trip. Then move on.

If there is something you want to accomplish, then you should plan it. If you want the journey to be arduous, a chance for failure or diversion, or to advance the introduction of the 'bad guys' of the campaign, set something up that ties into your goal.

In my opinion if a game is not an 'open world sandbox' like kingmaker, NEVER use random encounter tables. NEVER. Actually plan your encounters. And make them meaningful and have a purpose for your story. Perhaps you want to represent the transition from one area to the other, so have the encounters representative of the threats native to the regions the party is traveling through, (I presume traveling for 30 days they are going fairly far).

This is good advice, with one caveat on my part, as I'm home-brewing.

I use the random tables to generate encounters in advance, and then I contemplate how I could build from that into either a possible story hook, or a quick side-quest. By doing this, I've found over time that I get some additional inspiration and ideas that can take the game in a direction that I would never have thought of just planning everything off the top of my head.

Just try it. Roll on a table, or even generate a random page-number from the bestiary and see what is there. Then think about where the group is at this point in your game, the story arc, other hooks they've been exposed to but didn't follow. If after a minute or so you're still drawing a blank, then toss it and don't use it. However, over time those random monsters will generate ideas for your game.

I don't have a problem with using a bit of randomness to LOOK for ideas. What I don't like is creating a random encounter table and that being the end point. If you for instance made a list of the kinds of things one might encounter in the wilderness between sandpoint and korvosa, and then picked from that list and CRAFTED an encounter out of that, I don't particularly care whether you just pick or roll to pick.

However you inspire yourself to get ideas to make your encounters is fine by me. What I despise is the random encounter tables that are just used directly. 1. Nothing happens, 2. Encounter 1d4 goblins, 3. encounter 3 bandits, 4. bad weather, make a dc x survival check 5. Encounter a traveling merchant ... 20 encounter a chimera. Then the dm happens to roll 4 20s in 6 rolls in a row and for no particular reason it appears varisia has been invaded by an army of chimeras.

I don't have a problem with you using a table to create your plan. What I think a dm should never do is leave the end point of the plan to chance.

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I think this is actually an excellent party so long as they are carefully assembled, unfortunately the players are new so they will need some guidance. The party is more then capable of handling the rise of the runelords aventure so long as you get them to do the following (and obviously support the effort)

1. Bard should have a good Use Magic Device skill.
2. The party should stock up on utility/condition removel scrolls (Between the bard and the inquisitor they should be able to use most of them) and a wand or two of healing.
3. The hunter should choose one of the better combat animal companions (personal preference is big cat) and its first feat should be light armor proficiency and give it light barding armor as soon as possible (you might want to either provide a specific piece of loot for this or provide some other assistance so they can afford it). And ofcourse make sure the hunter doesn't forget to buff his companion using spells and his animal focus (which is always on for the animal companion).
4. Make sure they take advantage of the bards buffing capability. With what amounts to a 5 person party (hunters animal companion being a 5th set of actions) the bards buffing will be a big asset. They are effectively a force multiplier.
5. Make sure the rogue is descent melee combatant and has a good acrobatics score so they can get into the positions they need for flanking(doable with the unchained rogue)

1 and 2 cover more or less the 'needs' of full casters. Though I assure you a party with 3 6 level casters can get through a standard AP.
3 makes it so the inquisitor has a solid front line partner and the rogue has ample flanking buddies.
4 and 5 means your party will be able to steam roll most straightforward encounters in the book as written.

This party will be fine so long as you as the dm supports them and they recognize both the strengths and weaknesses of this party.

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Before you head for the random encounter tables or weather charts. Ask yourself, what am I trying to accomplish here? Is it simply you don't want to screen wipe from one location to the other? Then I would ask why? Its entirely reasonable if the story is not served by in transit encounters to ignore it. Maybe have a few minutes of roleplaying/describing the trip. Then move on.

If there is something you want to accomplish, then you should plan it. If you want the journey to be arduous, a chance for failure or diversion, or to advance the introduction of the 'bad guys' of the campaign, set something up that ties into your goal.

In my opinion if a game is not an 'open world sandbox' like kingmaker, NEVER use random encounter tables. NEVER. Actually plan your encounters. And make them meaningful and have a purpose for your story. Perhaps you want to represent the transition from one area to the other, so have the encounters representative of the threats native to the regions the party is traveling through, (I presume traveling for 30 days they are going fairly far).

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Stats don't break the game unless you do something really odd. Personally I go for 25 point buy with nothing over a 17 after racial modifiers. But ultimately a 20 just means a +10%chance for success over a 16 or 17. That is far from broken.

What potentially creates problems is aggressive optimization or under optimization(particularly when there are different levels of optimization within the party), not handling treasure/magic items wells and probably taking the game past around 14th level. Everything else can be managed by adjusting the challenges by the dm. The above examples go past the simple need to tweak encounters.

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Fruian Thistlefoot wrote:
KenderKin wrote:
Avoron wrote:
Gevaudan wrote:
Nothing sucks worse than that wasted entangle slot.
I prefer to think of it as a summon nature's ally slot waiting to be used.
Why is it no one ever talks about the wizard's wasted grease/charm person/etc.....slot when attacked by a swarm of wasps...
Because what is an entangle going to do against a swarm or a SNA for that matter? Not a darn thing.

That isn't true. Some swarms can be damaged by natural attacks, theres also the fact that it could simply be a speed bump which in and of itself is excellent battlefield control. A swarm eating the badger you summoned for 2 rounds instead of you is not a waste.

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Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:

Do you think the fighter (and other martial classes) should have an Extra Attack ability (like 5th Edition) where they get multiple attacks as a standard action?

2 at 6th, 3 at 11th, and 4 at 16th?

Personally I think the solution is already there. Give martial characters more effective and interesting things to do with standard actions. Make it actually a choice whether or not you just full attack or take a standard action to do something.

So many problems are solved by unifying the underlying structure of the 'stuff' classes get between martial and non-martial options.

On the other hand, I'd prefer a different way of balancing things than just making the martials into casters* too.

Muscle Wizard is fun as a character concept, but not as a system patch.

I don't want to make them into casters. What I want is the fundamental structure of their stuff to match. Casters get a usable resource of 'cool stuff' to do that requires a relatively limited investment of character resources to achieve (taking or learning a spell). When you try to balance that against always on abilities that lie within the martial sphere, its a big problem to manage peak vs average ability to get stuff done.

As a concept, maneuvers get closer to anything anyone else has tried to bring things closer together structurally while maintaining the general 'feel' of the actual abilities tied to the class that does them.

Envall wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:

Personally I think the solution is already there.

All respect to DP for making good rules, but PoW is another fat system that is a burden when thrown atop the core rules.

I have no problem with rule heavy rulesets, I just absolutely detest big (and growing) spell lists and what results from them.

I don't neccesarily support the idea of adopting them whole cloth. I don't allow all spells from all books in my game either. I am speaking more then concept then a specific implementation. Giving martial characters maneuvers as a usable resource to do cool thematic stuff that is more effective and interesting then just swinging a stick is a good idea.

And while its not a simple mechanically as just attacking, that's kind of the point, we want to make it more interesting. And if taken in in stages its not fatter then adding the advanced class guide to the core rules as what you are playing with. Particularly if you only concern yourself for the classes and maneuvers your party and npcs actually use.

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Would be nice. I am putting together a game set in Taldor and was actually really shocked when I sat down and looked and saw very little available support for it. I realize in cannon it is a fading empire, but given how important it has been for a huge amount of stories told in the Inner Sea, and even has its mark across the world in Tian Xia, it seems absurd that there is only a single pre pathfinder sourcebook.

I guess we can hope an AP turns up for Taldor, thats the only way it seems a region gets a real pass for support in the setting. Or maybe they are holding off on it because many of the stories that seem cool to tell in taldor would have a lasting impact on the setting as a whole (something paizo makes an effort to avoid).

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
We obviously have different definitions of 'house rule' and 'ruling'.

That is certainly fair. But my point still stands. When real life pre modern stone and mortar structures can be stronger then concrete and steel, it seems silly to make such a ruling in a fantasy world. And at the very least, the player doing the summoning should have been warned about it.

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Neils Bohr wrote:

If you include summons in battlefield control the druid can be a bit more versatile than the wizard, if not as effective, since they can prepare any spell they like and spontaneously burn the less useful ones in any given situation to summon nature's ally. You can do all this while tearing up the battlefield with your animal companion, too.

That being said, I'd still go wizard, partly because I just really like wizards.

Its hard to argue summons aren't battlefield control. They do an excellent job of it, and in some ways are much more effective then normal battlefield control spells. A typical control spell stops being a problem when you overcome it (make the save). A summon remains a problem for your enemy for its duration.

I also think this differs heavily by circumstance and level. I think it shifts back and forth between the conjurer wizard and the druid with certain select spells and summons.

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Gulthor wrote:
EDIT: To be clear, I'm talking about ground floor, here, hence my structural integrity of upper floors comment, above.
We were on the second floor.

There are certainly classical, medival, and renaissance period (the argument could be made for golarion/most dnd settings to match up with any of these periods technology wise) that can take that weight at upper floors. It really just depends on the structure. There are classical structures have better withstood earthquakes and explosives then modern steel and concrete buildings.

That said, given there isn't an actual in game rule involving the weight of creatures besides carrying capacity, I would say collapsing the upper floor of an in tact building made of stone because of the weight of the creature on the upper floor is definitely a house rule more then a ruling. Rulings interpret rules that exist, they don't create new one from whole cloth.

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SmiloDan wrote:

Do you think the fighter (and other martial classes) should have an Extra Attack ability (like 5th Edition) where they get multiple attacks as a standard action?

2 at 6th, 3 at 11th, and 4 at 16th?

Personally I think the solution is already there. Give martial characters more effective and interesting things to do with standard actions. Make it actually a choice whether or not you just full attack or take a standard action to do something.

So many problems are solved by unifying the underlying structure of the 'stuff' classes get between martial and non-martial options.

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I find strange or unconventional races and character builds quite fun. And not just because of the potential mechanical advantages (though I am the first to admit I prefer capable characters over weaker ones), but because of the freedom it offers.

Some tropes have been done so much that it feels wrong to break from them. I find little inspiration in characters that on paper are very similar to common fantasy tropes (dwarven cleric or warrior, elf wizard or ranger, the tough human veteran, etc).

I feel like collectively we have lots of preconceived notions of those sorts of characters (me included).

But the first time I decided to play a wayang witch in a campaign setting that didn't have wayangs in them until I added them? That was one of my favorite all time characters. He was weird, creepy, had strange cultural sayings that chilled you to your core if you really thought about them. Granted I went well afield from the flavor paizo has released for them, but that was hardly a guide for me. Because my group hadn't used them before, I felt free to do whatever I wanted with them background wise. And it was a lot of fun.

The first time I describe his healing hex as tendrils of shadows extending from his fingertips spiraling around eachother and then into the center of the targets chest chilling them to their core before slowly erasing their pain, I truly fell in love with the character. And I don't think I would have felt as free to be creative and entertaining if either the race of the character or the class were commonly used tropes (at the time this was the first witch that had appeared in my groups games, and definitely the first wayang)

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ChaosTicket wrote:

Ok we are playing very different games in play sessions if any you are asking why someone would use attacks, weapons and armor.

Some of the comments sound like youve never fought early battles against enemies armed with bows, reach weapons, and alchemist's fire.

Spells are just short of useless in the early game as you can only use them a finite number of times per ingame day, which is about one session.

Clearly you have a very different impression of the game, but I don't think a low level druid should just use spells. He has an animal companion, hopefully in barding with which he can contribute better then most martial characters at early levels. His own weapon attacks aren't important, his Tigers claws and bite are important.

That and most of my druids have spell focus conjuration and augment summoning as their first 2 feats. Summoned animals with summon natures ally can contribute for most of an encounter after a few levels with just 1 spells. A druid will have at least a couple of these at 1st level, and can easly do 2-3 an encounter by 4th or 5th level (assuming 3-4 encounters per day). But even where he needs to concerve resources at low levels, you still have a friggan tiger, or a bear, or a wolf buddy doing your fighting for you. Which makes your own weapon proficiency far less important.

A cleric needs to be a descent warrior because they have only so many spells early on. A druid comes with an extra good warrior free of charge, and can focus on building for the future. They don't need bows or reach weapons because they can sick their bear on the monster from across the field while maybe casting one spell for the encounter.

I think the issue here is you have failed to realize how an animal companion (if the right one is chosen) and the ability to spontaneously summon animals to fight for you extend the limited spell resources of a low level druid. They do. A lot. Personally mixing it up with a spear or whatever is unimportant not because we think low level casters can cast spells all day, but because the druid has other tools to cover that issue that isn't a sharp bit of metal or a pointy stick.

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There are a number of significant problems with the combat maneuver system numerically.

That said, there are a few things you need to consider. Grappling rules are the same for a monster with grab as with a person. If you weaken the rules for the big stompy bear, a person trying to be a grappler is hampered also. So while the you might think the bear has too high a check, consider the fact that that +15 to escape artist, is rather high against a similar person trying to grapple you.

There are also spells, and items that are relatively easy to have available that give significant bonuses to escape. Applying a big of alchemical grease to yourself can make a world of difference.

Also consider the investment of options here. 7 skill ranks is a relatively limited investment, but a fighter who is trying to be a grappler has unarmed strike, improved grapple, and probably one or two other feats, far more limited resources then skills. Even more so for non-fighters or monks. So to just have a high dex and 7 skill ranks grant a good chance of nullifying what they are speced for is a problem.

Also consider that you don't actually have to break the grapple. Pull out a one handed weapon and attack back. You aren't helpless when grappled (at least not initially). And there are things that can be far more devastating if they succeed against you. There are spells and abilities that render you helpless with a single success. Why does a grappler need to face a good chance that after they succeed on their thing, an opponent could render their previous action moot with a high degree of success?

Consider also that in most cases, monsters maintaining a grapple on you is less threatening, if more debilitating then a full attack.

Lets look back at that dire bear:
The turn after they have grabbed you
They can either A: Grapple you again to pin you B Grapple you again to maintain the grapple and damage you ONCE with a claw or bite or C attack you with 2 claws and a bite for an average of 30something damage.

For anyone seriously concerned about being grappled, A or B sounds a lot better then 30-40 damage at 7th level don't you think?

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Define "a world without gods or magic". Because if that means a world without arcane and divine spells in the hands of the players, you will need a lot more then the automatic bonuses progression to manage that.

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Detect magic being a cantrip means magical characters can always, when they take a moment to think about it, have magical senses, but this takes 6-18 seconds to make use of. Its a super common trope in like every fantasy series from lord of the rings to harry Dresden.

Fixes for the problem:
1. No always up nonsense. If the caster wants to detect magic, they have to say they detect it, take the action and point the darn thing in a given direction. If they want to sweep a room, that's a couple minutes at least. Fine for looting a room after an encounter, doesn't work through a whole dungeon.

2. If they decide to do it anyway, explain to them, out of character that as they delay the enemy is getting more prepared and encounters will go up in difficulty. Its perfectly reasonable if the party takes half an hour to walk down a hallway detecting magic every 60 feat in 8 directions.

3. If someone takes the time to place a magic trap, they can place magic aura too. So, just like every trap, you have to spot it with a perception check.

4. Magic items, put it in a lead lined chest, or container, problem solved. Party still has to search the old fashioned way.

5. Invisble opponents, in addition to step 1, remember it takes 3 rounds before someone has a location. You detect magic, enemy moves, you no longer detect magic over there, rinse and repeat. All the magic user gets is a picture that somewhere nearby there is something magical but cant lock it down, again appropriate in fantasy tropes for casters but doesn't actually accomplish much beyond a minor warning.

Cantrips aren't game breaking so long as you actually put them into a context of a world where this is a thing. And most of all, just talk to your players about what is or isn't obnoxious to you. You should be playing this game with friends. Be friends and talk to eachother.

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I have to say, for a 3 person party you are making your lives more difficult then it needs to be. A straight rogue and a straight fighter are pretty bad choices. You want more flexible characters that give action economy benefits.

Best choices are the ones that bring a whole other set of actions to the table: Druid, Summoner, Hunter

Second best are character with mixed specialties and some action economy bonus (usually good use of swift actions)
Magus, Inquisitor, Warpries, Paladin, bard.
Then characters that are just a mixed focus
ALchemist, Slayer, Ranger, Bard, Blood Rager, Battle clerics/oracles, witch
Last are the effective but highly focused characters:
Wizard, casty Clerics/Oracles, sorcerers

And bottom rung for a small party are the highly focused and limited effectiveness classes:
Fighter, rogue, monk

I am sure I have forgotten a few in each category, but I hope its clear why each category is where it is. Assuming a normal spread of adventure challenges, with only 3 people you need more flexible characters, and with a small party, you have fewer actions then normal, regardless of your potential power. You need to cover as many bases as possible and try to make up for your limits in action economy.

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ChaosTicket wrote:

Ok I like to plan in stages rather than just think about what to do at level 20.

Druid plan at level 1-5 is what? You can only cast a handful of spells best saved for the boss. At this point physical attacks are extremely important, as are feats to give you extra ones such as Rapid Shot. Note: This is where people skip over discussion the most. I think multi-class is a good option as a great sword or composite longbow would be more useful than a few spells at this point. retrain later to remove multiclasss levels.

You have a tiger or a bear, or something similar to do your physical attacks for you at low levels. You can save your spells to buff Mr Kitty or to summon an additional animal to help in encounters so you don't actually need to cast a lot of spells.

A druid gets a TON of level dependent stuff. Multiclassing is an aweful idea unless you have something super specific in mind. And even then I would say look at the hunter if you want a more fighter druid.


Level 6-10 Druids can use magic several times and be wild shaped for several hours per day. Mundane equipment becomes less useful at this point especially for a Druid. The difference between Casters and Warriors shows up. Druid isnt a warrior and doesnt have bonus feats so shouldnt think about becoming an Archer.

The question is why a druid would consider archery at any point. It sounds like you want a hunter not a druid. And, a druid can certainly become a good warrior. He doesn't need feats for it. He has magic. Specifically wild shape and buff spells. If you build with this in mind a mid level druid can DEFINATELY be a good warrior. He doesn't need many feats beyond natural spell. Have a good starting strength and an ok con, wild shape into a bear and eat some face.


Level 11+ Druid is dedicated to being a caster by this point.

That depends on what you are going for. If you want to be a combat focused druid, you don't need to be a dedicated caster. But it certainly is an option. Particularly if you pay close attention to the kinds of spells the druid does right.


Hybrid class such as the Warpriest, Hunter, and Magus are alot better at early levels because they can get better equipment than specialist casters can. Those were my first picks and why Im trying to play the more complex Cleric, Druid, and Wizard.

I don't understand what you mean by get better equipment? A druid starts with the best possible equipment in the game. A whole other character really good at tearing peoples face off(animal companion). Buy some barding for it, and depending on how much your group optimizes and what stat generation you use, it damn well might be a better fighter then the fighter all on its own.

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swoosh wrote:

I know a lot of people are saying that you can build a good fighter now and that good tools exist and while that's true that doesn't tell the whole story.

Building a good fighter often means building around their weaknesses, building to compensate for what they struggle with in order to make something effective and that's a problem, because you have to work around all these holes to build a good fighter. The very fact that 'you can build a good fighter' is even a statement with merit at all is pretty damn telling. No one goes around gloating about how they can make good summoners or wizards or magii or barbarians or even gunslingers after all.

Secondly, the problem is only partially the fighter itself and partially what fighters do to the rest of the game. Fighters are feats. That's their defining trait. Even the fighter fixes being lauded in this thread are just more feats.

But when you have a character that is wholly defined by feats, in order to make them stand out at all, feats have become an absolutely miserable experience for non-fighter martials. They're awful, awful abominations and doing anything even slightly outside the ordinary game of 'power attack with a big hunk of metal' and suddenly you're pushing yourself back to level 7 to get things online for many builds.

And why? Well because now "but a human fighter can do it at level 2!" becomes a selling point.

So it's not just that fighters suck, it's that the fundamental design of fighters actively harms everyone else in the game too.

Tacticslion wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:
No seriously, who actually used more than one weapon group?
Lucy_Valentine wrote:
Fewer people than wanted to, because switching weapons can be fun and having a giant pile of feats and money invested over the course of a game so that you the player have fewer valid options in combat is not fun.
I certainly wanted to do so, recently. Gave it the old college try, even. Didn't work well.
More or less my experience too. I conceptually really like switch hitters, but actually building one is unnecessarily difficult and messy and has really, really bad returns.

This is the distinction I am trying to get at with feats being the problem. We gated a whole bunch of basic things behind feats, which in and of itself isn't a problem. But then we gave the fighter a billion feats and called it done. That presented the problem of the fighter being able to take all the feats, which we don't want.

Idealy, I would simplify the combat feats in the game, with far fewer prereqs. Things like whirlwind don't need 3 prereqs, and combat expertise can be dropped off an infinitely high cliff.

Then we take the fighter and design him around the concepts that actually work in the game. Give him specific and thematic abilities that revolve around doing interesting things when he swings a sword or shoots a bow, rather then just doing it with slightly higher numbers. And someone made attempts to do this. Twice. First in 3.5 with the book of 9 swords. And then dreamscarred press in pathfinder.

The andswer to this is to redesign the fighter to fit in mechanically with every other class. Give him a suite of abilities to choose form in which he can use them on a limited basis. You can then make those things cool and interesting without having to make them a massive investment (ala spells), and you don't have to worry about what happens if every other class on the planet also gets that ability as you do with feats.

That's the actual answer here. Make the fighter play like everyone else, and you solve the problem. It requires a redesign, but its what has to happen without going in a massive circle indefinitely. You cant fix a broken concept by tweaking whats broken. You need to replace it with what works. Stop making feats the gateway to all the cool combat stuff, make it specific to the class, make it limited use per day to match everything else, and make them cool, interesting and potent.

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ChaosTicket wrote:

Ok sometimes I forget people can skip practical things.

While some classes and builds focus on equipment, there isnt a real reason to not have equipment unless is conflicts with class rules, such as the Monk. Then its about finding alternatives. Druids cant use metal armor for example, but dragonhide material is an alternative, and dragonhide full plate is a huge improvement over leather armor.

All classes are very equipment dependent early on as the class special abilities and spells dont start getting enough uses or duration until level 5-10. I would spend more time using ranged weapons than melee long before I can turn into a Tiger.

Depending on druid archetypes equipment can be more important as wild shape may change or be removed. Nature Fang replaces Wild Shape with Slayer feats, but doesnt have have anywhere near enough weapon variety to be self-sufficient. Goliath Druid keeps equipment in its forms.

While there isn't a reason to not have equipment, you also need to consider what a class is good at. Basically all good druid builds make use of wild shape. If you are a casting focused druid, wildshapping into a tiny bird not only adds mobility, but also can make you dramatically harder to hit. If you are going to fight, you wild shape into some kind of combat animal.

Things that don't help you in wild shape, after you have 2 per day pretty much are not important for your ability to fight anymore. And while some archetypes do limit or remove wild shape, you have to consider that that archetype isn't like other druids, and you aren't going to be able to make a neat box to put all the things you can do with the druid and its archetypes into.

In fact its probably the most versatile and well rounded class in the game. There is very little you cant do with a druid if you build for it.

At low levels, generally, my druids rely on their animal companion for protection while using spells for support, buffing the companion, or summoning. In that sort of activity you don't actually need equipmenet because the character actions aren't important. A low level druid doesn't contribute to combat themselves. Their bear or tiger buddy does it for them. They might cast a spell or two, but mostly, they are hanging back and letting the animal do the heavy lifting. Maybe throw in a spell or a summoned creature for good measure. The only equipment you are really worried about at low level is barding for your companion. (And honestly unless you don't like it for thematic reasons an animal companion should always take light armor as its first feat and give it some armor soonest). You aren't going to take ranged combat feats to take advantage of a bow (at 3/4 bab, middling dex and no precise shot, a bow isn't going to be useful anyway). It literally isn't important.

At mid to higher levels, that's when the druids own actions start to matter more with a host of useful spells, the ability to change form multiple times a day for hours at a time, and an even more powerful companion (who has an outrageous AC if properly outfitted). But at that point combat actions will be done with claw, fang and wing, not equipment.

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SmiloDan wrote:

I had a player quit his rogue sniper because it almost never worked.

Then we switched to 5th Ed, and he went back to sniper rogue--because it works in that rules system!

Certainly there are things other systems represent better then pathfinder (particularly if you don't want to add in subsystems). The sniper is among them.

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Beating A Dead Horse wrote:
Spells are insanely versatile, flexible, and expendable character resources
You are correct, Casting Detect Troll on thread...

Who keeps resurrecting that poor horse? But seriously you know as well as I do this community (and any gaming community) doesn't need to be deliberately trolling to have the same damned argument for the 80 billionth time. I like the alias though.

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Welcome to the frustration of thousands of gamers before you. MANY MANY campaigns have been started with the gm running the game they truly want to play in. There isn't really an easy way to do this. The truth is, the gm has to like the idea, you cant make him interested in it. And if the suggestion of the basic concept doesn't get him moving, you are probably out of luck.

One thing I have done in my group is done a Quid Pro Quo. I run a friends dream game, and they run mine. But this isn't easy to pull off as the gm still has to be excited about it, or the game will peter out fast.

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The fighter isn't the problem. The means by which the fighter gets his stuff is the problem. Feats. When you compare feats and spells, basically your head explodes from incompatibility.

Spells are insanely versatile, flexible, and expendable character resources. Each individual choice of a spell even for classes with a spells known list is not a huge investment, spells can over the course of 20 levels basically do ANYTHING and over the course of the day spell slots are used up.

Feats, and as a result most martial options are far less flexible (you pick them then you can't easily change it, and you don't get many of these choices at once), there is a narrow window of what they can do (excepting specific races, feats cant let you fly, walk through walls, change time, ask aid from a deity, powerful outsiders or turn you into a dragon among a bergillian other things, they do things like let you shoot faster, hit harder, or use a skill/ability slightly better). And, usually feats cant be expended over the course of the day.

Trying to balance these two fundamental things against eachother is the source of most of pathfinders problems. The fighter is just among its most prominent victims.

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There are a couple things to keep in mind with a character concept like what you seem to be going for.

1. In pathfinder 'sniping' is really difficult, even if you specialize. Attacking REALLY gives you away, and the game intends for it to be exceedingly difficult to attack someone and them/their allies to have no idea who did it after the fact.

In addition, unlike most actual combat, one shot kills are basically not a thing. It is intended for it to take time to kill a foe, and it will almost all of the time. Theres no 'boom headshot' on keep targets. You can do lots of damage, you can surprise them, but most of the time, they will then be able to retaliate.

2. Stealth in a group where others are not focused in stealth can be frustrating. We have a saying in dnd/pathfinder. "How many player characters doe it take to screw in a ALL OF THEM! DONT SPLIT THE PARTY!". When you are the sneaky guy and there is also the paladin who clinks loudly with every step, you might feel inclined to separate yourself, scout far ahead to make use of your stealth.

But splitting off from the group more then a short distance is often a VERY bad idea. If you end up facing a threat meant for your whole party alone, and they are more then a round or two away from you, you will likely not survive (running away is also rather difficult in this game).

It takes a lot of planning and careful consideration to make good use of stealth/scouting abilities without splitting the party and putting yourself at unreasonable risk. But you will also get frustrated trying to sneak close to your probably not stealthy at all other party members.

Just some food for thought on the some of the general limitations of the game with this kind of concept.

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Based on what the guys in charge have said at paizo con, it isn't going to split paizo in half.

Currently they plan to release a single core book, (which technically will take up a slot of the one of 3 hard cover rpg books that year). After that they plan on releasing everything with a single soft cover monthly release.

How much that will remain true? Who knows. If they sell out 12 printings of star finder they will probably decide to produce more for it.

It would be impossible for it to have zero impact on pathfinder releases, it will, but they probably wont be huge. Paizo has done big releases in addition to their normal schedule before (Rise of the Runelords anniversary, the Updated Campaign setting are good examples). I believe they will be able to MOSTLY manage the impact.

As to whether or not they split their audience, I guess that will depend on several things. In some ways they already split their audience and in some ways they do not. For instance, many gms will never include stuff from numeria in their game. Others don't use Tian Xia stuff.

Since star finder is technically just a time displaced extension of pathfinders existing campaign setting, it might end up not much different then if they released a hard cover technology guide for numeria adventures. In fact I am sure there will be lots of items and rules that someone running a full campaign in numeria will be able to mine from starfinder for their game.

That said, this will depend heavily on how they end up going with compatability. In the Paizocon panel they said that their goal was to make it as compatible as possible with the caviat that if something game down to making it less compatible but a better version of itself, they would probably go with that. If it ends up very compatible it wont be (in my opinion) more of a split then doing an extended AP and a couple source books on one of the more obscure sections of golarion and their supporting rules. If it ends up being far less, that might change.

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The Advanced Players Guide I believe is effectively the 3rd core rulebook in pathfinder. It is the book that made pathfinder what it is and not just dnd 3.75 in my mind. It also gives a nice expansion of options that really rounds out what both players and dms can do with the game and represent a number of character tropes that are difficult with just the core rules.

So if I had to choose one book to go with after the Core book, the Bestiary and the game mastery guide, it would be the APG.

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Kotello wrote:

At first level, some classes get more starting funds than others. But after that, everybody uses the same WBL chart. Why?

Obviously there is some reason for those classes starting off with different funds. It seems that it was done for balance reasons so that classes like Fighters can buy expensive armor. Shouldn't it continue to scale after first level to be fair?

Once you go beyond the basic equipement, the costs basically equal out. It might cost more to have a set of breastplate then studded leather, but the difference between +3 studded leather and +3 breastplate is far less significant relatively speaking.

Also the assumption is that a party splits the wealth gained evenly as they progress. which would obviously put all the party members roughly even in wealth long term.

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One of the things I have done as I have grown older in gming is eliminate unimportant throwaway encounters. Even if I am using a module and it has a dungeon crawl in it, in my game I try very hard not to make it a crawl. If you remove the throwaway encounters you tend to end up with something that is close to manageable in 'one day' of resources, which I vastly prefer to the sort of meta 'resting in a dungeon' or reactive denizens altering the nature of the later encounters.

Mostly I do this because my group and I don't have the time we once did, and I have a 'get to the point' feeling about it. But also, it feels more organic and exciting to actually storm the keep in one go, instead of repeat attempts.

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Bill Nye 924 wrote:
Say a weapon requires a 19 or 20 to get a crit. I was under the impression that you had to roll a 19 or 20 on the d20 to get a crit, not add your attack bonus to what you roll.

Is there some example that makes you think otherwise? As others have said, your original impression is correct. For crits the die roll matters, for non-20 die rolls that threaten a crit you also have to hit, which usually doesn't matter (its rare that a roll of a 19 wont get a hit, but its possible).

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My standard rule for this sort of thing is to double the monsters/enemies in any encounter I want to be important. Not just adding in mooks, but duplicating or complementing every important enemy as well. I don't think just adding in mooks until you hit the xp goal is necessarily wise. With a large party you want more then one enemy in each important encounter to represent a significant threat to the party. So maybe the big bad cant be duplicated, but you can add in a powerful lieutenant with a similar CR rating, or a monstrous body guard or what have you.

Conveniently roughly doubling the encounter raises the CR by 2, which is pretty good for a party that is usually 6 people, sometimes 7.

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I think this is a case of the relatively even ceiling and high floor of the kineticist plus some possible errors within play/the character build.

Kineticists built to do lots of blast damage are super straight forward, and take almost no effort to optimize. The options for "moar boom boom" are obvious.

If a group looks at 150 damage from a primary damage dealer (remember the kineticist built in such a fashion isn't a mage, a skilled character or basically anything but a walking blast cannon) at 16th level and is shocked, probably isn't overly into optimization. I can average a heck of a lot more then that with basically any damage dealing class. As mentioned an archer inquisitor (a character who is only partially a damage dealer, partially a skilled character, and partially a divine caster) can out do that kind of damage or better.

The op even mentions he deliberately does not go 'all out' to avoid outshining everyone.

This is a case of a high floor issue with the kineticist. You have to put less effort into the kineticist to making him good at dealing damage then most character classes. Players who don't normally optimize much will just by default make a character good at damage (it has a high floor). Even if the character itself does good but not outstanding damage compared to optimized characters of a similar level. Add that to potential oversights on limiting factors (like using gather power improperly or not tracking burn correctly) and there really isn't an actual issue here, besides figuring out if a class that has a high floor is a good fit for your group.

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GinoA wrote:
Coffee Demon wrote:
One thing I don't like about PF is that a mechanic is expected for every type of interaction (ie followers, WBL to name a few) This makes things really start to bloat and it has a negative effect on storytelling flexibility. Discussions fall into rules interpretations rather than imagination.

Just to make sure the other view gets noticed, that is the thing I like most about PF. It tries to make sure that you have a framework of rules for any situation. This probably comes from me not being as creative as some people, but I like working within a system that defines the limits and I have to work within them to accomplish what I want.

I would be very disappointed if Paizo started moving in the direction of 5E and away from the exhaustive, an option-for-any-idea model that distinguishes them from the other big player.

Unless they drop the stated goal of making it reasonably possible to integrate with PFRPG I think its a safe bet there wont be a drastic shift in that basic design choice.

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There are always pluses and minuses with public or private playtests. There is a lot of work to be done with open playtests where they get a lot of comments from those who may or may not have actually play tested the material. Digging through the arm chair developers can be an issue of lost time, particularly if there are going to be lots of iterations of the rules. And while there are lots of members of the community that diligently played the playtest materials. There were also those that spent their time posting and commenting and not actually playtesting.

Only time will tell if this is a good mover or a bad one. We will have to see. Heres hoping it works out.

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Hoo Boy, 8 years of pathfinder in one post? (It really has been 8 year hasn't it? Where does the time go?)

So, since you were around for the chaos of the switch from 3.5 to 4 at least we don't have to get into that.

Paizo made a certain choice about their business model. Basically they decided to focus heavily on things that are less renewable. Specifically Adventures, and the setting to support those adventures. We have gotten 3 RPG books a year with (roughly) 1 of them being a book of enemies, one being a book of options and one being a book of something else (again really rough here, some times there were 2 option books).

So yes there are a ton of adventures, and the setting books to support those adventures. IE We get an adnveture in Golarians Asia analogue and thus we get a bunch of setting books on that region around the same time. And by all reports this model has worked rather well. People who buy adventures will in theory always need new ones. And they will want setting material to flesh things out. People who write their own adventures still mine published stuff for ideas, or use the setting. Everyone can make use of maps, minis, pawns, and other supporting materials.

The thing that is important here, is the (relatively speaking) the amount of pure, setting neutral crunchy option stuff that paizo has produced has been significantly less then past iterations of DnD. Granted after 8 years, there is still a ton of it, but again I am speaking relatively. Despite some increases, most players can name all of the base classes without looking them up.

There have been plenty of hick-ups and missteps along the way. But by in large, there has been a fairly consistent level of 'power' to the options produced. By this I mean, that if you take the ratio of options that are weak, average, good, and hugely powerful from the core rulebook, the ratio has been pretty close to even for the last 8 years.

The big thing many groups have run into though, is that at this point, virtually every basic character concept can be made as powerful as the stronger character concepts out of the core rulebook. To abstract it a bit lets say (for the sake of argument) there are 30 fundamental 'types' of characters. Say a strong bashy guy, the quick sneaky guy, the blasty mage, the controller mage, the healbot cleric etc. Lets just say there are 30 of those. Lets also say about 3-5 of those are able to be made 'really good' out of the core rulebook. For example many of the widely accepted 'most powerful' wizard spells are in the core rulebook. The combat druid with a pouncing animal companion is in the core rulebook. These concepts are exceedingly powerful (within the context of defeating adventure challenges) out of the box. But others, like say the sneaking rogue, were far less so.

Each rpg book basically allowed a few more of these base concepts to get better options. So while maintaining a similar ration of the power of all the options in the game, there are after 8 years, powerful options for all 30(again this is a completely arbitrary number, just to illustrate the point) of those basic concepts instead of just the handful that are powerful in game.

The net effect is that tables where less once there might have been one really powerful character or none, there are now mostly powerful characters with less effort required in optimization, since there are more obviously good options for each concept by now.

Whether this means 'bloat' or 'power creep' to you is going to come down to your own perspective. The thing to keep in mind is, that baring a few specific exceptions, the options haven't gotten significantly more powerful at the ceiling, just that more characters are able to reach or get close to that ceiling.

Besides the above one of the big revelations of paizos emphasis on stories and setting instead of rules has been the gap that it left. Some groups will always want endless new options. Paizo while producing a ton of material, wasn't really filling that niche the way Wizards or even TSR did. And with paizo's exceptionally generous open gaming liscence, not the least of which is not only allowing people to publish their rules for all to se (see d20pfsrd) but also doing a lot of it themselves (see the prd), there has been an explosion and even a series of explosions of 3rd party material. Some good, some bad, and some so so. But it has created a thriving community with some 3pp companies being major players in the community, many of the authors freelancing for paizo and at least one really big example of one of the more popular authors taking a key position within paizo itself.

More then any time in the history of gaming, the flagship rpg has been fostering talent in the community, and been certainly responsible for a number of new talents coming a long. Paizo has even found a whole bunch of gems straight out of the community using their annual rpg superstar contest, where everyone (and I do mean everyone) can submit an entry and compete for the chance to write a paizo adventure. Not an insignificant number of finalists from that contest have worked for paizo shortly there after.

I think more then any other rpg or gaming company I know of, paizo has engaged with its fans in a way that has fostered a very positive relationship. Heck, they offer their rules up for free on their own website for everyone to see, they offer pdfs of all their hardcover books for a very lower price. And yet, their books still sell out, multiple times. I am not even sure what printing we are on at this point with the core rulebook, but even recent(ish) rpg book releases have had very fast sellouts.

Its actually been sort of amazing to watch in Hindsight. Paizo is the kind of company I WANT to give money to. I don't feel any regret for handing money to them because they make every effort to do right by me, their other customers, and their employees.

So anyway, a little off the trip down memory lane and a bit more into the practical. Its going to be a huge amount to take in for a group not familiar with it.

If I had to offer some advice on how to get started, start by looking at the Core rulebook and the Advanced players guide. Those 2 books together with the bestiary (for me) form the core of the game. The APG is where paizo made pathfinder more then just DnD 3.75 and put their own stamp on it. Play a couple shortish adventures with your group using just that.

After that depending on your groups tastes consider expanding the scope. My own personal rules for a game is that the core and apg are free game for making a character, and anything else they have to run by me and explain what they are going for. Less for permission and more for the fact that its hard for me to know 'every' rule available for pathfinder, but I really only actually have to know the rules associated with their choices. If a monk takes tiger style feats, I don't need to know all the style feats. Just the ones he or she plans to choose.

I allow and use a significant number of 3rd party materials, but that's mostly because many of them give me the kind of route through the rules I really like most. I am personally partial to reaching character concepts mostly through base class choices with minor variations. You will find people have wide opinions on 3rd party material, but personally, particularly if I stick to the better known stuff, it is no better or worse the paizo material. Its just a matter of if it does what I want it to do. In many cases the same people wrote both (either with freelancing, or with paizo staffers also being 3pp authors) so personally I find it silly to arbitrarily dismiss all 3pp material.

Personally I am more wary of options from setting books then I am of some 3pp authors. The reason being is that in general the settings primary focus is to support the setting, and to create balanced rules second. They have historically bypassed important limitations the rpg rule set has maintained for the sake of the setting. This isn't universally a bad thing, but it bears additional consideration.

I honestly don't know how to wrap up this massive ramble. I haven't got a conclusion, other then is been quite enjoyable to really sit down and think back over the last 8 years or so.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Firearms hit all sorts of issue in terms of how they were designed and how they were balanced. Unfortunately paizo decided to go a route that suited their campaign setting more then them being a good set of rules.

Basically paizo tried to drive a sports car, from the back seat, by alternately pulling and yanking on a series of levers. The end result, the car goes mostly in the desired direction, and mostly faster then most cars, but theres lots of room to go wrong, and the path it takes is a friggan mess.

First big problem: having the rules for firearms support the Golarian specific fact that they are rare and mostly don't leave alkenstar. So they are expensive as hell, and they need specific knowledge (read class abilities like quick clear and reloading feats/abilities) to operate effectively. Sure firearms are expensive to manufacture, but so were good swords in their day, and crossbows could malfunction and jam. It was foolish to make them different then every other weapon for campaign setting reasons. One lever pulled the sports car swerves wildly right.

Now you have outrageously expensive, prone to failure, slow to load weapons. What do you do? You have to give them something. So the insane solution was to make them not just go through armor, but be actual touch attacks. Neglecting the fact that huge amounts of monsters rely on natural armor almost exclusively. Another lever pulled, the sports car goes into a left skid, back tires burning up rubber.

On top of that now, we have a gunslinger. A class specifically designed to use these overly expensive unwieldy, but also game breaking weapons. So that class has in built exceptions to a lot of the rules nonsense that go around firearms. Because the class needs to be able to do its thing, which is shoot guns. But of course there is still the possibility for non gunslingers to use firearms. So somehow they have to figure out a way to make it work with both the limitations of the weapons bypassed (via classes/archetypes that are supposed to use them) but still be somewhat reasonable for a normal character to use them.
You have now thrown the sports car into an uncontrollable spin.

The sad thing is, paizo had a perfectly solid set of rules for firearms. They wrote them. In the pre-pathfinder version of their campaign setting. But they decided to go with the touch attack, slow to reload idea that literally does not fit mathematically into the rest of the game, make them overpriced and prone to failure, then create a class that bypasses those issues and hope it all evens out.

Most gunslingers will be average characters. If you don't optimize the crap out of it, it works well enough. Their damage isn't as high as a highly optimized archer most of the time. But in specific circumstances, they are either way too good (abnormally high AC but low touch ac enemies) or downright aweful (campaigns without the resources or time for the gunslinger to keep up his ammunition count, or improve his weapon over time).

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It seems to me you know what is wrong, and you have done everything everyone else could try to suggest to fix the problem. Some problems among people are actually not fixable. This group dynamic seems like its shutting you out. Its not the game, you cant fix it with the game, its the people.

Even if you learned all the lore in golarion, that isnt going to solve the problem. The GM wants the game on rails, and the lore guy wants to do all the talking, and the gm is enabling him for whatever reason.

This isnt a game problem, this is a people problem. And if you honestly think you have done everything you can to talk to them about it, and you give up on that, you really should stop playing. Everyone's time is precious, you shouldn't engage in a leisure activity that upsets you and that you dont find enjoyable. There are better things to do with your friends then play a bad pathfinder game.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
TPK wrote:
Morlaf wrote:
TPK wrote:

I think this is something a lot of games are missing to one extent or the other is the danger factor. There is nothing that makes the value of a character shine is seeing the loss of another PC. Don't be afraid of it. But, make sure your players are OK with a possible TPK.

dude... is your name actually "TPK" ???? hahahahahaha

no wonder you have that attitude - one I really admire, to be honest; thanks man....
Yeah, you wipe out a party of Werewolves in the opening scenes of a WOD game and no one lets you forget it. But, I say this because I really do like a gritty game. If at no time during a session do I have a true concern that my character might not make it then MEH... But, if PCs are dropping like flies and I am watching the dice like a hawk praying I don't get one shotted, and NOW we have a game.

There isnt really anything wrong with wanting that sort of environment for a game. Its just particularly difficult to do right without fudging stuff in pathfinder. I mean my aim for important encounters is always to make the players think they will lose, but for them to pull it out in the end, but its not easy to pull off with the all or nothing way the game operates.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The game itself doesn't really lend itself well to this kind of gameplay. Surviving implies facing outlandish threats and somehow getting away. But pathfinder and dnd before it have a problem with that. Generally By the time you realize a threat is too big to manage, someone is down, if not dead. There are no straight forward measures of power or threat.

In addition to that, things like keeping warm, feeding yourself, building a shelter are set up as die rolls and generally meant to be glossed over 90% of the time. A campaign based on that is sort of like a campaign with traps every 5 feet. Chances are it devolves into one person rolling a die, seeing the result and you either move on or everyone takes some damage and you move on.

Settings can't fix this. Its an issue with the fundamental nature of the game. You can make a hardmode campaign sure, but in terms of actual threats to survival, it becomes really tedious really fast, or you spend a lot of time building new characters or hunting for Resurrection materials.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Unfortunately its very difficult to create an organic encounter the players should run from and then have them actually be able to run. Running away with the structure of pathfinder is exceedingly difficult. Unless you give them some kind of 'gut check' at the start of the encounter and tell them they should run, there really isnt a way to make it clear before one or more players are likely down for the count.

The game just isnt set up for that sort of thing. Things that are way out of your league kill you, quickly. If the encounter starts with them not simply knowing they should run, someone is very likely to die.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Vanykrye wrote:

This thread is just about ready for Kindergarten.

My issue with all of the "remove iterative attacks" plans is that it removes versatility.

Have you looked at the unchained rules? They actually dont remove a lot of versatility.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Vital strike doesn't really come close to what iterative attacks end up doing at higher levels. Your idea might work at lower levels, but at higher levels it would represent a massive drop in damage for martial characters.

It would also drastically shift the power in favor of natural weapons vs iterative attacks with manufactured weapons.

Thankfully paizo has offered a slightly better option in unchained, its much faster then rolling all those attacks, but keeps damage numbers pretty even.

replacing iterative attacks

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