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Turn it up:
X's Father wants to politically marry X to some Hellknight/Noble/Darkwizard Y. X feels oblige to submit to her father's will and Paladin, faced with the honor in that is torn between his feelings and his sense of duty.
Unbeknownst to all, Y's child/apprentice/something-or-other Z is in love with A and unlike everyone else so far is utterly psycho, willing to abduct A and worse.
Y is none too please with finding out how crazy Z is and presto, Paladin and Y might be forced to make common cause to rescue A. Meanwhile, X grows increasingly certain of their feelings for Paladin.
During the ensuing finale, the outcome is wide open. Paladin may get the chance to get rid of Y without anyone getting wise about it; Y may show supreme cruelty in punishing Z, whom Paladin would have taken to court; Y may save X's and/or A's lives. Anyone may die.
Here's my favorite outcome:
Thymus Vulgaris wrote:
"stuff like"i.e. effects defined and measured within the rules.
There is no rule relating strength with muscle mass, appearance or even weight/height ratio. In fact, the de facto independence of weight/height and ability scores in general implies conceptual irrelevance.
There is a category mistake being made here. The crunch is not there to describe the fluff. "STR 18" is not a description of appearance, nor is a description of past nutrition, training exercise and so on.
This is the game:
Players each controlling one character fight monsters controlled by the DM on maps. After 4-6 such fights, the characters level up an fight harder monsters. Equipment is just part of levelling up and not really gear in the common sense sense of the word.
This determines the unavoidable structure of a Pathfinder game, it's very skeleton. Around this structure, a story is told, a piece of fiction, often merely simulating player choice, which is supposed to make all the fighting have some meaning and give some explanation to what's happening.
But this story is bound to follow the basic structure of the game. E.g. you cannot begin with fighting dragons or demons, you being by fighting orcs and goblins [...]. Even the most improvised and artfully told story in Pathfinder will have to follow this blueprint.
And mind you, this blueprint is utterly ridiculous and purely there for abstract reasons of rules and gaming tradition.
It's not that difficult. A druid has such a powerful base that even an unoptimized build can still be strong.
So, a druid gets 4 skill points per level, a human with INT 12 gets 2 more and six should suffice. You could max bluff, diplomacy, intimidate, sense motive, perception and stealth with that.
The Serpent Shaman archetype get access to the Trickery domain, which adds bluff, disguise and stealth to your druid class skills as well as a number of stealthiness spells.
Such spells can also be acquired via the Nagaji specific Naga Aspirant druid archetype.
You can also consider a swashbuckler dip, which will add bluff, diplomacy and intimidate to your class skills while at least not costing you a point of BAB.
Even a level of rogue would not be horrible and 1d6 sneak attack can be a good advantage when you get 5 attacks as a velociraptor.
A level of Inquisitor is probably your best choice, though. It gives you all the skills mentioned as class skills, a few 1st level spells per day as well as access to the Conversion inquisition, which keys social skills off wisdom instead of charisma. Taking the Sacred Huntsman archetype will stack with your druid animal companion while Sanctified Slayer will get you the studied strike ability, which is better than a 1/d judgement.
Finally, there are always traits and the Extra Traits feat, which can make most any skill a class skill.
Funny, in almost all the movies and TV shows I've seen, when it comes up it's shown to be really effective, while every serious article I've read about it tells me that it's really ineffective and unreliable.
There are two economies in pathfinder that have nothing at all to do with each other:
The other one consists of objects of personal empowerment won by killing things and taking their objects of personal empowerment with a little dash of crafting your own objects of personal empowerment or buying them from some source of OPEs. Every single magic spell is part of this economy. In this economy, one's wealth (appearing as OPEs) is not really economical value but just one aspect of the strange property called level. And as one's level changes (it only ever rises and it typically rises very fast, it can go from 1 to 20 in a year or so) one's wealth changes geometrically.
Do not succumb to the illusion fostered by both kinds of wealth being measured in "gold pieces". These two economies must never be allowed to interact! Even small, seemingly inconspicuous interactions can cause disaster if anyone should make the mistake of applying logic and reasoning to it.
Lawfulness doesn't really figure into it, unless there are laws prohibiting or prescribing intimidation (hard to imagine in a general case, but a government could outfit its military or police force to appear intimidating e.g.). It is ime purely a matter of good vs evil. And thus, a neutral or chaotic good character might have more issues with it, since they would not by equally inclined to excuse their actions by recourse to laws.
Imagine e.g. a lawful good torturer in a generally good country where the law prescribes torture as punishment for some crimes.
Intimidation, that is causing fear in others, is in general not a good action. Fear is typically less bad than physical harm, but it is an evil. Also keep in mind that torture is 90% intimidation.
There will be situations where intimidation is the lesser evil, but speaking in a general manner, intimidating someone is causing them to suffer an evil and is such at the very least not a good action.
On the other hand, 99% of all essentially good outsiders are combat monsters, which kind of suggests that good and evil on Golarion are less moral categories but rather just sides of the lower/upper planes distinction. Angels and Demons all kill, torture, maim and intimidate, it's only their justifications that differ.
Or you can adopt an imperial ethos: everything I do is good, because I do it and I am the good guy.
a) "Living" is not a rules term. It has no crunch meaning.
Well, it wont help you get more spells per day and you don't start out buffed which may or may not be an important consideration. You wont qualify for feats which have a higher score than your normal score because the enhancement is not a permanent effect.
Good point! So this is clearly better for physical abilities.
Throw in a level or two of Fighter (feats) or two levels of Cavalier (intimidation) to get heavy armor proficiency. Alternatively, two levels of Master of Many Styles Monk will get you great saves as well as access to Tiger Pounce, which shifts the PA to hit penalty to AC.
Third option, and my favorite, Mutagenic Brawler with 2 levels of MoMS/MoSM Monk, combine pummeling style & dragon style. Use brawling armor & an AOMF. You can throw in 3 levels of weapon master fighter brawler fighter for further bonuses and (not sure here) access to gloves of dueling.
It is not overly difficult to get a familiar that can reliably use a wand. Invest in UMD, the Evolved Familiar feat or the Figment Familiar archetype to get the Skilled evolution.
A wand of animal's ability costs 4500 GP. That's 500 GP more than a +2 belt or headband, but provides +4 right from the start. It lasts 3 minutes, thus at least one combat and your familiar can cast it on you, preserving your action economy. 50 charges should last you until you can afford a +4 or even +6 item.
Comments? Am I missing anything?
Carnivalist & Eldritch Guardian combine nicely.
Outflank, Precise Strike. Paired Opportunists. Combat Reflexes
I recommend a Pseudodragon for reach and until then a hawk with the mauler archetype.
Oddly enough, since a Homunculist's homunculus is not technically an improved familiar, it does seem to gain speak with animals of it's kind, opening it up for archetypes. Furthermore, though a homunculus cannot speak, a Homunculist's homunculus gains speak with master, which clearly is a language - though one with only two speakers. It should thus be able to use spell trigger items.
It would be much more fun, if improved familiars, which almost everyone taking a familiar will go for anyway, could take the archetypes.
And while it's not a case of archetype interaction (improved familiars are not archetypes), it seems rather clear that one cannot replace what one does not have.
Therefore abandon the trade paradigm and embrace communism: From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.
N. Jolly wrote:
I would rather recommend Long Arm. I've been using that with a natural attack focused Investigator to good effect. Though you only have reach with the claws, it'a still a tremendous tactical advantage and in comparison with using I weapon I find that I prefer having two slightly weaker reach attacks than one stronger in most cases. It's just more flexible.
Any critical hits allows both the hunter and animal companion an AoO at +4
To do this, you need the feat Seize The Moment, which requires Improved Critical, which requires a BAB of +8, as well as Combat Reflexes. Pack Flanking on the other hand requires Combat Expertise.
So, reliably generating AoO via crits will only be possible at level 12 for a Hunter.
Here's a set up:
1st Combat Expertise
For the AC:
At 13th and 16th add Improved Critical for claws and then bite.
This way, by level 3, you'll always count as flanking when threatening the same target, triggering +4 to hit, +1d6 damage. That to hit bonus will allow you to use Power Attack effectively despite your 3/4 BAB, so that's next. Shake It Off translates into a +2 to saves for you and your companion. Spirit's Gift is probably the best feat to strengthen a companion.
Don't dip. Instead, get a mutagen and focus on polymorph extracts to get extra attacks. Together with studied combat, that will provide an OK offensive basis.
Using a mutagen, alter self and studied combat, you'll end up with
Three words: Spirit Guide Oracle
The ability to switch to a new set of spirit spells as spells known is very powerful. Furthermore, there are rarely more than 2-3 revelations that are actually worth picking in a mystery.
But ultimately, it comes down to whether you prefer spontaneous or prepared casting. I for one vastly prefer spontaneous casting since I hate having had the right option but not having picked it in the morning. And to be honest, when I play prepared casters, I almost always have a standard set of prepared spells anyway.
Yes. As has been stated, since ease of access to full attacks varies over builds (and scenarios, but that is neither here nor there), it's pretty hard to come up with a composite value that is still representative of something.
This is wrong.
At the table, one rolls many times, each combat is usually a sequence of attack rolls. DPR considers accuracy (and damage) only insofar as it concerns a single isolated, idealized roll.
Accuracy has effects that are not captured by commonly used DPR calculations. This is precisely what I mean when I say that DPR undervalues accuracy.
This does not make those calculations useless, nor should it motivate a crusade against DPR. It also does not mean that DPR fails to consider accuracy.
Nor should anyone draw the conclusion that power attack is a bad feat or that it's never a good idea to push damage. In fact, I intended no hands on advice at all, but to point out some mathematical facts about the combat rule mechanism. My goal is understanding, rather than application. That is not to say that no practical application can be made, just that I am not terribly interested in those practical applications.
Consider a plot not as in a move: a sequence of scenes.
Having planned scenes vs. improvised scenes:
I prefer a set-up like this:
DPR leaves out the value of accuracy by itself. My considerations are intended to show that accuracy has important effects by itself. They are are not intended to be used in character building to judge the power of a build (though they can be).
Consider what I said not an engineers tool to build characters but a philosopher's argument to establish that focussing on accuracy tends to be a good idea, even if DPR might not show this.
Of course DPR calculations provide useful information, but it leaves certain things out. These include the aspects that I have tried to point this board's attention towards.
Several times people have defended from anecdotal and subjective experience that accuracy is most important. I have shown that there is a mathematical basis to that experience and that, to the degree I have explicated ("all things being equal...") that feeling is justified by the actual probabilities in play.
I have been criticised for using extreme cases. I have justified this by pointing out that the extreme cases are good cases to study because the show clearly what is a general effect also in play in less extreme cases. I have not seen any reply that actually has taken this into account, so I will repeat myself: The effect shown is as real in less extreme cases, even if it is less extreme.
Finally, my considerations are not intended to replace DPR, but to make clear that there are important aspects that DPR does not represent and that yet have an impact on play and the experience of players. So unless you can show that my math is unsound, it would be wise to just accept that there is more to the game than DPR. Again, it's not either/or it's a complementary analysis.
And finally, DPR is calculated under standardized assumptions, abstracting from the diversity of actual play. These same assumptions allow my considerations to be applied to specific stats to see whether under these circumstances e.g. Power Attack or Weapon Focus would be stronger feats. Again, I have chosen simple and extreme numbers to show the principle clearly and distinctly, but there is nothing stopping you from applying the same consideration on more "realistic" cases.
In that spirit, thanks to everyone who offered more than repeating the "it's unrealistic" response.
As an aside, it is really three different considerations:
1) can be roughly evaluated if you have something of a grip on binomial distributions. But in general the advice to draw from that is: if you feel that you are missing too much, increase accuracy even at the cost of raw damage, no matter what DPR tells you. If you hit reliably, you have no issue, of course.
2) is rather difficult to evaluate. And while not super practical "RUD" is still a very realistic representation of the actual effect on damage dealing in combat.
3) is based on the simple observation that any 1 attack damage potential beyond what is needed to eliminate a target possibly represents wasted resources spent to acquire it. Between +1 to hit and +3 to damage vs. an enemy I already kill without the +3 to damage +1 to hit is obviously preferable. And that issue repeats at multiplies of target hit points. The ratio of hit points to raw damage, always rounding up if any fractions remain gives you the minimum number of attacks required to eliminate a target. Any damage bonus that does not yield a lower number of minimum required attacks is practically wasted.
Still, accuracy is limited as well, but the mechanism of iterative attacks almost guarantees that a +1 to hit is rarely wasted.
The pretty clear conclusion, given my math is sound, is that all things being equal, accuracy is always preferable to a corresponding amount of damage.
What happens in actual play is that sometimes you get more in damage than you lose in accuracy and if that is the case you can still come out on top. But given identical DPR, accuracy > raw damage, no matter how extreme the difference.
The real practical question is at what point the HD disadvantages are less relevant than DPR increase. If anyone has a workable analysis on offer, I'd be keen on reading it.