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Mother of Beasts

KutuluKultist's page

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The definite article refers to a singular object.

"the house" does not refer to all houses.
"the listed ability" does not refer to all listed abilities.

Though at times, we may be bewitched by the illusions of our language, this is not one of those.


a) "Living" is not a rules term. It has no crunch meaning.
b) A homunculus has a bite attack with poison, fly speed and so on.
c) Since it's not acquired via the improved familiar feat and there is no other reason to assume it doesn't, it gets the speak with animals of its kind ability, though it technically does nothing. I suppose it could be argued that it can talk to other constructs (violation of "animals") or to animals of the type that the homunculus has the shape of (violation of "type") though.


Crunch: It's a homunculus
Fluff: in the shape of an animal or vermin


The swarms summoned by Creeping Doom have neither strength nor constitution, hence cannot benefit from Augment Summoning as far as I can see.


Claxon wrote:
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.


Slayer, Greatsword.

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?


Second the Wand Wielder Arcanum & Magus in general.
Also, check out the River Whip spell. It's entirely compatible with Precise Strike and Slashing Grace. Vive la touch attack!


Standard Figment Familiars can get a tentacle with an evolution point or 2 arms with hands for 2 and as mentioned gains speech as a familiar anyway, so wand monkeying is certainly possible. Also remember the skilled evolution. +8 goes a long way towards guaranteeing success.


Carnivalist & Eldritch Guardian combine nicely.
Share Sneak & Combat Feats (in particular Teamwork Feats).

Outflank, Precise Strike. Paired Opportunists. Combat Reflexes
Evolved Familiar to get reach...

hm...
Human:
1 Fig1 Outflank, Combat Reflexes
2 Fig2
3 Rog1 Precise Strike
4 Rog2
5 Rog3 Improved Familiar
6 Rog4
7 Fig3 Evolved Familiar
8 Bra1
9 Fig4 Paired Opportunist, Power Attack

I recommend a Pseudodragon for reach and until then a hawk with the mauler archetype.


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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.


Bonus Hit Points.

That is break the silly rule that NPCS need to follow the same rules as PCs.


I suppose a common cat could be a decent mauler.
After a quick check, both Raccoon and Wallaby get a Battle From base strength of 14, while among flying familiars the Hawk seems to come out on top with two attacks and a Battle Form base strength of 10.


In general, it seems that the familiar archetypes are incompatible with improved familiars and thus rather useless. That's the case even for older archetypes such as valet familiars, which thus become kind of useless.


Instead of Wild Child Brawler, consider Snake Striker for almost always on sneak attack. 2 levels of Lore Warden can cover most of your feat needs.


N. Jolly wrote:


Derek the Ferret wrote:
Longarm Bracers are really good for Hyde (gives him more reach) for only 7,200 gp. And if you use it for your claws you don't take a penalty.
I really want to like these more, but I'd like to find out if these apply to all natural weapons (which seems to go against the name and flavor of the weapon) or just the claws. If it's just claws, these don't help enough since all the...

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.


'tis good to have comrades.


Turns out I was wrong about Seize The Moment, indeed.

Eldritch Guardian is a from Familiar Folio. at 2nd level it shares all combat feats with a familiar within 30 ft.


As an addendum: a valet familiar (via Eldritch Heritage) or two levels of Fighter with the Eldritch Guardian archetpye will grant you yet another "character" which shares your teamwork feats.


Kifaru wrote:
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
2nd Outflank
3rd Pack Flanking, Precise Strike
5th Power Attack
6th Shake It Off
7th Spirit's Gift
9th Paired Opportunist, Combat Reflexes
11th Improved Critical
12th Seize The Moment

For the AC:
1st Iron Will
2nd Weapon Focus: Claws
5th Weapon Focus: Bite
8th Power Attack
10th Combat Reflexes

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.
By level 9 you get mildly useful stuff, but you need it to make full use of Seize The Moment at 12th.


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 attacks at +9 doing 1d4+6 damage. Not a lot, but certainly a contribution.


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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.


RumpinRufus wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:
I'm totally good with DPSA (damage per standard action) and DPR in the same line.
This is an even better idea than what I was thinking. I was thinking just the sum (DPSA+DPR), but just showing both numbers is the best of both worlds.

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.


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BigDTBone wrote:
"RumpinRufus" "1 standard attack + 1 full attack" instead of just one full attack (except in the case of archers.) [/QUOTE wrote:

It doesn't so that because you break the simplicity of the tool. You can see that even with your simple change you already need a qualifying statement. What about thrown weapon specialist? Should they get two full rounds? Will their numbers look artifically high compared to a melee combatant when in actuality they will pale in comparison? What about vital strike builds? Do they get to chose regular or vital attack? Are you actually giving a full round and a standard action? Or in the case of the archers 2 full round actions? Could I instead use that standard action to cast a self buff that wouldn't be allowed in regular DPR? What about stealth characters? Shouldn't the sneaky guy get 2 full rounds also because he can sneak up on the other guy before combat?

One might include both Damage Per Attack and Damage Per Round if one is interested in the difference. DPA would represent the effect of Vital Strike et al better than DPR. Any measure is valid if it gives you deeper information about the character (and thus the game).


BigDTBone wrote:


The only value DPR places on accuracy is as its function of likeliness to hit on a given attack. You know THE EXACT SAME VALUE IT HAS WHEN YOU ROLL A D20 AT THE TABLE.

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.
Probability theory works differently for different questions and for (perfectly interesting) questions like "how probable is it that I never hit at all during a combat" DPR will tell you nothing. Yet, if it seems to me that that counts towards the value of accuracy at the table, if anything does.


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Yes.
Maybe this is a way to put it that everyone will understand:

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.
Instead think of a plot as a number of "story locations" that the players can visit by their own choice, with two important caveats: Some locations can be accessed only via other locations that have to be visited first and at some locations stuff happens even if the players are not there.
In addition you can have "must visit" locations.

Having planned scenes vs. improvised scenes:
Planned scenes can be presented much more dramatically, using chosen music, pre-written text, even images, while improvised scenes will have to be presented in a more haphazard & improvised fashion.

I prefer a set-up like this:
a) Very few planned scenes that are mostly independent of player actions to set a frame.
b) lot's of possible scenes to be improvised before a set and planned background.
c) some optional planned scenes that occur or not depending on player actions.
All of which is structured in a network of interconnected layers, such that there are usually several paths (via hints, conversations, combat, exploration,...) to access the "deeper locations".


tl;dr

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) What is the chance that I waste my turn entirely?
2) What is the relationship between the pacing of my damage delivery and the life time of enemies.
3) How much overkill is included in my raw damage?

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.


The example is chosen for clarity. The relationship holds to a correspondingly lesser degree in less extreme cases. A lesser difference is a difference still.

Also it was chosen to be abstract to clarify a particular relationship between abstract concepts.

Thirdly, the issue at hand (DPR calculations) is in general highly abstract and not representative of the diversity of actual play, I hence I do not consider that point all too relevant.

On the other hand, my abstract conclusion does point, imo, towards an explanation why, in actual play, accuracy is generally valued so highly. That is to say, the presented abstract relation describes an aspect of the structure of actual play, because it describes facts about the rules governing actual play. So "ceteris paribus" is the important factor here. Though other aspects are certainly also efficacious, that does not disprove my results nor show them to be irrelevant.


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Since there is a current discussion going on about Power Attack being a trap, I would like to offer some considerations on the common practice of DPR calculations and how the miss out on some important aspects. I shall assume that the reader is familiar with the common DPR formula and will discuss it in depth.

tl;dr
Ceteris paribus, high accuracy is better than high damage, because a) lower chance of doing nothing, b) faster kill rate and c) the advantage of smaller slices.

General assumptions
DPR is generally calculated by multiplying to hit chance with average damage per hit, with some extra apparatus for crits etc.
By thus taking the average over an infinite number of hits, one important aspect gets left out: The relationship between frequency of hits and duration of combat. For simplicities sake, I will ignore iterative attacks. Figuring them in is left for the critics.

Let's compared two extreme cases with similar DPR but different dsitribution of raw damage and accuracy.
a) High Accuracy: Hits 90% of the time, does 10 points of damage on one hit.
b) High Damage: Hits 30% of the time, does 30 points of damage per hit.

1) The chance of doing nothing
Now, if we consider the probability of hitting at least once during one combat vs. the probability of always missing, we have a comulative Bernouli sequence with n = number of rounds and p = 0,3 or 0,9. We are interested in the probability of getting no hits, thus not contributing anything during an entire combat.

With some rounding, we can read the data from one of many readily available tables

The HD case: P(n,p=0.3,x=0)
n ::: P
1 ::: .7
2 ::: .49
3 ::: .34
4 ::: .24
5 ::: .17
6 ::: .12

The HA case: P(n,p=0.9,x=0)
1 ::: 0,1
2 ::: 0,01
3 ::: 0,001
...

As we can see, the difference shrinks, the longer the combat lasts, but is rather impressive for short fights. If over all combats are shorter rather than longer the case gets worse for HD. This is a jarring observation if you consider that shorter combats are generally considered desirable.

2: Accuracy kills faster
Next consider an enemy of 30 hit points, a one hit kill for HD, a three hit kill for HA. What are the probabilities for such an enemy to last into round 4 vs HA and HD respectively?

For HD the case is simple. It is identical to the "all misses" case above: 0.34, so roughly a third.

For HA, instead of just wanting to know the probability of not hitting at all, we need the inverse probability of hitting three times out of three. This is simply 1-0.9*0.9*0.9=1-0.73=0.27, roughly a fourth.

3: The Advantage of Smaller Slices
If the enemy has a less fitting amount of hit points, HA is better off still, since for any enemy of 30-40 HP, both HA and HD need one more hit, which is much easier to do for HA. As with combat duration, the difference generally shrinks as hit points grow, yet the Smaller Slices advantage still favours HA over HD every time an enemy has just a bit more hit points that HD can to in x hits and less than HA can do in 3x+2 hits.

I conclude: All else being equal, it is always preferable to have higher accuracy over higher damage. Furthermore, the experience of missing a lot makes playing HD over HA less enjoyable for many players, in particular because combat tends to be short and no one likes never hitting.
Addendum: The advantage of smaller slices also speaks in favozr of many attacks vs. powerful attacks e.g. TWF vs. THW.

Caveat: This does not consider further factors, in particular damage reduction which affects HA much more strongly than HD or miss chance, which affects HD worse than HA.


You need either infuse mutagen or feral mutagen discovery, not infusion, and neither is available to an investigator.


Your INT is too low for combat expertise. Dip into Brawler toget Brawler's Cunning (if you take Mutated Mauler, the mutagen duration should stack).
Why do you take Combat Reflexes twice (1st and 4th)?
Otherwise


I believe that what phased out heavy armour was not firearms technology per se, but the changing tactics that resulted from their adoption, in particular drill and pikeman/gunman formations employed by professional armies. The heavy cavalry of the late middle ages is good for powerful charges, but drilled musketeer/pikemen clusters are very well capable of defending against those. This essentially made heavy cavalry tactically useless, once drilled professional armies began to dominate the battlefields. Since mobility and speed are still useful against such armies, the new cavalry significantly reduces its armour load and adapts its weaponry. Note that they still use plate cuirasses long after the heavy full plate amour has become historical. It is only in the 19th century when more or less modern fire arms (breech loading rifles) become common, that those are also starting to disappear.

What furthermore supports this notion is the fact that heavy plate armour develops around the same time that fire arms spread throughout Europe. Almost, as if heavier armour was some kind of response to their appearance, though that's probably not the whole story.

Tl;dr: Not weapons technology per se, but the demands of changing tactics killed the heavy plate armour.


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Golarion is not the historical past of earth.

Golarion is not the historical past of earth.

Golarion is not the...

and fantasy RPGs own much more to Hollywood and pulp than to history books.


It seems not too far fetched to assume that "attacking with a weapon in his other hand" implies an off-hand attack and one only every has an off-hand when one is using two weapon fighting.


"... a thief, a reaver, a slayer, ..."


2 Levels of Cavalier of the Order of the Cockatrice, aka Cockalier gives Dazzling Display as a bonus feat sans prereqs, the ability to use it as a standard action and, most importantly a +2 bonus to hit demoralized targets, which combined with the AC penalty from shaken almost guarantees the second hit.


See also:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthyphro_dilemma

Given that the moral structure of the outer planes outlasts individual deities, I strongly suggest that deities are subject to an independent moral reality the rules of which bind them as strongly as anyone.


The toughest part is the caster level, but as a wizard, you can stomach that and still be very strong. Yeah, it's a sidegrade but a good one, adding relevant options.


I wonder, can you deliver a touch spell at the same time as you touch inject a poison? Like pernicious poison e.g.?


MoMS2, Brawler (Snakebite Striker) 2 is a great base. You could even go dex, take one of the styles that let your unarmed attacks count as slashing, take slashing grace and from then on go Swashbuckler (or another class that grants precise strike).
Or stick with Brawler until CL8, to get improved unarmed strike flurrying. Alternatively, ignore brawler and go with Sacred Fist / MoMS 2.


The Slayer's choice of talents is pretty weak. In particular since the combat style talents do not continue past the 3rd instance. Once the useful rogue talents (Weapon Training, Combat Trick) have been exhausted, there's not really much to get.


I don't think that the slayer can take the minor/major magic tricks.

Here is the list:

Quote:
bleeding attack*, camouflage, combat trick, fast stealth, finesse rogue, firearm training, grit, hard to fool, lasting poison, powerful sneak, rogue crawl, slow reactions*, snap shot, sniper's eye, surprise attack, swift poison, terrain mastery, trap spotter, unwitting ally, or weapon training.

The misunderstanding stems from the this line, I believe:

Quote:
If the rogue talent has a prerequisite (such as the major magic rogue talent requiring the minor magic talent), the slayer must fulfill the prerequisite before taking that rogue talent.


There is no limitation build into the Quick Study Talent. Sure, you cannot use it at 3rd level, but there you can take it and have it once Studied Combat comes online.

Quote:


Quick Study (Ex): An investigator can use his studied combat ability as swift action instead of a standard action.


Consider putting power attack back to 5th level and getting quick study at 3rd instead.
I for one would rather never have to spend a move action to activate Studied Combat.


Getting sneak to ranged attacks is very hard to do and basically impossible to do reliably.


Fun to think about?

The animal companion & familiar combination can easily be realized without playing a summoner, though.

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