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Mother of Beasts

KutuluKultist's page

209 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Obtain Familiar feat? Would be about time.

Fiendish Sorcery already affects Pit-touched. Wildblooded does not replace the bloodline feature, it's an archetype, not a different bloodline. That is the main reason it does not work with Eldritch Heritage.
So a pit-touched sorcerer still has the infernal bloodline, just a few abilities have been changed by the archetype.

Here's how I would stat the martial shape shifter:

  • 3/4 BAB, good fort, d8 HD, 6 skill points, ranger-like skill list, plus more knowledge skills

  • Shape shifting:
    As spells at level:
    beast shape 1(2,3,4) at 1(4,8,12)
    monstrous physique 1(2,3,4) at 3(9,13,16)
    plant shape 1(2,3) at 5(10,15]
    form of the dragon 1(2,3) at 11(14,18)
  • Usable 3/d at first and an additional time per day at every level.
    Duration is 10 minutes per level.
  • At first level and again at 5th, 9th, 13th, 18th gains a +2 bonus on saves vs. transformation spells and SLA and a +1 bonus on saves vs. poison and disease.
  • At level 2, a pool powered ability to
    a) add enhancement bonuses to one natural attack for 1 minute per level,
    b) make it count as this or that for DR purposes as long as 1 point remains in the pool
    c) power a number of shape shifter gifts
  • at level 2 and every two levels after that gains a shape shifter gift, this is stuff like gaining some extra ability that the target form wouldn't have, getting access to some specific abilities usually not available via shape shifting, prolonging the enhancement bonus duration, prolonging shape shifting duration, gaining fortification and so on.
  • at 7th, 13th and 19th level, gains DR 1/-
  • Capstone: Shape shifting ability becomes shape change spell, usable at will. becomes immune to precision damage and criticals, DR 10/-

After level 12, switch to Sentinel.

Since the bloodrager is not a sorcerer, the bloodline is irrelevant for prereqs and it covers the spontaneous casting prereq. So qualifying is not an issue.
What is an issue is whether or not the bloodrager draconic bloodline counts as draconic bloodline for the dragon disciple class abilities.
But these are all options:
Bloodrager 4/Sorcerer 1, giving you sorcerer casting to improve with DD as well as some bloodline powers, bloodrager bloodline must mot be draconic but can be arcane or aberrant e.g.
Bloodrager 5, worse casting but more BAB/HP and since you'll never have high level casting, you can probably get by with a 13 CHA.
Even Bloodrager 1/Sorcerer 4, but if you do that there are probably better options than bloodrager.

I'm a fan of Fighter 1/Sorcerer 1/Eldrich Knight 3 as a set up. Doable with a standard Aasimar.

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Captain K. wrote:

- A Mage/Rogue.

Archetypes cover the subsets of this.

Arcane Trickster
Illusionist/Shadow Rogue.

All of these options (as well as the bard) come with a particular specialisation and their own problems.

The Arcane Trickster is basically a touch spell sniper, which suffers from it's low BAB. I don't know what a Beguiler or a Spellthief is (if not the 3.5 classes) and an Illusionist is just a wizard. Yes, I can force a mage/rogue hybrid using traits to accquire class skills, trap finding, focussing on INT and so on, but having a class that focusses on that, with options to specialise on manipulation, traps, sneak combat would enrich the game.


-SteelDraco and KutuluKultist want a martial Bard/Cavalier leader type, but there already is one. It's the Battle Herald and it is very good. It's a bit complicated though and only uses one weapon (Longspear). I'm not sure about this, I think between Cavalier, Bard, and a Paladin with good Diplomacy, this concept can already be done.

Not strictly. You certainly lose BAB and gain spell casting one way or another. You will also have to deal with the dead weight of the original classes, such as the animal companion. It would be better to have an option that does not come with all that baggage.


- A non-caster shapeshifter.
Archetypes include the big bruiser Bear/Barbarian, the sneaky Assassin/Snake, the scouty Ranger/Eagle etc. can be flavoured as Manimal, Lycanthropes, fey mysteries, Native American spirit animals, plenty of possibilities.

Is that an endorsement? ;)


- I absolutely never want to see a class builder in Pathfinder.

Total agreement.

  • A Warlock-type class, with unlimited evocations and eldritch blasting.
  • A divine-arcane hybrid caster.
  • A rogue-arcane hybrid. 6 level arcane casting, some sneak, some acrobatics, talents and 3/4 BAB.
  • Similarly a rogue-divine hybrid.
  • A non spell casting shapeshifter class.
  • A martial buff/teamwork class.

To be honest, many of the ACG classes just seem redundant to me.

  • The Warpriest, given the possibility of martial Clerics and Inquisitors.
  • The Arcanist. No one needs another, yet more powerful arcane caster.
  • The Brawler. Monks and the brawler Fighter archetype make this redundant concept wise. The fact that it was included seems to hint at the Monk and Fighter classes having been badly designed to begin with.
  • The Swashbuckler. Similarly, that the Fighter chasis was not able to accomodate this kind of fighter is telling. Not redundant, but should have been.
  • Hunter. Oh Joy, it's a druid by another name...
  • Skald. From the playtest document, this just seems horribly thrown together. It's just a bard with a variant performance and the utlimate "I solve this problem with the perfect spell" ability. Both of which seems to speak against it.

I really do like the Investigator, it does fill a niche. The Bloodrager seems a bit overpowered by the playtest document, but a nice idea. The Slayer is a long awaited full BAB - sneak attack class. The Shaman is cool, but I don't see what the hexes add to it. But then again, I really find the great power disparity between hexes (smell children vs. slumber e.g.) kind of annoying anyway.

The problem resides not so much with the casters as with the spells.

Jamie Charlan wrote:

See all my experiences with AD&D player reactions to psionics were of the "cover and cover" variety: No one had actually read the book past the cover, but they knew, they KNEW, without a doubt in their minds that this was the most overpowered, broken stuff in the history of gaming, because if you no longer need to memorize your spells, well you're just plain a god.

Having played AD&D 2nd Edt. psionicist I have to say that there were some really powerful powers and a lot of very weak to basically just fluff powers. The really broken stuff came in the Dark Sun supplement The Will & The Way, which apart from some such excesses was a really cool book.

The real kicker, though, was that it could be combined with a melee class much better than e.g. a wizard and as we all know ;), dual classing was where the soup had its pepper. Or some such saying.
You had access to "casting" in armor and a lot of the buffs where that much better when added to a fighter's frame. By themselves, psionicists were rather tame and couldn't do much that a wizard of similar level couldn't do better.

General caveat: It's been a long time and this is drawn from memory.

Haladir wrote:

Here is why I don't allow summoners at my table...

1) Spell list is really off. Keystone spells are listed at levels that break many assumptions of the game. Before I'd allow summoners, I'd have to re-write their spell list.

That is easy to fix, reset the spells to their original levels.


2) Players of summoners effectively have two characters at the table, and will hog almost twice the spotlight of the other players. That's just not fair to the other players.

This goes for anyone with an animal companion or a familiar.


3) I don't like the "build your own monster" part of the eidolon mechanic. At all. I believe that monster design should be the exclusive purview of the GM. While I like the concept of "a spellcaster that always summons the same extraplanar helper," I would have much preferred that it worked more like a druid's animal companion: A list of outsider types that increase in power in standard ways.

Nothing to be done. It's the central mechanic of the class.


4) The whole "build your own" concept of summoners is too abuseable by players who know either too much or too little. The last thing I want to do as a GM is to constantly double-check my players' math. Because no matter what happens when you check your player's math, someone gets insulted.

This goes for almost anything in Pathfinder. If you know what feats or spells are powerful, which animal companions or familiars are strong, you can pick those. If the summoner's eidolon mechanic is to be singled out, it must be because of some specific option it gets. And the one culprit I can think of is the high number of attacks combined with pounce. Even the strongest animal companion does not go beyond 3 attacks with pounce. If it's really that, there is a simple solution: Never allow more than 3 attacks. If you do this, though, better allow players to buy back the default evolutions of their eidolons, so they can have some options regarding what attacks to use.

Bottom line: the summoner causes far more problems at the table than just about any other class. It's far easier to just say "no summoners" than to try to fix the class.

In addition to those two rulings, I would probably kick the summon monster ability for a slow scaling bonus to hit and damage when near the eidolon, +1/+1 at 5th, 11th and 18th maybe. Something to entice summoner meele and not too powerful for a 3/4 BAB class.

The Veiled Illusionist prestige class is easy to get into and offers a lot of useful stuff without costing a caster level.

It depends whether or not this falls under "other limitation",

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Slavery as such might well be neutral on the good-evil axis of Golarionian moral metaphysics, being instead associated with law on the law-chaos axis.

And let us look at Sarenraes portfolio. She is a goddess of healing, honesty, redemption and the sun. Nowhere does it say "freedom" or "liberty". Healing, whether of the body or the soul, while itself a good act, ceteris paribus, does not suggest an anti-slavery stance. At most one of caring, but healing is not kindness, though it may be a kindness. Honesty is merely the practice and commitment not to lie. At most it might imply a forthright openness that might well be considered inconsiderate and unkind. Redemption is an odd concept that requires further context to make sense of. Just be the meaning of the term, in a world of concrete and equal moral powers, one might well be redeemed of good deeds, back into the fold of evil. At best, redemption resonates with healing and represents a reintegration into community, a healing of the social bonds or a healing of the soul, if one is willing to accept that evil represents a wound of the soul, which the aforementioned Golarionian moral metaphysics make unlikely. Finally the sun, while often a beneficent force, is also a harsh fire that burns crops in droughts and men in the desert.

It might well be that, while Sarenrae is possessed of a kind nature, her portfolio is not one of kindness. And what ultimately connects to Golarion qua her being a goddess is her portfolio. For Golarionians, she is first and foremost a sungoddess, a goddess of healing, honesty and redemption.

2 main problems:
1) You cannot get Dex to hit for a spear.
2) Dodge bonuses to AC are hard to come by and the most likely sources all require you to use a one-handed weapon.

Bit of middle book syndrome, maybe?

I'm aware that pure druid would be more powerful, due to spell casting if nothing else, but I purposefully don't want full casting. Neither do I want an animal companion, but I do want full wildshape.

Regarding Feats: I will need Power Attack, Natural Spell and Shaping Focus. Power Attack can wait a bit, but the available slots, not counting bonus slots, are 3rd and then 9th, if I don't take it at first. In my experience, it is not something I will use before level 5 or 6, but 9 seems rather late.

Extra Rage at least once also seems mandatory if going Barbarian.


1st: Extra Rage
3rd: Power Attack
5th: Shaping Focus
7th: Natural Spell
9th: Shapeshifting Hunter
11th: ? Extra Rage ?
13th: Powerful Shape

Classes: Barb 1, Druid 1-4, Barb 2, Ran 1-2, Dru 5-x


I'm looking to build a wildshape focused, mainly martial character. The obvious way to go is Druid & the Shaping Focus feat, taking up to 4 levels of non-druid, probably full bab classes to lose some spell casting and gain some martiality ;).

The level 5 feat will be Shaping Focus, level 7 almost unavoidably natural spell and around 13th I'd want powerful shape.

The obvious question is, which classes and when to take them?

1-2 levels of Barbarian seem like a good choice. Taking Barbarian as my first level will also give me a strong melee character right when that kind of character is king.

3 levels of the Savage Barbarian archetype will give +1 to all saves and +1 dodge bonus to AC while not wearing armor, e.g. while wildshaped.

4 levels of barbarian brings a second rage power and makes some rage powers a little better. Not very attractive, given that rage powers tend to rely a lot of class level.

2 levels of lore warden fighter give 3 bonus feats, and minimizes skill point loss

3 levels of Lore Warden Fighter gives +2 to combat maneuvers and combat maneuvers are nice for wildshapers.

1 level of unarmed fighter gives Improved Unarmed Strike and a style feat (Dragon Style, most likely). This opens up Dragon Ferocity, but to use this I'd need Weapon Focus and Feral Combat Training and even it works for only one type of natural attack. That's 5 feats on a feat starved build. Not a good option.

1 level of Ranger opens up the Shapeshifting Hunter Feat, which is nice and all, but only fully effective with 4 levels of ranger in the build and that seems excessive. Favored enemy is also highly campaign dependent and I don't like the guesswork

2 levels of Ranger gives a combat style feat, most likely power attack or rending claws.

1-2 levels of Monk, apart from being great for my saves, would give me 1-2 bonus feats, including improved grapple, which I'd like anyway. Make it Tetori Monk and I also get +1 CMB to grapple, though Stunning Pin is not a feat I want, so I'd be only one level of monk then. Also costs me a point of BAB, which is not that bad once Wildshape is my standard combat strategy. Will finally give me WIS to AC when unarmored.

What else is there? What am I missing? Do you agree or disagree with my assessments?

I recommend detaching the crunch from the fluff. Make everyone pick a fluff campaign trait (or work with them to make up their own hooks) and let them pick any traits they want, including the "defluffed" rules parts of the campaign traits.

1) Absalom.
2) Dwarves & Orcs
3) Aboleth, Aboleth, Aboleth

The original question is solved by reference to generally agreed upon norms of reading. Those can be challenged, departed from or disagreed with. However, the fact that they are generally agreed upon is hard to deny. Similarly, that the rules text should be read as generally agreed upon, wherever such a general norm is present, is already implied by it being a norm.

Hence to deny the general principle is to reject a generally agreed upon norm, which simply put is to reject participation in the game for which the rule in question is a rule.

As for my personal addendum, that is concerned with an entirely different issue, namely the explicitly mentioned "unwillingness to consider multiclassing" and the identical names for different abilities.

Your original question is answered in its entirety by reference to the norm of reading class description that I have explicated. This should also answer dragonhunterq's worries.

I am sorry for digressing. Both issues are different and the reason I brought it up is that one might misconstrue the OP's issue with this issue, which I think really is an issue - as opposed to the OP's insisting on not accepting a basic norm of reading rules text.

It's probably been mention already, but perception checks, senses and other ways to counter scouting do tend to go up with CR, making a 1st level scout of any class almost certainly obvious to a 10th level challenge and hence rendering the whole occupation rather suicidal.

What everyone is trying to say, is this:
If a class description contains a paragraph that begins with "at x. level" or a synonymous expression, everything that is part of that paragraph counts as being prefixed by the "at x. level" expression or its equivalent. If such an expression appears in the middle of a paragraph, only the rest of the current sentence is prefixed by it.

Level of course is CLASS LEVEL.

Hence, once a character of any character level acquires the 6th level of Sohei Monk, she can use flurry of blows with any weapon she is has weapon training in. Assuming that different abilities with the same name, count as the same ability as long as their are sufficiently similar as to allow a functional interpretation, if she is a Weapon Master 3/Sohei 6, she could chose a weapon for her Weapon Master weapon training that is not part of the weapon group chosen for the Sohei weapon training and then could flurry with all of those weapons.

Personal addendum:

If anything is at fault here it is the designers' general unwillingness to consider multiclassing and the tendency to use the same name for different abilities.

Both problems can be solved philosophically if one just assumes that what class gives a certain ability is part of its identity conditions. Hence, Sohei weapon training is a numerically different ability from Fighter weapon training and any mention of an ability in a class description refers only to that classes version of the ability. This still allows the Sohei's weapon training to count for weapon training simpliciter for the effects of feats or items

Since there is a version of this here earth, with russians, more particularly a russian orthodox christiahn monk called Rasputin, exist in the golarion universe, I would suppose that there are russian orthodox christians, hence christians in the golarion universe. Yet, the whole, gratuitously elaborate system of morality, outer spheres, gods and demons seems very much incompatible with any kind of monotheism. Also note, that Rasputin is an Oracle with the Occult Mystery, not a Cleric.

If there is a deity corresponding to the "god almighty" of the russian orthodox golario-russians, it is a deity in the sense that i.e. Aroden was, not the way real world (maybe golarion earth) theology supposed. Maybe that deity sealed the world off against other gods' influence and that is the reason why he grants no magic on golarion earth, there's no one else there to claim any souls.

You can also just ignore all this and have that Paladin worship jesus if the player feels very uncomfortable with "pagan gods". How to square this with the Golarion material as presented can be your sisyphos labor, if such you'd like to shoulder.

Zwordsman wrote:

why grab arcane strike anyway? For a cross bow or something?

doesn't that archetype for the witch, which gives you deadly dealer + some other stuff, have the scaling damage from arcane strike already worked in? So there's no need to get arcane strike unless you plan to use it with other weapons as well. ?

The Witch archetype does, the Magus one doesn't. But the Witch's cards deal no damage if used to deliver touch spells, though resolving as touch attacks. If you're after damage, Magus is better, if you really just want to reach your touch spells, Witch is.

Cyrad wrote:

This means that many of the ki pool buffs to Dragon Shout are redundant:
1) At 4th level, dragon shout already bypasses DR/magic because it comes from a supernatural ability.

A good point, thanks for pointing it out.


2) At 10th level, the shout deals sonic damage, but how does this actually work? Damage cannot be both physical and energy, so which one is it?. Attacks that deal both physical and energy damage (like fuse grenades) do half physical damage and half energy damage.

It's supposed to be either-or. As noted above, I think it's best to add this to the ki pool energy damage effect.


3) At 14th, the shout bypasses DR/adamantine. However, if the shout now deals sonic damage, this is completely worthless because energy damage bypasses DR. Unless you somehow encountered a monster that has DR/adamantine with immunity to sonic damage.

The point that mattered to me was the interaction with object hardness. But your points are taken. Thanks.

pluvia33 wrote:

-What kind of action is Dragon Shout? I would assume standard action, but it doesn't seem to specify.

I was assuming that a supernatural ability requires a standard action unless stated otherwise, but I'll make it explicit.


-Dragon Shout doesn't have as much progression as flurry of blows. The main thing that flurry of blows has going for it is more and more attacks as you level. There isn't really anything equivalent to that here. I think a good way to increase the power of the Dragon Shout would be to increase the size of its cone. At 8th level (when a normal monk's flurry is treated as Improved Two-Weapon Fighting), increase the cone to 30 ft. At 15th level (when a normal monk's flurry is treated as Greater Two-Weapon Fighting), increase the cone to 50 or 60 ft.

I have been considering this, but decided against it for three reasons, one is that I wanted to have a sense of this being a close ranged type of character. Secondly, it gets more difficult to use an ability with such a large AoE repeatedly. Finally, with all the debuffs, it seemed to get to strong.


-Sonic damage seems really out of place under the "at least 1 point of ki" improvements. Other than this, the Dragon Shout seems to be some kind of supernatural-yet-physical force, like everyone in its range is being punched by ki fists or something. I'd think it would be much more fitting to have it as part of the energy damage section of spending a ki point. "...instead of bludgeoning. At 10th level, he may also choose sonic damage."

That is a very good point. I don't want "overflavor" it too much. It can be a kind of breath weapon, a ki-energy field or just shouting really loud.


-I find it a little strange that you can only demoralize one target damaged by the dragon shout, but you can trip or bull rush all targets. The trip or bull rush to all targets is the only thing that makes me a little hesitant to suggest the increased cone size of the Dragon Shout.

The intention was to have "any" mean "all" and not "one". I'll make it more explicit. Only the stunning fist application is supposed to be limited to one selected target.


I think that's all I have right now. It has some rough edges, but I think it's an interesting idea.

Thanks for the input!

Dragon Shout Monk Archetype

Dragon Shout (Su)
A dragon shout monk can strike with the power of his voice. This does bludgeoning damage equal to base unarmed strike damage of a monk of his level plus his wisdom modifier in a 15 ft. cone. A fortitude (DC 10+ 1/2 level + Wisdom) save halves the damage. A dragon shout monk with the stunning fist feat can expend one stunning fist attempt to apply the effect of his stunning fist on any one target that failed their save. A dragon shout monk with the elemental fist feat can expend one use of elemental fist to add his elemental fist damage to his dragon shout, this damage is also halved on a successful save. You must chose whether to use either or both of these abilities before any saves are rolled.
At 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter a dragon shout monk can select an additional target when using stunning fist with dragon shout.
This ability replaces flurry of blows.


Example: Fah, the dragon shout monk uses dragon shout against 3 goblins. He has both the stunning fist feat and the elemental fist feat. He decided to use both feats and expends one use each. He selects goblin 1 as the target of his stunning fist. He does not need to select targets for elemental fist. Goblin one make his save and suffers half damage and is not affected by either stunning fist or elemental fist. Goblins 2 and 3 both fail their saves. They suffer full damage and an addition 1d6 elemental damage from elemental fist.

Unarmed Strike
The unarmed damage of a dragon shout monk does not increase after level 4. This ability modifies the unarmed strike ability.

Ki Pool
At 4th level, a dragon shout monk gains a pool of ki points, supernatural energy he can use to accomplish amazing feats. The number of points in a monk's ki pool is equal to 1/2 his monk level + his Wisdom modifier.

As longs as he has at least 1 point in his ki-pool,

  • At 4th level, his dragon shout counts as slashing, priercing, bludgeoning and magic for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction.
  • At 7th level, his dragon shout counts as cold iron and silver for the purposes of overcomeing damage reduction
  • At 10th level, his dragon shout counts as sonic damage.
  • At 14th level, his dragon shout counts as adamantine.

By spending one point from his ki-pool as a swift action, a dragon shout monk can do one of the following:

  • make his dragon shout do fire, acid, electricity or cold damage instead of bludgeoning.
  • make a free demoralize attempt using intimidate against any target damaged by his dragon shout.
  • make a trip or bull rush attempt against all targets damaged by his dragon shout, using his wisdom instead of his strength to determine his CMB. This requires the improved trip feat (to make a trip attempt) or the improved bull rush feat (to make a bull rush attempt).

This ability replaces Ki Pool and Purity of Body.

Commentary: The reference to Skyrim should be obvious. The idea is to apply debuffs rather than do a lot of damage. I'm a bit worried that there are not enough ways to increase the damage, though. 1d10+Wis+2d6 with a save for half is very low at level 10.

Elven Paladin (Oath of Vengeance)

Str 17
Dex 13 (or Con 13 instead, it really only matters at level 12)
Con 12
Int 10
Wis 7
Cha 15

1 Fey Foundling
3 Weapon Focus (Elven Court Blade)
5 Power Attack
7 Extra Lay-On Hands or Furious Focus
9 Furious Focus or Extra Lay-One Hands (whichever you didn't take at 7)
11 Critical Focus

Why no Improved Critical? For one thing, there are many ways to make your weapon keen, for another, furious focus will mean +2 or +3 to hit, making your weapon keen only costs you a +1 enhancement bonus. You do lose out on a +1 to hit on your iteratives, but those are circumstantial. Finally, you will probably use divine bond to bond with your weapon, fruther mitigating the issue.

Extra Lay-on Hands means a lot more staying power and it synergizes well with Fey Foundling.

As has been mentioned before, you will get more out of Weapon Focus than out of Power Attack early on. You are behind in to-hit compared to BSFs with an optimized race and using Power Attack will make it worse. But if you really feel that you want Power Attack early, just switch it around.

Pick Hit Points for your favoured class bonus, despite Lay-On Hands, with only a 12 Con, you will be on the fragile side. Put your level up points either into Str, Cha, Dex (or Con).

14 Str is not enough if you primarily want to melee and switch hitting is primarily melee.

A good dip, though not limited to the core rule book, is 2 levels of cavalier. The order of the cockatrice offers not only the ability to use dazzling display as a standard action, but also provides a +2 bonus to hit demoralized targets, which greatly helps with the reduced BAB. Furthermore, you get dazzling display as a bonus feat and, via the gendarme archetype can get power attack as a bonus feat by trading in your mount. All in all, this gets you everything two levels of fighter get you, plus more.
This also combines well with the thug archetype for intimidating goodness.

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I found Serpent Skull to be very bad. The first adventure is quite good and offers an intersting hook to get the PCs into the rest of the thing, but everything after that seemed thrown together with many things that could have been cool like discovering the history and secrets of a lost city (which you get to do twice) turning into repetitive, uninspired combat encounters against non-threats (in both cases). What bugged me most was that for an AP seemingly invested in discovery, the main turning point comes in the shape of an all knowing NPC who has everything figured out and tells the PCs whats going on and what to do with it. Instead of all the cleaning of ruined cities block by block, the AP should have given us the real adventure instead of sending Eador Kline (?) on it.

Second Darkness was cool, but suffers from first adventure dissociation syndrom. Everything you get involved in and attached to in the first adventure plays no part in the rest of the AP (and there is no way to bring it back it either). All in all, I liked it much better than Serpent Skull as it manages to have a lot more variation, tell an interesting story with cool twists and actual have the PCs involved in the actual adventure ;).

Wrath of the Righteous seems quite good so far. Starting to GM the second book this sunday. Let's see how the mythic stuff works.

One more thing: Both the Griffon and the Worg have more than 3 Int. This saves you from having to invest the first ability increase on Int if you want that.

And a question: I read the Worg's Mastery ability as causing shaken, but making targets already shaken frightened. There might be potential with e.g. a Cockatrice Cavalier here.

Despite the name it's much better for a non-mounted character's animal companion. The griffon is pretty strong, better than the most powerful standard animal companion, certainly better than the next best flying one (the roc). Think of it as a way to get access to a beefed up big cat for people with limited access otherwise.

But even if you want to go mounted, it's not a loss to trade a feat for a better companion. The second feat is probably only worth it, if you have no other way of flight (highly unlikely).

Shadowkire wrote:

So a Wizard or Sorcerer is less likely to throw around fireballs and lightning bolts, killing dozens of not hundreds of people for that reason.

Yet, about the only way to get to that level is via the murder hobo lifestyle.

Even if they win, an entire war where thousands of soldiers die directly from spellcasting on both sides will cause a huge backlash in public opinion against arcane casters due to the surviving veterans returning home with war stories.

Such things did not get rid of artillery or bombing. Even after public outcry and evidence of its ineffectiveness, the US still employs strategic bombing of civilians as a military strategy.

Finally, ancient warfare typically turned into slaughter the moment one army broke. If an army can be made to break - e.g. by inflicting massive losses by AoE magic - before melee is joined, it stands to reason that this could result in a lower net loss of life.

"Not the best spell for its level" =/= "useless"

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It's the only spell you can use to attack the darkness.

I really like it. For Sorcerers.
1st level spells are very soon a plentiful resource. And it's almost always useful. Not tremendously useful, but then, it uses a common resource. It gives you something to do when you want to preserve spells. It gives you something to do when you come up against something that your main tricks don't work against. It gives you a way to contribute once you've cast your buffs and summons.
It's never going to solve encounters on its own, but for what it can do, it is fine, easy and cheap.

And as comparison with burning hands and scorching ray goes:
Burning hands requires you to get close to the enemy, scorching ray requires an attack roll which probably has, at the time you get it, a 30%+ rate of failure. So the real comparison at level 4 is a guaranteed 2d4+2 for a level one slot, or a 30%+ chance to do 4d6 for a level two slot. 7 DPR vs. 9.8 DPR. But with scorching ray, you could have wasted your action. At level 5, MM does 10 DPR, so comes out ahead. Also, while touch AC doesn't scale rapidly, in particular in the lower levels, where enemies are smaller, it is often at least a bit higher than ten, tilting things even more in the direction of MM.
A similar calculation, using saving throws, can be applied to burning hands, which does retain the advantage of doing AoE with all that that entails, yet has a distinct disadvantage regarding range.

As an aside, burning hands does d4s not d6s in damage.

If you focus on burning hands, you can easily make it very powerful - doing 5d4+10 on first level, which is, frankly, glorious overkill. Similarly, scorching ray is a great spell to focus on, if you want to build a ray blaster. Magic missile on the other hand doesn't lend itself to be exploited by just the right build. You can do a bit of it with metamagic (toppling, sickening, dazing, e.g.), but nothing truly record setting. But if you do not want to specialize in the spell, magic missile is easily as useful, if not more useful than either burning hands or scorching ray.

kyrt-ryder wrote:

Sure, he'd wreak a lot of havoc. He might eliminate what, 300-400 soldiers per day?

On small scale skirmishes (or extended sieges) that can certainly turn the tide.

Even in large scale battles that is significant. The killing happens rapidly and is concentrated in one area that can thus be severely weakened, possibly leading the whole line of battle to collapse. Add to that the effect on morale and the many other spells a 6th level sorcerer has access to and you have quite the weapon.

One might want to consider that the issue is not whether anyone is offended or not. It is how certain cultural stereotypes are reproduced and how that influences a general, often subtle emotional prejudice towards whatever we identify as belonging to that stereotype in actual life.

Offensiveness has nothing at all to do with the problem. This problem would be there even if no-one ever took offence.

Also, Necromancy is da bomb!

Seth Parsons wrote:
Also, historical tidbit: When the crossbow began to become a decent and widely used weapon of war in Europe, the Catholic church banned it's use amongst it's followers because it was just so effective. Yes, the church banned a weapon because it was too good. <.<


Can. 29 of the Second Lateran Council under Pope Innocent II in 1139 banned the use of crossbows, as well as slings and bows, against Christians.

It might at most have been an attempt to reduce casualties in internal warfare, by requiring close combat, which is harder to get into and easier to get away from, thus less likely to cause a lot of casualties.

In no way was only the crossbow banned, but it was a reaction against killing at a distance in general and, as mentioned, only against christians.

revaar wrote:
Judging by a lot of the catfolk builds I have seen, the entire race has been adopted by half orcs and breed for larger teeth.

It's a quick and easy way to get a full set of natural attacks. Something like this is a clear indication that a bite attack should probably have been part of the race from the beginning.

HarbinNick wrote:
I don't see fronts (like Civil War, WWI or WWII) since the attrition rates and supply would be problems, especially inland seeing the lack of railroads.

Very good point. Ancient armies mostly lived off the land, due to supply trails being almost impossible to make sufficiently faster than the armies. Does magic help to solve the problem? Due to weight restrictions on the teleport spells, this is not really feasible. Armies will thus tend to have a lower maximum size compared to modern armies and will not be able to remain on any particular stretch of land for more than a few months as eventually the radius of exploited local resources will beyond transport capabilities.


-I see powerful characters functioning as near armies by themselves, a lv. 12 wizard could kill an entire cavalry division by himself.

High level characters and powerful monsters, in particular casters, are the big guns - field artillery with devastating effect. But unlike early modern field artillery they are much more mobile and better able to protect themselves.

In considering how different military traditions on Golarion appear, one should consider:
a) What options and abilities are available to the commanding elite. Are there magic users, monsters, cavalry, guns,...? What is the infrastructure like? How mobile and how difficult to support are military resources?
b) What the social order of the society in question is. Highly centralized states fight differently from loose feudal federations. Can the commanding elites get people to follow orders? How easily can central command mobilize local resources? How loyal are the troops and how is loyalty enforced?
c) What is the established and accepted mindset among commanding elites? What prejudices and traditions remain from the past, that may no longer be appropriate to the current battlefields? Are there traditions of honor, if so which and how influential are they?

These three conditions should be quite helpful. Condition a) gives the framework of what is generally possible, while b) and c) are concerned with in how far the generally possible can be realized given the mindset and behavior of commanding elites and their ability to command resources.

Add to that in any given situation particular personal traits of commanders, but those are not part of military tradition, of course.

The Crusader wrote:

Don't count on an army carrying too many casters. As effective as they may be against your opponents, they can be even more devastating against you. The first time an adversary bribes one or two of your wizards to commit treason, you will learn that lesson very quickly.

I would imagine casters would be few, highly specialized, and of known, certain loyalty.

It's not much of a difference whether

a) a sub-commander commits treason (taking his unit out of the fight, maybe actually into the fight against you)
b) a staff member tries to assassinate you
c) a known magic using member of your army betrays you or
d) an enemy magic user hides among your army as a non-magic user waiting to commit treason.

In effect, I don't see the presence of magic changing matters in regards to loyalty. But it's good to point out that magic users make excellent saboteurs in a world otherwise more or less bereft of high-powered explosives.

One more matter that needs considering (and that again cuts into the usefulness of melee infantry) is the possibility of actual air forces.

"So, what was your internship with the Great Golem Master like? Did you learn much?"

"I spent hours, literally hours on end casting electric splash on a golem they kept having beaten up by enemies. Tanking, they called it, annoying is what it was. Not going back."

Basically every cult behaves like a monotheistic religion, specifically like an abrahamitic religion. They all have salvation schemes, moral codes, holy texts and exclusive club memberships (as in you are supposed to have one patron god). It's like a hundred little Christianities.

Also note that there are no deities associated with specific cities or locales at all. The gods are just antrophomorphized abstracts and you are supposed to choose between e.g. community and beauty. Like you, I would have very much preferred for a world with many, many, actual, provable gods to be much more like actual polytheistic cultures were.

TheWarriorPoet519 wrote:

I suppose this ultimately comes down to a GM choice with regards to how common casters are in a given army and such.

At least for Gollarion, there are statistics from the frequency of caster of all levels and they are not really rare.


I fully admit: I limit them so that I can have military engagements look like normal late medieval/renaissance ones with magic on one side mostly canceled out by magic on the other side.

Part of my point. It requires some hand waving and fiat to have both DnD/PF type magic and a medieval/renaissance world or military tactics. It may also be an interesting story to have magic introduced into old style warfare, letting players (on the low-magic/mundane side) figure out new strategies in response.

TheWarriorPoet519 wrote:

Don't undersell infantry. The Fireball doesn't do much more than the heavy canon, and well into The Civil War, vast scale infantry tactics were used. And spellcasters are an even more scarse resource economy than canons, since they can only lob so many fireballs in so many places per day.

While Fireballs are a rarer resource, they would have a relatively stronger impact than historical cannons had. Because unlike cannons they are 100% accurate and can be fired in rapid succession. Spellcasters are also highly mobile, unlike historical field artillery. Furthermore, from the 17th century onwards infantry more and more employed firearms as the main weapon, reducing the time of deployment by increasing the effective range of engagement.

Finally, remember that fireballs (and the like of course) are not new. They've been around for thousands of years. Everyone knows about them and has had time to develop strategies.

One other way to limit magical artillery: cover and concealment.

In general:
- The presence of the fireball spell should put a damper on the kinds of closely packed formations that dominated historic battlefields. A group of low level combatants, and those make up the largest part of armies - is perfect fireball fodder.

- The crossbow, easy to use and in formations of low level combatants as effective as it's bow counterpart, should see a lot of use.

- Ranged combat in general would be preferred, supported by fast moving cavalry. Ranged units lose very little by not being densely packed formations.

- Melee tactics will probably tend to focus on movement and mobility, trying to find ways to apply superior numbers and pincer encirclements on a small scale.

- Heavy cavalry tactics should still focus on the massed charge, but should also have ways to come together as late as possible, again to not present and easy target for a possilbe AOE spelll.

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