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Kydeem de'Morcaine's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 3,378 posts (6,586 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 6 Pathfinder Society characters. 11 aliases.

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Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:


So, for those who played RPGs during the whole "D&D eebul satanic!" scare, what was it like?

It was kinda weird actually. Some of the reactions I received from people were so bizarre that I was shocked into a lack of response.

*My grandmother had prayer vigils at her church group to save me.
*One of the congregation elders (but not the pastor) at my church actually screamed at me. Practically hysterical.
*One time I actually couldn’t get out of the game shop since the doors were blocked by some group picketing the game store to denounce us.

I found it amusing how much vitriol there was for something that they didn’t know anything about. If you didn’t use Dungeons and Dragons, D&D, or show them the books (some will also recognize and associate role-playing-game); you could talk to them all day about it and they just got bored with the conversation. As soon as you used one of those terms or they saw the book cover, you were evil incarnate.

Even today a friend of mine gets a lot of grief from his church and in-laws about it. I keep telling him he is making it worse for himself. Stop talking about DnD and especially the Book of Vile Darkness. Say you play Pathfinder and you are designing an evil fort for the heroic players to destroy. Instantly acceptable. He can’t seem to learn that lesson.

When people ask me about my hobby, “I play PF or PFS. It’s a lot like some of the internet games involving thousands of people all over the world. But we do it in person with only about a half dozen people. I like the more personal interaction of being in the same room with someone. Plus we aren’t as constrained by what someone thought to program into the software for options.” If they ask for more details I give them. (But the really closed minded folks never ask for more details because they aren’t really interested.) Until I know the person pretty well, I won’t say the game is the continuation of one of the versions of D&D.
Has not been a problem even a single time. I’ve had plenty of people say it seems frivolous, silly, childish, and a waste of time. Well, yeah. Most amusement hobbies are.
Just in the last year or so one guy even said, “Well as long as it’s not that hell-spawned Dragon Dungeon bull &%!#, then I don’t give a crap what silly thing you spend your time on!”

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The only thing I know about Hollow World, is that some players really loved it and some really hated it. Didn't seem to be any middle ground.

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lemeres wrote:
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

I am really just going to give this very solid piece of advice:

Passive Aggressive measures never accomplish a damn thing.

Face it head on, forget it, or walk away.

Aggressive-Aggressive is the only way!

just kidding... sort of...

...but what is I can only do passive passive?

Then you deserve whatever comes your way!

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I couldn't understand some of what you wrote. But:

alexander leah wrote:
... ranted about 2 of my spells, blistering invective and litany of sloth on how they just let me skip feats tree for Free, ...

Is kinda correct. It does. But only for limited number of times for day and inquisitors don't get very many spells. If you are doing that, you are NOT doing all the other wonderful things you could be doing with your spells. And at low levels can probably only do it for 1 or 2 combats.

It is situationally kinda nice, but it really isn't that super powerful. The barbarian Scavion mentioned will very consistently kill a lot more.

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I'm gonna somewhat disagree with some of the others (I know, big surprise from me).

Healing can be just fine. Even in-combat if you are good enough at it. Especially in later levels of PFS. One of the biggest problems with a healing focus is that yes, you can keep up with damage output. HOWEVER, you really burn through your abilities while trying to do that. But since PFS is very nearly guaranteed to be just a few encounters, that is less of an issue than in some campaigns.

Just be sure you have other things to do (buffs or crowd control spells) before people take damage or in case they don't take damage. I played in a couple scenarios with a dedicated healer where we didn't take much damage (the potential bad things were pretty much insta-death or insta-mission fail), so he said he felt kinda useless by the end since he had only healed about 10-15 points in 2 scenarios.

I don't think dipping oracle gains you as much as it loses, but it isn't horrible. I would suggest you pick one or the other though. Plus, if you pick oracle, your healing stat is the same as your casting stat. So you have decent save DC's if you do try to cast an offensive spell (or cure damage, see below).

One thing you might consider (which won't change the build much, if at all). Healers can do massive damage to undead.
My life oracle is not a healer. He is an undead blaster. He absolutely hates undead and will do almost anything just to get a chance at them. Channel, quick channel, cure spells, sunbeam, etc... Especially effective with the head undead surrounded by minion/spawn undead. Touch cure or sunbeam on the main guy, a quick channel for the mooks, along with energy body so they don't want to touch me. Devastating.
If (and pretty much only if) there are no undead bad guys, he will cast a couple of buffs then be prepared to in-combat heal if necessary.

Since you are doing Aasimar already, consider the force channeling feats. I wish I had done that for my life oracle.

Personal preference, but I always prefer to take at least a few offensive spells and have a reasonable expectation of them working. Even on my support casters. (Summon monster can also work here.) There have just been too many times where support wasn't needed as much as doing something to the bad guys. Chain of perdition and pilfering hand are fun and can be game changers even though they don't do any direct damage.
Take away the staff of greatness, the lich's phylactery, the clerics holy symbol, the wizards spell component pouch, or the archer's bow.
Trip the headless horseman's horse or tie up the backstabbing rogue.
Absolutely hilarious.

The huge penalties from the full plate and tower shield could come up even if you never make an attack roll. (Grease/entangle in your square, must climb a rope, have to swim the river, trying to stay on a horse, combat on an icy lake, etc...) I would recommend getting the folding plate and don't magic the tower shield (that way you aren't out much if you drop it to run). Or maybe a glove of storing for the tower shield.

Some of the condition removals don't work as well off scrolls since a caster level check is involved. So be careful about those.

If you don't take the feats for it, consider the magic items for getting a higher initiative modifier. It is much better to get that Blessing of Fervor cast before everyone has already taken their action.

Consider a reach metamagic rod or UMD a wand of spectral hand for delivering those touch spells in places you don't want to travel or are too slow to get to in time.

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PFS scenarios like the Confirmation, We Be Goblins, or Masters of the the Fallen Fortress are ideal for a short intro to new players.

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Mackackee wrote:


I guess my question is: how do I get a player who is focused on rules, and offical rules at that, to be more accepting of house rules even if it didn't come from Paizo?


I'm envisioning another thread with How do I get a GM to stop changing things all the time for no reason?

My point isn't that you are wrong and he is right. (I wouldn't like the few of your rules that I've seen on the boards. However, I am perfectly aware there are people that do like those kinds of rules.)

My point is that you have different gaming styles and you are unlikely to get him to change. Just as he is unlikely to get you to change.

Having said that, there is a middle ground that usually works. Don't change stuff during the campaign unless you really, really need to do so. And "I think it would be cool!" does not count as really need to.

Think about what rules you feel are needed BEFORE the campaign begins. Think about how you will explain the reason you are making the change, why those rules are needed, what they will accomplish that would not have happened without the house ruling, and this is how it will make things better. Again "I think it would be cool!" is not a reason, need, or accomplishment.

A good example might be: PF does not have a good way to represent ritual blood magic. But ritual blood magic is central to the story we are going to be making. I want rules on how it works so you guys have an idea what can be accomplished and how it could be stopped. Here is what I have come up with so far for ritual blood magic ... What do you like or dislike about it.

A good example is NOT: I think misfires are hilarious. So anytime someone casts a spell there is a 5% chance it hits the wrong target in range.

Then do not change them. The players can make their characters and begin play knowing what rules will be used.

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Does this conversation strike any of you as eerily similar to the debates on 'When does life/soul/consciousness begin?'

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PRD wrote:

Persistent Spell (Metamagic)

You can modify a spell to become more tenacious when its targets resist its effect.

Benefit: Whenever a creature targeted by a persistent spell or within its area succeeds on its saving throw against the spell, it must make another saving throw against the effect. If a creature fails this second saving throw, it suffers the full effects of the spell, as if it had failed its first saving throw. A persistent spell uses up a spell slot two levels higher than the spell's actual level.

Spells that do not require a saving throw to resist or lessen the spell's effect do not benefit from this feat.

If a spell has ongoing effects that require saves, are those also affected?

Example: A Persistent Glitterdust spell. Does the target need to make 2 saves each round, taking the worse value to get rid of the blindness?

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Cascade wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:


How about a boon that gives certain skill bonuses vs. races attached?


I support this concept.

I'm all for it, IF it is something that has at least a fair chance to come up again.

I have a character that has (with no spoilers)
+ to hit vs race V
+ to intimidate race X
+ disguise to impersonate organization Y
+ diplomacy in city Z

None of V, X, Y, or Z have been seen again. At first I was like, "Ok, minor but kinda cool." But no my attitude is closer to "Ok, well it just means I'll never see that again."

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The hype (if there is any) is because people want it to work so badly. They don't want to decide on arcane or divine spells. They want it all. I happen to be one of them. =) I haven't had a chance to play one yet, but I've seen quite a few in play.

Having said that. It is not usually a powerhouse. The few times I've seen one as a powerhouse it was really because the player has such high system mastery that he can be a powerhouse with virtually anything.

They really don't usually have all that many more spells than a single class caster. What they do have is an exception breadth of possible spells.

When I have seen them most effective is as a support/buff/utility caster in a group that does not have another caster (or only a minimal caster like a ranger). You can find a bunch of different support and buff spells on 2 different lists making it much easier to get stackable benefits. You can use silence, walls, pits, clouds, illusions, cures, condition removals, etc... Whatever type of spell is needed today, you can provide.

The usual is cleric / wizard. You concentrate on spells where the spell DC and or your ability to bypass SR is not as important (or at least has significant effects even if a save is made).

I have lately seen a fair number of sorcerer / oracles so you can have just one casting stat and get it max'd. This gets you the best chance to get the DC pretty high for SoS spells. But you still won't be as high as a single class caster since your spell level will be lower.

I haven't seen one in play, but I've read about a third type. Use wizard / oracle or sorcerer / cleric. The key is the mix of prepared and spontaneous caster. One class is a spontaneous caster for spamming the spells that get used all the time. The other is a prepared caster for getting the special use spells specifically for today.

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Haladir wrote:


The psionic classes have names that don't mean anything outside of the context of the game: "psion," "soulknife," "vitalist," etc. If I referred to a non-gamer about a "wizard" they'd know what I was talking about. If I mentioned a "soulknife..." well, not so much. Heck, even the term "psionics" has far more traction within the role-playing gaming world than as a general term.

Better names for the classes, with ties to what the names actually mean in a literary, mythological, or socio-historical context would greatly increase my desire to use them. Terms like "telepath," or "seer," or "spiritualist," or "fakir," or even just "psychic" have meaning outside the context of the game.

That's weird. This is quite literally the first time I've heard this complaint about the system.

In fact, we are constantly told to ignore what the class is called and focus on what your character does and call him whatever you want. (For example: I've seen a ranger/shadow sorcerer/arcane trickster that called himself a ninja.)

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Tarkeighas wrote:


GM says: would you like a few minutes to plan?
GM means: please, for god's sake, take a few minutes to plan!

GM says: "I said, I'm giving you a few minutes to make a tactical plan."

GM means: "This is clearly not a level appropriate encounter. You are insisting on a fight and your usual approach of charge and swing will obviously result in a TPK. So, for the love of all that's good and gracious, try to put some thought into this one!"

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LazarX wrote:
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:

The only time you see anything even close to the magic system in PF is when the author is obviously making a DnD based story or the old Jack Vance novels (which I have never read, but I heard they are good).

This is a long time pet peeve of mine, but I know it isn't changing any time soon.

Michael Moorcock generally uses a heavily Vancian system in his books.

"Memorise the spell on this stone and use it when the time comes."

Virtually all of the magic cast in the Elric books is of the prolonged ritual variety, not spammed video game style.

I think I read MM's first Swords trilogy. But really can't remember anything other than the titles and cover art look familiar.

Yeah, neither system has anything very good for ritual magic. I have occasionally hand-waved something for NPC's doing some sort of ritual.

Ssalarn wrote:


Plus, I like that there's a place to go where all the adventurers are really into the power of crystals and tattoos.

I recently met a friend's girlfriend. He seemed rather nervous about us meeting and I couldn't figure out why.

Until... She informed me that the crystal jewelry wasn't jewelry. They were powerstones with bindings to hold them in the focal points of her aura. The tattoos where to guide the flowing power of her surroundings into the powerstones and replenish them.

There were just so many things I wanted to say that I couldn't decide where to start. But, I looked at my friends nervous expression and decided I didn't want to start a fight. So, I just smiled (I tried very hard to not smirk or sneer) and said I had never seen anything like it. Which was very true.
On my way home I was laughing so hard I almost wrecked my car.

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Haladir wrote:

I've been negatively inclined toward psionics in fantasy since 1st-edition AD&D. I felt that the flavor doesn't mesh well in the fantasy stories I wanted to tell in my Dungeons and Dragons games. I've also had some major problems with having a completely different game mechanic system that did more-or-less exactly what magic already did.

TSR/WotC continued the flavor mis-match and system dichotomy for psionics in both AD&D 2e and in D&D 3.x.

The 3.x psionics system (including DSP's updaiting of it for the PFRPG) are very well thought-out, and balanced systems. However, I just don't see the point of introducing another full game mechanic system that's pretty much equivalent to magic. Consequently, even though it's a fine system, I don't use it.

There is "psychic magic" in my game, to represent things like ESP, telepathy, psychokinesis, object reading, pain suppression, etc. It's essentially a sorcerer bloodline/archetye.

Well, I always thought the early edition psionics were a real hash and poorly thought out.

I agree, not every fantasy universe had something akin to psionics in them. However, there were an awful lot that had at least a different kind of magic that came entirely from within the practitioner rather than manipulating some outside force. For me, that is where psionics fits in.

I do wish there wasn't as much overlap of effects between psionics, divine magic, and arcane magic. I think they should be substantially different.

The DSP psionic system is, in my personal opinion, much better than the D&D/PF magic system. It is much closer to what is in the novels, legends, movies, etc... I really wish the magic system had been created the same way.

If you want your high level dude to use minor powers all day long, you can (since it costs a relatively minor amount of personal power). If you want to really amp up one of you early powers, you can. If you want just a few uses of the most powerful thing you can do, go for it (you can use all your power points on only the highest level power you know). If you want to push yourself to the very brink and maybe beyond for spectacular effects, then kaboom (wilder surge). This much more closely matches what you see/read.
Dresden can cast simple finding or lighting spells all day long. But if he is being attacked and has to keep up the most powerful shield for a while, he is drained and can't do any more magic.

The only time you see anything even close to the magic system in PF is when the author is obviously making a DnD based story or the old Jack Vance novels (which I have never read, but I heard they are good).
This is a long time pet peeve of mine, but I know it isn't changing any time soon.

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Tom Mannering wrote:
... I really enjoyed Ambush in Absalom and it's a great way to introduce new people without investing in a full scenario.

Never heard of this until you mentioned it. {starts furiously typing in the search box.}

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GM says: "Yes, I know it's in-character for all your PC's, but are you really, really sure you want to insult the Earl in front of the court and his guards?"

GM means: "Please don't commit suicide again while wrecking my social/intrigue campaign!"

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I’m gonna disagree with the masses a little bit.

There are many potential issues with the summoner. There are some nice lists at the beginning of the thread to show them. However, I don’t think any of them are as big or insurmountable as many seem to think they are.
Yes, you might be able to make a buzz saw eidolon that does more damage than a fighter. But then it usually seems to be very fragile with low HP, AC, and/or saves.
Yes, they can potentially make items very cheap. But if they take a bunch of item creation feats they aren’t taking all the other ones that contribute to those monster builds
Yes, they can really bog down a table. But a very responsible and organized player can mitigate that and often take less time than many other players with simple standard builds.
Yes, they are easy to make mistakes. Care and auditing can resolve those.

Also, I will point out that many GM’s have banned them without any trial, analysis, or thought. They read on these forums that it is overpowered, so it is gone. I don’t know about you, but I disagree with some things I find on these forums on a regular basis. So I would suggest anyone give it a try before just saying no. Depending upon your group, campaign, GM, and player; you may find that it isn’t actually a problem in your circumstance.

Yet there are a lot of these potential issues. Together they often add up into a lot of headaches for the player of the summoner, other players at the table, and especially the GM.

These issues are exacerbated by an inexperienced or less rules savvy player. Unfortunately, that seems to be the players most drawn to the summoner class. The summoner class (especially the fluff) sound just ideal to those of us who read certain novels or watch specific movies. Veteran PF players know you generally can not duplicate novel/movie characters in this game. People new to the system generally do not know that and their attempts to duplicate those concepts are usually not pleasant to watch.

For Example:
There is a guy at our local PFS who played his first PFS fighter character up to level 3 then decided he wanted magic. He had just bought the APG and absolutely fell in love with the summoner since it was just exactly like ‘X’ from some movie ‘Y’ that he was enthused about.
He constantly gets skill points and evolution points confused. Doesn’t understand how grab, pounce, and trip work. We constantly have to tell him, “it doesn’t work like that.” Does not have print offs of the monsters he can summon. Doesn’t know what they can or can not do. Always takes an exceptionally long time to decide on and take his actions every round. Every time he advances in level, some GM has to spend some time auditing and reworking his eidolon because it is always wrong. Etc…
Any one of those issues with a relatively new player is understandable and we have no problem working with him to bring him up to speed. But all of them together can really grind a table to a standstill. Some of the shorter scenarios have gone way over time with him sitting at the table.

Yes, this is very obviously just one incidence. But at our local, he has kinda become the poster child for the problems that can happen with a summoner. But again, that is ‘can happen’ not ‘will happen.’ They work just fine with some players in some groups.


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Seth Gipson, that avatar always makes me think of the paladin Kore from the goblins online comic.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Selter Sago wrote:
But I have seen it both times with that group. The one person of the group that was on time said it was normal for them to be way late, not have their characters ready, and spend most of their time talking about every thing else. They joked about it.
Perhaps they work right before game time, or have other obligations. They're not taking PFS as seriously as you are but well.. it is a game after all.

No. They specifically stated nothing was going on, they are just always late.

I actually don't take the game that seriously. But I do think it is reasonable to expect a minimal level of polite behavior around others. Especially people you don't know that well.

If you and your friends are all ok with lateness, interrupting, and talking over others when it is just your group; all fine and good. But when someone is doing you a favor (volunteering to GM) and/or you don't really know them (other people at the table), the behavior felt very rude.


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Minor rant here.

Recently I was at a PFS event where the inconsiderate behavior did affect my enjoyment of this hobby.

1) Most of the players showed up significantly late. It was over 50 minutes after the scheduled start time. I was just getting ready to leave assuming the game was a bust due to no-shows. I understand sometimes being a few minutes late for traffic, work, or something. But these guys joked that it is normal for them to be an hour late.
2) When everyone had finally arrived, 2 people that had been there for a while decided to leave to get food. Why couldn't they have just done that in the previous 50 minutes?
3) Finally everyone is there and then they have to spend 20 minutes leveling up their characters and buying equipment.
4) The GM was getting irritated because I kept asking him to repeat things that I couldn't hear because several of the guys wouldn't stop talking loudly about some other game that they were playing the next day.

That is actually a very short scenario. We should have been able to complete it in 2.5-3 hours easy since the fights were actually pretty easy for us. It was almost 5.5 hours to finish.

I am a bit disappointed in the GM that let them walk all over him like that. But really I am rather upset at the players doing that to the GM and the rest of us.

I mean come on guys! At least pretend to be adults and behave with a minimum of polite behavior.

This was the second time I've gamed with this group and this level of discourtesy seems to be normal for these guys.

I'm guessing that the next time I realize these guys are the ones that signed up I will fake a call from work and ditch them. I'll have wasted an hour or so getting there and going home, but at least I won't finsih the day more angry than at the start of my relaxing past time.

I don't know what I'll do if it's one of the times I volunteered to GM.


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Alzrius wrote:

... I'm referring to instances where the player knows exactly what they want their character to do, but there isn't currently an option to let them do it, requiring them to go on a supplement-hunt until they can find it.

Presuming that they can find it at all - which is by no means certain - it often comes with baggage that waters down the initial concept because it saddles them with additional materials that they didn't want in the first place.

As an example, suppose you want an arcane spellcasting character whose spellcasting stat is Wisdom rather than Intelligence (like what I thought the witch should be). That's not in the book, so you need to go hunting for some sort of class feature that will let you acquire that, despite knowing exactly what you already want to do.

Fourteen books later, you find (this is purely hypothetical to illustrate the point) a prestige class that grants that ability. But it only grants it at 3rd level, so you need to take three levels in that class - which grants several other class features that go against your initial concept for the character - in order to get it.

That's the problem that I'm ultimately referring to. There's no mechanism in the game for being able to figure out the "how do you do it?" and "what does it cost (if anything)?" for figuring out how to just let the player (with input from the GM) shift his casting statistic from Intelligence to Wisdom. Should you just hand-wave it, letting that change cost nothing? Should it cost a feat slot? Or maybe two feat slots?

There's no answer for these questions in the books; they'd rather you buy another book (or reference an SRD) for the answer - and if one isn't out there, well, keep checking the product catalogue.

I know a lot of GMs would say this is a small problem, easily-handwaved at a minor cost, but this is just one of the smaller (and easier) examples. What about, to use the aforementioned idea, you have a high-level character who doesn't want to use magic items? What about when you want a non-spellcaster whose main character abilities revolve around shapeshifting? What about when you want a barbarian shaman whose rage bonus increases the power of his spells, rather than his muscles? Ad infinitum.

That's what I'm talking about. ...

What you're describing is something completely outside of a d20 type game. Or even most of the RPG's I have read about.

I guess I would suggest looking at the Dresden RPG. At least that is what I think it was called. It sounds more like what you are looking for. I know some people really like that kind of loose anything goes type of game.
I personally don't like them because it is way to dependent on the whim of the GM. What I did last time was really effective, but maybe he gets bored with repetition or is in a bad mood today so it doesn't work.

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We have used it a few times now.

Really like the system a lot better than Vancian spell casting.

Few of things to consider.

1) As a GM you have to watch out even more for characters that can nova and blow all their points in a short time to take on almost anything. If you allow the '15 minute adventuring day' you will have to really scale things up and then you run the danger of a TPK.

2) As a player, the psionic classes get so few powers known that it is sometimes difficult to cover all of the 'necessary' utility/buff/healing stuff and still have the fun powerful stuff you want.

3) Requires a bit more re-writing by the GM since almost none of the published material has any psionics in it so won't have any psionic opponents or gear.

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ArkthePieKing wrote:
... I suppose just by nature of enjoying the odd in general I'm prone to a tidbit of 'special snowflake' syndrome, ... It's when they start hearing about what I paln on building that they freak. I love to chit chat and make plans and just generally get excited about what I'm doing. So I'll start saying what I want to do, how I'm gonna build it, and then they get that deer in headhlights look and get kind of nervous. ...

So don't do that. It's really that simple.

This may sound a bit obnoxious, but it's not intended that way. Most GM's have experience with players that just try to break things. It isn't fun. When you act and sound like that is what you are doing, that is how they are going to react.

ArkthePieKing wrote:
... And to someone else who had mentioned playing something straightforward (I forgot who it was, apologies) I agree that a basc fighter/wizard/whatever can be very flavorful and interesting as a person, but I love love seeing unique interactions between mechanics and storyline, hence the Bladebound/Hexcrafter Magus who comes from a rich, cursed family. This is why he can fence with a rapier, knows a thing or three about spellcasting due to his schooling, and is harnessing his curse's energies into a unique weapon. (Also originally the sword was part of the curse, but my GM says he's really excited over some ideas he has for it so I left it to his devices). ...

But don't start with that the first time you play with some new group. make a pretty basic character. Demonstrate that you are not trying to break the game. Then if your next character is a bit more complicated (notice I said 'a bit' not umpteen book rules lawyered nightmare) and you again show that you are not breaking the game, he will become even more confident that you are going to 'play nice' and not ruin his campaign. The next character can again have some more complexity. Still showing that you aren't intending to ... Etc...

When I join a new group I almost always make a fairly generic character that will be generally useful in a variety of situations. Then I see how he compares to the expectations of the rest of the group including the GM. My next character will be inline with what the group seems to want.
I have built straight fighters with extremely detailed and convoluted backstories to explain why he insist on using a pair of clubs scale armor. But really the group couldn't optimize worth a damn so I had to start with a sub-optimal set-up to not overshadow them. Also the GM had bought many of the books, but he and the whole group really weren't yet too comfortable with most of the rules outside of core. So I pretty much stuck to core with just a couple of feats that didn't even get taken until mid campaign. So they had plenty of time to get used to the PC with only simple stuff.

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memorax wrote:
I kind of agree with MagusJanus. The APS feel very linear imo. The npcs need to be reworked as even a minimally optimized party will defeat them easily. ...

This is 2 totally separate issues.

1) Most of the AP's seem fairly linear. Some could use a bit more linearity since some groups can't seem to figure out what the should be doing or what is going on at all. Depends upon what your group likes.

2) Yes, the encounters are too easy for an optimized group. My understanding is they are designed for a 4 PC group, using 15 point buy, with no more optimization or system mastery than shown by the iconics. In other words, beginners.
Most groups seem to use 20 or 25 point buy, allow 3rd party stuff, weird races from the ARG, have more than 4 players, even greater than standard item availability, greater than WBL chart treasure, and/or are clearly not beginners.
So yes. The encounters need scaled up if you want a serious challenge.

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To OP:
Almost all your complaints are group related not game system related. I have seen groups with all the stuff you seem to want and without the stuff you seem to not like (although you do sound a bit scattered in your ranting). All of those groups played using PF or 3.x system. Sometimes with significant house rules sometimes without.

You can have short combats, training, immersive role play, puzzles, heavy environment NPC's, etc... Many groups do.

I don't think your issue is actually with PF. The issue is you, the other players, and/or the GM want to play a different style of role playing experience.

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Abyssal Lord wrote:
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
Personally, I don’t often curse unless extremely frustrated and I don’t tell crude jokes or find them very funny. However, neither do they bother me. The cursing and crudity was just around when I was growing up (but not in my family) and in my first few jobs. So to me it is just background noise. So as CathalFM says, I would feel hypocritical saying it bothered me or wasn’t welcome around me. And I’m pretty sure all my friends know it doesn’t bother me.
Crude jokes, curses, etc, are fine within the context of a group of people who are familiar with one another and shared a dynamic. We usually let people we know get away with certain things as we know the intent, as opposed to a stranger. When a newcomer gets into the mix, it is only natural to "be polite".

I disagree that it is natural to be what you term polite.

Some people don't see it that way. You are coming to join our group, great! To them, the 'polite' thing to do is treat them like one of the gang. Insults, cursing, crude jokes, etc... if that is the standard in the group.
To people raised like that, it is actually rather insulting to change your behavior around someone else. You are basically saying "Oh this person can't handle being around normal people. We have to pretend like we're in church if they're present."

I have some cousins like that. They are actually trying to be as friendly as they know how to be. But I guarantee that will include inappropriate comments, cursing, crude humor, and probably trying to get you drunk or sick on quantities of cheap beer. To them, that is how you be friendly and polite.
If they aren't making crude jokes or pushing you to chug a beer, it actually means they don't like or respect you.

{{ Or that you are the pastor. They wouldn't dream of acting that way around the pastor. But that's about it. }}

I'm about 99% sure that if the President of the US or the Queen of England showed up at his house, Danny would throw him/her a 6-pack of PBR and yell, "Hurra up ya &@#%$! Yer fallin behin Aunt Mable!"

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Finlanderboy wrote:


What is so wrong with treating people how they want to be treated, or leave them alone?

I often can't tell how someone wants to be treated and I've been called out for 'leave them alone' as ignoring them. I often feel like I’m in a ‘no win’ situation. I do my best to treat everyone like everyone else (at least until they give me a reason to treat them differently), but that doesn’t satisfy everyone.

I could give examples all day, but that would just be whining. I guess what I’m saying is, at least give me some indication of how you want to be treated if it isn’t the way I’m treating everyone else.

Jessica Price wrote:


That's an admirable position to take.

I'd like to define "white knight," since I notice there seem to be two definitions for it when people criticize the impulse.

The first is the way I'd define it: A white knight is a guy who jumps in to defend me when he thinks other people have insulted me or aren't listening to me without having any interest in listening to me himself. He's someone who presumes to speak for me, and doesn't let me talk because he's so busy trying to defend me.

There's a big difference between:

"Guys, please don't use that sort of language at my table. I'm not cool with it."


"Gentlemen, you're making the lady uncomfortable, and I will not stand for her being treated like that at my table."

Like a lot of women, I can fight my own battles and am not interested in having a dude volunteer himself as my champion without my input and push me off to the sidelines.

I am, however, always appreciative of people who'll stand by my side when I step onto the field, or who'll fight the battle themselves even if I'm not engaging today--not in my place, not as a self-appointed representative for me, but for themselves, because they recognize that something's not okay and want it to stop.

So, I'd say if you're not presuming to speak for someone else, you're just speaking up against something you don't think is okay, you're not white knighting. ...

I appreciate the clarification and it does help. I will try to apply it as best I can. However, I have to say for me it often isn’t at all clear when / how to do that in many situations.

Personally, I don’t often curse unless extremely frustrated and I don’t tell crude jokes or find them very funny. However, neither do they bother me. The cursing and crudity was just around when I was growing up (but not in my family) and in my first few jobs. So to me it is just background noise. So as CathalFM says, I would feel hypocritical saying it bothered me or wasn’t welcome around me. And I’m pretty sure all my friends know it doesn’t bother me.

I do not have an empathic personality. (Quintessential engineer dork.) I find it very difficult to tell if someone is being bothered by something if they don’t say anything. I am better at it than I was 20+ years ago, but still not great.
There have been times in the last few years where people have asked why I didn’t step in when someone was obviously in distress (at work not PFS). I honestly didn’t catch it. My questions was why didn’t you say something since you noticed or at least tell me?

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Wrong John Silver wrote:
Terry Pratchett? Never read him.

You are a poor, deprived, lonesome soul. I weep for you.

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wraithstrike wrote:
... Now if they can get you alone and start getting you to kiss them you are in trouble.

I knew a girl like that once.

I'm still in trouble.

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Mark Hoover wrote:


How do you hex crawlers/sandbox types do it where at the end of every session you say "... and you return to town." and make it make sense?

Jimmy-Joe-Bob is at the game table this week but wasn't last week. Arthur-Daviston was here last week but isn't this week.

J-J-B was guarding the horses/camp/whatever. Since A-D has some unmentionable intestinal disorder, he went back to guard the horses and sent J-J-B up to assist with the raid/mission/recovery/investigation.

Easy peasy. Yeah, takes a little cooperation and acceptance from the group, but most don't have a problem with it.

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Pappy wrote:
Khrysaor wrote:
What grade is this being offered to? Many of the benefits listed seem to be very sub optimal to a high school education. The math being the one that worries me most. The math involved in table top gaming is juvenile simple addition and extremely basic statistics and probability. Well below the curriculum I was taught when I attended high school....
I agree that the teaching benefits are limited. Nevertheless, even older students can benefit from the social aspects of the game. Learning how to problem solve as a group, seeing issues from different points of view, even social mores and conventions when handling objections and competing plans are all potential benefits. ...

I don't think there is much chance of it becoming a class room replacement on any level. However, at the late elementary and junior high level I think it is very much worth while.

What is the hardest part of teaching a kid reading or math? It is not normally the material it is getting them to practice it enough to become good at it. You can teach most 3rd graders to do basic addition. But some of them get through high school without really getting much better because they don't do it any more than they absolutely must. And maybe not even that much.

Both of my younger children struggled with reading and to a lesser extent with mathematics (especially story problems). One has a learning disability the other just refused to work at anything. Then suddenly halfway through a semester both of their teachers asked us what we did to get them so turned around at school. It was actually very simple. We found a pretty complex game that they like that had dozens of books worth of rules. (This was 3.0 at the time.) Those kids that didn't read comics because they were too hard were poring through books to find stuff they could use. It required some subtle (or maybe not so subtle)encouragement on my part, but it worked.
"Hey dad, what else can my ranger buy so he can fight better? I can't afford the sword he's selling."
"Maybe he could make you a wand. A spell like bulls strength or shield would let him fight better for a while."
"What's that do?"
"I don't remember exactly check it out in the spell sections. Make sure they're on your list. You might not be able to afford a full wand though." (I intentionally picked a spell that wasn't on his list but would have been cheaper.)
He had to look up 2 spells on tables, read the description, decide whether it was what he wanted based on the description, figure out how much a wand would cost, realize he couldn't afford a full one, and figure out how much it would cost for a partially full one.
He then decided he didn't want it.
So then he's looking up some other possibility. In a couple of months their reading went from the bottom of the class to solidly in the middle. They also no longer had to add and subtract on their fingers for every simple number combination. They had to constantly add and subtract numbers constantly just to play the game and the practice showed. And the whole flipping thing is a giant story problem.

So no, I don't look at it as a replacement for a standard class. I look for it as a way to get kids to practice what the class has taught them.

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ryric wrote:
... think paladin/magus/mystic theurge.

shudder I would rather not




Airgh! Now I can't stop thinking about trying to get it to work. No! Make it stop...

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Finlanderboy wrote:

... The first con I went to I came in between a game and watched a game with 4 pregens and one non-pregen. The non-pregen was the only one with a wand. The DM convinced the player not to heal the other players because they should have their own wands. The nonpregen was cornered and severly wounded. Now I watched as valerous stepped up and tried to trip the monester to provoke so that non-pregen could walk away with out dropping.

That non-pregen from the advice of the DM did not heal valeros for his noble attempt. He was contemptlating spontaneously healing him, but decided against it.

The boss fight came and they ran away while valeros was left behind.

To this day I would call that non-pregen a selfish player. I think it was BS to accept that kind of help and not help somone for that sacrifice. ...

Agreed. Though I would say the GM was at least 60% at fault. Most of the pregens do not have any significant healing or condition removals and the players of pregens can't do anything about that. Many players will not go against the GM telling them to do or not do something.

Comparative examples:
At our local there is a guy playing barbarian/fighter mix I am pretty sure he has only 4 magic items. Breastplate +1, cloak of resistance +1, belt of strength +2(or 4), and an adamantine flachion +3. He has dumped all the mental stats to raise con and str. I don't think he even raised his dex. He has not even purchased a non-magical bow for ranged combat. I think he has 1 dagger to throw. He has many K's of gold being saved for the next upgrade to his blade.

He EXPECTS the other PC's to cast barkskin or magic vestments on him so he doesn't get killed, pro from evil so he doesn't get dominated to kill us, fly potion so he can get to the bad guy, use a remove curse on him so he can continue to fight, etc... "We're a team right? You do those things for me and I'll kill things for you. It's only fair."

My character who is in the same tier is also a front line melee character. But I always keep on me a scroll of remove curse, neutralize poison, cure disease, potion of remove blindness, oil of daylight, mostly full wand of cure light wounds, po cure serious wounds, etc... Best I can figure, I've spent about 5k keeping him functional. Twice I did not have the item when I needed it because I had used it on him. I almost had to be declared dead at the end of scenario since I couldn't get rid of a curse. He did not offer to pay for the remove curse, neither with gold nor with prestige. One of the other PC's did though. I burned through half of a full wand on him in one scenario. It is such a minor enough expense that I (who has the same party role) should spend the money on him. But it is expensive enough that he won't spend it on himself. "But I spend my money on the sword to help you guys." Yeah, not really so much.

On those occasions where he gets to full attack and isn't suffering from some debilitating effect; yes, he kills things very fast. But not enough to justify the expense of adventuring with him. I can't think of a single scenario with him where I would not have rather had an empty spot at the table (still playing same tier and size adjustment).

Now when he asks for X several of us say, "Sorry I haven't replaced it from last time you used it. Maybe you should buy one for yourself." He obviously doesn't believe us and is very irritated about it. But he still won't buy anything. He is just saving for the next sword upgrade.

He is definitely the worst at our local. But there are at least 2 others that have are leaning in that direction. Since they see many people still provide everything he needs, lately they have been more like that rather than less.

That selfish privilaged behavior is what many of us have a hard time with.

People that are inexperienced, never considered, bought a potion of neutralise poison when the ended up needing the cure disease, used their resources helping the team, saved someone else, did something risky to accomplish the mission, etc... I have no problem with and am perfectly happy helping them out however I can. I helped Mr Selfish for quite a while until it became clear the only thing he learned was to count on others for everything.

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Tormsskull wrote:
... But its not "whim" or "arbitrary." Its calculated odds based on the situation at hand. ...

Uhmm... No. Unless the GM has some special experience or specific knowledge about the situation, it is definitely not calculated odds.

Unless your GM has tried to shoot a bow at a bat or swing from a chandelier onto the back of a large fighting animal, he is just guessing. I'm not saying it was a bad guess. But is not calculated odds.

Tormsskull wrote:


As has already been mentioned, if the problem is that one GM is bad or differs from another GM, that's not a rules-light system problem, that's a poor GM problem. ...

Doesn't really make any difference whether you want to say the issues is with the rules themselves or if the issues is with the GM and exacerbated by the rules. The effect is the same.

The older edition was significantly more difficult for the GM to remain consistent and reasonable. If he didn't wish to seem willfully arbitrary he had to make a lot of effort to remember all those ad hock rulings to try and stay in the same ballpark.
The guy that introduced me to the game kept a spiral notebook with little scratches about what he decided each time it was something he thought might come up again. Of course since it was (after several years) hundreds of pages it was difficult to find anything. But he was basically slowly generating the rulebooks we have now.
I didn't do that. I tried to remember most of them. And failed. Fairly often the players would say "Hey, but last time you said..." We would talk about it as a group and decide how to do it. Then we'd try to remember for the next time.

The newer edition is significantly easier for the GM. Many/most of the ad hock rulings we had to make back-when are right there in the rules now. It says in black and white how to do it. (Now, I may not agree with those rules. But that is a totally different subject.)

Tormsskull wrote:


If the player wants to try something that is a little unorthodox or creative, let them try. That should be encouraged. It is up to the GM to handle those kind of situations, in fact I'd say it is one of the most important aspects of the GM role.

Absolutely agree. I don't think the current rules stop that. I will agree that they slow it down somewhat. Especially if you have people still learning what is written in the books, some are less likely to try something outside the books. (A few are actually more likely to try something outside the books.)

I believe with encouragement from the GM and examples from other players, many people do get around to trying the weird stuff. I think the ones that still won’t, would not have in the older systems either.

Haladir wrote:
Matt Thomason wrote:

I won't lie about it, the majority of rules questions I see on here frustrate me no end. It's difficult for me to just let it go because I can't imagine having fun playing in a game where adherence to the rulebook is so strict.

Yeah. I pretty much avoid the Rules forum: there toxic pedantry abides.

Honestly, I think much of the blame of the legalistic pedantry on the Rules forum goes to people trying to game Pathfinder Society to give their PC an advantage. There's almost a fetish about the rules for PFS players, meaning that PFS GMs have to be equally pedantic about the rules to avoid getting walked over. Because with PFS, there is a higher authority than the GM.

Needless to say, this old-timer is not particularly interested in playing PFS. (But their published scenarios work well in a home game!)

I spend some limited time in the rules forum. Some of the stuff is just so badly worded in the books that I can’t tell what was intended. We don’t like to make changes until we know what it actually is. There was at least one where we were real proud of our improved house rule. Until we found out that what the rule really meant was the same as our house rule.

Funny thing. Very recently in the rules forum I had someone saying bad things about me trying to game the system for my PFS character. The weird thing is it really wouldn’t have given me a powerful character anyway. The combination took away so much that I’m not sure it would have been playable anyway. I was actually doing exactly the opposite. I was trying to find if there is a clear ruling on something that was worded oddly. Since there is no clear ruling (about 80% of the people disagreed with the way I read it) I won’t bring that build to the table. I have zero desire to start arguments about my build at the table. Even if I think I could technically do it, I’m not going to do so.

I actually like PFS. I will not say I like it as well as a good home game. It’s not that good. But it is better than sitting at home watching TV. If on a Saturday or Sunday I find I have free time (grass doesn’t need mowed, not going to visit relatives, not called into work), there is usually a game somewhere in the area. I grab my pack and head on over.
I don’t have enough excess time that I can schedule to commit to another regular home group. But I can hit PFS a couple times a month.

Mark Hoover wrote:
... I still to this day have to consciously will myself not to align my stats on a character sheet as "Str, Int, Wis, Dex, Con Cha." ...

My boss is glaring at me for laughing during his meeting when I read this!

Mark Hoover wrote:

Now for a bit of blasphemy: I prefer Pathfinder to older editions.


I like the way the game flows
I like the players having more "agency" in the game
I like building up, player options and such
I like Paizo and support of my hobby...

Now let me be clear - I'm not saying PF is perfect nor am I pissing on older editions here. My experience by most accounts seems pretty unique. But I wouldn't even be typing here if not for Mr Gygax and Mr Arneson. Greyhawk will forever be my favorite published setting and I still to this day have to...


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Troodos wrote:
Fromper wrote:
Sebastian wrote:
I believe it's Blackwing, and I think he's a raven.


I am very curious to see what Blackwing will look like (and do!) as a gargantuan roc. Not even sure if he'll still be able to talk. It's because he's a raven that he can speak Common - most familiars can't.

Rule of Funny says he probably will

OR something bad will happen to the group because he can no longer tell them it's coming.

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I would make the casting time longer than that. Check out mending.

Duration should be instant not permanent. Making something clean forever should probably be a high level spell.

The area of effect seems way too large for a level 0 spell

The effect on mold, slime, ooze monsters seems way hell and gone too much for a level zero spell. I would probably say it can't effect creatures at all for a level zero spell. Especially since it has no saving throw and isn't affected by SR. Again look at mending.

SOIL would be a separate spell rather than a reverse of this one. See haste/slow. PF does not like reversible spells. SOIL should definitely have a save and be effected by SR.

I kinda like the concept. But I would never allow it as written for a level 0 spell. Might be a level 2 spell as written.

Introduce CLEAN as a spell invented by gnomes to make their lives easier.

Introduce SOIL as a perversion of the original created by kobolds to piss off gnomes.

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Java Man wrote:
... I suppose the thing to do now is start to convert my house rules to PF, or drop them since PF appears to have done a bit of what I did myself (in a few cases much better!). I will most certainly be seeking the community's wisdom on that project.

I have absolutely nothing against house rules. I have a few of them myself. And I hope to start a campaign this fall that will actually have a lot of them.

Having said that, I would suggest trying PF a bit first just as it is written. Not necessarily a full AP, but maybe a couple of module one-shots or a short arch. I know of at least 2 people that put in a bunch of house rules to 'fix' issues that PF doesn't really have. ><

It does have some minor issues, don't get me wrong. No system is perfect. But it is difficult to see what the issues might be (from the perspective of your gaming style) if you don't investigate what it actually is rather than just assuming from a quick read.

>< Things like:

  • The healbot is still necessary and no one wants to play a cleric, so he gave every single class some heal spells. In reality: Healbot is not needed. Condition removal is more difficult than healing hit points. Healbot is not necessary. Cleric is one of the most popular classes. Healbot is not necessary. He was amazed that, even with his rules, 3 of 5 players made clerics (not one was a healbot).
  • Paladin is too weak to justify taking it, so he gave it a bunch of extra powerups. In reality, the paladin is now one of the more powerful classes. Especially the archer paladins. I actually didn't build a paladin because it would have been stupidly dominating and boring.
  • Read that rogues could sneak attack most things when flanking and declared them too powerful. So he nerfed that ability. (Don't remember exactly how.) In reality, most people will agree that the rogue is the weakest class with respect to straight up combat.
  • Etc...

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Can a ranger that does not get any bonus combat feats still select a combat style?

For example:

CRB, Ranger wrote:

Combat Style Feat (Ex): At 2nd level, a ranger must select one of two combat styles to pursue: archery or two-weapon combat. The ranger's expertise manifests in the form of bonus feats at 2nd, 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th level. He can choose feats from his selected combat style, even if he does not have the normal prerequisites.

He selects a combat style and then he chooses his bonus feats from that style.

UC, Ranger, Wild Stalker (Archtype) wrote:

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): At 2nd level, a wild stalker gains uncanny dodge as the barbarian's class feature. This ability replaces the ranger's 2nd-level combat style feat.
Wild Talents (Ex): At 6th level, a wild stalker can either take a rage power, or gains a +2 insight bonus into any one of the following skills: Acrobatics, Climb, Perception, Stealth, Survival, or Swim. The wild stalker can gain one of these two benefits again every five levels after 6th (to a maximum of 4 times at 20th level). This ability replaces the ranger's 6th-, 10th-, 14th-, and 18th-level combat style feat abilities.

As I read it, nothing took away the combat style just the bonus feats related to that style.

APG, Feats wrote:

Aspect of the Beast
Whether by magic or a curse of your blood, some part of you is more beast than man.

Prerequisite: wild shape class feature, see Special.

Benefit: Your bestial nature manifests itself in one of the following ways. You choose the manifestation when you choose the feat, and then you cannot change it.

Night Senses (Ex): If your base race has normal vision, you gain low-light vision. If your base race has low-light vision, you gain darkvision out to a range of 30 feet. If your base race has darkvision, the range of your darkvision increases by 30 feet.

Claws of the Beast (Ex): You grow a pair of claws. These claws are primary attacks that deal 1d4 points of damage (1d3 if you are Small).

Predator's Leap (Ex): You can make a running jump without needing to run 10 feet before you jump.

Wild Instinct (Ex): You gain a +2 bonus on initiative checks and a +2 bonus on Survival skill checks.

Special: A character that has contracted lycanthropy can take this feat without having to meet the prerequisites. A ranger who selects the natural weapon combat style can take this feat without having to meet the prerequisites (even if he does not select Aspect of the Beast as a bonus feat).

So if a ranger has the natural weapon combat style he can take Aspect of the Beast even if he never gets any bonus combat style feats.

APG, Ranger, Shapeshifter (Archtype) wrote:

Combat Style Feat (Ex): At 2nd level, a shapeshifter ranger must choose the natural weapon combat style.

It says you have to select the natural weapon combat style not that you must to have any bonus feats for that combat style.

So as I read it, ranger should be able to take both the Wild Stalker and Shapeshifter archtypes.
That same ranger should also be able to take the feat Aspect of the Beast as a regular feat gained at odd levels after his second ranger level when he selected the natural weapon combat style.

Am I incorrect on any of this?

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MattR1986 wrote:
Anyone with kids would probably agree with me that Sleep would be a godsend to have on many days.

Or Forced Quiet

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We did this about 2-3 years ago.

Since you couldn't get new 3.5 material and we had some new people in the group who didn't have any of the 3.5 books, we started allowing PF stuff.

We did a campaign where both 3.5 and PF were allowed. Throughout the course of that campaign we found that the PF stuff just ran a bit smoother (for example grab and/or grappling rules) and there didn't seem to be as many stupid rules abuse super god character builds.

Most of the classes got some additional stuff and became a bit more playable relative to each other.

Most of us like the archtypes better than 14 prestige / multiclass conglomerations to get your concept. We also liked how the spread out abilities give an actual reason to stick with a class rather than having almost all of it by level 2 so you might as well switch to something else.

So the next campaign was pretty much just a PF campaign where we allowed in some 3.5 stuff if you really wanted it. There were a few feats and spells that some guys liked.

The current campaign, no one even wanted any of the 3.5 stuff.

{{ However, we have one guy that still loves the Dragon Marked Houses from Ebberon. }}

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Artemis Moonstar wrote:
Pan wrote:
This illustrates the combat as war mentality real well. The party shouldnt assume every encounter will be an apropriate challenge for them. Either you risk death by trying to even the odds, or you leave be and find someone your own size.

True, but many I've gamed with recently seem to think that way. Thus my 'expect to die' rule, which I'm paraphrasing when I say it like that. I have explanations after every rule, which in this one's case, is "Dumb things lead to dumb deaths, including but not limited to: Taking on a monster you can't beat, insulting a despotic royal and sleeping with his wife, and trying to find out what properties black powder has when introduced to a dragon's stomach with the Spark spell, among others"... Live, lived examples, one and all...

I actually love when I'm playing and the GM throws something huge we can't beat at us. Means I run the hell away and have something to work towards to beat.

Agreed except for one caveat. The current rules make it nearly impossible to run away from anything dangerous enough to run away from. Unless of course you are willing to leave at least one behind as bait. But most groups don't want to do that right off the bat, so they will attempt some sort of fighting withdrawl. With the huge damage short fight aspects of the game, that can easily become a TPK before you realize it.

It seems rare that you can learn an encounter is too tough to win, too tough for a fighting withdrawl, and something you can get away from all quick enough to not already be dead.

There are exceptions to this.
There are a few dangerous opponents that are slow or tied to a location.
There are a few GM's that understand the chase scene rules and use them well.

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Artemis Moonstar wrote:


Anyone else have a problem with the massive sense of entitlement it seems most bring to the table these days? Among them: Resurrections are instant and easy, Death is nigh non-existent, Can get whatever they want out of Ye Olde Magick Shoppe such as artifacts (!!), and my personal favorite to hear b@%$@ed about... "Challenging encounters should have the GM fudge all his rolls so we can win!"

I wouldn't go so far as to say entitlement with my group. (Except for magic mart - they are pretty insistent on that one.) My group wants to be challenged even if it results in PC demise. Though they wouldn't be happy with weekly TPK's that's going to far.

More my problem is the whole level appropriate concept. Some wild animal has been killing villagers and live stock and the militia can't handle it. "An advanced feral dire bear?!? We're only 2nd level. We have no chance of killing it." Look if something can't be stopped local guard it is dangerous. They could have stopped a regular bear. You may have to spend some time digging a pit trap, run away a few times, gain some allies, or even go away and come back after you've gained some levels.

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I can totally see...

Durkula says "THOR'S a pansy, hel's MIGHT!"

Belker yelling "Hey did you hear what he really said? Let go. I'm serious. Let me at him!"


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Brad McDowell wrote:
I don't want to take a familiar, but its seeming like I have to in order to have an optimized build.

Not true. Probably 2/3 of the people at my local prefer the bonded item due to the cheap magic item and "that perfect spell that you wish you had prepared"

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From discussions with a few people, I would like to make a campaign where magic items are once again special. Or at least more so than they are in the standard PF commodity magic mart campaigns.

We’ve also been talking ways to make considered tactics a bit more rewarded. Something other than build a glass cannon and go full offense. So healing, removal, and raising will be a bit more difficult.

Availability of +X and other magic items:
I disagree with the commonly held belief that the PF system requires the list of +X items be relatively easily available. You can, but I don't see it as necessary.
If you give Wizard PC a +2 to his spell DC and give Fighter NPC a +2 to his saves, the net change is pretty much zero.
If you give Fighter PC a +1 to hit and damage and Sorcerer NPC a +1 to his AC and a +2 to his Con score, the net change is very nearly nil.
The only place it makes a difference is in monsters where you aren't adjusting their stats, bonuses, and abilities or things with a set DC (like poisons). So just don't use as powerful of monsters. That is really the only change that I have found to be necessary.
Some limited (low and mid level) play testing has supported this position. This campaign would test it more extensively. This campaign would proceed with the above assumptions.

  • No (or at least very few) standard +X magic items. You can get a Cloak of the Mantas that lets you swim like a ray but not +2 on all saves. You could have someone make a halberd that adds d6 fire damage but not a +2 halberd.
  • Not sure if should allow magic weapon, greater magic weapon, magic vestment, etc... type spells to function normally or not.
  • Consumable magic items like scrolls, wands, potions, etc… cost is the same as standard PF. Except as noted below.
  • Permanent (not charged or single use) magic items cost x4 the book cost.
  • Can make consumable magic gear. Charges 10. Can be activated by any wielder/user/wearer. Cost would be the same as the permanent version in the PF books. So a Ghost Touch shield would cost 9k, have 10 charges and last 15 hours per charge (CL 15 and an hour each CL).
  • Superior non-magical items with roughly double the effect of masterwork items are available but very expensive.
  • Only superior items can be permanently enchanted. But you don’t have to give a +1 bonus before anything else since +1 bonuses do not exist.
  • Masterwork and special materials are standard cost, but pretty easy to find.
  • Crafting magic items requires a lab and dedicated time. Can’t do it in ½ hour increments while on watch in the wilderness. {I don’t really think baseline PF works like this, but many do. So I’m specifically stating that it does not for this campaign.}
  • No magic item shops. If you want something, you have to find it or convince someone to make it for you (probably in exchange for X favors). Harder to get someone to make an offensive rather than a defensive item. You might use it against him and/or he might get in trouble for providing it if you kill someone important.
  • There will be merchants that sell low level consumable items. Careful. Some are shysters trying to sell junk. Mostly only defensive or utility items. Offensive items would probably be black (or at least gray) market only.
  • Some churches will have a collection of removal/cure/healing consumables for sale to their clergy. Purchase will be more difficult for non-members.
  • Cure X Wounds spells (and spell completion items) require a heal skill check equal to the damage healed. Healing will not be greater than the heal skill check result.
  • Condition removal and restoration spells (and spell completion items) require a caster level check equal to the original save DC. Each failure will increase the DC by 1 (cumulative) for a retry.
  • Raise dead and resurrection really need something, but not sure what. Maybe a table with death due to X having a DC of Y. Each failure will increase the DC by 1 (cumulative) for a retry.

These are for part of the story I have planned that the PC’s may or may not be able to eventually overcome. This effect will probably be limited to the continent where the campaign takes place, but the players won’t know that at first. Hoever, if I do limit it to just the one continent, the effects will be even stronger near the source locus.

  • Spells that effect time or have extra-dimensional effects are 2 levels higher, the save DC is 2 lower, the duration and range/area is cut in half, and the casting time is increased (at least full round casting time). Slow, hasted, teleport, create pit, rope trick, summon X, etc… So Slow would be a 5th level spell, the duration would be 1 round for each 2 caster levels, and the save DC would be -2 from other 5th level spells.
  • Consumable magic items with time or extra-dimensional effects cost x5 book cost.
  • Permanent magic items with time or extra-dimensional effects cost x10 book cost.
  • Feats or class abilities with time or extra-dimensional effects will have to be worked on between player and GM.

Suggestions? Modifications? Other ideas? Would you want to participate in this?

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Imbicatus wrote:

... I know he has choices. But when the choice is you can be completely ineffective against the Shadow (A CR 3 creature) or use a fall back weapon that you have no class features in, then it sucks, because you as a DM are invalidating class options. It's not as severe as causing a Paladin to fall in a lose/lose situation or destroying a Wizard's spellbook, but it's in the same ballpark.

If a player has class abilites they should have the ability to use them, even if they rely on a specific weapon. Otherwise being a fighter is meaningless and the class falls even farther behind the Barbarian/Paladin/Ranger. ...

Still false. Again 'be completely ineffective' is not anywhere on spectrum list of his choices unless he choses to make it so. And not being able to use all of your abilities against one particular rarely encountered opponent is not the same as the 'you as DM are invalidating class options' at all. If the party encounters a golem did I suddenly turn the wizard into a commoner? It is immune to most of his spells which the class is built around. No, of course not.

Any fighter that is that much against using the flail (though really having a backup that is blunt is a good idea) by the level in your example can easily afford an Oil, Scroll, or even Wand of Magic Weapon. He is not helpless against anything unless he chose to be that badly prepared. The GM did not invalidate his class options, he did it to himself.

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To the OP:

We have found that the theory-crafted builds tend to not do as well as expected in actual game play.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the suck, shouldn’t be used, or whatever. But usually when someone follows whatever build exactly as presented in the forums it is only good at combat. Yes, it is a combat machine if the player has enough system mastery to use it properly (often if he is following a build by rote he does not). But since charisma and skills didn’t count toward DPR both are probably dumped and the only skill is probably perception.

Many of the builds are so exclusively offense focused that they are constantly getting charmed/confused/dominated or the rest of the party has to spend a huge amount of resources constantly healing them.

The PC can’t assist much when not in combat and gets bored. The PC has no skills to try and avoid combat, so there are more fights that could have been avoided. Yes the PC mows through the fights (but maybe the rest of the party doesn’t fair as well). Almost every player has said they wished they’d dropped their combat stat a few points to increase some mental stat for some skills and bonuses to use out of combat.

Another much more subjective issue we have noticed is tactical unconcern. Not always, but often. As soon as a player has a build that is a combat monster, they seem to stop giving consideration to any tactics that might give an edge. They are so exclusively focused on “My build lets me do XYZ damage every full attack.” that they can’t seem to even consider not closing in to use a full attack. Even if it is the worst of all possible choices, that is probably what they are going to do.

A few weeks ago I was at a table with I guy whose PC is built for charging on his riding gecko lizard. Yes, it was a kool trick. But he wanted every encounter to be a fight (wouldn’t cooperate very well with attempts to get past something diplomatically). Also, he would get upset with the rest of the party for not telepathically knowing what he wanted us to do to maximize his chance to charge into combat. One fight he actually held his action for 3 rounds in a row waiting for a charge lane to open. If he had just closed to threaten, it probably would have ended the fight 2 rounds sooner and we would not have had to eat as many spells. But he just couldn’t conceive of his charger not charging. I’ve been with the exact same player using a pregen. He played it much more intelligently and effectively. I really don’t think it was role playing the PC’s personality. He seemed to be completely unaware of it.

A lot of space on these forums talk about how the prepared casters are so incredibly powerful because they have the right spell for the job or can just leave slots open and prepare it when needed.

I have rarely been in a campaign, group, or PFS event that actually allowed them to do that very often. Usually they don’t have enough info to tailor the spell list ahead of time, about half of the prepared spells are the wrong ones, rarely get a chance to fill the slots left open, even the good prepared spells were just good not perfect (and they were the general spells that everyone always takes). Almost always the PC would have had more applicable spells available if playing a spontaneous caster.

I am aware there are some campaign, GM’s, and groups where they can really use that capability to advantage. But I don’t see them often.

For us, theory-crafted builds are good place to get ideas. But we have only rarely found them to be ideal.

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I have played since the original blue and pink-ish (it was actually more of a maroon when brand new but faded to pink really quickly) books. And the friend that got me started had a copy of the even more original loose-leaf black and white pamphlet like books.

Probably my most memorable experience was when the light finally dawned on our first non-dungeon crawl adventure. We were working for the locals trying to find out who killed X and made off with the treasure of Y. We were amassing clues, guesses, and descriptions when we suddenly realized they were all pointing at us. We were being setup to take the blame. “Hey wait a minute! Holy Crap!! How the heck did …” It was really pretty wild. I don’t think it’s just nostalgia. I really think he was the best GM I’ve ever played with.

There have been a lot of changes over the years. Mostly they are good, but some not so much.

  • Lethal traps and poisons – Good and bad. I admit it wasn’t fun to lose your character. But I do have a hard time with why anyone would bother with a trap/poison that would barely inconvenience a girl scout.
  • De-Emphasis in Traps and Puzzles – Good. I could never understand the fascination with puzzles. It would almost completely break my immersion. Why in the heck would I put a puzzle on the entrance to my bedroom?!? A magical lock that only recognized me? Yes of course, that’s logical. A puzzle that requires 2 people 15 minutes even once you know the solution… Uhmm… Just no. Traps on the other hand made sense (at least sometimes). If I had a secret entrance to my lair, yes I would trap it in every lethal way I could think of. But even though it would make sense it doesn’t make for an exciting adventure to spend 2 hours watching the rogue (who was absolutely necessary) slowly work his way down every hall.
  • Level Appropriate – Good and bad. Back when, it just didn’t exist as an explicit considered concept. I don’t think I ever heard the term until late 2nd or early 3rd edition. Now the party will coincidentally only encounter the weakest of Mr Evil’s henchmen until they themselves become stronger. Back then you would have to carefully nibble around the edges of the ME’s organization or you would get easily swatted by something x3 your level. Again it wasn’t fun to always lose your character, but the world seemed more believable.
  • Killer GM’s – Mostly good and somewhat bad. All of us were. It generates a huge amount of hate now if you kill PC’s on a regular basis. None of us were trying to be mean, on a power trip, adversarial, etc… We just all thought that was how it was ‘supposed’ to be done. If you haven’t played through the slow progressive change (I didn’t, an almost 15 year gap in playing), a lot of the current stuff looks like slow pitch whiffle ball compared to competitive baseball. Not saying it necessarily is, but that is what it looked like when I first came back to RPG’s. It took some adjustment.
  • Increased Pace of advancement – Good. It used to take figuratively forever to get to high levels. I really like that it doesn’t take that long anymore.
  • Magic Items lost their luster – To me this is almost completely a bad change. Used to be that magic items really seemed special. When you found the Spear of Zunga that gave bleeding wounds. It was kool. It stayed kool. Even if you didn’t usually use a spear, you kept it throughout your career for those times when it was useful. Because you would probably never find anything like it again. And it would be useful throughout your career. At 12th level you might encounter something that was particularly hard to hit. A bleeding weapon was perfect. Now magic items are just expensive high quality gear of very limited useful life. Found a Wounding Spear? Meh, I prefer the falchion. Just sell it to have someone enchant my falchion a bit more. Even if you decide to use it, within a few levels it will be almost considered as useless as the blade you started with. I do find this change particularly saddening.
  • Tremendous Increase in Rules – Some old timers don’t like this, but I think it is great. Back when if you wanted to “I trip the knight and when he’s off balance I shove him off the bridge!” It was entirely at the GM’s whim as to how likely it was to succeed or even if it was possible to try. GM1 and GM2 might have very different notions of how hard it should be. Even GM1 might drastically change depending upon how difficult he wanted this fight to be. Now, there are rules for it.
  • Hugantical Increase in PC Options – This is all good to me. (Again I know some old timers don’t like this.) Unless someone got stupidly lucky (or unlucky) in rolling stats, there used to be virtually no difference between fighter X and fighter Y.
  • Social Acceptability – When you got above about 13 or so you were probably ostracized if people knew you were one of ‘those’ people. Now, ok you might be a bit more of a dork than otherwise but not to a huge extent. And you don’t have the local ignorant church gang holding an intervention to try and save you from devil worship or kick you out of the community for devil worship.
  • Bathing – Thankfully that unfortunately applicable stereotype has mostly died a needed death. I can remember trying to get to the game/comic shop first thing in the morning so there weren’t too many people there. Because later in the day the B.O. was so bad I couldn’t stand to walk into the shop long enough to look at any of the books. I am grateful that has almost completely been eliminated from the hobby.

On the whole, I think most of the changes have been very much for the better. The loss of magic’s special-ness is really my only significant gripe.

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Ok, let's say the Hound of Tindalos. It has DR 10/magic. (Believe it or not I was actually having some trouble finding a level appropriate creature that only had DR x/magic.)

1st: I would probably not use something with DR 10 magic on a 5th level party unless it was the climatic battle. In which case, it is supposed to be tough.

2nd: Let's say they are faced with this. Yes, the fighter has choices. He almost always has choices.
He can attack it with his great sword and try to get through the DR with power attack. He can use the +1 Hv Flail which isn't affected by the DR. He can use the Oil of Magic Weapon that he was smart enough to purchase. He could ask the sorcerer to use the Wand (or Scroll) of Magic Weapon that he was smart enough to purchase and loan to the sorc. He could ask the cleric, who was smart enough to prep Magic Weapon since they were going up against demons, to temporarily enchant his blade. He (and his fellows) might decide to drench it in oil, alchemist fire, acid, etc... since they know it is resistant to their usual attacks. He might tank defensively (while taunting it) to draw it's ire, so the archer with the magic arrows can pincushion it. He might acrobatics into position so the rogue can sneak attack it and let his 4d6+2 damage work through the DR. He might even try to grapple it so it can't just keep turning invisible to attack them by surprise. Or he might take out the cleric of ZonKuthon that summoned it before it summons anything else and let his buddies the cleric and sorc blast the Hound into little pieces. Etc...

Against that one creature his weapon specialization is not as encounter ending as it usually is. He still has lots of other options. Against the multitude of other opponents it works as well as can be expected. He is not a warrior class unless he chooses to be so.

In some of my campaigns, an extraplanar demonic thing from beyond should be very difficult and dangerous to fight. In most campaigns, modules, AP's a DR x/magic is completely meaningless by APL 5+ because everyone that uses weapons has a magic weapon. So why even bother to write that the creature has any DR?

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