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Lizardfolk

Kydeem de'Morcaine's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 3,708 posts (8,586 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 7 Pathfinder Society characters. 13 aliases.


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wraithstrike wrote:
Can'tFindthePath wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
VampByDay, if those are the things you got from the boards, you need to be more faithful about actually reading people's posts (and also the Core Rulebook) and really absorbing what's actually being said instead of what you assumed was coming once you got through the first sentence. Frankly, you have a lot of people to apologize to.

I must disagree. I have been haunting these boards for around 6 years, and I got the same exact impressions the OP listed. No, I did not exhaustively research every topic and read thousands of posts to track down every differing opinion, so as to "fact check". Many of us cannot keep up with the sheer magnitude of post output on these boards. But, I have consistently seen the same or similar "absolutist" opinions that are being discussed, and I drew the same conclusion as to the prevailing attitude toward the subjects outlined by OP.

I think many of you are being very hard on the OP. In fact I have rarely seen so many well considered opinions posted on these varied topics in all my years here.

I don't fall into the trap of the absolute opinions, just as I don't go for all the "optimization", but I can easily see how someone could.

Extreme viewpoints get noticed because they are extreme. That does not make them the majority. If I look into the first 5 threads on each topic and I actually count posters the ones with extreme points matching what the OP said will be the minority. I am sure of that.

Agreed they are more noticeable because they are extreme. Sometimes they are also more numerous.

Couple years ago, I had a big long post with almost everyone acting like I was a complete moron because I was trying to help a friend build a combat healer. He was familiar with PF and wanted to try a combat healer and his party was ok with him making the attempt.

Almost no matter what I posted or the couple of people trying to help me posted, there would be 1-5 posts declaiming it as an awful idea. They were very clear on the NEVER heal in combat over-and-over-again.
After a few pages of that I actually checked the posters aliases.

Turned out there were actually only 2 guys using multiple aliases just to make sure they massively shouted down everyone else. I sometimes look for that now.

Don't know how often it actually happens, but I have seen a least a few instances of a small number of people actively working to seem like a large number of people to promote some absolutist extreme point of view.

It's one of the reasons I really wish these boards had an 'ignore' function.


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Personally, I do not really recommend the crossbow. At low levels acid splash has a much better chance to hit and does nearly as much damage over time. What it doesn't have is range, but that isn't usually needed in PFS. So a lot of sorcs will use a couple of prestige for a wand of magic missile for those times when range is needed.

After a few levels when acid splash is a complete waste of time (xbow would also be a complete waste of time) you almost never run out of spells anyway.


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The appropriateness of this depends a lot upon your group. If they are tactical, scout, prepare, buff, non-glass cannons, experienced, and/or optimize well - it might be pretty easy for them. If however, they tend to just stomp through dungeons with no planning or tactics - this could hurt a lot. I would guess, this is pretty much the limit I would try for most 3rd level groups. But only you really know your group.

This is a kinda 'swingy' boss fight. If several fail the saves on radiance or sound burst, a few barbarian crits, and he hits with a couple of searing light, you could easily have a TPK with this. I'm not necessarily saying that is a bad thing. Just want to make sure you are aware.
I am one of those that tend to believe many games are too easy. You said the players know the 'lethality knob' has been turned up and are ok with it. So I don't see it as a problem.


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I don't think any 1 word (or other tiny number of words) classification system can really encompass a system as complex as PF has become.

Given that, I think the Hammer, Anvil, and Arm comes close.
Soon after reading about this classification system we had a group one time that was making new characters for a one shot adventure. Of the 5 players; 1 planned to bring an anvil, 1 arm (me), and 3 hammers. it seemed like a decent mix. Except...
Game day we all had squishy primary casters. There were 2 blasters, a SoD caster, a debuff/CC caster, and a buff caster. We had a good laugh and decided to try it anyway. But we had extreme difficulties keeping all the bad guys far enough away to have time to cast any spells. Sure if we had the time, the concentrated spells were devastating. We also had to worry about not using up all our good spells too fast.

But I prefer to match that with Martial or Caster as well as Close or Ranged.

If someone says they are making a Close-Martial-Hammer, then I can pretty clearly judge what they see as their role in combat. Probably a barbarian or fighter melee beat stick.
If I hear Close-Caster-Anvil that tells me something else. Maybe a cleric or oracle focusing on touch range debuffs.
In our above situation, every player would have said ranged and caster so we would have known there was a potential problem.

[Slight Derail]
I know this thread is primarily about combat roles, but I also try to get people to give a little bit about their out of combat roles. "I also have condition removal, face, UMD, monster knowledge, catching lies, tracking, sneaking, dealing with traps, utility spells, divinations, etc..." something. I personally really dislike it when players make characters that have only combat roles. The player almost always either is either disruptive (because they are trying to generate a fight so they can participate) or not paying attention (because they are bored). [/Slight Derail]


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wraithstrike wrote:
Space McMan wrote:
My wife wants the frontliner role, but hasn't picked a class. How much power would it add to the inquisitor class is she went melee inquis and I went bow inquis and we coordinated on teamwork feats? Would the synergy be cancelled out by us bringing the same spells to the party, or would it bring the overall value of both of our characters up?

One thing I like about this game is that two people can play the same class and bring different things to the table. The overlap is more about how you play the class, than the class at times. As an example if the party rogue is trying to be the scout and party face, and you play a bard who does similar things then you might step on his toes. But if you had been a rogue who focuses on other skills, there would be little overlap.

To answer your question: If you and your wife play inquisitors your teamwork feats are not likely to do much because one of you will be ranged. If both of you were melee it would work better. Most of the teamwork feats are not really that much of factor except in very specific circumstances.

If your wife wants the frontline role she might want to go barbarian. They can also have some utility so she does not get bored with just hitting things.

Personally, I disagree with some of this.

No, there doesn't need to be a huge overlap between 2 inquisitors. You don't get all that many spells known, so it is easy to not duplicate. Inquisitors get lots of skills, but it is easy to specialize in different skills. Feel perfectly free to have 2 inquisitors.

I very much disagree with the comment of the teamwork feats not being a factor except in very specific circumstances.
For some reason it seems to be fairly difficult to talk people into trying the teamwork feats. However, nearly every time I've seen people actually give it a try, they were amazing.
Just having the teamwork feats helps people actively consider ways to work together as a team rather than collection of individuals.
There are a couple of teamwork feats specifically intended for a ranged/melee pair. (Don't remember the name off the top of my head.)
Several are defense and/or movement teamwork.

Consider the feat Stealth Synergy. A lot of people will tell you stealth is a complete waste of time for a group, unless everyone completely specializes in it. Someone will roll bad and then the attempt is ruined. But we had a group of 5 people all take it. That is 5 rolls of the dice and everyone uses the highest number rolled. Even with only moderately decent stealth modifiers, we were almost never discovered getting into position.

Consider the feat Escape Route. Two people attempting to cover each other and with the inquisitors solo tactics ability, can run almost at will around the edges of a combat.

Consider the feat Shake it Off. Inquisitor in the front line and the archer standing right behind. Assume a 5-6 person group in a double file. This feat along with solo tactics, you both have a +3 to +5 to all your saves. A lot of people will tell you that Iron Will with a +2 to your will saves is worth while. If you make some effort the can be a +3 to al saves most of the time.

Not all of them are great for all builds. But they are better than most people think. Especially for inquisitors, cavaliers, and hunters. And most especially if you make some effort to try and gain the benefits.


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Hmm... I've been looking at some of the PFS scenarios I've done to see where an opponent might be likely to have come from. Examples might include:

PFS messed up the plans of the Zyphus cult in the Among the X series and some ratfolk in the Rat of Round Mountain. So a Zyphus cultist or a fallen clan ratfolk might be interested in vengeance.

Some of it might depend on what level you want to start at for believability of the background. But it is certainly doable.

You thinking more along the lines of a group of do-gooders opposing the not really all that good PFS?
OR
More of a potentially evil group trying to take over the niche, organization, and discoveries - more like the Aspis Consortium (maybe even including some of their members)?


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NO, NO, NO ! ! !

Don't you guys know anything? You have to let him think he is dead first. Otherwise, how will he know how wonderful you are for saving him?!? sheesh


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LazarX wrote:
Rastrum wrote:
Isn't master summoner explicitly called out as being mostly for solo adventures, and being DM discretion to allow otherwise?
Don't know about that, but I do recall that even James Jacobs bans the summoner almost entirely from his home games. The Master and the Synthesist are banned from PFS play.

Most people that I know and PFS ban it due to the way it bogs down the game rather than the actual power level.

Well played and built Druids and Wizards are stil substantially more powerful.


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Just remembered another thing I had to learn for the more recent versions of the game.

Back in my AD&D and 2nd Ed days, we could usually run the modules as written. They were normally decent to challenging for the average player.

Most of the time, this is NOT the case for recently published material for PF. The AP’s are written for using 15 point buy for PC’s (most groups use 20 or 25), for players (many groups have 5 or 6 players), and most importantly they assume pretty much neophyte players without much system mastery (yours and many other groups have much more than that). That can make a huge deal.

I usually find that any encounter that was intended to be significant or challenging I basically have to re-write and massively up the power level. I double quantity, add class levels, optimize builds, adjust tactics, add traps, environmental barriers, add hostages, and/or improve equipment.

If I don’t, they just waltz through the entire thing without any real effort. Quickly becomes boring for everyone.

It took me a while to accept the significant power difference between the minimum assumed by the authors and what my experienced players actually bring to the table.


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Experiment 626 wrote:

...

It the summoner drops them in the right square, they'll attack the correct enemy. If you, as the GM, allow it, he can drop different birds in different squares, setting up a flank. ...

Agreed. Eagles show up and decimate first goblin. I don’t have a problem with that. I meant after that, they are just going to move on to which ever enemy is closest to each individual eagle. They won’t all move toward the chief/shaman and surround him for flanking and to prevent an escape route. That would be several handle animal checks.

.
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Otherwhere wrote:

I can't believe Paizo thought that extending the duration by a factor of 10 wasn't broken!

Cause it really isn’t.

Ok, you fight in a room. Typically they search the room. That is about a min for each square. Summoned creature gone.
Ok, didn’t search the room. The rogue sneaks down to the next door, listens, comes back to tell the rest, searches for traps, picks the lock. Summoned creature gone.
Ok, didn’t search the room and didn’t sneak to the next. There is usually discussion on what to do next, healing wounds, picking a route, travel time, etc… Summoned creature gone.

My experience has usually been that even with the increased duration they are gone before the next fight. Unless of course the whole party is sprinting from encounter to encounter without searching, stealthing, investigating anything. If they are sprinting from encounter to encounter, that should give them other problems.
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Otherwhere wrote:

...

Ugh! Yeah - I'm still dealing with him at just lvl 3, and have to let him know he can't summon Fauns. I need to research the others on the list. Any opinions on the Grig or Pseudodragon?

Lantern Archons will be the next pain when he gets there.
...

As GM I haven't found any need to tell them to not summon any given creature. personally, as a summoning PC I try to summon different things all the time just for variety.

All of them have issues and weakness that intelligent opponents can make use of. Do they really shine sometimes? Sure! That's a good thing.

The eagle is the combat machine on the SM 1 list.
SM2 it is usually the small elemental or the lemure.
SM3 it is the lantern archon though the leopard is also pretty good.
SM4 usually the lion but sometimes the wasp.

But none of them are really all that great in most circumstances. Lantern archon cuts through DR and flies. Great! But it’s about as durable as a clay pot. Reasonable archer or burning hands at that level and they are gone having done just a little damage. Compare it to the damage of a 5th level fireball from a wizard in one round. Not that much.

Now if you have opponents that have DR you can’t get through and they don’t have and ranged attacks, spells, or flight capability. The lantern archons will start to rack up the damage numbers eventually. But if the bad guy can’t get to the archons, what is he going to do? Just stand there and curse at them? No, he’s going to charge the guy summoning them. So it actually can put the summoner at more risk by making him a target.

Otherwhere wrote:

...

Man - this archetype is looking more and more unattractive as a GM.

Again, you have a player that like to make a powerful PC. That is really your issue. Not the master summoner archtype. A vanilla druid could be doing even more with him and his AC both being great in combat. An average cleric could be doing as much and yet be more durable. A standard wizard could be doing more with lots of other options.

The only thing the archtype gives him is that it is easy to make powerful. From what you have said, he doesn’t need that “easy to make powerful.” He will take the time to make anything powerful. So if he were to run a magus, wizard, cleric, druid, sorc, barbarian, etc… he would still make a powerful character and would still outshine your other players that don’t make powerful characters.


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Otherwhere wrote:

... But the bigger issue for me is how to handle a MS regardless of campaign. MOST people say: "Don't! Ban it!"

...

Well you see that a lot online, but I actually don’t hear it that much in person. Very few people I’ve met ban very much for being overpowered. Or if they do, they ban a whole bunch of stuff trying to make it feel like AD&D which is nearly impossible.

In my opinion, you are doing it best. Trying to figure out how to handle it without banning.

Otherwhere wrote:

...

To get back to your question: this player has a knack for power-gaming. I don't think it is conscious and deliberate, but if I allow him to choose something he always homes in on something OP. ...

Well here is your issue. If someone likes to make powerful characters and is halfway good at it, he is going to be able to do it no matter what you ban.

I could get much more powerful with a druid. The animal companion would be more powerful than the master summoner’s eidolon, the druid would fight better than the master summoner, the druid is a better caster than the summoner, and he can summon many more creatures in a day than a master summoner. It gets even worse if I use the saurian shaman archtype.

For next campaign (or if this PC dies and is not recoverable) you might try a side conversation with the player. “You usually are very good at making powerful characters, but I think it is making some of the other players feel sidelined. Not saying don’t optimize, but maybe you could try optimizing starting with something that isn’t as powerful and seeing how good you can get that. Like an arcane trickster isn’t all that high on the power curve, but if you optimize it well, it should be in the same ballpark as the others. Or you could optimize something that makes the others strong so they don’t feel left out. Ex: buff casters or the halfling aid another specialists.” It might not have any result, but it is worth a try.
Personally, that is what I do as a player. I like to optimize more than most of the people I play with. But I try to start with something that my optimal version won't over shadow the others and/or it strengthens the others.

Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
Otherwere: maybe it's just me, but if the situation was reversed (i.e. the DM is throwing a Master Summoner at us, which would be part of a party of other enemy NPCs) my PC would yell: "FIRE AT WILL ON THE BLASTED SUMMONER!!" Most of our party would pool all attacks on this guy until he stops summoning. ...

All of my players know that intelligent enemies will use tactics at least as clever as the PC’s. If the PC’s are smart enough to focus fire on the caster/summoner then intelligent opponents will do the same. Note: I wouldn’t expect all goblins to be that intelligent. But some of them should be. Especially after repeated exposure.

The goblin leader screams, "All you biters throw both vials at the funny looking poofter hiding in the back!" When 6+ vials of acid sail over toward the summoner he might get a bit scared.
Plus I would say cowardly goblins might attack the squishy looking characters just because they look like less of a threat.


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Experiment 626 wrote:
ElterAgo wrote:
that's one of the reasons I wouldn't let a beginner run a summoner. I don't think they are over powered, but there is a lot to learn and be organized. Alchemist, druid, magus, gunslinger, etc... Some of those just have a lot to them. I would rather a player learn the basic lego set before they start working with solid state mechanics.

That's interesting, because I think it's more fun to walk people through the steps and turn them loose with a summoner. They have one main trick, but such a trick!

Its relevant at all levels. You can have their eidolon suggest things to them, in character. They don't have to deal with the mind-numbing mechanics of fighters ("I full attack. Again.") or the soul-crushing disappointment of rogues.

Its "battlefield controller guy" on easy mode. As I mentioned above, I felt like I was on vacation when I was playing it. Thusly, I had a lot of mental space available for roleplaying instead of frantically searching my character sheet(s) for just the right solution to the problems we encountered.

I can see what you are saying, but there is potentially also a lot of fiddly bits in all the different crap you can summon.

Can you speak the language?
Fly, climb, swim, grapple, trip, poison, disease, swallow, handle animal, CMB, CMD, trample, DR/good, slime coating, earth glide, whirlwind, drowning, etc...
Many of them also have spells to learn.

If you are careful to only pick the easy to run creatures, you can avoid most of that. But anyone that wants to be a summoner probably doesn't want to just use the simple creatures.

Also from what you said, you are there to explain it to them and help them through the pitfalls and complications. This case is the GM also learning the system.
And honestly, I am not the greatest GM in the world. When I am GM I find it hard enough to keep track of all the rest of the world. It is tough for me to also devote too much effort to helping one player with a pile-o-complications.
If I was a fellow player sitting next to him, I wouldn't have a problem helping him out. But I find it difficult when I am also GM.

Also, I don't think I've ever told a player "Don't play X."
I have told players, "It is complex and difficult for a new player, many of the abilities won't apply during this campaign, nearly everyone online agrees that it is one of the least powerful classes, that is a tough one for beginners, or this requires a lot of organization."
If they still want to try, we'll give it a go.

Not too long ago we had a new player. Hadn't played DnD since 2nd Ed but had played some other RPG's in recent years. He immediately fell in love with the magi. We explained the difficulty and that our campaign was already in progress at level 9+ (so he wouldn't be learning it from the early levels). He wanted to give it a try. Sure, we let him.

He did have a lot of difficulty with it. Pretty often, he was making poor choices and nearly dying from them. It took him a good while to understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of that build. He really only got the hang of gish-weapon-spell combat about the time the campaign retired around level 15. But we all had fun and he did learn the system.


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Otherwhere wrote:
Experiment 626 wrote:

I can see how the summoner gets a bad rep. The SLA ability knocks it out of the park at low levels.

...
Or, just leave it as is, and let them enjoy their nova 1 or 2x/day if they so choose. Beyond 5th level, I don't think its going to be much of an issue except for turn hogging.

A Summoner wouldn't seem too bad. It's teh Master Summoner that is making me have to question: do I change this or can I deal with it on my end as GM?

Also: I'm over 50. LOL My 35+ years is actual gaming experience, starting with D&D back in 197-something. So I'm not a noob when it comes to trying to run a table. But PF has so many rules, and new ones added all teh time, it has been hard to stay on top of. Plus all the new rules for new classes and archetypes.

So, like I said, I try to educate myself and learn to be a better GM. This is a challenge and will earn me more system mastery, that's for sure!
Fly checks, animal handling checks; concentration checks; 5'-steps; and AoO; etc.,etc.

Well, I'm not quite in the 50+ category. But I'm not that far off.

Pretty often when someone is switching from an earlier version to PF, I suggest starting with just the CRB for a while, then add a few of the other books, then a few more, etc... That lets them learn all that crap in more manageable blocks rather than one huge lump-o-stuff.

The other thing I suggest is exactly what you are doing now. Come to the boards for advice. But you don't need to have all the stuff like fly checks and handle animal checks memorized. You checked with us and now you know about it. Make the player learn all that crap and just occasionally spot check him to make sure he is doing it correctly.

"Ok, did you have it successful make a fly check to hover while it is full attacking? Did you make your handle animal check to get it to leave off from the goblin and attack the chief? Did you make another to get it into flanking position?"
When he says I only needed 1 check at a DC=13, remember that. Next day check and see if he was right. "Nope, you needed 2 checks. One was DC=13, but the other was DC=18. Remember that next time." If you find he keeps screwing it up tell him he can't use that type of creature until he can learn the rules properly. (I just made up numbers, I didn't bother to look them up for the example.)

That is perfectly legit and not at all mean spirited. A responsible player learns all about what he is trying to do. It is not fair to just learn the positive stuff and make all the negative stuff the GM's responsibility. Don't let them put you in that box.

that's one of the reasons I wouldn't let a beginner run a summoner. I don't think they are over powered, but there is a lot to learn and be organized. Alchemist, druid, magus, gunslinger, etc... Some of those just have a lot to them. I would rather a player learn the basic lego set before they start working with solid state mechanics.


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Not always, but often when I hear about the Summoner or Master Summoner is OP because of X.
It has usually been that the rules, restrictions, conditions, etc... were not actually being applied correctly.

Eidolons should always be checked by multiple people. They seem to usually be screwed up.

The summoned animals are stupid. They should only fight with the combat tactics of that kind of animal.
(I once heard of someone having a lion sunder the spell component pouch and holy symbol of a cleric. Just no.)

Most casters can't communicate with most summoned creatures so there are limits to what you can have them do.
{My sorc learned all the elemental languages, celestial, infernal, and abyssal. Plus he UMD's a wand of speak with animals. But that takes planning.

The eagle is kinda ridiculous at SM1. But its attacks don't have a great to hit chance. Should be making fly checks all the time, doesn't have much durability once your opponents are even halfway decent, and it's a stupid bird.

This also seems kinda more powerful because it is almost a situation written for a master summoner. "You see a horde of goblins. Yeah well I throw my horde of eagles at them." It is literally what they are best at.

Edit:
What if the opposition instead of 6 Goblins was 3 Hobgolins in breastplate with large shield? Now suddenly almost none of those eagle attacks will get through. His summoned creatures will absorb a few weapon attacks, but that is about it.

If you make a channel focused cleric for an undead campaign, it will also seem way hugely powerful.

Liberty's Edge

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One of the occasional GM's at our local doesn't feel like he is doing too good a job. He says he is losing track of stuff and not doing all the weird complex rules correctly.
I haven't been present at many of his GM sessions, but I haven't seen any issues except he is a bit slower than others. But not enough that I would call it a problem and I have not heard any complaints.

But he would like a list of some still entertaining/memorable scenarios that are not too difficult/demanding upon a GM that isn't yet really very confident in himself.

Yup he's got Confirmation, Masters of the Fallen Fortress, First Steps, We Be Goblins, and We Be Goblins Too.

So what are some others that he can do while he gains a bit more experience and confidence without 'boring his players to tears' in the process?


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Ok, for the future, you will probably get more helpful responses if you give these kinds of conditions and concerns at the beginning of the discussion.

If he doesn't want to let high level characters know there is a high level wizard around, he is basically stuck using low-mid level spells. Most anything high level and the opposition will be able to tell what it came from. Namely a very high level caster. But he can use lots of low level spells with really high save DC's. That can't easily be distinguished from a bunch of medium level casters.

However, you could still use lot of low level summoned creatures to turn dirt road into a muddy morass, temporarily flood lowlands, vipers to spook the mounts, swarms in the supplies, take out bridges/roads, etc...

Charm or dominate messengers to pass the wrong orders (but close to the right one so they think it is just a mistake).

Continual darkness or grease on bridges/tunnels so people don't want to use them. At least not quickly.

Build distractions and/or illusions that they just can't ignore. Small disposable wooden forts that they can see but not on the direct line of march. If ignored they could be a threat to the baggage train. When attacked most are empty, trapped, or filled with illusions of troops.

Charm, confuse, capture the scouts and trailers of a marching column.

At each site, leave several notes scattered around that read along the lines of, "Think what would have happened if we had collapsed the bridge with it full of troops rather than before you arrived. It would have been just as easy and killed lots of you soldiers. We're trying to save the kingdom and save your lives. Your officers are trying to save their own privileged positions and the usurper by spending your lives."

Spread similar rumors in every tavern and shop in the country.


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Hmm... How to respond to some of this in a non-inflammatory manner?

I will rarely tell someone that they have to have X. (Except a wand of CLW or IF. It is just plain rude to expect everyone else to take care of you all the time.)

However, it is very accurate to say that everyone needs to be able to deal with a variety of situations like Y. And the easiest (or most common) way is to have X. If you have some other way to deal with it, perfectly fine.
NOTE: Complaining that the scenario is 'unfair / lame / bogus / stupid / hopeless / impossible' does not count as a way of dealing with Y.

So... What are some of the Y situations that you will need to have a way to deal with?

Things are going to try to hurt you.
Most characters will try to have a decent AC, hit points, and constitution score. There are other options. I have seen a wizard/cleric/MT with a con of 8 played by a very capable and experienced player. He tries to spend most of every scenario invisible/hidden and mostly succeeds. He has come close to dying a couple of times, but not quite. He contributes a lot and does not rely on everyone else to make up for his low con score. It is NOT easy and should not be tried by a beginner. Yet it is possible.

Sometimes a place will not be well lit.
Personally, I like having darkvision. But there are many ways of dealing with this. Wand of light, sunrods, everburning torch, lantern, lowlight vision, oil of daylight, blindfight feat, etc...

Some opponents will not stand right next to you to be hit repeatedly (inconsiderate of them I know, but it happens).
The most common approach is to have a ranged weapon. Bow, crossbow, javelin, heck a sling is free. Second most common is ranged offensive spells. But there are still more options. Have an option ready.

Occasionally your legs will not carry you where you need/want to go.
Swim fins, potion of flying, wand of touch of the sea, horse, wings, polymorph spells, scroll of dimension door, spider climb, etc...

I know it is hard to believe, but sometimes your mondo blade of supreme destruction may not be the best tool for the job.
Have another tool handy.

An unpleasant person may cast a spell to make you hurt your allies.
Have a way to stop/hinder that from happening.
Don't dump wisdom, take iron will, have a re-roll, carry the ion stone, buy a wand of prot from evil, spells to shield your mind, cloak of resistance, etc... My personal opinion is that you worst save should be at LEAST equal to half you level. And your will save should be better than that.

I think Sammy T's guide seems to be a fairly good compilation of possible X ways to deal with many of those Y situations.

Not too long ago I was at a table with a PC that did not have any ranged capability, the only back up weapon other than his mondo blade was his fist (no improved unarmed strike), no way to catch or get close to an enemy that did not cooperate, his will save was less than 1/3 of his level.
In one scenario he was taken over and almost killed an ally, paralyzed by another failed will save, absorbed almost all of someone else's wand of CLW, and made exactly 1 sword strike against a fairly minor enemy (granted he hit for a lot of damage). Most of the opposition was flying, climbing, or very fast. None of us were at all impressed with his super soldier.


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Bargain/deal with powerful other plane entities. Either to take out leaders or slow down the incoming armies for at least 7 days and the army has to be weaker than when it started.

Elementals/monsters/demons into the opposing baggage train and sleeping encampments.

Summoned earth and water elementals to flood the routes take down bridges.
Summoned fire and air elementals to create forest fires on approach routes.

Various symbols on approach routes.

Walls of stone, sleet/volcanic storm on bridge or in mountains.

Xexyz wrote:

...

Teleportation Circle won't work. It could get the soldiers there, but not the baggage train.
...

If you get the army there instantly and quickly take over, you don't need the baggage train!


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Wait, Wait, Wait a minute...

Shouldn't it me GM Princess Tyrant?

Princess GM Tyrant?

Or maybe Tyrant Princess GM?

We have to figure proper precedence of royalty, vocation, and power!


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Personally, I can see both sides of the argument.

I never thought the early entry to PrC's was too powerful, but I thought the old rule made some of the PrC's too easy. It is not what the concept (in my mind) of prestige class means. It is something you should be working to gain the acceptance and entrance into the organization/guild/fellowship that trains you to be that. It is the way I have always thought of them. But if you get it at 3rd or 4th level, pffft... That is barely starting for many campaigns. You didn't work for nothing.

On the other hand without that ruling, I will admit I usually would not want to play a PrC like MT simply because by the time it really takes serious effect, I'm almost done with the character. PFS retires at level 12 (for the most part) and most of the home campaigns I've been in don't go much higher if even that high.

I guess I don't have a real strong opinion on it either way. I think most home game GM's will pick one or the other without regard to the new or old FAQ. It will invalidate one of my several PC's in PFS. But I can live with that.


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This is probably one of the few things I would have been willing to kickstart, but didn't hear about it in time.


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memorax wrote:
... You have made some good points. I still don't think that they make a case for Paizo or any rpg company to publish less imo.

Again, I take exception to the part about people who don't want new material. I have seen that mentioned repeatedly in this thread.

Reading through here I've seen very few people saying they don't want the company to publish any new material. They want something different than what is being published.
* Updated/corrected versions of original material.
* Different material. Ex: More setting stuff rather than PC build stuff.
* Better quality of material. Ex: Rather than 5 books with editing errors, confusing wording, and/or poorly considered options - Put out only 2 books that have been more extensively edited, clearly worded, and/or more play testing.
* PF 2.0 (or maybe 1.5)


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I almost entirely agree with you memorax.

The only quibble I have is the part about people who don't want new material. I have seen that mentioned repeatedly in this thread.

Reading through here I've seen very few people saying they don't want the company to publish any new material. They want something different than what is being published.
* Updated/corrected versions of original material.
* Different material. Ex: More setting stuff rather than PC build stuff.
* Better quality of material. Ex: Rather than 5 books with editing errors, confusing wording, and/or poorly considered options - Put out only 2 books that have been more extensively edited, clearly worded, and/or more play testing.
* PF 2.0 (or maybe 1.5)

I sometimes find myself in that third category. I've found the last couple of books I purchased more than just a bit aggravating in some respects, simply because I can't tell what it was really meant to be. Wording it clearly wouldn't have been that difficult or taken significantly more words.
I would be more likely to purchase a book if I thought the quality was higher. As it is, I'm probably going to wait a good long while before purchasing something like the occult or familiar books. If there is just a pile of threads "Wait, how is this supposed to work? Did they mean this does or does not work with that? Well the fluff says yes, but the rules seem like no? Uhmm, doesn't this contradict itself? Sounds cool, but it just doesn't work as written?" I'm likely to not buy them to avoid the aggravation.

Then again, I am quite possibly not the primary target customer. I do not have an over riding need to won everything. Even though I can afford more, I tend to be fairly picky and discriminating. I spend a fair amount of time deciding where my dollars will go. I am very much not an impulse shopper.
If Paizo still has climbing sales, then I would have to say they are hitting their target customer pretty well. A successful business model is just that "successful" and should only be changed after very careful consideration.


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thejeff wrote:

So, trying to circle this tangent back around to the original: Is "I like a simpler game and want to restrict this to Core and APG" a sufficient justification? Or does the GM need to provide specific justifications for each individual class, feat, spell or other ability anyone wants from outside those sources?

In other words, is "Just don't use it" an acceptable response to complaints about bloat?

For some groups/players, Yes.

For many others, No.


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Hmm... Ok, I will make some comments about GM banning. I am in no way saying this for all or even most GM's. But they are applicable to me and all but 2 of the GM's I have known that banned material.

The 2 exceptions first:

Exception 1) The GM was very poor at optimizing. So every time the players came up with a particularly powerful 'gimmick' that they used repeatedly, he would see it as that 'gimmick' being too powerful, stomping all over his campaign, and then ban it. His PC's were also usually pretty weak.
You can say "he just needs to learn..." But he literally seemed unable to do so. I played with the guy for years. He simply does not seem to have the type of mind to assemble the building blocks effectively. And I don't think he was ever able to see that in himself.
We as players eventually learned to not concentrate a build too much on a gimmick and to also rotate through tactical options not relying on any one thing too often.

Exception 2) The GM simply did not have the time or money to own or review all the multitude of possibilities. He ran with CRB, ACG, Bestiary 1, and Bestiary 2. He has those pretty close to memorized. That is all he was willing to use, learn, and own.
Yeah, sure he doesn’t need to own and know everything. He can just rely on his player to own and know what they are using. But he is more than just a bit OCD and can’t let go that much. (I have enough of it to understand what he feels.) he would feel like he had to stop the game nearly every time they used something from a different book and make sure they were using it correctly and that he understood all the potential ramifications. Especially when the players in that particular group, would get anything very complex partially wrong about 1 time in 4. Some players grumbled about it a lot, but if he ran the game within the limits he had for himself, it was usually a pretty decent campaign. Not stellar because he was a bit more controlling and railroad than I like. But still decent.
He also always made the point, “If you really want more books in the game, one of you can feel free to GM it. I just can’t do that.” None of them took him up on it (but still complained). I was willing to GM, but didn’t have the prep time at that point in my life.

When I limited sources as a GM:

Story Time. Several years ago, I made a homebrew world. I made a whole bunch of house rules because it was an experiment to try and generate a specific result in the atmosphere of the game. (Namely I was trying to duplicate the feel of a book series without duplicating the storyline.) I have no idea if it would have worked or not.
I spent a fair amount of time building characters and trying them in mock combats. The house rules did change how quite a few things worked with each other. So there was a bunch of stuff that I didn’t allow or changed how it worked. There were quite a few things that I just didn’t allow. I specifically listed out a bunch of things that I would allow but warned them that they wouldn’t work very well with the house rules. They were very weak.
However, all that was mostly just the stuff in the CRB. I obviously did not have the time to go through everything. I said very clearly, that if they wanted something not in the CRB or not listed they should let me know beforehand so I could take the time to see how it worked within the new rules. Not necessarily banned, just let me know so I could check it.
Then there were a bunch of changes for the plot. There were no elves or orcs, in fact a lot of ‘known’ races were missing. Currently no samuri, gunslingers, or summoners. Gods refused to grant any divine powers to anyone with any arcane powers (so definitely no mystic theurges). Certain types of magic didn’t work or were extremely more difficult (min +2 spell levels) for summoning, dimensional, or teleport type magic.
All of that was clearly written up and given to everyone long before the campaign was agreed to. Everyone said they wanted to try the campaign or I wouldn’t have done it. There were no surprises.
The whole campaign plot was intended to be solving the mystery and find out that the gods had done something cataclysmic to cause those changes. Then if they wanted to they could try and reverse those changes (I actually hadn’t figured that part out yet).

Of the 6 players, 4 insisted on playing the banned races and classes, with virtually nothing from the CRB (didn’t work it out with me ahead of time), then specializing in the classes of magic that were difficult but I was expected to change it back so they were functional again. To be perfectly honest I had set up those specific items to be gone because no one in the group ever wanted to play them anyway. It should not have been even perceived as a loss. But as soon as I said they couldn’t have them, that is all they wanted.
They b~#!$ed, wined, complained, and moaned about it nonstop. “But why can’t I run an elf summoner? It really isn’t all that OP compared to a pouncing barbarian. I never said it was. So let me run one. It doesn’t work in this plot. So change the plot. Etc…”
The only way I could get them to stop was to explain exactly why most of those items weren’t allowed. Everyone single one of them said that was actually a pretty good storyline. Which of course, was now completely ruined. I tried to run it from that point as just an open sandbox, but it was pretty much dead before it even got started.
Now when I run a game for that group, I will no longer do anything accept an AP (with few alterations) where anything is allowed. It is certainly less fun for me to run that way, but I'm not going to open myself up for the headache of trying anything else.

Most of the GM’s I have know had at least similar reasons for what they banned or altered. There was some specific reason that was part of the campaign world or plot. However, they can’t always tell you every reason.
But there are a lot of players that react very badly to what they perceive as taking their toys away for no reason except that you are a lousy GM.

Again, I am not saying that is the way it is for every GM. But it was for me and most of the GM’s I’ve gamed with in the past couple of decades.


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I would like to point out that whirlwind and it's prereqs is a hold over from fairly early in 3.0 days. At that time, it was considered pretty dang powerful compared to the other possibilities of the time.
A lot of people took it because even with all those prereqs it was very often considered worthwhile. I agree that the particular feats chosen in the prereqs don't make a whole lot of sense to me. But it was very intentionally chosen that way with some sub-optimal feats required, specifically to make it difficult/expensive to get. Yet fairly often, people still took it.

It is a carry over from the days when PF was trying to maintain the sacred 'backwards compatibility' with 3.x editions. I will not swear to it; but I'm about 80% sure I've seen a statement by one of the developers that if they were doing it fresh today, they would not make some of those same design choices since they are no longer shackled to 3.x editions. I'm pretty sure whirlwind was one of the examples mentioned.

Personally, I am ok with some of the poor choice build options. I do have a problem with the ones that are so poorly written that people think it is a good option only because they misunderstood what it actually does (I'm looking at you titan mauler). But poor, situational, unique, and bizarre options really should be a part of things.
My son-in-law is becoming a rather excellent marksmen with a WWI rifle that was considered awful when issued. He is doing it simply to be different from the crowd. When he shows up with it at the firing range, he always gets a bunch of attention, questions, and I guess you would call it 'club cred' with the others at the range. (This is in no way even close to an optimal build choice. It is in fact distinctly sub-optimal. It will be very nearly impossible to score well in the competitions with that rifle.)
My son appears to be setting his career on running a campground. Even the successful ones don't usually make all that much profit. But it will get him outdoors and away from a desk, has less regulations than many businesses, and won't be reporting to a boss.
Other than those very intangible things, this is also a very suboptimal choice in many respects. It will make having, raising, and providing for a family difficult.
I have a friend that works in the newspaper business. It is all he has ever wanted to do since he was a child. he happens to be very good at it and has rapidly moved up the promotion ladder. However, he is very well aware that the news paper business is dying. He expects that his career path will vanish quite a bit before he gets to retirement age. he is pursuing it anyway because it is his dream. I doubt anyone thinks it is an optimal choice.

Not all choices are or should be great and wonderful.

I have no problem with sub-optimal choices in my game. I'm currently considering making a character that specializes in some odd weapon like star knife, club, or punching dagger. Not optimal. I don't want it to be optimal. I just want to see what I can manage to do with it anyway.

Yes, I am aware. That is just my opinion. Not everyone agrees with me. I'm also ok with that.


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Gregory Connolly wrote:
... The GM is often angry at the high op players for not "toning it down" while the high op players are angry at the GM for asking them to. ...

Rather than ask them to 'tone it down' I have seen a GM ask them for something special.

"I know it is not a very powerful concept, but can you run something really weird for me? I don't want a GMNPC to have a mojor impact in the plot, but I would like a unarmed combat arcane trickster in the party. I think you are the only one in the group that knows the rules well enough to make it work. The others are just too new to the game system. If it simply can't be made to work after a few months will try something different."
Then the GM went and wrote something into the campaign specifically for an unarmed combat arcane trickster to do well in that part.

Worked pretty well.


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Devilkiller wrote:

...

Enforcing all the rules can definitely cut down on shenanigans, but remembering all the rules can be a tough job. ...

I absolutely agree. But when I find one character doing way more than seems possible - I go looking at the rules being monkeyed with. Almost every time I find that either I wasn't enforcing some rule, the player didn't enforce some rule, this particular campaign just happens to be perfect for that build, build was optimized way more than the rest of the group, etc...

I've never seen one that ended up being 'that is just too powerful' and needs to be banned. At least not in my opinion.


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Certainly possible and some group do exactly that. Though I would guess them to be in the minority.

How well does it work? A lot of it depends upon the precision of the GM and the ability of the players to listen carefully.
Note: Imagination was no where in that sentence.

I was with a group once that played this way. The GM used rich flavorful descriptions that were quite evocative. It really wasn't too bad.
But in one scene a 'low wall' would be a decorative garden divider that provided concealment but no cover if lying down behind it. In another scene a 'low wall' was a 6 foot tall stone barrier surrounding the homes of the wealthy.
Sometimes he would say left or right and meant from the point of view of our PC's. Sometimes he meant from the point of view of the opposition. A few times it was even from the point of view of the page in the module which didn't match the perception of any of the PC's or NPC's.
Fairly often someone would try to charge, shoot a bow, or cast a spell but then we would unexpectedly be told there is X in the way. Wait what? If I knew that was there I wouldn't have headed that direction. Well that's were you said you were heading, so no you can't shoot until you move again. So my character runs to the left and draws his bow aiming at the wall of the barn that I didn't notice?!?
A little of that is actually ok with me when you consider the vagaries and confusion of combat situations. But in complicated scenes it sometimes seemed more Three Stooge-ish rather than heroic.
Occasionally the entire group seemed confused on what was going on and where, so one of use would try to draw out what we got from the descriptions. We were never very close to what the GM meant.
After the module was completed, the GM let me look it over. Most of what was in the module was not very close to what I thought it was. On the other hand, I have to admit, the differences in what I thought the setup looked like really didn't have much influence on the results in too many cases.

The rest of the group was used to it and ok with it, but I honestly found it kinda jarring. It really did not help my immersion. But the rest of the group really seemed to like it much better.

I also quickly noticed that certain types of builds were non-existent in their group. No builds that relied on heavily AoE spells, attacks of opportunity, mounted charging, flanking, tripping, etc... The different perceptions on who, what, and where would have made those type of builds very difficult to run in a combat. They mostly used single target martials and single target spells (or spells that just say allies or enemies).


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What you are asking is such a subjective matter of perception that you are unlikely to get the type of answers you are looking for in a usable framework.

Because the answer is, it depends.

If your group isn't real big on optimizing, the summoner seems very powerful since it is so easy to almost accidentally optimize.

If you don't have someone that really carefully triple checks the build, eidolons are easy to accidentally make too powerful because they aren't really legal.

If your group is really good at optimizing, some of the possibilities with the ACG and brawler are surprising.

If the campaign has short adventuring days, the magus can nova a monstrous amount of damage in a very short period of time.

If the player doesn't keep track of all the problems and issues, the gunslinger is suddenly more powerful.

If the campaign gives a lot of information and prep time to the PC's wizard's and arcanists are almost unstoppable due to always having the perfect spell available.

If the opposition never targets or goes after them, archers and gunslingers can dominate.

If the campaign has piles of low to moderate undead, a force channeling aasimar life oracle is unapproachable.

Heck, if the group really builds as a team with bunches of teamwork feats, almost any builds are nearly unstoppable.

If you player(s) are not very organized and knowledgeable; summoning, mounted combat, compulsion spells, illusions, and/or multiple stacking buffs can grind things to a halt.

If the campaign mostly takes place in a city with 'standard' classed opponents, trip/disarm/grapple builds will easily dominate.

Depending upon interpretation of certain fiddly rules, some of the bard builds can have sky high capabilities in nearly every single useful skill, have fairly powerful mind influencing magic, and still buff the rest of the part to the point of nearly unstoppable.

If the party is always in control of the combats and the opposition doesn't target them, any primary caster who doesn't have to worry about defense is very dangerous.

Ect...

Sorry, it depends.
Plus if you are a grognard like me and comparing to 2nd Ed. Everything (even including the CRB rogue and monk) seems too powerful.

Give us a bit more information about your group, yourself, and your campaign. Then we should be able to give you more useful information.


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StrangePackage wrote:
...

Ok, when a person refers to 'personal beliefs' they usually are talking about morals, ethics, or religion. The whole conversation has nothing to do with that. Sorry, I didn't realize you meant something a person thinks might happen. That is not the way I usually hear the phrase used.

Yes. It is 1/3 of the options on 1 choice among thousands during build. I don't see that it has all that much affect on very many of the rest of them.

I am not exactly sure what you mean by the term 'agency' in your statements. It doesn't fit with what I am seeing for the possible definitions. However, it seems like you are referring to behavior and/or choice. Not sure.

And no I am not assuming that no one can handle the option. Actually, I think most of them probably could. But with 6-7 people at the table, it becomes much more likely that at least one of them can't. If there is one that can't. The campaign takes a nose dive where people are not having fun. As you say, yes I could take away the toy at that point. But I have never seen that save the campaign. All that has ever done is make one more person have even less fun. Campaign dies or at least drags on with a very lengthy recovery time.

Yes, there is a chance that allowing evil characters will go well. But it is the least likely outcome and the improvement is very minor.

I will try to state more clearly.
4) If who ever the GM is, happens to not be doing a good job of handling opposing character alignments. Then probably the campaign is not going well and people are not having fun. If the GM removes the choice of evil alignments at that point, he is seen as a failure and punishing the players for his inadequacy.
However; if he had not allowed it in the first place, that problem would have never come up and generated all those bad feelings.

I will try to state more clearly.
If I don't allow opposing alignments within the party, there is essentially zero chance that I will be perceived as a poor GM if it becomes necessary to take away evil alignments.
If I don't allow opposed alignments within the party, there is essentially zero chance the campaign/group/friendships will be demolished because of opposed alignments.

No, taking away that option does not guarantee a wondrous campaign. But it removes one aspect that could ruin a campaign for nearly no cost.

Yes, I have heard some people not like the wizard. Or summoner. Or druid. Or whatever. But I've never heard of including one of them completely wrecking a campaign. I hear that most of the time for allowing an evil PC in a good party.

Allowing evil PC's in a good party has a relatively small chance to provide minimal improvement for the group.
Allowing evil PC's in a good party has a relatively large chance to promote substantial discord for the group.
Not allowing evil PC's in a good party does eliminate that small chance for the minimal improvement. At the same time it also greatly reduces the chance for a campaign to go down in flames, at least for that particular reason.

No, neither one is a guarantee in either direction. I am aware of that. I am not taking away all of their choices. I am not introducing a tiny fraction of choices that usually seem to result in bad things not good things.

I see no significant reason to allow evil PC's in a good group for my games. The upside potential is minimal and least likely to happen. The downside potential is huge and more likely to happen.

You keep coming back to me trusting my friends. You say I don't trust them to handle it. I don't trust them to work it out after they have a huge fight. I don't trust them to let it go when their feelings are hurt. Give it a chance and see what happens. It just might be good.

But look at if from the other side. Since they are my friends, why should I want to inflict that stress upon them or our relationships for essentially no reason?
If they were not my friends and I didn't care what results, then maybe I would allow it just to see what happened. If the campaign goes down in flames, the group breaks up, or the friends aren't speaking to each other - so what? it isn't a problem because I don't care about them.
That slight chance for things to work out a bit better is ok, because the likely problems don't bother me.


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-Grijm- wrote:
Dying early on for PFS is the problem actually, by level 7 you should have enough prestige to have raise dead cast on you, before that is just a permanent death.

You specifically referred to high levels.

At low levels you are only going to lose a few HP from dropping out of rage. That seems less likely to drop you below con.

I would have to take Endurance and Diehard. Putting off the other feats I want until level 5+.
I will give it some more thought.


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StrangePackage wrote:

...

1- Yes, absolutely. Any time as a GM you can maximize player choice and agency, it is all that much better. ...

Again. I've seen little evidence that suggests the allowance of one single optional choice in a game with thousands of choices will make it significantly better for everyone.

StrangePackage wrote:

...

2- As the GM, it's your responsibility to manage the game in a way to maximize the fun for all the players. If the agency of certain players interferes with the overall enjoyment of the others, then it is your responsibility to talk with them and, if they cannot mitigate their behavior, mitigate it for them. This is not unique to alignment.
3- See above ...

That is exactly what I am doing. My experience tells me that allowing evil alignments is most likely to detract from the enjoyment of all the members of the group except for one. Taking it away after having allowed it means even that one person is not having fun. At that point the campaign is probably dead.

StrangePackage wrote:

...

4- That's YOUR problem, not your players' problem. If you can't handle being the GM, don't be the GM. ...

Now that is just silly. Because a person has difficulty with one single optional choice, he is suddenly totally unacceptable as a GM.

I know at least 2 GM's that do a perfectly fine job with heroic campaigns. One of them can even handle an all evil campaign. But neither seems to know what do do with a mixed group.
But oh well, they can't handle this one thing, so I guess they have to quit. That's ridiculous.

StrangePackage wrote:

...

But what I take most issue with is the fallacy you premise your argument on. Your biggest logical error is that you can't guarantee that "you won't be the badguy and everyone will have fun." I've been in plenty of games where there were stringent alignment restrictions, and interpersonal friction/GM mismanagement still managed to derail and/or detract from the game. ...

Look again. I never said anything about guarantees. I never said there can't be other causes of friction or GM mismanagement. I never even hinted or implied that.

What I clearly said is of the 4 general categories of possible outcomes related to allowing evil alignments, only 1 is positive for me or the group. My experience tells me that it is the least likely of those 4 possibilities. I have seen little evidence that it is anything other than a very slight positive.

Do you have another general category of possible outcome?
Is there any reason to believe that it will suddenly become the most likely outcome?
Do you have any reason to believe that is a greatly significant positive to out weigh the rarity of its occurrence?

There is very little reason for me to allow that option in my games.

StrangePackage wrote:

...

The incentive to allow evil players in your game include, but are not limited to:
1-Demonstrating trust and faith in your players to approach thorny issues in a mature and responsible way that will be fun for everyone
2- Maximizing player agency and choice, which is (IMO) always preferable to limiting options based on your personal beliefs that others may not share.
3- Challenging your players to play a wider ranger of roles and challenging you as a GM to adapt to accommodate those roles and integrate their decisions into your game. ...

1) I'm not sure exactly what you are getting at here. But it doesn't sound like my goals (or most of the players I have known) in this hobby. I take part in this hobby to hang out with my friends and escape from my daily life for a few hours.

2) Has zero to do with my personal beliefs. No idea where you are getting that. I try reasonably hard to make sure players have as many choices as are consistent with keeping the game going and remaining fun. The vast majority of house rules that I use are to allow more combinations and options that the RAW currently does not.
3) It isn't my job to push them into more roles. Besides that doesn't have anything to do with the conversation unless I say that not only is evil alignments allowable, but one of you has to take one.

I'm not sure exactly where you are heading with it, but your incentives sound more like a therapy/counselling session that an enjoyable hobby.

Again, I am not absolutely against the entire concept. I have seen it done very well. Once I was the evil character in a campaign that did pretty good. However, that has been the unusual case not the standard.

I am probably joining a new group this spring. If the GM allows evil alignments will I run screaming into the night? No of course not. But it probably would make me watch a little more carefully for signs of an imminent implosion.
Am I never willing to consider allowing evil alignments? No. If I have been with a group long enough to know them well and be relatively certain that the entire group can handle. I may remove that stricture from my house rules. Actually I have considered it for the last 3 groups I have been a part of. But after consideration there has been at least 1 person in each group that I felt was more likely to not handle it well.


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StrangePackage wrote:
Muad'Dib wrote:

Long ago we had a player who was just hell bent on playing his mage like Raistlin Majere as he was a big fan of the Dragonlance series. ...

Since then I do not allow evil player characters in the heroic fantasy games I run. It's disruptive.

First and only experience, apparently.

It seems a downright shame that you rule out allowing your players to try their hands at something new because someone "long ago" couldn't do it.

For me it is a matter of odds.

Yes, an evil character in the group can be done well with much fun had by all. If have been in a group that did it about perfectly. As well as another that did ok with it.

But that isn't where the odds are. Most of the time, there is at least one person in the group that does not handle it well. Some person that can't separate the players pretend persona from reality (we're all playing our fantasy so if he really wants to play a bad guy that must mean he really wants to be a bad guy). The multitude of people that don't know a non-ash-hat way to play an evil character (there are a lot of players that are ok playing a good character, but think to be an evil character they must betray the party, steal, be insane, etc...). The GM that doesn't know how to set up an adventure for non-cliché heroes.

By no means definitive, but from my experience less than 1 in 5 groups have every member as one that can really handle and evil party member and will enjoy it.

If I just say right up front at the start, no evil or chaotic insane characters. This is a campaign about the good guys being heroic. Then usually no one gets their heart set on an evil character, might have some minor grumbling (but not usually), then we go on and have a campaign that we enjoy.

So you say I could at least give it a try, you can always nix it later. Well sure. So I'm GM and I say an evil character will be allowed.
1) Everything goes wonderfully. Great! But this is the least likely outcome. And even if it turns out perfect, is it really all that much better than if we had not allowed an evil character?
2) They player of the evil character can't handle it without being an ash-hat. I nix the evil guy cause it is ruining the campaign. Do you think there is much chance that player will admit they can't handle it? Neither do I. So now I am a bad guy for allowing him something then taking it away for no reason.
3) One of the other players can't handle it. It is a disruption and is killing fun so I nix the evil character. Ok, now I am a bad guy for taking something away that the player really was doing a good job handling.
4) Say I'm the GM that doesn't handle it well. The campaign is on fire and to try and put it out I take away the evil PC's. Now I am the bad guy for taking away their toys because I blame the players for me being a bad GM.

Odds are much higher for me to be the bad guy than any other outcome. Even if things go great, what are the chances that anyone will attribute that to me allowing an evil character? I would guess pretty minor since I have never heard anyone thank the GM for making a great campaign just because he allowed one odd option.

If I don't allow it I will not be a bad guy and we all have fun.

What incentive is there for me to allow evil characters in my campaigns?


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First off, love the idea of making a teamwork pair with your child. Fantastic idea. On the bonus side, although many people don’t seem to want to admit/recognize it. The some of the teamwork feats are among the most powerful in the books.
Weapon Focus gives you a +1 with a single weapon. Outflank (if you work at it) gives you a +2 with any weapon. Plus it stacks with weapon focus.
Iron Will gives you a +2 to your will save. Shake it Off (with a larger team) can easily give you a +3 to all your saves. Plus it stacks with iron will.
Etc…

Wounded Paw Gambit, Enfilading Fire Target of Opportunity, and Seize the Moment both seem ideal for different types of characters that still use teamwork feats. However, they really don’t come into effect in the levels you are talking about.

The early use teamwork feats kind of require you to be doing pretty much the same thing in combat. Getting up close with your partner and hitting someone with something.

I would look at melee weapon builds that differ based on their secondary roles. Don’t dump your mental stats. One of you bump your charisma and intelligence slightly, take a trait, and take a few ranks in social skills like bluff and diplomacy. The other do the same thing with wisdom, perception, and sense motive. Take different knowledge skills. That will be good enough to contribute at low levels.

Fighters are a reasonable choice since they get lots of feats very quickly, so you can get the teamwork aspect functioning very quickly. I see a few possibilities. Lore warden will get you a few extra skill points and class skills.

Butterfly sting. You make a dex build for lots of attacks with a high crit range weapon (kukri) to give her a guaranteed critical with a high crit multiplier weapon (scythe). That might be lots of fun for her to do the huge damage.

Defensive teamwork like Shield Wall, Escape route, Lookout, Duck and Cover, and Shake it Off. Some people love being really durable and ignoring what the enemy is doing, some find it boring. What would be her take on it?

You run a disarm build and the she runs a trip build with Coordinated Maneuvers and maybe Tandem Trip. So you can both do better at your maneuvers.

The better chance to hit team. More standard melee builds with Pack Attack, Paired Opportunist, and/or Outflank. Works even better with reach weapons and combat reflexes for bonuses to hit with lots of attacks of opportunity.


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Some characters can fly at whim.
Moderately often a haste is active during a serious fight. Or longstrider. Or expeditious retreat.
My current sorc often carries the scroll in his hand (table variation on using a spring loaded wrist sheath with a scroll) in any even slightly threatening situation.
Many clerics have it prepared and oracles learn it.
Many players planning on being able to use it also just plan on trying to stay within 20-30 feet of the 'at risk' characters.

But yes, if you don't plan for it or aren't careful, you might not be within range to make use of it.


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Sebastian Hirsch wrote:

...

Oh and remember a hungry GM is quite dangerous, it is wiser to pacify the wild creature with snacks^^

ding, Ding, DING, WOOT, We Have a Winner!!!

I don't always remember first, but I always try to offer to get the GM a drink and/or snack. It's just polite, since he is there making it possible for us to play. The game needs him much more than it needs me.


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Summoner. When I first heard about the summoner I was, "WAHOO!" Then I read it and was, "What the heck is this stupid eidolon thing? What does that have to do with summoning creatures to do your bidding? Ok, the summon monster lasts longer. Really that's the only thing they get for summoning?!?"
The master summoner was closer, but still had a lot of class power tied up in the stupid eidolon. I really hated it. It just didn't match the vision in my head for SUMMONER.
Now I think it is ok. It doesn't match my vision. But it doesn't slow down play or disrupt things as much as flooding the field with summoned creatures. So to me it is an acceptable compromise between ideal and playable.
Note: I don't find them nearly as broken as many people claim. Powerful? Yes. But not much more so than other full casters. I haven't seen them soloing adventures and marginalizing everyone else. So I don't dislike them for that reason.

Spontaneous casters. At first glance, I simply hated the concept. What? I can only learn 3 spells! How the heck can I survive with that?
But when the number of books started multiplying. I found it nearly impossible to keep up with knowing all the spells so I could prepare the perfect choice. Even worse with a book caster because then you have to work to get everything that is likely to be useful in your spell book. I also found my self constantly aggravated because there was always a better spell I should have prepared but guessed wrong, hadn't remembered it, or had bad info. And I have to go through that almost every in-game day.
But for a prepared caster; I can take my time learning, research, and getting advice for a few generally useful spells. It is just a whole lot less headache and irritation.


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Artemis_Dreamer wrote:

5) Not Good at Anything: Not sure why, but lately I've been seeing a lot of characters that try to do a little bit of everything so they really end up not contributing much of anything. Have a bow, but rarely hit or do much damage. Have a melee weapon, but can't really do much in melee combat. Have a few attack spells, but the DC's are so low they usually fail. Have a single die of sneak attack damage, but not enough to really bother working to set them up for it. Have a single channel or low level heal spell, but not enough to make a difference. Not as problematic as 4), but it still really doesn't help much.

---

Sorry, I couldn't get the above to quote properly.

I just wanted to comment on this: it's bad form, yes, but it can also mean that the person who made the character is a newer player / a player with low rules mastery. Maybe it could be helpful to players of these kind of characters if you were to give them advice? They're not actively trying to ruin your PFS experience and are playing as best they can.

I personally built a terrible first character, but with the helpful advice of local players, I now have two reasonably effective ones (the first has since been retired from play on account of being unviable).

It's bad form to have a useless character, but may I politely suggest helping those kind of people rather than complaining about them online?

Sorry.

I apologize if it came across as being upset by new players. That is certainly not the case.

I make lots of characters for new players. And am more than happy to help them build their own as their skill increases and they want to give it a shot. I enjoy that.
I have no problems with a new player at the table. We nearly all enjoy showing off our cool hobby to someone new. Not a problem at all.

I'm talking about guys that intentionally/knowingly build PC's that just aren't very useful.
Some examples I've seen:
Rogue 2/paladin 2/oracle 2/alchemist 1. Highest ability is a 14. No 2 feats support any particular combat or non-combat actions. Has spells, bombs, archery, melee, and skills. But none of them effective enough to be other than 3rd tertiary support. The guy has been playing PFS longer than me.
Lore warden 1/cleric 3/bard 2. Says it is an archer build. But rarely shoots. Mostly just 1st level buff spells. Not completely useless. But not even as effective as the 4th level pregens. He stopped planning his characters to take whatever seemed like it would have been most useful in the previous scenario.
Unarmored THW melee that dumped con "for the challenge" of the concept. Has to be rescued almost every single combat. Once my sorc stood over his unconscious body absorbing hits, because I was more durable.


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Hmm... I don't know that I can answer what your are asking and yet still give you what you are looking for. That probably doesn't make any sense. But I think it is more of a broad attitude of "Try to work as part of a team, be considerate of the other players, don't make it 4 hours of look at me."
.
Are builds that summon bad? No.
Is a player that floods the field with creatures, doesn't have the stats written down, and doesn't have his turn ready bad? Hella Yeah!
.
Is a mounted charger build bad? No.
Is a player that won't do anything until the rest of the group sets him up for a mondo charge bad? Quite possibly.
.
Is a battlefield control caster bad? Of course not.
I s a player that fills the area with volcanic storm, wall of thorns, stone spikes, etc... so that even his own allies can't function bad? Maybe.

-------------------------------------

Having said all that, there are some types of builds to be careful with. I still wouldn't say don't do it, just be carful with it.
.
1) Slumber Hex witch: Perfectly viable and reasonable. But have something else to do. If the only action you ever take is 'Slumber Hex' you will get bored and the others will get annoyed. I saw one a few months ago that when the encounter was a bunch of undead, he literally did absolutely nothing for the entire combat. He was practically pouting because there was an opponent against which he couldn't use slumber hex.
.
2) Summoning builds: Summoner, dino druid, summoning sorc, etc... They can be played quite reasonably.

Example 1:
I have a sorcerer that kinda specializes in summon monster. But I don't use it more than once in a combat (often not at all). I have a print off of everything I might summon. I don't use any creatures that I don't understand well. I have the actions planned well in advance of my turn. I also have a bunch of group buff spells to protect and augment the rest of the team. Twice in 10 levels I have flooded the field. But only after everyone at the table specifically requested me to do so and the GM said he was ok with it.

3) Paladins: This is kind of an area and how you play thing. There are a lot of PFS scenarios that if you get real rigid about the code, it is almost impossible to succeed. So some people will hear that Jimmy-Joe-Bob has a paladin and assume he is just going to make things more difficult for them.
But if you have another character to use when the scenario makes it difficult (or others aren't thrilled) and demonstrate that you will contribute toward rather than detract from the odds of success, I think it can be fine.
.
4) Ultimately Specialized Anything: If you can only do one thing, it can cause problems. You will tend to force that solution onto any situation even if it is a poor choice. You will tend to get bored (and possibly disruptive) when your one thing isn't applicable. If your one thing doesn't come up, you may not contribute for the entire scenario. And you will often make the others work harder picking up the slack.

Example2:
A couple years ago there was a fighter at our local that focused absolutely everything on max damage sword strikes. He dumped at 2 mental stats. Owned a normal breastplate, dagger, potion of Cure Serious Wounds, dagger, and a +2 Adamantine Elvin Curved Blade. That is practically it. Any left over cash was being saved up for the improvement to +3. Every feat was to hit more often and do more damage.
He charged no matter the threat level or whether he had a chance. He nearly always got hit. He failed nearly every saving throw. Had no skill ranks in any thing except perception. Tried to push every encounter into a fight even if not necessary because then he could do something.
In one scenario my PC used up on him a Breath of Life scroll, 2 potions of lesser restoration, a scroll of restoration, oil of daylight, Remove Blindness scroll, and almost a full wand of CLW. Just to try and keep him functional and contributing in the fights. I added it up and iirc, my PC profited <100 gps on that scenario. Almost all spent on the fighter.
Did he do more damage in a fight? Yes, but really not all that much more. Certainly not enough to justify 2 other PC's spending almost all their actions keeping him alive and functioning. And he had nothing to contribute in the social encounter or against the flying opponent (since he didn't buy a normal bow or even get a free sling).

5) Not Good at Anything: Not sure why, but lately I've been seeing a lot of characters that try to do a little bit of everything so they really end up not contributing much of anything. Have a bow, but rarely hit or do much damage. Have a melee weapon, but can't really do much in melee combat. Have a few attack spells, but the DC's are so low they usually fail. Have a single die of sneak attack damage, but not enough to really bother working to set them up for it. Have a single channel or low level heal spell, but not enough to make a difference. Not as problematic as 4), but it still really doesn't help much.
.
It is very easy to build a character somewhere between the extremes of 4) and 5) that is helpful and contributes in a wide variety of situations. If you have trouble with that, ask for some help.
.

Recommended Questions to ask yourself about your PC:

A) What is the primary thing you are going to be built to do in combat? Disarm opponents
B) What is the secondary thing you are going to be able to do in combat when A) doesn't work or isn't a good choice? Hit things with a great club.
Maybe even, C) What is the tertiary thing you are going to be able to do in combat when both A) nor B) don't work or aren't good choices? Shoot things with a strength bow.
D) What is the primary thing you are going to be able to do in NON-combat situations? Use sense motive to tell if someone is lying to the face PC.
E) What is the secondary thing you are going to be able to do in NON-combat situations when D) doesn't work or isn't a good choice? Perception to keep an eye out for danger or unusual situations.
Possibly even, F) What is the tertiary thing you are going to be able to do in NON-combat situations when both D) and E) don't work or aren't good choices? Use survival to track down and find the target.
.
It is not at all hard to come up with a build that can do more than one thing.


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Party had 3 mostly melee characters, an archer ranger flying around on a giant bat, and a mostly buffing oracle (me).

The enemy caster promptly casts dominate on the archer then Dimension Doored back into his tower. All 3 melee guys freak out. They have bows but nothing other than standard martial proficiency. Since the archer planned on always flying on the bat, he really concentrated on the archery stuff and did pretty respectable damage for a kobold. They were sure they were going to get pincushioned. They were actually trying to figure out if they scattered could the ranger hunt down each of them before they could get away.

I cast a single spell Reach metamagiced Pilfering Hand. Used a single hero point before the role for an additional +8 on the CMB check. Stole the bow from the archer who is now only armed with a dagger and quiver of arrows.

I just looked at the other players and said "Do you think you guys can handle it now without soiling your pants?"


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StabbittyDoom wrote:

...

That said, I still want to do a high-level boss encounter with a party of bards at some point, each using a different perform to boost the whole group. Probably need a couple to be at APL-1 to avoid horrifying pain.

I actually tried that recently. it wasn't as effective as I thought it would be. If it had been a bunch of bards all boosting a fighter it might have done more. But all the boosting still didn't bring them up to the level of a martial character.

The bards were still dangerous but it was actually because of all the spell casting. Cast 5 confusion spells on the opening round. Even with an emphasis on save modifiers, some one will fail on 1 of them. Cast 5 sonic screams (no one typically has resistance to sonic) that adds up to a LOT of area damage. Etc...

A group that was more effective than expected was a group of cavaliers. All of them bestowed different teamwork feats on all the others (and their mounts). So they all had 10 teamwork feats active in addition to all the rest of their mounted combat charging danger.


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Digitalelf wrote:

...

As you can probably guess, I am not a fan of player's running their character's followers, cohorts, and familiars either for the same reasons...

I don't have a problem with the GM running almost all that (but most don't want the hassle). Again as long as every single person I hire isn't going to be murdered or betray me, I'm ok with it.

I disagree on the familiar. The way PF does it (as opposed to some legends or novels) a familiar is very much closely tied to the PC, is loyal, and is obedient. It is very much an integral part of my character. If I can't decide what my familiar is doing and when, I won't have a familiar.


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
... anybody pointed out that his so-called "master tactician" was constantly thinking of terrible plans. That could have made for a much more interesting character—a self-professed "genius" who couldn't strategize his way out of an unlocked cell ...

I actually made a character like that once for a PbP game.

It was a halfling that would constantly make plans and give people directions. Everyone quickly learned to ignore Grimple.

Then every once in a while someone would say, holy crap Grimple's plan would have worked perfectly. Then of course I would constantly remind them of all the pain and damage they suffered not listening to me before, so you should do what I suggest now.
Eventually they decided to try one of my plans and it went horribly. So then they didn't implement my brilliance correctly besides which you haven't listened to anything I've said in weeks why did you have to pick the worst plan I've ever proposed to believe in?

It was all in good fun. I wouldn't have done it if the others weren't also having a good time making fun of the halfling. And I never messed things up enough to get anyone killed.
But I think it was quite a while before many of them realized that I as the player was intentionally making stupidly complex detailed plans that could never really work.


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One of the things I really like to do is demonstrate the usefulness of things that most people don’t think are too worth while.

Examples
A few of us are going to make a PFS group that really makes use (hopefully effective use) of the teamwork feats.
Friend has a ‘batman equipment belt’ type of guy that makes a tremendous difference with consumables. His effectiveness continues to be way ahead of guys that only purchase permanent magic items.
I saw a reach fighter that UMD’s a wand of Enlarge Person and Long Arm to protect the party.

So I’m looking to do more of the same. I want to make a primary caster (haven’t decided class, but I tend to prefer spontaneous casters over prepared casters) that demonstrates and makes effective use of uncommon spells or combinations thereof.
Yep, everyone knows that Grease, Create Pit, Haste, and Glitterdust are amazingly useful spells. I’m certainly not denying that. But I think there are other spells that are better than many people realize.

I had an oracle that trivialized quite a lot of encounters with Pilfering Hand or Chain of Perdition. Those are 2nd or 3rd level spells making a huge difference clear up through level 15.
When the enemy caster started to read a scroll of Teleport to get a way. A readied action to cast Pilfering Hand put the scroll in my hand leaving the caster trapped. The undead headless horseman-ish nightmare cavalier was much less dangerous after a Chain of Perdition took down his horse. The flying mondo archer wasn’t much of a thing after losing his bow to Pilfering Hand. Etc…
Everyone in our group had read those spells and thought nothing of them. Never even seriously considered learning or preparing them because they didn’t damage or incapacitate the target. I looked at it and said, “Holy crap! Here’s a couple of spells that don’t have a save and can take away whatever the bad guy is best at! Weapon, movement, divine focus, or spell component pouch.”

I have a magus that uses Wand Wielder, a wand of True Strike, and a whip to trip or disarm nearly any opponent. That is a first level spell that a lot of people consider useless that I am still making great use of most every combat at level 7. I expect it to be useful clear through retirement.

That’s the kind of thing I’m looking for. Spells you don’t see people use very often that you have found to be incredibly useful. Combinations of spells. Spell in conjunction with a certain item or action. Spell and a class ability. Things like that.


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Hama wrote:
Supperman wrote:
151. Psychologically incapable of treating kings and other authority figures with respect.
Was there ever an authority figure that deserved respect?

At least respect in the sense that if I piss him off he'll have my throat cut.

The Exchange

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Yet another vote for Night March of Kalkamedes. I thought it was pretty amusing as we stumbled along.

Weapon in the Rift was the one that felt like I was most actively contributing to the war on the World Wound.

I know a lot of people didn't, but I liked both of the Lantern Lodge and Shadow lodge ending scenarios.


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[rant]
What they want in a game is not my preferred style of play. But I can deal with it and give what they ask for. But they still don't seem to like it. What they say they want is apparently not what they really want.

Everyone seems to be enjoying the game, but one person tells me that everyone is grumbling when I’m not around. But no one will tell me what the problem is.
One guy insists on building non-functional PC’s, but it’s my fault when they don’t work out.
Another insists on super optimizing PC’s until they make everyone else look like sidekicks.

I’ve just had it. I’m going to drop my home game and just concentrate on PFS for a while. Maybe after I cool off I will try to find another group.
[/rant]

No response really needed from anyone, I just had to get that off my chest.


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Mark Hoover wrote:

A pet peeve of mine are folks who say they enjoy immersive RP but don't.

...
Right off the bat interact. "You're at the tavern and there's a board posting different adventures" the GM says. Don't just say "what are they" but declare "Gronk throws an elbow between 2 smaller blokes, grunting that they should make way!" or "Primwise the Halfling sorceress asks demurely if one of the nice, big, strong fools crowding the board will tell her what they say, feigning ignorance; all the while she'll be casing potential marks."
...

I have seen people/GM's not play along with this.

The player says something like your quotes above. Then the GM says, "I didn't say there was a crowd there. What are you talking about?" Immersion broken, embarrassment started.
Some people are then half expecting every GM to shut them down like that. Or at least worried that it might.
If some one else in the group will play along and start those kind of things, often they will eventually come out of their shell. IF they see that it works out well and is entertaining when that person does it, well then maybe they can.

Mark Hoover wrote:

...

If you've stated your PC inquisitor is a stoic badass that doesn't say much then talking in character will be rare; find some OTHER way to communicate your role. When the GM says "you enter the shop; inquisitor, what are you doing?" perhaps just mime you're holding your loaded crossbow, stare stoically off into the distance and set your jaw into your best Judge Dredd grimace.
...

That is actually a pretty good suggestion.

Often a lot of people will want to play the strong silent type. Either because they found it entertaining in a book OR because they think it will be less likely to get them embarrassed since they don't need to put themselves forward as much. But unlike a novel, a TTRPG doesn't have internal monologue or an author to describe stance, behavior, or expression.
So they don't really know how to do it.

Last year a guy tried to bring in a silent type. The GM introduced it as us rescuing the PC from the bad guys.
But we couldn't get the player to respond to anything except maybe a shrug of the shoulders. We eventually had to stop and say, "Look, I get that you want to play a silent type. I have no problem with that. But you have to figure out some way to communicate with us at least a little. Right now we have no in-character reason to do anything other than set you free. If you want to be a part of the group, you have to give us some reason to think you might be interested if we ask."


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Wait are you saying that PFO is available now.

For a long time I kept checking but it was always in closed alpha/beta. I eventually stopped bothering to look. I will have to go check some stuff out.

Hmm...
But the PvP comments make me less enthusiastic. For me about 90% of the draw of an RPG is playing a cooperative game with other people. I really don't have nearly as much interest in yet another antagonistic game against other people.

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