Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Gem Inspector

Mattastrophic's page

FullStarFullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 1,492 posts (2,396 including aliases). 23 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 7 Pathfinder Society characters. 8 aliases.



Taldor

Hi everyone,

I've been looking around Youtube for quality videos of Adventure Paths being played, to listen to at work. Does anyone know of any really solid and entertaining ones out there? In particular, ones which manage to finish the AP?

-Matt

Taldor ***

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hi everyone,

I stumbled across this earlier today. Looks like big changes are coming to the leadership of the Society! I was pretty blown away, but I'll let you guys read and find out about what's happening to the Decemvirate yourself.

Once There Were Ten...

-Matt

Taldor ***

The Winter Masquerade

A mysterious invitation finds its way to you. This parchment is of the finest quality, and the red wax seal has the appearance of a chrysanthemum in bloom.

Dear Friend of the Empire,

The snows have begun on the Isle of Kortos, and now is the perfect opportunity for us to enjoy the warmth of each other's company. At week's end, Chrysanthemum House in the Petal District will host a Winter Masquerade, and a night of music, dancing, beauty, and companionship will commence.

As is appropriate for a Winter Masquerade, we will all be enjoying a bit of fun. The enclosed card is both your ticket to the event and the beginning of our little game. Present your costumed self and your enclosed card, and the Master of Games will present you a choice. Keep your wits about you, and you will find yourself at the beginning of a night to remember.

Your friend and hostess,
-Lady Gabrielle d'Apcher

The Winter Masquerade has begun! This is an unofficial in-character event open to characters of the Taldor faction. Invitations to characters of other factions can be arranged by contacting me by Personal Message. Post here with your character's arrival at the Masquerade, along with his or her meeting with the Master of Games in the front hall of Chrysanthemum House, a private residence in the Petal District of Absalom. Also, to join the night's party games, send a Personal Message to this alias with your PC's true identity, costumed alias, and Perform (dance) modifier, and I will reply with a description of your card. I will try to make myself available during the day on the Paizo Chat at chat.dmtools.org, for a faster communication method.

This card your character has received is the first component in the night's games of wit and deduction. On its face is a name and a number; a choice to be made will reveal itself upon meeting the Master of Games. Those who show superior wit and sportsmanship will find themselves rewarded. Also, as with any forum-based game like this one, a brisk pace of posting will be much appreciated by all involved. As this event blurs the lines between a typical forum and a Play By Post game, a posting rate of at least once a day for players of the forum-based party game is expected.

Best of luck to all of you, and may the Eternal Rose smile upon your costumed endeavors.

Taldor

Hello,

So, I have a high-level Ninja/Monk who's looking for some late-game feats to take. Medusa's Wrath looks really interesting, and it's thematically appropriate for this Wing Chun kung-fu lady.

The question is, how to reliably trigger it? The best methods I've come up with so far are:

-Enforcer+Shatter Defenses... yeah, I don't have seven feats to get all that online.
-Staggering Critical+Sneaking Precision... same problem.
-spell storing weapon with frigid touch stored... not bad, but it has to be reloaded often and suffers from problems with SR and cold resistance.
-Stunning Fist... this is too unreliable.

Are there other methods which I have overlooked? I'm aiming for something reliable which I can conjure up myself when I want to really lay into an opponent.

-Matt

Taldor

Just doing some double-checking by asking the board..

PRD wrote:

Feint

Feinting is a standard action. To feint, make a Bluff skill check. The DC of this check is equal to 10 + your opponent's base attack bonus + your opponent's Wisdom modifier. If your opponent is trained in Sense Motive, the DC is instead equal to 10 + your opponent's Sense Motive bonus, if higher. If successful, the next melee attack you make against the target does not allow him to use his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any). This attack must be made on or before your next turn.

When feinting against a nonhumanoid you take a –4 penalty. Against a creature of animal Intelligence (1 or 2), you take a –8 penalty. Against a creature lacking an Intelligence score, it's impossible. Feinting in combat does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Just checking... Denial of the Dexterity modifier to AC due to a successful feint, does the target count as being flat-footed for the purposes of abilities and feats which involve someone being flat-footed?

-Matt

Taldor ***

Hello,

With the opening of the Grand Lodge Online Play forum, I am looking for a few good players and GMs for a "Road to 20" online-play group, taking its members from 12th-level all the way into the high levels of play.

What I envision is a rotating-GM online group, in which each member GMs at least one leg of the Road, and thus has a seat at the table for the other legs of the journey.

So, if you have a PC of at least 12th level, are willing to do some online GMing, and believe you have what it takes to be a solid GM and player on the Road to 20, post here with your interest!

-Matt

Taldor ***

OOC: As I did last year, I am aiming to do an in-character blog of PaizoCon. As I haven't left for the con yet, this post serves merely as a placeholder for links.

-Matt

Taldor ***

12 people marked this as a favorite.

Why do you feel compelled to send race boons out in the first place?

If this is a reaction to the numerous threads complaining about convention boons being unfair, then sending out boons using a lottery system would only generate more complaints from those who think it unfair.

If you really want to distribute race boons through non-convention means, and not have complaints, then the way to do it is to have a method in which participants "earn" the boon, and that method needs to be freely accessible.

Such as by playing X number of games within time period Y, or by earning a certain number of fame for their faction, or GMing a certain number of games.

You don't see anyone complaining about the GM star system, because players can freely choose to earn their stars. The key here is accessiblity.

-Matt

Taldor ***

Lady Gabrielle d'Apcher had not spent any time in Absalom for quite awhile. The premiere run of The Fangs of Ambition in Oppara had kept her quite occupied for months. The production went well, and with the premiere overwith, it was time to begin adapting the work to the Varisian audience.

Coincidentally, the Pathfinder Society was just beginning their expeditions to Varisia. By returning to Absalom, Lady Gabrielle may have once again placed herself under the whims of the Decemvirate, but she also intended to assist with Lady Morilla's vision for the Empire. Bringing Taldan opera to Varisia would make a fine tool for tending the sprouting Varisian aristocracy. She had a plan in mind, and her fellow agents of the Empire would make excellent partners.

She was shown to her usual seat at the cafe, on the second-floor balcony. She always enjoyed how the skyline of the city appeared in the late afternoon from this seat, with all the lovely colors of the buildings lit by a slowly-setting sun, and with an umbrella to keep its heat off of her unblemished face. She also quietly enjoyed her perfect view of the entrance to the Pleasure Salon of Calistria, relishing the opportunity to silently chuckle upon learning of just who would visit them.

Her usual teapot was set beside her, its variety a favorite of hers picked up from her time in Tian Xia. The subtlety of its flavors inspired a calm state in her, an almost-trance which nearly served as a prayer to Shelyn. As she watched others enter and leave the tea house balcony, she thought of cherry blossom groves and lotus flowers. It was a fine way to sooth herself before receiving a call for adventure once more.

Taldor ***

OOC: Season Four is upon us! I have been considering Taldor's overarching goal, "Establish a new aristocracy in Varisia with loyalties to Taldor," and I realized that this objective is both very difficult and incredibly vague. So, I'd like to offer some help to Taldan PCs, by showing some ways of working together to accomplish the goal. The ideas for things to do shown below might be minor by themselves; instead, they represent a part of a larger effort which will accomplish Lady Morilla's goal. In addition, they are unlikely to draw the ire of other factions at your tables. Enjoy!

The 16th of Arodus is nearly upon us, a date which coincides with the first of many Pathfinder Society-sponsored expeditions to Varisia. As we know, Lady Morilla has given all of us a common objective for us to pursue while in Varisia: the establishment of a Varisian aristocracy. Such a change to the local social order would prove a very difficult task, if undertaken by a series of individuals working independently. How does one go about forming an aristocracy?

By helping them do it themselves. It is a natural process for a society to undergo; even Andoran has its aristocrats, though under a different name. All we have to do is give the fledgling social order of Varisia a chance to express itself.

If there is one pastime that is a favorite of the aristocracy, it is the arts. Attendance at the opera is only one form of aristocratic expression; there are plenty of fundraisers, dinners, and other social gatherings that go along with being involved in the arts. All Varisia requires is development of a schedule of artistically-related events, development of their "scene," so to speak.

On the 17th of Arodus, the premiere of The Fangs of Ambition, an epic play dealing with the story of Varisia's own city of Korvosa, will be held at the House of the Immortal Son in Oppara. It will be quite a lavish affair, an envy of the world of the kind that only Taldor can produce. Where the Varisian elite could only hear of these wonders of the world, soon they will be able to experience the wonder of Taldan opera themselves. Fangs will be adapted for the Varisian audience, in preparation of a Varisian production. The opera of Taldor will come to Varisia!

Of course, along with the production itself will come the dinners, the fundraisers, the balls, and all the other events which are associated with the well-established and aristocratically-inclined Taldan arts. Starting with Fangs, the Varisian elite will have the chance they need to express themselves, thus placing them well on their way to the established aristocracy they already crave. There is plenty to be done, of course. The perfect production is not built in a day.

The local culture will have to be researched, as well as the intricacies of the language, so as to ensure a proper adaptation.

Ideal sites for social gatherings will have to be found and opened up to the production.

Costumes, scenery, and other props will have to be made. That will require talented Varisian craftsmen and laborers.

Worthy attendees and donors will have to be identified. The production must attract the Varisian elite.

For the production to succeed, it will have to be advertised. The most effective methods of advertisement will have to be found.

The local arts culture will have to be brought on board. Support will have to be built among Varisia's entertainers, musicians, and artists.

The Varisian bureaucracy, both official and unofficial, will have to be dealt with. Procedures for attaining all the necessary official permissions and permits will have to be researched. Also, the Sczarni hold influence in the cities, and ways to deal with them will have to be learned. The last thing a production needs is a union dispute which halts it entirely.

And of course, the venue itself will have to be found, examined, measured, and reserved, and it will have to be perfect.

Certainly, there are plenty of things to be done to ensure that this first production brings the maximum amount of happiness to the Varisian people. Though individual actions may appear small, it is the combined efforts of all of us that will let us succeed at the goal which Lady Morilla has given us. Once this first production of The Fangs of Ambition is complete, the successive productions of Taldan plays will become easier and easier, as the local scene and the local social order becomes more and more established. I wish all of you the best in your expeditions to Varisia, and I join you in wishing prosperity to the Empire as a result.

Sincerely,
Lady Gabrielle d'Apcher

Taldor ***

Hi guys,

I just looked over my session history, and I noticed a small problem going forward.

My slow-tracked characters, their sessions are showing up as receiving one Prestige/Fame in many of their session entries, even though they completed both the Society objective and the faction objective.

Now normally, this would not be a problem at all, but going forward, it is. It has been made known that faction survival will be at least partially dependent on success rate of faction missions. The only way the coordinators can determine success rate is to look at Prestige/Fame earned.

If a character completes both the Society objective and the faction objective, but is reported as having received one Prestige/Fame, then it is my understanding and fear that this will end up wrongfully looking like a 50% success rate, which will likely harm his faction's chances of survival.

If by the written rules, this problem shouldn't be coming up, and my GMs have been in error, then these reporting rules need to be clarified, as a majority of my PaizoCon 2012 sessions are showing one Prestige/Fame earned even though I completed both of my objectives.

Assuming this actually is a problem, and that there isn't some behind-the-scenes safety-net that I don't know about, can something be done about this problem before Season 4 begins? I would hate to see a faction go because of a problem with how reporting works.

-Matt

Taldor ***

2 people marked this as a favorite.

OOC: Hi guys. I spotted the PaizoCon Bloggery thread, and I had a neat idea to talk about PaizoCon... in-character. Upon Painlord the Wise's recommendation, I'm giving this its own thread.

I invite players of Taldan PCs to chatter about the Grand Convocation here in this thread, so we may best orchestrate the accomplishment of the Empire's objectives.

IC: What follows is excerpted from the diary of one Lady Gabrielle d'Apcher, Lady of Taldor and Pathfinder. It covers the events of summer 4712.

4 Erastus, 4712

I have been ordered by the Society to embark on a set of missions in frequent succession for a series of Venture-Captains. The briefings promise to take me far and wide, across Golarion, in search of ancient trinkets and powerful artifacts originating from civilizations lost to time. These expeditions promise to be a wonderful opportunity to contribute a treasure trove of lore to the academic community through the renowned Chronicles that will result from my adventures.

I can hardly imagine a worse way to spend the season.

I have grown so bored with these errands, with the unknowable depths of the Decemvirate's greed. I am tired of the Ten's treatment of me, as a blunt instrument, a slave to their endless hunger for more and more magical power. I find myself becoming ever more disconnected from the interests I supposedly represent when I am called upon to play ambassador for the Society. Where once it was no trouble at all to create well-meaning motives for their expeditions, where I could play the heroic face of the Society as easily as I donned my roles for the opera, now I only feel the bile creeping up my throat whenever I invent a noble purpose with which to cover up the Decemvirate's endless lust.

Taldor

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

*post deleted; flame-posts detected*

Taldor ***

1 person marked this as a favorite.

...removing something from the Additional Resources list?

Namely, the White-Haired Witch and the Synthesist?

-Matt

Taldor ***

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Since the blog comment page has lost focus, I am starting this new thread with the intention of discussing a solution to the presented sanctioned modules issue of "no risk, no reward." My suggestions are very preliminary, working from a starting point of simplicity. Here goes:

It appears we have two opposing issues with sanctioned module play:
-Ability to put on a game regardless of the players' PC levels.
-Desire to make modules "count," with regard to death, consumable use, etc.

So, an ideal solution here would take the best of both worlds, i.e. maintain the modules' accessibility as well as make them "count." These two issues are not, in actuality, oppositional. We can have both.

One issue with the sanctioned modules as they are is that PCs who receive their Chronicles receive less gold and Fame as they would have from going through three PFS scenarios. Michael has indicated that the gold issue will be remedied by reissuing the Chronicles for the sanctioned modules.

Michael has also indicated that he wishes to make the rules for running sanctioned modules as simple as possible, meaning that they will differ as little as possible from regular PFS play.

I will propose a simple solution, then:
Players who do not play a pre-existing "at-level" PC through a sanctioned module receive one-half of the indicated XP, GP, and Fame, awarded to an existing PFS PC of their choice; these PCs receive rewards as if they were using the Slow advancement track. In this way, "the gold math" is already on the Chronicle.

This solution is very simple, as well as sufficient for addressing all of the presented concerns. The sanctioned modules maintain their accessibility, while incentivizing playing them with an at-level PC.

-Accessibility is maintained. Anyone can join a table of a sanctioned module.
-Risk-for-reward is encouraged, by doubling the rewards an at-level PC receives.

Let's start from here. We can solve this problem without restricting sanctioned module play any more than it needs to be.

-Matt

Taldor ***

I couldn't help but notice that of the first ten scenarios for the Year of the Ruby Phoenix:

Four of them are Tier 1-5
Three of them are Tier 3-7
Two of them are Tier 5-9
One of them is Tier 7-11

Can we expect this pattern to continue? Four 1-5s per three 3-7s per two 5-9s per one 7-11?

-Matt

Taldor

(cross-posted in Rules Questions; wasn't sure which sub-forum was more appropriate)

Hi, everyone.

I'm kicking around a strange character concept, and I landed on the topic of making the Feint maneuver work. In short, I'd like to be able to make a feint attempt as well as a full-attack in the same turn.

Ways I've found to do this so far are limited to Moonlight Stalker Feint and Improved Two-Weapon Feint. Are there other ways out there to score feint attempts as well as full-attacks?

-Matt

Taldor

Hi, everyone.

I'm kicking around a strange character concept, and I landed on the topic of making the Feint maneuver work. In short, I'd like to be able to make a feint attempt as well as a full-attack in the same turn.

Ways I've found to do this so far are limited to Moonlight Stalker Feint and Improved Two-Weapon Feint. Are there other ways out there to score feint attempts as well as full-attacks?

-Matt

Taldor ***

The new text:

Heirloom Weapon: You carry a non-masterwork simple or martial weapon that has been passed down from generation to generation in your family (pay the standard gp cost for the weapon). When you select this trait, choose one of the following benefits: proficiency with that specific weapon, a +1 trait bonus on attacks of opportunity with
that specific weapon, or a +2 trait bonus on one kind of combat maneuver when using that specific weapon.

Note that the guidelines for this trait changing do not speak of traits, but we can extrapolate from how feats change:

Mark Moreland wrote:

If a feat changes or is removed from the Additional Resources list:

You have two options. You may either switch the old feat for an updated feat of the same name in another legal source (if available), ignoring any prerequisites of the new feat you do not meet. Alternatively, you may replace the feat entirely with another feat that has no prerequisites.

-Matt

Taldor ***

So, with a little over a week until First Steps and Ultimate Combat shoot their way into Society play, it's about time to think about a new PC. I've got two characters already, both well on their way towards retirement, and I would like to do something different with this new PC.

As the title says, I would like to create a PC who is focused on noncombat situations. My experience with PFS has told me that, in nearly every table I've sat down at, the rest of the table has been able to trounce a given module's combats without my help. In addition, I do not get as much enjoyment out of combat as the figurative guys with the 20-Str, 7-Int Two-Handed Fighters.

So, now free from the burdens of BAB progression and feat trees, it's time to work out a different kind of Pathfinder, one optimized to deal with all the other situations Pathfinders find themselves in. Of course, I will have to account for the realities of the modules, though, and the amount of focus they do place on combat. Thus, this thread.

For the respondents:
What has been your experience with noncombat-focused PCs in Society play? Are such PCs viable? What makes for effective ones? Or am I a lunatic for even considering making one?

-Matt

Taldor

So I've been looking through Ultimate Magic, and I had a few questions about some of the Bard options, starting with the Masterpieces:

-Does At the Heart of It All require line-of-effect to the target of the masterpiece, as with any other targeted ability?

-If a PC activates The Dance of Twenty-Three Steps while he is maintaining, say, Inspire Courage, does that cause his Inspire Courage to end, because "A bard cannot have more than one bardic performance in effect at one time?"

-Under The Dumbshow of Garroc, there is an entry that says "Action: 1 full round." Does this mean that activating Dumbshow requires a full-round action, or does it require an entire round of activation, much like 1 round spells like Enlarge Person require? If the latter, what happens if a PC is damaged while activating the masterpiece? Does he have a make a concentration check or lose the masterpiece, as with spellcasting? I think this question applies to more masterpieces than just The Dumbshow, like Minuet of the Midnight Ivy.

-If a PC summons an outsider with Legato Piece on the Infernal Bargain, is the PC required to pay the outsider, as per the spell Planar Ally, or does winning the opposed Charisma check as written in Legato Piece supercede that requirement?

-The rules for masterpieces state that "Unwilling creatures may attempt a Will save against the effect of a masterpiece; the save DC for masterpieces is equal to 10 + 1/2 the bard’s level + the bard’s Charisma bonus." Does this mean that the called outsider from Legato Piece on the Infernal Bargain receives a Will save to avoid the effects of the masterpiece?

-The Requiem of the Fallen Priest-King has the phrases "you gain the ability to accelerate time once, which must be used in the next hour," as well as "You must use this extra action within 10 minutes of performing the masterpiece; otherwise the benefit is lost." I'm really unsure as to how this works.

-Requiem also says "This ability does not stack with other effects that increase your speed (such as haste)..." I'm not sure what this means, since the effects of Haste and Requiem don't overlap at all.

-I'm a bit confused on how Toccata and Fugue of the Danse Macabre works. It has an entry for "Action: 1 minute," and an entry for "Use: 1 bardic performance round per round of the performance, +1 round per ally affected, +1 round per dedicated refrain." So, since the performance takes one minute, as per the Action: entry, does that mean that it always costs ten bardic performance rounds, +1 per ally affected?

I also have a few rules questions about some of the Archetypes:
Am I getting this right, that the Geisha's Tea Ceremony ability works like this:
-Geisha spends ten minutes preparing a tea ceremony. Do the affected allies have to participate in it in order to receive its effects?
-For ten minutes, the affected allies receive the benefit of one of her bardic performances. Does the duration begin immediately, or can the Geisha or the affected allies choose to receive the effects later, when they become relevant?

Also:
-The archetype says that the Geisha spends "4 rounds of bardic performance for each creature to be affected." Is this right, or is this an error? Does this entry mean that it requires 24 rounds of bardic performance to give a six-member party Inspire Courage for ten minutes, something that an 18-Charisma, 9th-level Geisha would have to spend all of her daily rounds of bardic performance on?

-Does the benefit of Geisha Knowledge stack with itself, as it is unnamed? If a Geisha chooses Oratory for Versatile Performance, does she "virtually" receive the benefit of Geisha Knowledge twice when making Diplomacy checks, once for the bonus to Diplomacy, and again for the bonus to Perform(Oratory)?

One more:
-How does Sound Striker's ability Weird Words work with damage reduction? Damage Reduction states that "Spells, spell-like abilities, and energy attacks (even nonmagical fire) ignore damage reduction." As Weird Words is a Supernatural ability, it does not ignore damage reduction. So, do the Weird Words bypass DR/magic, or any DR at all beyond the given choice of bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing?

Thank you guys for helping me with these rules questions!
-Matt

Taldor

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Hello, everyone.

A question came up recently on my side of the world: How does the Bard8 ability Dirge of Doom interact with the demoralization portion of the Intimidate skill?

Thank you,
-Matt

Taldor

Jason Bulmahn wrote:
- How does the game change if there is a limit to the number of "buff" spells that an individual character can benefit from? How does this affect the game if the limit is 3, 5, or a number equal to 1 per two or four levels.

The subject of buff limits has been brought up several times between the General Discussion board and the Magic and Spells board. The concept being that a being, monster or PC, may have an given amount of "buffs" (which, by the way, would need to be defined in the rulebook) active at one time.

Of course, the concept of buff limits quickly runs into problems with execution:

-How do we execute the limit? What happens when the limit is reached? Does the monster/PC suddenly choose which spells affect him and which don't? How often can the choices be changed out? Or do any buffs beyond the limit simply fail?

-How does the limit apply to spells like Calm Emotions, Enlarge Person, Reduce Person, or Rage, which have both positive and negative effects? Can a character at or beyond the buff limit just shrug off, say, a Calm Emotions, because it can be construed as a buff? Similarly, does Enlarge Person not count against the limit, because it imposes a penalty to Dex and AC, and thus is not a buff? In other words, how is "buff" defined?

-Hurts backwards compatibility. Existing statblocks suddenly have to be converted over to account for a buff limit. For example, an NPC cleric with a spell list full of buff spells would have to be given a new list of spells prepared, to account for the fact that his buffs wouldn't work so well anymore. I would not be able to run that NPC cleric as written.

Easy first-glance examples of a statblock that would have to be converted:

Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, page 36 (only if limit is less than 3), 50, 52, 79, 82, 83, 104, 142, 144, 146, 148 (only if limit is less than 3), 167, 198, 202 (x2), 204, 206, 210, 211, 212, 214.

-Doesn't fix the perceived problem of applying multiple buffs taking too much time and causing confusion. Instead of adding up all the buffs applied to a PC/monster, instead one has to figure out which ones are the best to apply for the situation (and we don't know how often they can be changed out!) and reference those buffs, which essentially requires referencing them all... and we're back at the beginning.

So in essence, buff limits do not fix the perceived problems. Not only would a good amount of new rules have to be written to apply a buff limit, but the math issues that a buff limit means to address are not solved.

-Matt

Taldor

Reposted from the Design Issues thread, as now is the given time for this post:

The Inherent Problems of Challenge Rating

-Challenge Rating is built for single-monster encounters. Which stop working very quickly, simply because the single monster has an inherent action disadvantage. Four standard actions (some of which become full-attacks) will most often overwhelm one.

-Challenge Rating is built for a very sub-par party of four. The rules offer no guidance on how to adjust encounters for different party sizes. Six or seven PCs can take on different classes of encounters than parties of two or three. Also remember that Challenge Rating is built for a party of the Four Iconics, the absolutely horrible party that gave Toughness to Mialee.

-Challenge Rating, and its daughter Encounter Level, assume the party will face four encounters in a day. The rules offer no guidance on how to tweak encounters when the party will face fewer or greater numbers of them, aside from the tiny table on Page 49 of the 3.5 DMG that uses terms like "Challenging," "Very Difficult," and "Overpowering" as its guidance. Also note that often, the party has a measure of control over the number of encounters it faces in a day, as the party can often choose to rest. Also, since different campaigns place a different emphasis on number of encounters per day, this fact means that Challenge Rating is, by definition, inconsistent among campaigns.

-Inconsistent circumstances behind encounters. The rules provide no guidance about how to tailor Challenge Rating and Encounter Levels to various circumstances. An encounter that takes place behind the great double doors, where the PCs can load up all their rounds/lvl buff spells, is a wildly different level of challenge than an encounter that takes place in the middle of the night, when two-thirds of the party is sleeping.

-Inconsistency among monsters with a given Challenge Rating. One can take two monsters of equal challenge rating, and often one will be more powerful, more Challenging, than the other. A quick look at the back of the 3.5 Monster Manual shows that an Ogre Mage and a Nine-Headed Hydra are both CR 8.

-Inconsistency within the monsters themselves. For several reasons, the first of which goes hand-in-hand with Inconsistent Circumstances: A Human Cleric15 is a wildly different challenge when he's pre-buffed than when he's unbuffed.

-Challenge Ratings do not take into account monster equipment, which a monster can have, but is most often is not factored into its Challenge Rating. For example, if I give a Babau a Chain Shirt, its AC goes up by +4, with no adjustment to Challenge Rating. If I give a Glabrezu a melee weapon, it suddenly can switch out its two Claw attacks (+18/+18 - 1d6+5) for three weapon attacks (+20/+15/+10 - weapondamage+15, reduces pincer attacks to +18), significantly increasing its ability to damage PCs just by picking up a weapon of negligible GP value.

-Monsters have varying levels of optimization of their stat blocks for their Challenge Rating. That same Glabrezu from the previous example has Persuasive as one of its five feats. If I switch Persuasive out for, say, Weapon Focus (glaive), its ability to hurt PCs, its Challenge, increses, with no adjustment to Challenge Rating.

-The monster advancement rules are busted. As I've posted previously, if your DM touches the monster advancement rules, his or her monsters will be significantly more powerful than their Challenge Rating shows. For example, did you know that if a monster is given one nonassociated class level, its CR increases by 0.5, effectively nothing due to rounding, yet more importantly, the monster receives the Elite Array (base stats of 15/14/13/12/10/8 instead of 11s and 10s) for free?

My previous example post on the matter showed how quickly an advanced monster scales for its Challenge Rating by using an Advanced Otyugh, and how, for +3 CR, it would go from 6HD to 18HD, and all the crazy amounts of benefits it would receive. Page 292 of the 3.5 Monster Manual uses a 15HD Otyugh as an example of advancement, which actually makes a good example of my point. Take a look at it, but as you examine it, note that its CR only increases by +2. Yes, its attacks do go from +4/+4/-2 - 1d6/1d6/1d4 to +14/+14/+11 - 1d8+4/1d8+4/1d6+2, yes, it gains 79 hp, yes, its saves go up by +7/+2/+4, and yes, it gains two attribute bumps and three (two of which are suboptimal) feats, all in exchange for a mere +2 CR.

So in conclusion, Challenge Rating and Encounter Level are in desperate need of repair, and the problems inherent to them are present in all levels of play; high-level games simply have a way of making those problems very clear. No matter how much Pathfinder fixes the PC classes, if it doesn't fix the challenges they face, the system will still be riddled with problems.

-Matt

Taldor

Now that I'm on track, I thought I'd also repost another long explanation of another core problem with 3.5, which Pathfinder should consider: Challenge Rating

Reposted from the Why Do Games Break Down At High Levels? thread:

-Challenge Rating is built for single-monster encounters. Which stop working very quickly, simply because the single monster has an inherent action disadvantage. Four standard actions (some of which become full-attacks) will most often overwhelm one.

-Challenge Rating is built for a very sub-par party of four. The rules offer no guidance on how to adjust encounters for different party sizes. Six or seven PCs can take on different classes of encounters than parties of two or three. Also remember that Challenge Rating is built for a party of the Four Iconics, the absolutely horrible party that gave Toughness to Mialee.

-Challenge Rating, and its daughter Encounter Level, assume the party will face four encounters in a day. The rules offer no guidance on how to tweak encounters when the party will face fewer or greater numbers of them, aside from the tiny table on Page 49 of the 3.5 DMG that uses terms like "Challenging," "Very Difficult," and "Overpowering" as its guidance. Also note that often, the party has a measure of control over the number of encounters it faces in a day, as the party can often choose to rest. Also, since different campaigns place a different emphasis on number of encounters per day, this fact means that Challenge Rating is, by definition, inconsistent among campaigns.

-Inconsistent circumstances behind encounters. The rules provide no guidance about how to tailor Challenge Rating and Encounter Levels to various circumstances. An encounter that takes place behind the great double doors, where the PCs can load up all their rounds/lvl buff spells, is a wildly different level of challenge than an encounter that takes place in the middle of the night, when two-thirds of the party is sleeping.

-Inconsistency among monsters with a given Challenge Rating. One can take two monsters of equal challenge rating, and often one will be more powerful, more Challenging, than the other. A quick look at the back of the 3.5 Monster Manual shows that an Ogre Mage and a Nine-Headed Hydra are both CR 8.

-Inconsistency within the monsters themselves. For several reasons, the first of which goes hand-in-hand with Inconsistent Circumstances: A Human Cleric15 is a wildly different challenge when he's pre-buffed than when he's unbuffed.

-Challenge Ratings do not take into account monster equipment, which a monster can have, but is most often is not factored into its Challenge Rating. For example, if I give a Babau a Chain Shirt, its AC goes up by +4, with no adjustment to Challenge Rating. If I give a Glabrezu a melee weapon, it suddenly can switch out its two Claw attacks (+18/+18 - 1d6+5) for three weapon attacks (+20/+15/+10 - weapondamage+15, reduces pincer attacks to +18), significantly increasing its ability to damage PCs just by picking up a weapon of negligible GP value.

-Monsters have varying levels of optimization of their stat blocks for their Challenge Rating. That same Glabrezu from the previous example has Persuasive as one of its five feats. If I switch Persuasive out for, say, Weapon Focus (glaive), its ability to hurt PCs, its Challenge, increses, with no adjustment to Challenge Rating.

-The monster advancement rules are busted. As I've posted previously, if your DM touches the monster advancement rules, his or her monsters will be significantly more powerful than their Challenge Rating shows. For example, did you know that if a monster is given one nonassociated class level, its CR increases by 0.5, effectively nothing due to rounding, yet more importantly, the monster receives the Elite Array (base stats of 15/14/13/12/10/8 instead of 11s and 10s) for free?

My previous example post on the matter showed how quickly an advanced monster scales for its Challenge Rating by using an Advanced Otyugh, and how, for +3 CR, it would go from 6HD to 18HD, and all the crazy amounts of benefits it would receive. Page 292 of the 3.5 Monster Manual uses a 15HD Otyugh as an example of advancement, which actually makes a good example of my point. Take a look at it, but as you examine it, note that its CR only increases by +2. Yes, its attacks do go from +4/+4/-2 - 1d6/1d6/1d4 to +14/+14/+11 - 1d8+4/1d8+4/1d6+2, yes, it gains 79 hp, yes, its saves go up by +7/+2/+4, and yes, it gains two attribute bumps and three (two of which are suboptimal) feats, all in exchange for a mere +2 CR.

So in conclusion, Challenge Rating and Encounter Level are in desperate need of repair, and the problems inherent to them are present in all levels of play; high-level games simply have a way of making those problems very clear. No matter how much Pathfinder fixes the PC classes, if it doesn't fix the challenges they face, the system will still be riddled with problems.

-Matt

Taldor

The Bard has several glaring issues that deserve to be fixed:

A) My main issue with the bard involves the existence of the Perform skill, doubly so since Pathfinder asks that bards take at least two Perform skills to gain their class abilities.

My question is: why? The Perform skill doesn't actually do much of anything on its own, other than as a measure of a performer's talent. It does nothing that cannot be replicated by a Profession skill. It doesn't change disposition, it doesn't impress an audience, it doesn't gain glory for the subject of a Bard's tale. The skill Perform is meaningless!

Why not remove the skill entirely, or at least roll it into other skills, like Diplomacy (to impress an audience) or Intimidate (to scare a rival performer), (As a side note, why the Bard does not get Intimidate as a class skill, especially when the Virtuoso[CAdv], perhaps the most bard-geared prestige class, requires 4x Intimidate, is beyond me.) as all Perform really does is force the Bard to drain skill points just to use his class abilities.

I currently see two solutions:

-Remove the Perform skill entirely, as it doesn't really do anything.
or
-Expand upon the Perform skill, so it would actually do something. Add mechanics for impressing an individual, for example, rather than relying on "DC 30 = extraordinary," which really doesn't mean anything in game terms. As it stands, Perform doesn't change attitudes, it doesn't earn glory; all it does is let you peddle for cash, which is covered by Profession.

B) Bard is the only class whose class abilities require a skill point expenditure. Does a rogue have to max out Stealth to use Sneak Attack? Does a druid have to max out Knowledge(Nature) to use Wild Shape? Does a Cleric have to max out Knowledge(Religion) to use Channel Energy? No. But a Bard has to max out Perform to use Bardic Music. And Pathfinder Beta goes a step further, requiring a Bard to max out a second Perform category.

Thus, 3.5 made the Bard go from being a 6+Int skill class to a 5+Int skill class; Pathfinder seeks to make it into a 4+Int skill class, just like Druid or Monk. Is draining the Bard's skill points, reducing its usefulness as a skill-based class, really necessary?

I currently see four solutions:

-Remove the Perform skill requirements, as all it does is force the bard to drain skill points (on a skill I've established does not do anything), turning it into a 4+Int skill class.
or
-Let the Bard player pick X types of Perform; he gains bonus skill ranks in those Perform types for free every level.
or
-Give the bard bonus skill points to spend on Perform.
or
-Make the Bard an 8+Int skill class, to compensate for the skill point drain.

Other Bardic issues:
C)Why doesn't the Bard have Intimidate as a class skill?

D)Give higher-level Bards the ability to activate Bardic Music faster than as a standard action. A Wiz13 can cast Quickened Haste, yet the Bard is still stuck spending his standard action on Inspire Courage. Or at least spell out how long Inspire Courage can last. When I watched Return of the King most recently, I noticed that King Theoden would inspire his troops before going into battle, not during it. That's what Bards should be able to do: inspire the party all the time, perhaps even with his very presence, not only after the battle has begun.

E)Reserve the morale bonus for the Bard, as they have a hard time filling a buff role when they're constantly in competition with the other classes. Righteous Wrath of the Faithful (SpC) was particularly damaging to the Bard, for example. A Sorcerer with Heroism also makes the Bard less important, as Heroism lasts 10min/lvl, adds to saves and skill checks, and doesn't have to be activated every combat. The damage begins as early as level 1, when the Cleric's Bless doesn't stack with Inspire Courage. When other classes try, they can outdo the Bard, simply by having a morale-bonus buff as well as other abilities. That's not a good thing. We should fix that.

The Bard is in desperate need of an overhaul; fortunately, we're in an excellent position to give the Bard the love and care it deserves.

-Matt


©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.