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Serpent God Statue

Matthew Downie's page

2,730 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Milo v3 wrote:
Even in the flavour text it says that their are barbarians from civilisation, so why wouldn't a barbarian from a city do something like take ranks in profession (Soldier) or Profession (Sailor).

Because he's a warrior of pure rage. If he wanted to be a professional soldier or sailor with a class skill bonus, he'd probably take a dip in another class. (Though there's probably a trait for it now.)

Obviously, there are other ways they could have made the barbarian class, but they made it this way, for reasonably reasonable reasons. It had to be something and it doesn't really matter either way, so now it is what it is.

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I'm not trying to argue for or against work or fun - I was just trying to clarify what people mean by the snappy but (to me) uninformative statements like, "The most important thing is to have fun!"

This reminds me of, I think, an episode of the comedy-drama Ed from 15 years ago. The theme was charity. The protagonist had suddenly become aware that he was quite rich, and that if he sold, for example, his expensive watch and gave away all the money, he could actually help someone else significantly without inconveniencing himself much. He started doing a lot of charity work, using the philosophy, "Give until it hurts".

By the end of the episode, he had a change of heart, and adopted a philosophy of, "Give until it feels good."

I could never decide if that was clever, or vapid and selfish. If you decide in advance that generosity is going to hurt, it probably will become miserable. If you decide it's going to be fun, maybe you'll be more generous? But what if it doesn't feel good? Does that excuse you from doing good?

To take it back to RPGs, a GM might consider prepping for a game to be the hard work you have to do to help others enjoy themselves, or it might be something they find to be fun in its own right. The important thing is... to find something that works, I guess?

Matthew Downie wrote:
lemeres wrote:
Having to errata your errata is embarassing.
I think you should have smelled that 'embarrassing'.


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lemeres wrote:
Having to errata your errata is embarassing.

I think you should have smelled that 'embarrassing'.

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Physically Unfeasible wrote:

It's truly awful that there are must-have options in the system! I keep seeing melee characters take power attack, wizards take spell focus, archers take precise shot...

Spell Focus comes in a variety of flavors, but (pretending you weren't being sarcastic) I'd agree with the other ones being a bad thing. If they're must-have, it's either a sign they're either overpowered, or that the characters who need them should get them for free. "I want to play a bard who's good with a bow - so I have no real choices to make about what feats to take for several levels."

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Tormsskull wrote:
I was simply stating that I'm surprised how many people espouse these views rather than seeing an errata/rule/whatever and thinking "interesting, but not going to use that."

Some people aren't GMs, so they don't get to make that decision.

Some people are GMS, but would rather not have to make the decision.

For example, I could decide I prefer the new Divine Protection ruling to the original, and email all my players to let them know, and do the same for a hundred other errata, even though 99% of the changes will be irrelevant to the game. Or I could come up with my own version of Divine Protection where they can activate it as an immediate action once per day and it boosts all their saves for one minute, which sounds about right to me. Or I could wait until they decide to take Divine Protection and then tell them it doesn't do what they thought it did because the rulebook they bought is out of date. But I'd rather not have to. I'd prefer it if Paizo did everything perfectly first time. Is that too much to ask?

It is?


At least this helps explain why Paizo has a history of ignoring balance issues - any change leads to massive confusion and anger.

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"Work hard to help other people have fun" and "have fun" sound like very different things to me.

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Tormsskull wrote:
No fallacy - I'm not implying the game is perfect because house rules can be made. I'm stating my opinion that I am surprised people try to stick exactly to the RAW.

I'm a GM. My players, mostly inexperienced, are using characters they created from virtually the whole of the available ruleset - Aasimar, Unchained Monks, etc.

In order to audit their characters properly, I have to check through multiple errata PDFs to see if anything's changed, and if they have, I have to decide whether to use the original version or the nerfed version or invent my own version. Not using strict RAW means I have to make game balance decisions about everything. You want to use Slashing Grace? Fine, just let me run the DPR numbers and then I'll tell you how it should work.

Or I guess I could just be lazy and let them run their character however they think it works...

Brother Fen wrote:
I'd recommended just running the AP that interests you the most and IF there is a subsystem present that you don't feel like you have a grasp on, then come to the forums and ask for help making it work.
magnuskn wrote:
Yes, of course, ignore the advice of people who actually have experienced the problems those untested sub-systems caused in their campaigns, because "whining".

Maybe a bit over the top as a response?

I'd say: you can run whatever interests you the most if you're willing to do a lot of work to fix the problems that are likely to arise. If you want to avoid the work, check the forums in advance to see which APs need least tinkering.

Jade Regent has bad subsystems that are fairly easy to remove (plus some monotonous sections that might be worth swapping out for 3PP alternative content, and a structure that requires the players to buy into the concept and not complain about railroading, and NPCs who don't really do anything most of the time unless the GM makes new content for them...)

Kingmaker's problems are more intrinsic - complicated kingdom-building rules that aren't particularly well balanced, plus 'fight one monster a week' exploration that rewards 'nova' PC builds. If you're willing to work hard to create your own party-specific content, you can have a lot of fun with it.

I'm not convinced 'have fun' is useful advice.

"I'm not in a mood for prepping for tomorrow's game. What should I do?"
"Have fun!"
"Gotcha. I'll play a video game today, and tomorrow I'll wing it when I get there."

"One of my players is annoying me. I'd really like to kill his character in a brutally unfair manner. What should I do?"
"Have fun!"
"Rocks fall! He dies!"

"I need to know if I should allow Dazing metamagic in my campaign."
"Have fun!"
"So... is that a yes or a no?"
"Have fun!"

Kchaka wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
What I don't agree with is anyone who claims to know definitively otherwise.
Me too.

I don't know definitively, but I would bet money that a 5-foot step never provokes (except in the case of abilities that specifically allow you to take an AoO against someone while they're taking a 5-foot step).

Possibly better place to debate taking actions outside of combat.

I think that's a reasonable use of 'stack' in terms of an ongoing damage effect. As in, "Bleed effects do not stack with each other unless they deal different kinds of damage."

Each acid arrow does 2d4 damage per round. Each acid arrow has its own duration. They are entirely independent of one another.


A level 6 wizard casts Acid Arrow on a target. It does 2d4 damage.
Second level 6 wizard casts Acid Arrow on the same target. It does 2d4 damage.
The first wizard casts Acid Arrow again. It does 2d4 damage. His previous arrow also does 2d4 damage.
The second wizard casts Acid Arrow again. It does 2d4 damage. His previous arrow also does 2d4 damage.
The first wizard casts Acid Arrow again. It does 2d4 damage. His previous arrow also does 2d4 damage. His original arrow does a further 2d4 damage, but then its duration expires - that means even if he keeps on casting the same spell, he can never do more than 6d4 damage on his round.

Melkiador wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
A combat cleric could walk around holding the charge on a Heal and get it for free whenever he wanted.
He wouldn't be able to do much of anything other than attack though. If he casts another spell, the heal fizzles. So yeah, a cleric could burn a spell he might need before combat even begins, but if he ends up not needing it, then he is out of luck and wasted his resources.

Well, I did specify combat cleric. In a situation where you're expecting battle, you can make yourself a target and then cure yourself instantly. You can also use it on an ally or an enemy undead, so it's unlikely to go to waste unless you have an urgent to cast something else.


If you count as your own friend you can touch yourself as a standard action.

If you can make touch attacks on yourself (which I think would make auto-hit) you can do it in place of an attack.

I don't think the argument "it's a non-action because it's not listed" is any stronger than "if not otherwise stated, everything is a standard action" or "if it's not listed as an action you can't do it at all".

Letting people do it as a free action seems like a bad gameplay precedent. A combat cleric could walk around holding the charge on a Heal and get it for free whenever he wanted.

i208 wrote:
Dallium wrote:

The combat rules say:

Combat wrote:
If you touch anything or anyone while holding a charge, even unintentionally, the spell discharges.
I agree that this statement in the rules is why a standard seems like overkill.

That's a pretty stupid rule in the first place, but I don't think it applies to your own body. "Sorry, one of your toes touched one of your other toes by accident, so you cast that Harm spell on yourself."

Jodokai wrote:
Michael Hallet wrote:
I would argue that leve 5 is too late to get Slashing Grace. you might as well just pick up the Agile enhancement. I want it by level 3 (when the unchained rogue gets it), or not bother at all.
Right, because gods forbid the Rogue class get something useful, I mean if that happened we couldn't complain about how useless the Rogue is.

Nobody was complaining about the Rogue getting it. I'd be happy for them to get some form of Dex-to-Damage from level 1. But the above example of how to use Slashing Grace is a character who has a damage bonus of zero even at level 4. I don't think I'd be willing to stick with that character long enough for him to become effective.

Casual Viking wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Good point about Alter Self, Viking. I was thinking of it in the "lets all pose as merfolk and infiltrate their city" context, but if they're going to use it as a "lets turn the barbarian into the creature with the most highest DPR natural attacks we can find in any of the Bestiaries" spell, it could be overpowered.
Which is a Sewer Troll, BTW. 1d6 bite, 1d4 claws.

And 10 foot reach on the claws despite being a medium creature.

Good point about Alter Self, Viking. I was thinking of it in the "lets all pose as merfolk and infiltrate their city" context, but if they're going to use it as a "lets turn the barbarian into the creature with the most highest DPR natural attacks we can find in any of the Bestiaries" spell, it could be overpowered.

I don't see any of those as needing more to be more than one level higher to be shared. It can be unbalancing to allow things like Shield and Mirror Image to be cast on an already near-invincible martial character, but sharing utility spells just allows martial characters to take part in fun things they might otherwise be denied.

Downloadable PDF here.

Change the Divine Protection feat’s Prerequisites section to
“Prerequisites: Cha 13, Knowledge (religion) 5 ranks.”
and change the Benefit section to “Benefit: Once per day as an immediate action before rolling a saving throw, you can add your Charisma modifier on that saving throw. As usual, this does not stack if you already apply your Charisma modifier to that saving throw.
If you possess the charmed life class feature, you can instead apply Divine Protection’s bonus after rolling the saving throw but before the result is revealed.”

master_marshmallow wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Update: Slashing Grace errata now allows for light weapons, but “You do not gain this benefit while fighting with two weapons or using flurry of blows, or any time another hand is otherwise occupied.”

Downloadable PDF here.

LazarX wrote:

What IS the fixation on CDG? If a character is below zero, He's going to STAY that way unlles he either bleeds out and dies, or someone physically heals him up. In low level combats, this is never an issue. At low level CDGing soneone with a dagger has never been an issue.

At higher levels, you have much more major things on your plate.

Color Spray and Sleep can make someone helpless for a very brief duration (the former wearing off on its own, the latter can be removed by any enemy as a standard action). A wizard with 7 strength could easily fail at CdG with a dagger - maybe 2 damage, DC 12 Fortitude to negate - and that would wake a sleeping foe. A Scythe would make it DC 22 or so, if the damage wasn't enough to finish them off on its own.

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We programmers use strictly defined programming languages, not English. The people whose job it is to write unambiguous rules in English are legislators. They usually write things in a nearly-unambiguous way but at the cost of being really awkward to read. "The person performing the Overrun (henceforth referred to as the Attacker) may, if not incapacitated by one of the conditions listed in appendix A, by expending a Standard Action, performed while passing through the square of an Enemy (defined in appendix B) during their Movement (defined in appendix C)..."

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
No, Overrun, as is, is a Standard Action to perform, and is completely separate from any movement. So you can perform an Overrun without moving.

"As a standard action, taken during your move"

That doesn't sound separate from movement.

Yes it is. If they weren't separate, I could spend that single Standard Action that would allow me to both move through enemy squares and make the CMB check. Or I could just spend a Move Action, do my move, make my check, and not be forced to spend the Standard Action to do that. If you spend one, and not the other, the entire thing falls apart, because you either can't move through his square (and therefore stop before your movement), or you don't move at all and use the Overrun Maneuver on your own square.

As written, the Standard Action itself allows you to perform the Overrun Maneuver. The Overrun Maneuver says "you can attempt to overrun your target, moving through its square." You're suggesting that you combine both Standard and Move into a Full-Round Action to perform this maneuver, but it doesn't work that way currently. You spend two separate actions, one for movement, one for the check. They are separate actions to begin with, but you must use both of them together in order to properly do the maneuver.

And that's stupid.

OK. I think understand what you're saying now. They're separate actions that you have to use simultaneously even though they're separate actions.

I don't see anything stupid about it though. It's just one of those things like Flyby Attack that requires you to take a standard action during a move action for it to work. The current phrasing is better for allowing for variants than, say, turning it into a combined full-round action. If you have an ability that allows you to move as a swift action, can you use overrun during that move? Yes. If you have some mythic ability to get a second standard action, can you overrun two people during your move? Yes.

Jiggy wrote:
Should I start listing all the real-actual-gameplay examples I've seen of obstacles that were unable or infeasible to engage nonmagically?

Feel free to list a few - it would certainly be relevant to the thread.

In my experience most gameplay obstacles are either in Adventure Paths and are designed to be passable by any party, or are created by a GM with the specific group in mind - in which case they only exist because of the caster being there.

(The only example I can think of off the top of my head was an AP door you were supposed to open by using negative energy damage. Which none of the casters were in a position to do either, so we tunnelled through the wall instead.)

Ah, but the caster feels like an idiot as he struggles up a rope while he's actually perfectly capable of flying; the martial feels like a hero! Plus, the martial has the advantage of having no useful knowledge/social class skills, meaning that they stick all their points in physical skills by default!

Use Quickened versions of the lower level buffs?

I consider mundane solutions to be intrinsically 'better' in most cases. Getting up a wall with a grappling hook is a cooler visual image than using magic to do it. Convincing someone to help you by demonstrating your good intentions is less creepy than magically brainwashing them. Riding or sneaking across Mordor is more dramatic than teleporting across Mordor.

Faster? No. Safer? No. Just 'better'.

Update: Slashing Grace errata now allows for light weapons, but “You do not gain this benefit while fighting with two weapons or using flurry of blows, or any time another hand is otherwise occupied.”

A "God wizard" is a wizard who handles situations through battlefield-control and so on, rather than trying to win battles on their own.

Also used in the context of level 17+ wizards who can literally do pretty much anything they can imagine.

Yes, but if it's possible to do these things without magic, using magic is just showing off / wasting spells per day / skipping adventure content. Most of the groups that I've played with would try doing these things the regular way first, and only resort to teleporting or magically charming people if forced to. And in most of the adventures I've played in, mundane abilities work fine for almost every out-of-combat situation (with exceptions such as healing).

One of the Knights of Ozem has a relevant scroll that he's nervous about using without more help, but since the PCs are big-time evil-hunters, he's willing to give it a try while they're here?

Or see what the players do, and improvise. You know you're probably going to have the demon come out, but you wait and see if they something that would plausibly antagonise it enough that it attacks them. For example, they might try bluffing that they're going to banish it, or pouring holy water over the woman, or something.

I find a lot of adventures consist of:
Go to place.
Talk to some people.
Go to other place.
Kill a series of enemies.
Collect loot.

In these situations, out-of-combat options don't seem to matter that much unless the caster is going out of his way to short-circuit the story with planar shenanigans.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
No, Overrun, as is, is a Standard Action to perform, and is completely separate from any movement. So you can perform an Overrun without moving.

"As a standard action, taken during your move"

That doesn't sound separate from movement.

LuxuriantOak wrote:

As an example:

The party gets ambushed! (possible due to their own mistakes)

Actually, I would like to withdraw my existing points about this scenario and replace them with a general 'if you want to make theorycrafting points, take it to one of the other C-M D threads'.

LuxuriantOak wrote:

As an example:
The party gets ambushed! (possible due to their own mistakes)
a nasty area effect hits the whole group, followed by charging ... I dunno ... Minotaurs!
the fireball does somwhere past 50 hp damage to those who fail their save (I pulled this number from thin air, don't overthink it) and if the charging Ox-men hit they have some sort of die + a larger static modifier - lets say it's ... 1d10+14
if the whole group failed their save and gets hit with 1 attack (I haven't specified how many players or enemies ther is, not planning to)
-we're looking at somwhere around 65-74 hp damage.
In many cases (not all) that is enough to knock out or even kill a wizard, or a inquisitor or whatever (because? because d6 or d8 hit dice)

-but the Rogue is fine, evasion says so.
-and the fighter, he can take some more of that (d10 hit die), and would like to show mister moo what he feels about this improper ambush.

If the party are level 9, say, and the cleric and fighter have equal Con, then the normal HP difference is 9 points. So if it's enough to knock out the cleric, the Fighter is probably down to 7HP or less. He'll go down on the next hit.

And a caster, while conscious, has a lot better chance to counter that sort of thing. A cleric with Quicken Channel can heal the entire party of most of the fireball damage. Or: Resist Energy: Fire in advance. Or using magic to detect the ambush. Teleporting out when things get that bad. Invisibility so the ambushers don't see you coming. Etc.

LoneKnave wrote:

Also, I think we can just ignore the part where you say the fighter can handle a challenge if the cleric buffs him as if that illustrated your point, not mine.

PS.: I find it ironic when OP asks for actual in play disparity (or the feeling anyway) to counter theorycraft, and when examples are made people try to argue them away using theorycraft.

I didn't have a point - I was genuinely curious as to how it happened, since I've (not just in theory) taken on a lich as a fighter and done OK (after dying to the same opponent as a druid).

Fighters are pretty bad class, but they're even worse if they don't have standard Pathfinder gear like a magic bow.

And I don't think anyone's disputing that a martial without magical aid is going to struggle against magical opposition. But not everyone notices that disparity in mixed groups. Some people think, "This fighter is useless without a caster". Others think "all the caster does is buff and heal the fighter and disperse enemy gas clouds; the fighter is the one getting all the glory".

LoneKnave wrote:
The disparity was most stinging when the fighter realized that in our fight vs the BBEG Lich, he'll absolutely be playing second fiddle, if at all. Without our spells, he has no chance of even touching the guy.

Why? In a standard PF campaign the fighter should be able to:

Destroy the lich with blunt arrows from a magic bow (or regular arrows plus Clustered Shot).

Destroy the lich in melee - possibly requiring Air Walk, Blessings of Fervor, or whatever from the cleric to get close enough, or drinking a Fly potion if the cleric is busy - and probably still able to do about 50% of normal damage if not using a blunt weapon.

In my experience disparity is felt when:

The caster can also do martial damage on a par with the martial.

The caster is optimised for save-or-suck to a sufficient extent they become reliable spells rather than 50-50 gambles.

The martial is a core Rogue.

Disparity is not felt when:

The caster conserves spells, in case they're going to be needed later, and lets the martials deal with most of the fights with minimal assistance.

The caster plays a support/buffing/condition removal role, and lets the martials do all the damage.

The martial players come up with plans that utilise caster abilities and think of these abilities as party resources rather than character resources.

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Except for the FAQ saying that it does provoke twice:

"Ranged Touch Attack Spells and AOOs: When you cast a spell that allows you to make a ranged touch attack (such as scorching ray), and an enemy is within reach, do you provoke two attacks of opportunity?
Yes, you provoke two attacks of opportunity: one for casting the spell and one for making a ranged attack, since these are two separate events.
(Note that at spell that fires multiple simultaneous rays, such as scorching ray, only provokes one AOO for making the ranged attack instead of one AOO for each ranged attack. It still provokes for casting the spell.)"

The same things that constitute an attack for breaking Invisibility.

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On these forums, 3.5 rulings are considered solid evidence, unless they contradict the poster's existing opinion, in which case they're completely irrelevant to Pathfinder.

Tsk. I suppose you think my angel-skin coat is cruel too? My suppliers use only the most humane rearing and slaughtering methods.

Presumably you can carry a sack of rats around with you and whack them one at a time until you've achieved enough critical hits to fill up your wyroot weapons every morning.

You know, typical monk stuff.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

GM: Alright, Galdr, 1st level Warpriest, it's your turn, what do you want to do?
Player: I'm going to draw my Longsword and Overrun Creature Y.

GM: You can't - drawing a sword is a move action for you, and overrun also requires you to spend both a move action and a standard action.

Player: OK, I'll do it without drawing my sword.

It's not the most elegantly stated rule, but (charges aside) I don't think it's much of a problem to play with.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Additionally, a Move Action (or movement of some sort) must be done with Overrun in order for it to work

I don't see this as being a problem - it clearly states you take the Standard Action 'during your move'. So I can understand how it works if you make a regular move action and take the overrun action as a standard during the move. (A fairly clearly implied exception to the normal 'you can't take a standard action part way through your move' rule.)

So the only confusing bit is how it works in the context of a Charge, which has some strictly defined rules, such as stopping in the nearest square to the target creature.

Charge Through (Combat)
You can overrun enemies when charging.
Prerequisites: Str 13, Improved Overrun, Power Attack, base attack bonus +1.
Benefit: When making a charge, you can attempt to overrun one creature in the path of the charge as a free action. If you successfully overrun that creature, you can complete the charge. If the overrun is unsuccessful, the charge ends in the space directly in front of that creature.
Normal: You must have a clear path toward the target
of your charge.

Since this thread is a year old, I'd say they should be aware of the issue by now. They just don't have an easy solution.

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Rather than adding new threads to the table, shouldn't we direct all new disparity threads to this page, and/or to the relevant existing thread? "Dear X: thank you for sharing your interesting opinion. To reduce the risk of repetition, please read these 573 posts on the same subject to ensure you are in an informed position."

I'm sure that will lead to a future of nothing but efficient and reasoned debate.

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