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Matthew Downie's page

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Con-Drain-bleed - an effect that causes increasing Constitution Drain over time. Restoration can postpone death (at high material cost), but nothing short of a Level 7 spell can stop it.


Isn't max HP at level 1 standard?

Bestiary orcs are outliers for their CR - they feel more like CR 1. They're not a great example of Paizo game balance, but the fact that they're so scary has the advantage of allowing a GM to make it feel like the PCs start at rock bottom on the power scale, to make a story about the rise from puny to mighty. Reducing the power of the PCs, then reducing the power of orcs even more, sounds like it would create a situation where the PCs feel powerful from the start, while also being more work for the GM.


Goblin_Priest wrote:
When you scale your foes accordingly, your PCs don't need 50 PB. It really doesn't take all that much to hit an orc commoner with no armor and 8 dex, for example.

When you use standard 15/20 point-buy, you don't have to scale your NPCs in either direction. You can just use normal encounters. It's a real time-saver.


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DrDeth wrote:
Witnessed a guy actually roll a 18 on 2d6 for str

Really? Wow! Rolling a seven on a d6 is hard enough. Rolling two consecutive nines? Almost inconceivable! Are you sure those weren't upside-down sixes?


I aimed in my last campaign to:

(a) give PCs selectable bonus progression - you have a mini-budget to buy enhancement bonuses to the usual stats, and

(b) to give out magic items that allowed characters to do things they wouldn't otherwise be able to do.

For example, an item that allows a fighter to switch places with a willing ally three times a day as an immediate action. If that ally was being attacked, the fighter takes the hit in their place.

Or an item that allows him to swing his sword and create an area-effect attack.

Or a short-range teleport that requires an Acrobatics check to avoid a mishap.

Or a powerful illusory disguise that allows the entire group to pose as another species (orc, zombie) to infiltrate an enemy base.

I'd call it a partial success. Never really got much Wonder going, and it killed the fun of "Yay we found loot we can sell for 16,000gp now I can buy the thing I wanted" Diablo-esque grinding. But that may have been due to the specifics of the campaign more than the idea itself.


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Old FAQ thread for whether manipulating material components requires a free hand.


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I'm remembering now why I stopped reading these forums... Everybody always seems to be replying to comments without having first read the other replies to see if anyone else has said the same thing.


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Curmudgeonly wrote:

I always played it as the Paladin needing to actually target it on someone/something. i.e. it didn't work as the Cleric version which detects evil in a radius around him over 3 rounds.

A paladin can, as a move action, concentrate on a single item or individual within 60 feet and determine if it is evil, learning the strength of its aura as if having studied it for 3 rounds. While focusing on one individual or object, the paladin does not detect evil in any other object or individual within range.

Have I been doing this wrong?

From the FAQs:

"Paladin’s Detect Evil: Does a paladin need to spend a standard action to activate detect evil before spending a move action to concentrate on a single creature or item?

No, the first sentence is discrete from the rest of the ability, and offers an alternative option for using detect evil. A paladin can use the move action on a single creature or item in lieu of the standard action to activate a normal detect evil."

Yes, you were doing it 'wrong'. (I think most GMs were.) Paladins are supposed to be able to either use their ability as if they'd cast the spell, or use it as a move action on a single target.


I know what is wrong with gaming today.

It is me.

And I am sorry.

PS: What I mean by this is that the real problem is people being unwilling to admit that they might be at fault; I am trying to set a good example here rather than accusing anyone.

PPS: So, I guess what I really mean is, the problem is everyone but me. Yeah, that sounds likely.

PPPS: OK, maybe I was right the first time.


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Jiggy wrote:
constantly jumping into the negotiations and risking everyone's lives with their insistence on doing equal shares of the talking

In TV, most conversation is between the central characters, and these interactions define them. In my RPG experience, most conversation is between PCs and NPCs, and the party rarely talk to one another - at least, not while staying in character. Is that normal?


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And Krakens are CR 18.


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Letric wrote:
Any character that is NOT a caster depends on a single weapon.

The majority of casters are far more gear-dependent than martials. A level 1 Fighter with 18 Strength can still pick up a rock and kill a goblin. A level 1 Wizard who loses his spellbook, bonded object and component pouch is going to be a lot less helpful.


Steve Geddes wrote:
What I've been trying to ask (unsuccessfully for some reason) is why some people seem to think that shouldn't be discussed at the start of the campaign?

When I've fudged dice, it was to make players think they had narrowly and excitingly succeeded at something - instead of succeeding too easily, or ruining the story by dying at the wrong time.

Telling the players in advance, "I'm going to fudge dice occasionally druing this campaign, I hope that's OK with you," sounds like it would destroy half the purpose of fudging. The players would then believe they were in a game where it didn't matter what they did because I'd already decided the result. If they won a dramatic victory, they'd attribute it to my fudging. And if they died, they could reasonably complain: "Why didn't you fudge that in my favour like you did for the Ranger?"

(In the end I got better at balancing my games and stopped rolling behind a screen.)


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thejeff wrote:

So is there an term covering the same ground, but without the negative connotations?

I do find it a useful distinction to make, even if there isn't an absolute distinction between the two.

OK, let's say you switch out 'roll-player' for 'optimizer', which is usually less annoying to the people you're labelling.

Even so, by framing the conversation you seem to be saying, "The Stormwind Fallacy is not a fallacy. Everyone is either an optimizer or a role-player. If you've made an optimized character, you're likely to be bad at role-playing. We are having a discussion built around this assumption."


The rules are actually pretty unclear what happens if you fail a Fly check (for a situation that needs a Fly check, such as a sharp climb or hovering).
"If you are using wings and you fail a Fly check by 5 or more, you plummet to the ground, taking the appropriate falling damage."
It doesn't say what happens if you fail a Fly check by 4 or less, or if you are not using wings. My interpretation is that you can't do what you wanted, and must instead do something that doesn't require a check - such as moving at least half your fly speed in a straight line.


joep wrote:
But it also states - If desired by the subject, a magical wind wafts a wind walker along at up to 600 feet per round (60 mph) with poor maneuverability. Which would require them to make a Fly check.

Flying doesn't require a Fly check.


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It might be possible with the Throat Slicer feat. (Coup de grace a pinned opponent as a standard action.)

Otherwise, against an opponent who's already at negative hit points, you could ready an action to attack them, which would be deadly in the majority of cases.

If you're a GM, try doing that next time one of the PCs falls unconscious. "Drop all your weapons and surrender, or the elf gets it."


I think it's very optimistic to believe that the players will be split their wealth between magic items and airship maintenance in the desired proportion. "We'll skimp on airship weapons to buy nice shiny things. If we get attacked, the sorcerer will destroy the enemy airship with fireballs."

Either use BP for airship building, or use one of the many no-magic shop systems. (Inherent bonuses, etc.)


Virgil wrote:
The spell says that you need a clear idea, and gives a guideline for how clear of an idea you have, explicitly citing scrying as a method and without any other language hinting otherwise. Saying that you can't teleport with the information given by a scry spell is not a change, but a 'clarification', comes off as disingenuous.

The spell states that you need to know the location of the target. Scrying is a possible way of learning someone's location, but does not guarantee it. That is what RAW has always said, but it was phrased unclearly in a way that apparently led many players, GMs, and adventure writers to assume that Scrying was a reliable method. Thankfully, it has now been clarified.


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Spell component pouches are primarily for use by chefs.


I think I could still make a case that RAW, scry & fry doesn't work with Greater Teleport. The spell works like teleport except where otherwise stated. The 'you must know the location' clause is not specifically excluded. You don't have to have seen the location, but if you haven't you need a reliable description. Scrying doesn't say it gives you a reliable description.


Yup, unless you can see the ship on the horizon, or scry on their navigational charts, or something like that.


James Jacobs wrote:

My take on "scry & fry" is that you can't.

When you scry someone, you look at them... NOT their location. You get a little information about where they are but not much. In my games, you can't scry & fry unless the person you're scrying on happens to be in an area you recognize; if they're somewhere you've never heard of before, you can't use teleport. Greater teleport would work but only if while you scry them they talk about or otherwise reveal exactly where they are.

More like 2 than 3 - a "scrying rarely works" interpretation.

James Jacobs wrote:
I reconcile it by saying that when you scry someone, you view a person, NOT a place, and thus simply ignore the bit of text that says you can scry to gain the viewed once condition. This makes for a better game play experience in my opinion.

Note also that he was making a house ruling for the sake of game balance rather than paying much attention to RAW.


hiiamtom wrote:
This is pretty cut and dry... Teleport specifically references the familiarity acquired with scrying, how could it be more clear?

There are (were?) three possible interpretations:

(1) Scrying always gives you sufficient information to teleport there.
(2) Scrying sometimes gives you sufficient information to teleport there.
(3) Scrying never gives you sufficient information to teleport there.

The reference to scrying in the Teleport description would appear to rule out interpretation 3, but is consistent with interpretation 2. The "must have a clear idea of location" bit appears to rule out interpretation 1, unless scrying is more powerful than the scrying spell says, or unless you decide to treat the "location" bit as flavor text.

That leaves option 2, which (by the sound of it) is what Ultimate Intrigue says.


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Scavion wrote:

Wizard A already knew where Wizard B is generally, he would not be able to teleport there based on solely the information from scrying.

Unless he was familiar with the general area and could figure it out from context clues. An example of that would be a particular culture's style of furnishing being a clue to where the Wizard might be. A Tian Xia rug on the floor for instance.

"So, I've got it narrowed down to one extremely large continent, Tian Xia. He's either there, or he bought an imported rug."

I haven't read Ultimate Intrigue, but isn't the location requirement a bit more stringent than that?


Taku Ooka Nin wrote:

Have this intelligent campaign villain mercilessly massacre the party in the most effective and logical way possible.

Your players will be angry.

Then, some days later they wake up, one by one, to find your Big Good helping them out in some sort of way, perhaps these Aeons owe him something, or perhaps he isn't even there, but instead, the aeons have a bone to pick with the PCs' killer.

This isn't bad as narrative, but it doesn't work too well when you think of it as a game. "I have decided that you are going to die in this battle. I have decided that you are all going to magically come back to life."

It - potentially - undermines any actual struggle for survival in the game. Instead of learning to run away when facing a battle they can't win, they learn the lesson that it doesn't matter what they do, because TPKs are no big deal and the GM has already decided the outcome. (You can lessen this problem by foreshadowing their resurrection in some way - some kind of special item or pact? - or simply by telling them afterwards, "This won't happen again.")

And suppose, for example, one of the PCs dies on the way to this fatal encounter due to a bad crit and the party decides to retreat and recruit a replacement? Do you tell them not to? Do you bring both characters back to life?


Obstacles to overcome for the party to be able to successfully run away:

They must identify that the enemy is a threat they cannot defeat by normal means.

They must identify that the enemy is not one that can be defeated by some clever tactic that the GM is expecting them to think of. "All you had to do was destroy the glowing crystal on the altar!"

They must identify this before any of them are killed.

They must identify this before they get in a position where they cannot escape; no unconscious PCs who can't be carried, or characters who will die from an AoO if they move, and so on.

They must be able to move faster than the pursuing enemy. Since many PCs have 20-foot movement, there are very few enemies like that. Even a fast PC is going to have trouble outrunning a determined dragon or ghost. This can be mitigated with magic or by sacrificing someone (usually an animal companion) or through some contrived bit of scenery that allows them to destroy a convenient rickety bridge and flee.

The player whose initiative it is must make the decision that he is going to be the first one to make a break for it, which always looks cowardly.

They must be willing to swallow their pride. It's not easy to go on a quest to defeat the dark lord and then when you meet him, just give up and go home because you were never capable of achieving your goal in the first place. It helps if they had some other goal they can achieve by escaping.


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Tormsskull wrote:
Best just to define how you're using the term in the post so as to minimze confusion.

Better still stop using a word as an insult when it's a label half the people here apply to themselves.


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Tormsskull wrote:
Using the definition of optimizer = person who tries to obtain mechanical power without any regard to the storyline, their character concept, role-playing, etc.

The word for that is power-gamer. An optimizer is someone who comes up with a concept (like a dual-rapier-wielder) and then tries to do it well.


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While there has been some power creep, arcane casters have had incredible power potential since day one. I think at this point it's basically the responsibility of the players to try not to break the game.


A +1 sword doesn't offer spell resistance, but it still harms incorporeals...


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Does everyone in Golarion carry all their wealth on their person all the time? Or is that just adventurers?


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Arcane Addict wrote:
I cannot believe I forgot this one! Metamagic! Wizards don't take as long as sorcerers do when casting metamagic'ed up spells!
On the flip side though, wizards have to prepare metamagic in advance, committing higher level spell slots.

I'd agree that sorcerers tend to benefit more from metamagic feats. Those new high level spell slots where you've only got one spell known? Now they can be used for a variety of powerful metamagic spells.

On the other hand, metamagic rods are better for wizards. Wizards get the benefit of spontaneous use, and unlike a sorcerer, they can draw the rod as a move action in the same round.


Link: Older thread on the subject


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The "Caw! Caw-caw! Caw" clue is possibly too indirect, depending on how heavily it's stressed. (I mean, clever players will probably think, "this parrot must be significant or the GM wouldn't mention it", but they might then think, "it's probably an evil druid, let's kill it!" and then what are you going to do?)

Also, parrots don't just go "caw". Parrots imitate the sounds they here. If there was a "Bong!" sound every time a stone was pressed, the parrot could plausibly say, "Bong! Bong-bong! Bong!"


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Snowblind wrote:
If an attacker can behead someone, they can cut out out a chunk of that person's upper spinal cord and pocket it so raising the victim is useless.

Reincarnate would still work. Although that adds, "some kobold is claiming to be the dead king" to the legal complexities.


I don't know what the DC is to detect something when you walk into it, but assuming he failed such a check:- He doesn't know he failed a perception check, but he does know that he tried to walk somewhere and failed. I'm having a hard time of thinking of plausible explanations for what could have stopped him beyond 'something invisible'.


A character knowing the player just rolled a perception check: metagaming.

A character trying to walk somewhere, and not being able to get there because there's something he can't see blocking his way, and suspecting that this is because there's something invisible there: not metagaming.


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Here's a question for GMs: If I grind up a diamond worth 5000gp into dust, what is the value of the dust?


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"Things are worth what you could sell them for" is a better guideline than "things are worth what you pay for them". If I pay too much for something, it doesn't mean I now own something valuable. If I fool you into thinking your diamond is of low quality and buy it for a fraction of what a reputable jeweller would have given you, that doesn't mean it's less valuable.


OilHorse wrote:

2 people moving through a 5x5 space with no contact in the slightest that would confirm there is another being in that space is just not logical.

Average person is roughly 2-2.5 feet wide? Fair? With nothing of bulk on them they barely fit. That is side by side with both riding the edges of the space.

Average person is 1-1.5 feet thick? Fair? So one is broad and the other is sideways they fit with a bit of space...in a best case scenario.

I'm a spy on a stealth mission. I've just shut down all the power in the complex. You're walking down a five-foot corridor in pitch darkness. I have night-vision goggles on so I can see you coming. I press myself against the wall in the hope you'll pass by without noticing me. I'm one foot thick. You're two feet wide. That gives us two feet of clearance. If you walk directly down the middle, that leaves a six inch gap between us.

But it seems to me that whether you slam into me, brush against me, or walk past me without noticing is mostly a matter of luck. Any rule that is aiming for true realism would have to take in so many factors as to be almost unplayable.


Bob Bob Bob wrote:
You can try, but if they're the kind of person who derives their enjoyment from playing instead of roleplaying (and both are equally valid) then you probably can't pull them in with story.

'Playing' is a bit vague, which makes me want to break things down in more detail.

Things a player might enjoy:
Surviving danger
Solving mysteries
Completing quest objectives
Killing monsters
Protecting allies
Role-playing and developing a personality (via speaking in character, etc.)
Making tactical decisions
Exploring environments
Interacting with NPCs
Building characters

Someone who mainly enjoys building characters, protecting allies, exploring environments and killing monsters is going to be less concerned about whether their character survives a given battle.


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Skeld wrote:
People thought Diplomacy was mind control?
Diplomacy wrote:
You can use this skill to persuade others to agree with your arguments

Necromancer: "Paladin, help me murder these children, so I can turn them into undead minions."

Paladin: "No."
(Necromancer makes a high diplomacy roll.)
Paladin: "Your arguments have convinced me. I guess I have no choice."

What, it doesn't work like that in your games?


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"You must make an appropriate Craft check to fabricate articles requiring a high degree of craftsmanship."
To me that means you must make the same Craft check to Fabricate it that you would to do it without magic - the spell just makes it instant. So work out the DC you'd need to combine two diamonds seamlessly using only mundane tools - around DC 60? - and that's the roll you need to make.


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Murdock Mudeater wrote:
I think the intention is that the 5k is the amount you paid for it, not some system of current market value.

OOTS jokes aside, I'm pretty sure the intention is that it's a diamond you could normally sell for 5K. If you get it for 10% off, it still works. If you stole it, it still works. If you bought a tiny grain of diamond dust for 5000gp, it doesn't work.

In any realistic economy (not that this is one), the ability of an item to raise the dead impacts its value. If diamonds worth $500 in our world are what it takes to bring someone back to life, then it makes sense that people would be willing to pay 5000gp each, even if they doesn't look like much.


Tumatan wrote:
I was thinking along this same line. Problem is it was a 15 point buy to begin with and I'm not only penalizing the offender but I'm also penalizing the party who now has a 12 point buy mid level party member.

You say they're powering themselves up by doing this, by making a character built to handle the specific challenge they're facing. That suggests you can afford to reduce them in power just enough to cancel out this advantage without harming the group.


kinevon wrote:

I think this particular monster may be broken at the CR given. Bless Weapon is great, but it gives no bonus to hit. Backup blunt weapon may not be masterwork.

Str 18 for +4, +5 BAB, means less than 50% hit chance on this particular creature, and it has enough hit points to ignore that 1d8+6 damage (or less) for several attacks.

It's not too bad. It doesn't do much damage. Unlike, say, a Cyclops, it's unlikely to actually kill a party member - it can only wear you down slowly, unless you put a strength-dumping character on the front line. And the average level 5 party probably has members who can handle it - a paladin, a big strong barbarian who can overpower its DR, a bard who can help you overcome the high AC with buffs, a cleric who can hit it with positive energy, a wizard who can blind it or wear it down with magic missile spells, someone who can trip it...


AntipodeF wrote:
Eh, I mean, what's the point? Just participation for participation's sake?

Humiliating the enemy?


AntipodeF wrote:
Part of the reason I have trouble understanding the potential of my spells is, as was the original topic, that my team is so damn powerful that I literally don't need to do anything.

I know the feeling. One of the few advantages mundane characters have over casters is that in a routine battle they can have just as much fun attacking enemies without having to hold back their limited powers in case they might be needed later. An extra Fighter is just as superfluous as an extra Wizard, but the Fighter probably won't notice because he's busy chopping up monsters.

Still, by level 5 you have quite a few spells per day. If you don't think your party needs the support of a second or third level spell, you can usually afford to throw out a Grease.


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Something that's harder than it should be: mortally wounding someone. It's very hard to find a dying man and have him utter a few painful last words within the normal rules. If he's conscious, he's going to be fine. If he's injured but alive, a quick heal check will ensure he doesn't die.

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