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Serpent God Statue

Matthew Downie's page

2,863 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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TheRealHoratio wrote:
do the types of gamers that make these characters do so because they want to be able to breeze through the content, or because they want the challenge of seeing what they can survive?

Maybe, maybe not.

"I optimize because my last GM was a real killer and I just want to survive so I can role-play one character over a long period of time and develop some real depth."

"I optimize from multiple sources because I really wanted to play a finesse-duellist-type, and that concept doesn't work well using only Core. If I don't shop around for the best feats I'll be letting the group down."

"I optimize because the character concept I had was someone who hates violence, yet is incredibly good at it when pushed."

"I optimize to make the most powerful character possible because I like winning and hate losing. I hope the GM doesn't spoil it by turning up the opposition to neutralise my choices."

"I optimize to make the most powerful character possible because optimizing is fun. I hope the GM makes some really challenging encounters so I have to think tactically to survive."

"I optimize because the rest of the group does."

The most important rule is:


Kthulhu wrote:

I find it amusing how this thread seems to be filled with people who think that when a substance makes contact with another substance that is less hard than it, the less hard substance is instantly annihilated.

If I had a spear made out of diamond, and I threw it at a skyscraper, judging from the comments here, most people would expect it to sail through the skyscraper with barely a loss in momentum.

Adamantine ignores hardness. Diamond doesn't.

This makes adamantine a pretty bizarre substance, which leads to conflicting interpretations where people try to apply common sense to something that was never sensible to being with.

Kazaan wrote:

Begging the question fallacy: presuming the result of your premise is correct in order to support your premise.

Adamantine lets you ignore hardness which makes any weapon "appropriate" for damaging a stone wall.

Which seems obvious, since the stone wall has no hardness against it; you can pretty much scrape it away like butter.

Kazaan wrote:

Only "appropriate" weapons can damage a stone wall. Ergo, despite a non-adamantine dagger not being "appropriate" for such a task, an adamantine dagger becomes appropriate due to its material.

This is a fallacious argument because it presumes that adamantine construction makes the dagger "appropriate" in order to prove that adamantine construction makes the dagger "appropriate".

It doesn't "presume" that the dagger is appropriate. It concludes that it is through basic reasoning, and then follows from there.

Isn't the opposed argument just as much a contender for circular thinking?
"Most melee weapons not designed for cutting through stone have little effect on stone walls. I presume that an adamantine dagger is one of those ineffective weapons, even though it can sunder a greatsword or platemail - therefore it can't, therefore it is inappropriate."

I really enjoyed the Acrobatics DC thread. Having looked at the rules, I found them to be entirely unambiguous, but in order for them to work, you have to avoid making certain assumptions about gameplay (like the idea that characters jump from 5-foot square to 5 foot-square, when they actually jump from point to point within squares, and this is separate from distance moved, which does use 5-foot squares). I felt like if could just work out what people's underlying assumptions were, I'd be able to explain where they were going wrong and sort things out. It wasn't easy, due to the large number of poorly argued posts creating noise and confusion.

Alas, Paizo ruined a perfectly good debate by posting their FAQ (which was almost identical to the short version of my explanation).

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Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
I am not satisfied with that characterization.

I am satisfied with that characterization. It is internally consistent and meets the needs of the story.

Hel didn't play a notable part in the North myths I remember, so any differences there don't bother me at all.

Some GMs would rule that a successful Disintegrate spell, or maybe even hacking off the head of a helpless character with a big axe, does reduce you to negative infinity hit points and Breath of Life cannot help you...

How about a werewolf lich?

In my experience a wild-shaping druid with an initial Strength of 14 is inadequate as a melee character - unless you're fighting large numbers of combats a day against weak enemies, you're going to be more useful summoning or buffing.

You don't have to keep everyone in their usual place.

One thing that GMs sometimes comment on in JR is that a character like Goti has an incredibly detailed backstory, but in game he just hangs out in a corridor waiting for the PCs to kill him.

So maybe they can meet him and talk for a while, learning snippets of information about the place, before inevitably giving away the fact that they're not who they're pretending to be and triggering a battle similar to the usual one. (Goti tries to retreat, using his minions as cover. When the PCs beat the minions, the ravens attack. And so on.)

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Some people enjoy that 'we could die at any moment' tension. If you don't like it, why not remove critical hits from the game entirely? As far as I can tell their main purpose is to add sudden death to the game.

It doesn't matter if the touch spell is an attack spell or not. You can try to cast a healing spell on an enemy and it would still require a touch attack unless the enemy decides to make itself a willing target.

Note that the parenthetical in question appears to have been copy-pasted from the 3.5 rules, when concentration rules were different.

There's also the possibility that someone using a phone during combat is looking up an enemy monster to work out which spells will be most effective against it...

CWheezy wrote:
Oh, so they used simulacrum like they were really dumb, ok

Using Simulacrum to its full potential is dumber, since that's guaranteed to get it banned.

In a lot of games there's a convention of, "You have to decide what your character does in combat, discussing it is cheating."
Maybe this is a bad thing? If everyone debated what everyone else should do, it might help maintain concentration on the game.

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Crimeo wrote:

Okay so I looked it up and apparently Undead Revisited basically says "They get evil because it takes so much focus concentration that they don't have time for love." And not really any other explanation.


Yeah. Everyone with a strong work ethic and no friends is an evil abomination I guess.

I used to have a strong work ethic and no friends. Then, the night before Christmas, a series of ghosts visited me, told me that I was living a bad life, and demanded I changed my ways.

I assumed that since they were undead they were all evil, and had them exorcised. Bah! Humbug!

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Since it's not that type of spell, 'concentration' here must refer to concentration in the normal English sense (as it is in the Barbarian rage ability) and not in the 'concentration check' sense.

SRD, Special Abilities, Death Attacks wrote:
In case it matters, a dead character, no matter how he died, has hit points equal to or less than his negative Constitution score.
DM_Blake wrote:
I think this is open and shut: a dead character must have a 0 CON or, no matter how he died must have negative HP = to his CON score. Period. By these parts of the RAW.

Are you saying the 'or less than' clause never applies due to the text in the 'dead' section, and that no matter how much damage you do to someone's body Breath of Life will always work?

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It doesn't bother me much at level 1. I haven't had the character long enough to get attached. Early death is a good reminder that adventuring is dangerous.

It doesn't bother me much at level 10 since I can probably get raised.

It's the Cyclops critical at level 5 that bothers me.

Under Golarion rules, there is something about the unnatural forces of undeath that drives almost all undead beings, even mindless ones, to become Evil.

Exactly what this force is isn't clear, but we can see this is the case: otherwise, there'd be no default evil alignment for undead creatures, and undeath would be a valid medical procedure for anyone who wasn't ready to rest. Paladins would want to become liches so they could keep on doing their good deeds indefinitely.

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They're just trying to avoid cases where multi-classing is clearly better than single-classing. There are still plenty of classes that give you good stuff with a one-level dip - Barbarian, Alchemist, various Oracles...

Milo v3 wrote:

Druids: Also very powerful - their wild-shape ability gets stronger every time a new Bestiary is published.
How? It only gives abilities off a set list from the Core Rule Book that never increases...

Because, if nothing else, the druid can get the natural weapon damage dice from the new creatures. See, for example, Vital Strike builds based around the Carnivorous Crystal Ooze (which has a 7d8 slam) and the Behemoth Hippopotamus.

Sakri wrote:
Are martial classes more interesting in PF than in 3e? Do they have more to do than "I just hit the monster again"?

Depends on what you mean by 'martial'. There are certainly classes that can fight as martials but can also do other interesting things (Alchemists, Inquisitors) - but standard Fighters can mostly just attack. Combat manoeuvres - trip, disarm, and so on - are available, but need feats and don't work against a lot of monsters.

Sakri wrote:
Also, are wizards, clerics, and druids more in balance than in 3e?

Wizards: Very high power potential. If the GM allows you to use all options and you make full use of them you can control almost any situation.

Clerics: Can be very powerful casters - or they can wind up following the party around healing their status effects. Unlike in 3.5 they are not better at melee than Fighters.
Druids: Also very powerful - their wild-shape ability gets stronger every time a new Bestiary is published. Unlike in 3.5, they can't dump Strength and still be just as good at biting people.

Icyshadow wrote:
Kingmaker might be the only one to support Cavaliers both thematically and in stats. Carrion Crown and Jade Regent seem fitting, the former for a knight and the latter for a samurai.

Note that the intended theme of Jade Regent is a group of Westerners going to explore the exotic and mysterious Orient, so "I'll play as a samurai" doesn't necessarily work as well as most people assume.

Jade Regent spends a lot of time indoors. There are many caravan-combat battles, but by default you're supposed to use caravan-combat rules for them, in which case it doesn't really matter what your character is. (Many GMs convert these to regular combat so it's unpredictable what it will be like in a given campaign.)

On the plus side, the majority of buildings in JR use 10-foot wide doors and corridors so your horse can at least physically get around.

lokidr wrote:

I assumed most DMs run with open character advancement, i.e. everything is available unless stated otherwise. I want players to make interesting characters for themselves first so they can enjoy playing.

Do most DMs run the other way around: nothing is open unless you get permission first?

This is a problem I've struggled with. It's a side-effect of options-bloat. There are too many things in the game now for me to pre-ban every potentially overpowered option. So my current rule is to list a few banned things, ask the players to try to avoid being significantly more powerful than the group average, and hope I don't have to ban things retrospectively once they've been chosen.

It's not easy to separate the fluff from the rules text...

"When you touch the subject, you grant that creature a sacred bonus to its saving throws equal to its Charisma bonus (if any) on all saving throws."
That seems like rules text - it's clearly defined and it means that your own access to Divine Grace is irrelevant - it uses their Charisma bonus, not yours, after all.

"With this spell you can bestow your divine grace on another good creature for a short amount of time, infusing that creature with a portion of your holy virtue."
This seems like fluff text - if we ignore the implications of "your divine grace" then we don't need any special rules for whether Paladins without Divine Grace can cast it or whatever.
But that suggests that the "another good creature" inside that sentence would also be deemed fluff - which would mean a Paladin could cast the spell on herself for ridiculous saving throws.

I suspect this is because the person writing the spell was under the impression that the regular Divine Grace bonus was a Sacred bonus and therefore wouldn't stack.

It looks like, contrary to what I assumed when I posted, these do stack. Untyped attribute bonuses from the same attribute don't stack, but that's not the situation here.

Those are covered under 'all applicable modifiers'. They get multiplied.

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Since this thread was last active, there was a new ruling saying 'same attribute source doesn't stack'. So you can't get Charisma to saves twice, even if you got another paladin to cast it on you.

SheepishEidolon wrote:
If you want to keep the caster from casting, there are Grapple, the Spellbreaker feat line, neutralizing spells (Sleep etc.) etc.. Nothing of that is fail-proof, but that's good - NPC casters should be at least a minor threat. Since Readied Action is free to get (no feat etc.), it shouldn't be too powerful.

I'm pretty sure NPC casters remain a threat. A level 12 Fighter with a bow and a readied action is not guaranteed - or even likely - to beat a level 12 Wizard who's had the time to, say, cast Mirror Image.

The purpose of the Readied action, as I see it, is to be able to do things during someone else's turn rather than just delaying until after they've done it.

Suppose I'm an archer and I just want to time my shot so it takes place during the wizard's turn because that way I might get to disrupt his concentration. Now I could say, "I ready an action to shoot him if he starts casting a spell," but for some reason that causes me to stand there like an idiot and waste my entire turn if he does something else like drinking a potion of invisibility.

Is there a game balance or realism problem with saying, "I shoot him if he takes any action?"

The ongoing concentration rules for ongoing spells require you to spend a standard action every single round or the spell ends. The standard concentration rules only apply during the initial casting time. It's not a great fit either way.

Potion of Remove Fear?
"If the subject is under the influence of a fear effect when receiving the spell, that effect is suppressed for the duration of the spell."

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Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
I'm not well versed on vampires, but isn't being destroyed in the sunlight a Bram Stoker thing?

Stoker's Dracula loses his strength during the day but isn't physically damaged by sunlight.

D&D vampires have their own rules which OotS is fairly consistent with:

"Exposing any vampire to direct sunlight disorients it: It can take only a single move action or attack action and is destroyed utterly in the next round if it cannot escape."

I suppose a Baleful Polymorph with a duration of one round per level would be a reasonably balanced lower level spell. If Dispel Magic (or Break Enchantment or maybe Remove Curse) can fix it then you wouldn't really need any non-standard remedies.

But it's quite fiddly to recalculate your stats so it might be more trouble than it's worth.

Standard action command word to activate the carpet. After that the one who activated it makes the fly checks (or it can make them on its own at +5 fly skill if the pilot gets off). The pilot can command it verbally as a free action - but only verbally, and the GM decides what it does based on those commands. It moves on the pilot's turn. It's not a mount, so there's no rule saying you can't make full-attacks after it moves. Equally, you couldn't use it for a ride-by attack or getting extra damage on a lance charge.

Just my opinion of course.

How many different Baleful Polymorph spells do you need?

You could have, say, two (three?) time dragon wyrmlings. That gives you some plot flexibility. The PCs kill all but one and the survivor flees to seek vengeance for the death of its siblings. So one is angry at the PCs for something they did (maybe they're on a fetch quest to bring back an item that it considers its property) and willing to fight to the death, and one just wants to survive until it's older. That way you don't have to contrive a specific battle result as long as you don't let them all die.

Those are trade goods - full price.

Ultimate Equipment Page 390 wrote:
Art objects can usually be bought or sold for their base price, and are sometimes used as currency.

Seems to also apply to gems & jewellery.

alexd1976 wrote:

So the specific rules about talking allow for talking out of turn, whenever you want... right?

But, as mentioned before: "At the start of a battle, before you have had a chance to act (specifically, before your first regular turn in the initiative order), you are flat-footed."

Isn't that more specific than "you can speak when it's not your turn"? If you can't act before your first turn, you presumably can't speak during this time.

Immediate actions can be done when it's not your turn, but that doesn't mean they can be performed before your first initiative action. (Can they?)

Byakko wrote:
A creature who has swallowed you whole isn't automatically flat-footed, so you probably can't sneak attack. While the interior AC doesn't receive the creature's dexterity modifier, this is different than having a dexterity modifier denied.

Having your Dex modifier denied doesn't make you Flat-footed - but you get sneak damage either way. Not getting a Dex modifier to AC sounds exactly the same to me as having your Dex modifier denied.

Byakko wrote:
For example, can you flank the creature who has you swallowed?

No - by flanking rules you have to be able to draw a line from your character to your flanking ally and have it go through two opposite sides of the creature.

I don't think 'inside' and 'outside' count as opposite sides.

Byakko wrote:
A GM may also rule that you are blind while inside. Even a light source or darkvision may not work, as you probably have the creature's stomach pressed up against your face.

This is in the realm of GM interpretation.

Hey, aside from wildshape, druids only have full 9-level casting, spontaneous summons, animal companions, good saving throws, and a few minor superpowers like poison immunity. If you start giving wildshape to other classes, why would anyone want to play a druid?

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Orfamay Quest wrote:
Ronnie K wrote:
Simply put, I think you are not 'aware' until you have a turn.
This is simply wrong. Again, think of a gunfight at the OK Corral. Both parties are well aware of each other; it just so happens that one person is a faster draw (rolled better on initiative).

I agree you're aware, but if your reactions aren't fast enough to dodge or fight, they're probably not fast enough to say anything coherent.

Imagine the two groups of cowboys suddenly turn and notice one another.
The chief desperado, still flat footed, says, "Let's shoot Wyatt Earp first - he's the most dangerous."
Then Wyatt Earp's initiative - a natural 20 - comes up, and he shoots him.
At this point the desperado hasn't had time to go for his gun, and he hasn't had a chance to move in a way that makes him harder to hit, but he has had time to assess the situation, come up with a plan, and explain it to his allies. That sounds odd to me.

kyrt-ryder wrote:
I might be wrong here... but I always thought you only made knowledge checks for things a character didn't directly experience.

A stupid thing I've noticed: that isn't in the rules, as far as I can tell.

You may be a camel-riding druid and have your own camel who you take everywhere with you and who is your best friend, but unless you can make a Knowledge: Nature roll you can't identify a camel.

Insain Dragoon wrote:
Instead of taking him seriously and addressing his concerns kindly and with depth, we have people making fun of him for believing that a fighter could break his game and people saying that his spellcasting players are bad at the game!

Some people have been like that, but a lot of people have addressed his concerns helpfully.

As for the spellcasters - there's presumably a cleric or wizard in the game, since they have someone who can cast Make Whole. It's not difficult to make a caster at that level who can easily defeat NPC fighters with a single 'Will Save or you're helpless' spell in a much more decisive manner than destroying one weapon. So it might be that his casters have low system mastery, or it might be that they're deliberately under-optimizing, or... well, there are other possibilities such as 'GM doesn't mind when they do it because they have limited spells per day', or 'GM fudges Will saves behind a screen'...

el cuervo wrote:
However, the rules for paralysis are very clear: you cannot move or act. Move and act are rules terms, not fluff descriptors. Flying is an act that allows you to move that requires a dexterity-based skill check, implying that it is a physical action and not one of pure mental concentration. Therefore, you cannot fly, because you cannot move or act.

Where are 'move' and 'act' defined? I'm pretty sure there are dozens of places in the rulebook where 'move' is used in other contexts, such as 'move action'.

And flying, as mentioned elsewhere, does not require dexterity-based skill checks; steering sharply and hovering do, but moving in a straight line does not.

This thread is based on the following assumptions:
That when the paralysis rules refer to movement, it means voluntary physical movement of your limbs, using your muscles.
That magical flight is a purely mental action - like a psychic levitating an object with his brain - and as such can be done while paralysed.

These assumptions are highly dubious, but trying to disprove them is a fool's errand.

Anyway, since the RAW answer is that you can't if you're carrying anything, that means it's worthless 99.99% of the time even if the GM allows it. Nobody's going to go into a dungeon naked just so they'll be able to escape if they get paralysed.

Cevah wrote:

If you have a fly speed, your maneuverability affects your skill. The spell gives 1/2 level instead.

You're forgetting that RAW only 'natural' flying is affected by maneuverability.

Also, the Fly spell explicitly gives you Good maneuverability. Which means either:
(a) there is intended to be an extra bonus to your Fly skill on top of 1/2 caster level and the Fly skill rules are poorly edited, or
(b) the Fly spell was poorly edited.

Chess Pwn wrote:
But thing is the forums will usually give a correct answer, and at the very least give good support for any view someone has.

The forums will usually give you a correct answer and an incorrect answer and hundreds of arguments for either side.

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