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Serpent God Statue

Matthew Downie's page

2,217 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Oly wrote:
Tcho Tcho wrote:
The rest of the damage is based on hitting the right spot, like a kidney.
That's called a "critical hit" and is a separate mechanic.

'Hitting the kidney' is anything that elementals aren't immune to - such as lucky (critical) hits or sneak damage. Why shouldn't being dextrous (and using an appropriate weapon and taking feats and so forth) work too?

Oly wrote:
If fencing were to the death with truly sharp swords, which for good reason we'd never allow, stronger fencers would prevail because they'd be able to do a hell of a lot more damage per hit

If you're impaled on a sword, it doesn't matter much how strong the person was. Run through is run through.

If you hit someone with a battleaxe, strength would help, but so would skill. Dexterity would affect which body part you hit, the angle of the strike, and so on. Yet for some unrealistic reason we don't allow all barbarians with axes to do extra damage if they have high dexterity.


Oly wrote:

If you suddenly punch someone and they had no idea it was coming, you usually hurt them a lot more than otherwise. I'd imagine it would be no different with a weapon.

A sneak attack is a case where the person really, really has no idea it's coming, so...extra damage makes sense to me.

In that case you could equally plausibly get some extra damage by surprising your opponent with a sudden precise thrust due to your dextrous fighting style.

Note that a strength-based level 9 rogue gets something like 18 extra damage per sneak attack, the same as a guy with 36 higher strength.


In that case, no, he wouldn't be flat footed. He's in a combat situation, so he's on his guard, and the attacker will have appeared after the first attack, so no longer gets the benefits of invisibility.

"Situation: 2 of the team are facing east.
The enemy (invisible) is behind them"
There is no facing in Pathfinder so this is irrelevant.


Do the people who object to dex-to-damage on realism grounds feel the same about sneak damage?


Oly wrote:
How much damage you deal once you get through, outside of critical hits, is all Strength in real combat, or anytime you don't have Dex to Damage, which should never exist.

Let's say someone stabs you as hard as he can with a rapier. What is a more realistic hope?

(1) I hope he's so weak that he can't pierce my flesh with a razor-sharp blade.
(2) I hope he's clumsy and misses my vital organs / hits bone.

It doesn't take much strength to kill a human.


Magda Luckbender wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Big tough guy who's a little slow, versus a lightly-built skilled fencer with a very sharp sword? Big tough guy is probably dead within 6 seconds.

If they're both unarmored, and there's lots of room to move around, the agile guy with the weapon will likely win.

If they fight in close quarters, and both have as much armor as desired, the big tough guy will win every time.

It's all about context.

Which, unfortunately, is a level of nuance the rules can't really handle.

We basically have to assume for Armor Class rules to make any sense that there are weak points in the big guy's plate mail that the dextrous guy with the rapier can get through on a high roll. Otherwise he'd be doing no damage at all.


Tybid wrote:

166. GM: You arrive at the dark and gloomy seaside abbey. There is the abbey itself, a storage building, a carriage house, an old well...

Players: We go in the well!

178. If heading for a goal, always try to explore everywhere else first, so you don't miss any potential loot or enemies before you complete your quest. So if you start to suspect that what you're looking for actually is down the well, immediately leave the well and head for the carriage house.


How about a Huge rider on a Colossal mount? They're presumably getting around 15 feet of movement for free...


"Fighting Defensively as a Standard Action: You can choose to fight defensively when attacking. If you do so, you take a –4 penalty on all attacks in a round to gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC until the start of your next turn."

"Fighting Defensively as a Full-Round Action: You can choose to fight defensively when taking a full-attack action. If you do so, you take a –4 penalty on all attacks in a round to gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC until the start of your next turn."

According to this you can fight defensively any time you're attacking and it's a standard or full-round action.

Combat maneuvers count as attacks, as do cleaves, spring attacks, spells that make attack rolls, and ranged attacks in general.

Note that with a lot of spells, casting is a standard action, and then you get to make the attack roll as a free action. So if you're playing by literal RAW, you cannot fight defensively in those situations (whereas you could if you held the charge for a round and then made the attack as a standard action).

Aid Another is a bit tricky to judge. "If you’re in position to make a melee attack on an opponent that is engaging a friend in melee combat, you can attempt to aid your friend as a standard action. You make an attack roll against AC 10."
I'd count that as a valid attack for the purposes of fighting defensively, but another GM might not.


Big tough guy who's a little slow, versus a lightly-built skilled fencer with a very sharp sword? Big tough guy is probably dead within 6 seconds.


Not much sign of consensus here...

Looking at the actual spell description I notice:
(a) It's a level 1 spell that lasts 1 hour per caster level.
(b) It requires 5 gallons of water as a component.

5 gallons of water weigh 50lbs. That implies that the armor is made of that water and weighs as much. This is more than a regular breastplate (which is reasonable because ice isn't as strong as metal).

In that context it would be reasonable to rule, if you think that creating armor for a larger creature is beyond the scope of a level 1 spell with high duration, that the armor has a maximum size based on the components and therefore it can make it for a smaller recipient but not a larger one.

I'm still not convinced that such a heavy suit of armor would have 0 ACP or ASF though I can't see anything in RAW to contradict the idea.

In terms of game balance, how does this compare to Mage Armor (which is in itself a pretty good spell)? Mage Armor has no ACP or ASF and works on any shape or size of creature. Ice Armor has:
50% better protection.
Somewhat awkward components.
Doesn't provide protection from incorporeal touch attacks.
Harmed by fire.


Anzyr wrote:
If it is good enough for the player it is good enough for the game.

I disagree! If it's not good enough for the GM and the other players, it's not good enough for the game!

Anzyr wrote:
If it bothers the GM, they come up with something the player is ok with.

OK - I'm happy with that compromise solution.


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Anzyr wrote:
RPGs are storytelling. Not Novel writing. There is a difference. I can make a story, but that story conforms to the needs of the game, not the needs of a novel. And the needs of the game say that a person who multiclasses into Wizard is assumed to have been trained and gets a free spellbook.

A player multiclassing into an entirely new skillset without any foreshadowing and a spellbook appearing out of nowhere is one option. But as a player why wouldn't you want to make the effort to justify your character's new abilities? Storytelling is better if you actually tell a story.

(Reverse Stormwind Fallacy: the idea that any attempt to add character depth will negatively impact your gaming skills.)


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Anzyr wrote:
That's because it is 100% a game and 0% a novel. I think maybe we've found the issue here.

Role-playing games are often considered a form of collaborative storytelling.

If your campaign story achieves the level of a novel, without breaking the 'game' aspect, you've done well.

If you're not going to even try to make a story, I'd rather play boardgames.


Death_Keeper wrote:
Wizard has higher BAB, Better Saves, more HD, more skills, Familiar/Bonded Item, Scribe Scroll, Feats, and a partridge in a pear tree... Please try again.

Wizards do not have better BAB or HD than a Commoner of the same level.

They do, however, have the ability to use wands and scrolls, so a bookless Wizard would be a lot more useful to the average group.


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Andy Ferguson wrote:

A carrying capacity of 9 is 30 pounds.

Celestial Plate is 25 lbs
2 sawtooth sabres is 4 lbs
1 belt of dex is 1 lb

Hopefully you never get fatigued. Or need any other gear.

If you can afford Celestial Plate, you can afford to give your caster buddy a level 1 Pearl of Power in exchange for them casting Ant Haul on you once a day.


baradakas wrote:
The answer to your third question is only "yes" if your character is immersed in water while casting the spell. Otherwise, it will create a standard (i.e. humanoid-shaped) breastplate made of ice, which would not fit your tiger form.

I don't see anything in the text to support that. I would expect the caster to be able to make it to fit the desired recipient. Would you allow me use the spell to make armor for a small-sized PC? If so, why not barding for a larger creature? (Even if they'd need an friend to help them don it.)


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Big Lemon wrote:
Is it acceptable for a GM to veto a decision based on the in-character reasons the player has come up with?

Yes, but only under extreme circumstances. ("When it's my turn to take watch, I murder the rest of the party in their sleep. If you read between the lines of my backstory, you'll see this is perfectly in character.")

Big Lemon wrote:
Is it unfair to restrict player options if the story does not warrant them? (i.e. does Story trump Rules?)

No, but be careful because it's easy to ruin a player's fun by taking away their ability to play the character they most want to play.

Big Lemon wrote:
Is PC backstory sacred and purely the domain of the player?

If you want to explore the PC's backstory and make it part of the campaign, you usually have to make up bits and pieces because the player always leaves gaps. But try not to do anything that would change they very nature of the character they're trying to play. "The grandfather who taught you magic and mysteriously disappeared was later corrupted by power and became a lich," might be OK, while "Your grandfather you never met was actually an orc," might not be. I was once taken aback when my PC ran into someone he went to wizard school with, given that as far as I was concerned my PC never went to wizard school.

Big Lemon wrote:
Does the GM have a right to decide what may or may not be in the PCs backstory?

Up to a point. A GM has the right to veto anything stupid.

Big Lemon wrote:
Should the fluff not matter as long as the rules are followed?

Fluff should be mutable, as long as the result makes sense. If I want to flavor my Inquisitor as an itinerant fortune teller who just happens to have certain mystical abilities, then you can probably make that work. If I want to say my Wizard is psychic alien, that's probably going too far.


I'd treat it as a standard metal breastplate that fits the wearer in all respects except where stated. So my answers would be yes to all three questions.

A more literal reading would be that it does nothing except what's stated, in which case it has no weight and no ACP, which seems implausible.


Or if you're using the Craft Magic Arms and Armor to upgrade the sword from +1 to +1 Vicious, then you're only paying half price - i.e. 3000gp.


wraithstrike wrote:
If the other people are optimized the enemy is dead before they are undazed.

If you've got four rounds of complete safety to finish them off, you don't really need to be optimized. A martial character is a useful ally to a high level dazing caster, but it barely matters what his build is. Dex-based? Strength-based? Who cares?


Sinus Gamma wrote:
So, to use magic items you need the "use magic device"(generally).

Nope. Only specific types of magic item - generally scrolls, wand and staffs. (And even then, only some of the time - a wizard can use wands of wizard spells without any UMD skill, for example.)

As for what a Fighter would do with the skill - wands of spells that boost your fighting ability or defenses are pretty good. Mirror Image, for example. But it takes a lot of skill ranks to be able to do that.


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Jodokai wrote:
You can't imagine the old, physically weak, venerable master master kicking the crap out of the strong young student because the master uses precise strikes and knows how to move better?

I can easily imagine it, but I would assume in game terms the master is much higher level than the student.

The problem is not that the lower strength can't be compensated for, it's that it has no impact at all. If you had to take the -2 that comes with a Strength of 7, but could still add your dexterity bonus, that would allow effective agile fighters but discourage stat dumping.


Johntodo wrote:

I think my problem with not being able to figure this out is that the possible outcomes don't pay attention to order.

If order mattered, there would 256 possibilities (4*4*4*4).
There aren't that many in reality cause it doesn't matter which dice is first or last, and I don't know an equation for that.
SOOO I just wrote out all of the 35 possibilities (I think i got all of them..)
Obviously refer to 1's as 3's, 2's as 4's, etc. This was easier for me.
Now you just take 100% chance, divided by 35 possibilities (~2.86) and multiply that by however many are in each row.
Example - 15. 3 * 2.86 = 8.58% chance to get a 15.

12. 1111
13. 1112
14. 1113 1122
15. 1114 1123 1222
16. 1124 1133 2222 1223
17. 1134 1224 1233 2223
18. 1144 1234 2233 2224 1333
19. 2234 1244 2333 1334
20. 2244 1344 2334 3333
21. 2344 1444 3334
22. 2444 3344
23. 3444
24. 4444

Maybe this is the right way of doing it? I should have finished my math before posting *sigh*...

It's actually more complicated than that. A roll like '1234' is more common than '1111' because there are something like 24 different ways you can get 1234 (like 2134, 3124, 4321) but only one way to get a 1111.

To put it another way, if I want to get a 1234, it doesn't matter what the first dice is, the second dice I have a three in four chance of still being in with a shot... (Overall a 24/256 chance) But if I want a 1111 I have to get a 1 every single time (a 1/256 chance).


Saldiven wrote:
So, what would make Combat Expertise good?

Additionally gain the option of subtracting from your AC to give you an attack bonus?

Not that I've ever had a problem with Combat Expertise. If you're playing a character with high AC, it makes you virtually invincible against most foes. If it weren't a prerequisite for other things, it would be a good, solid feat for certain builds.


Make sure you keep spells like Teleport prepared so you can rescue your allies if the GM throws excessive enemies at you.

If the GM throws lower level enemies at you, you can cast Haste or similar and let your allies handle it.


"Serve (DC 15): An animal with this trick willingly takes orders from a creature you designate. If the creature you tell the animal to serve knows what tricks the animal has, it can instruct the animal to perform these tricks using your Handle Animal bonus on the check instead of its own. The animal treats the designated ally as friendly. An animal can unlearn this trick with 1 week of training. This trick can be taught to an animal multiple times. Each time it is taught, the animal can serve an additional creature you designate."

I'm pretty sure you have to designate the person being served during training.
"An animal can unlearn this trick with 1 week of training." Why is that there for this particular trick, if not to allow for the fact that the trick becomes permanently useless if you no longer want the animal to serve that specific person?


Kirk wrote:
I cannot fathom an assertion that 'when jumping over a circular 5 foot pit, if you're going diagonally the DC goes up by 50%.'

There's no such thing as circles, heretic! All pits are composed entirely of five foot squares! That means you're jumping diagonally from corner to corner, which is clearly more difficult.


GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Did it ever occur to you that the flat footed rule on first round depends entirely on how the GM defines the first round of combat?

It's not entirely up to the GM - the players can initiate combat (and an initiate roll) at any time by attempting a combat action.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
The GM could start combat when perception checks are made, many rounds prior to the first attack roll

If the GM declares 'roll initiative' after the PCs and the NPCs have just noticed one another, why would you assume the PCs would take no action for many rounds?

Most people are fairly sluggish to react to attacks at first. If you don't want to play such a character, take the Combat Reflexes feat, which eliminates the penalty.


Jeff Merola wrote:
Your poll has a small sample size and includes options that aren't actually about whether there's disparity.

I linked to it to attract the attention of all the people here who haven't voted yet in order to increase the sample size. (The bigger problem with the poll is that it's biased towards forum-frequenting voters with high system mastery.)

Every single option is about whether a disparity problem exists in practice in the game as it is actually played.

My personal campaign experiences are:

Poorly optimized Fighter dominates most combats at level 13. Wizard casts summoning spells.

Druid outshines two-weapon fighter and crossbow-focused ranger.

Fighter character takes one level wizard dip to give himself access to wands. Fire specialist sorcerer is constantly stymied by fire resistant foes, but makes himself useful to group by being able to cast Teleport.

Everyone plays martial-focused quasi-casters, backed up by a cleric who follows them about buffing and curing them of bad statuses to make sure they're able to use their huge melee damage output to massacre all enemies.

Sorcerer with minmaxed Charisma and dazing rod is able to crush most encounters with ease if he wants - then dies as a result of a poor Fortitude save. Not resurrected.

Core-only campaign. Fighter and barbarian do most of the heroic stuff. Cleric tends to heal or inflict small amounts of damage. Intentionally not-too-optimized sorcerer (initial Charisma 17) provides support with Grease, Glitterdust and Haste.


FrozenLaughs wrote:
Draw out the layout on a white board or game mat. Place your minis on the grid and measure how far you need to jump.

Suppose there is an eight feet long pit in a north-west facing corridor. What do I need to roll?


FatR wrote:
vanilla action heroes are inherently obsolete at the certain point that DnD/PF hit somewhere between levels 5 and 10.

According to my poll results so far, that's a minority opinion.


Effective in what way?


The right sort of questions to ask are:
(a) Would they be able to surviving a single area effect attack? (Ranged weapons and loose formation in a large space might help prevent them all going down in one go.)
(b) Are they capable of hitting the AC of your characters?

For a level 10 party, something like a troll is basically a mook. If you want smaller creatures, maybe level 4 barbarian orcs?


According to Mythbusters, you can swim in syrup almost as fast as you can in water.


Elbedor wrote:
If you are trying to move from A to D in order to clear the B/C pit, then you MUST move 15 feet; from A, over B and C, and landing in D.

You're moving 15 feet, but you only need to be in the air for ten of them.


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They hurt quite a lot.


Well, the original post claimed, "In the other direction, Valeros will average 1.05 hits per round and can easily kill an orc in a single hit."
Since it takes 18 damage to kill one of those orcs (using the Ferocity rules) he would have to be epically optimized for that to be the case.


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(13) In my games, disparity is prevented because the caster players are incompetent.


(12) In my games the GM rolls dice behind a screen and I’m pretty sure 'save negates' spells only work when it's in service to drama so casters aren't as powerful as they're supposed to be.


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(11) In my games, disparity is prevented because players don't play ultra-mundane classes like Fighter or Rogue.


13 people marked this as a favorite.

(10) In my games, disparity is prevented by players voluntarily refusing to take the overpowered options.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

(9) In my games, disparity is prevented by the GM forcing so many encounters a day that the casters have to conserve their spells.


(8) In my games, disparity is prevented by significant house-ruling: E6, banning overpowered spells, or similar.


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(7) I find caster-martial disparity irrelevant because we work as a team.


20 people marked this as a favorite.

(6) Casters seem to dominate the game outside of combat.


7 people marked this as a favorite.

(5) Casters dominate only in very high level play.


21 people marked this as a favorite.

(4) In my game, casters dominate play, except at very low levels.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

(3) I find martials tend to dominate, at least in combat.


8 people marked this as a favorite.

(2) I find actual gameplay to be well balanced between martials and casters.

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