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Matthew Downie's page

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Some options:

They don't know who she is; they've got bad information. Maybe they are under the impression that one of the PCs is the heir to the throne.

They're more interested in getting hold of the seal than they are in Ameiko, since the seal can create new scions.

They want to get all the scions in one go - they're using Ameiko to get to the PCs.

They're planning a complicated death for her which will turn her into an undead creature and make her impossible to resurrect.

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Mark Seifter wrote:
I now declare Sleeves of Many Garments a necromancy effect that binds the souls of the dead to your body, torturing them until they yield the form of clothing, and since all necromancy is evil, they turn your character evil for using them.

That seems fair. But can the souls of the dead be tortured into the form of a functioning swarm suit?

A good rule of thumb is, don't use solo enemies. Pathfinder doesn't handle it well. Also, there's something not very heroic about four PCs ganging up on a single foe.

If you want to use a solo enemy, the first thing to watch out for is that the PCs might kill him immediately. Hit points don't go up very fast with level, so four PCs attacking can reduce someone to zero in a round or two. This can also happen with things like the Slumber hex - failing a single saving throw can knock out a villain in one go.
Fortunately as GM you can cheat and increase Dex, Con and Wis as much as you want to boost AC, HP and saving throws. Don't overdo it - no-one likes fighting an enemy they can't hurt at all - and add 1 to CR for it.

Spells are also a good defense - I'll assume they can cast from scrolls with Use Magic Device if nothing else and that they have a couple of rounds to prepare. Stoneskin gives DR, Resist Energy if they're expecting to fight a caster, and Mirror Image will soak up a few hits.

There's also environmental factors - an enemy with ranged abilities who starts the battle a long way above the party, attacking from cover, for example.

Balancing offense abilities is usually a bit easier. Try to avoid 'kill a PC in one round' martial damage. Area effects are good.

Would he be willing to go out of his way to help a stranger, just because it seems like the right thing to do? If so, good.
Would he be willing to hurt an innocent for selfish reasons? If so, evil.
Does he not fit clearly into either category? If so, neutral.

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You know, some people hate dinosaurs in Pathfinder. Dinosaurs are sciencey things that can seem out of place in Middle-Earth-esque fantasy realms.

If Pathfinder dinosaurs are made up monsters that do not resemble creatures that ever really existed, maybe that fixes the problem?

It's a pretty good item. It gives fighters and rogues an alternative to taking multiple feats to mitigate their bad Will saves. (They may not be the best characters, but at least if they can resist mind control they won't be a complete liability.)
I've never seen anyone actually buy one though.

Anzyr wrote:

"When she removes the sleeves, her clothes revert to their original form."

So it clearly explicitly changes the originals form. This is beyond what you say illusions can do, but the item can do it.

Googling "form"... "Form is the shape, visual appearance, constitution or configuration of an object."

OK, so we've got a debate going! Let's see if we can get it up to 300 posts where we eventually just start arguing about arguing.

The rules say negative energy 'can' heal undead creatures.

Option one:
All negative energy damage can heal undead creatures unless it explicitly says it can't. Evidence for this: some negative energy effects say they don't heal undead, which wouldn't be needed unless they could by default.

Option two:
No negative energy damage can heal undead creatures unless it explicitly states it can. Evidence?

Backbreaker Mail is from Paizo's Inner Sea Combat. It uses transmutation as well as illusion magic.

I think most GMs rule that if you can't see your opponent you get all the penalties of blindness, no matter the reason (fog, smoke, darkness, etc.) even if RAW doesn't say this.

However, "ignore the miss chance for concealment" doesn't mean you can get sneak damage ("The rogue must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot... A rogue cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment"). There's a Headband of the Ninjitsu for that.

Belabras wrote:
So a Shadow could retreat into a wall and heal itself up with its own touch?

Shadows do strength damage, not hit point damage.

The Banshee looks like a particularly nasty example of this if the GM wants to take advantage of its full potential. It can use its 'save or take 140 damage' wail attack once per minute. It can then use its incorporeal nature to hide in a wall and heal itself of any damage taken with its 14d6 negative energy touch attack.

Orfamay Quest wrote:
There are, in fact, rules for knowing things that are commonly known -- that's a very easy Knowledge check. Which a 4 intelligence character will probably fail.

Can we codify this into a playable rule? Let's say remembering how to use a key is a DC 0 Knowledge: Local check that you can make untrained. You can take 10 if you're not distracted. Trying to spring your friends from prison probably counts as distracted. Under this rule, someone with an Int of 8 can succeed even on a 1 (and so doesn't need to roll). Someone with an Int of 6 to 7 fails on a 1. Someone with an Int of 4 to 5 fails on a 1 or 2.

I wouldn't impose a rule like that, but I could probably tolerate it.

Mrakvampire wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:

Actually it's closer to a +2.5 on the roll, based on a million trials. Taking the best od 2d20 will give you an average of 13.

Dice analysis above (I've posted link) shows that average roll on "2d20 take best" is 15.

The mean average is 13.825. The median is 15. It's probably roughly equivalent to a +5 bonus, but better for surviving easy saves and not as good for getting you past really hard saves.

A lot of people think INT 4 and imagine a hopeless simpleton. But someone like that would have low wisdom and charisma too. They wouldn't be good at bluffing or sensing motive or professions or any of those other mental skills. If you're going to role-play low intelligence without low wisdom in line with how it works in the rules, you should probably play it as some severe but specific learning difficulty - attention deficit disorder, or a form of amnesia - which makes it incredibly hard to learn new facts about which monsters are fire resistant or which holy symbol belongs to which god, but which in no way stops you being a good conversationalist who can hold down a job.

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What's wrong with the standard RPG legal system: wait for a party of adventurers to show up and kill the bad guys?

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Skeld wrote:
I'm genuinely curious what type of role play scenarios you're talking about. It's interesting that you're asking for role play scenarios like that to be added in as standard fair. I always assumed that's the kind of thing GMs added to campaigns as they saw fit (at least that's been standard for my group since before 3e came out). I didn't realize anyone that's an experienced GM/roleplayer would need that level of hand-holding to make their campaign interesting from a role playing standpoint.

Not everyone is experienced, and not everyone who's experienced is instinctively good at that sort of thing.

And some types of adventure don't lend themselves well to that kind of addition.
If you're in a castle full of undead in the middle of a wasteland, the AP is likely to consist of "Here are some room descriptions. Here are the monsters the players have to fight. (They're probably the wrong level of challenge for your group so you'll have to change them.)" This might take six weeks to play out, and in all that time you never meet anything that doesn't try to kill you.

Kingmaker is an adventure with room for additions, but if the GM plays it as written, it's mostly week after week of 'random encounter, random encounter, random encounter, poorly balanced kingdom-building subsystem'.

Jade Regent has friendly NPCs who travel with you across the world, but playing it by the book, they rarely ever interact with the players. A good GM might think of scenarios where one of them talks to a PC to ask for help with a personal problem, but it isn't easy to think of something good that doesn't slow down the main storyline, assuming I have time to even think about that sort of thing when I have all those battles to prep for. Could a good adventure writer do better than me? I imagine so. Of the bits I added, some went well, but a couple caused play to grind to a halt while neither player nor GM was able to improvise anything satisfactory to continue.

What I'm looking for:

(1) Good dialogue. GMing Jade Regent, before every battle with an intelligent foe, I tried to think of something interesting for them to say, to make them more than a stat block. That seems like the writer's job.

(2) Scenarios with choice. Give the players a task which allows them to express the personalities of their characters with the approach they take. Instead of 'kill the bandits, probably using stealth', something like 'get hold of the king's magic scepter before the villain does'.
The book could then give a list of possible ways to approach the situation: Break in and steal it, perhaps replacing it with a fake. Bribe, extort or dominate a guard to steal it for you. Murder the king and take it. Join the rebel faction and overthrow the king. Do so great a service for the king he's willing to lend you the scepter. Find out the villain's plan to steal the scepter, and thwart it.
The players should come away feeling that what happened was the result of their choice, and that it created an interesting and memorable story.

(3) Enemies you aren't expected to kill, but...

...actually, since I'm complaining about APs, please consider doing some playtesting, Paizo? In my part of the games industry we'd never dream of publishing a game before we had testers play it through a dozen times and worked to eradicate every possible flaw. Things like the caravan subsystem for Jade Regent are indicative of adventures haven't even been played once before publication. I know you'd have to hire more people and rearrange schedules, but I'm pretty sure the quality of the final product would make it worthwhile.

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Orfamay Quest wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:

DCs in Pathfinder are fixed, not set per character. It's a DC 5 wisdom check to avoid a mishap when you fail to cast from a scroll, no matter who you are. We don't say, "Walking along the plank is a DC 15 dexterity check for you because you have low Dex, but anyone else can do it automatically."

Actually, we do. That's what the take 10 mechanics accomplish.

DC 10 is automatic for anyone with a "normal" attribute, so there's no need to roll. Unless you happen to have dumped your stat.

True for a DC 10 untrained skill check when not distracted and where the player knows they only need a 10. No take 10 rule for attribute checks, though.

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TrollingJoker wrote:
- A good way of dealing with this is having him make a int check for mental capabilities like planning or executing a somewhat complex plan. Though 10 might be a bit low since he has a int of 4. He can easily make the check with a D20. 12 - 15 or something like that might be better

DCs in Pathfinder are fixed, not set per character. It's a DC 5 wisdom check to avoid a mishap when you fail to cast from a scroll, no matter who you are. We don't say, "Walking along the plank is a DC 15 dexterity check for you because you have low Dex, but anyone else can do it automatically."

If something is a DC 15 intelligence check, it should be a DC 15 intelligence check for everyone. The point of a DC 15 intelligence check is that it's easy(ish) for someone with high intelligence, and hard(er) for someone with low intelligence.

So if you want to apply that rule, apply it to all characters. The ones with high intelligence will be more likely to succeed, right?

Rogue: I pick the lock.
GM: The key is already in the lock.
Rogue: I unlock the door.
GM: Make an Intelligence check.
Rogue: I rolled a 10. My Int is 16, add my bonus of 3... that's 13.
GM: Ooh, not enough. Your character has never heard of a key, and can't figure it out.

Scavion wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
the druid is reincarnated a day later, in a safe location within 1 mile from his body. So we have a guy with 2 negative level, naked, in the middle of an hostile territory
Seems a bit contradictory.

Well, if you die in the middle of Mordor, there's not going to be any very safe place within a mile.

Thought: a reincarnation druid could make a great recurring villain.

Zwordsman wrote:
I think this guy would be illeterate most likely (barigng poitns in ling or something)


Bear in mind that in Pathfinder, a character with low Int can learn to use magic scrolls of every kind, be a skilled lockpicker and trap-disabler, a master of disguise, an animal trainer, a musician, a gifted orator, a pickpocket, a master of wilderness survival, and make a good living in any profession. He just can't learn to do as many of these at once as someone with decent Int.

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Low intelligence, high wisdom: Winnie the Pooh, Forrest Gump.

Nothing described in this scenario requires sophisticated knowledge. If you're not going to let a player use basic common sense, you shouldn't allow characters with mental stats of 4.

wraithstrike wrote:

However they still can not access certain components because it is melded into their form so they still need natural spell. In elemental form they can talk.

As for being wildshaped, until you get wild armor your AC will be low while you are shape changed. You also need an amulet of mighty fist to bypass magic DR or your DPR will suffer. However taking crafting feats will help out a bit.

Although carried items meld with your body when you perform wild shape, you can put things down and pick them up or wear them after you wild shape. So you can pick up a spell component pouch after you turn into an elemental, or you can have your allies help you put on your specially made tiger-shaped armor.

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Alternatively, team fights, followed by one-on-one fights among members of the winning team(s).

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Let's say they have to get into the bandit camp, rescue a prisoner from a cage in the big tent in the middle, and get out. In order to get a party of four in there, you'll need multiple fly and invisibility spells. Then you're in the tent, trying to open the lock of a cage and defeat the guards. By the time that's done, the original spell durations will have expired and you'll need to get your entire party flying and invisible again, and do the same for the prisoner(s) in order to escape. Do you want to use up that many potions? And because you didn't murder your way in there, the whole of the rest of the camp can be attacking you by this time if they were alerted.

And if they do manage to work out a way to do it all without a fight? Let them. If they don't want to fight the bandits, why force them?

pclark4422 wrote:

Some quests and adventures take place in cityscapes, wilderness, or other wide open areas. I have yet to see an entire city or encampment that is completely enclosed in iron bars nor can I justify making one.

If you're suggesting that quest lines involving these kinds of terrain should cease to exist past level 3, well then I see a severely limiting flaw in the game's design.

All 'fly + invisibility' means is that the goal of 'get past the surrounding wall' becomes relatively trivial. Any more complicated goal remains a challenge - wipe out the bandits, break into the safe, find out where the soldiers are keeping the prisoners, kidnap the earl...

FoM works against magic that constrains your movement (Hold Person), and against physical forces that constrain your movements (water, grappling).

It doesn't work against ailments that stop you moving, like unconsciousness.

To many GMs, poison effects are going to fall into the ailments category.

Freeform / GM whim encounters use no game rules at all; the system you're playing is irrelevant. In theory Pathfinder should be able to do this as well as anything else. (Although the combat rules, by being complex and tactically interesting, seem to encourage adventures where combats take up 70% of game time.)

pclark4422 wrote:
Situation 1 - Party with a caster that has Invisibility, Fly and Brew Potion. These three, rather low level (below 10) abilities allow the party to completely negate the defense of any bandit camp, perimeter wall, or towering spire that isn't deliberately tailored to combat these abilities. Why fight your way through the castle when you can just fly up to the tower where the princess is imprisoned, grab her, and fly away?.


1 Make the players want to fight the enemies. If they want to fight them (for loot, or because they're despicable villains, or whatever) they won't be trying to avoid a battle and will enjoy it more.
2 Use better defences. You can't fly up to the tower, grab the princess and fly away, unless her idiot captors have left her by an open window. There's a reason 'dungeons' is such a common fantasy trope - it stops the players being able to enter by any one of a dozen possible entrances. If the bandits are in a cave rather than a camp, the GM can stay in control, if that's really so important.
An archer with permanent True Seeing is also an option.

Depends a bit on the AC of your opponent but almost always the two slams (unless you've met something with DR/slashing).

The scimitar has three times the chance of a crit. Let's assume it's masterwork since you appear to be level 2, so it's actually 6 ahead of the second slam.

If you need a 10 to hit with the scimitar, then you need a 16 with the slam. That's an average of 0.55 scimitar hits, and 0.25 slam hits. There's also an 0.0825 chance of successful crit with the scimitar, and a 0.0125 chance with the slam. Counting a crit as an extra hits, you're getting an average of .89 of a hit per round.
With the two slams, both hitting on an 11, you're getting 1.05 hits per round. So the slams are better in this case.

If you need a 5 to hit with the scimitar and 11 with the slam, average success is 1.425 hits. With two slams hitting on a 6, you're getting 1.575 hits per round.

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Yes, but if there was a 5% chance every six seconds of falling, he'd be dead the first time he ever tried to walk the tightrope. A good acrobat is fine up right until there's a distraction, at which point there is a chance of failure.

From the player viewpoint, saying "I take 10" doesn't take away all tension unless the player knows the DC.

If they want to bring along other the NPCs (and the other NPCs can be persuaded to go, since they don't have Ameiko to motivate them), you'll need to think of something for them to do while the players are adventuring, to replace "looking after Ameiko" - even if it's just "guarding the wagons against the strange creatures they've seen in the forests".

Jericho Graves wrote:
Can your rogue disable something at a baseline of DC 40 without rolling? Then, make the DC 45. That's only a small percentage of failure for a standard trap.

He has a skill of 30. He can disable DC 40 automatically by taking 10. DC45 = 70% chance of failure if he rolls, or 100% chance of failure if he's taking 10.

I'd suggest making traps vary in how long they take to disarm based on one or more disable device rolls, and putting them in time-critical situations.

There's no real need to take the caravan to Brinewall if the party don't want it. They can always go back for it at the end of the book. (You can replace random caravan events with random party events - I never found much use for the caravan rules.)

I liked the concept of the Kami trying to possess Ameiko. Unfortunately there was no obvious way to communicate what was going on to the party. Having it possess a PC might work out better.

I think the game-reason why the Kami makes Ameiko go into a coma is to give an excuse for the majority of the NPCs to stay with the caravan while the party explore. If the NPCs stayed at home, you could replace the coma / sleep effects with confusing attempts at communication, hallucinations, visions of the past (glimpses of the attack on Brinewall), Will saves to go anywhere the Kami doesn't want to go, etc.

I think I remember reading that 'fights to the death' is used so much largely because it's short and simple.
I think 'attacks immediately' bothers me more. Most hostile enemies will end up dead, but all enemies have an opportunity to make themselves interesting before they're defeated. I wish they'd include bits of dialogue for anything that could plausibly be communicated with.

Golarion goblins aren't supposed to be very practical. From AP:

"As with all goblins, the Licktoads should be presented in combat with equal amounts of foolish bravery and sadistic comedy. If the PCs manage to
critically hit a goblin, other goblins might spend their turn cackling or shrieking at the gory results rather than attacking. A goblin might try a particularly impressive but illadvised acrobatic tactic, such as attempting to run between a PC’s legs to get at someone on the other side (Acrobatics check to move through an occupied square), trying to climb
up onto a roof to jump down from above (DC 10 Climb check on the first round to get up on the roof, followed by a DC 15 Acrobatics check to leap down onto a PC — if this Acrobatics check is successful, treat it as a charge attack that leaves the goblin prone at the end of the round), or attempting to grapple, disarm, or trip PCs."

James Jacobs wrote:
I suspect you'd have a lot more fun taking a book like, say Magnimar (choosing that 'cause I'm familiar with it) and simply using that book to generate ideas for adventures and NPCs and stories for your group to go on.

That sounds like a lot of work.

Pathfinder makes it pretty easy to assemble a scenario of 'bad guy is holed up in a lair full of CR-appropriate encounters and the players have to break in and kill everything'. I could come up with that myself.

I feel like to get the most out of a role-playing game, these bits need to be interspersed with challenges that aren't based around 'kill or be killed' and which give players the freedom to choose what they want to do and how. Those are the bits that are difficult to create.

So, to take a constructive approach, what parts of the APs do that well? What do we want to see more of? We've had one example: the opening chapter of Jade Regent 4 where you're the guests of a slightly mad king. What else?

Nicos wrote:
(S)ince when casters are wimps at low level?

I'm playing a sorcerer. At level 1, I knew two level 1 spells. I took Mage Armor, because I didn't want to die, and Grease, which is super-flexible. Practically all my enemies turned out to have good reflex saves, so it was almost completely ineffective. At level 2, I still knew only two level 1 spells. I'm now level 3. This allows me to choose one more level 1 spell - I took Color Spray. Since then I haven't met any opponent who can be affected by mind-affecting spells, but I'm sure there are some out there, and they might even have few enough hit dice and poor enough will saves to be affected.

But at least I have narrative power...

Gator the Unread wrote:
Here, try this: what narrative powers do martial characters have access to that casters don't?

Struggle, which is an essential component of engaging narrative.

Suppose you're in a besieged city. A player decides to sneak into the evil duke's bedroom, murder him, dispose of his body and use a disguise to pose as him and order the city to surrender to the surrounding army.
If a high level caster can do all those things without effort due to having the right spells, the narrative is boring.

If Gandalf could teleport to Mount Doom and back, that would mean he had the power to destroy the narrative, but at the cost of being able to participate in it.

My2Copper wrote:
How many days does a wand of cure light wounds last if you use it to heal up between those 10 encounters?

Not long, but how much money do you normally get from beating 10 encounters? A single enemy with a +1 weapon will pay for that wand and more.

Anzyr wrote:
What happens when they start using long duration or permanent duration spells like animate dead, shrink item and explosive runes?

There's normally a gentleman's agreement not to use spells like animate dead that clog up the battlefield and violate most religions. Never seen shrink items used for anything except unusually specific circumstances (to carry an object that a martial could have carried anyway). Never seen explosive runes used for anything.

Anzyr wrote:
Around mid levels the only way the disparity can go unnoticed is if there is a gap between the system mastery of the martials and casters, and at high levels it is impossible to not notice the disparity unless your casters are still in "cast blasty spells" mentality.

I played as a cleric to level 15. I was of the 'hold spells in reserve for emergencies' mentality. Why cast a level 8 spell when you can kill the enemies with swords then use a wand to heal? Three hybrid martials (alchemist / paladin / bard) seemed to manage with me doing only what seemed necessary. I never really had much of a sense that I could have dominated the battlefield... Maybe if I'd maxed out my caster stat instead of playing a balanced character with good Int & Cha I'd have felt able to risk using Save Negates spells more often. Are they the ones that create this disparity?

Next campaign played pretty much the same way. There was a sorcerer for a while who could use dazing fireballs to unbalance things, but he died due to bad fortitude save. (I wouldn't allow 'dazing' again.)

Neurophage wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Umbranus wrote:
tony gent wrote:
Because you will run out or spells after a set number of rounds a fighter can swing his sword all day
All day, as long as he doesnt run out of hp. Which are mostly healed with what?
Wands of Cure Light Wounds.
Your proposed solution to the problem of spells is a magic item, which was created with a spell. While itemized, wands are still spells. Potions are still spells. You can't say that there is a hard answer to spells when the only one you can come up with is also a spell

I don't think anyone was trying to debate that. We were discussing whether fighters can fight effectively all day in a real campaign.

In a normal party doing a 'typical' (in my experience) ten-encounter-a-day adventure, what happens is that the wizard saves his spells for emergencies and uses low grade abilities for most of the day, the martials tear through encounters and the ranger heals up the party with wands of cure light wounds between. In this type of play, there isn't much caster-martial disparity.

Umbranus wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Umbranus wrote:
tony gent wrote:
Because you will run out or spells after a set number of rounds a fighter can swing his sword all day
All day, as long as he doesnt run out of hp. Which are mostly healed with what?
Wands of Cure Light Wounds.
if we bring in wands the caster will not run out of spells

A caster using wands will not, in my experience, overshadow the martials.

Aelryinth wrote:
"Robilar teleported himself halfway across the world," "Robilar instantly created himself a suit of adamantine armor", "Robilar fashioned his own little demiplane to relax in" and "Robilar made a simulacarum of Mordenkainen to serve as his butler and have some extra spell power around because he thought it was cool" are things requiring mechanical power the fighter does not have.

By the sound of it, the difference between martials and casters is that casters have far more ability to annoy the GM. (AKA 'narrative agency'.) If a martial wants to create something, then it's up the GM whether they can have the time / NPC help they need. A caster can just do it with magic.

If the martial wants to force someone to help him, they have to threaten to kill them, and find out whether the GM is going to let it happen. The caster can just dominate them.

If the martial wants minions, he has to role-play finding them / take the Leadership feat and hope the GM says yes. The caster can just conjure them up.

If the martial wants to go somewhere, then the GM can decide whether he should get there easily or have to overcome obstacles. A caster can just be there.

If the martial wants to find something out, he has to ask around and hope the information is available. The caster can just ask a god.

Or, from another perspective, if the GM wants to bully a player, it's a lot easier for them to do it if it's a martial. If, on the other hand, the GM wants his players to be happy, then the martial can spend a year building a castle and forging his own blade, then travel half way across the world with a simple 'your journey is uneventful'.

Umbranus wrote:
tony gent wrote:
Because you will run out or spells after a set number of rounds a fighter can swing his sword all day
All day, as long as he doesnt run out of hp. Which are mostly healed with what?

Wands of Cure Light Wounds.

Hama wrote:
I've been looking over the PCs from several of my previous campaigns that I ran, and all of them had one thing in common. Very very similar ability scores.

Are they all playing the same class and concept? Points buy means that, for example, all optimized melee-focused clerics are likely to be fairly similar. But I don't see how they'd be similar to oracles, paladins, wizards, or non-melee clerics.

Ascalaphus wrote:
Ideally you can actually convince players not to metagame. In my personal experience most players are actually mature enough, if you call them on it.

I find having to 'not metagame' reduces my fun factor. Say I'm in a situation where I know a creature has fire immunity, but my character doesn't know. Should I cast a fire spell? I simply don't know what I'd do if I didn't have the knowledge I have. I think maybe I wouldn't, and that I might guess that this evil-looking extra-planar creature is resistant to fire, but maybe I'm biased because I know that casting a fire spell is going to endanger the party, and I'm looking for an excuse not to cast it. Or maybe I cast the spell for no reason other than I know it won't work, because I'm worried about looking like a metagamer.

If the GM is able to keep me from knowing things my character doesn't know, I'll be able to think about it from my character's viewpoint, and focus on trying to win the battle, which is more fun.

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Ashiel wrote:

In general, for the reasons mentioned before, the reasons healing doesn't stand up is because it has the following problems.

A) It's action economy sucks. At best you are trying to spend your action to negate an action someone else already took.

Which may be good enough. Suppose you're a group of four fighting one powerful enemy, and your healing negates his action, or even 50% of his action. That's going to give the rest of the party plenty of time to win.

Ashiel wrote:
B) Healing does not scale effectively with damage. It's never enough, essentially.

Healing one hit point is 'enough' if that one hit point is the difference between conscious and unconscious, alive or dead.

Ashiel wrote:
C) It generally doesn't solve any problems. The thing that's dealing damage is still dealing damage. If you have 3 orcs dealing 2d4+4 damage per hit, the way to keep your fighter alive is not to heal 1d8+1, 1d8+5, or even 3d8+5. It's to stop those orcs from making attacks in the first place (how you do that is irrelevant, it could be making a wall, charming, commanding, killing, binding, banishing, confusing, or just getting something in to take the hit instead, or many more things).

If it solves the problem of the fighter being dead, and the fighter (and the rest of the party) can kill the orcs, then the problem is solved. There are other options that would in theory solve the problem quicker, but not every cleric is Schroedinger's cleric.

Ashiel wrote:
D) Healing also typically requires you to hump the leg of the person you're trying to heal. In large dynamic combats, having the cleric or anyone else who is healing chasing around the wounded like a fat kid chasing cake is just as sad to watch, and is just asking for everyone to get wrecked. Sure you can make use of metamagic like reach spell or for the multiclass inclined, spectral hand, but in both cases you are generally getting a less for more deal (higher spell slot requirements, lower caster levels, etc).

Never seen much of a problem there. Rod of Reach, channel energy, or don't split the group in the first place...

Ashiel wrote:
E) Healing is reactionary. This is a big problem. Healing does...not a damn thing. At least until someone is already hurt.

I'm not sure how that's a problem unless you're a character who has nothing but healing spells.

Ashiel wrote:
This combines with literally every other problem to compile them all. There you are, and you're doing your thing, then suddenly Boris the Strong and Fair gets wrecked for 43 damage and is now sitting at 10 HP, and another hit like that means that he's pushing daisies! So suddenly you stop what you're doing and run over to him with a double move to get your clankedy medium or heavy-armored butt over there, then burn an action point/hero point to heal him for a whopping 4d8+7 or about 31 damage, at the cost of one of your highest level spells. Awesome, he's alive, and you're the man! Then he gets slapped again for about 43 damage, and promptly expires.

By your numbers he's on -2 hit points, and not dead. (Then again, 4d8+7 is an average of 25, so it would be more like -8.) Without the healing, he'd be very dead, assuming (a) the GM is playing for keeps, and (b) you're not Schroedinger's cleric who has an infallible 'defeat the bad guy in a single action' power up his sleeve.

House rules are one thing. The optional Paizo critical fumble deck is another. The decks suggests using the 'roll to confirm using full BAB' rule, which means it shouldn't happen too often to a skilled character, but as you say makes it oddly likely to happen when firing a bow at an enemy with high AC. But maybe firing at a difficult target is distracting?

One of the ranged effects is indeed: "Snapped String: If attack was made with a bow or crossbow, the string breaks and requires 1d3 rounds to fix."

Melee effects: "You are flat footed for one round." "You provoke an AoO from all adjacent opponents." "You take one point of bleed." "You are sickened for 1d4 rounds." "You fall prone." Most of them make sense if you think of it as something your target did to you when you left a small opening. (Well, as much sense as it makes that a skilled fighter attacking an elephant will simply roll less than AC and miss a lot of the time.) Although some of them are more slapstick. "Your weapon is stuck in a nearby surface. DC 20 Strength check to free it."

Akerlof wrote:
I think it's interesting that the two examples we've had to prove that "healing is necessary" were both massively over CR: 5 trolls (roughly a CR 9 encounter) against 4 level 4 PCs, and an "an APL+9 if not APL+10 or higher encounter."

If healing is useful - even necessary - in massively over CR encounters, that implies healing is powerful (and therefore easily powerful enough for easier battles, if not so necessary). Which is odd, because you wouldn't think it would 'keep up' in those situations.

Akerlof wrote:
Don't play a healer, play a support character who can do many things, including healing when it's necessary.

Agreed - healer is too specific a niche to dedicate yourself to completely. It makes you feel useless in any situation where no-one needs healing.

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