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I did a similar thing with A.A. when I ran Carrion Crown. It's definitely a great way to play up the villain.
I also went with the angle of A.A. being grateful to the PCs - he would have been sorely disappointed if he had achieved world domination as easily as everything else. In fact, he ended up offering the PCs indirect advice a time or two - nothing to do with his own plans, of course, that would spoil the game, but it wouldn't due to have them dying to fish-cultists, you know?
Nymphs are really nasty for a CR 6 creature.
Noticed this when I threw a mixed batch of CR 6 fey at my PCs and the nymph was vastly more effective than the rest.
DC 21 Fort vs blind for the whole party most likely takes the wizard and rogue out of the game, and then stunning glance at the same DC against whoever saved... Also, there is no immunity to the aura, so the party is saving against blindness EVERY ROUND.
Polymorph Any Object has some exceptionally "fun" uses, and I've always considered it one of the most broken spells if applied creatively.
One that came up recently: In Skull and Shackles, a PC got himself bitten by a wereshark then used a scroll of PAO to transform himself from an afflicted wereshark into a natural wereshark...
Also seen some hilarious uses, like polymorphing an enemy minion into a wall to block the hallway his friends were sending reinforcements down...
Basically, with some creativity, there's really no limit to the havoc you can wreak with this. Made it a save-or-die by turning the target into a soap bubble. Polymorph one trap into a pig and use it to spring the next trap. Turn a 10-by-10-by-10 cube of the ceiling into lava.
Polymorph an elephant into a pebble, trick someone into swallowing it, wait for the spell to run out... Have fun watching your GM try to figure out how to rule that.
@Cyrad: Yeah, unfortunately there is a lot of necessary copy/paste. For example, Gun Kata works very similar to Flurry of Blows... but not exactly. So I have to replicate a lot of the text to make it clear which parts are the same and which are different. I could probably rewrite it to be shorter, but I worry it would be less clear. Honestly, this archetype changes so much I should probably just declare it an alternate class instead of an archetype.
I definitely cared more about fulfilling the core concept I envisioned for the class - versatile, short-range firearm combat - then I did about making reference to the movie. This class is inspired by the grammaton clerics, but it's not meant to be an exact reference.
Point blank shot could get wonky if you were a mythic equalizer and took limitless range, yeah. But in that case you are running an mythic campaign and all balance bets are off. Not sure there are any other ways to really break it, though. With regular pistols your range is shorter than usual point blank - only 20 ft. - and even a distance firearm only gets you 10ft. past typical point blank range.
I think it's more important to simplify bookkeeping; I didn't want the player to have to remember "Am I in point-blank range? What about touch AC range? Which one lets me use my trick shots again?" So I just made them line up.
@Adam: I actually have a PC playing a Cryptic in my current Way of the Wicked campaign. His Stealth score is +40, but so far that's the only way he's really broken anything. :) Didn't notice that archetype, though, that's cool.
I made this for a friend who wanted to play a gunslinging monk in Skull and Shackles. ...I may also have watched a certain movie too many times... >.>
Anyway, disclaimer is that this is not meant to be exactly equally powerful to standard monk (which I think most people agree is a low bar). This class is probably stronger than a typical monk, at least when it's doing what it's good at. But it should be in the power scale of barbarians or paladins.
Remy Balster wrote:
There is, however, no way to interpret the extra attack from a flurry as resulting from fighting with two weapons rules. Nothing in flurry says that it results from fighting with two weapons. It even strongly implies that it does not, in fact, come from fighting with two weapons, by explicitly telling us that we don't need to use two weapons in a flurry! Top that off with the fact that a monk's unarmed strikes are never offhand attacks... and the notion that the extra attack from flurry being the result of fighting with two weapons is simply ludicrous.
This does, of course, conveniently ignore the fact that a monk making a Flurry CAN choose to use two weapons.
Let's say a monk decides to flurry using a temple sword in each hand. None of these attacks are off-hand attacks, by your reading, but he is clearly fighting with two weapons, alternating attacks between the two.
Would you argue that the monk can then use TWF to make another set of attacks with one of the swords he already attacked with, except this time calling them "off hand attacks"?
GMing a Way of the Wicked campaign and the party is finishing off a paladin and discussing what to do with his corpse.
Drow ninja: As I coup-de-grace him, I carve out his heart in supplication to my god.
Witch: My cacodaemon familiar devours his soul and turns it into a soul gem.
Antipaladin: I'm stripping his armor; it looks shiny.
Necromancer: Can I raise him as a zombie? I need another minion.
Witch: Oh, let me remove his brain first, I need it for the golem I'm building.
Me: You guys are horrible...
Antipaladin: Hey, Father Asmodeus teaches us to use every part of the buffalo.
I think the use of "other" ties it up for me, as far as RAW goes. It means that the person writing this item was acting under the assumption that thrown daggers are always small, ranged, piercing weapons. Which means that handguns are always small, ranged, piercing weapons.
However, I am also 90% sure that whoever wrote this armor was not a rules lawyer, and that their thought process went "well, obviously thrown daggers do piercing damage, doing slashing damage with a thrown dagger is just silly". Trying to say that daggers being on that list means that the designers intended for guns to be affected is giving a bit too much credit to the amount of thought put into designing the armor.
You have to remember that the designers of this armor probably didn't cross reference half as many rules half as intensely as the people in this thread have; they just wrote the item in a way that they thought worked, based on their available knowledge of the rules.
So I guess my personal stance is that RAW: The DR applies against bullets. RAI: Who knows? House rule: Haha, no, you are not stopping bullets with your Charmin armor.
Oh, and for your debating pleasure: Does this DR apply against blunt arrows (bludgeoning damage) fired from a longbow (piercing damage)?
Now THAT is a question I couldn't answer. :)
One of the players in my friend's Wrath of the Righteous campaign is playing a slightly modified Holy Gun. The changes were:
-Gives up spellcasting.
With these changes, she is actually a beast in this campaign. Since she dual wields pistols, she can burn 2-3 smites in a single attack routine, getting double smite damage each time. Plus the ability to recover her grit pool in the usual ways means she often gets MORE smite attacks in a given day than a typical Paladin could expect to get, even having to burn a grit point each time.
EDIT: Ah, sorry, didn't realize I was contributing to a necro... ~hangs head in shame~
Thanael makes a great point, and basically what I'd consider the best use of Diehard - ask your GM how hard it is to pretend to be knocked out (they'll probably say it'll be a Bluff check, so if you haven't invested in that skill this might not work).
Using Diehard to get yourself an extra action to heal yourself so the healer doesn't have to is a great use of it. But using it to stay in the fight on your last legs is really dangerous.
Yeah, raging vitality and toughness will both keep you in the fight longer without the risk of killing you.
Oh, that said, as a barbarian there is another reason to take Diehard. When you fall unconscious, your rage ends. At higher levels, this will cause you to lose enough hit points that you probably die anyway. So at that point, taking Diehard to keep yourself conscious will save your life.
Also, from my experience, Die Hard might as well be called Please Kill Me. One of my fellow players in Wrath of the Righteous invested in Die Hard. Every single time he's used it, it resulted in him dying. Every single time the GM admitted that if he'd been knocked unconscious, the enemy would have gone after someone else.
You are basically trading your safety net for the hope of getting an extra attack or two in, and it's usually a bad trade.
So I had a character in one of my games once. She was a rogue. She wielded a greatsword and had the feat Catch Off-Guard.
She would fight people with her greatsword, doing the usual rogue flanking and sneak attack stuff. And then sometimes, she wouldn't be able to get flanking. And while her foe was sticking their tongue out at her, you know what she'd do? She'd pommel bash them with the greatsword for sneak attack damage.
You know what? It was awesome, and totally iconic, and I don't want to roleplay in a world where that's not possible.
Speaking from personal experience here:
The final battle of a 3-year campaign I ran was a custom monster I created.
She had 5000 hit points (no typo), was immune to anything that would instantly defeat her, recovered from any debuff in very short order, and could act three times a round.
I also basically completely threw rules out the window - she didn't actually have a stat block other than AC and saves. Instead I wrote individual attack routines - "this round, she uses this attack, with these bonuses, then uses this ability, with these bonuses, then does this".
So in other words, I did everything Orfamay Quest says makes a terrible boss battle.
But you know what?
My players had a blast.
It was the end of an epic campaign, the battle against a BBEG that had been against them from the very start. They were mythic and insanely powerful in their own right. It was a completely gonzo, silly over the top battle that lasted an entire session and my players still talk about it being one of their favorite sessions.
So I don't think you can say "do this and it will always suck" or "this kind of battle will always be fun". What it comes down to, as with every aspect of a GM's job, is know your players. I didn't have a single character in my party who was save-or-suck focused; everyone was a damage dealer. So a boss that was a giant pile of hit points was playing to my party's strengths.
I built action routines for her that gave different players a chance to shine - one round she had a special barrier that blocked attacks originating from more than 10 feet away, so the melee fighters could go to town. The next round, she teleported away from anyone who got close - the ranged attackers got to have their moment in the limelight.
I think boss battles can be all kinds of fun. They can also be horribly boring. They have to be very carefully tailored to your party and their expectations. That's why I think "elite monster" templates and that sort of thing are a bad idea - you can't design a boss in a vacuum, or create a boss that will be interesting for every party.
Anyway, there's my opinion.
The GM is distracted and so we are chatting about the current situation out of character. Player B is infamous for her verbal slip-ups, and watches a lot of How I Met Your Mother.
Player A: You know, this kinda reminds of the trailer for the new How to Train Your Dragon movie.
Player B: Oh, yeah, I just watched How I Met Your Dragon recently.
(Pause as she realizes what she said)
Player B: Dangit! I always do that...
GM (coming back into the room): This sounds wonderfully off topic.
Player B: We were talking about How to Train Your Mother.
Needless to say, it was several minutes more before game resumed.
I use the following for my games:
Improved Weapon Finesse
Prerequisites: Dexterity 13+, Weapon Finesse, Acrobatics 2 ranks.
I added the Acrobatics 2 ranks requirement because otherwise the feat is typically clearly better than Dervish Dance. This way it's an alternative to DD; DD has the advantage of letting you use scimitars and being thematic for Sarenrae followers, while this feat prevents scimitars from being the obvious best weapon for high Dex builds.
Ironically, I'm actually playing Nadya in Reign of Winter after my original character died. Well, I am playing a character that is now barely recognizable as Nadya... She has had a long and twisted storyline. It's been a lot of fun playing a character whose backstory I didn't come up with.
Wall of text with minor Reign of Winter spoilers:
It has been kind of a game between myself and the GM to come up with the most unfortunate story twists for her; she has ended up becoming one of my favorite tragic characters. So far:
-She was magically transformed into a near-immortal herald by a contingency trap left behind by Baba Yaga
Nadya has actually gone through four distinct builds so far.
Reign of Winter PCs should not read this!:
*Her new Patron is Fate, aka Baba Yaga's Patron...
Well it depends. If your dwarves decide to menace the shield with spikes of platinum then you probably have a masterwork-worthy shield, but pig tails on the other hand...
Oh, wait. I just answered completely the wrong thing, didn't I? :p
On a more serious note, my feeling would be that you pay for masterwork spikes separate from a masterwork shield, especially since a masterwork weapon is twice as expensive. I don't see why you couldn't have a non-masterwork shield with masterwork spikes, or vice-versa.
My logic (and ruling) on this has always been the same as Ipslore the Red's.
Greater teleport requires a specific destination in mind. You can't just teleport to "Castrovel". You have to teleport to "the middle of the High Church of Calistria in the city of El in Sovyrian" - and more then that, you have to have been there before. If you want to get to a planet you don't know any specifics about and have never visited, greater teleport is useless to you.
Interplanetary teleport, on the other hand, lets you teleport to a planet you know nothing about except the name. If you find a book that makes an off-hand mention of a planet called Barsoom, one casting of interplanetary teleport later you are there - and automatically in a hospitable location, for bonus points.
To my mind that's enough of an improvement over greater teleport to justify the higher level, while not weirdly retroactive-nerfing greater teleport.
Celestial Pegasus wrote:
...deals with several spells open to some arcane classes and labels them as Good spells, e.g. casting them is an inherently Good act provided they are not used for Evil ends.
It's interesting that when talking about Good spells it feels natural to add the emphasized text, but the reverse is often argued against. I often see people saying that using an Evil spell for good ends is still an evil act, but no one argues that using a Good spell for evil ends is still a good act.
I wonder why that is?
I think one of the coolest bits for me is how thanks to my player's decisions, certain NPCs got a much bigger role than I think Paizo could ever have expected them to. XD
In the very first fight, the PCs ended up capturing Happs rather than killing him - mostly by accident. Several of the PCs, with Evita arguing loudest - wanted to execute him. The party cavalier, however, wanted to keep him alive and try redeeming him; he managed to convince the rest of the party to let him try.
A couple nat 20 diplomacy rolls later and Happs was reconsidering his choices in life. Later, at the Stag Lord's fort he saved Evita's life when Dovan almost killed her. And the rest, as they say, is history. :)
Howl-of-the-North-Wind also played a huge role in this campaign. I originally gave him an only slightly larger role, but Kai's player took a really big liking to him and convinced the rest of the party to keep him around. By the end of the campaign, Howl (and his "spy network" of wolves) had become one of the kingdom's most useful allies.
There is a little bit more to come for this group of PCs; I'll be running them through a level 20 epilogue adventure I'm calling A Conquest in Fire; that'll be just one session though.
I will be running a full-fledged sequel campaign, but it'll be set 20 years in the future and involve a new group of PCs (one of which will be Evita's daughter Sage).
We didn't use the kingdom building rules for all of book 6 so it's hard to remember everything, honestly. xD I don't have exact stats Cambreadth at hand, but it was pretty expansive. It covered basically everything except Thousand Voices and the majority of the Slough (they went around the top of the swamp to avoid having many swamp tiles).
Haven - Located at the old Stag Lord's fort, Haven is the capital and by far the most developed city. It is also the center of a portal network developed by the kobold wizard Rishak Scalemind (wizard 5/mage of the arcane order 7/loremaster 5; a PC who didn't participate in the final battle). This portal network allows instant travel between the capital and any other city in Cambreadth, although it can only transport about a dozen people per hour.
Svetlan - Formerly Oleg's fort, Oleg agreed to let the PCs make it a city so long as they made him mayor and named the city after his wife. Svetlan is a relatively undeveloped city, but IIRC is the location of a University of the Arcane Order, founded by Rishak.
Varnhold - Annexed after it's vanishing, Varnhold has had a tumultuous existence. Abandoned no less than twice AFTER the vanishing (once due to attack by Brevoy, the second due to an army of undead lead by Vordekai's reborn Champion) the city hasn't developed much until very recently.
Tatzlhoff - Founded on the site where the party slew a group of dangerous tatzlworms, Tatzlhoff has also had a difficult life. It's citizens were first attacked by the forced of Baron Drelev, and then later put into a magical and deadly sleep by the Nightmare Rook. However, Tatzlhoff enjoys the personal protection of Pax Caducus - he considers it his home town - as well as the order of monks he founded there; they operate out of an impressively large cathedral dedicated to Irori.
Tonguesten - The annexed Fort Drelev was renamed after its capture. Populated largely by merchants and refugees from the Pitax War, Tonguesten is a cultural melting pot; it's not uncommon to walk into its waterfront market and see bog striders, boggards, and lizardmen all aggresively (but peacefully) hawking their wares.
Pitax - Other than being freed from its oppressive rule (and its new ruler having much better musical taste), Pitax is much the same as it was before. A very developed city already, the PCs mostly left it to its own devices. It did get included in the portal network, however.
The kingdom also includes two "cities" independent from the PC's rule - both the kobolds and the lizardmen were taken into the kingdom as vassals and given dominion over their personal hexes.
Yesterday my party finished Sound of a Thousand Screams, silencing Nyrissa's plotting forever and reclaiming their lost kingdom.
Wow has it been a wild ride. From defending a fort in the middle of nowhere from bandits and ruffians to slaying an elder fae who literally had 5000 hit points, every moment of Kingmaker has been absolutely fantastic for me and my players. After running this campaign for three and a half years it has finally come to a close. We'll be talking about this one for a long time to come.
I wanted to thank Paizo for creating the most thrilling adventure I've ever had the honor of GMing (and mercilessly customizing to fit my own desires). I also want to thank my players - both those who were there to the end, and those for whom life got in the way. This campaign wouldn't have been what it was without all of you.
What follows is a tribute to the Six from Cambreadth, the final group of PCs who challenged Nyrissa and overcame everything I could throw at them.
Lloyd Orlovsky aka 'Sky':
CN male half-elven ranger 10/bard 9; mythic marshall 4
Originally a spy sent by house Orlovski to keep tabs on Restov's interests in the Stolen Lands, Sky served the burgeoning nation of Cambreadth as spymaster ("head of accounting", as he preferred to be called). When the current ruler was called away to lead a faction in the Brevic Civil War, Sky eagerly stepped forward to fill his place. Revealing his true identity, King Lloyd Orlovsky ruled fairly but with cunning from his thone in the capital of Haven, seeing the kingdom through many perils - including the betrayal of King Irovetti of Pitax. When the Stolen Lands were stolen away into the faewild by Nyrissa, Lloyd took up the mantle of Marshall, leading the Six from Cambreadth into Thousandbreaths to face Nyrissa's greatest minions. Wielding the Stag Lord's former bow - now enchanted as a mythic artifact of legendary power - King Orlovsky is an archer without peer and a wise ruler. Advised by a mysterious raven spirit and surrounded by friends and associates, Lloyd seeks to lead Cambreadth into a glorious future.
Evita Bydon (originally Evita Dhakar):
NG female human rogue 9/red mantis assassin 10; mythic trickster 4
Evita journeyed into the Stolen Lands in hopes of finding vengeance for the theft of a stolen heirloom - the last memento of her dead parents. Instead, she found love, truth, and a home - things she had given up on in her former life. Between marrying the reformed bandit Happs Bydon, becoming mother of a wonderful girl named Sage, becoming Royal Assassin of Cambreadth, untangling a Red Mantis plot that started before she was born, and killing her not-as-dead-as-she-thought parents with her own hands, Evita has lived a wild and tumultuous life... and she wouldn't have it any other way. In Thousandbreaths she faced her greatest challenges yet, with her husband and daughter stolen away by Nyrissa and every moment fraught with peril. She rose to those challenges and above, however, killing the great dragon Ilthuliak and wielding the legendary fae-slaying sword Autumnsong against the Queen of Forgotten Time. Now, with her family and her home reclaimed, Evita might settle down for the quiet life she never had. Or... she might not.
TN female elven witch 19; mythic archmage 4
Sent by her coven to stop a great evil threatening the Stolen Lands, Vah-kanta never would have guessed how her life would change forever. After a short time adventuring with the founders of Cambreadth, she found herself whisked away by the Old Beldame - a witch whom she originally believed to be responsible for the very evil she was sent to stop. Instead, she uncovered a plot by her coven to manipulate her and her twin sister Lauranna into serving Nyrissa in kidnapping the Stolen Lands. Reunited with her friends after a great battle - but not before the Old Beldame was killed and Lauranna kidnapped - Vah-Kanta killed the members of her former coven herself and then set her sights on Nyrissa. Eventually forced to slay her own sister - or at least the twisted monster Nyrissa had made her - Vah-kanta became consumed by vengeance. In Thousandbreaths, at last, she would find her redemption - sacrificing herself to allow Nyrissa to be destroyed. Now, returned to life and reunited with her sister she finds herself free of the shackles of revenge for the first time. Where she will go from here - besides possibly pursuing her burgeoning romance with the swordsman Yoshi - is anyone's guess.
Pax Caducus (Formerly Kai the Wanderer and Lee the Sinister):
LN half-fiend monk 17; mythic guardian 4
Of all the founders of Cambreadth, perhaps none have changed so much as Pax. Originally a wandering monk struggling with a split personality - an evil sorcerer named Lee - Kai's mind fractured more and more over the course of his adventures. The discovery that Lee was the original personality and Kai the insane fragment nearly shattered him. Finally he reached a breaking point upon being captured by Anais, a twisted night hag in the service of Nyrissa. Using an eldritch ritual she reshaped his body into a fiendish warrior of immense power. In the crucible of her torture, however, Kai and Lee finally reconciled with each-other, fusing their minds and becoming the mighty Pax Caducus. Pax slew the night hag and fled back to his friends - who almost repudiated him for his new, horrible form. Determined to prove himself and win back the trust of Evita - whose daughter he was the godfather of - Pax had magical shackles forged to contain his demonic powers and swore an oath of nonaggression. Despite this, he found himself forced to fight with everything he had to reclaim his kingdom - even at one point breaking free of his shackles in order to save Evita's life. Now, in the aftermath of Nyrissa's death, Pax has been cleansed of his demonic influence and given new form once again. What he will do with this newly clean slate remains to be seen...
LN human samurai (sword saint) 19; mythic champion 4
Already a swordsman of great renown, Yoshi traveled across the Crown of the World to the distant lands of Avistan to demonstrate his skill in the legendary Rushlight Festival. Recruited by King Orlovsky to ensure Cambreadth's victory in the festival, Yoshi proved an asset beyond anything the rulers of Cambreadth could have dreamed. Proving himself in battle against the forces of the traitorous Irovetti, Yoshi found the challenge he'd always searched for. Deep in the depths of Irovetti's palace, however, he made a discovery that would change his life: The legendary sword Briar. Forging a bond with the elder-forged blade that was unlike anything he'd ever known, Yoshi reached a level of skill few even dream of. When Briar told him of her wish to put an end to the threat of Nyrissa, Yoshi knew he'd found his calling in life: The battle that would define him as a swordsman. After fighting his way through the countless challenges of Thousandbreaths, Yoshi finally was able to confront Nyrissa. Putting his life on the line, Yoshi slew Nyrissa with Briar's help. Unfortunately, Briar was forced to sacrifice herself to return the Stolen Lands to their rightful place. With the bond that had defined him broken, Yoshi is now adrift and purposeless... except, perhaps, for the quiet attraction he has found himself developing towards a certain elven witch.
CN half-orc barbarian 3/oracle of Gorum 16; mythic hierophant 4
Brother of the original ruler of Cambreadth, Hawkrum was part of the expedition Restov sent into the Glenebon Uplands. The rest of his party slaughtered by Irovetti, Hawkrum was held captive for years in the hopes that he'd be a bargaining chip against the nation of Cambreadth. Finally set free of his imprisonment with Irovetti's fall, Hawkrum reveled in the chance to wade into battle against whomever proved convenient. Spurred on more by his faith in Gorum and a desire to one-up his brother than any loyalty to the founders of Cambreadth, Hawkrum nevertheless proved a mighty ally. Many were the times the Six from Cambreadth would have fallen without Hawkrum's powerful divine magic and mighty earthbreaker. Finally, Hawkrum faced the greatest battle of his life in the all-powerful elder fae Nyrissa... and couldn't have been more happy. With her defeat, Hawkrum is anything but satisfied; rather, he has already set out in search of his next battle and an even greater foe...
Name: Nyrissa, Queen of Forgotten Time
It's been a wild ride...
@Salamandyr: I had a very narrow theme in mind when designing this class. I wanted a class that focused on a weapon with an empty off hand, dervish dance style, but did not use dervish dance. So the opportunity to represent other kinds of swashbucklers was lost there.
The lack of armor is really just a style thing for me. Fighting without armor takes more panache, you know?
I agree on the mobility thing and I'm working on that. Although the Precise Strike line is somewhat mobile due to the emphasis on Vital Strike, and I'm already considering giving a class feature that allows spring attack + vital strike.
Move + full round attack is a VERY powerful ability (just ask anyone whose played with the Mythic rules) and I don't hand it out lightly. But it could be appropriate here, I don't know.
@Ciaran Barnes: Diplomacy I don't really see as fitting the theme of the swashbuckler, and intimidate I'm kinda torn on. It's halfway between appropriate and not appropriate. Stealth I do think is appropriate, especially for a class that has a sneak attack-like ability. Sleight of Hand, while inappropriate for picking pockets, is the skill for concealing a weapon on your person and therefore kinda appropriate there. I could see dropping Sleight of Hand for Intimidate, though.
Just finished reading your suggested re-write, and there are definitely some things I really like. I do like the style being three-tier and improving at BaB break points. I will probably shuffle things around to make that happen. I originally didn't want to put the style at 1st level because it makes the swashbuckler a strong dip, but that was before I switched it from light armor to no armor.
Cool feedback, thanks! Here's some counter-feedback:
The dodge bonus from Stance is meant to make up for the lack of armor. I considered the Canny Defense route, but a) Didn't want to screw first level swashbucklers, b) Didn't want to make them MAD by requiring Int for AC, and c) Didn't want to copy an existing ability.
The +3 AC bonus means that a 20 Dex swashbuckler has the same AC as a normal 20 Dex character in Studded Leather. A lower-Dex Swashbuckler loses out to someone wearing a chain shirt. Up to 26 Dex, the Swashbuckler loses out to someone wearing elven chain. Past 26 Dex, however, the swashbuckler wins the AC game. I had considered making it only +2; not sure which is more balanced. I do prefer a flat bonus to adding a second attribute to AC.
I hadn't considered having Parry combine with fighting defensively; it's not a bad idea, but it's already a really wordy ability and I'm not sure I want to add to it. Also, it's more of an alternative to fighting defensively - it's not about protecting yourself, it's about aggressively deflecting attacks. You are right, however, that it should deny Dex to AC rather than cause flat-footed.
Swift Defense is a couple things. It's another free feat so that Swashbucklers can easily get Mobility and Spring Attack. It's a shield bonus to AC because that thematically fits with the theme of deflecting attacks, and because swashbucklers really have no way to GET a shield bonus to AC. It's mostly to keep their AC semi-competitive with someone doing sword-and-shield, since their fighting style is sword-and-no-shield.
Thrust is supposed to be a variant of sneak attack, and supposed to stack with sneak attack for more underhanded swashbucklers who want to grab rogue levels. A flat bonus to damage might be mechanically better, but is in my opinion less "Cool". It also fits nicely into existing mechanics - if it's a damage bonus you gain in all the same situations that a rogue gains sneak attack, why would it not work like sneak attack?
I think 1.5 Dex to all damage would be a bit much, simply because if you take Pinpoint Strike you probably dumped your Strength to all hell and are min-maxing the heck out of your Dex. Also, each of the style options is supposed to be roughly equal to a feat, "plus a little". In this case it's Dervish Dance, plus bonus damage when you make single attacks, which Pinpoint Strike is focused on.
Cunning Riposte is definitely the mechanically weakest style. However, it's also the most thematically strong. One of my goals with this class was "if there's any debate about whether or not this is Guybrush Threepwood's class, I've done something wrong". And the iconic image of the swashbuckler effortlessly disarming his foe is strong. :)
Hone Defenses is kinda based on the original version of Swashbuckler having a scaling bonus to AC. I also wanted to do something unique that wasn't just a copy of the Monk AC ability. The point of turning a shield bonus into a dodge bonus is that a) It's a nice way to boost your AC if you are getting a shield bonus from somewhere else, and b) Dodge bonuses apply to touch AC. I actually originally designed this ability with the thought of the swashbuckler being able to focus their defense on dodging rather then deflection for when they are fighting a mage.
On the upgraded Pinpoint Strike, I did have it originally just giving Vital Strike. However, I changed it for the (somewhat edge case) of a multiclass swashbuckler/something else who already took Vital Strike and has the BaB to qualify for Improved by swashbuckler level 10.
I didn't want to add deflect arrows to the parry ability because I didn't want to further complicate it, AND because I wanted it to be a separate defense rather than dependent on the swashbuckler's very limited number of parries per round.
Greater Parry means the swashbuckler gets one free parry no matter what he is doing. Each round, whether he readied to use parry or did something completely different, he can spend his immediate action to parry one attack.
Flawless Strike is not the most amazing ability, I agree. It does, however, allow a cool "lockdown" combo: If your opponent has low Fort, you can reliably stagger them every round... and then Greater Parry the one attack they can get against you. It also means that the swashbuckler can auto-hit monsters with really high AC. Basically the swashbuckler is supposed to be REALLY good at one-on-one fights, and this seems to fit that theme. I might add a line that the attack ignores miss chances; it's supposed to, but that wording is probably unclear.
Yeah, I could change the capstone to be ANOTHER style upgrade, that's not a bad idea. The free attack after an attack was such a cool ability, though, that I wanted all swashbucklers to have it. It also does benefit all three styles: A pinpoint strike swashbuckler has very limited attacks per round, and needs all the extra he can get, and a cunning riposte swashbuckler can use the free extra attack to perform a combat maneuver. Good catch on needing to add "at highest BaB".
I also agree that something to do with better mobility would be nice, but I'm not sure where to put it. I don't want to flood the class with styles, and I want each style to be a very strong choice.
In response to Xzaral: The megadungeon Rappan Athuk has a particularly EVIL variation on that.
Rappan Athuk Spoilers!:
There's a room where the floor is a chess board, which a complicated poem that hints at some sort of puzzle involving the chessboard. Every square of the board is trapped, the whole room changes based on how you move across the board, etc. The kicker? There's no "solution". It's just a trap. You "win" the room by walking on the lines between the squares and just leaving. The double kicker? There's a room full of bored evil priests who get their kicks by scrying adventurers trying to figure out this room. xD
On the OP topic: Chess-based puzzles are rarely as fun as they sound on paper, in my experience. Mostly they just result in a lot of groans from players. A subversion of that - what appears to be a chess puzzle turning into an all out brawl - could be fun, though.
Originally based on the Adamant Entertainment swashbuckler, but heavily modifier to the point of basically no longer being recognizable, this is my take on a swashbuckler base class.
Strong Saves: Fort and Reflex
Hit die: d10
Class Skills: The swashbuckler's class skills (and the key attribute for each skill) are Acrobatics (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (Nobility) (Int), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Stealth (Dex), and Swim (Str)
Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A swashbuckler is proficient with all simple and martial weapons. They are not proficient with any armor or shields.
Stance (Ex) Several swashbuckler abilities refer to a "stance". A swashbuckler is considered to be in his stance, and gets the benefit of these abilities, when he is wearing no armor, wielding a piercing melee weapon that is covered under the Weapon Finesse feat, and wielding nothing in his off hand (he may hold an item, such as a potion, in his off hand but may not equip a weapon or shield). A swashbuckler in his stance also gains a +3 dodge bonus to AC. A swashbuckler does not gain the benefits of being in his stance while helpless, pinned, or unable to attack with his weapon.
Parry (Ex) While in his stance, a swashbuckler may ready an action to parry an enemy's strike. When he is attacked in melee, he may make an attack roll against the enemy attacking him. If his attack roll is higher then that of the attacker, their attack is considered a miss regardless of the swashbuckler's AC. If the swashbuckler's parry roll exceeds the enemy's attack roll by 5 or more, the creature provokes an attack of opportunity from the swashbuckler. If his parry roll exceeds their attack roll by 10 or more, the enemy is considered flat footed against the swashbuckler's attack of opportunity.
A swashbuckler must be aware of an attack in order to deflect it. He does not need to be able to reach his attacker to make a parry attempt, but must threaten them to be able to take an attack of opportunity. As long as the swashbuckler did not move on his turn, however, he may take a 5-foot-step after successfully deflecting the attack and before making the attack of opportunity.
Weapon Finesse While proficient in all martial weapons, dexterous swashbucklers are particularly effective with light weapons. The swashbuckler gets Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat.
Swift Defense (Ex) At second level, a swashbuckler gains a +1 shield bonus to AC while in his stance, and also gets Dodge as a bonus feat (even if he doesn't meet the prerequisites).
Thrust (Ex) At 2nd level, the swashbuckler learns how to exploit an opening, dealing extra damage. The swashbuckler may thrust when he is in his stance and his opponent is denied her Dexterity bonus to her armor class (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not) or is flanked. This extra damage is 1d6 at 2nd level, and increases by 1d6 for every 3 swashbuckler levels, to a maximum of 7d6 at 20th level. Should the swashbuckler score a critical hit with a thrust, this extra damage is not multiplied. The thrust bonus stacks with the rogue’s sneak attack and similar abilities.
Swashbuckler's Style (Ex) At third level, a swashbuckler chooses a particular style of combat to pursue, gaining benefits depending on the choice. Once made, the choice of style cannot be changed. A swashbuckler only gains the beneifits of his style while in his stance.
Pinpoint Strike: A swashbuckler who selects this style may choose to add his Dexterity bonus instead of his Strength bonus to the damage of his melee attacks. When making a single attack as a standard action, or when taking an attack of opportunity granted by the parry class feature, the swashbuckler may instead add 1-1/2 times his Dexterity bonus to damage.
Rapid Flourish: With this style, the swashbuckler may make an extra attack at his full base attack bonus whenever he makes a full attack routine. If he does, all his attacks that round take a -2 penalty. This ability functions similarly to a monk's flurry of blows, save that instead of needing to use a special monk weapon the swashbuckler must be in his stance to gain this benefit.
Cunning Riposte: Upon selecting this style, the swashbuckler gains Improved Disarm as a bonus feat, even if he doesn't meet its prerequisites. In addition, when making a disarm attempt as an attack of opportunity, the swashbuckler gains a +2 bonus to his CMB.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex) At 4th level the swashbuckler retains his Dexterity bonus to armor class even when he is considered flat-footed.
Evasion (Ex) At 5th level the swashbuckler is adept at avoiding unusual attacks. If he makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. Evasion can only be used if the swashbuckler is wearing light or no armor. A helpless swashbuckler does not gain the benefit of evasion.
Hone Defenses (Ex) At 6th level, the swashbuckler's shield bonus to AC from the swift defense ability increases by +1. Additionally, the swashbuckler may convert his shield bonus to AC into a dodge bonus (which stacks with any existing dodge bonuses) for 1 round as a swift action.
At 12th and 18th levels, the shield bonus to AC increases by a further +1. Finally, at 18th level, the swashbuckler may convert his shield bonus into a dodge bonus as an immediate action.
Find the Mark (Ex) A 7th level swashbuckler is almost supernaturally aware of chinks in his opponent's defense. Whenever he confirms a critical hit while in his stance, he may add his thrust damage even if the target is not denied her Dexterity bonus to AC or flanked.
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex) A swashbuckler of 8th level or higher can no longer be flanked.
This defense denies a rogue the ability to sneak attack the character by flanking her, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the target has swashbuckler levels. Similarly, only a swashbuckler of at least four levels higher may apply her thrust damage when flanking.
If a character already has uncanny dodge from another class, the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum rogue level required to flank the character.
Improved Parry (Ex) The swashbuckler's ability to deflect incoming attacks improves at 9th level. The swashbuckler may always take an attack of opportunity upon successfully parrying an attack (as long as the target is within reach) and the attacker is considered flat-footed if the swashbuckler's attack roll exceeds the attacker's roll by 5 or more.
Additionally, the swashbuckler may ready an action to parry as a move action; as a full-round action the swashbuckler may ready to parry the next two attacks of his choice. This is an exception to the normal rules that readying is a standard action.
Swashbuckler's Panache (Ex) At 10th level, a swashbuckler's skill with their chosen style increases, granting them one of the benefits listed below based on the combat style they selected at third level. Alternatively, the swashbuckler may forfeit the listed bonus in exchange for choosing a second combat style from the level 3 list. As with swashbuckler's style, these benefits apply only while the swashbuckler is in his stance.
Pinpoint Strike: The swashbuckler gains Vital Strike, Improved Vital Strike, or Greater Vital Strike as a bonus feat (their choice, but they must meet the prerequisites of the feat). When making any form of Vital Strike, or when taking an attack of opportunity granted by the parry class feature, the swashbuckler may add double his Dexterity bonus to damage.
Rapid Flourish: When making a full attack, the swashbuckler may make a second additional attack at his base attack bonus -5 (he still suffers the -2 to all of his attacks that round). In addition, each time the swashbuckler sucessfully strikes an opponent, he gains a stacking +1 bonus to all attack rolls against that opponent until the start of his next turn.
Cunning Riposte: The swashbuckler receives Greater Disarm as a bonus feat without needing to meet the prerequisites, and his bonus to disarm checks when making an attack of opportunity increases to +4. In addition, upon disarming an opponent the swashbuckler may choose which square within 15 feet to have the disarmed item land in; if an ally (or the swashbuckler) in that square has an empty hand, they may make a DC 10 Dex check to catch the disarmed item.
Improved Evasion (Ex) At 13th level, the swashbuckler’s evasion improves. In addition to taking no damage on successful saves, the swashbuckler now takes only half damage on failed saves.
Deflect Arrows (Ex) At 15th level, the swashbuckler may use his weapon to deflect ranged attacks. This ability functions as the feat of the same name, except that the swashbuckler uses a weapon instead of his bare hands and this ability can only be used while the swashbuckler is in his stance.
Greater Parry (Ex) A 16th level swashbuckler can effortlessly deflect incoming attacks. He may parry an enemy's attack (as if he had readied an action to do so) as an immediate action.
Flawless Strike (Ex) As a full-round action while in his stance, a 19th level swashbuckler can make a single, perfect attack. This attack automatically threatens a critical hit (and is automatically a regular hit if the roll to confirm the critical fails). If the critical is confirmed, the target must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 swashbuckler's level + Dex modifier) or be staggered for 1 round.
Peerless Swashbuckler (Ex) At 20th level, the swashbuckler practically becomes one with his weapon. While in his stance, he cannot be disarmed. Once per round upon making a successful attack, the swashbuckler may make an attack as a free action (even if it isn't his turn).
Had a really nasty brute rogue played in a campaign I ran. 18-str Half Orc (pure rogue) who took the Scout archetype - getting free sneak attack damage on a charge is very nice, and half-orc means you are proficient with one of the best two handed weapons (falchion).
Campaign petered out so I don't know how she'd have done at high levels, but up to level 5-ish she was providing some of the best damage in the party.
That's basically the case. I had a character who was of Rogarvian blood in my Kingmaker campaign, and except for the rare politics with Brevoy, which don't really factor in heavily, it didn't really come up.
In fact, I was so disappointed at the lack of plot hooks for characters of Rogarvian blood that I'm writing a sequel campaign to Kingmaker entirely focused on what happened to the Rogarvian bloodline. :)
Funny that this thread should turn up now, as I'm just starting to seriously work on my post-Kingmaker plans, which are... extensive. xD
My party just entered the House at the Edge of Time and thrashed the Zomok - which was a much nastier encounter than the regular book because I'm running book six with the mythic rules. My PCs just hit what is effectively the "level cap" for book six at level 18/mythic tier 4. 2-3 more sessions and I expect them to be finished with Nyrissa.
In the short term my plan for an epilogue is going to be running the return of Choral, using a modified version of this as Choral's lair. That should take the party to level 20 and provide a nice finisher to the campaign.
After that, we are going to be taking a break from Kingmaker for a while. Behind the scenes, though, I've been working a full-fledged sequel campaign set ~20 years in the future; the idea mainly came around because one of my PCs really wants the chance to play as her character's daughter.
Anyway, those are my plans.
Another option, if you are specifically looking to shut down spellcasters, is the third party (Super Genius Games) class Witch Hunter. Had one in my Carrion Crown game and she basically curbstombed every encounter that involved casters - especially since at higher levels you are a full-BaB class with a high Will save who can Dispel Magic AND force any caster you threaten to take a -6 penalty on checks to cast defensively.
On the flip side, if you are looking for straight counterspelling, in the same game I had an oracle of Asmodeus who took the feat Ordered Mind, which is basically Improved Improved Counterspell. :p Being able to counterspell with a spell of the same level instead of one level higher means you should be able to shut down most spellcasters 100% of the time if you can make your spellcraft checks. Make sure you take Skill Focus Spellcraft to make up for the higher DC, and Improved Initiative to make sure you go first.
Ideally, be a Sorceror who worships Asmodeus and has the Arcane bloodline so you can take a Greensting Scorpian familiar for another +4 initiative. Then just make sure you know as many different schools of spells as possible and you'll be able to spontaneously cast just the right counterspell for the job. :)
I am currently running book 6 of Kingmaker with some Mythic spice added in. One of my PCs is the most unkillable... thing... I have ever seen. To all those who say monks suck...
This PC has a current AC of 50 - 54 if he spends a ki point. Both his touch and flat footed are over 40. His lowest save, Reflex, is a +17 - and he has improved evasion. Being a master of Crane Style, he can deflect one melee attack each round. Being a mythic guardian, he can deflect ANOTHER melee attack each round. He also has both the feat Snatch Arrows and the mythic ability Snatch Spell. His CMD is well over 40 - and that's probably his one weakness, honestly.
He also has SR 25 and DR 5/epic. As far as contributing usefully in combat? His unarmed attack routine isn't the greatest, but he reliably hits with a few of his 7-8 attacks (and he's a qingjong monk with Blood Crow Strike, so he can fight at range). Much more intimidating however is that he's built to be a grapple monster - he has almost a 40 CMB when grappling, and thanks to monkish speed, mythic points and Rapid Grappler is capable of pinning and hogtying an enemy from 100 feet away in a single turn.
Needless to say, building encounters with this in mind has become challenging. :p My mindset has become, even if I can't do anything about him, he can't protect the whole party at once. Since he loves playing up the defender role, this actually ends up being a lot of fun for him as he tries. :)
54. It takes less time to reload a crossbow than it does to fire it (light crossbow, anyway).
55. If you are rich enough, death is pretty much just a minor setback.
56. It is impossible to attempt to conceal an object on your person unless you are a skilled pickpocket.
57. You can train for months with a given weapon and never get any better at using it. But you can slay a few monsters and suddenly be a master of a completely different weapon that you've never touched before.
58. Don't get me started on the drowning rules. It takes ~18 seconds for an unconscious person to die underwater, but it can take a couple minutes for a garrote wire to have any effect on the target.
59. Sudden deceleration is only damaging if you were moving downwards. If you ready an action to create a wall of force in front of a dragon flying at full speed, the dragon simply stops moving.
60. While we are on the fly rules, every 6 seconds flying creatures get to completely change direction without taking any time or effort to do so... but changing direction in between these 6 second intervals is difficult and taxing.
I have not found that house rule to unbalance the game, actually, having used it for two games a week for over a year now. Usually it affects nothing. Occasionally my players are grateful for it, because it makes sense. Every now and then my Wizard giggles at his ability to throw three fireballs in the same round... and then I remind him that those are 7th level spell slots that could have been intense maximized fireballs (or, you know, actual 7th level spells) and he calms down.
I also disagree that rules are bad just because they come from 4e - 4e was a poor RPG, but had some good ideas (AC increasing with level is another of them).
Even at-will invisibility takes a standard action to activate.
The only way she could attack and go invisible in the same round is if she had the feat Quicken Spell-Like Ability so that she could go invisible as a swift action, but even then the feat limits it to 3 times a day, I believe.
EDIT: Darn ninjas. :p
In my opinion, 4e has the right of it.
Having run into a situation where my wizard player had used his Swift action (as an Immediate the previous round, actually) and then wanted to cast a spell he only had prepared as a Quickened spell... No, I was not going to tell the Wizard "you have a full round of actions available but you don't have enough time to cast a spell that takes the second-smallest unit of time available in this game to cast".
So yeah, if someone wants to burn a move or a standard for an extra swift, I am all for it. But that is a house rule, RAW is no-go.
This makes me think of the homebrew setting I'm working on. The nomadic desert tribes of this setting are heavy into ancestor worship (kinda like the Mud People for anyone who's read Sword of Truth) but the kicker is they believe that giving the spirits of the ancestors new forms with which to defend their descendants is a great honor.
So the leaders of the nomads are all necromancers who raise undead as guardians of their tribes.
Yeah, I don't feel undead should always be evil, either. :)