Things like this frighten me into thinking I'd actually really like the Next system. I've invested so much in Pathfinder (books, time, digital content) that I'd dread to switch to a new system, but that sounds really well designed, and addresses many of the small problems I have with the current system, and some of the problems I had with 4E.
I like Vancian magic, but the reasons I like it are mostly nostalgic, though I do think the 3.5 and PF systems work very well, at least in my experience. I hear and understand the arguments people have about mana/spell power pool systems. I can imagine how those systems seem contrived and "video-gamey." However, speaking as a GM, I know a lot of players would be much happier with a wizard or cleric that could cast any spell they know as long as they had the spell power to cast it. Though, I would find something like that, under the current rules, a bit overpowered. When players ask about similar systems I just point them to the sorcerer, bard, and oracle. They know a limited number of spells, and can cast as many as they have slots for.
In all reality, my own desires for spell casting could be reached with a simple rule change.
Spell Selection and Preparation--Emphasis Mine wrote:
When preparing spells for the day, a wizard can leave some of these spell slots open. Later during that day, he can repeat the preparation process as often as he likes, time and circumstances permitting. During these extra sessions of preparation, the wizard can fill these unused spell slots. He cannot, however, abandon a previously prepared spell to replace it with another one or fill a slot that is empty because he has cast a spell in the meantime.
If a wizard/cleric could prepare/pray for spells in the morning, then abandon unused spells to refill the slots with spells that will be useful in new situations I think the Vancian system would be darn near perfect, at least in my opinion. I know some GMs houserule this, and I've discussed it with players on more than one occasion. It's a pretty simple change, that makes a huge difference in the utility of a wizard/cleric.
I have a group of veteran gamers that asked to play in a more deadly campaign (essentially they told me to not hold back, and never to fudge anything in their favor). Their mentality was that they've played enough that they should have the ability to either fight through, talk through, or escape from just about anything. They've now experienced two TPKs in less than three months. At first they counted it as a notch on the proverbial gamer's belt: "I've experienced a TPK! Yeah." The second time was less exciting, but still fun.
The first time I let them continue the campaign they had started as NPCs (reworked into PCs) they had met in the course of events.
The second time we started fresh with new characters in a new campaign.
In the current campaign one of the characters died in the third encounter, after walking into range of an assassin vine.
Every group has to decide for itself if they want things fudged to keep them alive, or if they want everything as is. They also have to decide if they want the GM to play the bad guys as ruthlessly as possible. Is a character knocked unconscious? To coup de grace or not to coup de grace... Some players want their characters to be epic heroes in a great story, and want things fudged to make sure that happens. Others want it on, what has often been colloquiailly called, "hard mode." This is absolutely a discussion you should have with the players before a game starts. I do.
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
Restore corpse spell?
Problem with that is Clone requires the cubic inch of flesh to have been taken from the person's "living body." Restoring the flesh after death doesn't make it fit for the Clone spell. Intriguing idea though. I wonder if there's something else that could work in conjunction with restore corpse...
I think the greatest mechanical hang up here is that the "body" is nothing but bones. This means that a Sepia Snake Sigil, and Trap the Soul are out of the question, because the one traps the body agelessly (if GM fiat allows for permanency), and the other traps the entire body so there wouldn't even be bones left. Of course if you went with Trap the Soul (again you're going to have to use some narrative elements, and possibly some GM fiat) you could say that the bones were of a different corpse, there to throw people off, and that the gem with the trapped soul is hidden in the skull.
I feel like this thread should be renamed 1001 plot hooks using a millennium corpse. :P
GM fiat seems to be the clear choice here. Yes there are mechanical applications, but even amidst the mechanical applications there is some GM fiat/discretion needed. If the target in question weren't just a skeleton I'd suggest having a storyline where Gentle Repose was cast regularly on the corpse. Maybe the body was that of a hero and it was placed in a temple, and one of the acolytes' jobs every few days was to cast Gentle Repose on the body. Or maybe, if the GM allows it, Gentle Repose made permanent. Think Snow White in her crystal coffin, waiting for the perfect confluence of divine favor to reawaken. Whatever the choice, there are some available mechanical options, they will just all need to be discussed with the GM prior to game session. As it stands, short of a high level artifact, there are no spells or powers where you can point at the RAW and say, "here, it clearly says, raise a millennium-aged corpse."
@LazarX and Tiny Coffee Golem
I knew the limitations of the spell. The point of my post was in reply to Zahir, letting him know that he could be certain the corpse didn't have Gentle Repose cast on it in any type of continual or permanent fashion. If it had, the corpse wouldn't be just bones, as the OP stated it was. :)
If all that is left of the corpse is its bones, then Gentle Repose wasn't cast, it prevents decay.
I think what you're going to end up with in a situation like this is GM fiat. Some sort of collaboration of powerful clerics and wizards, maybe even a deity. Otherwise the best mechanical application would be a Wish spell, but even that would be put into the category of a GM fiated wish. This is a case where story must accomplish what rules don't cover.
My take on the touch attack with chill touch in the "off" hand, and hitting with the sword would be no, because spell combat says that you are making your attacks, and "casting" a spell. Holding a charge of Chill Touch isn't casting a spell. Unless somebody convinced me otherwise, I wouldn't allow you to touch attack with Chill Touch and attack with your sword unless you had a high enough BAB to allow for two attacks, and were using the full attack action. That's my initial take anyway.
Edit: Ninja'd and I should have mentioned that I wouldn't let you do it without suffering normally applicable two-weapon fighting penalties.
I'm a firm believer in letting the rules interpret the rules. So here's something that might shed a bit of new light on this discussion.
The Titan Mauler Archetype for the Barbarian class has a 2nd level (ex) ability that looks like this:
Ultimate Combat-Emphasis Mine wrote:
Jotungrip (Ex): At 2nd level, a titan mauler may choose to wield a two-handed weapon in one hand with a –2 penalty on attack rolls while doing so. The weapon must be appropriately sized for her, and it is treated as one-handed when determining the effect of Power Attack, Strength bonus to damage, and the like. This ability replaces uncanny dodge.
This is a clear case of the rules saying that a weapon, even though it is RAW a certain classification of weapon, is treated differently when wielded differently. This is a two-handed weapon being wielded in one hand, and is therefore treated as a one-handed weapon for the purposes of things like STR bonus damage, etc. In my mind this sets up a precedent, or case of equal strength, wherein a weapon, when wielded differently, can, and should, be ruled to act as a weapon of the adjusted category. Since the bastard sword is a sword that is specifically addressed as being "too big to be wielded in one hand without special training," it would seem wielding it as a martial weapon in two hands, can, and should, provide it the benefits of a two-handed weapon of the same category.
I understand that the bastard sword's language doesn't fully support that view, but I do think that it is worded supportively enough to make this the RAI viewpoint. Especially since moving the words "as a" one word to the left would make it so definitively. It's entirely possible that writing the descriptions of weapons was such a monotonous task that the phraseology wasn't thoroughly reviewed for its interaction with every rules situation. This becomes more notable when realizing that the description of the bastard sword was inherited from the 3.5 OGL, and the two-handed fighter archetype was created afterwards.
I realize everyone that has weighed in on this is very unlikely to change their mind at this point due to any "new" information, but I just wanted to point out that classifying a weapon is decided by a few different factors, as is stated here:
Core Rulebook wrote:
Weapons are grouped into several interlocking sets of categories. These categories pertain to what training is needed to become proficient in a weapon’s use (simple, martial, or exotic), the weapon’s usefulness either in close combat (melee) or at a distance (ranged, which includes both thrown and projectile weapons), its relative encumbrance(light, one-handed, or two-handed), and its size (Small, Medium, or Large).
The first line from above that I'd like to pay particular attention to is "These categories pertain to what training is needed to become proficient in a weapon's use..." Why? Because if the description of a weapon implies that it's listed in this section because of the special training that it takes to wield it in this manner, but without this special training it could still be wielded proficiently, to me, that means that, as a few of us have said for a while now, it's listed here to show "what training is needed to become proficient in [it's] use (in this manner)." Does it explicitly say that? No, but it sure as heck implies it by saying more than once that the damned sword is too big to be wielded one-handed "normally."
The next line I'd like to examine is the one that mentions a weapons encumbrance. A longsword is 4 lbs, a Greatsword is 8 lbs. Clear distinction, a longsword can be wielded "martially" in one hand, but a greatsword can only be wielded "martially" in two hands because it weighs twice as much. What should we do with a weapon that's essentially the same mechanical design, but weighs 6 lbs then...? It's too big to be a martial one handed weapon, but not really heavy enough to be a two-handed martial weapon. I know! Let's say a martially proficient character can use it without penalty with two hands as a martial weapon, but that someone with special "exotic" training could use it in one hand. That clearly shows that it's not light enough to be a true one-handed martial weapon, but also not really heavy enough to be a true two-handed martial weapon. It's sort of a category between those two, and the best category we have that fits that is exotic weapons.
I understand that all of the above is conjecture about what may have happened as the almighty devs were putting together weapons and their categories oh so long ago. I do think, though, that it speaks highly to the bastard sword being a very interesting corner case weapon, that doesn't clearly fit into either martial category, even though a character with martial weapon proficiency is able to wield it without penalty. If looked at this way, I think it speaks to the fact that a bastard sword is a martial weapon that doesn't fit very well into any of the two most fitting martial categories for weapons, which is why it was moved over (or down) into the exotic category. It's a martial weapon, which is why it can be wielded as such without penalty, provided the character uses two hands. If a character wants to wield this martial weapon with one hand, they need more training, and that training puts the weapon into a separate category, because they are already trained in all martial weapons, that category is, by needs, exotic.
It's a lot of looking "behind the screen" so to speak, but I think that examining how weapon category decisions were made, helps flesh out the fact that a bastard sword was designed to be wielded by martial characters. It can and should be used by characters that are trained to use "basic" swords. If that same character wants to use this "basic" sword and carry a shield, though, they need a bit more specialized (read: exotic) training.
Sword, Bastard--bolding mine wrote:
A bastard sword is about 4 feet in length, making it too large to use in one hand without special training...
This line is being quoted repeatedly throughout the thread, and I keep glossing over it. I think this line is the key to understanding the weapons classification. It's too damned big to be wielded in one hand, unless a warrior has had specific training to do so. If a warrior(read: someone trained in all the martial weapons) hasn't been trained to do so, they can certainly wield the sword in two hands, and in that case it would be wielded as a martial weapon. We're talking about three sentences here, but if you put them together they are why I keep wanting to classify it as a two-handed martial weapon. Is it a one-handed weapon? NO! Not unless you had some specific training, cause the damn thing is too big to be wielded in one hand. If that's true, it means that "normally" a fighter trained in sword-fighting would use the weapon in two hands. Thus "normally" it's a two-handed weapon. The game classifies it then "normally" as a martial weapon that a fighter would wield with two hands. If that same fighter spent a great deal of time training with the weapon, then they can wield it in one hand, not before, before the training it's a martial weapon that must be wielded two handed.
I forget sometimes that the RAW can really come down to the location of language. When the location of the two words "as a" can create such an argument, it speaks to a crowd of people with very acute syntax analysis. I apologize for interpreting the phrase in question to mean that a character with martial weapon proficiency can wield the aforementioned weapon in two hands without taking the -4 to hit, as meaning that for all intents and purposes the weapon works just like a two-handed martial weapon. Clearly that is my own flawed look at that verbiage.
Bastard Sword wrote:
A character can use a bastard sword two-handed as a martial weapon.
That's not an accidental fabrication. It's in the description of the weapon. A bastard sword can be wielded, without EW proficiency, in two hands as long as the character has martial weapon proficiency. The character wielding the weapon, in that situation, isn't proficient in one-handed exotic weapons, they are proficient in two-handed martial weapons. They are wielding the sword proficiently just as if it were a two-handed martial weapon. Do I think that means the B-sword is now magically a two-handed weapon? No, I'll grant you that, but I do think it provides some interesting corner cases where that sword could qualify for something like overhand chop.
Since I'm the one that said RAW this works, I certainly wouldn't disallow it. I'm just saying that really creates a huge gap between the wording of the ability (which I usually take as some sort of rules intent) and the mechanical application of the rules as written. I mean, the character isn't overhanding or chopping when charging with a lance, yet they still, at least by the RAW, gain the benefits of that particular ability.
@Karnas, you and I are on the same wavelength here, because I just came back to further complicate things.
After looking at the language of the archetype, the overhand chop ability, and Grick's posts, I think that RAW a mounted, two-handed fighter wielding a lance, in one hand mind you, would still gain the benefit of the overhand chop, because mechanically speaking he is wielding a two handed weapon. He isn't currently wielding it two-handed because a lance can be wielded one-handed while mounted. So clearly there are some corner cases here that seem to test the limits of the RAI. I mean the name of the ability is overhand chop, conveying the idea that the warrior is whipping the weapon headlong over their head in order to throw some extra power into it, but that's all fluff. By RAW a lance could be wielded in one hand, and still apply the overhand chop mechanics for damage. How's that for muddying up the works?
Edit:@Karnas again and @Kalshane. I told the player I would make him stow the shield and wield the sword in both hands before I'd give him the benefit of the overhand chop damage bonus. The thing with the lance makes me want to ponder that some more. I'm pretty sure in the end I'll make him stow the shield to use the ability, though.
@Karnas--Funny, I was just going to bring up that very point. The name bastard sword was a colloquialism for a sword that was built as a hand-and-a-half sword. Which places it, historically anyway, clearly in between a one-handed and a two-handed weapon. This is also one of the reasons I felt like RAI it should work with the overhand chop ability.
Edit: @EpicEndGame, I will have that conversation with him, but one of the major contentions here, is that the character wants the versatility to use a shield when that extra bump to AC will work in his favor. If he gets the sized up bastard sword, the shield becomes obsolete, unless he carries a regular bastard sword and a large sized bastard sword, but then, again, he's losing the versatility.
This is the exact logic I was using too, but that doesn't change the fact, as Grick points out so eloquently, that even if he only had the martial proficiency, the weapon is not technically, which is to say game-mechanically, a two-handed weapon. It's a weird weapon, in that it is one of the only weapons a character can not have the specific proficiency for, yet wield it proficiently, as long as they do so with two hands.
I guess my question, and perhaps judging on the differing opinions already stated, one that might be a good candidate for an FAQ is: Is the bastard sword also a two-handed martial weapon, and the devs didn't list it there because they felt the language in its description made that clear?
The oversized bastard sword was going to be my next point of discussion with the player, but I told him I'd come here and see what the consensus was for RAI.
Edit:@Aelryinth, that's my thinking as well. Clearly there are differing opinions on it, though.
Right, which means that technically the character is wielding a one-handed exotic weapon. This is exactly why I came to the boards with this question in the first place. It seems to me to be such a closet corner case. My whole dilemma comes from the fact that a character that doesn't have the exotic weapon proficiency with the bastard sword can still wield it "proficiently" if they wield it in two hands as a martial weapon. That little bit of adjustment seems, to me anyway, to imply that a bastard sword is also a two-handed martial weapon, even though that is not where it is listed in the equipment table. If a character can wield a sword proficiently in two hands, that means it is, at least in that character's hands, a two-handed martial weapon. If it weren't they couldn't wield it proficiently.
I did a search for this, and didn't see a thread that clearly addressed this specific issue. Though I did see the issue brought up peripherally in some other threads.
Overhand Chop wrote:
Sword, Bastard--Bolding Mine wrote:
I know that the devs put the rules in the hands of intelligent people, and that they want us to rule in the way that makes the most sense. For that reason, and specifically because of the language that says two-handed as a martial weapon (which I interpret to mean it then is categorized as a "two-handed martial weapon"), I told the player in question I have no problem with their character using a bastard sword in two hands with the overhand chop ability. What I want to know is, am I houseruling that? Or is that the RAI?
The character in question has exotic weapon proficiency for the bastard sword, which means he can wield it in one hand, but I don't think that, in and of itself, removes the ability to still wield the sword two-handed as a martial weapon.
Also, before you ask, the player in question is a younger player who after taking three levels of barbarian, and thinking he wanted to go sword and board with the bastard sword, saw the two-handed fighter archetype and saw the potential for damage increase. He is now trying to decide whether to dip three levels of the Two-Handed Fighter in order to get that (ex) ability. His idea is to have the versatility to wield the bastard sword one-handed with his shield for the AC bonus, and then stow the shield and two-hand the sword for the extra damage when needed. So please don't reply with, "why don't you just get a greatsword."
Kyle Olson wrote:
Super Genius Games has a book specifically designed to do just this. While I don't have a copy of this particular book, I do have a few other SGG materials and they are all great. You might want to look into it, so you don't have to reinvent the wheel.
Then in that case, the darkness spell simply "deactivates light" and there's no need for the "drops by 1 level" clause because there is no level above dark. If the light of a torch doesn't raise ambient light in a field of darkness, then the light of the sun doesn't raise the level either nor any other source of light in between. But if one non-magical source of light can set a certain level of "ambient light", then any other non-magical source can set a certain level of "ambient light" and the spell functions properly. The spell doesn't disable stools. It doesn't say it disables stools. It says that you can't float stools at floor level above a hole in the ground.
And this is exactly why Jiggy set up the FAQ question. We'd all like a definitive answer to this once and for all.
Linkified, and holy crap! Dungeon Painter is VERY similar to the functionality and usability of DTiles. This might be my new go to dungeon crafter. Thank you for this link Count Rugen.
Which brings in the bookkeeping part I was talking about. Whether he's a central character or not, you have to keep track of this bad guy as the campaign goes on, even if they haven't met him yet. Keep track of the movings of a secret society, even if they haven't interacted with it yet. That's a lot of keeping track of things that aren't directly affecting the PCs in a campaign. Like I said earlier, I wish you luck. I'm not saying it doesn't sound like a fantastic idea. It does, but I don't have the time on my hands necessary to either get it going, or keep tabs on secret parts of a campaign world. I have enough trouble keeping tabs on the parts of a campaign that are affecting the characters. Perhaps that's a failing of mine. I do wish you luck with this. It could be extremely fun for all involved. It's just not something I'd ever want try and undertake.
That's kind of what I was talking about. You're creating an NPC with quite a bit of power, and scaling that power up as the campaign goes on. You want this NPC to be "mythic" in legend and a real world-bender before things are all said and done. In my experience when you build a campaign around one central "all-powerful" bad guy, it goes poorly. The PCs will learn of their legend early on, and devote their time to finding them. To prevent them from finding him, and killing him, before they reach appropriate levels usually requires either rail-roading or deus ex machina of a portion equal to the enemy's legend. It can work really well depending on the table, but many tables would get bored of the chase after a few "missed" encounters.
Looking at the multiple layers of what you've got going on here Eldon, I can only say, "good luck." This looks like a GM task of grimace proportions, and I do not envy you all the bookkeeping that will go along with such a thing. That said, you will probably want to look at the SGG class mighty godling. It has a bit of what it is I think you're trying to accomplish.
I like the fictional aspects here, but it seems like a daunting task to bring a campaign of this nature to its ultimate fruition.
I would say most of the reason has been already described perfectly, fiction isn't dependent on game mechanics. In fact in some cases the characters weren't statted up until well into their fictional career, and then you had gamers trying to look at what was available and how to make the character fit into the mechanics.
I'd also like to offer, that some of the characters weren't built for mechanical optimization, in that they weren't built just to do one thing well. They were built to be "round" characters that could do many things above average. Some of the characters had to survive on their own in both wild and urban environments, in those cases you need a character that is decent at a lot of things, as opposed to awesome at one or two things.
A few years back, there was a program called DTiles made by Undermountain Games. It was very cheap, and the best RPG mapping software I'd ever used. Completely intuitive, everything was resizable, sleek, and it was designed so that you could import new objects into its library very easily. Unfortunately I lost the software after a computer upgrade, and the company has since gone out of business. Every once in a while I scour the web for somebody who has the installer still saved somewhere on their computer. That's how much I loved that program. I haven't found its equal since. Tried maptool, twice actually, and couldn't get over the learning curve. I've tried various other programs as well, and even some of the expensive ones like Dundjinni or Campaign Cartographer couldn't replicate the ease of map making that DTiles had. If anybody ever comes across an installer for DTiles please PM me.
My answer to the initial question is because the game has always been about every person at the table having a distinct role, and the role of "healer" has been reserved for other classes. The game doesn't want a player to come to the table to play a sorcerer or wizard so they can heal, it wants them to come to the table to blast stuff with scorching rays, and fireballs.
However, with that said, I do understand that some tables really need a utility caster that can heal as well, for whatever reason.
Interestingly there is a "sort of" solution to this problem.
There is an item called: the ring of spell knowledge. Long story short on this item it lets an arcane caster learn an arcane spell that might not even be on their spell list, and to "know" the spell as an extra spell. Long story longer, in order to teach the spell to the ring, they must encounter a written, active, or cast version of the spell and make a DC 20 Spellcraft check. Witches cast arcane spells, which means they could cast a cure spell and the wiz/sorc could make the check to teach the ring, or the witch could scribe it onto a scroll, and the wiz could learn it that way. At that point you have an arcane healing spell.
Another option, that I've seen a few people use, is just to have the wiz/sorc max out Use Magic Device (which actually works better if you're a Magus or Sorcerer because it is one of their class skills), then they can use healing wands with a DC 20 check.
So a wiz/sorc can cast healing spells, it just takes a little extra work.
Ummmm, just so we're clear, Milani isn't 3rd party. She's Paizo peripheral. If all Paizo stuff is allowed Milani's domains and subdomains should be allowed.
That said, I'm going to echo ciretose here. You are an outsider coming into an established game. Of course they are going to want you to fit into their preexisting system. Coming into a campaign in the middle is never easy anyway, but, as a GM, it adds the difficulty of them having to go over ground rules with you that the rest of the group probably decided on before the campaign began. Some GMs are better at this than others. If you didn't get a good "sit down" about this particular game's preferences and houserules you might want to ask for just such a meeting. It will help you realize just how you can fit into this group the way they need you too. If you begin to realize this group doesn't fit your playstyle, then perhaps it's time to find a different group.
That's the thing you don't get: No NPC can change the initial attitude of PC's via dice. The DM can try to word the encounter as if it was friendly, but that's about it. PC's are a notoriously suspicious bunch, doncha know.
Ummmm, frick! I've read the Diplomacy skill probably a hundred or more times and never really took the time to read the line : "the initial attitudes of nonplayer characters." My bad on that. I've actually been running it for years where NPCs influenced the PCs, just the same way. Sitting where you're sitting that sounds impossible, but I make a pretty big deal in my games about separating what a player thinks and knows and what a character thinks and knows. So if an NPC made a successful check (which, I now know, is really a direct contradiction of the RAW) I'd tell the PC that they felt emotionally inclined not only to believe the NPC, but also felt like they should probably give them the information they wanted, and or help them. Obviously I'll have to point out my flaw at our next session and talk about how to move forward. Thanks for making me re-read the rules with the correct perspective. :)
Now, as to your Femme Fatale and her feats, I'm thinking maybe start with Skill Focus (Bluff), add Deceitful and maybe Voice of the Sibyl. Those will all help with those Bluff checks she's no doubt going to need to make. Otherwise another option that might help her is Uncanny Concentration.
Have you given any thought to making them all Aasimar and assigning each one of the "variant heritages." Also, the hiding or gradual revealing of abilities, in my experience anyway, doesn't go well. Could just be the mentality of my players though. If you have a good group that can separate the metagame from the game, you might not even need to hide their abilities from them. You could tell them that their character is not yet aware of this particular power, and you will be making sure it gets revealed in a story significant way.
For example, I have a magus in one of my groups that took the Bladebound archetype. He knew he was going to get a black blade eventually, but we talked and he said he wanted the sentience of the blade to be revealed to him in a story significant way, possibly one that had the potential to change an outcome in his favor. So that's how we did it. The player knew about the blade, but the sentience of the blade wasn't revealed to the character until it made for a great story element.
I don't know, I think there's some validity to his claims, I mean, I myself have been on the brink of divorce and financial ruin many times due to my over-infatuation with role playing games. ;)
Okay, just so everyone is aware, I was joking here. I have a very healthy and stable marriage, and haven't been on the brink of financial ruin since I was in college. :)
I'm sure there are people out there that might get too engrossed in a hobby (any hobby) and it might cause these things, but as Belazoar points out, that's a self-discipline issue, not an RPG issue.