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Merkatz's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 341 posts (430 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 3 Pathfinder Society characters. 3 aliases.

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Steve Geddes: I like magic being stronger than mundane as well, but if that is going to be the case, there needs to be certain restraints in place. And of course, Pathfinder has none of those.

With overpowering magic, some of the following should apply:
-Magic should be rare (in PF magic is everywhere, even high level magic. 13 of 19 base classes are magic users).

-Magic should be dangerous to use (in PF there is no punishment for failing a spell or using lots of spells as once)

-Magic, especially higher level magic, should take some setup time (in PF 95% of spells take a few seconds to cast)

-Magic should require specialization or progression (in PF you can cherry pick spells as you desire. Even "specialists" wizards can cherry pick from 80% of the arcane list)

-Magic should be difficult to learn (in PF spell casters gain levels just as easily as martials, and the only time they are weak are like level 1 and 2- but everyone is rather fragile at those levels)

So yeah, I have no problems with individual magical spells outclassing mundane methods but, its stupid how easy it is to become a spellcaster and for them to diversify their abilities and use them without a care.

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Robert Matthews 166 wrote:
Merkatz wrote:

I'm still seeing 0 incentive in wanting to play up, even with the Delayed Credit option in play. I'm still taking an increased risk and I'm stil probably spending more money to play up, but still get no extra gold to compensate. Delayed Credit does nothing to change that (it just means pushing off losses to another date.

Your two playing up "options" just look like this to me: Play up and risk your PC to take a wealth hit (A) now or (B) later.

That is the point. There isn't supposed to be an incentive to play up. That is the goal of this entire discussion.

Then the only way I would play up is if I am "bullied" into doing so. And we a wanted to avoid that, remember?

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For all of the class archetypes in the UM book (including the entire Magus class as well), there are 21 points of FAQ/errata. 10 of those FAQ/errata are for the Synthesist.

I don't want to print out 2 tricking pages of rules clarifications just for one archetype...

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From most important to least:

  • Person who brings snacks.
  • Person who accurately keeps track of loot
  • Person who can talk for party regardless of CHA score
  • Person who can tell you what option is best for you and what book it is in
  • Person who can keep track of the DM's plot and those silly subsystems

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Artanthos wrote:

You mean they gave wizards a mythic feat that is still less than paragon surge?

No, not the feat. The base ability for Archmages called Wild Arcana. And it is much better than Paragon Surge. Paragon Surge requires you to use a spell and a round to set it up to get a specific spell for a short duration. And the spells you cast still come out of your available slots. Wild Arcana lets you use Mythic Power at will to cast any spell your class could let you without expending spell slots. Welcome to +15 additional 9th levels spells that the wizard can spontaneously cast at 20th level- just from one level of Mythic.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

But back to Mythic Finesse:
Well the feat is incorrectly and poorly worded at best. But i think so long as it doesn't do 1.5 damage with two handlers its fine.

And let's be fair, while Dex is a god stat in the regular game, there are a lot of little abilities in Mythic that make Dex far less necessary.

Inititiative bonus? Everyone gets a +20 at Myth 2.

Reflex Saves? Its the least important save. You can always burn Mythic Power after the fact if it is critically important. And there are other Myth features that can help make such thing irrelevant (heck everyone gets a version of improved evasion, but it works for all saves, except those from mythic spells at tier 5).

AC? Mythic offers a few ways to get DR, a couple ways to flat out ignore damage, and quite a few ways to get some AC bumps (mythic combat expertise gives you a +3 to +8 Dodge bonus at no penalty for 10 rounds at the cost of 1 Mythic Power for instance).

So what martial characters would choose Str over Dex? Those who don't want to be terrible in early levels before Mythic comes into play and those want to explore more interesting options in Mythic without having a delayed progression because you need a certain feat and some paths abilities to max out Dex properly (after all, tiers are supposed to take longer to obtain than normal levels).

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Okay, so a little bit of hyperbole, but there seems to be a heck of a lot of abilities using Swift (or Immediate) Actions in this playtest.

That's great for a classes like Fighter who really don't have any use for swift actions, but it seems like Bard and Inquistor who already struggle with their number of swift action abilities are getting the shaft.

I played an Arcane Duelist that already needed swift actions for Performance, Arcane Strike, and quite a few spells (the finale and inspiration line of spells for instance). The obvious path for bard is Marshal, yet every single Marshal's Order requires a swift action, Mythic Power requires a swift action, and a lot of the path abilities require swift actions.

Would it be that terribly overpower to change at least some of these to 1/round free actions?

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I really have to agree. Since you have to declare what trials you are attempting to accomplish, the whole thing seems less epic and more metagamey.

I can just see the bard now yelling, "Wait, don't kill them yet! I still need to perform one more round to get my Performance Victory!"

Or Guardians yelling at people to run away or fight defensively because the battle is almost over and no one has taken damage yet, because that's what he needs for Behind Me!

There is also some of these Trials are ridiculously easy to accomplish.

Perfect Craft? A single DC 16 Spellcraft check to make a CL 1 item, and you got it (12.5 gold for CL 1 scrolls anyone?)

I can also see legions of high level mystic characters taking walks in the woods to make knowledge checks about bunnies, squirrels, birds and other low level creatures until they roll high on their knowledge check to show off their Skill Supremacy.

The Trickster will also accompany those characters on their nature walks. Kill a single bunny in one shot to show off your Assassinate skills.

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BltzKrg242 wrote:
MendedWall12 wrote:
I am sorry you feel that way. Many of my players love hunting through the traits for something that not only fits their character concept but also provides that nice flavorful, and mechanical bonus for them. They treat it like a little treasure hunt. When you find the trait that works well with your concept it feels great. Also, I've seen players design entire character concepts off of a trait (meaning they saw a cool trait they designed their character knowing they wanted him/her to have it).

This. Generic is like picking a feat.

Traits are designed to provide a background hook or story element as well as an in-game mechanic.
If a player really wants a trait for fluff but doesn't qualify, I'd be happy to bend but they need to explain why that is not "I want that bonus"...

But too many traits have super specific details and requirements, only to give an extremely general mechanic. And if I am not taking a trait because "I want that bonus," why take traits at all? If it's just fluff with no benefit, I can already make that up without needing any rules for it.

However, I do agree that traits should be good for a background hook or story element. So if you let your players take one of those generic traits, have them explain why that works. I mean, if you already let your players re-fluff and ignore prereq's, what is the difference between that and having a couple generic feats, making them fill in the blanks?

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When traits were first introduced in the APG, I was pretty excited about them. They seemed like nifty little customizations that could could give you a small boost in power while giving some nice flavor at the same time.

However, as more and more traits have been coming out, I have become more and more disappointed, until the point that I've actually really began to hate them. Although, Campaign Traits have been somewhat better.

The biggest problem with traits are the artificial requirements and restrictions put on them.

Only Humans can be Aspiring Bards.
Only people from the River Kingdom could have been Bandits.
Only worshipers of Cayden can be Good Natured.

It's completely asinine. Seriously, it's like one department comes up with a good trait, and then another department randomly picks 1-3 requirements from out of a hat. And it really frustrates me that like 10 new traits are added every month, but I never even consider using 9 of those. So when I slog through a few hundred traits, trying to find anything that fits my concept and actually does something remotely useful, I usually end up disappointed. So I wind up falling back on the handful of most useful and most open traits (eg Resilient and Reactionary) once again, and wonder why I bothered.
___________________________________________________________________________ _____________________

I honestly wish Paizo had done something like this instead:

Skilled Background: Pick 1 skill. Get a +1 trait bonus on that skill and always treat it as a class skill.

Resilient Background: Get a +1 trait bonus on one of Fortitude, Reflex, or Willpower saving throws.

Native Weapon: You gain proficiency in one weapon, depending on your homeland. *Big list of locations/weapons (eg Brevoy- Aldori Dueling Sword; Tian Xia- Katana; Qadira- Scimitar, etc...)

Hometown: Pick 1 city where you grew up. You get a +2 trait bonus on Kn. Local and Kn. History checks about this city, as well as a +2 trait bonus on Diplomacy checks made to Gather Information while within the city. You can make such checks untrained.

Do a few more big sweeping general traits like these, then you can have the rest of the traits introduced be unique, flavorful, and actually have sensible requirements.

For example, Aasimar's could have traits that give them DR 1 or 2/Evil, the ability to bypass 5 points of /Good DR, or how about the ability to intensify their Daylight SLA (say it can be Widened, but only works 1 min/level instead of 10)?

How about a Favored Lineage trait where Half-X's can use the Favored Class Bonuses of one of their parents?

The possibilities are endless, but they just need the fluff requirements to match the actual mechanics (and the mechanics can't be worthless, either). Am I the only one who really feels this way about traits?

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I just find Fighters to be plain boring to play from level 1. If I can start playing a Fighter at 10+ it's not as bad, but that's never an option for me. There are quite a few reasons for that, but they all go back to the idea of feats just not being good enough to be your primary feature.

1. The overwhelming majority of feats don't grant you any new ability. So many are "get +X to this", "use that Y more times per day," or "take less penalties for doing Z." Those are pretty boring imo. A +2 to Wil is pretty much necessary for a Fighter, when do I take that boring level for instance? However, this has gotten a little better with things like the ARG race feats and things like Eldrich Heritage.

2. There are too many feats that shouldn't be a feat. Unseat and Strike Back are two big examples of this. Along the same vein, there are too many feats that are limited in what they can be combined with. Things like not being able to Vital Strike and charge or not being able to use Stand Still with a reach weapon is frustrating, and limiting.

3. Feats don't scale well. Diminishing returns from feats like TWF, feats that require reinvestment to stay relevant (Vital Strike), or abilities that require lots of feats, but become worthless later on (Trip) are issues.

4. Stupid prerequisites and annoying feat chains. This is probably the biggest reason why I hate having feats as the major class feature. I mean, Whirlwind is a really cool option, but its got all that garbage in front of it. Now they aren't all terrible feats, but a lot of times those prerequisites aren't anything that I want or even need. If I am playing a Fighter, it may take me 6 months to get all the way to the end of the Whirlwind chain. And what other interesting things am I getting from the Fighter while I am leveling towards my goal? Boring static bonuses and abilities that run counter to how I am trying to build.

Yes, Fighters get a ton of Feats, but when I have to pay taxes to get stuff I want, it doesn't feel any different than having 8 "dead levels". Magic users add insult to injury. Not only can they cherry pick their spells, but they can cherry pick their feats. Can anyone deny that Metamagic and Crafting Feats are extremely powerful? Yet, almost all of those just have caster level prereqs, if that. That's pretty much the case for all of their feats...

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Channel Smite is a fine feat. Yeah, Quick Channel + Selective Channel is better in every way. For Positive Energy users.

Have you ever played a Negative Energy Channeler in a party of 6, with 1 cohort, and animal companion, and everyone is mounted? I have. And let me tell you, Channel Smite looks a hell of a lot more attractive than Quick+Selective in that case.

And sure, Rogues may be able to do 35 damage from sneak attack on a couple of attacks a round- but sneak attack is like 80% of a Rogue's damage. A buffed battle Cleric at the same level is probably getting comparable damage from two hand power attacking. And if the Cleric/Rogue would have to move, and thus only get 1 attack in the round, what is better? 35 damage (plus weapon damage) or 70 damage (plus weapon damage)?

However, I will say that having Channel Smite be a prereq for Guided Hand is just a stupid feat tax, because many of the builds that could have a use for Guided Hand will have absolutely no use for Channel Smite.

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Trinite wrote:

I'm also having the *real* reason that Harrigan was sending the ship back to Port Peril be so that he could relay a message to his Chelish handlers. Mr. Plugg will be carrying a scroll on his person, protected by some ** spoiler omitted **

Unfortunately for Harrigan and the Chels, Plugg is secretly a worshipper of Mammon, and decided that he'd rather go into the pirate business for himself rather than serve in the invasion plot.

I hope to have my players keep wondering, "What was in that exploding note?" for most of the rest of the AP. :)

I did the same thing, except instead of being a worshipper of Mammon, I've had Plugg come across some information about Wolf's Treasure in Mancatcher Cove, and is going to be taking this opportunity to search it out for himself.

More specifically, Plugg knows the location of Mancatcher Cove, and has recently obtained a written copy of the five line verse that was originally supposed to be on Inkskin Isabella's back. Isabella's back only has the location of the island imprinted on it, and she is desperately searching for clues for the specific location of the treasure. The whole Sahuagin element has been removed (reserved to make a potential interesting encounter if the party braves known Sahuagin invested waters, such as south of Shark Island or Desperation Bay near Eleder). The canopy creeper and the ancient mariner remain to guard the treasure.

In my game, Plugg was killed without giving up the location, and the PCs got the verse, knowing it was a link to a treasure, but not knowing where to begin the search. After they spend some time subtly asking around, they come to the conclusion that it may have something to do with the famous Captain Wolfe. However, this information tips off Isabella to the fact that the PCs may have a clue to the treasure.

In an attempt to find the verse, Isabella infiltrates the PCs crew (easy for me to do as the GM, since I have been giving them interesting crew mates here and there with miscellaneous specialties and bonuses). Obviously she covers her tattoos, and for metagaming sake, she wears her hair in a ponytail and goes by a different name (my players have seen the front cover of this module after all...). She wishes to get the information, and leave the ship with the PCs none the wiser, but during a time when the PCs are away, an important NPC (like Kroop or Sandra) catches her off-guard, and sees the tattoo to Mancatcher Cove. She charms the NPC to interrogate them about the treasure verse. When she is done, she blasts the NPC, leaving them for dead, and flees to her ship.

When the PCs return, they find a barely alive NPC who is able to tell them what happened, and can even direct them roughly towards the direction of Mancatcher Cove. Now its a race towards the Cove, with a final showdown happening on the isle itself, with the canopy creeper and ancient mariner acting as wild cards however I need them.

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And how does this Fighter contribute to the party from level 1? From the looks of things, this character had an 8 Str max at level 1. So with your primary weapon, you'd only be doing d6-1 damage. As the Fighter. And this damage wouldn't really get better until you pick up the +1 agile rapier many levels down the line.

Have you actually played this character from 1 to 18? Because we all know character builds can really turn out different when we have to grow them naturally level by level instead of making all choices for level 18 at once.

If you have played this from level 1, I'd like to hear how he functioned 1-5, and say at level 10. Not just how it looks at level 18.

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Everyone should:
Build for Offense.
Position for Defense.

At least one party member should be able to:
Control at the Start.
Heal at the End.

That's my general rule of thumb.

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I'm about to run a new S&S game, but I am having trouble figuring out why there so many lightly guarded cargo ships going through the Shackles, and so many poorly defended settlements near their coasts.

Before this AP, it was my understanding that the Shackles Pirates did most of their work north of the Eye, and only used the Shackles as a safe haven where they could relax and spend their spoils.

However, from what I can tell most of the PC's piracy is expected to happen in the Shackles or south along the Sargava and Mwangi coasts. And apparently a lot of the ships going through these regions are really poorly defended.

I mean, just look at the Truewind (example prey in Raiders of the Fever Sea) crew for instance. No guards and 2 officers with just expert/aristocrat class levels. The other example ships really aren't much better. Neither are all the small villages that are apparently in abundance along the Sargava and Mwangi coastlines.

So my question is what kind of trade routes go through the Shackles region, and how/why do these ships travel through the Pirate Nation without any defenses?

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Serisan: I understand that you can't ignore fluff. I also understand that if you go out of your way to abuse the system you can make overpowered races on a budget. Keeping things balanced and costed for all possible combinations is impossible. But that's not the point.

The point is that RPs are supposed to be there for a reason. They are supposed to give a decent guideline for measuring the strength of different abilities so that a GM can make sure races are roughly balanced the way he wants. But if RPs fail to at least be a decent measurement on a one to one basis, for even the most similar of traits, how is the system useful?

Here's another example:

Water Child (4 RP)- +4 bonus to swim, can take 10 on swim, can select Aquan as a bonus language

Movement: Swim (2 RP)- +8 bonus to swim, 30 foot swim speed (so can take 10 or even take the run action)

This is a very clear cut example. They both fill a very similar niche: races that have a strong affinity with water. These two traits are tiers of that affinity, with Movement: Swim being clearly on top- yet it is the cheaper of the two. This 4 RP trait is always better than a similar 2 RP trait. Why? What does this do other than diminish the worth of the RP system?

You see, I like all the flavors and options posted in the guide, and I will use them. Its just that when I make a new race, I am going to completely ignore RP costs and just pick what fits the concept. But, now I have to rely on my own judgments for measuring relative power without any worthwhile tool to do so.

That was my point.

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Just got a chance to look at a copy. There seems to be some pretty interesting things in here. I do especially like the Aasimar and Sylph stuff.

However, there was a lot of disappointment in this book for me. I was hoping to find some good options for the Tiefling Cleric I am currently playing- but sadly there was nothing at all useful for me (not even a Tiefling Cleric spell :/ ). And while there are a lot of neat ideas in the race builder, the point costs still are still a joke to the point that they are a worthless feature.

Skill Bonus (Climb): +2 racial bonus to Climb checks. Costs 2 RP.
Movement Type (Climb): +8 racial bonus to Climb checks and a 20 foot Climb speed. Costs 1 RP.

Wat... That doesn't make any sense.

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More food for thought: do rays count as "normal" ranged weapons for the purposes of spells like Wind Wall?

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Cheapy wrote:
If the GM isn't going to use the tool meant for GMs to be able to create races and he's just going to do whatever he sees fit...well then I don't know why we're even having this discussion about the ARG's race builder.

Uh... I think you got it backwards. If the tool doesn't accurately price abilities, then there is no point in GMs using it.

You are absolutely right that a GM will assign a slow speed to a race when it fits the theme of the race he is designing. But the whole idea of having costs assigned to each trait is to help GMs come up with good and balanced races. But if the costs are off, then they don't really help, now do they? If that's the case, I'm just going to completely ignore the costs and just eyeball the balance as always. And if I am doing that, what's the point of even having a race builder?

That's the argument being made.

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TheWarriorPoet519 wrote:
Multiclassing being generally weaker than single classing is a feature, not a bug.

The Inner Sea Pirate PrC being horribly weak is NOT a feature.

If you are thinking about taking up piracy as a full time career, 99 times out of a 100 it is better to multi-class into a vanilla Rogue than it is to take this PrC. And that same vanilla Rogue is magnitudes better on land. How is that useful at all?

PrCs should have a focus that is difficult to accomplish via multi-classing and archetypes alone. That focus shouldn't be something that can be easily overshadowed by base classes. At the same time, the focus offered shouldn't be something that is automatically better. Dragon Disciple and Rage Prophet are good examples of PrCs done right. Inner Sea Pirate is one done horribly wrong.

And while I am really, really excited about the new PrC book coming out, I am a little bit less excited because it is locked in Golarion flavor. There could be some really cool PrCs that fit my character's flavor really well, and gives me some interesting abilities, but because I'm not a member of the Wind Clan Shoanti from northern Varisia, I don't qualify for the class. That's lame.

The only other issue that I have with PrCs is that while Paizo has in general increased base class power and decreased PrC power, they've left a lot of the PrC requirements. Especially when a lot of those requirements aren't utilized by the PrC. For example, why does the Shadow Dancer require the Combat Reflexes feat when none of it's abilities work around making AoOs?

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TClifford wrote:

2b. the +30....I really can't believe I have to spell this out for you. Then Evoker bonus is 1/2 your level/die in bonus damage. So 12/2 = +6 x 5 = +30. Example: Shocking Grasp at 12th level = 5d6+30

Um... you might want to reread the Evocation School again. It's 1/2 your level per spell. Not per die. So that would be 5d6+6 damage for the Shocking Grasp in your example.

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ciretose, I haven't made any comments whatsoever about what the devs intended or what is or is not appropriate for what the Gate spell should permit from a RAI point of view- you are absolutely correct.

I only wanted to make the following points:
- I can find no distinction between "actual CL" and "temporary CL" in the rules, or even see these terms listed anywhere.
- 9th level spells are ridiculous
- Defining new terms or "fixing mechanics" that effect the entire game because of just one of those ridiculous 9th level spells, is in and of itself, ridiculous
- If you have a problem with Gate, FIX GATE. I mentioned some simple ways you could potentially handle it.

That's my entire argument. Don't change, or redefine how CL works just because you believe it interacts poorly with one 9th level spell.

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ciretose wrote:
2. Nope. That is a spell effect, which is what effective caster level is for determining. The spell in gate is opening the gate. If what you bring through is under your control is a separate issue, adjudicated based on your caster level.

Are you really saying that the controlling the outsider is not at all a part of the "spell effect" of Gate? Because by that logic, I can walk up to any outsider and control them if I have a higher "actual CL" than their HD. And I'm pretty sure that that's not the intent. So the controlling aspect must be a part of the spell effect of Gate. I just envision it as forming some sort of instantaneous bond with the creature that let's you control it if you have a higher CL than their HD at the time of the casting.

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Diego Rossi wrote:

90% of the time a player trap is someone taking a feat/archetype/set of abilities meant primarily for NPC and then crying that they aren't as powerful as other options.

Take Golden-Esque example of the Siege Master archetype for Wizards. It is meant primarily for a NPC that will be colourful and maybe useful, not for a PC, unless you have a atypical campaign with lots of sieges and battles with siege weapons.

Yes, it is possible that someone will take that archetype thinking it will make him special, but there should be some serious short circuit in the communications between the GM and the player for that to happen in most campaigns. It is akin at taking a sea based archetype in a campaign that will be located in the middle of a continent.

I'm sorry, but that might be the silliest thing I ever heard. How do new players decide which options are NPC choices and which ones aren't? We have clearly labeled NPC Classes and we have clearly labeled Monster feats. But the Wizard is a PC class. A Player Character Class. Archetypes were first introduced in a book called the Advanced Players Guide. Hell, Ultimate Magic lists all of these archetypes and options (such as the Siege Mage) as "new player character options."

So why did you decide that the Siege Mage is an NPC class? There isn't anything in any book that flat out tells people which class options are more useful for PC classes and which ones should only be used for NPCs. The name Siege Mage sounds cool. The idea of being able to easily tear down fortifications sounds cool. It's something that I would like to do as a PC. But actually looking at the archetype we can see that it is absolutely horrible. So since it sounds like a cool class, and is something that some PCs would like to do, the only reason that I can see that you would label this as an NPC class is because it is horrible. That means the only reason you see this as an NPC class is because of your system mastery. And the need for system mastery is what leads to player traps. If the Siege Mage is meant to be an NPC class, then it should be spelled out as being one.

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First of all, a whole book of PrCs? Yay!!!

I just hope many of them are better than the new Inner Sea Pirate PrC we just got (yuck).

Swordlords, Gray Gardeners, Mammoth Riders, Arclords, and Shield Marshals all sound awesome. The only thing that concerns me is the use of archetypes as prerequisites. One or two here and there would be fine, but if 5 or 10 of these new PrCs have archetype prereqs then I am going to be sorely disappointed. The fact that you can accidentally bar your entry into certain PrCs during character creation just seems ludicrous. I can just see it now: "Sorry Joe, no you can't take the Awesome Bandit Lord™ PrC because when we made characters six months ago you just made a Rogue with a bunch of banditry related skills and tendencies, but you didn't make a Bandit archetype Rogue. Too bad."

And on top of that, having archetype requirements are extremely limiting. How many different ways are there to go into the Dragon Disciple PrC? Probably a hundred. How many ways are there to get into the Winter Witch PrC? One.

Like I said, a few of these are fine. A Winter Witch PrC sounds pretty awesome, actually. But I will get more use and more mileage out of the more flexible PrCs.

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MillerHero, you would be mistaken. The Skeleton template clearly states you lose feats, skills, defensive abilities, special attacks, etc. before telling you what you gain. The Skeletal Champion template doesn't say you lose anything, just what you gain.

Now, the Skeleton Champion template rules are a little wonky. If you follow the "CR: A skeletal champion's CR is +1 higher than a normal skeleton with the same HD (see page 250)." to the letter, then you get into a weird situation where if you take a level 18 Wizard (CR 17), and apply the Skeleton Champion template to it, it becomes more powerful, but it's CR drops to 8.

I just do original CR+1 OR normal skeleton CR+1, which ever is higher. (This keeps it so the Bestiary Skeleton Champion, a Warrior 1, remains CR 2). I find that this gives a good representation of it's power.

So in the case of a Skeleton Champion Cavalier 6, I would give it a CR 6.

For your second question, there aren't any rules that really cover what happens to an animal companion in such an instance. But if it is an NPC, you have a few options.
1) It doesn't have a companion anymore.
2) It's companion went under the same process as the master, and you apply the skeleton champion template to it.
3) It has acquired a more appropriate companion after death (such as a Nightmare).

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The bard's strength is that no matter what the situation may be, he can effectively contribute. Bards are amazing buffers and skillmonkesy right out of the gate, and they can be secondary fighters, healers, and utility casters all at the same time.

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As much as I love this program (I really, really do), I've found that I simply can't use it anymore.

It looks so polished and clean and complete, but there are so many little errors or missing data that I really can't trust the entries.

The hound archon for instance, has a spell-like ability heading, and it has it's constant spell-like abilities listed- but it's missing all the at-will abilities. It looks like a complete stat block. But it's not.

Also, while the templates would be extremely convenient, most of them have errors in application. Fiendish creatures get the wrong resistances. Augmented Summons doesn't take into consideration 1 1/2 strength bonuses. Skeletons have inappropriately sized claws.

And these are just off the top of my head.

At first I didn't notice any problems, because it looks like such a polished program with so many wonderful features- but little things just kept seeming off to me. And the more I cross referenced, the more little data errors I found.

So for me, before an iPad version, or before new features, I really just want accurate data. I only say this, because I really fell in love with this program. But it's at the point that I really can't use it any more, and I hate that.

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If you don't want to end your rage do to "convenience" because it ruins the flavor for you, you have other options. If you had taken the Guarded Life Rage Power or the Raging Vitality feat (both of which you qualify for already) your Barbarian would still be alive. Heck, if he had Raging Vitality, he would still be in positive HP, and still raging.

So there are three options right there that keep your Barbarian from dying due to dropping out of rage.

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PRD wrote:

Lawful characters tell the truth, keep their word, respect authority, honor tradition, and judge those who fall short of their duties. Chaotic characters follow their consciences, resent being told what to do, favor new ideas over tradition, and do what they promise if they feel like it.

Law implies honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability. On the downside, lawfulness can include closed-mindedness, reactionary adherence to tradition, self-righteousness, and a lack of adaptability. Those who consciously promote lawfulness say that only lawful behavior creates a society in which people can depend on each other and make the right decisions in full confidence that others will act as they should.

Chaos implies freedom, adaptability, and flexibility. On the downside, chaos can include recklessness, resentment toward legitimate authority, arbitrary actions, and irresponsibility. Those who promote chaotic behavior say that only unfettered personal freedom allows people to express themselves fully and lets society benefit from the potential that its individuals have within them.

I don't see anything in here that should automatically preclude ALL Barbarians from being Lawful. Especially if you consider the Urban Barbarian and his "controlled rage."

I really hate alignment restrictions. They honestly don't add anything to the game, in my opinion. Hell, I'm still upset that the Assassin is an evil only class.

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A couple of comments on the hexes.

Evil Eye: This is a very nice hex. But it is a mind-affecting ability, and as such doesn't work against a lot of things. Constructs, Plants, Swarms, Undead, and Vermin all are flat out immune to it, and a bunch of other specific creatures have special immunity to it, too. So if you know you are going to play in, say, an undead heavy campaign (*cough* Carrion Crown *cough*), this shouldn't be a first priority.

Healing: The more people (or creatures) in the party, the better this becomes. If you have someone who can channel, this becomes less important. But if not I almost always pick this hex to pick up some of the healing slack. It's also great to use on NPCs without wasting resources. Waking up that unconscious bandit to question or healing the rescued townie costs you nothing. Getting tenish 2nd level spells per day at the price of one hex is nothing to sneeze at. The Healing Hex also has the added benefit of never provoking AoOs in combat, and can double as a backup attack against Undead in a pinch.

Ward: I really think this is an underwhelming hex. Resistance is far and away the most common bonus to saving throws in the game. And Deflection is far and away the best AC bonus for it's availability. Especially since Cloaks of Resistance and Rings of Protection are such common items in APs. At higher levels, your party may not have +4 Deflection and +4 Resistance- but they probably have at least some. And the major problem still remains. The ward fails the second it is breached. At high levels when you are facing creatures that have multiple attacks, their first attack is almost guaranteed to hit. It's those third, fourth, and fifth hits at lower BAB that you are hoping to block. Too bad your ward phased out when the first attack hit you. It is somewhat of use on your Familiar, sure, but I still can never really justify picking this hex over many others.

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I love bards.

I've played bards in two man parties, and I've played bards in six man parties- effective in both.

The thing about bards is not that they are amazing buffers (they are)- it's that they can buff so easily. Inspire Courage at later levels is a single swift action to decently buff everyone you want in a very large range, all encounter long for pretty much every encounter.

I spend a swift action to give myself and my party amazing buffs, and then I do whatever the hell else I want for the rest of combat. I can be an uber buffter and keep throwing up buff spells like haste and heroism. I can be a front line fighter, or I can be ranged specialist. I can use my vast repertoire of skills to solve all kinds of problems (pick locks, identify creatures, or use any sort of magical device). I can do any of these things, and still put up some great basic buffs.

Your comparison to the healbot cleric is a flawed one. The healbot cleric specializes in healing, spends most of combat using healing actions, and occasionally does something else when there is no one left to heal.

On the other hand, no one really expects the bard to do anything other than spend a single action (a standard, move, or eventually swift) to get a good performance up. Then he can do whatever he wants for the rest of battle so long as his other actions are meaningfully contributing in some way.

Inspire Courage let's a bard be a really good buffer, while letting him do all those other things he wants. That's why I get really upset when Inspire Courage get's removed in an archetype and nothing really kick ass replaces it.

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Am I the only one tired of looking at archetypes that look really interesting and flavorful on the surface, but actually really suck when you get a good look at them?

Here are a few examples that have stood out to me recently:


First Worlder Summoner:
The Concept: Summon Nature Ally instead of Summon Monster.
Where it All Went Wrong: In exchange for a few extra options to summon at some levels they completely nerfed the Eidolon's combat ability. Seriously, +7 BAB at 20th level? D6 HD? No Darkvision? And some of the summon options are garbage as well (I can now summon Satyrs at SNA V instead of at SNA IV! wait... what?)
How it Could Have Been: Instead of completely nerfing the Eidolon, swap out other abilities. Since a First Worlder can't really use his Eidolon in combat, Shield Ally and Greater Shield Ally are all but worthless to them. I think just giving up these two abilities for the handful of summon options would have been a much fairer trade.

Holy Gun Paladin:
The Concept:You are a Paladin, but now with a Gun.
Where it All Went Wrong: Holy Guns can only Smite on a single attack as a standard action at the cost of 1 Grit. Let me repeat that in case you didn't understand. A Holy Gun Paladin's smite only applies to a single attack made as a standard action. Oh and Paladins only have 1 Grit till 11th level, and they don't get the smite AC bonus.
How it Could Have Been: Smite is left alone. Honestly, Smite + Ranged Touch attacks is extremely powerful. However, a 1 lvl dip into Mysterious Stranger and 19 levels of Paladin already gives you just that and makes for a much better Holy Gun than the Holy Gun does.

Divine Hunter Paladin:
The Concept: A Paladin who uses ranged weapons.
Where it All Went Wrong: Other than the Precise Shot bonus feat at first level, there is nothing in this archetype that really makes you better at being a ranged Paladin. Instead he gives up DR and his immunity to fear, charm, and compulsion to grant allies some bonuses that they don't need or already have.
How it Could Have Been: Ranged attackers are feat hungry. Although Precise Shot was nice, a couple more bonus feats would have been much better than random useless bonuses.

Musketeer Cavalier:
The Concept: A Cavalier without the mount (wait, what?)
Where it All Went Wrong: Ever since the Cavalier has come out, people have been clamoring for a mountless Cavalier option (Hound Master anyone?). Well, when UC came out, we finally got one. The problem was that it replaced one thing that a lot of people didn't want (a mount) with just another thing that a lot of people didn't want (a gun).
How it Could Have Been: Hound Master. Or maybe a Tactician that could share feats better instead of having a mount.

Dragon Shaman Druid:
The Concept: A Druid with connections to Dragons!
Where it All Went Wrong: This isn't a Dragon Shaman. It's a Lizard Shaman. What's worse, the Saurian Shaman is pretty much the same thing, except it's abilities affect dinosaurs and all reptiles, whereas the Dragon Shaman's abilities just work with lizards.
How it Could Have Been: Drop the whole lizard theme. Give them access to the Form of Dragon line of spells at the minimum. Something like a Fairy Dragon companion would be amazing, but would need to be handled well.

Is anyone else tired of this kind of stuff? Or do you have any more examples of good class archetype ideas that were executed rather horribly?

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Mike, no one is saying that Vital Strike is useless in every single situation.

The entire problem is that people are looking for a viable way to get a decent increase in damage when they can only make one attack in a round. However, for the overwhelming majority of characters there isn't really a good way to do this. Vital Strike seems to a lot of people like a good option at first, but it is in all actuality an extremely weak option for most people. That's why most people avoid it like the plague, and recommend others to do the same. Sure if you super optimize for VS it becomes a decent option, but how much did you invest in order to make it worthwhile? A trait, a feat, a potion, a personal ranger spell, an attack penalty for the oversized weapon, and you have to adventure with a potion constantly in your hand.

Now you may say that not every feat is for every build, but Vital Strike steals the show because other than Vital Strike there aren't really many options of increasing your damage when you can only make a single strike. Many people (myself included) believe there should be a viable way to increase your damage on single strikes for pretty much any fighter build. And that's why everyone keeps coming up with suggestions how to make Vital Strike good. They want to solve the single attack damage problem for every fighter, not just the weird fringe builds.

Also, I read your math about Vital Strike vs Weapon Specialization in the other thread, and I have to say that I didn't find it very satisfying. No discussion of critical hits, full attacks with more than two iterations, or the fact that VS can't be combined with any other special maneuver (even simple things like charge). Not to mention, that I don't necessarily agree on the ratio of 1:1 for full attacks to standard action Vital Strikes.

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You know what would get me really interested in this book? If it had one of those alternate rules section for building traps that didn't suck for PCs.

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UC wrote:
At 4th level, a Medium beast rider can also choose an allosaurus, ankylosaurus, arsinoitherium, aurochs, bison, brachiosaurus, elephant, glyptodon, hippopotamus, lion, mastodon, megaloceros, snapping turtle (giant), tiger, triceratops, or tyrannosaurus as his mount.

So at 4th level, it says all of these choices are available as my mount. However, for many (most?) of these, the creature will still be medium size for the normal animal companion progression.

For example, I wanted to have a lion mount at 4th level. But a lion (large cat) is still medium sized, and doesn't become large until 7th level.

So what does that mean exactly? Does a Beast Rider get a mount he can't ride? Does the mount automatically get the advancement to a larger size 3 levels early? Or is it a typo, and I can't select any mount unless it can be at least large sized?

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umbralatro wrote:
Souphin wrote:
Warrior Priest = +1 to init is cool but the other is too situational

See, one of my characters actually has this and the +2 to concentration has yet to come up, but I'm loving that +1 to initiative. I haven't regretted taking it yet and since that character is also a fighter, I very well might need that concentration bump sooner rather than later.

I think of it as halfway between Improved Initiative and Combat Casting. And i'll take that on some characters.

Now, Run is also a tremendously suck PC feat. Animals and such, fantastic though, so it's got some use at least.

I hope you took the Additional Traits feat first. It gives you two traits.

-Reactionary for a +2 to initiative
-Desperate focus for a +2 to ALL concentration checks.

Vastly superior if you are looking for a half and half feat.

Now if you already have Reactionary AND Improved Init... I think you are a little bit crazy just going for the 1 more...

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Ross Byers wrote:
Purple Dragon Knight wrote:

(subcomplaint 1.1: there should also be a subsystem of the craft rules in order to enable Craft: Trapmaking to be a viable skill for rogues / rangers , etc.)
The Core Rules do include rules for making traps: See here.

Oh come now... let's be completely honest, those rules in no way make trap building viable for PCs.

Rogue: Oh, it looks like we are going to be using this cave as our base of operations for a little while, maybe I should add some traps! After all I have a +20 to my Craft: Traps skill.
GM: You do know that trap construction is very costly and time consuming, right?
Rogue: Fine. I will make it a really, really simple trap. Let's say CR 2, and it can only go off once. What's the craft DC for a CR 2 trap?
GM: It's a 20.
Rogue: Sweet! I can just take ten, netting me a 30, and I can bump up the DC by ten to get it done faster. That way, I won't be spending all week just making one silly trap. So how long does it take me?
GM: It takes you 22 weeks, and 1,000 gold.
Rogue: What?
GM: I actually rounded in your favor.
Rogue: ...
Wizard: Dude, just let me cast an Alarm spell. It's only one first level slot.
Rogue: *cries*

Seriously, traps could be awesome for PCs. But no, they just unequivocally suck.

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Combat Maneuvers only provoke AoO on a failed attempt. Improved X feats still make it so you never provoke.

This is probably the biggest one I use.

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Does anyone else find it amusing that there are going to be more Wizard archetypes in Ultimate Combat then there were in Ultimate Magic?

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Alright, I'm just going to post some more of the stuff about Irori that popped out at me.

Inner Sea World Guide p.221 wrote:
Many of Irori’s followers are monks, men and women who have dedicated their lifestyles to simplicity and purity in order to perfect themselves.

Dedication to a lifestyle of simplicity and purity sounds awfully acetic.

Inner Sea World Guide p.221 wrote:
His holy text is Unbinding the Fetters, a lengthy tome describing physical exercises, meditation, diet, and other methods to transcend the limitations of the mortal form.
Gods and Magic p.22 wrote:
and has an ongoing feud with Asmodeus because the Prince likes to taunt the Master’s followers with shortcuts to perfection that are fraught with pitfalls.

Seriously, I may be alone in this, but I think something like a Belt of Physical Perfection screams "shortcut to perfection" to me. Does Irori want his followers to become strong enough to overcome obstacles by following a strict regiment of physical exercise, meditation, and diet, or is he fine with his followers just dumping gold into magical gear such as a Belt of Physical Perfection +2 to help them overcome their trials? Buying or using looted gear just doesn't seem to really fit with the concept of a follower of Irori in my eyes.

Gods and Magic p.22 wrote:
Irori has achieved perfection and sees no need to cloak himself in mystery or augment himself with divine power, so, when he appears, his avatar is a physically fit man, looking exactly as his followers describe him, often sitting or kneeling patiently.
Inner Sea World Guide p.221 wrote:
Irori is very rarely depicted in art because his faithful believe that any icon of him cannot hope to live up to his perfect image. Instead, they describe him as a flawless Vudrani man, with no hair save a long braid, simple robes, and wooden sandals.

Their god is portrayed in extremely simple garb. It's not what he wears that is important, it's the person himself. I really can't see his devoutest (and highest level) followers, who do their utmost to emulate their god, being pimped out in hundreds of thousands of gold worth of gear from head to toe.

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Honestly the whole balance argument seems silly to me.

Seriously, what's the difference between an enlarged, reach wielding fighter with combat reflexes that trips anyone that comes within 15 feet of him, and one that merely stops their movement?

Now you may say that tripping has some disadvantageous (namely that it doesn't work on many foes), but Stand Still has quite a few disadvantages of it's own.

1. It's easier to improve your trip CMB (via feats and the like) than it is to improve your Stand Still CMB.

2. Tripping can be used on your turn, and not just as an AoO. Stand Still can't.

3. You can make trip attempts without taking a feat (and without danger if you have reach on someone). Stand Still requires two feats and a decent Dex.

4. Stand Still merely ends someone's movement. Tripping someone ends their movement AND puts them prone.

On top of that, AoO combat maneuvers have trouble with big enemies (high CMD), small enemies (good acrobatics), and enemies with reach and/or range.

In my mind, Stand Still makes most sense thematically with a polearm. But in Pathfinder, Stand Still can't be used at all with a (reach) polearm. However, if you were using a knife or even something like a cestus it is completely possible. Lame.

And from a balance perspective, it is in no way more powerful to be able to make some melee enemies stop movement at the cost of a few feats then it is to make some melee enemies stop movement and fall prone at the cost of no feats.

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While I certainly agree that sameness is a horrible thing, and perfect balance is quite idealistic, there is still plenty of room for improvement for Pathfinder.

A few examples:

-I would like a reworking of the skills system, but with an end result where mundane classes always get more skills than magic users. The more magic you have, the less skills you should have. After all, mundane people have to rely on skills in everyday life, whereas magic users can rely on their magic to aid them.

-More combat options (hopefully UC will remedy this a bit). Things like making combat maneuvers easier to try is the bare minimum. A great house rule that I love is that combat maneuvers only provoke AoO on a failed attempt. I've found that this makes martial characters much more likely to try different things without having invested into full feat chains. But that's a minimum. I'd like to see more options that any martial character can do in battle.

-Along the same vain, many feats shouldn't be feats but combat options that are always available. Strike Back is one the more serious offenders. Seriously, I can't ready an action to hit the dragon's head when it tries to bite me without taking a feat? Garbage.

-There should be more viable mechanical options for mundane characters outside of combat. Mundane crafting is one main problem, with trap crafting in particular being obnoxious. 1000g x CR for mundane traps? Seriously? Even a discounted, mundane, one time use, CR 1 pit trap takes weeks to craft by yourself. What the hell? And no, the new trapper archetype in UM doesn't make things better. A straight ranger makes better traps with spells and purchased bear traps than the trapper does until the highest of levels. That doesn't help anything.

-Some supernatural or spell like abilities available for mundane classes that emulate certain spells. I know, I know you have to be extremely careful with this one. But a concept like a Barbarian that can Speak with Animals isn't really that out there. And while you can achieve this via multiclassing, there is a lot of extra baggage to deal with if you go that route (eg a 1 lvl dip into Druid for minimal Speak with Animals carries alignment restrictions, equipment restrictions, extra abilities that don't fit your theme, and the loss of a Barbarian level). I'd like a simpler way. The Eldritch Heritage line of feats are a great step in the right direction in my opinion.

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I really hate this feat. It's just building off the terrible Intimidate mechanics.

Boosting your Intimidate score is really, really easy. Boosting your defense of Intimidate is really, really hard (only by gaining more HD or bumping Wisdom).

A half-orc inquisitor built for intimidation will succeed almost all the time at this check, even if it is against a level 20 cleric with maxed out Wisdom, and even if the inquisitor is half his level, and even if assuming this check is supposed to be 10+HD+Wis Mod. And there is nothing the cleric can do about it....

And any other character is all but defenseless against intimidate, even without optimization (ie they just put ranks into intimidate, and nothing else).

In this feat, even if it is 10+HD+Wis Mod, it still is ridiculously easy to achieve. And being able to practically auto-succeed on forcing any spellcaster to run up into melee and try to swipe at you is absolutely retarded.

Edit: Also what's with the Dex requirement?

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