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Roseblood Sprite

Mort the Cleverly Named's page

1,195 posts. 3 reviews. No lists. No wishlists.

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James Jacobs wrote:
The "philosophical" element is that I've always felt prestige classes should be, well, prestigious.

For many prestige classes, prestige can and should be a part. However, I would argue that for the most part Eldritch Knight and Mystic Theurge just create analogues of old 2e multiclasses, Fighter/Mage and Mage/Cleric. I don't feel that "Eldritch Knight" has a sudden moment of increased prestige when they enter the class, they just continue what they were doing but level their abilities at a different rate. So the question, then, is pretty much just one of mechanics, which people are arguing (and I agree) are better this way.

I'll agree that using an SLA to get in is weird. It is a mechanic a new player will never be aware of on their own. It is narratively weird, since even if one argues the race is "inherently magical" and thus should enter faster being even "more magical" with a higher level SLA might prevent you from doing so. Similarly, as Gregory Connolly said, it encourages forced choices even with no thematic or mechanical link beyond this obscure ruling.

Ideally then, I would hope the FAQ gets changed while the actual requirements on the classes get lowered. This would fix the weirdness while preserving the mechanical change. I know Paizo prefers not to do this to books. However, changing the prerequisites of core prestige classes is not unprecedented, as in the case of removing the "Elf or Half-Elf" prerequisite from the Arcane Archer (as a certain someone advocated). Even if we have to wait until the 7th printing, it is a change that would seem to satisfy all parties.

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One other thing that deserves to be said about AC is how it relates to natural weapons vs iteratives. It tends to stay more relevant when fighting other PC-type opponents. Sure, they might have a 85% chance of hitting with their first attack, but that means the next one is only 60%, 35%, maybe a 10% at the end. Against this, AC has a good chance of mitigating a hit or two. Which, given how much damage grows relative to hitpoints, can determine the winner of this round of rocket tag.

Against "monsters," on the other hand, it can be much closer to "useless." If their first weapon has an 85% of hitting so does their second, third, and so on. If you are lucky some are secondary, but in that case Multiattack is almost assumed and they are only at -10%. Plus, "brute" monsters tend to combine massive strength with piles of HD (and thus BaB), which can mean even a moderately pushed AC is only contributing a few percent to the miss chance (if that).

So basically, it is "useless" in the same way that Combat Maneuvers are "useless." Against other player-type characters things actually scale fairly reasonably. However, when you crack open the bestiary, things can change dramatically.

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Additional castings stack. By my calculations the Wizard would just need to cast it 96,686,489,000 times to create the Earth, which he could do in a mere 66,223,623 years or so. Or instantly, if he could fine some way to cheese Augmented Mythic Time Stop and cast it and Permanency from items.

Did I mention this would require immortality?

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First, this all assumes the Wizard has used his favored tricks for infinite money and immortality, as this will be expensive and time consuming.

1) Greate Create Demiplane and Permanency for the plane. Polymorph Any Object can turn sacks of hair and whatnot into life. For the full Adam, one must cast Fabricate on some dust to turn it into a statue, then cast Stone to Flesh on the statue "a life force or magical energy" available. I don't know what that is, but as part of the spell mechanics it should be allowable. Follow it up by knocking Adam out with Forgetful Slumber, coup de grace, take a rib and "Polymorph Any Object" it into Eve, then bring Adam back with a Wish.

2) When creating the sky with Greater Create Demiplane include sealed but permanent gates to the elemental plane of water. When ready, remove the covers on the gates to "open the windows of heaven." Control Weather can be added for ambiance.

3.1) Polymorph Any Object or Mirage Arcana cast repeatedly for the river of blood, if using an illusion use a bunch of AoEs to kill all the fish.

3.2) Kidnap and dominate a bunch of 5th level casters, make them invisible, then have them all cast Rain of Frogs and concentrate on it all day. For the traditional traditional Midrashic version where it is "Plague of Frog," bring a Froghemoth along (or be a Conjurer 20 and use Summon Froghemoth) and cast all the swarms into its mouth.

3.3-9) Summon Swarm, Summon Swarm, Plague Storm, Plague Storm, Control Weather, Summon Swarm, Darkness (or a preset trick with the demiplane's lighting choice).

3.10) A bunch of summoned or charmed invisible creatures, walking around shanking first born sons. Detect Relations will help in finding them.

4) Constructs, dominated people with a pile of magic items, or actual Angels and Planar Binding.

So a bit more work than Jesus the 9th Level Cleric, but theoretically doable. Although alternatively:

1-4) Modify Memory, Dominate Person to make someone write it all down.

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Something I noticed was, because all discussion about each class was limited to a its single thread, it was at times difficult for less popular topics to rise above the noise. Without sub threads or anything it was at times hard to keep track of discussions or see if someone responded to a comment without going through pages and pages of text about the "hot" topics of each class. There were many times I'd see an interesting comment that hadn't been brought up before, but see it get little traction. I would think having more than one thread would have made it easier for these other topics to get more examination.

Obviously this case was a bit unique with ten classes to deal with, and I can understand wanting to keep discussion from exploding into a thousand threads mixed around the playtest forum. It is just that after spending a lot of time on forums with subthreads/comment chains/whatever you call it all the voices contained in single threads felt like a cacophony to me, and made it a bit more difficult to participate in that aspect of things.

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Really? I felt it was the opposite of front loaded when playing one. Sure they get a lot of abilities, but they don't do much early on. Compared to an Alchemist they don't have Bombs/Sneak Attack or Mutagen to boost combat ability early on, and compared to the Rogue no Sneak Attack. With the Inspiration Pool being fairly small, having few free uses before talents come online, attack/save costing double, and few extracts combat ability for the first 2-3 levels was close to minimum for a 3/4 class.

A +1 attack/damage from Studied Combat at 2 wouldn't totally change that, but then it also wouldn't increase power too much either. I'd rather see Trapfinding and Poison Lore (which I still think is problematic, though that has gotten buried in the deluge of Studied Combat posts) moved up and get the minor combat boost and iconic ability early on. Those are more of an issue for dipping anyway, as they give new capabilities alongside/instead of a scaling bonus.

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I've been thinking a lot about Poison Lore, and am starting to think it is a system limiting ability.

What I mean by this is... how did one identify poisons before? I can't find any particular rules, except for those associated with detect poison. Looking at old APs I noticed a few skills used to identify the after effects (Craft(Alchemy), Heal, and Knowledge (Nature)), but no events of identifying current poisons. If it had come up though, Knowledge (Arcana) and Knowledge (Nature) would likely have been skills I called for (alongside Craft (Alchemy) and Heal).

However, now that identifying poison is an explicit Investigator ability, it would seem to block any other class from using the skills to do it. Similarly, in the rare circumstance that a poison needed to be neutralized and "pouring it out" wasn't an option, Craft (Alchemy) would have been what I called for before Poison Lore existed.

So, by creating this ability, one limits something that would likely have just been a skill check. If one still allows the skills to identify poisons then the ability has no value. If one doesn't no party without an Investigator can identify or neutralize poisons without spells, limiting what they would otherwise would make sense to do with their skills.

My recommendation would be making the ability a bonus, rather than a new capability. For example by giving a +1/2 level bonus on the checks and allowing them to identify and neutralize poisons extra quickly. It still fits the idea of Poison Lore, but would not in any way limit every other class in the process.

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I think Stonelord is actually a really good example of the minefield that is racial archetypes. Yes, it makes it easier to have Dwarven Paladins, which is awesome. However, the class also perfectly fits Oreads (both mechanically and thematically), but they are arbitrarily barred from it. Svirneblin would like the stat changes and idea of it too, and any Paladin of an Earth diety would appreciate the theme.

Restricting it to dwarves adds nothing, it just took away the option from other races. After the game has specifically been altered to allow other races to be "Dwarven" Defenders and non-elves to take up Arcane Archery, I see absolutely no reason to regress by making racial archetypes (at least those that do not rely on specific racial mechanics) a thing.

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Honestly, I hope not. The vast majority of the ARG racial archetypes fit perfectly well with any race. Making them "racial" just restricted the choice for characters from other races, even if those races are as (if not more) thematic than the associated race.

There are 10 classes in the ACG, all of which need support in terms of feats/spells/etc. There have also been references to material for the existing classes, to allow them to interact with the new ACG mechanics. Given this, there will be a limited amount of space for archetypes. Given that limited space, I would hope they would spend it dealing with concepts that can be applied to as large a group as possible rather than arbitrarily restricting them to a single race.

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Yes, it works. Also yes, it is a no brainer. Flipping it on and off can be annoying if you also plan to use Arcane Strike, but it is a small price to pay for triple rounds.

As for complements, the most obvious is the trait "Fate's Favoured" (+1 to all luck bonuses). Also worth recommending is taking a race that can add performance rounds as a Favored Class bonus, so you can keep Luck running even more.

Finally, you might want to look at using the house rule proposed by the author of making it Cha + 1 round/level rather than 4 + Cha rounds, which brings it much more in line with other options.

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This idea speaks to me WAY more than the previous Arcanist did. The basic concept has some actual flavor, and Talents + Magic could be very interesting mechanically.

That said, I wonder about the extent of the "deconstruction." On the one hand, if the benefit is insufficient, tearing about lesser magic items will be rarely done and tearing apart active effects will be a fancy dispel magic. On the other, if it pours into a universal pool that can be drawn on for strong effects, it will become a "bag of rats" problem. Although in this case I guess it would be a "bag of scrolls of mage armor" or "whatever the Bloodrager wants to give up to be ripped down" problem.

The other thing, of course, is that the casting is already very good. Unless it is weakened in some way, the design space of what the Magic Talents can do might be very small.

Okay, okay, enough fiddling. Yay, new direction! Yay, cool concept! Yay in general!

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While I agree with Davick, I would say the most obvious comparison is not to the Druid or the Ranger, but the Inquisitor. It is, more or less, a reskin of that class. However There is no replacement for Bane, Stalwart, Exploit Weakness, or Slayer, the Animal Focus abilities are more likely than Judgements to step on the toes of other items/buffs, and there is an added punishment for wearing heavy armor (or metal shields, but not metal armor? Odd).

While I like the idea of a companion-focused class, I feel this one will need some added love offer something really unique from its predecessors. The companion is a bit better than, say, just taking the Animal Domain, but not sufficiently for me to see it as the focus of the class, or to make up for what is lost in comparison to the others.

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As far as I know, an AoO does take place before the triggering action. So, when standing up from prone, the attack will take place while the enemy is still prone. This prevents "trip locking," but also means the prone person will still have the penalties for the condition during the AoO.

This is the interpretation stated by Jason Bulmahn here.

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Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Page 35, 2nd paragraph of the Greater Trials section. Not labeled the best Ill grant. Its another thing that will get polished up for the final.

Ah, thanks. I see it now. A smidge of polish will easily remove the "bag of rats" problem, in that it will help the inattentive GM (ahem, me) notice that you have already dealt with it. However, I think it just moves the issues into "GM Fiat" territory. If you get easier, "resource depleting" styles challenges you can ether easily accomplish Lesser Trials (perhaps by artificially elongating combat) or simply can't accomplish them at all. If you tend to have fewer more difficult challenges many Trials will be more difficult (if not impossible, such as maneuvers against Dragons or Elementals). Because of this "GM Fiat" aspect, I still have trouble accepting the necessity of Lesser Trials. Perhaps it would be better if they just regenerated Mythic Points, rather than being required for advancement, it would place Tier advancement firmly in the GM's hands rather than a roll/GM hybrid? Unless, of course, such a hybrid is the design goal.

As a separate recommendation, for the polish, it might also be useful to mention certain GP/CR requirements for some of the Trials. If only to give guidelines to GMs who aren't sure if a borderline underpowered intelligent item or somesuch should warrant a Lesser Trail point.

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Jason Bulmahn wrote:
As for how easy some are, my above comment plays into that. As a player, if you find that the only thing you want to do with these is find the easiest way to accomplish them, that is not very mythic by its nature. Creating a throw-away intelligent item is not very mythic. As feedback, I am interested in seeing how players use these rules. Do they go for the easy path, picking the trials that are simple to accomplish, or do they use them as an opportunity to accomplish something that truly adds to the legend of their hero.

In practice, how is this not a poll of how many players try to abuse the system, and how many choose randomly based on descriptions? Lesser Trials seem to be game based while Greater Trials are GM based, but in practice a great number of Lesser Trials are ALSO based on what the GM throws at you.

I do not want to be a jerk, but I simply have trouble understanding how running players through this system actually affects anything I said. Are abilities I said were based on GM fiat not based on GM fiat if I choose to let them occur? If players get lucky and accomplish the luck based trials, are they not luck based? If they pick the easy challenges that can be accomplished with a small investment of gold, a bag of rats, or taking 20, do they not count because my players had enough system mastery to figure this out?

I do plan to run my players through this system, and I really do want to take to heart the "good playtesting" guidelines that have been published. However, there are many things that are based on what the GM throws at the players, which is not something that can be playtested in any way beyond "what is the most popular way to play on these forums?" If I have the same criticisms next week, when my players have gone through the material, will they have more weight?

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Okay, I read all the playtesting guidelines and promised myself that I would abide by them. However, a couple of hours in and after only one read through, I feel compelled to comment on the Lesser Trials.

First, I get the idea. They are little achievements, like in video games, that add up to an eventual bonus. In theory, that is great. However, in practice, I don't see much of a point. The Greater Trials seem like the important bit, while the Lesser Trails are "did you purposefully finish a combat in a specific manner?" Worse, it seems that you can get more than enough Greater Trials completed, but additional ones will not count towards your Lesser Trials. So basically, Hercules would not advance his Mythic Tier from his twelve trials, but from curbstomping some lesser enemies in between.

Second, the specific Lesser Trials seems weighted towards luck or purposefully prolonging combat. For example, unless I am missing a Mythic way to increase threat range, Critical Chain has a 1.5% chance of occurring over any three given attacks (assuming automatic crits). School Display, on the other hand, requires an 8 round combat and likely Mythic Points (as spontaneous casters likely won't know enough spells, and prepared casters will not have enough slots to accomplish it otherwise, even in a nova).

I could go on with specific examples, as there are many within each Mythic Path, however I'd like to hear other opinions before I type that all out. What is the specific purpose of Lesser Trials? Should they be a given for those that attempt them, things that require extreme effort, or the result of luck? What is the expected advancement rate of Mythic characters, and do the Lesser Trials make that more or less difficult to attain?

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I'm going to say that I have had enough Varisia for quite a while.

This isn't to say I dislike that part of the setting, or that the material that has been published hasn't been excellent. It is just that we already have a very, very clear view of what Varisia entails. Entire books on most of the major cities, numerous APs set there, lots of supplemental material on its people and culture. In short, I already have enough material to "get" Varisia, the country and its people.

I cannot say the same for large chunks of the rest of the setting. I'm not just talking about totally unexplored bits, like Casmaron or southern Garund. Most of the area around Lake Encarthan is unexplored, especially very unique places like Druma and Razmiran. Thuvia and Rahadoum haven't been dealt with much beyond "immortality elixirs" and "atheists" with some genies thrown in. Nex and Geb could easily warrant a 64 page book together, being some of the more unique, magically advanced societies of the Inner Sea. While every book on Varisia inherently reiterates material that has previously been published, books on these areas would have more space for entirely new material, enhancing the breadth of Golarion and the ideas it encompasses.

While Varisia may have been the core of the Pathfinder setting, I believe it has grown beyond that. The whole world is filled with incredibly interesting people, places, and ideas. Given the limit of how much material Paizo can publish in any given year, I would much rather see a "broadening" of the setting rather than a "deepening" of material on Varisia. While more Varisia books would not be bad, I would feel that they were missing the opportunity to explore new and interesting avenues rather than further enriching an already well developed setting.

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Arslanxelan wrote:
I think the reason for the restrictions is because traits are not suppose to be feats. They are something to give characters with a particular background extra flavor. If you remove the restrictions from all traits then you are basically giving the character 2 extra feats. I remove the restrictions on a case by case basis.

First, traits are defined as being "half a feat," so the total benefit is only one feat, not two. Worse than that, really, since they can't be used to cover prerequisites for feat chains.

Second, the restrictions do not seem to solve the problem you state. Traits do indeed give characters with a particular background extra flavor. However, why can't my flavor be someone who is a "Child of the Temple" because of her "Sacred Touch?" If it would make sense for my character to be stealthy, why must she be from the Highlands? If I want an initiative bonus I can be a Reactionary or a Warrior of Old, not based on background but depending on what trait type I've already used. The restrictions do nothing to promote flavor, and do everything to impede legitimate, balanced, and flavorful choices.

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Well, I don't really have an opinion on companions vs domains either way.

However, I'M not going to be buying this book because the leopard looks sad. Just look at those tired eyes. Why does Paizo support sad leopards?

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Restores100HP wrote:
If I were you, I'd suggest he make a Spell Dancer/Kensai.

Dancer/Kensai isn't an available option, as they both replace Medium and Heavy Armor Proficiency.

Orthos wrote:
If I remember correctly, the Spell Dance is basically a mini-haste. Speed increase, AC boost, and you can cast a buff as a free action. If you're going more skirmisher/movement-based than straight-up damage, it's a nice option, one my players are very fond of.

"Mini-Haste" is excessively kind. It is +10 enhancement bonus to speed and +2 AC vs attacks of opportunity related to movement. The speed bonus is awful, as it does not stack with other, much larger bonuses like expeditious retreat or haste, and could be permanently replaced with something like boots of springing and striding. The AC boost is fairly small for something so situational. The buffs lasts only a single round, so generally you would be better off simply casting the buff properly, then bringing it back with Spell Recall for the point you would have used on the Spell Dance.

Matrix Dragon wrote:
In my opinion, the ability to use Dimension Door as a swift action at 9th level is very good. Make sure you get the feat that lets you use all your actions after using Dimension Door, and you can easily get a full spell combat attack on the first round of every combat.

You are thinking of Dimensional Agility. Unfortunately, you need a swift action to start the Spell Dance and another one to fire off Dimensional Agility, by which point you should really already be in position. You also have the options of a Quicken Metamagic Rod or Dimensional Dervish to get the swift action dimension door, but without giving up an extremely powerful class feature.

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Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Good Stuff

Okay, I'll stop derailing after this.

But seriously, trap anyone who opposes this in a closest and rewrite the polymorph rules along these lines. Pathfinder did a lot to stop the "dumpster diving" aspect of polymorph, and this would finally kill it for good. Getting an "official" word on undead anatomy is way less important that being able to wildshape into a bear because bears are awesome, rather than always picking cats or dinosaurs because they are so much stronger.

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Seugathi math, for those that care

Chances to Save:
Values are rounded

For an 8th level character, +8 Will is around what most people will have. Either a high Will class with a Cloak of Resistance +2, or a low Will save class with Iron Will, a Cloak, and +2 from Wisdom/Other bonuses. Even if we assume they each pushed it to +10 with buffs or other bonuses, there is a 47% that a party of four such characters will be confused in a given round. It drops lower if one is a Cleric, Druid, or other High Wisdom/High Will class, and there is a chance of a confused character acting normally, but with the Seugathi able to choose how the confusion result for one PC each, there is a very good chance that at least 3 of 4 PCs in any given round are going to be beating on themselves or each other. Their supposed ally has a poor Will save, and will almost undoubtedly be among those that fail their saves.

This also doesn't include the ability of the Seugathi to throw DC19 mind fog, DC18 confusion, and DC17 suggestion around. Anyone who fails against mind fog will drop into the 0-4% chance of saving range, which means they are basically done for. The rest will have to face the combined spell-like abilities of the Seugathi, and even someone with a very impressive +16 Will save is only going to have a 45% chance to survive three madness auras and three confusion spells in a single round.

Basically: overlapping auras make saving very, very tough. This doesn't matter as much when it is a bunch of Troglodytes, but a madness aura combined with spells is basically a death sentence for anyone but a highly optimized, high Will, high Wisdom character. For GMs, skipping or altering this encounter would probably be a very good idea.

Although, this DOES make me feel bad for complaining that the last two levels of Shards of Sin were too easy. Can't wait until I get a chance to check this adventure out!

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I may be remembering something from 3.X, but I believe somewhere in the core books it talks about how a single attack action is not meant to represent a single swing of the sword. Rather, it is lots of swinging, feinting, clashing, and one good shot at a hit. So when someone pulls of a bunch of Attacks of Opportunity from Combat Reflexes, don't think of it as them magically swinging their sword faster. Rather, it is the ability to shift around, take advantage of opportunities, and make more attacks that have a chance of hitting during a big, chaotic clash. The "time and effort" is the same, Combat Reflexes just gives a mechanical expression to the abstract ability to react more quickly to openings in opponents' defenses while still focusing on the attack more so than someone without that training.

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Cojonuda wrote:
One point of plunder = 1 ton. How much space (cubic squares) does 1 tone equates to???? I know each ship has different cargo capacities. For example, 1 ton of cotton could fill the cargo capacity of a boat (space wise).

First, 1 point of plunder is 10 tons, not 1.

Second, the volume would be wildly variable. As the book explains, plunder can be pretty much anything, and more often than not is a combination of things. The whole point of the system is streamlining, and figuring out the volume necessary to transport things from "gems and grain," "cloth, copper and salt," and "various personal effects" is very much the opposite of streamlined. Cargo capacity is dealt with only in the context of weight, and for what plunder is used for in the AP that is really all you need.

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Roberta Yang wrote:
Specialization is only rewarded if the specialist can do more in her own specialized field than a generalist can in that field (and several others). A lot of prestige classes don't meet that basic test of usefulness.

Exactly this. If the Aldori Swordlord isn't the lord of the Aldori sword, the Riftwarden isn't the best at warding rifts, or the Mammoth Rider can't ride mammoths better than another class (which can do these activities and more) there is an issue.

I think the Riftwarden is a good example: compared to a straight caster, it gives up quite a lot. However, it is extremely good at its niche. Their ability to mess with outsiders and teleportation is extremely good, but the large loss in versatility from lost caster levels makes up for it. It won't trivialize encounters even in its realm of specialization or be terrible outside of it, but rather makes an even trade between versatility and niche power.

On the other side, you have something like the Storm Kindler, whose main ability is turning into a whirlwind or vortex. However, it is arguably worse at it than a Druid using wildshape to turn into an elemental, or even another caster using elemental body. It also loses versatility because of fewer spell levels and no advancement of abilities. A straight Druid (especially a Tempest Druid) can do more in general and be equal or better in the niche, and is thus a better kindler of storms overall. There is thus little reason to use the class, even if the concept interests you. I find this to a problem.

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Seems pretty straight forward. "If you successfully disarm your opponent without using a weapon." Did the Magus use his Scimitar (and its associated bonuses) to disarm him? Is a Scimitar a weapon? Yes? Then he doesn't automatically pick up the disarmed weapon.

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Ubercroz wrote:
Also, I never said that the GM's opinion should change everyone elses. I have said that Paizo has made it clear they consider the Aasimar to be better than the Core Races.... so I guess thats not a random GM is it?

They released a book each on Tieflings and Aasimar, aimed at players. They dumped the "Fiendish Heritage" feat from CoT when they did it, because they realized it was unnecessary. Possibly more importantly, they are allowed alongside the Core races in Pathfinder Society play. If Paizo can be called a GM, PFS is his game, and he doesn't consider them overpowered.

Ubercroz wrote:
Aasimar are objectively better than other races. If you do not see that then you are ignoring obvious information and twisting the facts to make your opinion more correct. Paizo put out a book that tallies the power of races. Whether you want to use it or not it is a pretty good gauge of how good something is- that gauge says aasimar are better.

Oh lord, no. The ARG race builder is seriously, painfully awful. It prices purely worse abilities as more than better ones (4RP Water Child vs 2RP Swim speed), overvalues skills wildly (+2 to a skill costs the same as the +3/+6, pre-req covering Skill Focus), and doesn't even touch on other balancing aspects (Oreads and Ifrits both pay 1RP for Elemental Affinity, yet Ifrits get far more use from it). Heck, it says your precious elemental resistances are worth less than +2 Diplomacy and Perception (3RP vs 4RP).

The ARG race builder is designed for building new races, and frankly isn't even great at that. Trying to compare previously created races using it is doomed to failure. Any system that says Tengus are more powerful than Dwarves really isn't worthy of consideration.

Ubercroz wrote:
And while Mort may have tried to discount everything I said, its not entirely invalid and a number of important thoughts are raised there

If your post contains as many important thoughts as you seem to think, you can let it stand on your own. I think my post right here is awesome, deserving of "favorites" and candy canes. But I'm not just going to come right out and say it.

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master arminas wrote:
Unless you are playing PFS, any wizard/sorcerer/witch serving as the Antagonist is going to have multiple layers of defenses that a monk simply has no method to counter.

While I agree, I would expand this to "published adventures in general." Whether Paizo Adventure Paths or Wizard's 3e Modules, casters have not generally been set up this way(that is, to their full potential). Even at high level their set spells and tactics leave them with few long-term buffs running, rarely prepared to hide behind the more useful illusions, and are almost never out of reach (whether through flight or terrain). So, for published materials or adventures based on them, Monk make great caster-killers. The combination of SR and high saves makes the Monk well prepared to survive a spell or two, and the casters simply aren't prepared (in memorization, pre-buffs, or tactics) for a high speed, blitzing Monk set up to grapple or even just throw a Stunning Fist. That the Monk lacks true seeing or a flight speed doesn't really matter most of the time.

Run as written, this Monk would be a great killer for the vast majority of casters in published material. It only starts to fall apart when people start playing casters to their potential (or at least their INT/WIS scores). But then again, a lot of things fall apart at the far end of system. Honestly, every so often I wonder if I would not have an easier time enjoying the game if I didn't read and think about the system so much. A game where Monks make excellent caster killers would, frankly, be refreshing. Probably a lot easier to prep, too.

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I think the disconnect is in the concept of "role." Versatility does not necessarily mean the ability to fill multiple "roles," but rather deal with a large number of disparate situations. The Monk has a weird grab-bag of abilities that can put to creative use. For example, they might not have Disable Device as a class skill (or the points for it), but they could teleport behind a locked door, or jump over a trap filled hallway, or just let things go off and trust in their saves and immunities to see them through. Those same abilities could be used for escaping from a monster, jumping over a chasm, or surviving long enough to grapple the enemy mage.

Are these enough to make the class equal to others? Are they sufficient to really earn the title "versatile?" Is it enough to justify their combat difficulties? That is what those other threads are trying to hash out. However, I hope this explains why some people claim the monk is "Versatile" even when it doesn't neatly fill any of the standard, defined roles.


Josh M. wrote:
Can the Monk just get it's own subforum? Please?

Eh. The forums go through phases. Someone starts a hot thread about a subject, it gets people thinking about it and they start their own threads. It will peter out eventually and we can switch over to another round of "Rogues are too weak" or "Martial/Caster Disparity" or something.

Besides, you KNOW it wouldn't be contained to the subforum. Or do you doubt the forum's ability to derail anything into a branch of the current hot dispute?

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Derek Vande Brake wrote:
Monks don't have to pay for weapons or armor, so I see no problem making them pay more for their stuff.

Er... the amulet of mighty fists is the weapon the Monk is paying for, just like bracers of armor are their armor. They can choose not to buy them, but they will be about as effective as a warrior who doesn't bother buying a magic sword. It is just that these Monk items have the additional disadvantages of costing more and taking up other item slots.

Equipment cost is, almost more than any other, an arena in which the Monk is at a significant disadvantage.

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Gluttony wrote:
Except that the fighter and barbarian, barring monk dips, are rolling 1d3 for their unarmed damage while the monk is steadily scaling up to 2d10.

Large damage dice aren't as important as they would appear. 1d3 damage is an average of 2, while 2d10 is an average of 11 (a difference of 9). When the Monk has 2d10 damage (assuming monk's robes, so level 15), the Fighter has Greater Weapon Specialization (+4), brawling armor (+2), Weapon Training (+3, +4 in two levels), and gloves of dueling (+2), for a total of +11 damage, as well as +9 to attack over the Monk. So not only does each hit deal (on average) 3 more damage, but is hitting far, far more likely to hit thanks to things the Monk can't get. They can also choose to take Two-Weapon Fighting feats to get the same number of attacks as the monk, but with the advantage of taking them sooner (though obviously with dexterity requirements).

This is not to say whether or not Fighter and Monk are an appropriate comparison, mind you. It is just to point out that the 2d10 unarmed damage of the Monk is not, mathematically, as huge a bonus as it would initially appear to be.

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Master Craftsman could really use clarification, particularly in the line "You must use the chosen skill for the check to create the item." There are two common interpretations:
1) You can only create items that list your chosen skill as an option for the creation roll (choosing Craft(Weapons) would let you enhance weapons, but not bows).
2) You can use your chosen skill to create any item (you can choose Profession(courtesan) and use your awesome courtesaning powers to make a folding boat)

There is also lots of disagreement on what wondrous items can be made with with what skills, but I can't imagine you being able to settle that one without exhaustively listing the crafts and professions that can be used for each individual item.

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The point seems to continue evading you. That the Cleric can cast endure elements to defeat the challenge not only for themself, but for the party, is the reason for him being high tier. That a Fighter can benefit from it does not make him more versatile. The Fighter's only option is to try to walk through the mountains, offering nothing to the party in the process. If he fails a save he can't deal with the fatigue or ability damage, while the Cleric can remove them magically.

It isn't the perception checks that will help the Cleric bypass the traps. It is that he can summon a monster to disable or set off trap. He can cast Find Traps. He can remove conditions and damage caused by any that are accidentally tripped. The Cleric may not have all these spells prepared (though he should have many, knowing where he was headed). However, having any of them prepared is offering more than the Fighter in this scenario.

When we get to the dragon, you again jump to SR. SR is, frankly, rarely an issue. The cleric can summon monsters, protect the party with resist energy, use spells to try and avoid alerting and fighting the dragon entirely, or beat it to death with a weapon. The Fighter only has the last option. He is very good at it. Extraordinarily so. Nobody is better at beating things to death. However, the fact that that is the only available answer to challenges is the reason he has a low tier. Low Tier doesn't necessarily mean "bad," it just means "lacks versatility."

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Theconiel wrote:
Trap disabling: Only the rogue can disable magical traps, as far as I know.

It has actually been passed around quite freely. Archaeologist Bards, Urban Rangers, Crypt Breaker Alchemists... pretty much all the classes used as Rogue replacements have an archetype to get the ability to disable magical traps. And everyone gets to find them these days.

Theconiel wrote:
My main argument is against people who say that rogues are worthless. My experience playing a rogue is that the rogue can contribute to almost any party.

I think "worthless" is being used in different ways. The Rogue isn't "worthless" in that it can't do anything, ever. It is that, quite often, another class can be used to create a "Rogue" type character that is more versatile and mechanically effective than a similar concept built from the "Rogue" class. It isn't that one is a necessarily a generalist and the other is necessarily a specialist, it is that Rogue has sort of been left behind by Pathfinder. Rules changes and archetypes have taken what made them unique, resulting in a sort of "anything you can do, I can do better" situation.

Theconiel wrote:
I realize that bards have almost as many skills per level as rogues, plus magic. The bard is a really powerful class. But even the bard has difficulty matching the rogue in flexibility.

I seriously ask, how? What specific, mechanical abilities is the Rogue offering that make them more flexible than an Archaeologist Bard? The examples you gave were a fine example of a generalist, jack-of-all-trades, "Rogue" type character, but didn't seem particularly tied to the "Rogue" class abilities.

Theconiel wrote:
At least that's my opinion, and I'm stuck with it.

But if you are a reasonable enough person to understand that people tend to stick to their opinions, you are likely also reasonable enough to modify your own in the face of logical argument and example. Totally just encourages me to try harder to convert you to the dark... er... "Rogues need more love" side.


Anyway, I have had fun playing the rogue and I always have a useful role to play.

Hey, nobody is telling you not to have fun. But then, people can have fun playing plenty of things that aren't mechanically that great. People aren't looking to pillory those that play Rogues and have fun, they are asking that the Rogue class get the toys so that, for those that care about mechanical balance, there are ways to make them uniquely interesting and useful.

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Adamantine Fury wrote:
Optimizing is all about getting the highest relevant stats to a narrowly focused build with little to no regard for the less important ones. It's ok for a straight up hack n' slash, not so much for a more roleplay and story focused campaign.

This is quite the overreach. To optimize, one makes the most mechanically effect representation of a concept. You can optimize a build designed for a single purpose, or optimize a generalist, or optimize anything in between.

That you would argue it is just for "hack n' slash" is a classic example of the Stormwind Fallacy: that optimization and system mastery are somehow opposed to roleplaying. The fact is, one person can make a 14 Charisma Fighter and be a terrible roleplaying, while another can make a unique and interesting character who happens to have a 7. Making a mechanically ineffective character does not make one better at roleplaying, nor does an effective character make one worse at it. If anything, I would say that optimization can aid roleplaying: if my concept is a Zorro-type character, but can't fight, ride, and seduce effectively, I'm not Zorro. I'm Don Quixote.

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Sean K Reynolds wrote:
I HAVE said that a one-paragraph entry on monks in a book called Ultimate Magic is NOT the right place to cram such a "you don't use magic items" subsystem. Especially as it challenges the premise of magic gear for all characters, not just for monks... any more than a pacifist paladin archetype in Ultimate Combat is the right place to present an alternate system for leveling PCs without combat.

I think the issue is that you did include an option to go without magical items in that book. It is just that mechanical effects of it are, in most cases, utterly crippling. To continue your example, people would also be upset if there was a pacifist paladin archetype that simply wasn't allowed to attack anyone ever, without any additional mechanics to make it a viable choice. Such an option would be a waste of space at best, and a trap at worst. If there is not enough space to make such a thing work at all, then I believe many are of the opinion that it simply shouldn't be included to begin with.

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Sigh. Another misprint? The art object list accidentally omitted "a statue of two entwined succubi."

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While a fun idea, I would argue this build is actually quite weak.

TWF with Nodachis gives you a -4 to attack. Adding Wild Fighting makes it -6. That is pretty massive penalty, especially when you are losing a point of BaB to Alchemist and more to Ninja. Even when novaing with mutagen and rage you will only break even, which is going to be problematic against bosses (who tend to have higher ACs). Extra damage from from the Strength boost doesn't matter if you don't connect. In the end, a boring old Vivisectionist would probably have a more effective attack routine.

While nova is going to be scary, I'd argue it is worse for his allies than the enemy. Whenever he drops an opponent he is going to have to make a DC12ish Will save or attack whoever is nearest, and whenever he takes damage he needs to make a DC 15 Will save or get a -2 penalty to Intelligence and Will saves. These DCs may not seem that high, until you realize that this build is going to have a base Will save of +0 until level 7. Even with precautions, that weak of a save is enough to make the whole build worrisome. Having an ally turn to an enemy with a failed Will save is bad enough when they aren't four-armed Barbarian Ninjas hopped up on mutagen.

You'll also be MAD as all get-out, needing Strength for attack and damage, Dexterity for TWF pre-reqs (and to help your terrible AC), Constitution to make up for d8 HD and lost levels of Favored Class, at least an 11 intelligence to use your extracts, a high Wisdom to make up for horrible Will, and Charisma for Ninja Ki. Literally no dump stats. A character with a more generic build would be able to focus on a few important stats instead, again allowing to equal or surpass even this build's nova.

None of this to say that the idea isn't cool, and with very careful building it could even be moderately effective. However, I doubt the overall result will be as powerful as a more straightforward build, and certainly doesn't deserve people denigrating it for being "cheesy" or "power gaming." It is completely within the rules and uses a weird combination of classes to copy a neat character from a video game that the creator would like to imitate. Nothing wrong with that.

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Jubal Breakbottle wrote:
Bottomline, all core races have a net +2 to ability scores. This race does not and has zero offsetting limitations.

It absolutely does have offsetting limitations. The limitation is that their bonuses are to non-synergistic mental stats. Aasimar make poor choices for any sort of martial class owing to their lack of physical ability modifiers. As Wisdom-based casters, the Charisma bonus is going to be a +1 bonus to Charisma skills, and perhaps an extra "Channel Energy." As a Charisma-based caster, Wisdom is +1 to skills and +1 to their (already good) Will save, while leaving their (likely poor) physical saves low. These are not large modifications overall, and in a point-buy environment their overall ability scores may well be indistinguishable from a core race whose ability score penalty is irrelevant to their class.

The Resistances are certainly nice at very low level, but as soon as resist energy comes into play at level 3 they are less important (as resistances do not stack), and by mid-levels are easily forgotten amongst the myriad ways to gain resistance. Worse yet, they are missing fire resistance, which is by far the most common element (especially at low levels, where this ability is more relevant). It is by no means a bad ability, mind you, but not enough to make the Aasimar "exceedingly more powerful." Frankly, I'd rather have Hardy or Halfling Luck any day.

The overall package really isn't anything to write home about. They weren't even that great in 3.5, where their modifier was +4 vs +0 instead of +4 vs +2. Certainly not worth a level adjustment. While they are certainly better than the low end of the core races (poor little Half-Orcs), they easily fit into the spectrum of power between that and the high end (Dwarf). I believe the same can be said for the vast majority of the races in the book, with a few underground races as notable exceptions.

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Personally, my preferred system is a version of #2. Besides the enemies being on alert, they may bring in new allies, flee, or go on the offensive. When the nature of the adventure doesn't make these a possibility, though, I go with...

Assume They Will

Sometimes, there is no reason to hurry. The ancient catacombs guarded by traps, golems, and skeletons isn't going anywhere, and the denizens aren't smart enough to prepare defenses or even change their routine. So, when designing the adventure, assume that the party will be fully rested and equipped for each encounter. Multiple waves can simulate multiple encounters. Terrain, traps, and other preparations or effects can give the enemy extra advantages to help cancel out the fact the party can nova with their best abilities. While doing this with every encounter can make it feel like moving from setpiece to setpiece, it is a nice change when other factors can't prevent 15 minute work days.

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By taking the feat, you have access to all the tricks related to the selected item. However, you can only use the ones for which you meet the prerequisite.

For example, if I took Equipment Trick (Heavy Scabbard), and already had Improved Disarm, I could perform the "Capture Weapon" trick. If I later learned Blind-Fight, I could do "Find the Hidden" as well. I would be able to do as many or as a few of the tricks as I had the requisite feats or skills for. When I acquired those abilities does not matter, and I would not need to select any of the tricks when I took the Equipment Trick feat itself, or anything like that.

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Matthias wrote:
That said, when player races are listed at around half the RP cost of their core counterparts, that causes me to take pause and think about why that is.

There are some races that are weaker than others. Kobolds, even with their options, are very weak. However, this does not apply to most of the races. The elemental races, for example, have few RP because they aren't padded out with skill bonuses. +2 to Profession (Beggar)? 2 RP. Elemental Affinity? 1 RP. While they might not compare to, say, the Dwarf, they are all passable races, and situationaly strong as-is.

Matthias wrote:
It also means that my campaigns consist of mostly humans, dwarves, and half-elves, because a lot of the races that were previously questionable in ability have now had their weakness outed by the same authors that made them.

First, they probably aren't the same authors. There are many freelances and developers working for Paizo, and it is unlikely that the majority of the races were written by the same people who made the Race Builder.

Second, your own example shows the issue with this approach. People want to play Dwarves (11RP), Half-Elves (10RP), and Humans (9RP). Why not Elves or Gnomes at 10RP? The Dwarves are obvious, as they are wildly undervalued in terms of RP, but Half-Elves and Humans have great versatility that makes them more common than their RP cost would indicate. When you add in a pile of alternate races, Half-Elves and Humans will become less valuable, as their versatility will be less useful than picking a race that synergizes especially well with what one is doing. If you are allowing things from the ARG anyway, and indeed want to see weirder races get used, you don't need to add extra incentive. Picking specifically suited races for specific tasks will do it for you already.

Matthias wrote:
Just because Ifrits are decent for 1 class, does not make all of the races that are less than 6 RP ok.

I gave one example, but it is one in a giant sea. For example, look at the Ifrit's alternate racial traits. Fire in the Blood allows one to fully heal by sticking your face in a torch for a while. Or you can take Wildfire Heart, a +4 boost to Initiative that stacks with Improved Initiative, securing the Ifrit's place as a powerful option for any sort of Charisma based caster.

Or the Oread. They can trade their garbage magic stone spell-like ability for the ability to create difficult terrain. Bye bye, pounce. They also get a feat that gives them both Slow and Steady and Stonecunning, a very nice trade. Or the Samsarans, whose Mystic Past Life moved them from "Aasimar: Bad Version" to a borderline overpowered option. Or Vishkanya, who can turn their 1 RP Toxic into an encounter ender with the Sleep Venom feat.

The vast majority of the races in the book are totally fine for play as written, especially with all the race specific options available. If they are a synergistic class, they can even be extremely powerful. There is no reason to give out free abilities because an utterly arbitrary Race Builder gave low values to some of them. If anything, it should be taken on a case by case basis, perhaps giving a little bonus to those who choose to play against type, regardless of race. But in general, extra abilities don't need to be passed out to keep races as balanced as the core races themselves are (that is to say, not particularly).

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I am coming to loathe that ridiculous Race Builder. It is giving people crazy ideas, like "RP mean anything." Powerful abilities cost less than purely worse versions, skill points are wildly overpriced, and the whole thing only deals with a small part of what balances races. I would not recommend it for any purpose, especially not for comparing races built outside of the system.

The standard races, and even many of the featured and uncommon races, are not balanced on the value of individual abilities, but the overall package. Synergy, alternate features, racial feats and archetypes, and many other factors go into how balanced a race is, and even a Race Builder system with values that accurately reflected use would not give a good idea of how useful a race would actually be in use. For example, the Ifrit and Oread both get to count their Charisma as 2 higher if they have the elemental bloodline. However, the Oread has a Charisma penalty, while the Ifrit has a bonus. This means that the Oread is just brought up to average as a Sorcerer, while the Ifrit has the equivalent of +4 to their main stat, making them extraordinarily good as Sorcerers. Yet both races are valued the same, because the Race Builder does not deal with these factors.

So no, I do not think this is a good idea. The vast majority of the races in the book are totally suitable for player use as-is, with no need to add abilities because arbitrary RP values are different. If anything, giving extra abilities would do far more to imbalance races than minor variations between most of the options presented.

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I am a fan of the B3 version. Really just personal preference, I like my generic animal-folk more human-animal than animal-human, especially if they are being given the standard (extremely revealing) fantasy outfits(ew, snow leopard in a bra). The overall effect of the ARG versions felt more "Werecat" than "Catfolk" to me.

But since people seem to have such different responses to the different styles, hopefully switching between different looks will become the norm. Keep everybody at least half happy that way.

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Selective Channel is almost a requirement for the "healbot." Without it, you will be healing the enemy as much as your party. I'd also recommend the Oracle of Life instead of Cleric, as they are by far the best at this role (regardless of whether you consider this role a folly or not).

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Ever wonder where the term "The Head" came from?

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If general effectiveness is your goal, my very first suggestion would be to ditch having a two-handed weapon in your main hand. The extra attack penalty is generally not worth the damage bonus (and as you have guessed, you can't reduce the penalty). For best results, just grab a couple of Kukris. Same 18-20 crit range, and all of your Focus and Specialization feats will be applying to both weapons at once. This will work with Wakizashis as well, but using an Exotic Weapon Proficiency for an average of +1 damage/hit isn't a trade I would make.

Hammer the Gap isn't as helpful as one would think. Even with a very high attack bonus, your iteratives will have a good chance of missing, meaning you lose both the larger damage bonuses and the further increase in damage. I remember someone running the math when it first came out, and the results were rather disappointing.

Power Attack, on the other hand, will be an important source of extra damage (even with two-weapon fighting). I'd strongly recommend it before 16. As in, I'd recommend it at level 1.

Also, I just noticed, you don't have any Critical feats! The big reason people use critical builds is to pile status effects on enemies. Staggering, Blinding, Stunning... there are a lot of great options. I'd recommend looking into them.

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Jodokai wrote:
Now, to get to your post I quoted: This is actually a perfect example, and shows the flaw in your philosophy. Who's judging the cake to determine if it's better or not? You cannot make a better cake because everyone thinks different kinds are best it's all determined by who's doing the judging.

I am sorry, but this is Deviant Art logic. "You can't say my scribbled crayon drawing of Sonic the Hedgehog is worse than The Scream, because someone somewhere might like it better." "You can't say my cake, where I accidentally used salt instead of sugar, is worse than your cake because someone could theoretically like pure salt cake better!" When someone says "X is better than Y," they are already saying it based on general assumptions of quality. In this case, that general assumption of quality is "being a more effective system of completing a combat successfully while using minimal resources." Wraithstrike specifically pointed it out in the first post of the thread. It is patently unnecessary for every successive poster to repeat that just so that you don't perceive them as "pompous" or "arrogant." It is at best silly, and at worst catering to hypersensitivity.

Jodokai wrote:
If you want a less combative approach, try: My cake is better when judged by this criteria, and here's why. That gives people the opportunity to say, "we don't judge that way, that's why your cake would be inferior" and it becomes a discussion about the merits of your premise instead of defending against your arrogance.

You cannot honestly ask that people qualify every statement."I believe this cake is better, if you judge on the criteria of not containing rat poison." It is assumed that "not poisonous" is a criteria for a good cake. Likewise, in terms of the game, "X is better than Y" can be assumed to be for the criteria of "successfully completing the challenges presented." You then proceed from there to compare the merits of the arguments in terms of this premise. It is silly to ask that every conversation be about the relative merits of "succeeding versus failing at tasks" as a premise.

Feel free to present a more specific premise for an argument. It is perfectly logical to say "Option X is generally stronger, but for another purpose or circumstance Y is better." "Your cake may be better generally, but my cake is superior for those that don't like chocolate." The issue here is that that is already baked into the premise. Look at Wraithstrike's original post. He went to great care to present the idea that while taking other options in combat was generally the superior choice in terms of effectiveness, healing in combat could certainly be superior in specific circumstances. It is a response to threads where people ask "Can we survive without a dedicated healer?" or lamenting that they are being forced to play a character dedicated to in-combat healing so that their party can survive. It is not some arrogant demand that everyone play the game the same way, but a response to "Misconceptions about not healing in combat."

However, you have somehow interpreted this as "If the healer does nothing except play with his butt until healing is needed, then having a healer is a bad idea." This is quite insulting, especially from someone arguing that others take extra special care to not offend. Beyond that, I cannot see this as anything but a misinterpretation, deliberate or not. The whole argument is that spending your action on an action other than healing (not "[playing] with [your] butt") is, more often, a more mechanically effective choice than spending that action on healing. Perhaps if you had read the whole thread instead of "few posts" you have referred to, you would already understand that.

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LazarX wrote:
No it would would break the +5/+5 limit on enchantments, +5 for enhancments/and +5 for special qualities.

Source? I can't find anything except the +5 limit on Enhancement. There doesn't appear to be anything in the magic item section saying you are limited to +5 in special abilities too.

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There are electronic sources available to deal with this. d20pfsrd is the officially unofficial version of the prd, and is organized by type (feat, class, race, etc) rather than book. Many people seem to like Hero Lab to organize their options and rules for them. There is still a lot of material to sort through, but The Guide to the Guides can link you to sources that separate the wheat from the chaff for you (though, fair warning, they are of variable in quality and few are constantly updated for new material). Together, these sources and others make dealing with this issue much, much easier.

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