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Roseblood Sprite

Mort the Cleverly Named's page

1,256 posts. 6 reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Alexander Augunas wrote:
"Things don't need to be the optimally best choice in the game in order to be wicked cool."

Hello Mr. Augunas. It is hard to tell given how things are filtered in splatbooks, but I have theory that I am a huge fan of your design work, and would like everything to follow to come from a perspective of that degree of appreciation.

Okay, that said, there are a great many options in this book that fit neither criteria. Something can be horribly generic or have a super specific flavor and people will use it because it is good (Piranha Strike, Dervish Dance). Similarly something can ooze with flavor and be rarely mentioned because it is kind of terrible (the entire Aldori Dueling section of Inner Sea Combat).

So then, the issue I have with this book is not only are many feats non-optimal, they are also boring and then copy/pasted into two sections! Cushioning Armor is neither super cool nor optimal, and having it separate from Cushioning Shield is an insulting waste of space. If it was a freebie ability people would still probably not care about it at all.

Meanwhile many cool options are gated behind so many prerequisites that it may be cool in isolation, but is neither optimal (given the cost) or cool in general (because it ends up as the "one unique thing" you get to do). Like, in most situations the 5 feats spent on shielded gauntlet mastery could have made you much more awesome with a free buckler, with undisclosed effects in relation to two-hand/two-weapon combat (because the game seizes up on those).

So, while I fully acknowledge options can be niche, or involved in complex combos, or even just allowing specific flavors or themes, I don't think this sort of response can or should be used as a generic defense against any sort of criticism against one's work.


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I want to play an Action Point based Pathfinder, but it would be incredibly hard to convert. The Unchained system is not only unpolished but unfinished, has insufficient granularity, and makes some really terrible choices. Essentially, you cannot declare attack=move=swift=5' step=1/2 spell and that immediate=AoO without exploding everything, especially not when you are only going to throw out a smattering of abilities.

The most basic issue is that monsters are out of whack. Some get lots of small attacks, others get one big attack. The system doesn't attempt to address this, so T-Rex or wolf damage output just tripled (with three attack actions, natural attacks are not said to be different) while a Giant Octopus is as before, except someone stepping 5' out of range drops them from 8 tentacle attacks to 2. They don't even directly address pounce or fighting with a greatsword and a bite, things that are extremely common in the bestiary and pretty darn important. This isn't even getting to years of player abilities, we are on the level of "preview bestiary" and it doesn't work right.

You have similar issues across the board. Did your table rule Vital Strike as 1 action or 2? Then it is either a straight power up and size increasing builds are king or it is even more terrible than before. Abilities that move you from a standard to move to swift may or may not do anything, but if you can get something to immediate (normally not very useful) it becomes super awesome because now you are using your AoO pool and you are a Combat Reflexes away from having a huge one. The previous system just didn't value things this way, and fundamentally can't be used as the conversion.

Then there is the lack of granularity. One of the most popular house rules I've seen is some number of extra swift actions, because the smallest unit is "1 attack" and most are intentionally not worth that. The same with a 5' step, Rogues have enough trouble getting into Sneak Attack position without making the Fighter give up a tertiary attack for it. That, even by adjusting the values, there just isn't enough space to make something 1/2 or 1.5 attacks means you need to alter the very core to create something useable.

Finally, there is the fundamental issue that casters improve with more powerful spells, while martials improve by getting more attacks. Now, they are bogging down combat with 3 swings every round because "why not?" This empowers the self-buffing casters dramatically, as their previous limitation was often an excess of attack bonus but not enough BaB for more swings. So ironically, a system that people think will help martials only does so at the lowest levels before CoDzillas start ruling the roost.

Whew. So... not a fan. As I said, I'd kill for Action Point Pathfinder. However it needs much more work (like, all the pages from the Stamina section dedicated to it) and much more thought put in. As written, as much as I've played with it and wanted to love it, it just isn't worth the effort to fix.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
So...the game is not clear which actions are Evil and which aren't in many cases. Debate in those cases is about whether a particular action should be Evil, often based on people's real-world moral codes, rather than whether it is (since whether it's Evil is intentionally ambiguous).

I absolutely agree. Most of this "absolute morality" is not defined, and even if you grab random examples from setting material they may well be contradictory because they are written by different authors at different times. Heck, JJ has argued both sides of whether a good deity can believe what Erastil believed in Kingmaker before.

I'd add to it that, even if people agree something is "Evil," they don't agree on degrees. For example, even if everyone agrees an [evil] spell is Evil and animate dead is extra Evil, how much more Evil is it? To what degree does the fact I am using them to keep criminals from being raised and they are mining under close supervision ameliorate or change the moral impact (if at all)? What amount of Good deeds will make up for it, and how will casting [Good] spells relate to it?

Honestly, I'm fine with it being vague and table dependent. The only real issue I have is with the moral crusaders who demand that no, it is "absolute morality," and therefore whatever their opinions are about degrees of evil and good are absolutely true and you are just deluded to think someone could be Good while summoning a dretch now and then (or, alternatively, that there is no amount of dretchs they could summon that would make them Evil and so you are "wrong" in that direction). That may be true at a given table, but even with "absolute morality" it does not mean a person who decides things fall on a different part of the spectrum from you (in relation to the balance of these) is wrong.

PS: Can someone point me to the part of Ultimate Intrigue that says [evil] spells are Evil? It seems to be standard Paizo procedure so I do not doubt at all that it is there, but I have been unable to find it.


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James Jacobs wrote:
Depends on the nature of the sacrifice, but yes, it can. In order to damn a soul to Hell or wherever, regardless of the alignment of the person in life, there needs to be either a special ritual or a special tool or a special location or a special ability in play to ensure the soul is damned. Such a soul is STILL sorted by Pharasma, but since the right conditions were in place, she sends it on to wherever it was supposed to go. Don't forget that Pharasma is not your friend. She's not good. Nor is she evil. If it's a soul's fate to be damned after being sacrificed, so be it.

Can this work in the opposite direction? Would it be possible for, say, a legally ordained court of Iomedae to condemn a criminal to death and use a ritual/tool/location/ability so their soul gets sent to Heaven to be locked away instead of being sent to Hell or the Abyss or wherever, so their soul can't go on to reinforce an opponent?

Would the answer be different for, say, a CE priest of Calistria doing a human sacrifice, or an LE priest of Abadar doing an execution (with the same sort of intent and circumstance, of course)?

Ooh... and what about the various gods Pharasma personally despises, and her own worshipers? Could the correct ritual/location/etc have her condemn the souls of her own worshipers to the hands of Urgathoa, Zyphus, Orcus, or Sifkesh, when they enter her court for judgment?


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Bulette style devours your feats to be very slightly better at overrunning. Nobody generally cares about Overrun enough to even take all the existing feats, so this will probably be the last time anyone cares enough to mention it on this forum.

Yojimbo can use Resolve+ on a ward designated when he uses Challenge (instead of Mount), gets armor training with one specific armor instead of weapon expertise (because, you know, a bonus with chainmail OR breastplate would be totes overpowered), and Bodyguard +1 instead of Mounted Archer.


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Brew Bird wrote:
What does the Clockwork Armor do?

Field Plate +2 with a +4 enhancement to Str/Con so long as it is wound. It also can have a crossbow or firearm added that it can fire as a standard action, which is not only horrible but something you should be able to add to anything.


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Armored Battlemage is mind-bendingly awful. It loses Spell Combat for earlier access to Medium and Heavy armor proficiency, and gains Armor Training. They also use their Arcane Pool for armor bonuses and get a few flat GP cost options for completely absurd bonuses (+5 for greater shadow? Seriously?).

Shieldbearer gets Improved Shield Bash instead of Weapon Focus and uses their shield as their sacred weapon. They also, inexplicably, use their Channel Energy as a 30' cone instead of a radius.


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Does that not seem absurdly circuitous, especially for a book that is supposed to be about such things? I mean, the two sections obviously weren't written with the same hand, and the difference is tiny and vague.

Further, your statement isn't even true, that is only a vague suggestion. The book says:

Quote:
In this case, and in other instances of requests made to unfriendly or hostile characters, the GM should consider only allowing such requests that are couched in such a way that they seem to be in the target’s best interests.

Are you saying the feat exists to force the GM's hand in such matters? Though even then it won't, because despite only listing surrender, loss, mind control, or zealotry, Call Truce also offers "GM discretion" or arbitrarily increasing the DC. In practice I don't see the difference.

Let us face it: the feat does nothing. It changes "GM discretion" to "GM discretion." There is really nothing it could do that would not be a silly feat tax on a character wishing to use Diplomacy, as whether a situation works or not is still entirely the GM's discretion in either case and has to be.

Either that or it breaks GM discretion and I can stop rampaging Orcs, ravenous Ghouls, or anything else I can talk to and we are in a "Diplomancer" situation. The middle ground is so vague as to be essentially meaningless, and not referencing each other makes the two sections even worse. Honestly, this sort of thing is one of the biggest issues with the entire book.


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Rysky wrote:

It's meant more for enemies/Antagonists than player characters...

If you buff it up it changes from infighting to a good chance of constantly having a party TPK on your hands.

The archetype allows you to tell stories/adventures about some poor bastard that can't control themselves from shifting into a murderous beast, similar to lycanthropes.

You seem to contradict yourself. If it is an NPC class that shouldn't be allowed to a PC an infighting TPK does not matter, and it should be stronger. If it is a PC class then balancing "attacking your party" with "being weak" is just awful, it makes you doubly useless.

Essentially, despite being forced to make the save, it does not support telling a story about someone becoming a "murderous beast." It supports someone becoming an "angry, tall weakling" that just ripped his trousers. Basically, instead of the Hulk you are Mr. Furious.

There is a place for classes best suited to antagonists. However, I do not think this weak class that cannot accomplish the thematic actions described by OP does a good job at that either.


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Cavall wrote:
Guess it's not for you. It's an archtype so hardly game breaking.

I really dislike this sort of sentiment. The OP went to a lot of trouble to go through exactly why the archetype fails to represent its concept or source material well while also being an extremely mechanically weak option that encourages anti-thematic choices. A dismissive response like this reminds me of a certain Penny Arcade strip.

Entirely in theory someone, somewhere might like anything. However, generally speaking, I don't think it is controversial to say that people prefer archetypes that mechanically support their flavor and are similarly powerful (even if it is in very different ways). Therefore I think a well thought out and thorough criticism like this is quite valid and not deserving of such a dismissive response. It is like saying "it is not for you" when someone criticizes a chocolate cake recipe for being made entirely of gravel and salami.


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People have pointed this out. Similarly, their spell list includes the various protection from law spells and dispel law while they should probably have the inverse.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a tendency to fiddle too much or too little. The Tyrant didn't get a fixed weapon enhancement or spell list, but inexplicably lost Ride (you know those organized, lawful societies, really hate efficient horse-based transport). Meanwhile the Gray Paladin got a bunch of features kneecapped for the ability to Smite Neutral (and some stealthiness) instead of just being a less alignment restricted Paladin. Bonus points, it explicitly prohibiting worshiping a non-LG/NG/LN deity (despite, as far as I am aware, the class itself not explicitly requiring that).


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Quote:
It does have ramifications in the fact that not only can you beat truth spells by having information in a different form,but having a huge bonus to have your identity safe. Knowledge checks don't reveal information about your other identity unless your identity is revealed. [Ultimate Intrigue, Dual Identities Feature, Page 9]

This is the whole thing: if you don't care if your identity is known, then abilities to keep your identity known do not matter. Just like every other character. The problem is people are comparing not wanting to bother with that one ability to ignoring a Paladin's code, but since there is no defined effect (other than the aforementioned, which we intentionally do not care about) it is being responded to with unwritten roleplaying penalties, house ruled ability changes, and straight telling you you are playing the game wrong.

I feel much of this comes from the fact the game's choice to deal with forms rather than knowledge gets very weird. I should note that your example, presumably "Subjective Truth," is yet another ability that goes bonkers. Like many abilities it is based on your form rather than the targets knowledge. You could watch me stab a shopkeeper as a Vigilante and then Quick Change to Social, but if asked me if I stabbed the shop keeper I'd still get the "Subjective Truth" benefits!

Heathwool wrote:
In short, why would you want to play a Vigilante if you wanted to just reveal yourself? I mean, the level 2 Shadow Sight ability is really nice for a class feature.

Literally everything else. Talents like Cunning Feint and Mad Rush and Lethal Grace would work for any Fighter, Rogue, or Slayer, but they are glued to this class so this is the class to use if those represent your character concept the best. Dual Identity is just one ability, and I don't see why ignoring it is so much worse than my Inquisitor ignoring Monster Lore.

Why must I be forced into the shadows just for wanting to play a Magical Girl? It cuts off a huge amount of character concepts, in my opinion because a desire to force flavor on others combined with a desire to avoid dealing with the massive gaps in how the Dual Identity ability actually works.

EDIT: Also, literal unmasking is not the issue. It doesn't matter if you wear a rubber mask, face paint, or part your hair differently, it is about what happens when you are defeated and your identities made known.


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bigrig107 wrote:

A player that chooses to be a Paladin doesn't (on solid ground, anyway) complain that they have to have a code of conduct; its part of the class, and is known about before you choose your class.

Playing a Vigilante is accepting that you'll need to use your identities wisely, or suffer the consequences of your actions.

The difference would be a Paladin actually has a code of conduct. It also has a penalty for breaking it. Right there in the CRB, page 63-64.

The Vigilante has no code of conduct, nothing saying you have to stay secret, and more importantly nothing about what happens if someone's identity becomes widely known against their will. It says it isn't appropriate for every campaign, but that seems to talk about urban vs wilderness campaigns and I don't see any part of that ignoring that one specific class feature is a particular issue and choosing to ignore it or being unmasked should have the GM houserule all your abilities.

Rather, the idea that a Vigilante can be unmasked or could even choose to be unmasked is just ignored, which many have filled with all sorts of unwritten rules rather than accept as a blind spot. Personally, I think that making a class like this and never addressing "what happens when the Green Goblin gets unmasked at the end?" (even if it addressed by saying in the book "the GM will have to make stuff up") is a pretty severe issue, and no amount of enforced roleplaying can fix or even fully avoid it.


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Except for the whole "Council of Thieves" and "Hell's Rebels" APs that came out before Vigilantes existed, and seemed to be able to do just fine. If they needed this class to be okay then the whole party would need the class to be okay, because otherwise you just scry Aquaman instead because he is always just Aquaman while the rest of the Justice League... er... Children of Westcrown do their thing.

Also, in relation to Squiggit, the problem is you DO still have two identities. "Oh no, it is Peter Parker! I know he is Spider-Man, but since he is not wearing the suit I am not afraid!" Alternatively "Oh no, it is Spider-Man! I know that is actually well liked local reporter Peter Parker, but I'm not going to like him better until he switches back into his civies. I'll wait."


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Sure (unless you hide as an Everyman or something). It is also one that is already in the rules, and the situation literally every non-Vigilante in the game faces.

However, there is no conception of ignoring the ability and have an identity that is well known as both Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Given the possibility of that choice, or being unmasked, or needing to create a new identity, it seems a pretty big hole in the mechanics. If a random townsperson sees Spider-Man and knows he is Peter Parker, is it really reasonable that (as written) Spidey needs to spend a minute changing pants and psyching up to be Pete before his Social boosts applies?

More importantly, from what I've seen, people seem very keen on applying penalties for people whose identity is known. Not so much integrating the abilities or something, but penalties. Which is the topic of the entire thread. Despite the lack of mechanics it seems very important for people to tell someone doing this they are playing wrong, or chose the wrong class, or should lose abilities for it, or horrible things from mobsters will happen despite every other character being in that exact situation, or at the very least the fact the game doesn't even entertain the concept is somehow a good thing.


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As written that is simply not how it works. Luke Cage has people in his area of renown be Friendly instead of Indifferent. He can spend a minute getting angry and maybe change shirts, then everyone in several miles will be intimidated instead. Whether they know they are the same guy is completely unrelated to this, it is a function of the form rather than their knowledge. More importantly he needs to spend that minute, because he still keeps a social and vigilante form.

This is a pretty classic Oberani Fallacy. "The class has no issues, because I can ignore what is written and make up a bunch of house rules. If you have problems you are doing it wrong." The fact is this class didn't really think through the fact that, in totally normal play, these are important issues that could come up. They didn't even bother to talk about it as an issue. Rather, it is just totally ignored and all issues people raise handwaved.


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I don't see anything like that in the text you quoted. It mentions "social aptitude, roleplaying, politics, negotiation, and manipulation." None of those are "definitely keep your identity secret." It says wilderness exploration, travel, or dungeon delving would be poor choices. Still not a single word about secret identities being absolutely mandatory to keep secret.

And again: What of the Masked Performer? Same ability, but it is inexplicably okay for them to ignore it.

As for what the GM chooses to do, I'll just repeat what I said before:

Past Mort wrote:
While I'm certain some GMs will feel the need to brutally punish players who choose to ignore the Dual Identity stuff, there is no mechanical requirement and the abilities are not out of line with what a normal character could have, and I see not reason to take them away unless they explicitly say to. Frankly, it makes the class drastically more playable in a normal game with other non-Vigilante PCs.

People can choose to do otherwise. However I do not think it is necessary, and think doing so unnecessarily pigeonholes the class to an ultra specific idea for no good reason.


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Ian Bell wrote:
If Luke Cage doesn't have a secret identity that needs mechanical representation, then by Pathfinder standards he should probably be playing a brawler.

The Masked Performer Bard also has the mechanical representation of a secret identity, but it explicitly supposed to be one that everyone knows about. Why is it acceptable for them not to keep their secret but not for Luke Cage?

Further, Dual Identity is just one of a big pile of abilities for the Vigilante. For example the Arachnid Wildsoul is pretty obviously Spider-Man. After a story arc where Peter Parker reveals his secret identity to the world is he supposed to retrain to another class that doesn't actually support any of his iconic abilities because ignoring Dual Identity is totally unacceptable? Similarly, does every villain Vigilante that gets defeated and forcibly unmasked have to do a total rebuilt after because that isn't okay?

One can certainly, intentionally or not, end up with a Vigilante whose cover is totally blown. The issue is that the game does not address that possibility or give guidance to its implications, which really is important given how much time they spend talking about the feature. By doing it purposefully one shines a spotlight on that issue, but they are not responsible for creating it.


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Quote:
All those mob bosses you beat up can now go after your family.

So... the exact same situation as every single PC before this class was made and every non-Vigilante in the campaign. Unless they are hiding what they are doing in a traditional way outside of this one specific class feature, of course.

Quote:
Plus, I would imagine a lot of your civilian talents stop working (such as the ones that involve you hobnobing with royalty) after people realize that Steve the socialite is that they go golfing with is actually pumping them for info so he can exact vengeance as the Scarlet Pimpernel.

Alternatively I'm certain the Royal Wizard, Captain of the Fighters, and Archbanker of Abadar will be horrified you are going around battling the Thieves' Guild in normal, legal Adventurer fashion. Renown is little different from being a Celebrity Bard, and I would not see the need to take it away just because people know you put on a different hat and punch people in a legal and socially acceptable manor.

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

While I'm certain some GMs will feel the need to brutally punish players who choose to ignore the Dual Identity stuff, there is no mechanical requirement and the abilities are not out of line with what a normal character could have, and I see not reason to take them away unless they explicitly say to. Frankly, it makes the class drastically more playable in a normal game with other non-Vigilante PCs.

The only weird part is that a known Vigilante would have to change identities at all. If everyone knows that Luke Cage is Luke Cage, shouldn't he just get his Intimidate Bonus or Reaction bonus depending on the person, rather than depending on whether or not he spent a minute grunting and winding himself up first?

Well, that isn't the only weird part, I've got a list of those that starts with switching forms and thus alignments before kicking puppies, but this is the one that is going to come up the most in this situation.


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I'm going to say I have big issues with the storyline.

You start in Belkzen, but Orcs are only there until you are high enough level for giants. So knowing you start with stabbing orcs you need to actually be motivated to stab giants.

From Book 3 on this should be a campaign about armies. It seems like the obvious course of action would to be rally Lastwall, Nirmathas, Janderhoff, and possibly Korvosa, Ustalav, and even Nidal against the giant armies. However, I haven't noticed the path even mentioning that as a possibility. You just go from location to location beating in faces without dealing with the world around you (as far as I have found, which may be in error).

Also, Book 6 is terrible. A totally static castle you can blow up ten minutes into the adventure, that makes it difficult to come and go and doesn't make you feel the heat of the fact this is supposed to be an invading army.

It isn't, like, unplayable or anything. But there are 18-20 APs now, and given the issues this isn't going to be anywhere near the top of my "to run" pile.


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James Jacobs wrote:
in the same way a failed Iomedan soul might go to hell to be tormented, etc.

Whoa, back up for a moment there. This sort of thing is all well and good when you have dualism, but in polytheism based on an alignment grid damning folks to Hell for "failing" at worshiping a LG god has a lot of implications I don't think have been worked through.

If a worshiper of Asmodeus gives a little too generously to orphanages do they get "punished" by being sent to the afterlife without all the torture? Does a Urgathoan baker who "failed" (by Urgathoa's standards or some generic standard, I'm not sure how "failed" works when we are talking about worshipers of gods but the only definition is lacking "faith OR passion") get punished by being sent off to Nirvana and maybe baking cakes for Shelyn instead?

More importantly, what about the Neutrals? Do Gorum's followers get punished by being sent to live in the tidy, well run city of Axis? What about Nethys or Gozreh, they are dead center. What happens to their failed souls? Is it different if you failed because you got too far into a corner of the axis grid as opposed to keeping your alignment but rejecting magic/nature as opposed to just not caring enough about anything? Which of those would actually be a "fail" condition, anyway?

And while we are at it, why the heck can't I sell my soul to a psychopomp or Abadar or someone? Why is Evil the only team that gets to bypass judgment? Why doesn't "baptism" of some sort work in the opposite fashion?

I know it is a lot of questions, but as far as I know this hasn't really been touched on in anything and directly stating it opens a box of worms. While many books are obviously, though not explicitly, based on vaguely Christian notions of sin and virtue, damnation and redemption, and so on, they kind of just ignore it and everyone else does too. However when you directly state something like this the whole issue of 9 alignments governed by numerous powers with different definitions of positive acts and negative acts, and reward and punishment, I don't think you can just handwave it.


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Opuk0 wrote:
Although I'm not a particularly huge fan of the DC being 11+modifier. I understand it's to keep the same math, but it feels sort of... Blocky? We don't attack vs AC 11+modifier after all, so it just feels a little off-putting to me.

First, it actually isn't the same math. They either forgot to account for the average roll being 10.5 or for ties, either way for things to stay the same it actually needs to be 12 + modifiers, not 11.

Regardless, it is trivial to switch around. Make the DC 10 + modifiers and make the attack roll modifiers - 2 instead.

I wouldn't recommend just getting rid of it, though. Spells are already TPK fuel (for monsters or players), and you really don't want to give them +10% chance of success.

As for the system, I prefer the "players roll everything" variant from 3.5. Basically the players use spell attack rolls offensively and saving throws defensively. Same with normal attacks and "defense rolls." It keeps people invested and makes them feel like they are responsible for success/failure, even if the math is all the same.


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And "conserving resources" is not the same as a castle on an invasion plan that has more than two levels worth of encounters and will likely take days to clear unless you are tricked out enough to (without rest, two levels down) beat the boss and three captains who are stated to (through mechanisms I am not clear on) join him in the final battle.

It straight said this would be a "virtually unwinnable encounter" or the like and you should discourage PCs from fighting the leader without taking them out, but I couldn't find any mechanisms it set up to do that. I can certainly make up those mechanisms, just like making up how the castle reacts to getting to a populated area or the piles of corpses left by PCs hitting and running over a few days, but because I can fix it doesn't mean the adventure is particularly useful to start, and as I said from the start seems more like a "set piece" than a proper "adventure" meant to be played. I'm not particularly interested in paying money for an adventure I would, in the course of entirely reasonable and likely actions by players or enemies, end up having to mostly write myself.

I was hoping there was something specific I had missed, but otherwise I don't think this is an adventure I'll bother picking up.


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Revan wrote:
If the PCs goal is to rain a destructive storm of debris down on the land blow, than sure, they could set off the bomb. Heroism for herois's sake, however, is likely to be concerned about collateral damage.

You can entirely naturally run into this thing literally minutes into the adventure, which starts in the middle of the Mindspin mountains. "Oh, it is automatically always over populated areas" is not a particularly satisfying answer. Also, by the time the castle actually is over populated areas things will change drastically inside because of the whole "invading" thing, and again the castle's (as far as I could find, and would still hope I missed information about) static nature makes it seem not so much an "adventure" as a "set piece."

Quote:
As for how the post find the time to rest... Well, that's their problem isn't it? If Golarion's latest batch of superheroes actually have to think about how they're fighting the bad guys, that strikes me as a good thing.

It is an adventure designed to be run and played. You could also have the storm giants attack in book one and say "welp, that is their problem," but it would be a terrible adventure. Similarly, writing an entirely static castle without regards to how an adventure will actually work in it makes for a less useful product.


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Got a chance to read this at the store, and I'm a bit confused on downtime and motivation.

The adventure didn't seem to address taking a nap. It starts right after Adventure 5 with no time to even recover abilities, then sticks you in a heavily populated castle that is moving and surrounded by an energy field, making it extremely difficult to get in and out (especially for players who don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of every high-level trump and countertrump spell). Ignore the lack of shopping trips for three levels, it doesn't seem plausible you could even rest without the extremely high level opposition finding your mage's magnificent mansion door, or at the very least noticing the piles of corpses and going on alert, drastically changing their actions (which the adventure didn't address, as far as I could find).

Then there is the motivation. There is a giant bomb already set up to solve the PC's problems and achieve their goals, unless they decide their brand new goal from this adventure of "own a cloud castle" is totally more important. After an entire path that seems to push for heroism primarily for heroism's own sake I don't see that as likely. The adventure only seems to address this in relation to the bomb accidentally going off after the final encounter, not intentionally setting it off to cripple their enemies, which I think is a huge missed opportunity and important thing to at least mention.

Overall, I really hope I am missing something on these issues. Otherwise it seems like the adventure will generally end with playing 25% of the adventure as a surgical strike on the engines followed by having to write entirely new material for the aftermath, and ignoring the other 75%. I think that other 75% is still good in isolation, mind you, and would like to run it, but just don't see how that is going to work with the aforementioned issues. It seems more like the adventure is an elaborate set piece that will require the GM to create the actual adventure from it.


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I'm just going to say: I have no idea what to write here.

I don't know what concepts are already accepted. I don't know what is absolutely anathema. I don't know what is on the bubble and deserving of extra commentary to push it over. So really anything I write is quite likely to be a waste of breath. Other than Mark there really hasn't been a lot of commentary on this playtest, and I think that is tragic.

This is a confusing class concept, based on "have a secret identity" without giving reasons you specifically want a secret identity. I don't know if it is intentionally supposed to be an ultra-specific concept for specifically designed campaigns, the developers think of it in a different way, or they think the specializations are legitimately good enough to stand on their own and the secret identity is just flavor.

So basically, while others have gone the distance with massive commentary on numerous aspects, I just don't see what we are supposed to do. It feels like yelling off a cliff, hoping random words will happen to find appropriate ears. I enjoy Pathfinder and playtests, but without better feedback I've lost the will to participate on these forums.


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The thing is, someone murdering Varisians at night to save our pure Chelish blood would also be a fine Vigilante given what we have. So would a follower of Norgorber, or similar "cultist" sort. They aren't a class with particular ability at fighting for law and order, nor good or evil, they are a class that lets you be a subtlety different, often weaker version of another class + Secret Identity. That makes Secret Identity what differentiates them as a class.

The problem is that mostly it just gives you the identity, not stuff to do with it. Bruce Wayne isn't useful to Batman just because, Batman is often written as a weirdo that could go Punisher really easily. Bruce Wayne is useful because he comes with awesome abilities like "Billionaire," "Wayne Enterprises Resources," "Well Connected," and "Family Name" that Batman can't really have (given his actions are illegal, and would get them taken away). Don Diego, Sir Percy, Norman Osborne... a lot of "secret identity" characters have the same reasoning.

So, I'd argue the Vigilante needs to be someone with two forms, both of which have useful abilities and a strong reason to keep them separate. I honestly don't know how to accomplish this, but I also don't know how the class will fully gel (mechanically or thematically, in play or in theory) without it. A fundamental rewrite of the concept into a protector/destroyer thing could make an interesting class, certainly an easier one to write and integrate into a game, but is pretty far from what we are working with and likely beyond the scope of possible changes at this point.


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The essential problem is that having a social identity with few specific abilities beyond a very mild social boost is mostly useful if your nocturnal activities would make it impossible for you to go buy a sandwich without being jumped by the cops (or the Bloods), or at least keep you out of polite society. So in Council of Thieves it could conceivably matter, but wouldn't make much sense in Kingmaker. You are the government there, you would only need to hide your activities if you were kidnapping people for blood sacrifices or something.

Likewise Legacy of Fire has a couple of adventures around a community, but not in a way that having a secret identity would matter all. Everyone likes you there, you aren't doing anything illegal, so there isn't much point. Even Curse of the Crimson Throne won't really matter, by the time a secret identity would be a boon you are headed out. I can think of maybe one point in Mummy's Mask you would want this, Jade Regent could get a bit of use towards the end as well, but it is pretty minimal spotlight time for the abilities for a full campaign.

Basically, the issue is that "urban," "sedentary," and "intrigue" aren't enough to make the base Vigilante abilities meaningful. That takes a very specific form and order of conflict, and other than Council of Thieves and maybe the upcoming Hell's Rebels I just don't see that featuring heavily in APs.

In theory one could make a specific character where they needed the special abilities to protect friends and family (in Curse of the Crimson Throne this would be very important), or get real creative with your Baker Street Irregulars (subject to however your GM makes that work), but even expanding to that... I honestly don't see a lot of utility for these adventures beyond what one could bring with another class, and thus would have difficulty making it "really shine." I think beyond the mentioned games that is going to take specifically designed campaigns and/or all-vigilante groups (or post-playtest additions, of course).


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Mostly because once we're already changing it, it becomes distracting noise in the playtest (whereas the first collection of times was very useful in convincing people of the point). It's precisely like if you dealt enough damage to defeat a foe but then you directed your next arrow at the dead enemy, instead of at the live one nearby. If you did not believe Jason from the interview, though, that he's already convinced to change it, then it would be worth it to continue.

Well of course people do that when the opponent doesn't fall down!

If you want people to stop mentioning it, make a big ol' sticky saying "Issues we are already addressing" with a description of how you perceive the comments. There are lots of issues, and not all of them are addressed in the interview (nor is everyone seeing it).

That is why it would be important to put, in an obvious place, an explanation in the developers own words of what has happened and what they are thinking of doing. This will allow people to continue commenting only if they have something different from the already mentioned points to add. In the ACG playtest, for example, Stephen was great at this sort of thing.


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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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Fun!

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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