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I would argue that blink is a bad idea. A melee character's purpose is to hit things and the miss chance goes directly against that single goal. While blink has a lot of other benefits, not hitting a target is too great a penalty. Remember, if offense is not the melee character's best defense, that character shouldn't be in that fight.
Because half the group was Good aligned and did not agree with looting the mansion of a guy who may not be dead or evil. The disagreement between "maybe the Whispering Way lied and the Count isn't a bad guy" and "no one is looking so lets load up the wagon and get rich!" overflowed into real life and almost destroyed the gaming group itself.
I had to step in and force the issue that the PCs were not actually looters, even the Neutral characters, and to make them not loot the place. Was better than ending the adventure right there.
So if the druid gets hurt, he chases his tail until he catches it in order to deliver the touch spell? I've watched my cats do this and tail chasing looks pretty complicated and involved; certainly takes more than a few seconds. Perhaps the druid is also using it with an attempt to confuse and confound the enemy?
Seriously though, no he can't. Touch spells are still involve a touch attack (though the target may choose to be willing, it just means you automatically hit). Touch attacks must be delivered by something that can deliver attacks. The leopard's tail cannot be used to deliver attacks since it is not a natural weapon. Ergo, no touch spells on the tail.
The relevant text: "She still retains the Hit Dice, base attack bonus, saving throw bonuses, and skill ranks of the prestige class, but gains all other class features of her aligned class as well as those of the evangelist prestige class."
Pretty straight forward - you continue to add the 10 evangelist levels to the wizard levels for calculating everything mentioned above. Basically, you gain the hit dice, BAB, Saving Throws, and skill ranks of a level 6 wizard and the features of a level 16 wizard.
Yeah... as written, the consecrate effect is at will (so long as it is on a sturdy surface and not disturbed). Of course, that may be sloppy editing and the 'once per day' should be transitive across the bless and consecrate abilities. It would still require a standard action to activate. No additional costs are required to activate a magic item (unless otherwise noted).
The monster would still have to take a movement action, but it can simply stop moving whenever it wants. So it can react to being hit by stopping movement to face the new threat, it doesn't have to keep going to the intended end location, however once it has declared it is 'moving' (regardless of distance) the move action has been taken and it can no longer use full attack actions or five foot steps.
Lets say you are hiding behind a pillar and a monster fails to see you. As it walks past you, you get an AOO. When you take it, the monster becomes aware of you. After resolving the AOO, the monster may now choose to continue moving, change direction, or stop moving.
Readied actions allow you to delay part of your turn until a certain condition is triggered. This condition expires at the start of your next turn in the initiative order, when you get another full round action. So you have already moved 10 feet this round and are just readying your standard action at this point.
Combat rounds are defined as a complete pass through the initiative order, but it is a personal value, not a global one. Each character gets one action in a round of combat, true, but 'full round actions' start on the character's turn and end just before the character's next turn, not at the top of the initiative order.
Half my group wanted to loot, half my group threatened to walk out of the adventure. They didn't loot the castle. In thanks for being rescued, the Count gave them a prize equal to the value of the goods they could have looted.
The solution is easy to implement and the players won't even know they could have looted the place. Unless you give them price tags next to every item or they are the kind of 'adventurer' that robs a place blind.
As for the value? Pop open a calculator and add things up during a quick read-through.
Try this thread which is really just a collection of links to other threads regarding the "Does Catch Off-Guard count as improvised weapon proficiency?" question.
The general idea is that no, technically there is no way to become proficient in an improvised weapon HOWEVER it is also perfectly reasonable for a GM to choose to interpret Catch Off-Guard as making one proficient in improvised weapon. Just remember that this is not a formal definition.
In a home game, I'd totally let you run this concept. In a PFS game, you are asking for some trouble if the table's GM disagrees with your interpretation.
Well, you're still 'wearing' armor, it is just magically hidden and has no effect upon you... but the intent is that a monk isn't able to move smoothly if wearing armor, but since wild shape gets rid of armor penalties then it isn't going to affect the monk... but the real reason is for balance... So it is up to your GM.
The monk penalty doesn't come from having armor or shield AC bonuses but from specifically wearing armor. A wild shaped creature is NOT wearing armor; they do not suffer penalties from any armor they were wearing in normal form and don't even need to be proficient in the armor type when they have wildshaped. Strictly speaking, you retain the Monk bonus (unless I'm unaware of any FAQs on the matter, of course).
However, I would not allow it because it is clearly against the intent of the rule, which is that the monk AC bonus is to be used in place of, not in support of, real armor.
He doesn't have to hold his holy symbol, he simply has to have it prominently displayed (on a chain around his neck, on a tabard, worked into the hilts of the two swords, or even engraved on the swords).
If he is holding two scimitars, he can attack twice as a full round action; this means he cannot take a move action (move more than a single 5 foot step), pull out an item from a bag, pick something up, or cast any spells. If he does move, then he can only attack once.
Two more points: Playing as the GM and a PC is somewhat hard (as is GMing for your fiance since you don't want a lucky crit from the goblin king to leave you sleeping on the couch, heh). You know the DCs, the ACs, the attack bonuses while the other player doesn't. You control the monsters positions and what they do while also having a vested interest in not having your character die.
It may help to play things a bit more open in terms of monster numbers in the early levels. It makes things a bit more fair and lets you get a feel for the power of a monster given its level when you know the numbers.
Alternatively, you can run the game as the GM and have your fiance basically run the PCs. You can still do the combat stuff for your guy, but the one player decides (with your suggestions, if you want) where to go and what to do. It isn't especially easy and takes some work, but you can look for suggestions on playing a solo / single PC / one on one game (different terms for the same thing) to get ideas on how to best do it.
Some are just one PC, others have a 'GM PC' to help (like you are doing now), and others involve a PC plus several NPC followers that can be tapped to help out on adventures (say five or so and the player can take two or three along as needed). Single PC games can involve a lot more stealth or subterfuge, they can have much deeper and involved stories (since you don't have to worry about claims of favoritism, you can actually have a single PC be the "chosen one" and give them a lot of attention).
PS - Using pre-gen characters is a great idea when starting, not unorthodox at all.
1) The beginner's box is a subset of the game. You won't really have to learn different rules from what you know, just more rules than you know. It is relatively easy to start plugging in some of the advanced systems, opening up the various choices (feats, spells, races, classes), and otherwise slowly expanding from the BB base.
2) Turns only have meaning in combat as a way to allow a fair chance for everyone involved to act. Outside of combat, it is personal preference. If there is no more combat or traps, you can stop using the map and turns. If there are undiscovered traps, or monsters waiting to ambush, I may use the map, but I may just keep asking the players what they are doing every minute or so of game time. Once someone hits the trap or triggers the ambush, I'll have the players put their minis down about where they would have been.
3) Well... you get 1 hit point per level from a "full night's sleep". In pathfinder, that is described as a solid 8 hours of rest. Usually, however, this is really 8 hours within a 24 hour period. You cannot sleep for 8 hours, adventure for 2, sleep for 8, adventure for 15 minutes, then sleep for 8 again. However, if you take a day or two off from adventuring and just take it easy for 24 hours, it is perfectly reasonable to gain 3 times the 8 hour rest number.
This 8 hours thing is also needed by spell casters (wizards, clerics, at least) to memorize a spell list and to recharge any used spell slots. It can only be done once per 24 hours.
4) Remember that this isn't a video game. It is a living story within a living world. It is generally smart, as the GM, to always let the players have some way to run away if things get bad (it sure beats having everyone die, at least in the early levels). However, the players may have gotten out but the Goblins are still going to go about their lives. They may fortify, bring in more guards, or set ambushes to attack the PCs when they return.
Try to think as a goblin from their point of view; what did the PCs say and do? What do the goblins want? What would they do to PCs who attacked them vs ones who tried to be nice and left when the king got angry. Maybe the king demands money or for the PCs to go kill some kind of monster for him after they were so rude last time!
5) Always round down (so yes, half of 1 is 0).
6) As with question four, it is always a more interesting story to keep PCs alive than to kill them. Later on, when everyone is far more skilled with the game, killing PCs is different (some games are bloodbaths with each player running through a half dozen characters while others never feature PC death either because the GM avoids it or the players are just very good).
In this situation, I'd have monsters knock the players unconscious (-1 or worse hit points) and then go after the other guy. Then the two PCs would wake up in a jail and have to get out through roleplaying and/or combat... or outside the cave with a crude note saying "and don't come back!". These outcomes are a far more interesting story, and the point of the game is to have interesting stories.
7) Heal is a skill. Skills are an area that is simplified from the full game, so assume in this case that if you have the skill (ranks were put into it, which may be automatic with the pregen characters) then you can use any action it allows. Heal is mostly for out of combat use (except for the check to stabilize someone), to provide care and thus allow more hit points to be gained back with rest.
As for monster care, I don't have the Beginner's Box and can't be certain of the specific wording. As for healing monsters, well, it may come up. If you decide to not kill the Goblin King after beating him, maybe you'll need to use some first aid (showing mercy may be a good thing, though realistically, a goblin would likely turn on you the moment it can).
8) Again, I don't have the book, but in general if there is no specifics on something in the adventure book (which happens), then it is up to the GM (one of their jobs, in fact) to fill in the missing details. You try to make it seem reasonable and have it fit within the game. Would a bunch of goblins let you take their treasure, even if you did help them? Not likely, but maybe you can get them to pay you extra with some use of Diplomacy? Or maybe you can have one PC distract the goblins while the other sneaks over to grab some gems or an item. Though be sure to know what you'd do if the plan fails!
9) Again, whatever seems reasonable. They probably wouldn't be allowed to walk right up to the King; most likely, the guards would stop the PCs and lead them over to the king.
Generally, you want to let the PCs place their models on the board in a reasonable location when a scene with combat starts. By reasonable, it can be a bit tricky. If you say "place your models on the map" or "can I have a perception check?", the players know there's about to be a fight and may try to be a bit... unrealistic about placement. "oh, uh, well my ranger just happened to have climbed this tree over here right before the bandits attacked... because, uh, he likes climbing trees?" is a bit suspicious. However, if the ranger was on the side of the road looking at some plants because earlier he said he was keeping an eye out for certain herbs, then that's totally fine.
10) You generally don't tell anyone anything. However, any PCs with a bit of attention will figure out the AC by simply taking note of what does and doesn't work. If a 16 misses but a 17 hits... the AC is 17, so it really isn't a big secret. However, I won't start off the fight by saying that either. You would not tell them about the bad guy's attack bonuses or hit points though.
It may not be a bad idea to come up with phrases like "he is unhurt", "he is a bit bloody but still coming at you", "he is definitely limping but is determined to fight on", and "he is swaying and has some difficulty focusing on you as he swings his sword" to give the PCs a feel for how damaged the monster is. I am also a fan of the "He's hanging by a thread" or "a few threads" or "six threads" when a monster has just a hit point or two (or six, heh) left.
I also tend to hint heavily at, say, a wizard who is planning on spending a big spell on something that is a sling stone away from death because no one likes wasting a burning hands when the goblin has 2 hit points left
11) Officially, PCs don't know what any magical item is until it has been identified. This can be fudged a bit, especially if they already have a few potions of CLW and can say "hmm, looks the same, tastes the same, smells the same" in comparison. Now, you can still use something that isn't identified. A +1 magic sword still gives +1 to attack and damage even if you have no idea that it is a magic sword.
You can hint at it though: if the PC attacking a goblin gets, say, a total 15 to-hit and the monster has a 16 AC, you can even say something like "Your sword strikes true but the goblin turns to block the blow with his thick armor. To you, but more importantly the goblin's surprise, the blade punctures the heavy leather and draws blood!". This indicates that it hit a bit better than simple skill (the PC's normal attack bonus) would suggest, hinting at it being a magical weapon. However, in my games, I don't generally bother with hiding what a magic item is or does; PCs like magic items so much and identification is pretty straight forward that I'd rather just give it to them straight.
Lastly, you need to always keep in mind that the game as written is for a group of four players. If you only have two, you will probably want to make combat less busy; reduce the number of bad guys by 25-50% (especially boss fights). You can also stagger combats to make it less of a bum rush. For example, the Goblin King may let his guards attack the PCs first and won't get involved himself until the guards are mostly dead.
The written adventures are frameworks with suggestions built into them. They are never expected to be run 100% by the book because every party is different. Some groups will absolutely destroy anything considered by the rules as "level appropriate", so the GM makes stuff much harder. Other groups may not have any arcane spell casters, so the GM has to change the arcane puzzle into something the PCs can actually solve. It is alright if the PCs fail, but they should fail while trying, rather than fail because they can't even try.
As for getting a thrown knife or a used bolt. The official rule (from the full game) is that you can always retrieve the thrown weapon, but ammo is different. If it hits the target, it is considered destroyed. If it misses, there's a 50% chance that it is still usable. Of course, this assumes the PCs can loot the room; it may be that the PCs win the fight but run out immediately to chase a running goblin (which is usually more important than recovering a few arrows).
However, it is also going to make the game much faster if you assume thrown weapons are automatically retrieved after the fight (unless they have to run away) and ammo is always destroyed. As with many things, you are trading a bit of realism away to make things move a bit more smoothly.
Welcome to Pathfinder! It is a different kind of game than most are useful, it takes some getting used to and practice to even be a player, let alone a GM. However, it is also a whole lot of fun; where else can you create a world of your own bound only by imagination? Where you choose the direction of the adventure and tell the stories you want to tell!?
Feel free to post any questions, comments, concerns, funny stories, or anything really on the boards and the community will be here to help!
Sure, I get your theory, but the rules don't support it. You could probably argue that you could use it to, say, climb and thus make the check with int mod instead of strength mod. However, it doesn't let you attack any differently because the rules don't give any reason to provide the capability to swing a sword harder or throw a weapon with more force.
However, your GM may agree with your theory; it isn't especially game-breaking since it is a limited use ability and by the time you can use it a notable number of times a day you will not be doing much melee attacking.
Cost of a magic weapon or armor or shield: Sum all the enchantment bonuses (+1 through +5) with the bonus equivalent values of the various qualities. This number is the weapon's total enchantment value.
Take the total enchantment value to the cost table and there you go!
If you're upgrading a weapon, you pay the difference between the value of it currently subtracted from the cost of a weapon with the new enchantment value.
So, for the purpose of costs, a +3 rapier and a +1 ghost touch agile weapon is the same amount of gold.
It is worth noting that archery is the key to high damage in Pathfinder. It is also worth noting that as the GM, it is your job to ensure combat is challenging for the group, and while the adventure paths are a great framework/starting point, they will definitely require some modification as you progress.
I had the same issue in my Carrion Crown game. Inquisitor archer that would absolutely destroy things. So I played dirty. Potions of invisibility, casters with greater invisibility and wind wall and darkness and obscuring mists, ambushes, etc. I killed him twice and both times were by having something very large corner him and trade bow shots with AOOs. I also stymied his actions with various spells and by adding casters that were not normally in the creature layout for a fight. And minions. Lots of minions that would soak up one to two arrows but still be strong enough to threaten the lower AC casters.
Now, Carrion Crown is nice because you spend the the later books fighting through ranks of a cult, so it is entirely expected that the bad guys will learn the party's combat patterns and tactics, then move to block it (potions of Freedom of Movement became a lot more popular amongst the cultists after the monk grappled and murdered one of the bigwigs in the cult, heh).
So don't feel bad about employing counteractions when the players get crazy. I wouldn't target him from the get go of a fight, but even random one-off combats (in which foreknowledge of a super archer is unlikely) can have a sudden focus on the archer in the back because he killed three people in his first full round. That's usually enough to get some attention from any controllers or ranged types on the bad guy's side.
Lastly, make the combats more dynamic. Add columns, trees, bushes, and underbrush. Have enemies come at the party from multiple angles and stagger the arrival (great way to jump up a fight's size safely; if it is going poorly for the good guys, you can always pretend the final wave was actually on the other side of the castle).
I'd often take three or four combats and just roll them together so there was always a bit more stuff to worry about that players to handle. Sure, the inquisitor is killing the Grillion I wanted to use to grapple the wizard to death, but that means he can't be sniping the four blade spiders coming in to dismember the bard in the other room.
By "combat manoeuvre" do you mean trip, grapple, disarm, sunder, reposition, dirty trick, steal, and drag? Because those are all standard actions, so you can move however you want before you perform them. Of course, some of them require you to be moving, namely bull rush and overrun.
If that's your meaning, then yes you can five foot step or tumble past someone before you trip them.
I suspect, however, you may mean something else?
I'd argue that you would take the penalty because you have to have an extra attack available to give it up for parry. Otherwise you get to use parry and attack at full strength without any penalties or issues. I would also apply it to ripost because that AOO is strictly due to the use of parry, though I am shaky on this part.
I'd say you can use tongues to understand mi-go's clicking/lightshow language but not speak the native language since it isn't speaking but creating visualizations (which the Oracle cannot do unless the PC has strapped a few mind-controlled chameleons to their forehead). The second quote is for when a mi-go must speak to a non-mi-go in a non-mi-go language.
It does not mean that.
The fighter has all the necessary armor proficiencies when qualifying for other feats. What the fighter does NOT have is a feat that granted him the armor proficiency. The issue addressed by the FAQ is that a fighter can exchange feats for other feats (assuming both the old and new feat qualify as fighter bonus feats).
The question asks if a fighter who does not want the heavy armor proficiency can trade the presumed Heavy Armor Proficiency feat for something else. The FAQ specifies that the fighter does not actually have the feat, though he does have the proficiency.
You will continue holding the charge.
Spellstrike says the Magus "can deliver the spell through any weapon he is wielding as part of a melee attack". So it is entirely at the choice of the Magus and requires the Magus to make a melee attack, so I'm not sure you could discharge the touch spell through a trip attempt even if you wanted to do it.
For one, it is an unbiased answer to the question. While in a perfect world one could assume the GM and the Players could all just have a good time and work together, there's a lot of emotional investment in the roles played. An 'official' ruling is one that can't have claims of favoritism, self interest, or vindictiveness.
Even when the people involved are all friends who can get along, it is nice to have something that maintains the desired power curves and intent of the development group. Officials can consider more than the small specific scenario that generated the question. They may know of combinations that the GM or player doesn't know of and thus they can move to counter it. They also maintain a general equivalent level of power and similar intent. This is, of course, up for debate... but that leads me to the final point.
Any rule, even ones that are officially ruled, are free to be house ruled or modified by the GM. An 'official ruling' is a good way to have a starting point from which house ruling can expand.
Of course, in PFS, the situation is different because the GMs can't arbitrarily modify the rule system and consistency between games is paramount; official rulings drive that consistency. Also there are GMs like myself who enjoy staying as close to official rulings as possible and will revert house rules if a FAQ comes out that specifically rules differently. But that's just because I'm pedantic.
Yep, the CL is used to determine the difficulty to craft something, the cost of creating it (wands, potions, etc), and the power of the item's magical aura when someone uses Detect Magic.
The only time it is involved in activation of any kind of item is reading from a scroll. If the scroll contains a spell with a higher caster level than the person reading the scroll, they have to pass a caster level check (DC = scroll CL + 1) to cast it (if their CL is <= to scroll CL, they automatically succeed).
It depends. A grappled creature cannot take actions requiring two hands, so they can't swing a great sword. They have -2 on all attacks and -4 on dex, so an agile combatant has -4 penalty to hitting things. The grappled individual still has to make the attack rolls.
The gappler has to pass his maintain grapple check, but if he does then he will do free damage (no attack roll needed). Alternatively, he can choose to pin the target. At that point, the target cannot attack.
So the first round of grappling a big guy can be dangerous, since he gets attacks against you, but he's at -2 to attacks, so it is overall better than just exchanging full attacks.
G Round 1) G grappled W
Understand that Pathfinder is a GM vs Players kind of game, not System vs Players. While there is such thing as a global maxima for damage, it is a purely theoretical issue. When playing in a specific game, there are so many other considerations beyond pure damage, including the style of the GM, the skill level of the other players, the goal of group, the type of game they want to play, and the group dynamics. A lot of people who theorycraft the "best Whatever ever!" forget this point as a matter of course.
Most of what you'll read about healing is that it drops group damage output and in-combat healing is a waste of time. That is technically accurate. Taking a round to move to a wounded PC and heal him for what is about a single attack's worth of damage (maybe 2 attacks if you're good, though if you roll poorly then it may be even less) is usually a bad thing from a "win the battle in the fastest way possible" kind of consideration. But getting a gold medal in the 500m monster slaughter event isn't what the game is about.
True healing specialized classes focus on group healing options like Channel Positive Energy and Life Link, as well as feats to make healing spells do more, cast more quickly, and without threat to the caster. A non-"combat healer" type healer is more than useless in a fight because they are probably better off doing something else. A "combat healer" class is very good at what it wants to do.
However, unless someone is about to die, healing during a fight isn't necessary. You generally don't have to keep everyone topped off because it is decidedly rare to see the kind of burst damage that can kill someone outright. You still need to be able to contribute offensively to a battle.
I agree with Devilkiller's point: most players would love to have a healer. It makes everyone's lives easier and longer. Bards are good for buffing the party; they get so many uses of bardsong that you can generally use it every single fight, and they have a lot of out of combat utility as well. They can heal, but you're better off using wands instead of spells.
The current "best combat healer build" in Pathfinder, which is to say the one most capable of casting in combat and dropping AOE heals and not dying from a single glance by an enemy, is called the Oradin (Oracle of Life/Paladin). It has the strong healing of the Oracle and the survivability of the Paladin; it can even do some good in a fight.
Still, even with a great healer class, you want to use Wands of Cure Light Wounds for all out of combat healing; it is the most cost effective post-combat recovery option.
In a home brew game, anything is allowed if the GM is cool with it.
There are two intimidate actions: (1) Apply shaken to a target for 1 round + 1 round per 5 points by which you surpass their DC (10 + their level + their wisdom bonus). (2) Over the course of at least one minute of conversation you can temporarily, for 1d6x10 minutes, make the NPC friendly and willing to assist you but after which they drop down further than their original position on the interaction chart.
As a home brew rule set, I would say that any player may add Strength or Charisma to option (1). There is no special feat, there's no choosing at character creation, there's no class specific division. The target must be able to perceive you and you must be able to physically act (so if you're tied up, it is pitch darkness, for example, would preclude this option).
Option (2) would still have to be Charisma only because it has to do with impressing upon the target during a conversation all the ways they should fear upsetting you more than they should fear whatever will happen if they help you.
That's how I would run it.
Major Doom wrote:
Correct. Your Int, Wis, Cha remain the same. You lose any bonuses to Str, Dex, Con and gain the new ones per the table listed in the Reincarnate spell. I wouldn't say you need to reroll hit points, but you will lose 1 hit point per level because your con is 2 less.
I run it like this: If it is a physical quality of the race, you gain/lose it. Stuff like dark/low-light vision, fire resistance, movement speed, perception bonus, physical stat racial bonuses, etc. But nonphysical stuff like weapon proficiency, extra skills, will save bonus, mental stat racial bonuses, etc are not gained or lost when reincarnated.
So in your case, I'd rule like this:
Gained - Dex bonus (+2), 30' movement, Keen senses, Low-light vision
Lost - Con bonus (+2), 20' movement, Slow And Steady (never encumbered), Immunity to poison, Immunity to paralysis, Stability, Darkvision, Light sensitivity.
This isn't a good trade. I could see some debate on the immunities; I assume the ones that I took from the Duergar were physical while the half-elf ones are mental, but maybe it would be fair to provide the sleep immunity. It would require some conversation. Though I also tend to look through the alternative class features and look for physical options that replace mental ones you don't get anyway (not that half-elves have any good ones, heh).
I think the issue here, Larkos, is that your opinion on what 'Strength' and what 'Charisma' mean is at odds with what they mean in Pathfinder.
You keep saying that a strong person is an intimidating person because they are strong. But when asked for examples, you talk about how they look, or how they loom over you, or how they stare at you. Strength isn't an appearance trait, it is a capability trait. The actions you state are creepy because of the person's presence, not their muscles.
When I worked at a furniture store, the stock room guy looked like Moby, stood 5'6", and was overall a spindly. He could also throw furniture around like any two other guys. He would pull down 250 pound boxes from the second level shelves and not crush himself or damage the box. I think his muscles were replaced by steel cables in a mysterious government experiment... Anyway, he was amazingly strong without having the appearance of being strong.
He couldn't intimidate anyone even if he could hurl a table across the room just as well as someone twice his size. He had a very low charisma; not much presence.
Your argument that 'Conan should be able to intimidate better than a halfling' is flawed. You assume Conan has a low Charisma. But the fact that you think Conan should be able to do this is because Conan is an impressive individual... because he has a high Charisma. He is a warlord, he is a peerless fighter, he strikes fear into men by his mere presence. That's all "high charisma".
But if intimidate is based on strength, speech is unnecessary. Literally all you do is flex your muscles and BAM people fear you! You don't act menacingly, that would be Charisma. You don't get to say anything, that's Charisma. You can't even look them in the eye because that is a contest of wills which is Charisma. You're saying that simply flexing your muscles or crushing a rock in your fist is enough to make people so afraid that they have -2 on all attacks and saving throws. I don't buy it.
You're saying that if Arnie in his prime (Terminator, Conan) walked up to you with a mean look on his face and towered over you, you wouldn't be intimidated at all? I'm not even saying this as a 4'11" weakling. I'm 6' 2" and I'd be scared.
No, he's saying if Arnold was just standing there curling 150 pound barbells, you would not be Shaken. If he walked up and towered over you, he'd be making an intimidate check. He's not towering because he's strong, he's not towering because he's 8 feet tall. He's "towering" because his presence is so strong that he makes you feel shorter than you are. That's charisma.
Remember, we're talking about the ability score used. Adding strength mod to a skill roll isn't used just because you have muscles, you have to use those muscles to justify the reason you're adding the stat to the 1d20 roll. Flexing them doesn't count.
I'd also argue in the case of Agyra. I wouldn't say that thing is going to be doing much 'intimidating'. It will simply go straight to 'murder everything'. Intimidating is using the threat of force to get what you want, not actually using force.
But Frodo doesn't say "give me all your money or else". He stares directly into the eyes of the town elder while slowly walking forward. He speaks in a low rasping voice about how he likes very few things in life; gold and cutting little children and honestly at the moment he's 50/50 on which is the best today so it really is up to the elder as to what he would like to happen. The elder cannot look away; his heart beats faster and his breath catches in his throat. He feels something at his side and realizes, at the sound of her whimper, it is his youngest granddaughter moving to hide behind him. He quickly gestures for the townsfolk to give Frodo what he wants. As Frodo rides away with the town's money, the elder hugs his granddaughter tightly.
That's intimidate. Sure, the elder will feel angry and his opinion of Frodo will end up lower than it was originally, but for those 1d6x10 minutes, he would do as he is told because he is absolutely sure that Frodo would have done what he said. It isn't about being able to do it, just making the other guy think he can do it.
With the Mountain and Conan, sure, they are scary folks (Though I'd argue that Conan has a high charisma, we really can't use him because he's a legendary figure). They may be strong, but they don't know how to intimidate. Having muscles doesn't mean you know how to strike fear into someone.
That's another point I didn't address before. Part of the need for Charisma is that it is the "social ability score". Intimidate is part bluff and part sense motive. You can be super strong, but if you don't know how to read someone, how can you scare them? Simply crushing a rock isn't inherently scary, just impressive. Not scary in game terms of causing the person to be "shaken" or to temporarily modify their opinion of you.
Strength would only be intimidating if someone is afraid of a strong person. That's a very schoolyard approach to the concept. It would make sense in some cases, but not others. You would be incapable of intimidating someone stronger than you, for example, because whatever you do the other guy can do but more-so. It also means you have to be able to do something that shows off your strength; so intimidating someone at a dinner party would probably mean breaking a few tables.
Charisma on the other hand is your strength of personality. You intimidate by striking fear into the other person and have the presence to do so. There are piles of examples of this kind of person out there; Samuel L Jackson's character in Pulp Fiction for example; he's frightening not because he's strong (it doesn't come up) but because he's got a presence about him, a sense of danger, like when he's talking to the robber at the diner. Torturers are also frighteningly intimidating and they aren't generally amazingly strong either (modern era, not the medieval ones with black hoods, heh).
There are options to intimidate through skill; dazzling display comes to mind. This makes more sense that straight strength because you're showing not that you can just crush rocks with your hands but that you know what you're doing with a sword.
I generally think Charisma is a good option. Strength makes sense if you can do something that shows off how strong you are, but in that case the DC should include the other guy's strength. Of course, there's also the problem that a direct physical action doesn't work as well against other who choose direct physical responses. A swashbuckler may not ever fear a strong opponent because he feels speed will always overcome idiot strength. Or a sorcerer with enervate may not be too afraid of the strongman.
So in my games, I run Charisma unless the player can provide me a reason that strength should be allowed in a particular situation. In that case, I may modify the DC formula as well. I guess that means option 1.
Monster stats are built with the expectation of certain player attack bonus, AC, and Save scores. These expectations presume certain amounts and types of magic items.
A level 10 melee character is likely to be throwing down a solid +5 more attack bonus just from various magic items, and even more with buff spells. Thus, if you throw a nonmagical level 10 character against a CR 10 creature, it will have a much higher AC than you'd like.
Nonmagical Pathfinder would work well if you run one the modification where you cap the level at 6 or 8 (I can't recall the term... E6?)
I hit FAQ but I'd rule no in any of my games (unless a FAQ is released to the contrary).
My thoughts: The concealment is limited in scope. It doesn't make you hard to see, it makes you hard to hit by ranged attacks. I read it as a fast way to say "in only the specific case of being a target of ranged attacks, you gain a 20% chance of being missed by said ranged attacks as if you have concealment". It isn't global concealment and thus doesn't qualify the "concealment for stealth" requirement.
I also understand this is a debatable approach and I'm not trying to debate the issue, just to provide one viewpoint on the issue to those uncertain of their own thoughts. There are other viewpoints that exist and I'm sure their proponents see mine as wrong just as much as I see their argument as flawed. The joy of the game!