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Mysterious Stranger's page

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I did not see the OP saying he was not allowed to do anything at all. Just he was not allowed to kill or harm the rogue. I am not suggesting he harm him, just take his stuff back. He knows who is doing it so just check his gear every morning and take back anything that is missing. If the rouge tries to stop him let the rogue attack first. Be completely open about it, don’t try to sneak and hide what you are doing.

He could also start warning everyone in town the rogue is a thief. Follow the rogue around and tell everyone to watch out for this guy because he steals.

Since the GM is allowing him to steal from you he obviously allows a certain amount of PvP. So turn the tables on him. Every morning when you wake up simply forcibly search him for your gear. Hold him down and take back your stuff and let him go. Don’t kill him simply take back your gear. Don’t harm him more than is necessary just be very firm with him.

Anytime something is missing search him. Purposely misplace something and blame it on him and search him. Think of it as a roleplaying opportunity instead of a problem.

Instead of coming up with level appropriate skill checks you need to come up with level appropriate challenges. Most skills have a set difficulty instead because they represent basic things anyone can do. The only exception is opposed skills. The DC to climb a cliff does not matter if you are 1st level or 20th it is the same. Where the difference comes in is that the 1st level character may need to climb a natural cliff with lots of hand holds. The 20th level character may need to scale the smooth walls of a magically created glass tower.

Opposed skills are based on the HD or level of the opposing creature and how many skill ranks they have invested. The 10th level bard will be able to bluff the city guard a lot easier than the head of the thieves’ guild. T

It is probably not types of magic like certain schools, or animating undead. It would probably be more uncontrolled magic or casting methods that endanger the world. Someone using prescribed tested methods to cast spells is fine, but wild experimentation could be considered dangerous. If there is a chance that the magic can get out of control and endanger the world or at least a significant portion of it, it is forbidden.

Also calling on some sources of power may be considered inherently dangerous. If your world has something similar to the dark tapestry than calling on the powers from there may be forbidden. Normal demons or devils could be fine, just not horrors from beyond the stars that want to destroy the universe.

If this is his first time to GM cut him some slack. Since you are the normal GM and his friend you may want to talk to him alone about the game. Give him honest feedback about the game, both good and bad. You probably want to start with what you did like, before diving into where he went wrong. He also sounds like he spent too much time planning out the campaign without having enough experience running things. I usually recommend the first time someone runs that they runs something short and easy. Think of it as training wheels. This is a common mistake for many starting GM’s.

If he is not willing to listen or does not change then your group has to decide if you want him to continue running. Be careful because it is likely he could get upset when people don’t want to play after he spent a lot of time developing a story.

Also many players do not have all the books so if he does not have any books lend him yours so he can at least read them.

The Dragon wrote:

Also, Aasimar(that bit is important for the 3rd level SLA) Sorcerer 1/Fighter 1/Eldritch Knight 10 is a nice and legal way to do what you want while actually being half-decent at fighting. It does give up sorc bloodline and stuff, but you're in it for the buff casting, not the bloodline.

Once you're full up on EK, go back to sorcerer for the remaining 8 levels.

You will have 9ths at level 20, and a base attack bonus of +15, so equivalent to a cleric.

The recent FAQ killed using SLA for early entry into prestige classes.

Unless you are starting at high levels planning you character based solely on high level abilities is a waste of time. What level are you starting at? Some builds don’t come online until much high level and if you are past that point than they may work. If you are starting at 1st level that is a completely different story.

An oracle of battle actually fits your concept better than a sorcerer. The curse is a result of being cast down. Having proficiency with heavy armor and martial weapons is going to be a huge help (Skill at Arms revelation). The other revelations are also going to boost your combat abilities even further. The cleric spell list has the best combat buff spells of any class. Divine Vessel gives you the equivalent of several spells in one. If your alignment allows it Bestow Grace of the Champion gives you many of the abilities of a Paladin including Smite Evil of half your level, and CHA to saves. A 20th level Oracle of Battle buffed with his spells can actually outfight almost any martial class.

If by melee sorcerer you mean a sorcerer who uses melee attacks to do damage it is not going to work well. The problem is that you simply do not have the right abilities to pull this off. Even with a bloodline that gives you claws you are at a severe disadvantage to any semi competent martial build. Even if you use spells to buff yourself this will be difficult. You will need to spend several rounds casting spell to get yourself ready for combat and by that time the fight may be already over. Either the party will have won and you will be all dressed up with nowhere to go, or they will be down and you will have to face the enemy by yourself.

While not optimal you could have a sorcerer specializing in touch spells instead. Spells like shocking grasp or ghouls touch could work ok. You are still going to be incredibly vulnerable because you don’t really have a way to get your AC up and may have trouble getting spells off when you are in combat. If you want to play a sorcerer this would still probably be the best route to go.

A Magus, or a Bloodrager would be a lot better for this concept. Neither of them will get 9th level spells, but you really need to figure out what you want to concentrate on. A Magus has a much better blend of magic and combat so would probably work best. If you really want to combine magic and melee they are the ones to do it. They can go nova and deal huge amounts of damage, but only limited times per day.

Ferocity allows a creature to remain conscious and continue to fight when he is in negative HP. When you your non-lethal damage exceeds your current HP you fall unconscious. If I have a character with Ferocity and he is at negative HP but not dead he remains awake. But if his non-lethal damage is greater than his HP he is knocked out. It seems strange that a character who can take a full hit with the edge of a sword is knocked out being hit with the flat of the sword.

Is there any rules on how ferocity interacts with non-lethal damage?

For the most part if the monster is so far below the party it is not a challenge then you have a couple of options. First is to do what Ascalaphus said and just narrate over the encounter. The second is to make some unusual specimens of the race. Normal Orcs are not much of a challenge but a couple of levels of barbarian will boost them up. The last thing is to throw a large army of them at the party. While 10 Orcs may not be a challenge 200 may wear down the party. Sure you kill on in a single hit but there are so many of them. Throw in a couple of mid-level spell casters as leaders and they may be a bigger threat than you think.

I use the first option most of the time. The second option is rare but still happens. The last option is something that I would plan out as part of a campaign. This happens in books and movies all the time, but rarely in a game.

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The Archeologist bard is a magical rogue. Their spell list has many utility spells that further boost their ability for trickery and deceit. Instead of combat spells they have illusion and enchantment, but that actually works better. Being able to go invisible, teleport and turn gaseous makes for an almost unstoppable thief. Combine Heroism with Archeologist Luck and lingering performance and they become the ultimate skill monkey.

How about an inquisitor? They have enough skills that they can cover the sneaky stuff and anything else you need. They can take healing spells so can cover any healing, probably through the use of wands and scrolls. Between Judgments and Bane he will more than hold his own as far as damage. Inquisitors also have good ranged weapons which you seem to be lacking.

rorek55 wrote:

full stop

"I plan on this paladin being a Support/Healer for the party"

big negative. play a cleric.

paladins are this-



and this

when you play a paladin you play it to smash evil's face in. You play it to protect the weak and innocent, you play a paladin to SMITE THE EEEEEVVVVVVIIIIILLLLL (as mermaid man would say)

Healing is best done by wands not using spells or other class abilities. Any caster who has cure light wounds on his spell list can work as the healer. About the only other thing a healer needs is condition removal spells, which a paladin has. The idea that you need a dedicated heal bot is false. Healing is best done after the battle not during the battle.

Paladins come in many different varieties. Unless they are going up against evil they are on the lower end of the damage scale for martial classes. Even when they are going up against evil the limited number of smite evils keep their damage in check. They are great vs the BBEG, but not so much against the horde of lesser evils. Actually most of their abilities are defensive in nature and work against any alignment. Since they are usually the last one standing playing the role of healer makes sense. Spell casters are often targeted and may be the first to fall.

Just because you are playing a paladin does not mean you have to be the knight in shining armor and draw attention to yourself. I can easily see a humble paladin from a common background being mistaken as a simple warrior. Until he starts smiting evil there is no real way to tell he is a paladin. This fits in with the teachings of Erastil perfectly.

I would suggest that you pick up a long bow. Every character should have a ranged attack, and it is the favored weapon of your deity. Possibly drop the healer kit, change the shield to wooden and dropping the lantern. You do have some torches for seeing in the dark.

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The best way to deal with this type of problem is to let the players know what type of campaign you are planning on running. By simply communicating the scope and focus of the campaign many of these problems can be minimized or eliminated. This allows the players to write up appropriate characters for the campaign instead of random concepts. Keep in mind that not every concept will fit a campaign. If for example the focus of the campaign hunting down undead, then you probably don’t want to go with the enchantment focused sorcerer this time.

Another thing that works well is to have some sort of a sponsor or organization the players are working for. If all the players are agents of the king, they don’t need any further reason to stay together. This works well when the characters don’t get along. They may not like each other, but all of them are loyal to the king. As long as everyone has a connection to sponsor then keeping them together is fairly easy.

Both of these are the responsivity of the GM not the player. Any good GM will have an idea of what type of campaign he is going to be running and should let the player know.

I wrote up a Slyph Archeologist Bard as an NPC for a game I run. I needed a thief that was near unstoppable and this combination worked out well. She was 9th level and had Wings of Air so she could go invisible while flying. Gaseous Form allowed her to turn into air to make it even harder to catch her. Having a +4 to stealth from Whispering Wind was also nice. With her spells and gear she was able to get+32 stealth without invisibility, so she was able to pull off a +52 stealth with invisibility at 9th level.

Bards are spontaneous spell casters so get very few spells. Unless this is a limited run campaign each spell should be one that will be useful at every level especially high level. Also avoid spells that can be duplicated with other abilities. Detect secret doors is not that useful past low level. As an archeologist you will have a really good perception roll. Abundant ammunition is not that useful once you get an efficient quiver. Don’t trade out heroism for anything it is just too useful, It can also be cast on other so you can use it to boost anyone in the party not just yourself.

If you want to cover some of the roles of a wizard/sorcerer consider going the illusions instead of combat spells. While they may not be that useful in a direct combat they can often avoid combat completely. Illusions also have the advantage that you only get a save if you interact with it. This means that even with the low save they can still fool people. For example if you cast a silent image over a door before anyone sees it the enemy may never search the area so gets no save. This will require some work on your part but can be very effective if done right.

Lawful is more following a code than obeying laws. Since Ape’s are very social animals I would think that your code would be about following the rules of your group. I suggest you read a couple of Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan books. Ignore any Tarzan movies and go for the books. Tarzan was actually pretty lawful. He may not have cared about human laws but he had a code he lived by.

As Revaar said bards do not make good offensive casters. Even if you are the only arcane caster in the group your spells will never really replace those of the wizard. What your spells are good for are utility and buffing. An archeologist is really a magical rogue. Get a CHA high enough to cast your spells and then put the rest into DEX. The familiar also does not do much for an archeologist and is significantly weakening your character by delaying other feats that are more useful.

One thing that works well for an archeologist is to go the dervish dancer route. Max out your DEX and use ancestral arms to get proficiency with scimitar. This will allow you to get DEX to hit and damage. Dervish dance combined with the archeologists other abilities often lead to him having the best chance to hit in the entire group. Archery is also a good way to go for combat but you do have options.

I would actually max out Disable Device, Perception and Stealth and put a single point into every other class skill. After you have a point in every class skill then you can start boosting other skills. Also make sure that heroism is you first second level spell. Heroism stacks with archeologist luck for some really high bonuses to everything. With Fates favored by 5th level you get a +5 to hit, saves and skills as well as +3 to damage. This combination is what really makes the archeologist shine. This also works on knowledge skills so you essentially have an additional +5 on all knowledge skills.

Also put every favored class bonus into extra rounds of performance. 30 rounds of luck seems like it should be enough for anything but if you are combining it with Heroism as I suggest you may need to burn through multiple rounds out of combat. Remember lingering performance means you have 10 uses of 3 rounds not 30 discrete rounds. If it takes a 5 rounds to sneak up on someone you just blew 6 rounds.

Make sure you have Expeditious Retreat and take Fast Stealth as your next rogue talent. This allows you to make stealth rolls while moving at 60’. Throw in invisibility on top of that and you are almost undetectable by almost anything. With a little luck you can even sneak up on things with the ability to detect invisible.

Keep in mind that a ranger’s animal companion is a lot weaker than a druid’s. Not only are they 3 level behind, but they have a limited list to choose from. For the most part the blessings are going to be stronger than the animal companion. You can of course use archetypes and boon companion to boost the effectiveness of your animal companion, but that means you are weaker in other areas.

In some campaigns the blessing will be incredibly strong. I am running an undead heavy campaign and the ranger is a divine tracker with both good and sun domains. The party is only 5th level so the ranger only gets the 1st blessing. When the ranger has time to prepare it is absolutely devastating against any undead. Combining gravity bow with holy strike gives a base weapon damage of 3d6. Add in rapid shot and favored enemy and you are looking at some serious damage.

If you want to frame the PC’s then you have to use a method they have access to, or at least that people will believe they have access to. If the party is a bunch of martial types and the only casters is a cleric then a lot of methods will not be believable. More details on the party is needed to give any real advice.

The same paragraph that says incorporeal creatures cannot be tripped also states they cannot pickup or use physical objects. When interpreting a rule you need to use some common sense not just go only by what is written. The rules also do not state that you cannot use dirty trick on an incorporeal creature. Does that mean anyone can pull down the ghost pants, or throw sand in his eyes to slow him down or blind him? It also never states that an incorporeal creature is not subject to the entangle effect. Does that mean a first level druid spell can stop a ghost cold?

An incorporeal creature's attacks pass through (ignore) natural armor, armor, and shields, although deflection bonuses and force effects (such as mage armor) work normally against it. Incorporeal creatures pass through and operate in water as easily as they do in air. Incorporeal creatures cannot fall or take falling damage. Incorporeal creatures cannot make trip or grapple attacks, nor can they be tripped or grappled. In fact, they cannot take any physical action that would move or manipulate an opponent or its equipment, nor are they subject to such actions. Incorporeal creatures have no weight and do not set off traps that are triggered by weight.

The sentence after it states they cannot be tripped or grappled expands that to all physical actions. Ghost Touch states that it can overcome that restriction. Therefore someone with a ghost touch amulet of mighty fists is able to trip, grapple, or otherwise interact with an incorporeal creature. The reason an incorporeal creature is not subject to a grapple or trip is because they are not subject to physical actions. Again ghost touch removes this restriction.

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A ghost touch weapon deals damage normally against incorporeal creatures, regardless of its bonus. An incorporeal creature's 50% reduction in damage from corporeal sources does not apply to attacks made against it with ghost touch weapons. The weapon can be picked up and moved by an incorporeal creature at any time. A manifesting ghost can wield the weapon against corporeal foes. Essentially, a ghost touch weapon counts as both corporeal or incorporeal.

It is pretty clear that a ghost touch weapon bypasses the incorporeal condition completely. If a creature can pick up and wield the weapon obviously it does not go through them. This is a clear case of the specific overriding the general. A character with a ghost touch amulet of mighty fists body counts as both corporeal and incorporeal.

I think a druid would work well in this group. As far as I understand the Kingmaker AP has a lot of outdoor encounters and involves a lot of wilderness exploration. A druid does well in both of these situations. They are also full divine casters with a very diverse spell list. No matter the situation you are likely to encounter they should have something useful that can be used. They also have a lot of class abilities that will also be useful allowing you to save the use of your spells. You have a decent selection of weapons and armor so you won’t be squishy caster type. Wild Shape will allow you incredible versatile. If you need to scout turn into a bird and fly off to investigate. During a fight you can fly above the battle casting spells and probably no one will be able to get to you. You have a lot of battle field control spells and can summon creatures to fight for you.

You can’t put ghost touch on a monks robe, but it can be put on an amulet of mighty fists. This would allow the monk to grapple a ghost even without constrict. I think there is a feat that allows you to gain constrict, but can’t remember what it is.

Assimar make great clerics, but other than that they don’t have that big of an advantage. That stat bonus is fixed, and most classes other than clerics don’t take full advantage of them. The elemental resistances are also not that big of a deal especially at higher level. Assimar also have limited favored alternative favored class bonus so the standard races come out ahead on those.

Humans can also get +2 with two stats by giving up skilled and the bonus feat. This is actually a lot more powerful than the Assimar because they get +2 to any two stats. Even a standard human actually is actually stronger than the Assimar because the extra feat allows most builds to come online sooner.

Elves make much better Wizards than just about any other race. They get a bonus to the two important stats, and Elven magic stacks with spell penetration. They also get free weapon proficiency in bows which means with their higher DEX they actually use a bow fairly effectively at low level. The +2 save vs. enchantments is going to be worth a lot more at higher levels than 5pts of energy resistance.

A dwarf barbarian is going to be a lot tougher and harder to take down than the assimar any day. Pick up steel soul and glory of old and you will have saves high enough to make almost any save you need. You will have more HP than anyone in the party. While a lot of the dwarves racial traits are circumstantial they get a ton of them. They also get proficiency with three good melee weapons so even when they are a class with simple weapons they are decent in combat.

Another thing to consider is that the standard races all have more options than any other race. They have more race specific feats and have alternative favored class bonuses for all classes. Overall they tend to be the best races to play. The nonstandard races are mostly niche races where they are good any one or two things but outside their specialty they are not that strong.

An archeologist bard has nothing to do with performances of any sort. They are a rogue replacement that trades away all performances for a luck bonus. They get a smaller number of rogue talents, but that is ok since there are only a few decent rogue talents. Pretty much they can do everything a rogue can except they do it better, other than sneak attack. They get the bards spells and bardic knowledge so end up better at skills than a rogue.

One of the best ways to hide a murder or any other crime for that matter is in plain sight. Have the victim be poisoned by someone obvious with a reasonable cause to kill the person, but have it be a frame job. For example have the duke be poisoned by his mistress, but the real killer is someone else. This unknown person used magic to alter her memories or some other way to cause her to unknowingly kill the duke. His mistress is some simple kind hearted maid that would never hurt a fly. But someone gave her something the duke would like that is poisonous and tricked her into giving it to him. Most forms of divination will detect that his mistress killed him, because she did. But she is not the one who really is responsible. The real mystery is figuring out there is someone else behind the murder and finding that person.

Keep in mind that there are usually many ways to accomplish any goal. Not every character will have the skills or abilities to use every way. It seems like you are focusing on intimidating the kobold and ignoring all the other ways. Intimidating someone into giving you the information you need is a valid method, but it is not the only one. If the kobold fears the Boss you are essentially pitting your intimidate vs that of the Boss. If it was a game I was running I would have you roll your intimidate and compare it to the bosses intimidate. If you can overcome the bosses intimidate the kobold would talk. If the Boss is a dragon or similarly scary creature you probably don’t have a good chance.

Instead of trying to intimidate the kobold you may have a better chance at tricking, or bribing him. Bluff would be used to trick someone, where diplomacy might work for bribery. Sense motive is going to be needed to verify anything he tells you no matter the method you use. Of course magic can probably accomplish this easier than anything. Detect thoughts can be used to read surface thoughts as long as the kobold fails his save.

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If the character actually has the authority over the prisoner then intimidation will be very effective. In some ways it will be more effective when done by a lawful good character. For example if the character is a knight with the right of low justice and he is questioning bandits who ambushed him, he is well within his rights to order the execution of the bandits. The bandits know this and will probably be more inclined to cooperate with the knight. Following the proper procedure can often be more effective than just blustering and threatening someone.

Intimidate is also a good way for the character to show mercy while still doing something about the situation. A bandit let go by a knight after a trial and warning to change his ways will probably be more likely to actually cause the bandit to change his ways then a rogue beating him up.

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I think the answer to this question has more than one answer. If the player stated that he was opening the letter carefully and trying to preserve the seal so he could use it to reseal the letter, than disable device would work. If on the other hand he opened the letter without taking any precautions to preserve the seal then he needs to recreate the seal. As stated a simple mending cantrip will work. To recreate the seal not using magic may require several skills. Probably need some form of craft to recreate the wax and or ribbon, and then linguistics to duplicate the seal. The DC on the linguistics is going to probably be pretty high though.

People always seem to think that one skill is all you need to accomplish any single deed. Something require multiple skills to accomplish. Sometimes there is more than one way to accomplish the deed.

Vampires are undead humanoid creatures that feed on the blood of the living. They look much as they did in life, often becoming more attractive, though some have a hardened, feral look instead.

Creating a Vampire

“Vampire” is an acquired template that can be added to any living creature with 5 or more Hit Dice (referred to hereafter as the base creature). Most vampires were once humanoids, fey, or monstrous humanoids. A vampire uses the base creature's stats and abilities except as noted here.

Can an animal or other non-human creature become a vampire? The deception says are humanoids, but the template says it can be applied to any living creature. I am running a campaign where the party is a group of undead hunters and was creating a couple of vampires for them to fight and noticed the template says it can be applied to any living creature. This got me thinking about some really strange vampires I could throw at the party. As GM I can of course do what I want, but I try to keep to the rules to be fair to the players.

If an animal can become a vampire is there any reason a character with an animal companion could not turn it to a vampire? I was thinking of having a hunter, or ranger with a wolf companion who were both vampires.

I would say that it would depend on what exactly the players found. If they found a diary with missing pages, and the ashes of those pages were not there then the spell will fail. If on the other hand they find the diary in the fire place where it had been burned and all the ashes of the diary are present the spell will work. If the ashes of the diary have been sitting around for 800 years it is a GM’’s call as to how much is there.

If the spell works it will restore the writing, but again any parts missing will not be restored. As a GM I would probably allow it to work. If restoring the diary would ruin the adventure then I would say that there was some missing ashes and allow only part of it to work. The missing parts would of course be the parts that would ruin the adventure. I would still give them some information from the diary because I like to encourage players to use creativity.

Keep in mind that as a GM you are the one in control of the game. If you don’t want something to happen than it does not happen period. Just don’t abuse it and use it as a cheap way to get your way. Be subtle about it and if you do it right the players will never know.

An Archeologist Bard is one of the best rouge replacements in the game. Not only can they do everything a rouge can except sneak attack, they actually do it better. Their spell list complements and enhances their abilities to the point the poor rouge starts to look like a NPC class.

They do have to wait until 6th level to disarm magical traps but that is not as big as a problem as you might think. For the most part magic traps below that level are not really that much of a problem. The Archeologist Bard can still find them, they just can’t disable them. Actually since they have access to detect magic they are actually better at finding them at 1st level than the rouge. Most of the time low level magic traps simply do damage and do not reset themselves. This means even if they can’t be disarmed they can be triggered from a safe distance. After 6th level the Archeologist Bard is actually better at dealing with magical traps. At this point they have access to dispel magic so even if they can’t disarm the trap they can always dispel it.

They also get access to rogue talents, just latter and fewer of them. This is not really a problem because there are only a few decent rogue talents. Pick up trap spotter and fast stealth and that covers most of what you need. Most of the other talents are so circumstance or limited that they are not worth it. This is often one of the reasons rouges are considered weaker than any other class.

If an Archeologist Bard is careful with his spell he does not need much in CHA. Many of the most useful bard spells are buff or utility spells. By avoiding spells that allow a save you only need a CHA high enough to cast your spells. A couple of spells that are considered essential for the “Thief” are Detect Magic, Mage Hand, Invisibility, Heroism, and Dispel Magic. Bards get early access to Heroism and it stacks with Archeologist Luck for an incredible bonus to just about everything.

Play a half elf or other class that gets extra rounds of performance as a favored class bonus. Pick up Lingering performance to triple your rounds of Archeologist Luck. If traits are allowed pick up Fate’s Favored for an Extra +1. Criminal will give you disable device as a class skill so is normally your second trait. Even without it being a class skill you still get the bonus and can still put ranks into it.

Put a single point into every knowledge skill, and at 6th level you can get a bonus of +12 by using Archeologist Luck combined with Heroism. You will also have Lore Master so can take 10, and once a day can take 20 with a standard action. This is going to step on the toes of the knowledge focused alchemist.

An Archeologist Bard is more of a rouge replacement than a traditional bard. If that is what you are looking for then he is probably the best bet. Usually he focuses on buffing spells, not on spells being cast on others. This allows him to have a much lower CHA because he is not worried about saving throws. Your stats look fine now just make sure you get a CHA of 16 by 16th level.

Below is a sample build for rouge based Archeologist Bard.

Half-elf (elf-raised) bard (archaeologist) 8 (Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Combat 32)
Medium humanoid (elf, human)
Init +6; Senses low-light vision; Perception +22
AC 22, touch 17, flat-footed 16 (+5 armor, +1 deflection, +6 Dex)
hp 51 (8d8+8)
Fort +9, Ref +18, Will +12; +2 vs. enchantments
Defensive Abilities evasion, trap sense +2, uncanny dodge; Immune sleep
Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 scimitar +17/+12 (1d6+9/18-20)
Special Attacks archaeologist's luck 14 rounds/day (+2)
Bard (Archaeologist) Spells Known (CL 8th; concentration +10)
3rd (2/day)—dispel magic, glibness, haste
2nd (5/day)—blur, heroism, invisibility, tongues
1st (5/day)—disguise self, expeditious retreat, silent image (DC 13), vocal alteration[UM] (DC 13), windy escape[ARG]
0 (at will)—detect magic, mage hand, message, prestidigitation, read magic, sift[APG]
Str 10, Dex 22, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 15
Base Atk +6; CMB +11; CMD 23

Feats Combat Reflexes, Dervish Dance[ISWG], Lingering Performance[APG], Weapon Finesse

Traits criminal, fate's favored

Skills Acrobatics +15, Appraise +11, Bluff +18, Climb +9, Diplomacy +15, Disable Device +25, Disguise +15, Escape Artist +15, Fly +11, Heal +5, Intimidate +11, Knowledge (arcana) +15, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +15, Knowledge (engineering) +15, Knowledge (geography) +15, Knowledge (history) +15, Knowledge (local) +15, Knowledge (nature) +15, Knowledge (nobility) +15, Knowledge (planes) +15, Knowledge (religion) +15, Linguistics +11, Perception +22, Perform (act) +14, Perform (dance) +12, Ride +11, Sense Motive +9, Sleight of Hand +15, Spellcraft +11, Stealth +16, Survival +5, Swim +5, Use Magic Device +17;

Racial Modifiers +2 Perception
Languages Common, Elven
SQ arcane training, bardic knowledge +4, clever explorer +4, elf blood, lore master 1/day, rogue talents (convincing lie, fast stealth)
Combat Gear mnemonic vestment; Other Gear +1 mithral chain shirt, +1 scimitar, belt of incredible dexterity +2, cloak of resistance +1, handy haversack, ring of protection +1, masterwork thieves' tools, 1,285 gp
Special Abilities
Arcane Training +1 CL for spell trigger/completion items for favored class, or use them as if 1st level.
Archaeologist's Luck +2 (14 rounds/day) (Ex) Gain Luck bonus to attack, damage, saves, and all skills.
Bardic Knowledge +4 (Ex) Add +4 to all knowledge skill checks.
Clever Explorer +4 (take 10 & magic traps) (Ex) Half time to use disable device. Can always take 10 & disarm magic traps.
Combat Reflexes (7 AoO/round) Can make extra attacks of opportunity/rd, and even when flat-footed.
Convincing Lie (6 days) (Ex) When a rogue with this talent lies, she creates fabrications so convincing that others treat them as truth. When a rogue with this talent successfully uses the Bluff skill to convince someone that what she is saying is true, if that individual is que
Dervish Dance Use Dex modifier instead of Str modifier with scimitar
Elf Blood Half-elves count as both elves and humans for any effect related to race.
Elven Immunities - Sleep You are immune to magic sleep effects.
Evasion (Ex) If you succeed at a Reflex save for half damage, you take none instead.
Fast Stealth (Ex) You may move at full speed while using the Stealth skill without penalty.
Fate's Favored Increase luck bonuses by 1.
Lingering Performance Bardic Performances last 2 rds after you stop concentrating.
Lore Master (1/day) (Ex) Can take 10 on any trained knowledge checks. Activate to take 20 as a standard action.
Low-Light Vision See twice as far as a human in low light, distinguishing color and detail.
Mnemonic vestment (1/day) Spontaneous caster may cast spells from written sources using a spell slot. Writing is unharmed.
Trap Sense +2 (Ex) +2 bonus on reflex saves and AC against traps.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex) Retain Dex bonus to AC when flat-footed.

Keep in mind that you have limited spells and with your CHA you want to avoid spells that allow saves. Bards get Heroism as a second level spell and should be your first 2nd level spell. It gives a +2 on all attacks, saves and skills, and stacks with Archeologist luck for some incredible bonuses. I went with Dervish Dance so you don’t have to spend all your wealth on a single magic item and still do decent damage. Cunning liar allows you to use your bluff even when you are not their and combined with Glibness means you can do some amazing things with it.

Invisibility combined with Expeditious Retreat and Fast stealth allows you to get just about anywhere you want. You will be moving at 60’ with a +36 to stealth.

Mnemonic vestment allows you to reuse bard scrolls by spending a spell slot. Pick up scrolls of spells you may occasionally need to cast, or situationally limited spells. Save your spell slots for spell that you could see yourself using every day.

When you have Archeologist Luck and Heroism going you basically get +5 to any d20 roll, which is including in the build.

Barbarians and Bloodragers don’t work well as vampires. Undead are an immune to moral effect which means no rage.

Do you care about out of combat abilities? If not then a straight fighter is probably your best bet. Weapon specialization and weapon training will maximize your damage. Armor training will allow you to move full speed in armor and utilize a higher DEX. Use your second weapon training for bows to get a little extra damage at range. The thing to keep in mind about fighters is while they are very good at fighting, that is about all they do. If you want a character that does more than just combat they are very limited. Use on of your normal feats to get Iron will and have at least a 12 WIS so your will saves are not crippling.

Can an incorporeal spell caster like a ghost affect a corporeal target with his spells? If so does it have a miss chance? Would it make any difference if they were illusions or enchantments.

Since some spells count as weapons it should be possible to perform a Coup de grace with a spell. As long as you have a spell that qualifies as a weapon you can use that when you can’t find anyone to do your dirty work for you. Even if you specialize in enchantment you should have something you can do when they don’t work. If you can get a staff of some sort with a qualifying spell that would be the ideal solution, if not wands and scrolls will work.

Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Gallyck wrote:
there is no +2 caster level traits afaik.
Yes there is - Magical Knack. It's worthless for primary casters as it maxes at your hit dice. But it's awesome for gishes (Eldrich Knight/Dragon Disciple etc) and solid for rangers/paladins as their caster level is only 1/2 their class level.

Actually a paladins caster level is paladin level -3, not half.

As a general rule you don’t lose a classes ability if you no longer qualify for it. There are of course exceptions to this rule. The first is if a barbarian turns lawful he loses his ability to rage. The second is a divine character whose alignment changes to something the supporting deity or power has problems with. The first case is unique as far as I know, the second is pretty common. If the class is drawing power from a source that will no longer support him due to his new alignment he loses those abilities powered by said source but keeps his other abilities. This may not be RAW but it is RAI.

Are your bosses alone, or do they have minions? Any boss worth the title will have lots of minions. If the players are able to get to the boss in the first couple of rounds you don’t have enough minions. The minions should also be going after the witch. If she is able to stay back and cast or hex without worry you need more minions. If one of the characters has to stay back and protect the witch your boss effectively increased its hit points by a 25% and his attacks vs the players by a third. If you don’t want to have a horde of minions consider two lesser bosses instead of just one big one. The single boss will usually lose when faced with four to one odds.

What type of bosses are you throwing at them? The single most effective boss is a spell caster or similar creature instead of a melee brute. Your party is geared towards melee so instead of trying to meet them on their terms, attack them from a different angle. Use ranged combat and spells to make the players work for it.

Courage is not the utter lack of fear, but rather overcoming your fear and not letting it dictate your actions. I still have paladins role saving throws vs. fear effects, but if they fail they are not affected by the effect. At this point I tell them that they feel the fear, but their god, faith or whatever is appropriate blocks it.

The flight or fight syndrome will still affect the paladin, but now it is under his control. There will be times when the best thing to do is to flee. Retreating vs an unwinnable foe is something a paladin should have no problem with. Sarenrae’s paladin code actually requires this.

If you use the race builder for the nonstandard races simply allow the humans to pick extra abilities equal to those that the other races get. The most likely choice will be extra stats instead of magical abilities. Require them to have all the normal human traits and just add to what they have. The other races will probably not have the extra stats the templates give and have scaled down power so everything should be about equal.

Keep in mind that none of the players is going to be a normal human. The extra abilities could be from a royal bloodline or something similar. Plenty of characters in fiction are depicted as having greater than normal human abilities due to a birthright. The whole idea is to keep the characters roughly equal in power so that one player does not end up playing the spear carrier.

Don’t limit what the humans can choose let them have full access to anything the other races can pick. These abilities can represent their own individual heritage, not a racial ability. A sorcerer could have arcane focus because he is the last descendant of a sorcerer king. The fighter could have sword training because his mentor taught him more than most. Just come up with a background reason for the character to have the ability. It does not have to be racial even though you are using the race builder.

I would suggest being very careful about any templates. They add a lot more power than you realize. Also if you are going to allow templates all characters should have the template, and use the same template for all. This of course does not include NPC’s especially villains.

Just because someone has a cool idea for a concept does not mean you have to let them have anything they want. If they want to be descendant from a dragon or outsider have them take the feat Eldritch Heritage or some other similar feat. There may be ways to balance the templates, but to be honest it is probably more trouble than it is worth.

In 3.0 I convinced the GM to let me come in with a half celestial druid and he total outclassed the rest of the party. 3.0 used level adjustments so I was around 3 levels lower than the rest of the party, but the other players were still totally outclassed by my character. I came in to the campaign late and killed it because the other players were not having fun anymore.

Another thing you could try doing is building a custom race for the player who want something different. Build the race yourself using the race building section. Do not allow the players to build their own race or it will not be balanced. Also use about 10 point for the race which is about the same as the standard races.

A bards spells could be based on oratory instead of music. Make sure your spells are language dependent and avoid utility spells. You may want to also look at the words of power spell system. Many stories have magic based on an elder language that is the basis of all other languages.

For a new player you want a class that is simple to play, but is still fun and effective. Some classes are simple to build but playing them effectively is a lot more complicated. Most prepared casters fall in this category. Other classes may be difficult to build, but simple to play. A spontaneous caster is may be fairly difficult to build, but actual play is a lot easier. If you are building the character these are fine. What you want is a class that everything they do is on their character sheet, not buried in a rule book.

The rogue sounds like it would be a good idea for a first time player, but it is really not. It actually takes a lot of system mastery to play an effective rogue. Setting up a sneak attack is something that is difficult enough for an experienced player, much less a beginner. The rogue is also considered the weakest class in the game for a reason so the new player may not have as much fun.

Barbarians, Bloodragers, Oracles, Paladins, Rangers, Sorcerers will all be fairly easy to play.

What race are the monks? A skirmisher ranger with a maxed out favored enemy vs. their race would probably work well. Try and setup a situation where you can control the terrain type of where you encounter the monks. Max out that terrain as the rangers favored terrain for an even bigger advantage. Max out perception to make sure they don’t sneak up on you. Also take animal companion for your hunter bond and pick up boon companion. Take archery for you combat style and go for a switch hitter.

The ranger is going to be +6 to hit and damage the monks with any weapon. He also gets a +10 perception to spot the monks (if in maxed out favored terrain). None of your abilities are magic so you loose nothing in the anti-magic field.

Since an elemental bloodline sorcerer can convert any energy type to his energy his best strategy is to pick all his spells of a different element than his own. This allows him the ability to cast effectively two spells for every spell. So instead of taking fireball for his 3rd level spell he takes lightning bolt and can cast it as either fire or electricity. Only his first two bloodline spells are actually damage spells that are restricted to his element. The fire resistance his bloodline gives him will probably be very useful for the due to fire damage being the most common type of energy damage. Having an extra 30’ of movement is always good. True his elemental blast may not be as useful but still works against normal humans which are not normally resistant or immune to fire.

Make sure he has a variety of different types of attack spells and also some battle field control spells of some sort and he will be fine. In all honesty air is probably a better element because devils are immune to fire, but have no resistance vs electricity. Being able to fly is also better than extra ground movement. There are also a lot of good fire spells so choosing another element would actually make his spell selection easier. If he took air as his element he could choose the fire spells and be able to convert them to electricity.

To be able to withstand magic you typically need a couple of things. First and probably most important are good saves. Will and fortitude are more important than reflex, but reflex is still needed. Second is a high touch AC. Many spells like rays target touch AC. Since most caster don’t have the huge bonus to hit martials have it does not have to be supper high, just high enough for the touch attacks to fail. If your touch AC is about equal to your normal AC you should be fine. Evasion is also something that can be useful to resist magic. Last but not least is magic resistance. Magic resistance can shut down a caster trying to affect something pretty quick.

There is only one class in the game that gets all these and that is the monk. A monk can be a casters nightmare. While the monk does have problems going up against level appropriate challenges, he does quite well vs wizards. The monk usually has problems hitting his target, but a caster usually has a much lower AC. Even if he can hit the monk often has trouble doing enough damage to be a threat, but the wizard usually has a lot less HP than an appropriate level challenge. Most level appropriate creatures also have way to high of a CMD for grapple to work, but wizards usually have crap for CMD. All in all a monk can be a wizard nightmare. Make it a dwarf monk with both steal soul, and glory of old and there may not be much the wizard can do to him.

Actually I prefer half orc for a paladin because of ferocious resolve. Adding a bonus to your lay on hand equal to your level is good, but being able to function at negative HP is also good. With ferocious resolve you have to actually kill the paladin to put him down. It’s really a matter of personal preference which is better. All the other advice has been good.

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