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Mysterious Stranger's page

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What are your characters goals? What is he willing to do to achieve these goals? Those are the questions you need to answer to figure out your alignment.

It sounds like you want to overthrow the hose of Thrune and replace it with your own. Are you doing this for the good of the people of Cheliax, or are you only interested in your own power? Also what do you intend to do once you have come into power. If you are trying to overthrow the house of Thrune so you can save the people from evil that has overtaken Cheliax then you would probably be neutral or maybe even good. If on the other hand you simply intend to replace the house of Thrune with your own house and still keep all the devil worship you are more than likely evil.

What methods will you employ to defeat the house Thrune? Are you using any means necessary to undermine the state regardless of who it affects? Or do you work through the system subtly undermining the enemy? Do you operate openly in opposition to the house of Thrune, or do you try to appear loyal while waiting for your chance to gain control. The last part of the puzzle is, are you working mostly by yourself or with a few chosen, or do you have lots of allies that are working together? If most of your actions follow the first examples then you are probably more chaotic, if you follow mostly the second examples you are more lawful. If you are evenly split you are neutral.

Keep in mind that lawful evil characters are usually fairly loyal to those in their own group. They have no problem betraying people outside their group if there are no consequences. Also lower members may be expected to sacrifice themselves for their superiors.

From what you have said I would say your character is probably Lawful Evil.

kyrt-ryder wrote:
See, while 276 and 281 are both Social traits and thus can't be used together, and 276 and 716 would have the problem that the starting money increase is a trait bonus and thus might not stack, 281 and 716 would work well together.
Technically 276 resets your starting wealth, 716 adds to it. Not the same thing.

There is also the problem of which trait takes effect first. If 716 comes before 276 then you actually lose wealth. For example if your starting wealth was 150 gold 716 would increase it to 1050 gold, and then 276 would reduce it to 900. If one of my players tried to take both this is how I would handle it.

As others have said it is kind of worthless after 2nd level. The only time it would be worth it would be if you for some reason are not able to purchase any equipment for a long time after the campaign starts. Then it may be necessary for some concepts. I played an archer in a game where we could not purchase anything until about 7th level. It really sucked not having proper gear. I was stuck with a bow with no STR bonus and studded leather armor. The campaign ended in a TPK just after we were able to purchase new equipment.

jasonm777 wrote:
Dafydd wrote:
loses the 8 or 9 (depending on if you retrain before or after) HP he gained from Tougness.
OK, thanks Dafydd. That's what I figured would be the case, though I was really hoping it wasn't. Not real excited about the prospect of losing 8hp.

You have 10 lay on hands per day that each heal 4d6 HP of damage. On the average that is an extra 140 HP per day that other characters don’t have access to. Trade toughness for Ferocious Resolve and that is like getting an extra 14 HP. If you had picked up an extra lay on hands that would have given you another 28 HP per day on the average. Toughness is not that good of a feat especially for a paladin.

The most important rule of a good GM is that the players are the center of the story. This does not mean that you can’t have powerful NPC’s; it simply means the story should be about what the PC are doing. There are a couple of ways to achieve this.

First is to use a narrative approach for most of the scenes involving the powerful character. Instead of playing out the event with game rules simply tell that part of the story. Have something to keep the players occupied with and just tell them what happens. The Fly you fools scene from lord of the rings is a good example of this.

The second is to break the battle up and focus on the player’s scene. Have the characters be responsible for defending one of a number of gates instead of worrying about all the gates. In your case have the cleric show up with the machine instead of after. This way the paladin tells the player to take care of the machine while he deals with the cleric. Run the battle of the PC vs the machine and narrate the battle between the paladin and the cleric.

This keeps the focus on the players, but still allows the story elements you want. One last warning is be careful of allowing the PC’s to fight with latter threats too early. This often leads to either the players getting killed, or the main villain being defeated before it is supposed to be.

If you don’t want to go for a paladin then probably a bloodrager would work well. It is generally better to go with a class that can take advantage of your STAT bonus. Suli get a bonus to STR and CHA, with a penalty to INT. Monks usually DUMP CHA so that not really that good of a class for a Suli. War Priests also don’t require CHA.

Incremental Assault is still limited by the number of round per day equal to your level. While the extra damage may seem good it is only 3.5 on the average. Since it is energy damage almost any creature with the relevant resistance is pretty much immune to it. It is a cool ability but not really powerful enough to base your character on.

If you want a really off the wall idea for a Suli go for a bard. Maybe an Arcane Duelist or Dervish Dance but focus on STR instead of DEX.

The Ki powers of the unchained monk are nice but the really useful changes are the flurry of blows and style strikes. Other than the Zen Archer the unchained monk is a lot better. The will save is not as much of a problem as it seems. The monk is a WIS based character so even with poor will saves he still has above average will saves. Still mind gives them +2 vs Enchantment spells and effects which covers most of the will saves except for fear.

I actually found that many of the Ki abilities of the unchained monk are weaker than those of the normal monk. Diamond abilities are all limited duration and Diamond Body is changed from flat out Immunity to being able to neutralize poison on himself by spending Ki.

I would allow a player to use the new system for Ki, but he has to use one system or another. So if he wants the new Ki power he replaces all of the Ki power. He can’t for example keep the old Diamond Body and still take Elemental Fury.

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Have you considered a Suli Paladin? Getting +2 to both STR and CHA is very helpful for a paladin. Focus more on the defensive abilities instead of elemental assault. Take the Unscathed trait to raise all your resistances from 5 to 7. 7 points of resistance does not seem a like a lot. But with a paladins saves you will be taking half damage from a lot of spells so it actually is better than it seems. Use a falchion with power attack and you will be doing a lot of damage even without smite evil.

Suli also get a +2 to diplomacy and sense motive which a paladin can exploit better than most characters. Worship Sarenrae and take the trait Ambassador and you can have a +11 diplomacy at first level. This allows you to talk your way out of a lot of problem, but if the enemy is not willing to listen you can beat the crap out of them.

Use your Elemental Assault more as a secondary ability. One thing it does do very well is to shut down regeneration. A paladin will also find it useful for when he cannot smite evil. This actually works really well with the falchion because of the damage is multiplied on a critical hit. Also keep in mind that Elemental Assault is only once a day and has a very short duration. Building a character around such a limited ability makes you a one shot wonder. This is especially true at lower levels when the duration does not last that long. Unless you are playing a fighter you probably don’t have the spare feats to overcome this.

Nothing in the monks flurry of blows prevents him from attacking with multiple weapons he simply does not gain any extra attacks from the second weapon. The shuriken is a monk weapon so obviously he can flurry with a shuriken. Everyone seems to agree with that at this point.

Flurry of Blows (Ex): At 1st level, a monk can make a flurry of blows as a full-attack action. When making a flurry of blows, the monk can make one additional attack at his highest base attack bonus. This additional attack stacks with the bonus attacks from haste and other similar effects. When using this ability, the monk can make these attacks with any combination of his unarmed strikes and weapons that have the monk special weapon quality. He takes no penalty for using multiple weapons when making a flurry of blows, but he does not gain any additional attacks beyond what’s already granted by the flurry for doing so. (He can still gain additional attacks from a high base attack bonus, from this ability, and from haste and similar effects). At 11th level, a monk can make an additional attack at his highest base attack bonus whenever he makes a flurry of blows. This stacks with the first attack from this ability and additional attacks from haste and similar effects.

The question is does rapid shot work with flurry? I think that it does because the source of the extra attack is the feat, not the fact you are using two weapons. Anyone can attack with two weapons even if they don’t have the two weapon fighting feat. The feat simply reduces the penalty. With rapid shot it does not matter how many extra weapons you have if you don’t have the feat. The real reason the monk cannot combine two weapon fighting and flurry of blows Unarmed Strike.

Unarmed Strike (Ex): At 1st level, a monk gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat. A monk’s attacks can be with fists, elbows, knees, and feet. This means that a monk can make unarmed strikes with his hands full. There is no such thing as an off-hand attack for a monk striking unarmed. A monk can apply his full Strength bonus on damage rolls for all his unarmed strikes. A monk’s unarmed strikes deal lethal damage, although he can choose to deal nonlethal damage with no penalty on his attack roll. He can make this choice while grappling as well.

Since the monk takes no penalties for attacking with an offhand weapon they would get all the extra attacks at full BAB. When they pick up improved and greater two weapon fighting the extra attacks from those would also be at full BAB. Considering the unchained monk is now a full BAB class that would be completely overpowering. A 20th level monk with haste and spending a Ki point could get 10 attacks in a round with 7 of them at full BAB. This is the reason the monk gains no extra attacks from two weapon fighting.

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Some limitations simply cannot be overcome. It may seem like the person with the disability can do everything a normal person can do, but they cannot. One of the first things a person with a disability learns is their limitations. It may seem like the person is able to overcome everything, but they are not. There are some things you are not capable of doing. Having a disability means that some things are forever beyond your reach no matter how much you want them. You become very good at hiding the fact you wish you could overcome these things and play down the limitation so it does not seem as bad. Take my word for it having a disability is not something that is easy.

I understand that you the reason you want to play this concept is because someone you know has seemingly overcome being blind. As much as you mean this to be a positive thing it can easily be taken the wrong way. This could not only anger people at the table, but if word gets back to your friend it could really offend her. Think how you would feel describing this character to her. Do you think she would think the idea is cool? Is this concept something that is worth risking her friendship over? And for god sake don’t actually describe this character to her.

Hero’s defiance is also a good spell, but it depends on the paladin. For a half orc paladin with ferocious resolve feat it does not have quite as much benefits. Hero’s defiance is probably a better spell to memorize, but for wands and potions bless weapon is great. A wand of bless weapon only cost 750 G.P. which works out to 15 gold per use. This is good for when you know you are going to be in combat soon and have time to prepare. It lasts a full minute so should last for the majority of combats. Also note that this works best when combined with a weapon that has a high critical range and improved critical.

With an 18-20 critical range weapon and improved critical the paladin get a lot of critical hits. More often than not the paladin should be able to hit on a 15 or better at least on the first attack. This means that approximately 25% of his hits vs an evil target will be critical hits. If he needs higher to hit than 15 to even hit on the first attack he should probably be looking to fix that before working on damage. Even if he requires higher than a 15 to hit this still means that every hit is a critical hit, in which case it is even more important.

Bless weapon is probably the best 1st level paladin spell out there. It helps in two circumstances the first and most obvious is when fighting the BBEG. Combined with smite evil and other damage it is incredibly useful. The second is when you are facing a lot of lower level threats. Since smite evil only works on a single target and is limited in uses per day you don’t waste your smites on lower level threats. Bless weapon on the other hand works very well in this circumstance. A paladin with an 18-20 (15-20 with improved critical) does very well against hordes of undead or other evil creatures.

Also if the paladin has divine bond weapon he can add flaming burst which take advantage of the improved critical range. The original poster states he is using a flaming scimitar. I understand that this is because of his deity and he is probably not likely to change it but if he wanted to do more damage he would change that out to another ability and use weapon bond to get flaming burst. A merciful scimitar would actually fit his deity. This way when he is not trying to kill someone his damage would higher. He could even still use all the other methods to increase damage while doing non-lethal damage. A merciful flaming burst scimitar with improved critical, bless weapon, power attack, and smite evil would allow him to capture just about anyone.

Rynjin wrote:
thunderbeard wrote:
Mysterious Stranger wrote:
thunderbeard wrote:
Er... it's almost certainly worth buying a Keen weapon and saving that extra feat for something more useful like Furious Focus, since Paladins are by far the most feat-starved martial class in the game. Other than that, good advice.
Keen does not stack with bless weapon, but improved critical does. This means that when attacking an evil target the paladin with bless weapon automatically confirms a critical if the original roll was 15 or better, and it hit.
Yeah... but Bless Weapon also takes a round to cast, making it less and less useful at later levels—if you can pick up a rod of Quicken or retrain Improved Critical once you're rich enough to pick up a +6 sword, it makes sense, but something like Furious Focus (+3 to the first hit every round) might be more valuable if pure damage output is the concern.

Min/level spells can be pre-cast at higher levels anyway. Metamagic rod of Extend that bad boy.

Or just grab a bunch of 50 gp potions of it.

A wand of bless weapons should be the second wand a paladin purchases.

thunderbeard wrote:
Er... it's almost certainly worth buying a Keen weapon and saving that extra feat for something more useful like Furious Focus, since Paladins are by far the most feat-starved martial class in the game. Other than that, good advice.

Keen does not stack with bless weapon, but improved critical does. This means that when attacking an evil target the paladin with bless weapon automatically confirms a critical if the original roll was 15 or better, and it hit.

There are a couple of things that is holding back your damage. As multiple people have said is that you prioritized CHA over STR. Two is you are using a one handed weapon. You also focused too much on using your paladin abilities which as you have stated are limited. You are also focused too much on defense instead of offense. Toughness only gives you a few extra HP, Iron Hide is only +1 AC. As a paladin the last thing you should be worried about is taking damage.

Paladins have the only decent in combat healing but you are using up yours to try and boost your damage. Save your lay on hands for healing yourself as a swift action. This is the most effective use of your lay on hands.

Use a two handed weapon with a high critical range. The falchion is basically a two handed scimitar so that would probably work. If you insist on using the scimitar always use it two handed. Sell the shield and use the money for something else. As Ascalaphus said improved critical works very well with bless weapon.

So what I would recommend would be to retrain channel smite, Iron Hide, and toughness. Change them to power attack, improved critical and ferocious resolve. Also pick up a belt to increase your STR.

Ferocious resolve is a half orc feat that gives you the ferocity of an orc so you can continue fighting even at negative HP. For a paladin this ability is incredibly useful. This is not limited to once a day and combined with lay on hands gives you incredible survivability. They literally have to kill you to take you down.

Another thing to consider is that sometimes it is better for a paladin to take some damage. This seems kind of strange but it can help the rest of the party. If you seem to be taking damage your opponents will concentrate on you. You can use your lay on hands to heal yourself, so in reality you are not really taking damage. This means the rest of the party is not taking those attacks. This works best against a lot of low threats not against the BBEG. Against the BBEG you are smiting evil and he is going to want to take you down.

I have to agree that you’re saying that cure x will not save him have no basis in the rules. As GM that is of course your prerogative, but that also means that the way to keep him alive is also up to you. Considering the lowly cure light wounds spell can stop a severed artery (Bleed damage), I am not sure what you reasoning is that a cure critical will not work.

The only rule that allows death without going to negative HP is the massive damage rule. If the wounds are so severe that cure spells will not work even raise dead will not work. Raise dead requires the body be whole which you have stated it is not. What it really comes down to is if you want him to live he does, if you want him to die he does.

If all you are looking for is some dramatics then you could require the rock be moved before the cure is cast. The spell could need to be cast exactly when the rock is moved. This might require a couple of rolls from the players. The person lifting the rock would need to make an appropriate STR roll. I could also see requiring all players involved needing to make DEX rolls to coordinate the procedure.

It seems that the choice of weapon not the race/class combination is what is suboptimal. As long as the player is fine with losing class abilities then why worry about it. Also he could chose the bow for his expertise and be kind of a switch hitter. A lot of people ignore the bow when it comes to samurai when in reality it was considered to be equally important as the daisho.

Everyone seems to think that you have to track every single arrow or completely ignore tracking. Completely ignoring tracking to me does not make sense, but how much detail I require of my players depends on the character. If the character is a archer who dumped INT and did not put any skill points into craft then I will probably be pretty hardcore on tracking arrows. This is especially true at higher levels when the character’s rate of fire is higher than his INT. When the character is firing like he is a machine gun he should have taken that into consideration and gotten proper equipment.

If on the other hand the character spent points craft bow then I am going to cut them some slack. If the character also made investments in appropriate gear then I don’t worry about it that much. As long as the character has a way to restock his items it is not that big of a problem. One thing I do is to figure out how many rounds of arrows the character can go through at maximum rate of fire using normal arrows. If battle is going to take longer than that I will start tacking arrow. When I ran a long battle and the archer completely ran out of arrows she was getting worried. She had taken appropriate steps but no one in the party realized how many enemies there were. Let’s just say the body count was in the triple digits.

I think your idea to focus on the thieves guild is probably and good idea. Your group seems to be concentrating too much on external threats instead of attacking from within. While you are a necromancer, don’t let that become what defines your character. Instead of using that as the primary method of attack let it be your ace in the hole. Hide the fact that you are a necromancer for as long as possible so that when they come after you it is a surprise.

One thing to also keep in mind is that Abasalom is a neutral city not a good city. While there are plenty of good deities worship here Norgober is also openly worship here. Being that he is one of the ascended gods his church will probably support the city. Being that he is the diety of thieves and assassins is going to make your job harder.

Just as CHA is more than looks, INT is more than just skills. If you can have a low CHA character that is good looking why can’t you have a low INT character that has no penalty on the number of skills he gets per level? Instead of being less intelligent he is lazy and aggressively ignorant. In things he takes the time to learn he is normal, but things he does not bother to learn are dumb and he doesn’t bother with them. This way the problem becomes a role playing problem instead of a mechanical problem.

A 10 INT human with favored class bonus going to skills gets 4 skills per level. This is more than enough to cover your concept. Keep in mind that many skills don’t need to be maxed out. Use your traits to pick up diplomacy and sense motive as class skills. Assuming a CHA of 14, WIS of 12 and willingness to spend a feat on skill focus I can have a diplomacy roll of 10 and a sense motive of 6 for a first level fighter. Max out diplomacy and put at least one point every other level to sense motive. This still leave you 2.5 skills per level for anything else. Many skills like climb, swim and a couple of other only really need a single point. By third level you should have most of those and can concentrate on the ones you want.

It sounds like what this player needs is multiple character sheets or at least partial character sheets. I don’t know what you are using for character sheets other than you are not using hero labs. That is a shame because it would probably solve a lot of his problems, but I can understand the cost being a bit steep for a casual player.

So what you need to do is to basically do what Hero Labs does. If your character sheet has a page with his combat stats listed print out two of them. One of them should have all the adjustments for when he is going all out combat mode. Include rage, power attack and any other abilities that he will be using. The second on should only include his base combat abilities. Do not include any optional abilities or feats in this one. Hopefully your sheet will only be a single page not multiple. Label each one clearly what is it in large bold font, and maybe even color code it. Then print out the rest of the character sheet and all he has to do is to switch combat sheets.

The easiest way to handle this is that the copy of the character you have is the official copy. If he makes changes in the character have him send you a copy for your records before the game. I use hero labs and require that all characters be entered in my computer. This makes it easy to plan games because I can look up what the characters have when I am planning my adventures. I take time both before and after the game to update my copy so that it is the latest. If someone wants to change thing between games they can send me the information and I can adjust the character.

Since I use hero labs to run combat it is important that I have a current copy of the characters. This also gives me complete access to everything the characters have, or can do. The players come up with enough surprises during the game even with having a copy of the character.

Who is to say that an awakened animal can breed at all? If you are looking at this from a scientific point of view the change is a massive mutation of the animal. Changes on this level often render a subject sterile. Even if the subject is not sterile their species may change to the point they can no longer breed with other animals. They have in effect become a whole new species. Each casting of awaken could create a completely different species so that even other awakened animals of the same base species still cannot breed with each other.

Also unless you awaken a lot more than 20 raccoons you are not going to have enough genetic diversity to avoid inbreeding. The trait for being an awakened animal is probably a recessive trait so both parents would need to be awakened or the offspring would be a normal raccoon. This could allow for a small group of intelligent raccoons that eventually dies off due to inbreeding and crossbreeding. It would also be enough to allow you to play an awakened raccoon without having to total change the world.

Since there are valid arguments either way what it really comes down to is GM’s option.

One of the best ways to get and hold the characters together is for them to be part of some sort of sponsored team. This also allows you to set the tone and theme of the campaign. For example if you are running a campaign based on hunting down undead a church sponsored undead hunting group make sense. If on the other hand you want to run a more political campaign then the party could be agents of the king, or even agents of his opposition. Tell the party in advance and it will make the job of making characters easier.

At low levels the characters all tend to be pretty much the same. Stats are actually more important than class at first level. Martial characters for the most part can’t afford many of the things their concept requires. Around 4th level or so most classes have started to come into their own. By now most characters should be able to afford their basic equipment. Archers will have appropriate bows; those that rely on heavy armor can afford it. Spell casters can afford wands and scrolls to supplement their spells. This is also the point where classes start to gain their signature class abilities.

Zen Archer/Inquisitor is very good. Max out WIS, have a decent STR and CON, DEX of 13, dump CHA completely. One you hit 5th level and get access to ban your damage will be ridiculous. Flurry of Bane is insane.

Spes Magna Mark wrote:

Travel to the future isn't possible because the future doesn't exist. What you think is the future is merely an alternate universe, and you're in that universe's present, not your universe's future.

Travel to the past is possible, but nothing in the past can be changed because it's already all happened. That sandwich on the table? You can't eat it. You can't even move it. Its status in the past is fixed and unalterable until whatever actually happened to the sandwich happens. If you go back into the past and can interact with/change things, it's not really the past, but instead is an alternate universe and you're in that universe's present, not your universe's past.


Actually time travel into the future is the only type of time travel we can actually verify. Since time naturally flows forward we are all in fact traveling in time to the future. Traveling into the past is the tricky part. There you have to deal with both the grandfather clause and the butterfly effect.

Archeologist bard seems to work well. Investigating ruins and old civilizations is what the archetype is based on. Performances don’t really seem to fit the character, but luck on the other hand fits very well. Sometimes the only reason the characters from the stories survived was through sheer luck.

Those abilities may be worth the -1 BAB, but you are also giving up more than just that. All of your paladin class abilities have also been delayed by one level. Taking a level of cleric means you don’t get Aura of Courage, or Divine health until 4th level. Those are two very useful immunities you have delayed. You also delayed getting more lay on hands and smite evil by another level. You will not get paladin spells until 5th level. You now have to wait until 6th level to get divine bond.

You may be thinking that getting the cleric spells now are better than getting paladin spells later. The thing to consider is that paladins gets some spells early and have spells that clerics simply don’t get. Getting lesser restoration as a 1st level spell is pretty good. Spells like bless weapon and hero’s defiance are also very useful. The level dip also delays getting litany of righteousness which is probably the single best spell for a paladin. Your caster level as a cleric will also never progress so level dependent variables like duration are static.

If you have the choice of spending gold or a class level to overcome a problem always spend the gold. Also spending a class level for a once a day problem is not cost effective.

Sounds like a variation of All You Zombies by Robert A. Heinlein

If you want to be subtle then go for the Fey sorcerer with both spell focus and greater spell focus enchantment. Hypnotism is actually a pretty good spell at that level. Assuming a 18 CHA this will give a DC 23 will save to resist. In combat vs. multiple targets it becomes effectively 21, out of combat vs. a single target it becomes effectively 25. This also allows you to make a single reasonable request of the target. Let me go would be annoying as hell. Charm person is not a compulsion but is still enchantment so the DC vs. it would only be 21.

If you want to go more combat than an Ifrit element fire sorcerer would work well. Take spell focus evocation, greater spell focus evocation, and energy conversion. If you want to go for sheer damage take mythic spell casting instead of energy conversion and choose burning hands as your mythic spell. When cast with Wild Arcana by a third level sorcerer mythic burning hands has range of 20 feet and does 5d6 damage with the DC of the save at 20 (Assuming a 20 CHA).

Since this is for a NPC instead of a PC you can afford to specialize more than a PC can.

Mythic spell casting only gives you one mythic spell per tier. That means at tier one you only get a single mythic spell. This is something that you may want to pick after you have a few tiers. There are better path abilities and feats for a low tier mythic character to take. This is something you will want at mid to high tier.

If you are a spontaneous caster take Wild Arcana to get access to your entire spell list. Arcane Surge is probably better for a prepared caster as it increases the chance the spell will work on the target.

Mythic spell focus can be useful not only for the increased DC of the saving throw, but also to force a second save. If you have greater spell focus you get another +1 to the DC for a total of +4 to the DC of a save. A Fey bloodline enchantment focused sorcerer with this feat is brutal.

Enduring Armor is good path ability because it scales up as you gain tiers. It starts out as the equivalent to permanent mage armor and eventually gives a +13 AC bonus. Energy Conversion is great path ability for a blaster.

Another problem with the symbol is the effects wear off after 1 hour per level. This means the effects don’t even last a full day. After this the people affected by it are going to start questioning what happened. When this happens your reputation and loyalty is going to be in the gutter.

The best way to ensure loyalty is to enhance yourself instead of affecting others. A +2 headband of CHA is actually cheaper than having the permanent symbol cast. Then for an additional 4,500 gold pick up a Circlet of Persuasion. Since they occupy different slots they can be used together, and they stack for a total of +5 bonus to bluff, diplomacy and intimidate. Since the headband actually increases your CHA you also get the benefit of improving your leadership score to attract followers.

It is never a good idea to mix templates with characters that do not have the template. The extra stats in the half dragon template will make it so that your character is way more powerful than the other characters. Your first couple of levels you will be a glass cannon, but will quickly catch up and then surpass the rest of the party. By 6th level you will have the same HP as a paladin without the template and then every level past that you gain more HP than the normal character. The extra STR is going to mean you hit more often and harder than anything in the group. Early on the extra natural attacks will do more damage and have a better chance to hit than any weapon due to your extra STR.

Templates are in the bestiary for a reason. They are not to give the players more option, but rather to allow the GM to create cool monsters for the party to fight. Even if the whole party has templates it can throw off the balance of the game. A party with templates will be able to handle certain things that others of their level will not be able to deal with, but in other aspects they are the same as an equivalent level player.

If both players are gestalt paladins make sure they both memorize Hero’s Defiance. If they are half orcs the feat ferocious resolve will also help keep them up and going. Another thing that you could do is run a mythic campaign. The extra HP from mythic tiers will help keep them up, and the hard to kill ability will make it harder to kill them. A mythic half orc paladin with ferocious resolve and fey foundling is really hard to keep down.

The Zen Archer actually does not use WIS to hit until 3rd level so even they don’t use WIS that much at 1st level. Inquisitors use WIS even more than a cleric and can completely dump CHA with the right inquisition.

Single classed wizards and sorcerers are not supposed to be casting spells in armor, especially heavy armor. If you want to blend magic and fighting than you should be playing a class that does this. You are going to have to trade off something to achieve this. If all you want is a little bit of extra protection without having to pay through the nose for it look at some of the light armor. Silken Ceremonial armor only gives a +1 AC, but has no armor check penalty, or arcane spell failure. A wizard or sorcerer could wear this armor with no penalties or spell failure even without having proficiency in any armor. Technically you take a -0 penalty on skills and attack rolls, but the net result is no effect. This armor can be enchanted like any other armor so is much cheaper than bracers of armor. +2 Bracers cost 4,000 GP, +1 silken ceremonial armor which gives the same AC costs 1,180 GP.

Too much is the same between the classes. The point of a gestalt character is to give you a lot more options. Instead of sacred fist use an inquisitor. Inquisitors get Stalwart which is basically evasion for both will and fortitude. Besides using bane on flurry of blows extremely effective. Also Judgements will give you a lot of versatility. You also get 2 extra skill points per level.

You said they don’t want to play a fighter or cavalier, but what class are they planning on playing. Many classes have poor saves. Keep in mind that not all saves are equal. The orders of importance for saves are will, fortitude and last reflex. Most spell casters have good will saves, except the alchemist. Most martial classes except the paladin have weak will saves. The rogue and ninja have bad will and fortitude saves so are already weak against magic.

Considering how deadly a failed save is at higher level you may want to avoid giving penalties to saves. Also this is something that can easily be overcome with magic items and spells. Instead what I would do would to create a custom trait that increases the effectiveness of any spell cast on them

Susceptible to spells (Magic Trait)
Something in you background makes you more susceptible to spells. Treat any spell cast on you as if the caster level is one higher. This affects any level dependent effects of the spell such as duration, damage, and even spell penetration.

This means that if a first level caster cast burning hands on them they take 2d4 points of damage. But it also means beneficial spells work better. A wand of cure light wounds now heals 1d8+2, protection from evil last longer.

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I could see a couple of way for this to work for a bow. To deal blunt damage bend the arrow head so that it is pointing up creating a blunt surface. For slashing damage you could aim for a grazing shot so the edge of the arrow slices the skin. Since it is the arrow doing the damage not the bow I would say that it requires a swift action for each arrow, so you could only do this once per round.

DM_Blake wrote:

I love that gorilla experiment.

I make people roll Perception checks all the time in combat to see fairly obvious things. The DCs are usually quite low, but no Take-10 (combat) means sometimes in combat they just don't see that plain, obvious, unhidden monster walk into the room.

When the players grumble, I remind them of that gorilla experiment.

I think DM Blake has the best answer. Everyone has been so focused on the range penalties and the fact it lists a DC for spotting a visible person. Most people seem to think that this means you must roll a perception roll to notice anything in any circumstance. The way I see it if someone is visible and not hiding, and you are not distracted or under stress you don’t need to roll to see them. If on the other hand you are in combat or otherwise distracted then asking a player to make a perception roll to notice someone is not unreasonable.

So spotting the goalie in a soccer game from the stands would not require a roll at all. If the person in the stands is in a fight or otherwise distracted then yes he is probably going to miss it when the goalie blocks the shot.

The problem is not so much the rule, but when to apply it.

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While the game is not perfect it is not as bad as people are making out. Yes the chance of spotting someone in a field 250 away is pretty small. In many cases perception is used for when someone has a chance to notice something, but is not actively looking. You are also forgetting to factor in circumstance bonuses and penalties.

If you are sitting in the park taking to a person, what do you think your chance of spotting someone walking out a door that is 100’ away and getting into a car is? The chance of you spotting the person walking out the door and getting into the car is pretty small. On the other hand if you are watching that door for a person to come out you have a good chance to spot him.

Perception should be used for when you have a chance to notice something but may miss it. You don’t need a rule for everything. Common sense goes a long way to prevent a lot of these type of situations. Spotting the obvious should not require a roll, just like talking does not require a diplomacy roll to be understood.

Thinking of distance in squares instead of the actual distance may help. This mean the distance penalty is +1dc per 2 squares. So the distance you are talking the rogue has to be using a bow, or sling because even with sniper goggles the maximum range still applies. Thrown weapons have a maximum of 5 range increments and a projectile weapon has a maximum of 10 range increments. Assuming the rogue is using a short bow that means he is taking -10 to hit. Even vs. a flat footed opponent the rogue is going to have a hard time hitting.

Once you have a chance to act you are no longer flat footed. You can react to being attacked without being aware of the location of the attacker as long as you know you are under attack. Assuming that the rogue actually managed to get an arrow near the group they will probably realize they are under attack and the direction of the attack. You could make them roll a perception roll with a penalty to the distance to the nearest arrow if you really want to be hardcore. Even if I don’t know who is shooting at me, or where he is I can try and take cover or move around to make myself harder to hit. This is basic tactics that is any experienced combatant will use.

As to the rogue getting a full attack there is an easy way to do this. Use delay action in the surprise round. The delay action is triggered off of being able to get a full attack. This effectively gives up your surprise round but puts your initiative to the first person to act in the round.

The other thing people are forgetting is there are probably circumstantial modifiers that are not being factored in. The DC 0 would be for a single creature in a normal setting. Each creature in the group being spotted should increase the chance of spotting the group. I would probably say at least a +1 per person in the group would be a good start. Also what is the group wearing? Someone wearing an explorers outfit would probably be no bonus to spot, but a knight in a bright sircoat would be easier to spot. Also perception is not just sight so someone in armor would also be easier to notice. I would apply the armor check penalty to the chance to notice.

If the rogue manages to get the drop on the other group with all those penalties then let him have his full sneak attack. But he does not keep getting to make sneak attacks on someone after the person has a chance to act.

Adaptable is a property you can get on a magic bow that allows the bow to adjust the STR of the bow to your current STR. Its cost is a flat 1000 GP, but the bow needs to be at least a +1 bow before adding the property. It is pretty much assumed that any archer who can afford it will purchase it. This way if your STR goes up, or down the bow adjusts.

The rules for polymorph state that you lose all abilities that depend on your original form.

While under the effects of a polymorph spell, you lose all extraordinary and supernatural abilities that depend on your original form (such as keen senses, scent, and darkvision), as well as any natural attacks and movement types possessed by your original form. You also lose any class features that depend upon form, but those that allow you to add features (such as sorcerers that can grow claws) still function. While most of these should be obvious, the GM is the final arbiter of what abilities depend on form and are lost when a new form is assumed. Your new form might restore a number of these abilities if they are possessed by the new form.

Does this mean that a vampire loses all his vampire based abilities when he uses the vampire ability change into a wolf? If so does that mean the vampire is now a living creature with a CON score and no vampire weaknesses? Technically that would mean he loses the ability to change shape so he cannot actually use this ability. What abilities does a vampire or other template creature lose when he uses a polymorph effect? Or do you change into a template creature of the type you assume?

Other than the fact that the cost is usually more than a first level character can afford. Unless you have some way to increase your starting wealth you will probably only be able to afford a +0 bow.

A 10th level ranger with two weapon fighting and maxed out favored enemy could easily kill him in a single round. Figure an 18 STR with two +1 kukri and weapon focus. He is +20/+20/+15/+15 to hit and doing 1d4+11 (with double slice). A ring of invisibility or a couple of potions of invisibility and a good stealth roll should get him in and out. Attacking from ambush he should be able to get a full attack before anyone realizes he is there. He will need to roll a 2 to miss and do a minimum of 12 points of damage per hit for a total of 48 points of damage. If he takes improved critical he needs to roll a 15 or better for a critical hit.

At early levels most classes are about the same and stats make more of a difference than class levels. After about 4th to 6th level the class means more than the stats. A good example of this would be an elven wizard vs. a human fighter. If the elf had an 18 STR and the human had a 10 STR the elf would be better at using a sword than the fighter. At 1st level the AC of the fighter will not be that much higher than the wizard assuming the wizard took mage armor. By 4th level the fighter probably has masterwork if not magic equipment and a lot more HP. By this point the edge has shifted to the fighter. At 6th level the fighter is picking up his second attack and totally outclasses the elven wizard in a sword fight. But by this time the elven wizard has his 3rd level spells and his abilities have also come online.

I realize that a fighter is going to have better physical stats than the wizard. But the point is that at early levels it is the stat making the difference not the class.

When you have a campaign that has a single race as its major enemy it is hard to beat a ranger. A dwarf ranger with favored enemy giants will work extremely well. Take the trapper archetype to get trapfinding and you can do anything a rogue or slayer could do. Favored enemy is a lot better than sneak attack especially when you max out your first favored enemy and it is the campaigns major enemy.

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Killing someone is not necessary evil. The reason why you kill someone is what makes the difference between murder and killing. The soldier fighting in a war killing the enemy is not necessary evil. Even the executioner killing those condemned to death may not be evil. The guy who kills anyone for the right price is evil. What makes the class evil is not the skill set it’s the fluff.

Actually this is about the only type of campaign where the rogue will not be outclassed. Since everyone is playing a rogue than all the characters will be about the same power level. In order for this to work you will need to tailor the campaign towards more skill and social based challenges instead of raw combat. The game is going to resemble oceans eleven rather than the typical action movie.

The Charlatan archetype would make a good face, Counterfeit Mage will be able to add some magic, Knife Master or Swashbuckler(Archetype not class) will add some needed combat ability. Probably also want either a standard rogue or a Burglar, or Acrobat.

All characters should take the feat Gang Up which requires combat expertise. Combat when it occurs is either going to be short and quick or the party is going to have to run away.

Due to fire affinity the elemental bloodline is the best choice for an ifrit sorcerer. Treating your CHA as two higher is a huge advantage. The bloodline arcana allows you to change any spell from other elements to fire. So what you do is to choose non fire spells for your spells. Don’t go with fireball, but instead take lightning bolt. This allows you to effectively have two spells for the price of one. Another good option is to choose the feat elemental spell. While this does use a higher level spell it gives you even more options. For example if I have Elemental Spell (cold) and I take Lighting Bold then I can cast it as fire or electricity, and by using a 4rd level slot I can cast it as cold bolt. The saving throw for the spell is 1pt higher than a sorcerer with the same CHA. The only time you should take fire spells is when your bloodline spell requires it.

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