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Mysterious Stranger's page

1,008 posts. No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist.


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Fraust wrote:

Mysterious...I'm assuming that was a general response to the thread? I'm not sure I fully get some of your points...right now similar characters have similar spells...

But as for the no cleric thing...having one list helps quite a bit with this. In AE (I mentioned it in my post above) the guy throwing out the area of effect damage spells and battlefield control spells, is also healing people...and the guy who's healing and buffing the party, is also throwing out area of effect...

There's still a bit of diversity with the exotic spells and the fact that some of the classes (half casters, the equivalent of bards, rangers, paladins, ect...) are largely limited to only the common spells and maybe a few very specific others. But ultimately it loosens the party role issue quite a bit.

With all the healing spells on the divine list than you cannot have an arcane healer. I have seen both a bard and a witch cover the role of healer. Having fewer spell list means that there is no overlap and some characters lose important spells. Inquisitors for example get a lot of utility spells like knock and invisibility that other divine caster do not. Under the few spell list idea they would lose access to them and their spell casting would be identical to a clerics.

The point is that more sell lists allow for a greater variety of classes. If all the spell lists are the same then the difference between the classes is diminished. If there is only one arcane list then bards would be tossing around fireballs, and lightning bolts. Access to better spell lists is an important part of the class.

The problem with limited spell lists is then every character will tend to have the same spells. This is the way it was in 1st edition when there were only 4 spell lists. You had cleric, magic user, druid and illusionist spells. Paladins got cleric spells; rangers used both magic user and druid. Bards were a weird case where you had to start as fighter, then go thief, and then could become a bard; who gets druid spells.

This usually meant that similar characters had the same spells. This also created the situation where you had to have certain classes. This is where the idea of the standard party of fighter, cleric, magic user, and thief comes from. I for one am glad that has changed. Now if no one wants to play a cleric his role can be covered by multiple other classes. Doing away with specialized spell lists would mean that would no longer be the same.

The oracle of life is the best healer in the game bar none. Since an oracle does not have an alignment restriction there is nothing to prevent you from being an evil oracle of life. You can even choose to spontaneously cast cure spells instead of inflict. The life oracle also gets most of the condition removal spells as bonus spells. This will allow you to take whatever you want for your normal spells without having to waste slots.

Use Antipaladin for your other class to get your combat ability and the ability to channel negative energy. This will give you all the social skills as class skills and obviously you will have the charisma to be able to make them work. Antipaladins also get Undetectable Alignment as a second level spell which will allow you to pretend to be good, and almost everyone will believe you. You could even carry out impersonating a paladin complete with being able to heal.

When I run a game I use Hero Labs for all characters. I have a copy of all characters on my computer and that is considered the official one. I give my players time before the game to update the character if anything has changed. This is a big help when I am creating an adventure because I have all the information about the characters available to me.

I use the tactical console for running combat and it really speeds things up. It allows me to apply any condition or spell to the characters both PC and NPC and automatically adjust everything. This really speeds up the game especially for those that are math challenged, or do not have the rules memorized. The die roller is also useful when I need to make a check and don’t want the players to know about it. Since I sit at the head of the table my laptop also acts as a GM screen.

The only downside is that the program can get expensive. Since most of my purchases have been spread out it has not been that painful, but purchasing everything at once will be costly. Since most of my group also uses it they can create their characters on their own system and simply email me the file to import into the party portfolio.

I would probably go for a point in both climb and swim before sense motive. Your whole party so far has good scouting ability. If you all maintain that you may be able to dictate the terms of the encounters. If you can get the barbarians stealth up you may be able to completely avoid a lot of things, or at least ambush them.

The magus is great at going nova, but can only attempt it a limited number of times per day. And even when he does go nova he is not guaranteed it will work. He still needs to actually hit the target, and to confirm the critical hit. He also needs to make a concentration check while casting to avoid provoking an attack of opportunity. Then he needs to roll decent on his damage.

As a GM is would actually be rooting for him to pull it off instead of worrying about countering it. The most memorable encounters are the ones that a single player manages to take down the BBEG in a single lucky shot. Often they are they are remember years after the game has ended when all the rest has faded from memory.

If it becomes a problem where he is pulling it off too often adjust thing subtly. Increase the number of minor encounters, or the number of monsters encountered so he burns up his resources. Also a slight increase in AC will reduce the chance of him being able to actually pull off the critical.

Defiantly go for a paladin of Sarenrae. Not only does she fit what you are looking for but she has the trait Blade of Mercy that lets you do non-lethal damage at no penalty with a slashing weapon and does an extra point of damage when you do so. Max out strength and use a falchion and your damage will be fine. This way you can even smite evil without doing lethal damage.

Take a bow as a backup weapon and pick up some blunt arrows. Just because you are not focusing on archery does not mean it will not be useful especially when you are fighting flying creatures. Remember smite evil works on any weapon so don’t limit yourself. Without the feats you are not going to be doing as much damage with archery, but some damage is better than none.

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Just because all characters do not get equal benefit from sacred weapon does not mean it is useless. I can see a couple of instances where it will be very useful. A DEX based war priest wielding two daggers would get a lot of benefit from sacred weapon. Also a deity with an exotic ranged weapon like hand crossbow, or shuriken would also do well. Another weapon that will benefit from it is any kind of whip. A war priest of Calistria wielding a scorpion whip could be very effective. The point is not all characters will get the same benefit from sacred weapon.

Sacred Weapon can be used on any weapon that you have weapon focus for, as well as your deities favored weapon. Since there are no limits to how often you can do this, you can use different weapons as sacred weapons. Mostly a war priest will have a better weapon, but there may be circumstances were he may not have access to them. If you deity has a poor weapon like a dagger for a favored weapon you can use this were taking other weapons may not be possible. You will probably be able to take a dagger just about anywhere, but carrying a great sword to the kings court will probably not be allowed. It also can be used to increase your unarmed damage if your deity has unarmed as a favored weapon.

An Inquisitor would probably work better for this than a paladin. They have a lot of abilities that are similar to paladins that they can fulfill the same role. The only thing they are lacking is the ability to heal others. This is more than made up for by the versatility of the class.

They also get a lot more skills, including some important skills. I have not played skulls and shackles, but I would assume having bluff, stealth and perception is going to be pretty useful.

As an inquisitor your job is to hunt down those who offend your god. I can see an inquisitor of Besmara hunting down those who betray the pirate’s code. As a paladin your job is to hunt down evil, which most pirates are. Some of those who break the pirate’s code may do it because they are good. This leaves you with a situation where your paladin abilities do not work against the very people you should be hunting.

The Oread is a good choice but take the alternative racial traits of Crystalline Form, and Granite Skin. +1 Natural Armor Bonus, and +2 AC vs Rays work well with the monk.

Before doing anything talk to the rest of the group about the problem and make sure everyone is on the same page. Even when only one person is causing problems these things can often split up a group. If the one of the other players is best friends with the offending player they may side with them. Once the group has come to a decision then someone in the group should contact the offending player and let him know the decision.

Normally this would be the GM but if another player is hosting the game then he may be the best person to deliver the decision. Whoever delivers the decision should do it calmly with no personal attacks. If the GM or host is unable to do this have someone else be the bearer for bad news.

If the player is kicked out of the group then just let it go. Don’t keep dwelling on the problem once it has been solved. Also avoid talking about the player any more than then necessary especially to people outside the group. If the player is allowed to continue in the group and is no longer doing the things that caused the problems let it go and give him the benefit of the doubt in the future. If he is giving another chance and does not change then start the whole process over with the goal of removing him from the group.

While in the real world pathfinder style monks are rare in western cultures there is no reason this has to be true in a fantasy world. Look to fiction rather than history for your inspiration. The bloodgaurd of the Thomas Covenant series are a perfect example of “Western” monk. The basic monk could easily be someone who follows a different mystic tradition than that of a spell caster. They don’t even have to be connected to a monastery, or even called a monk. The Zen Archer is a perfect example of such a character.

If your setting accepts the idea that with proper training or innate talent a person is able to create their own pocket universe, than having someone able to train themselves to hit like a freight train should not be a problem. Just consider monks another form of wizard except they focus on their own bodies.

Extra starting wealth is probably the best mechanical boon you can grant 1st level characters. There are a lot of concepts that are difficult to do with starting wealth. Archers and heavily armored characters often find it difficult to get the equipment they should be using. A ranger who wants to start using chain mail, with a composite bow and great sword has used all his starting gold on just those three items assuming he has max gold.

What I would really suggest is not giving a mechanical boon, but a role playing boon. Things like contacts and favors don’t need to be spelled out in game terms. For example if someone is playing a cleric he would be able to get help from his church. It may only be information, or a place to stay, but it could also be anything you want. The rogue could be a member of the local thieves guild and be able to get aid and information from them.

I give players XP for dealing with obstacles. As long as the encounter is a legitimate obstacle they get full XP. I am not familiar with Emerald Spire, but as long as the players have to deal with the troglodytes they should get full XP. Even if all they do is sneak past the obstacle they still had to deal with it. Using a skill like diplomacy, or stealth is still using resources. Characters don’t have an unlimited amount of skill points so they are still using resources when bypassing obstacles.

As for leveling up I normally do this at the end of the session. Occasionally I will level up the characters when there is going to be significant down time. Obviously this is does not happen in the middle of a dungeon. For example if the party traveling and they are going to be spending a few weeks in a city then I will level them up during this time.

I would advise against this because it is not balanced and give casters even more of an advantage than they already have. The benefits of a caster with the warrior background are a lot better than a martial character with either of the others. Having proficiency in all armor and martial weapon is something that is valuable at any level. A few hit points and some extra skill points become less valuable at higher levels. A cleric with the warrior background gets a hell of a lot more than a fighter with the adept background.

This will not add grant any individuality, but rather make all the characters the same. Anyone with any sense is going to choose the warrior background. Now everyone is using the same weapons and armor, using wands, and have the nearly the same HP. At first level all the characters are the same.

Since traits are supposed to be worth half a feat, why not give each player an extra feat. Another thing you could do is to increase the starting wealth. Give the players the equivalent of the rich parent’s trait so give all characters start with 900 GP.

I use hero labs and use my laptop as a DM screen. If the players are actively using a skill they roll the dice, if not then I use the built in die roller. I also use the tactical console to speed up combat. I have a copy of all the characters loaded so I never have to ask a player for information on his character.

Depending on the situation I may simply have the players roll a d20 and tell me the results. For example if the party is about to be ambushed and are rolling perception to spot the ambush I will have the players roll. If on the other hand I someone is lying to them then I will use the computer. Anytime the player request to make a roll I have roll.

A better idea for a druid version of the spell would be to tie it to the elemental planes instead of by alignment. So protections from the plane of fire would work on creatures with the fire subtype and outsides from the elemental plane of fire.

The ring will prevent you from being detected as evil, but you are still evil. You will still be affected by spells that affect evil even though you cannot be detected as such. So someone using detect evil on you will not detect you as evil, but holy smite will still damage you. The ring only affects you so anything that is not limited to yourself still detects as evil.

Archeologist Bard.

If you are looking for a utility character your best choices are bard, inquisitor, or ranger. All three get decent amount of skills, and a lot of class abilities. All three are also spell casters of some sort so also increase your versatility.

The ranger will be better at combat then the other two especially if he is fighting his favored enemy. While he is a less powerful spell caster, he is a prepared divine caster so knows every spell on the list. With enough warning he can tailor his spells to what is needed. Since favored terrain and favored enemy bonus’s stack he can get some pretty ridiculous perception rolls in the right circumstance.

If you go for a bard I would recommend taking the archeologist archetype. An archeologist bard is like a rogue on steroids. Since his archeologist luck is of limited duration he will tend not be able to sustain his full potential all the time. Make sure you get lingering performance and maybe play a half elf for the favored class bonus. If traits are allowed pick up fates favored. Between archeologist luck and heroism you will have a huge bonus on just about everything.

The inquisitor is probably the most versatile class in the game. No matter what you are dealing with he has a class ability that will be useful. If you are having trouble hitting use judgment of justice, need more damage judgment of destruction work, fighting in an environment where you are taking fire damage each round use judgment of resistance. Bane allows you to significantly increase your combat ability against any type of creature. You get more bonus’s on skill than any other class in the game.

Overall I would recommend an inquisitor and stay human. The favored class bonus of extra spells knows is pretty hard to beat. For your extra feat chose improved monster lore to get an even higher bonus on identifying your enemies.

The nice thing about bless weapon is that the duration is 1 min. per level. It is a good spell to use when you have enough warning to prepare. Its other use is when you are facing a long drawn out battle with a bunch of minions. It is a situational spell, but in the right situation it can be incredibly useful.

Improved critical has one advantage over keen for a paladin. Improved critical will work with the spell bless weapon, but not with magical effect like keen. Take improved critical with the falchion and you will increase your damage vs evil considerably even when you are not smiting evil. The ability to auto confirm critical vs an evil opponent is often over looked but is incredibly useful.

Another reason to go with improved critical with the falchion is because of the spell bless weapon. Bless weapon allows you to automatically confirm a critical hit vs. an evil opponent. While it does not work with magical effects like keen or vorpal, it does work with improved critical. Bless weapon is a first level paladin spell that lasts 1 min. per level which is long enough for almost any fight.

If you want a truly terrifying opponent take 2 levels of anitpaladin, and then the rest as an oracle. You get CHA to save proficiency with martial weapons and heavy armor, smite evil once a day. As an undead you can use your touch of corruption to heal yourself.

For mysteries flame and wind are obvious choices for what you are looking at. Battle would work for acid since you wanted a more martial build. I used a similar build with an oracle of bones for a lord of the undead I am working on.

While the sample graveknight is lawful evil, the template works with any evil.

GypsyMischief wrote:
Now, I know you're into the half elf thing, but hear me out. There's a half orc alternate racial trait that grants a +1 luck bonus to all saves, this coupled with fates favored equals +2 to all saves. I'm not sure if this is legal, or what books are required, but +2 to all saves is beefier than skill focus.

That will not stack with Archeologist Luck since they are both luck bonuses.

I would probably put the skill focus in Perception instead of Diplomacy. You could also use the ancestral arms and pick up proficiency with scimitar and go the dervish dance route.

As a bard you get very few spells so you will want to make them count. Unless this is going to be a one shot low level adventure you will want spells that remain useful at all levels. Sleep becomes useless one you reach medium to high level so is a bad choice. Cure light would not have been my choice, but is fine. Also if you choose spells that do not require a save your charisma only needs to be high enough to cast your spells.

Expeditious Retreat can be a great spell for an archeologist. Running away faster is always good, think of the opening scene in Raider of the lost ARC. Equally important is using it for stealth. Since it effectively doubles you move it allows you to make a full normal move while using stealth at no penalty.
Comprehend Languages is another that would fit better. Being able to translate any language including those no longer used is great for an archeologist.

A ranger is a prepared divine caster so they have access to their entire spell list. Each day they have to choose which of spells they memorize. Alarm and Residual Tracking are decent all propose spells but be aware you are able to change them as needed.

Aspect of the Falcon and Gravity bow are also going to be very useful for an archer. A good strategy is to have a couple of different spells choices based on what you expect to encounter. You have access to a decent amount of utility spells, but a lot is going to be dependent on what other spell casters you have in the party. For example if you have just finished an adventure and have a lot of loot but it is too much to carry Ant Haul cast on the two strongest party members will allow you to take a lot more than you would normally be able to carry.

A vampire is a template creature so its HD are equal to the level of the base creature. The Vampire in the books was a sample using an 8th level sorcerer as the base. The base creature has to have at least 5 HD or levels , so a vampire could have as few as 5 HD, or as many as 20.

Precise shot is good to have but not as necessary as it may seem. If you are fighting something one on one you can take a five foot step back and you are no longer firing into a melee. On the opponents next turn they will of course take a five foot step and full attack you, but you can still get off your full attack without any penalty. At low levels you function as a switch hitter using an elven curve blade instead of a rapier for massive damage.

The ranger’s advantage is he is able to function better at lower levels than fighter. He is also a lot more versatile than the fighter. If you were going to stay a fighter and not multiclass than the fighter may be stronger, but since you plan on going into lantern bearer you are not gaining that much for what you would get as a ranger.

Also keep in mind that your favored class bonus is more than hit and damage. You also get it on bluff, knowledge’s, perception, sense motive, and survival. You are also allowed to make knowledge checks untrained. With Perception being a class skill, having a decent Wisdom and being an elf you will spot almost any demon unless it is invisible. Also tracking a demon is going to be ridiculously easy.

If all you are interested in is feats than actually a Zen Archer has both a ranger and a fighter beat. By 6th level they will have just about any archery related feat you need except rapid shot, and many shot. In reality they don’t actually need those feats because they have flurry with bow and the ability to use add an extra attack by using a ki point. The Zen Archer will have improved precise shot which even a fighter cannot get until 11th level. They have weapon specialization which the ranger does not get. They also have perfect shot and can use it 6 times per day which a fighter can never have that many uses per day.

Favored enemy is normally a very situational ability, but the adventure path you are on will have a ton of evil outsider’s encounters. When you are almost guaranteed that you will encounter your favored enemy frequently it becomes incredibly useful. If you were on a different adventure path than maybe I would be hard pressed to choose between ranger and fighter, but in Wraith of the Righteous it is hard to pass up.

You can pick up point blank master as a fighter, but you will not get the extra +4 favored enemy on evil outsiders. You also lose all the other ranger abilities like spells, and the ability to share half your favored enemy bonus to the rest of the party.

Rangers also get a lot more skills and more class skills. Many of them become class skills when you become a lantern bearer but that is not till at least 6th level. Having perception and stealth as class skills from 1st level is a huge advantage at low levels.

At 6th level a fighter has 3 bonus feats and one of them has to be used for point blank shot, and the other for weapon specialization to qualify for point blank mastery. A ranger has 2 bonus feats and does not need point blank shot. The fighter does have weapon training, but ranger has favored enemy bonus of +4 to hit and damage. The fighters extra feats are not that important at low levels. If you were going as a strait fighter it would make more of difference.

I would go with the ranger till at least 6th level and pick up point blank master and then never put down the bow. Keep in mind that favored enemy from both class stacks so by 8th level you will be +6 vs. evil outsiders and can take the mythic path ability of endless hatred to increase that by 2 and bypass all damage reduction.

If you are playing an elf just use an elven curve blade.

Wands are a little bit different because they are casting an actual spell. What I am suggesting is that both spells be treated as a single unit. This they can be dispelled as a single effect and when one ends so does the other. So when the last image is gone the blur effect also disappears. I can see the cost might increase, but I would not have a problem with both effects being triggered by the same action.

Actually I don’t see a problem with them being both activated at the same time, as long as they both always go off at once. With two separate command words you have an item that can use them separately. You could for example use only the blur and not use the mirror image. This means the item can actually be used 6 times a instead of 3. I would only allow this if the effects did not involve an attack. If you want a wand that allows you to throw two fireballs than have the second one be a quickened fireball.

Since both spells are a single effect I would use the most restrictive element of either spell. So if one spell has a duration of 1 round per level, and the other has a duration of 1 minute per level, the effect lasts for 1 round per level.

Use some traps to lay down a false trail. For example have the party come to an intersection where one of the ways has a trap. At this point most people will disarm the trap and follow that way. So instead of the trapped way being the correct way, have the other way be the correct way. The trapped way leads to a wild goose chase.

Another thing you can do is to have the act of disarming a trap cause something else to happen. Maybe when he disarms a trap it arms a second trap behind it so the other players stumble into it. Since the second trap is more than 10 feet away he does not get a perception roll to spot it. Or maybe disarming the trap causes a wall to shift blocking the way back.

You could also create a situation where to progress the trap needs to be triggered. Teleport traps work very well for this. Maybe the only way to reach the BBEG lair is to teleport in through a teleportation trap. Another interesting variation is to use benevolent traps. Maybe the gaseous cloud the trap releases is actually a potion of fire resistance and the next part of the dungeon is through an area of fire.

When a trap is just a trap it is a trap, but when a trap is something else it becomes interesting.

Each spell is completely independent of any other spell so unless there is a mystic version of the greater spell you cannot learn it. Personally I think there should be more mystic spells but I understand that having a mystic version of every spell would have required several books and more time than the developers could spare. If the GM is willing you could research mythic versions of any spell you want, but this would be in house rules territory.

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I think the problem is that your player wants to play Pathfinder, and you are more interested in creating your own game. A lot of players like being able to plan out their characters and unexpected house rules often interfere with this. Nothing is more frustrating to a player than having his character constantly altered with no notice. Changing how survival works may not seem like a big deal to you. But if the player invested skill points in to it with the assumption that he would be able to do certain things it can be frustrating. The same is true with spell craft. The person who invested a lot of points in the skill with the assumption that he needed them to learn spells may feel ripped off when the guy with only one rank now learns spells just as quickly as he does.

House rules should for the most part cover things that are not covered by the rules, or that need clarification. They are also good for altering the campaign to create a specific setting or feel. In at all possible they should be stated before the campaign begins so the players are aware of them and can plan their characters accordingly.

A monk could work well. If you did not already have a archer cleric I would suggest a Zen Archer. A Weapon Adept could give you a decent amount of damage. Go defensive with crane style, or offensive with tiger style.

A Suli gets 5 points of energy resistance vs four elements (Acid, Cold, Electricity, and Fire).

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Play a Catfolk bard for the favored class bonus of +1/2 to bardic knowledge. A 1 level dip in Oracle of lore will allow you to use CHA for knowledge skills instead of INT. There is also a trait that gives +1 to bardic knowledge.

A god is more than just a personality; they are the embodiment of an idea. Many divine characters follow the idea more than the personality. A follower of Iomedae could be following the idea of justice and honor as much as they would be following Iomedae herself. This is not to say that the deity in question is not important, after all they are the living embodiment of the idea.

A divine character that ascends to godhood will often still be an important part of the sponsoring religion. At this point they have become more of a partner then an employee. This is even more likely in the case of a good deity than an evil one. Now instead of having someone you need to provide power to, you have someone who bring more power to your cause.

To be truly effective you are probably going to need more than one source of control. You could start with the state control of casters as suggested by Gregory Connolly. Have each caster wear a collar that acts like a Ring of Dungeon so the higher ups can keep track of spell casters. This item could also allow enchantment spells to be cast through the item and even bypass saves.

Then add in a readily available addictive drug that only affects casters. The drug boosts the casting stat of the user for a short time, but once addicted they literally have to have it or die. Keep the addiction part a state secret so that visiting casters will try the drug and be enslaved.

Addict them to a drug that the state controls. Possibly something that will slowly kill them if they do not get their fix. If you really want to get creative have the drug boos their casting stat.

Are you talking low magic campaign or no magic campaign? There is a huge difference between the two. If you are looking at a no magic campaign I would honestly recommend another system. A low magic campaign on the other hand is doable.

In a low magic campaign there will still be magic items and spell casters, but they will not be as common. The easiest way to achieve this is to increase the value of magic items. If the value of all magic items are multiplied by 5 this would significantly restrict their availability to the party. If you altered the masterwork rules to allow them to provide full bonuses instead of the limited bonuses they currently do that would also work. I would suggest allowing a maximum bonus of +2 for non-magical equipment.

Damage reduction can also be handled without magic. A lot of damage reduction is already based on special materials this could easily be expanded. Invent some new material that replaced magic damage reduction. You could also allow weapons to be aligned without being magic. Allowing non-magical weapons to be consecrated should not be that big of a deal.

Despite some of the advice given full casters should be allowed. Just increase the cost to create magic items by the same factor as purchasing them and you should not have a problem. This also gives the party access to spells that can replicate a lot of magic items. Spells like Mage Armor and Owls Wisdom become a lot more valuable. This will also tend to keep the spell casters in check because now they have to use some of their spells for things that magic items normally provide.

Personally I would recommend the druid over the antipaladin. While most abilities of antipaladin are equally useful as their paladin equivalent, the touch of corruption is noticeably weaker than lay on hands. A touch attack that does ½ your level in D6 damage is simply not as powerful as the ability to heal yourself as a swift action. An antipaladin does not usually have problems dealing damage so having another way to deal damage does not increase the power of the character significantly. It is also the reason that an antipaladin is weaker than the paladin. At least with channel negative energy you can pick up use it to command undead if you spend the feat.

An antipaladin has the charisma to be the party face, but since diplomacy is not a class skill they will not be able to pull it off as well as the paladin. They also get stealth as a class skill, but tend to wear heavy armor so have a hard time actually sneaking up on things. Since they only get 2 skill points per level and INT is usually not a priority they actually come out worse than a paladin. A paladin can pump diplomacy and sense motive to obscene levels and have the ability to talk his way out of a lot of things. An antipaladin will probably want to split his skill between bluff, disguise, sense motive and maybe stealth.

Don’t get me wrong the antipaladin is still a strong class and will tend to deal huge amounts of damage. But overall is probably slightly weaker than a paladin. The big advantage they have is that they can go all out in combat without having to worry about falling like the paladin does.

The druid on the other hand is an incredibly versatile class. They are a full caster and can summon huge amounts of creatures to fight for them. Their spell list includes a little bit of everything. While they may not be able to heal as well as a cleric, they can still heal. They also have a decent amount of combat spells, but not quite as good as a wizard. While their spell list is not the best at any one thing they can do everything reasonably well.

Wild shape gives you a lot of options both in combat and out. The obvious thing to use it for is to shift into a combat capable form and attack your enemies, but you can do a lot more with it. A druid with natural spell in the form of a bird flying above the battle casting spells can devastate the enemy. It can also be used for spying and scouting. Who really pays attention to every bird flying by, or every squirrel in the forest?

Overall the druid is going to give you more options, while the antipaladin will be more powerful in combat.

Not all combat needs to be challenging. When your players know that every combat is going to be serious they tend to prepare for it. This leads to a situation where all the resources of the group are geared for high level encounters. When all you have to deal with is high level encounters you stop preparing for the trivial encounters. This is particularly common at high levels

If the players have to waste high level spells to deal with low level threats this reduces their resources significantly. After this happens a couple of times the players will probably start to prepare some of their spells to deal with the lower level threats. This means that they have less resources to deal with the high level threats so you can actually scale back the encounters and still have them be challenging.

The whole idea is to not let the players have all their resources available for the big fight. At high levels the characters have a lot of resources and if you don’t drain away some of them they will overpower most things. As strange as it may seem having more trivial encounters may speed things up considerably.

Rylar wrote:
The code idea is great, but limiting it to paladins is not the way I would go. Every character should have a code.

While a lot of classes should have codes only the paladin and cavaliers lose class abilities if the violate them. With paladins regaining those class abilities can be a real pain and often take time and money. Cavaliers only temporarily lose their class abilities. Having the paladin’s player define and writing down the code is the best advice for any new GM with a paladin player.

I would say probably less than half the characters will have any kind of formal code. Mostly the lawful types will have codes. The chaotic ones tend to make things up as they go along, which is perfectly acceptable.

I would limit what races, classes, and archetypes that are available to the material you actually own. The thing you need to make sure is that your players tell you what they are going to be playing before the game starts. Concentrate on learning the races and classes your players want to play instead of trying to learn everything. If you have physical access to the material it is a lot easier to kick back and read it than if you are reading it on a computer.

If no one is playing a druid, but one of your players wants to play a witch you can skip over understanding how a druid works and concentrate on the witch. The same is true for races and archetypes. Just make sure to look over the adventure path and see what classes the NPC’s are so you can also understand them.

Understanding the basic rules of the game is often more important than understanding how every class works. Make sure you understand how combat works especially combat maneuvers. Also be familiar with the skills and what they can and cannot do. To start out you need to understand what all characters can do, and then what your players can do. After that you should know what the NPC’s in the adventure can do. Everything else is not important. If a monk never comes up in the game who cares what they can do.

Check with the GM to see if UMD would work.

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