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Ferious Thune wrote:

@Mysterious Stranger - That all sounds fine for your home campaign. PFS is not resource poor, and there is easy access to wands of CLW, even without spending gold (through spending prestige). I don't think I've had a character yet burn through more than 3 CLW wands over 11 levels, though some of those eventually bought partial wands of cure moderate as well. But even if it goes to 4 or 5, the savings is minor compared to getting an extra feat for your build.

He's also talking about a character that doesn't plan to routinely be the target in combat. So there will be scenarios where he requires minimal healing, or possibly even none. I just played through a scenario at tier 8-9 with a melee character, and because there was a Barbarian next to me with a low AC for most of the scenario, I never got hit. What he should be concerned with is when he suddenly...

He is not talking about getting an extra feat he is talking about taking toughness. There are a lot better choices for feats than toughness. Great Fortitude will give him a +2 on fortitude saves which having only a 12 Con is affecting. Dodge will give him +1 AC and affects touch AC for all those rays and other attacks targeting touch AC. Improve Initiative will increase the chance of him getting to act first and thereby actually being able to use sneak attack. Improved monster lore gives you a bonus of half your level to identify monsters (Very useful for being able to use band).

Toughness is not really all that good of a feat once you are past 1st level. Going from 9 to 12 HP is actually pretty good at first level where one unlucky shot my take you down. After that it quickly loses steam especially since you gain nothing at levels 2-3.

A lawful good person will follow the law unless it is an evil law. So if there is a law that says you can’t wear the color red on Sunday they will obey it. If the law says you give 10% of your income to the government you do. If the law says you have to beat a helpless child the lawful good person does not obey the law.

A neutral good person will follow the law as long it is good, or does not prevent them from doing good. They will also tend to obey the law so that it does not inconvenience them. So if the law says you can’t wear red on Sunday they will usually obey it just to avoid the hassle, but if wearing red on Sunday will somehow increase the good they will wear it.

A chaotic good person will often break the law out of principle. The chaotic good person will obey only laws they personally agree with, but will often break laws out of principle. If the law says you can’t wear red on Sunday they show up in dressed head to toe in scarlet at the king’s court. If the law says you have to give 10% of your income to charity they refuse and then give more on the sly.

Depending on what you are trying to do it may also require another sort of roll. A climbing roll may be needed if you want to remain on him. If you are trying to do something to him that may fall under the combat maneuver dirty trick. But the acrobatics roll is what you need to land on him. If you want to avoid being noticed a stealth roll is also probably needed.

I don’t play or run PFS, but in games I run and play you will need a lot more than three wands of cure light wounds over the course you your career. Many of the games I run evolve extensive travel often on other planes, so you can’t just pop back to town to pick up a new wand. Resource management is something that the players have to really plan for. You may go several levels before you are able to reequip. I also go a higher than 12th level so the players HP and amount of damage can be significantly higher. My advice is based on my own play style so may not always fit every game.

Also while wands are an important part of out of combat healing they are not the only thing used. Clerics still have channel energy, and can convert any spell to a cure, paladins have lay on hands. Fey Foundling affects all of those not just wands. Fey Foundling allows the character to be able to be restored to full HP with fewer resources used. These resources than can be used on the rest of the party.

Honestly if it were me I don’t think I would take either of the feats for an inquisitor. But If I had to choose between the two I would go for Fey Foundling. I don’t think that an extra HP per level is worth a feat, especially if you are going to be limited to 12th level. Toughness is kind of unusual that it is front loaded. At first level it can actually be really helpful, because at that level 3 extra HP are a significant increase. But you get nothing for level 2-3 and then only 1 per level after that. If the extra HP were so important he would be taking that as his favored class bonus. I believe that PFS allows a rewrite at before you get to second level. In that case it might be worth taking at first and then swapping it out at second level.

Fey Foundling affects all healing not just in combat healing. People seem to be saying that it is worthless for out of combat healing. It’s all about resource management.

The sole purpose of HP is to keep you from dying. All having more HP does is to raise the threshold of when you go unconscious or die. As long as you are not taking enough damage to go unconscious or be killed in a single encounter having more HP is not that important. As long as you remain conscious, and are alive at the end of the battel you have enough hp.

Unless there has been a recent nerf I am not aware of Fey Foundling give you 2 extra HP per die, not 1. That means that the average damage healed from a wand of cure light wounds goes from 5.5 to 7.5. That means a wand of cure light wounds cures an extra 100 HP, not 50. That means you are healing an extra 36% more not 18%. You get a similar boost from almost all healing not just wands.

Other than things like paladins lay on hands the only time in combat healing should be used is in an emergency. When a character is about to be killed or go down is about the only time that it makes tactical sense to use in combat healing. At this point you should be using your best healing available or the situation is probably not dire enough. In this circumstance the increased healing from Fey Foundling is even more important.

What it really comes down to are your HP low enough that the extra HP from toughness are keeping you alive and conscious? If not the extra 36% increase from Fey Foundling is going to be more beneficial to you. The money you save on healing can be spent on other things. It also means that since you require less healing more can be used for the rest of the party. Having the barbarian at full HP because you did not need that last healing spell is going to mean he may be able to survive the combat and will be there for the next encounter.

If you are taking cleric for channel energy to deal with undead you may want to consider a life oracle. Since CHA is their main stat they actually channel energy better and more often than a cleric. The cleric spell list which the oracle shares has a lot of blast spells that are particularly good vs. undead and outsiders. Normally an oracle is going to be a lot weaker of at offensive magic than an arcane caster, but in this case you would probably be stronger. If nothing else you can always use cure spells to attack undead. Normally this tactic is used by evil clerics going for the bad touch cleric. Take the Blackend Curse to get some fire spells to deal with living creatures and you will be fine.

Are you opposed to taking levels with any other class besides fighter? Many prestige classes require lots of combat feats and fighter is probably the best way to gain entry to them. But a lot of them require some sort of spell casting so another class may be needed. It also depends on what you want out of the prestige class and if you want to play a spell caster. Both Arcane Archer, and Eldritch Knight work very well with fighter, but require you to be able to cast arcane spells.

If you want to remain a pure martial then there are not a lot of options. Duelist would be ok, but if that is the type of character you wanted you could play a swashbuckler from day one.

Shadowdancer would go a long way to increasing your versatility, but would weaken your combat ability a little. The fighter feats allow you to qualify for it without using all your feats. Having to put nearly half your skill points into skills that are not class skills is kind of brutal. The fact that you will probably want heavy armor during these levels makes it even worse. Playing a human and having at least some INT will help. Once you become a Shadowdancer the 6 skill levels per level will make up for the lack of skills points for the first 5 levels.

One of the best tricks for keeping an adventure on the path is to use a magician’s choice. A magician’s choice is where you seem to give a choice but in reality there is no choice. Let’s say you have a situation where the party is on a trail where it splits. The party is supposed to choose the left path, but for some reason they choose the right path. Simply rearrange the world so that the paths are reversed and the party is going where they are supposed to. This works best where the party missed a clue or is otherwise lacking information they were supposed to have. Don’t overuse it, or use it in situations where the party made a deliberate choice to avoid something. If used properly the players will never even know you did it.

Also don’t be bound by what is written in the book. Feel free to move encounters around as needed. Just because the book says the encounter takes place while the party is traveling on a specific road does not mean it has to. If the book assumes the party will be traveling by horse back, but the party is flying does not mean they have to miss the encounter that was supposed to happen on the road.

Look at encounters as scenes from a movie. How people get from scene to scene in a movie is rarely important. What is important is the scene.

As others have stated this is pretty much all in the realm of the GM’s decision. If I were the GM I would rule that when you became a lich the devil that held the contract gets your phylactery. As The Black Bard stated becoming a lich requires that you die. The second you die the contract is due so and the devil collects his due. The fact that your soul is now in an item does not mean anything it still belongs to the devil.

From the devils point of view this is actually a huge windfall. Since you have died and the devil has collected his due neither of you is under any obligation. Since the contract is fulfilled any benefits you gained from it are lost, and the devil now has the phylactery of a lich in his control. This means he can destroy your phylactery at any time. Any clauses preventing the devil from directly harming the person making the contract are also gone. You just traded a bad contract for a much worse situation.

Again this is not based on anything in the rules, but rather as a GM what I would do in this situation. Devils have been around way longer than any spell caster and have seen probably every trick in the book.

An archeologist bard/paladin is actually a very good combination. Full BAB, all good saves, 6 skills points per level and adding half you level to multiple skills. The paladin spells have most of the condition removal spells, where the bard’s spells provide self-buff and utility spells. Smite evil and divine grace gives you CHA to hit, AC and saves. The archeologist brings archeologist luck and early access to heroism for some impressive bonuses to just about everything.

You are also a CHA based character with UMD as a class skill which is also affected by archeologist luck and heroism. Use wands and scrolls for spells that you don’t know, or are not on you spell list. This gives you limited access to just about any spell in the game. You won’t always have access to everything, but you will have access to what you really need when you need it most.

Basically you are playing Batman.

I could see a succubus using charm to get someone naked. When a really hot girl that you trust tells you to get naked so she can do kinky things to you, are you really going to say no? I am not saying this is what happened, but if it did it would probably be within the power of charm person. It is after all a succubus.

Besides from the sound of it most of his gear is in the handy haversack. That had already been dropped before the succubus even showed up. So anything in the handy haversack and that was in his hands is a given. Also things like cloaks belts and other clothes would have been removed. Things like Rings or other things that are not removed for sex would probably stay on.

From what the original poster said she got a lot more than just some mundane adventuring gear.

So now he's stuck, at the beginning portion of a high lvl dungeon (with no way out btw) with out his bonded object, and the Enemy just absconded with a bunch of magic items that are useful to her.

Not only that the character has also been severely weakened. Reducing your enemies options while expanding your own is a very good tactic. Since the character lost his spell book was taken that means he will have a problem memorizing spells. While he did find other spell books he still has to learn the spells, and they probably don’t have the same spells he had. Many Magus are one trick ponies relying on a few spells (Shocking Grasp). If that spell is not in the new books his power level is going to be really reduced.

This is what happens when you dump STR too far. When your character cannot carry everything it needs even with magical help you need to rethink your build. The player made the decision to dump his STR way too far so he should have to deal with the consequences. The only way I could see this not being entirely his fault is if you were using some sort of weird stat generation where you rolled you stats and in order and were not allowed to change them. If that were the case I might be inclined to cut him some slack. If on the other hand a point buy was used I would let the player face the consequences of his own choices.

If I had a player who created a character like this I would have told him from the beginning that I thought his character was going to have problems, and suggest he rebuild it. If the player insisted on playing it I would have given him a final warning, which it sounds like your GM did. After the first time he dropped all his gear at the beginning of a combat I would have given him a second warning. I would have probably used this tactic on him a lot earlier. From the sound of it your characters are pretty high level so this should have happened to him multiple times already. About the only thing your GM did wrong was to wait so long to use this tactic. This should have happened much earlier and probably in a situation where it was more of an inconvenience than a crippling blow.

As Tarik Blackhands said stealing all a players gear is kind of a dick move, but this is more of a player doing it to themselves.

Saraphali wrote:
Hmmm... the Warpriest is a walking holy bomb... funnel as many undead as you can into a pit and have the warpriest spam channel energy, see if the arcane casters can make scrolls of AoE spells, have the paladin intercept the army and see if it's smart. if not they might follow the aura of good away. soak nets in oil and catch the dead in flaming nets. Craft alchemy some shrapnel grenades and alchemists fire make spiked barricades. have blades for zombies and clubs for skeletons. Craft alchemy barrels of gunpowder, make a moat, if the river is dry put spikes in the moat. get the wizard to prepare summon monster in as many forms as possible (spells, scrolls, potions, runes) hire mercenaries and use livestock as meat shields...

The warpriest is not high enough level to channel energy, and even if he was he uses up two uses of Fervor to do so. If he were 4th level he would get 2 maybe 3 channel energy a day. The arcane spell casters on the other hand can spam disrupt undead all day, as it is a cantrip. Sadly the warpriest does not have access to disrupt undead.

People seem to be forgetting or not realizing that the party is actually pretty low level. Many of the strategies being suggested will not work because they of the low level of the party.

Have you considered the champion of the faith archetype for warpriests? They are not exactly a paladin but are very close and can be of any alignment. They end up with slightly less pure combat ability, but can get some fighter only feats like weapon specialization and greater weapon focus. Sacred weapon allows them to use weapons with low damage dice that improves as they level up. This actually gives them very good flexibility because they can use a weapon like scimitar and eventually deal 2d8 damage. They don’t get CHA to save, but do have two good saves. They also have access to spells and can cast personal buffs as a swift action.

How are you defining strongest? If all you are looking at is damage than most of the time the fighter is going to be the answer. There is a reason they are called fighters. They are usually very good at combat, but outside of combat they are fairly useless. Looking at a single aspect of a class and basing everything on that one aspect will often lead to disappointment with your character. It’s kind of like saying on building is bigger just because it is taller. You may have a shorter building that has more length and depth so its overall area is much larger than the taller building.

A ranger for example may not do the same amount of damage as the fighter, but has a lot more options than the fighter especially outside of combat. Their skills, spells and other class feature make up for doing less damage in combat. And even in combat if they are facing their favored enemy they can often do more damage than any other class.

Paladins have the best survivability of any class. Getting CHA to all saves and two good saves give them the best saves in the game. They are also immune to many fear and latter most enchantments. Add in swift action healing to keep them up when most other classes have gone down make them very tough to take out. More often than not the paladin is the last person standing after a fight.

For those that think that a warpriest of Iomedae does not have to worry about falling like paladin does, remember that warpriests and clerics are also expected to uphold their deities code of conduct.


A warpriest who grossly violates the code of conduct required by his god loses all spells and class features, except for his armor, shield, weapon proficiencies, and bonus feats. He cannot thereafter gain levels as a warpriest of that god until he atones for his deeds (see the atonement spell).

The only real difference between a paladin and a warpriest when it comes to falling is the alignment restriction. A paladin who changes alignments automatically falls, where a warpriest can change to either lawful neutral or neutral good and not fall. If it where any other deity besides Iomedae then that would not be the case.

If you are looking to avoid being like a paladin you may have chosen the wrong deity. A common saying about Iomedae is that she was a paladin. Her paladins are paladins, her clerics are paladins, and even her inquisitors are paladins. As a warpriesst you are not bound by the paladins code, but you are bound by your deities code. Since your deities code is pretty much a paladins code you are kind of stuck. Keep in mind that clerics and warpriests do not have a code of conduct that all of those classes have to follow, but they do still have a code of conduct. Instead of one overall code each deity has their own code of conduct they expect their followers to adhere to. This is not an option it is part of the class and is defined by the Ex-Cleric, or Ex-Warpriest section. This mean you can fall just as easily as a paladin

That is the bad news, the good news is that as others have said Iomedae does not require he paladins to be nice smiley goody two shoes. Lying cheating and acting dishonorably is still going to be a problem for you. You can be as bad assed against evil as you want. Iomedae is not the goddess of redemption so you don’t have to try to forgive those who are evil, or even try and convert them. You are of course free to do so if you wish, but unlike a follower of Sarenrae failing to do so will not be considered acting against your deities code.

If you want to play a worshiper of Iomedae who is able to act dishonorably when pursuing the greater good and Inquisitor would have been a better choice. It states in their class description that they are above many of the normal rules and convention of their church and answer only to their deity and their own sense of justice. Even in the Ex-inquisitor section they are allowed more freedom. When they fall all they lose is their spells and judgments, where a cleric or warpriest loses all class features except for proficiencies and bonus feats. Also for an inquisitor to fall he has to actually change alignment or become corrupt. Where a cleric or warpriest falls for gross violation of their code of conduct.

Go for the Anitpaladin but put STR first and CHA second. Pick up intimidating powers and apply both STR and CHA to intimidate. Play a Mori-Born Dampir for bonus to STR and CHA . This will also allow you to use touch of corruption to heal yourself.

From the description in hero labs they have an innate sense of jealousy and malice, but do not feel pleasure or happiness. It also says they hide the hatefulness that lurks at their core. From the sound of it they do feel emotions just the negative ones.

Their Epithet is Spitespawn. You motivation is to prevent other from experiencing what you cannot.

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By this line of reasoning all skill DC of 25 or higher should not be used after 10th level. You can get a +25 with almost any class skill by simply having a 14 in the stat and taking skill focus and a feat like alertness that give a you a +2 bonus with two skills (+4 with 10 ranks). This does not even factor in skills that certain classes or races get bonuses in.

Just because a spell is able to easily overcome the obstacle does not mean they should not be used. For one thing they force the spell caster to use one of their spells. These are usually their higher level spells so it actually significantly reduced the resources of the caster. When the 9th level wizard uses teleport to get the party where they need to be, that leaves him 1 less 5th level spell. That is one less cloudkill, or one less summon monster V he will be able to cast. An obstacle that uses up 1/2 of the wizard’s highest level spells does not sound like a trivial obstacle.

By doing what you are doing you are actually increasing the power level of the casters at the expense of the martials. By keeping these obstacles you force the casters to reduce their power to deal with them.

An interesting variation would be to have a single profession campaign. By profession I mean things like priests, knights, thieves, or musicians. So you could have a variety of classes as long as they can fulfill the basic functions of the profession. The profession should be something that requires more than just all having the same professional skill.

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You need to make sure that the people defending the town don’t join the army after they are dead. Most of the time a body needs to be fairly well intact to become undead. You should have standing orders to destroy the body of anyone who dies. Make sure the warpreist memorizes stabilize to help deal with this.

Hopefully both arcane spell casters have Disrupt Undead. It may only be 1d6 damage, but it is a touch attack that does not get a save. Unfortunately the warpreist does not have the spell. As long as you can keep the undead out of the city or confined to a location you can use this to eventually destroy the entire army. If you can seal the army in a portion of the city where they can’t get out just have the two arcane casters keep casting it until they are gone. This may take a days but it should work. Hopefully the Gm will not make you roll each attack or the battle may take days to complete.

If the army is made up of, or contains skeletons start making blunt arrows. Slings will also work for those that can’t use bows or as a backup. Unfortunately there are no ranged weapons that I know of that deal slashing damage, so if you are facing zombies they are going to be a lot tougher.

The paladin and warpreist are actually not going to be as effective as they should vs the army. They will however probably be useful for taking out the leader. Smite Evil is a single target so is almost useless against mass numbers. Make sure the paladin does not waste it on the army, but saves it for the Boss.

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Rangers are supposed to be able to survive alone in the wilderness. Having good fortitude saves allows them to deal with extreme temperature, resisting disease and avoiding exhaustion. Rangers get good reflex saves to allow them to avoid damage and other threats. Since they get evasion as a class feature having poor reflex saves makes no sense at all. So the design choice of the rangers saves are to allow him to function as the wilderness warrior he is supposed to be. Will saves on the other hand are rarely if ever used vs natural threats.

Paladins are supposed to relentless in their fight against evil. No matter the cost to themselves they still keep going. Think of Capitan America in the first movie. No matter how often he got smacked down he still got back up to fight. Good fortitude saves allows the paladin to deal exhaustion and force himself to keep going. It also allows him to deal with negative energy that many undead use. Good will saves also make sense. A paladin is who is easily charmed or dominated is useless. This is also supported by their Aura’s. It does not make sense that a class that eventually gets complete immunity to, and grants others bonuses to saves vs. fear, charm and compulsion have low will save.

No matter what you do your idea is not going to come online until your 3rd level of sorcerer. You don’t get long limb until 3rd level of sorcerer. If you dip into rouge you don’t get that until 4th level. Weapon finesse is also not required to make this work especially at low level. Most creatures you fight at first and second level are not going to have that high of a touch AC anyways. Take agile tongue as your first level feat. This still gives you a 10’ reach. Pick up weapon finesse as your third level feat at 3rd level. At this point you have what you are looking for.

Sorcerers are already a level behind wizards in getting higher level spells. This is going to put you 2 levels behind. So when the wizard is getting 3rd level spells you will be getting 2nd level. You also lose a caster level which means the spells you have are less potent. All in all not really a good trade.

To me this seems more of a character background issue than a rules mechanic. The usual answer to this is to have the players be the younger children of a wealthy family. The family’s wealth is tied up in fixed assets like property and titles instead of being liquid. Also as the younger children they are not the heirs so don’t get the wealth. Usually the wealth and titles go to the oldest son instead of being equally distributed. Basically they can live at the family mansion, and seem wealthy, but still need to figure out how to pay for anything they want.

What you are missing is this creature has a stealthy of +17 (after adjustment for size), spring attack, wind stance, lighting stance and a 50’ movement. It should be using hit a run tactics not stand and deliver. Don’t bother with a full attack simply keep moving. Start it 25’ away from who it will attack, and use its breath weapon in the surprise round. Then move in and attack the squishy and end up 25’ away. Keep its distance and use the breath weapon as often as possible. If the combat is going against it use a withdrawal and stealth (Lighting stance gives it concealment so it effectively has HIPS). If the party has any animals like horses they are probably diseased and have a good chance of dying.

This is not a monster to use in a dungeon encounter, but rather a wilderness encounter where it can use the terrain to its advantage. Figuring out the proper tactics for each monster can be difficult especially if your strong point is not tactics. If you are not looking at the strength of the monster and try, and run them all the same then most of them are going to seem like crap.

Silk to Steel is not completely useless as it can be used to also defend yourself. Admittedly a+2 sheild bonus is not much but ,it is not totally useless. It also increases the strength of the scarf to that of steel so you could probably use it to hold something. Maybe use it to make a trap. Use the scarf to hold an object up that it could not ordinarily hold and wait for the duration to expire. None of these things really make it worth a second level spell, but at least they can be used for something.

The most useless spell has to be Gentle Breeze. It is a first level spell that exactly duplicates the cantrip Breeze except it does not require a material component and if you memorize more than one can be cast on more than one target. To me not having to have carry a miniature fan and being able to memorize multiple instances of the spell to cast on the whole party is not worth making it into a 1st level spell. If the target was one creature or object per level than maybe it may be worth making into a spell.

Khudzlin wrote:
EvilTwinSkippy wrote:

Yep, this spell is insanely good for paladins. Swift action to cast, and it doubles all your damage, including bonus damage from Smite and your Divine Bond weapon.

Add in a bit of crit-fishing (Keen/Improved Critical + Fauchard) for some extra fun.

Too bad Smite itself is also a swift action (and Lay on Hands on yourself, too).

It takes a swift action to start a smite evil, once started it continues until the target is dead. This does prevent using it on the first round, but not on the second or subsequent rounds. There is also nothing in the rules that prevents a paladin from declaring a smite evil before combat starts. The only thing would be that if he declares it and combat does not start he has used up one of his smite.

I agree that is a Falcata. It does not even look like a two handed version, it looks like a normal Falcata using two hands. If you read the description of the Falcata it states it has the momentum of an axe with the cutting edge of a sword.

Use Magic Device can be used by anyone. Rogues get it as a class skill and are not spell casters. Other than a few archetypes this is about the only way for a non-spell caster to use magic. Scrolls my require multiple rolls if you don’t have the required stat.

In previous editions multiclassing was a good way to increase your powers. In Pathfinder the opposite is true. Multiclassing generally is not worth what you give up. At most dipping a single level or two at the most is usually the most you want to do. Three to four levels is giving up way too much. In your case losing extra smites and spells is not worth a couple of feats. You also delay all the other paladins abilities like divine bond, call celestial ally and powerful justice. You also lose caster levels which means the spells you have are not as effective as they should be.

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To me this looks like a three musketeer style campaign. Instead of looking at it as a problem look at it as an opportunity to run a very fun style campaign. Plan on a lot of urban and intrigue based encounters and you will have a fun campaign. Suggest the swashbuckler focus more on diplomacy and intimidate, while the bard concentrates more on observation and “rogue” skills. The bard should also being maxing out UMD so he can use scrolls to cover the lack of condition removal spells.

As a GM I would love to run this party.

Matt2VK wrote:

Main reason to play a cleric is to channel. At higher levels, with feats and/or gear, you can channel heal as a move and/or swift action. Trying to heal in combat is usually a bad idea. Heals just don't keep up with damage output.

As suggested above, read through the guides on clerics. There's a lot of good info in them.

The main reason to play a cleric is they are a 9th level caster that has decent combat ability. Channeling is something they use so they can heal without having to use their spells. The other reason to use channeling is in a undead focused campaign, but if that is the case you really want to be a cleric of Sarenrae.

Life Oracles actually do a lot better for a channel focused character.

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Fate’s Favored and Criminal are probably good traits. Criminal gives you disable device as a class skill, which bards do not get including archeologist. Kind of silly they get a bonus to disable device and can disable magic traps but not get it as a class skill.

Fate’s Favored by the way is in ultimate campaign. Since this is where most common traits are I am not sure what you have access to.

Inquisitors have too many level dependent class features to make dipping worthwhile.

One of the best ways to shut down most archers is to simply move next to him. This is a well-known tactic that any GM with any kind of tactical sense is going to use. If you have multiple foes they are going to do their best to surround you to take you out quicker. Since Zen Archers get Point Blank Master at third level, and Reflexive Shot at 9th level this does not work well. Most other archers will try to avoid this happening even going so far as to moving away if the enemies get too close. After 3rd level a Zen Archer’s best tactic is to simply stay put and continue full attacking. This means that they will often get surrounded. In this situation Combat Reflexes is actually useful.

My play style is probably different than most. When I run I don’t always stick to carefully balanced level appropriate threats. I will often have a strong BBEG with a ton of less powerful minions. Often to even reach the BBEG you need to wade through his minions. I once ran an encounter where the party ended up killing over 200 skeletons to get the BBEG. Individually the skeletons were not that tough but they kept coming and coming.

If improved initiative actually allowed you to go first you might have point. But the fact of the matter is that it does not it only increases your chance of going first. One thing combat reflexes will allow you to do is to attack more fleeing creatures. If you are in the middle of a fight where the enemy decides to flee often multiple foes provoke AoO. The other thing it is useful for is for foes who try to get past you.

I don’t know all that many first level casters who take improve initiative. More often they are taking something like combat casting or spell focus. The big problem is that there are not a lot of feats a first level monk qualifies for, that are really good for a Zen Archer. Glorf Fei-Hung may have a point on skill focus perception. That may actually be better than either combat reflexes or improved initiative. Especially when you reach 10th level and the bonus goes up to +6.

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I think you are right about giving up. Not because there is anything wrong with the druid class, but rather your unwillingness to adapt your play style to the class. Every class has different tactics that work best with it. If you ignore those and use the tactics of another class the results are always disappointing. If you played a wizard like a cleric trying to buff up your combat ability and wade in to the battle your results are going to be equally bad. The wizard simply does not have the combat ability to make this work.

What everyone needs to keep in mind is that not all classes work for everyone. The druid does require more thought and planning then a lot of other classes. They have a lot of options that in the right circumstances are absolutely incredible, but if used wrong are next to useless. Many people are overwhelmed with the options or don’t know the class well enough to get the most out of it. Clerics and wizards are actually a lot easier for most people to play. If you are not having fun with the class then it is not the right class for you.

The problem is once you remove the headband and no longer have the requirements for the prestige class you don’t get any of the benefits from it. This could mean you lose access to all class features. Does this include skill levels? Most classes that you can fall from have some sort of ex-section that spells out what you keep. Dragon disciple does not have this so who know what you actually keep. As a GM I would not allow the skill points from the headband to be used to qualify for a class. A feat yes, but not a class.

The big problem with the Zen Archers first level feats is that he does not qualify for a lot of feats that are going to be useful to him. Combine this with the fact that the class actually gives you most of the archery feats as class features mean that his choices of first level feats are very limited.

Going first only matters the first round, after that everyone has already gone so the order you attack in is not that significant. Also if you have someone in the party giving out buffs you will probably want to wait until after they have gone to be able to take advantage of the buff. They also get a lot of attacks so getting a +1 to hit and damage on all of them is actually very good. A 9th level Zen Archer using a ki point for extra attack and haste will get 6 shots per round. The increased chance to hit and damage on every hit may allow you to take down the target in fewer rounds. So if it normally takes three rounds to take down the target you may be able to do it in two. Improve initiative does not guarantee you go first it only gives you a +4. A bad roll can still cause you to lose the initiative. Point blank shot gives you a lot more return for your money.

In addition to granting you extra attacks of opportunity combat reflexes also allow you to make an attack of opportunity while flat footed. This can be a really nasty surprise to someone who thinks they got the drop on you. Once you get Reflexive Shot it is good for when the enemy decides to flee. Granted this is not going to come up that often but it is still useful. Playing a dwarf with steel soul is probably a better choice. If so than do like Derklor suggests and use you second level bonus feat for point blank shot.

Inquisitors are allowed a lot more leeway than clerics. They must be within one step of their deity’s alignment. It specifically states they are above many of the normal rules and conventions of the church. Again it does not specify what slipping into corruption is because it will vary from deity to deity.

An inquisitor who slips into corruption or changes to a prohibited alignment loses all spells and the judgment ability. She cannot thereafter gain levels as an inquisitor until she atones (see the atonement spell description).

Clerics and warpriests do have a code of conduct they are required to follow. Since any and all alignments have members of these classes you really can’t have an all-encompassing code like the paladins. How formal or informal these codes are will depend on the alignment and nature of the individual deity. The paladin’s code works because of the alignment restrictions of the class.

Lawful deities will have more defined codes than chaotic deities. Good deities will probably also be slightly more likely to define acceptable behavior. So a lawful good deity will probably have a pretty strict and formal code, while a chaotic evil one will have a very informal and lose set of strictures on behavior.

The Lawful deities will also tend to be quite formal including things like professed vows, and ceremonies granting certain rights or abilities. This is more a matter of role playing than of game mechanics. In game I run, if the deity in question has a paladin’s code all worshiper are required to follow it. So a cleric of Sarenrae for example has to follow the paladin’s code for Sarenrae. They do not however have to follow the standard parts of the paladin’s code unless it fits the individual deity. This seems like a lot of work but it is really just basic role playing.

What you are really looking for is the Champion of the Faith archetype for warpreists. They have less martial powers and more magic powers than paladins, but otherwise are very similar.

Actually this is built into the cleric class and even to the inquisitor to a lesser extent.

A cleric who grossly violates the code of conduct required by her god loses all spells and class features, except for armor and shield proficiencies and proficiency with simple weapons. She cannot thereafter gain levels as a cleric of that god until she atones for her deeds (see the atonement spell description).

The cleric class does not have a specific code of conduct required by all clerics, because each deity has a different code. Clerics can also be of any alignment so it would be impossible for a single code to cover all alignments. But clerics do have to follow the code of their deity.

One thing to keep in mind is that just because you are a Zen Archer does not mean you cannot use melee. It will take a few levels before your archery really starts to come online. Another thing to realize bows are expensive especially composite bows with a STR bonus. Starting out you are going to be more effective using your unarmed attacks instead of your bow. Your unarmed attack can take advantage of your STR bonus and the extra +2 damage can make the difference at first level. So until 3rd level operate as a switch hitter. Use the bow for targets who are at range, but when they get in melee range used than you kick them.

Toughness and improved initiative are not really that good. The extra HP are beneficial at 1st level, but after that they are not really that important. Being able to go first is more important to spell casters and rogues. Imbicatus is right about dodge in the long run it is going to be worth a lot more. Point blank shot would be a better choice than improved initiative. The bonus to hit and damage seems minor but The Zen Archers can get a ridiculous number of attacks off. By doing so you are going for long term benefits instead of short term.

Take combat reflexes for your second level bonus feat. Once you get Reflexive Shot at 9th level it will really come in handy. Until then just use it with your unarmed strike. As a monk you can still make a unarmed strike even when you are using a two handed weapon.

If you are looking for a blast spell consider magic missile. The damage may not be all that great but it never misses and is a force effect. It works very well vs incorporeal creatures and damages just about everything. Considering many of your spells are going to be enchantment this gives you something to use against the undead, especially incorporeal undead. Right now how will your character deal with a shadow? Magic missile remains useful at all levels and scales up reasonable well.

Dragonchess Player wrote:
Mysterious Stranger wrote:
Keep in mind what commoners are. Commoners are unskilled laborers; they are not blacksmiths, merchants or soldiers. They are serf, slaves and peasants.

You are conflating "commoner" with "uneducated/unskilled/incompetent" (or, to get pejorative, "bum/slacker"). Historically, "serfs, slaves, and peasants" were often quite skilled craftspeople and professionals; the commoner NPC class reflects that by having Craft and Profession as class skills. However, almost all of their time and effort was spent in supplying themselves (and their families) with necessities such as food, shelter, etc.; similar to today's "wage slave." They couldn't "afford" to acquire a "well-rounded" education or "waste" time on "liberal arts" (which is why they only get 2 + Int mod skills).

The expert NPC is no more competent than an equal-level commoner in that commoner's "trade," but they are competent in more disciplines. The commoner is the car mechanic that's good at fixing cars, and maybe one or two other things (like a sport), but that's about it; the expert is the car mechanic that's also good with computers, works as a CPA during tax season, coaches their child's sports team, etc.

The commoner has only 2 skill points per level and the only real class skills are craft and professional skills. One of those skill points is going to go to either craft or profession, but what they will not have is any supporting skills. Using your example they will have mechanics but they don’t have things like sense motive to figure out when they are being cheated, diplomacy to allow them to get better deals, appraise to tell them the value of goods. So they can fix cars but not really run a business. They can put their other skill point to those skills, but since they are not class skills it really does not matter that much they still don’t have a high enough roll to make it matter. Chances are their other skill point is going to be in things like ride, handle animal.

The expert on the other hand has 6 skill points per level and can choose any 10 skills as class skills. They also have good will saves and can use light armor and simple weapons. So the expert mechanic will have things like appraise, sense motive, diplomacy, knowledge local, linguist and the other skill that actually allow them to do more than just fix cars.

The commoner trying to run a business is going to be a failure at it even if they have the main skill required for the business. The commoner is the worker with minimal skills who works for someone else. In the mediaeval times they did not have things like target and other chains. Each business was pretty much run by its owners.

The spell Sage archetype trades Specialized School for Spell Study. This means you don’t get any school related abilities including the Transmutation bonus to physical stats at 1st level. This also means you don’t have any oppositions schools.

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Keep in mind what commoners are. Commoners are unskilled laborers; they are not blacksmiths, merchants or soldiers. They are serf, slaves and peasants. By gaining levels you become more skilled at what you do. The idea of a high level commoner is kind of absurd. I really can’t see a commoner going much above 3rd level and even that would be unusual.

The other NPC classes on the other hand I can see gaining a few levels. Most of the NPC that players are going to interact with are probably experts. These are the blacksmiths, merchants and even many of the farmers. The person who owns and runs the farm is probably an expert not a commoner. The town guard or members of the military are going to be warriors. I can see either of these classes being up to 5th level without much trouble, with the occasional 6th or 7th level character.

Most NPC’s with any kind of authority are probably aristocrats. Even in a society without nobility aristocrats will be what the ruling class ends up. Of all the classes they will probably be the ones with more higher level characters.

One of the reasons that you don’t see many high level commoners is they have a tendency to die a lot younger. Poor nutrition and harsh living conditions take their toll on commoners. Then factor in poor or nonexistent health care and your life span ends up pretty short. By the time a commoner reaches 30 they are probably in about the same shape as another class in their 60’s.

Melkiador wrote:
Mysterious Stranger wrote:
Then there is the fact that even if they existed, griffons and hippogriffs would not be able to fly. Birds have hollow bones and other adaptations that allow them to fly. It takes more that slapping a set of wings on a quadruped creature to allow it to fly.
It never says they don't have hollow bones. There were a few flying pterosaurs in that size range, though they did have larger wingspans than usually depicted for griffons and such.

The bestiary has lions being 5-8 feet long and weighing 330 to 550 pounds. It also list griffons as measuring 8 feet long and weighing in at over 500 pounds. Since the size of the griffon and lion are about the same it seems pretty clear that griffons do not have hollow bones.

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