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You don't need to limit his armor selection to a Breastplate. Heavy armor doesn't lower your Dex, it only restricts how much of the numerical bonus you can use. You still have a 15 Dex, and can make use of any feat that requires a 15 Dex. If you are wearing full plate, you just are restricted to only one point of your potential +2 bonus.
I have to cast my vote with urging you to stick with the Shadowrun system. I've played both from their inceptions, and the systems are tuned well to their respective genres. Pathfinder characters are high-fantasy heroic, able to shrug off massive wounds and keep fighting to the end. Wizards are like gods to the man on the street, and the actual gods will bend the rules to keep great heroes alive. The rules support this well (well, fairly well).
Shadowrun, though, is necessarily different. Fights are brutal and fatal. Wounds HURT, and magic is taxing and can turn on you. The system helps to support this feeling of desperation and menace.
Years ago, I surprised my 2e campaign players by dropping them (via gate) into the Shadowrun world. I converted all their characters over a weekend, and the next session, I just started off with exposition. They were in an abandoned warehouse that had huge holes in its walls. Several bodies were seen huddled around the open room, snoring. When the party paladin approached one, he was shocked to find an orc. All of a sudden, a noise like a swarm of angry dire wasps was heard from outside. The orc squatters all panicked and tried to run, as a band of cybered-up bodyjackers crashed the squat, looking to take a few captives. The paladin (a bit of a swashbuckler) leapt to the defense of one of them, yelling something like, "Unhand that man!"
At which point the bodyjacker looked at him, sneered, and unloaded half-a-clip of SMG fire into his stomach. I handed them their new character sheets, gave them a second, then said, "You just took 9 boxes of physical trauma. Welcome to the Death Spiral."
They treated Seattle like a g~~@!~n warzone after that.
Shadowrun might have magic, but it is a cyberpunk game at heart. The ruleset for Pathfinder just doesn't fit.
I would say that he was true neutral, more concerned with advancing his scientific knowledge and discovery than any sort of politics or moralistic dogmas. He was a member of the Nazi party, yes, but only because it gave him continued access to research materials (and kept him out of jail). He was far more concerned with advancing the science of propulsion than with what the Nazi High Command was doing with it. There is no sense of malevolence or vitriol from his interviews, just a strong (almost monomaniacal) focus on his research.
That he allowed his work to be used by the Nazis is horrible, and a good person would likely have either tried to flee the country or sabotage their efforts. An evil person likely would have been more politically active, taking test subjects from the camps or actively following the V-1 and V-2 bombing runs, so they could enjoy the destruction. He did neither.
I have an NPC like this in my 3.5 campaign, an illithid that has rejected his people's traditional disdain of non-illithids. He thinks that learning from the lesser races is more worthy than treating them as food, and because of this has shifted to LN rather than LE.
He is still lawful, however, and so he eats criminal brains. He justifies this as being a service to the community he is hiding among, which keeps him from being a parasite, and more of an ally. Combined with a class like Inquisitor or Investigator, your mind flayer could have a similar POV. As long as the PC's and their allies aren't criminals and dangerous to the larger society, they would be relatively safe.
Also, remember that intelligent non-humanoids are likely to be nourishing as well. Dragon brain is likely a delicacy...
Loren Pechtel wrote:
Modern doors, sure. MEDIEVAL doors, though? Solid oak planks, bound with iron. Prestidigitation is great for jewelry boxes and scroll tubes, less so for houses.
I'm currently playing a lawyer in a PF home game, and I focused entirely on the social skills, Sense Motive, Knowledge: Local, and Profession: Lawyer (Barrister, but why quibble). The social skills are for cross-examinations and interrogations, the Sense Motive because witnesses lie, Knowledge: Local covers knowledge of humanoid culture and laws, and Profession: Lawyer because I don't work pro bono.
Really, any class with access to most of these will do, but I went specifically with a Infernal Sorceror, because of the flavor. Recently I just pumped him to uber-lawyer with two simple feats: Skill Focus (oratory) and Eldritch Heritage: Imperious. The skill bonuses from the entry-level bloodline power are almost tailor-made for a sorceror lawyer. You will be able to court expensive clients better (Cha bonus to Diplomace and KN: Nobility), outmaneuver your rivals on the other legal team (Cha bonus to KN: Local), and cite historical precedents better (Cha bonus to KN: History), so long as the cases in question are human-centric. If you're an elf, dwarf, or any other race, it's only worth a few extra class skills. Also, it doesn't help with Bluff, Intimidate, or Sense Motive, so it doesn't add much to the dramatic courtroom confrontation with the witness/victim/murderer. The bonus from SF:Perform can help sway a judge or jury, though, so that helps.
DM Livgin wrote:
Since he knows the party isn't evil (Detect Evil at will), he will assume they have consciences that can be played on. He will use that grand old standard, guilt, to get a confession. As a holy being (so-to-speak), he probably believes in the uplifting power of honesty and contrition, so he will go that route. If the party gets belligerent or stroppy, he is perfectly capable of slapping a little sense into them, just nothing permanent or scarring. Sometimes, a little pain is a perfectly good reminder of the wages of sin.
Tie up the party using the party's own rope (they are adventurers, they GOTTA have rope). If they have any manacles, even better. Use Aid on the party member LEAST likely to have any healing powers; he should be able to guess reasonably well from their gear and fighting skills. Everyone else is still out.
Look the fighter in the eye, growling a bit, and say, "I could have killed you all, you realize this. As it is, I can see that you and your companions are misguided rather than truly wicked. Had I the time, I would take you bound and humble to a priest for atonement, for you have slain a noble spirit in your fumbling. Instead, I offer you this small chance for redemption.
"You will find your arms in one of these trees. When I am gone, you will be free to retrieve them, and to travel on to [name of local town/city]. Go there to the priest of [LG god] and confess your rash deed. Do what he bids you, and we will be done with each other.
"If you do not..." Lean in close, exaggerating a canine sniff. "Know that there is no place you can go where I cannot follow. And I do not sleep."
Essentially, the effects of the potion of bull's strength are included in the effects of the spell. By listing the +4 bonus with the spell, it keeps clueless rules-lawyers from claiming that since the potion is consumed as a component, and not used independently, you don't get the +4 strength bonus from it. You DO, but it's part of the spell's overall effect now.
For the short term campaign, let them. Just take note of how obvious they are. If your minor NPC's (barkeeps, guards, local merchants) can figure out that the PC is a bit of a horndog, then the villains can too. This makes the character a perfect target for infiltration or assassination. One of the PC's in my campaign has FINALLY learned his lesson, after the cleric had his throat cut by the PC's latest little tryst.
Most of the Knights of the Round Table, Arthur included, should be either Cavaliers (Order of either the Dragon or the Lion) or Fighters. Those that are mentioned as being champions in the joust or with the lance would be Cavaliers, while others (like Kay) would be Fighters. Only a select few would be Paladins, as their holy talents were miraculous, not commonplace. Lancelot, Galahad, and Percival are the obvious choices for this.
Mordred is NOT an anti-paladin, but a Cavalier of the Cockatrice. He had no magic his aunt didn't give him as a boon, and was a war-leader and fairly good tactician.
Merlin should properly be a druid, except that wild-shaping doesn't show up in the stories much (Disney's Sword in the Stone notwithstanding). Nimue and Vivienne (the Ladies of the Lake) would be Sorcerors with the Fey bloodline, and Morgan is definitely a witch. Many stories say that she dallied with strange and unknowable forces from either the Faerielands or from Hell, and Witches cover that part of the story very nicely with their familiars.
If you are willing to use 3.5 materials, and are insistent on having this change statted up (rather than by fiat), then you might want to check out the Draconomicon for the Dragon Ascendant prestige class for dragons. It is based entirely around a dragon ascending to godhood. The dragon gains Dr/Epic, a more powerful fear aura, immunity to several spell effects, and its hit points become (eventually) maximized for its hit dice.
The most cruel part of all this? It has to destroy its hoard to begin this class. All that power, and if the party wins, it doesn't get the reward it was expecting.
Apocryphal no longer. I was in a game where that EXACT THING happened. We had an unidentified ring of one wish, and were trapped in a farmhouse surrounded by hobgoblin and half-orc mercenaries. Our party thief, just making small talk at the time, happened to say the fatal words while we were brainstorming ideas to get out alive. We never let him hold unidentified magic items again.
Not really. At that point you are sworn to the throne itself, and the continuation of the line. Striving to protect the life and lands of the sovereign (yourself), and striving to expand the power and prestige of the realm are all things the king should be doing ANYWAY, so formally pledging yourself to these things is just a formality. The part where you have to obey the commands of the king without question could be interpreted that you never go back on your royal decrees, even if it hurts you. If you decree that murderers are always put to death, and then discover that your brother the prince has been murdering people, you are honor-bound to follow the royal decree and execute the prince.
My working theory is that wizards (and magi, although I haven't run a game with one yet) are constantly fiddling with spell theorums and formulae in their off-time. They are the tinkerers and inventors of the magical classes, and it would be like a hobby to them. When they gain a level, a few ideas they have been working on just 'click' and they realize what they need to do to make this new spell work.
Justin Rocket wrote:
Marthkus, I'm okay with changing the bloodline, but I want to play a Sorcerer "Illusionist". I see nothing in the Empyreal bloodline which promotes that concept.
It doesn't directly promote the Illusionist side of your concept, but it does play favorably to the Dwarven side. By switching your base casting stat from Charisma to Wisdom, you reverse the normal deficiency that dwarves have with sorcery, making your illusions harder to disbelieve.
Because the actions of these individuals strengthens their respective ethos.
It helps if you think of each alignment as a sort of energy field that empowers those able to take advantage of it. Demon Lords are strengthened by more Chaotic Evil energy in the world, Archdevils gain strength from more Lawful Evil, the Good gods derive strength from more goodness, etc. By having more beings of power that support your own ethos, you are yourself strengthened. Having more allies makes you stronger. Demons oppose the rise of new arch-fiends by killing them early, not by tearing down the system that makes them stronger too. Devils eliminate CE petitioners by keeping them down under harsh laws and draconian tactics, not by removing their own path to glory.
Brutal Pugilist is a barbarian archetype in the APG that can (by 5th level) eliminate the penalties to Dex and attack rolls for grappling or being grappled, as well as grant bonuses to certain Combat Maneuvers even when not raging (player's choice). Sadly, it cannot be stacked with the Savage Barbarian archetype, as they both replace trap sense.
Darth Grall wrote:
The PC is a LE Drow Necromancer Cleric(raised by humans), who was originally spying on the party for his nation, but came to feel more allegiance to the party than his homeland.
Separate the character from the party for a short time, sending him to a tomb/mausoleum/graveyard, where he is searching for a ritual that allows him to harness the ambient emotion of the mourned. The Vampire corners him here, saying that while he finds the rest of the party an annoyance at best, the Necromancer Cleric is a genuine threat. He followed him here to take him out while he was alone. Give the player a chance to fight a round or two, then pounce. While in the vampire's grip, so that he can be turned to a servant, he hears the angry souls of the dead around him, demanding that this profanity against their rest be ended. Knowledge: Religion (DC Plot-related, so whatever he rolls, he JUST made it... Isn't he lucky?) tells him that he could perform the ritual, but that it would cost his own life in the process. Of course, he's gonna die anyway, so...
The rest of the party was coming to meet him at the graveyard, so they can be witness to the few rounds of the ritual, where the Vampire is cursed with a hidden weakness by the souls of the resting dead. Put a hole in his DR from a strange material, or make his DR ineffective against those that have died and then raised, something odd but thematic. The PC dies, but his sacrifice weakens their ultimate foe, making him part of the final fight even from beyond the grave.
Not to mention the fact that Golarion has a multitude of human nationalities, each with their own flavor. A Cheliaxian is incredibly different in outlook from an Andorian or Taldorian human, and is rather different from most other established fantasy nationalities. Unique doesn't have to have horns, or a tail, or be immune to an element, or anything like that. Unique just has to be memorable.
One of my characters in a homebrew right now is just such a character, an Infernal Sorceror. I have used all of those skills mentioned, plus Bluff (to sweet-talk a jury) and Intimidate (cross examinations). All of these skills can help a good barrister, although the profession skill really just helps you know how to file a tort or what the steps are for jury selection. Knowing what the laws are is key, though, and Knowledge: Local should not be passed up. While skill points are at a premium, a high Int plus favored class bonus (plus racial, if human) can keep you in the game.
Something that will keep the players on their toes would be to have the artifact grant its wielder the combat skill of a great master...sort of. It would give the wielder the the combat abilities of a monk of equal level. The thief would never actually overpower the monks, but would be surprisingly adept at Kung Fu. He wouldn't have the wisdom of a true monk, but would have the unarmed damage, AC bonus, and flurry ability. Possibly also escalating mastery of a style (Dragon is nice and thematic). Call it the *style* Fist of Shen Wu, or something like that.
This can be used as a subtle clue for parties that may have neglected their Knowledge skills. The ranger runs up to the (supposedly) human thug and takes a swing, but doesn't connect like he should, or perhaps doesn't do the damage he thought he would. After a few swings, he realizes that his foe doesn't move right, or doesn't seem to be bleeding from what should have been a debilitating blow. As a GM, I would give the character a Perception check to spot these discrepancies, and maybe spot the shapeshifter.
My current character is an Infernal Sorceror from a nation where the nobility all have some sorcerous background to them. Rather than getting jiggy with some Erinyes way back when, one of his ancestors provided great service to an arch-devil, and was rewarded with a patron. So long as the family continues to enhance Hell's agenda, to any degree, and forsakes the worship of any deity, they can draw upon Infernal power for their magic. The entire family has become lawyers and landlords, drafting and enforcing contracts in the mortal realm. They combat anarchy and promote legalistic solutions. Hell is still pretty happy with them, because contracts warm a devil's heart.
Superstitious cultures frequently assign supernatural properties to items taken from their enemies, like scalps or shrunken heads or severed fingers. As your armor or whatever gets enhanced, you can flavor it as totem pieces from your fallen foes making you stronger, frightening your foes, or keeping away bad magic. It would probably be best if these bonuses were purely passive, like standard AC and save boosts, rather than active magic that you have to think about to use.
This is the same rationale I use when approaching (most) rangers. I have an NPC ranger, the father of our rogue, who was a spy in the army back in the day. He has the Infiltrator archetype with favored enemy (humans), and used his Adaptation to fake the career he had to pose as. Does he hate humans? Of course not. He is one, he married one, he fathered one, and most of his neighbors and friends are human. But he does know more about how humans act, how they fight, how to fool them, and how to get around them. He's an older man now, and can't go after dragons and manticores like he used to, but he CAN kick the living crap out of street thieves or rowdy mercenaries like a man 20 years younger.
This came up in my campaign as well, also with the player's complicity. The player in question became frustrated quickly when he felt he was underperforming, and kept wanting to try something new. I just told him to 'fail a saving throw' at an appropriate time in the next fight, and he could bring his new character in right after. His character got shot with a poisoned arrow, and he tumbled off a cliff-side into a river.
What players fail to realize is that a body off-screen is the GM's to play with. Cultists that had it in for the party found the body, mummified it, tortured the mummy, and forced it to become their assassin. When the party had to investigate a series of gruesome killings, they wound up facing their own party member, now in new-and-improved undead flavor.
He hasn't changed his character since. He's afraid of what I'll do with it.
I have only perpetrated one instance of such a monkey's-paw type artifact in my game, and the player rolled with the punch and came up swinging. In preparation for going through the classic GDQ series of modules, specifically the latter half which takes place in the Underdark, I had the party fight a band of orcish raiders led by a powerful warlord. He carried a powerful spear that (unbeknownst to the player) transformed the wielder into an orc. I did this so that everyone in the party would have some form of enhanced vision, as the skald (warrior-bard) in the group was human. He took it, as he had nice bonuses with spears, and slowly began to transform.
Instead of b!&!%ing about how he was ugly, or unable to deal with normal society, he played up his orcishness, posing as a high-ranking servitor of the rest of the party (surface elves disguised as drow). He even wound up inspiring a short-lived but spectacular slave uprising to serve as cover for the party's assault on the fabled Vault of the Drow.
I may be lucky in this regard, I know. Many players out there may be less willing or able to take lemons and make lemonade. I just think that a good role-player would be able to make the bizarre twists of fate that happen in magical worlds work for them.
Also, in your first hypothetical, if I were GM, I would likely change him from celestial bloodline to infernal. No loss in the flying feats, there. (I also expanded the infernal line's bloodline arcana to cover [Fear] spells as well as [Charm] spells. There are too few of the latter in the game.)
Sorry to res a dead thread, but is this ability considered a compulsion spell, thereby granting the Fey sorcerer a +2 to the DC? Does being a spell-like ability exclude it from benefits under "whenever you cast a SPELL of the compulsion subschool?"
It isn't considered a spell at all. PF defines spells and spell-like abilities as two very different types of action. Any modifiers that affect spells, such as Spell Focus or the sorceror bloodline bonuses do NOT affect spell-like abilities, including the bloodline powers. In order to increase the DC on the bloodline powers, you would need to take a monster feat like Ability Focus, which gives a +1 to the DC of a natural or spell-like ability.
While I'm not multiclassing in my current campaign, I do foreshadow my planned feats and class abilities. My Infernal Sorceror just made 7th level, and in preparation for his gaining Improved Disarm as his free feat, he has been practicing regularly with the party fighters, to improve his wrist control and precision. The spells and magical abilities just come to him, though, which I don't really role-play. I prefer to surprise the party with a new spell they weren't prepared for.
Darigaaz, it's interesting that you bring up the alchemical rogue as an example, because that's EXACTLY what my wife's character has just done. After six levels as an ultimate skill-monkey (14 skill points per level!), she took a level of Mindchemist Alchemist, to represent all the culmination of her (frustrated) efforts to scientifically replicate magical effects.
Dragon Magazine #289 (November 2001) had an article detailing just such a template for 3.0 creatures. You may want to look at that article (if you can find it, of course), and streamline your template wording. For instance, by simply stating that a Kaiju creature becomes Colossal automatically, most of the other modifiers follow from that. Strength, Con, natural AC, damage dice from natural weapons, everything. There is little need to add extra complexity to the template process when the act of enlarging a creature already causes most of the changes you call out individually.
The template from Dragon also added 40 HD to the creature, and gained special attacks (much like what you suggest), based on their original HD.
Malkyn the Chary wrote:
It only affects creatures of up to 4 HD or levels. It doesn't matter what kind of hit die they use, only that they are valid targets (i.e. not immune to sleep effects). This is the main reason this is a relatively well-balanced 1st-level spell. It shines when you are only facing 1 to 4 HD monsters, but is increasingly useless as you face more dangerous creatures.
There was an AD&D adventure called Treasure Hunt which tackled this concept. The characters were simple fishermen, farmers, and townfolk that have been kidnapped by slavers, and subsequently shipwrecked. They have to learn how to do the basics of adventuring without any training, working together to defeat the creatures and cultists living there.
The DM kept a checklist for each character, with each of the classes on it. Whenever a character did something that was characteristic of a particular class, he would put a check next to it. Attacking FIRST would put a check in fighter, sneaking for better position would put a check in rogue, trying to translate an obscure text would count for bard and/or wizard, things like that. Likewise, alignment was determined by the actions in play, not chosen beforehand. If a character tortured an enemy for info, that's one for the evil column. If they tried to save someone (anyone), that's a check in the good column. Good roleplaying could guide you to the class you want, but necessity might change that. A person wanting to be a druid but was forced to fight and track the bad guys because everyone else either sucked or wouldn't do it might end up a ranger.
Since all of the old 1st-edition modules have been put online, you should check it out, at least for basic ideas.
What this also does is change the basic reality of movement. Currently, with 6-second rounds, a 30' movement rate provides an average overland speed of 3.4 mph walking (a normal pace of one movement action per round), or 7.2 mph hustling. If flat-out running, this can be bumped up to 10-14 mph (x3 or x4 speed). Someone with the Run feat can bump this up to 17 mph, barring any class or spell-based boosts (monks, barbarians, etc.). This is pretty darn close to real life.
If you change the length of the round, you have to adjust movement to match, or people will be CRAWLING across the battlefield. Basically, you would take all of those speeds above, and reduce them by 40%. No one in the game would be eligible for even high-school track-and-field, let alone the Olympics. And this includes the monk.
If you wanted to have 4th level spells faster, the only way to do that is to be a wizard. Sorcerors, by design, get their 2nd-level and higher spells one level later than wizards. It hurts a little, but that's the way it is. There are no feats, alternate class features, archetypes, or magic items available that change this.
Look at the skills those two stats modify.
Int modifies Knowledges (almost all of which represent a book-learning level of skill), Linguistics, Appraise (recognizing market, not practical, value of an item), Spellcraft (the design and identification of magical spells), and Craft. Of the four areas, only Craft is important to a primitive society, and then only for making simple easy- to-use items. Nets, spears, simple animal snares, and basic shelter and clothing do not require high skill checks to make.
Wisdom, on the other hand, affects Heal, Perception, Profession, Sense Motive, and Survival. While Profession and Sense Motive might not be as important to an isolated culture (money being a low priority and few other cultures that they come into contact with), the other three skills are absolutely needed in a primitive culture. They must be good at foraging, spotting danger, and not dying.
While I agree that a codified philosophy of common wisdom (such as Cartesian rationalism or the tenets of the major religions) is a hallmark of an advanced society, those codes are assembled and then disseminated to the masses from a scholarly perspective. Without the high priority on intellectual pursuits and scholarly journalism during the Golden Age of Athens, the teachings of Socrates, Plato, Diogenes, Aristophanes, and the others might not have survived until the Romans rediscovered them. It took men of high Intelligence and scholarly training to codify what most took as common sense into a context that could be spread beyond the instinctive.
It practically invented the archetype of the lone mysterious stranger coming into town, solving the town's problem, and moving on. Without it, there probably wouldn't have been the Kung Fu TV show, or any of the derivatives thereof.
As one of the archetypal cowboy shows of the late 50's/early 60's, it also helped to launch the deconstructionist Western movie of the late 60's/early 70's, so you can also partially thank it for Clint Eastwood's best early work, Sam Peckinpah, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, etc...
It's worth checking out.
I am in the process of working up a new campaign myself, and I always start with the theme and build the politics, geography, whatever around it.
This game's theme is based around digging through an ancient series of ruins as part of a guild that supplies magical materials to the civilized lands. I wanted an frontier feel, so I decided to make it a bit like an Old West frontier town, with major landowners embroiled in friendly and/or bitter rivalries. From that I establish that the town is the last vaguely civilized point before this vast badlands of ancient rubble, and that it is a melting pot of several other civilizations that have a border close to this area, not unlike Switzerland.
Other geography gets added as it becomes logical, but not before players NEED to know about them. Politics is a distant matter, as the town is fiercely independent and capitalistic. It doesn't care which major power is winning or losing, just that someone will buy the magical goods being dug up. Within this framework, I can add back-room dealing, religious orders, mercenary groups, bandits, weird monsters, whatever.
Sucking is relative to the campaign. Not every DM bases character or plot advancement on combat, and not every character has to shine in combat to contribute.
My wife is playing an Int-based rogue opposite my Infernal sorceror/lawyer in an intrigue and plot heavy campaign. She's going for a concept that combines Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler in one package (essentially, their daughter). She gets 14 skill points per level, and is putting her level ups in Int as well, until she gets to 20 Int at 8th level. She has almost all knowledges, can breathe on locks and traps and disarm them, and still can stealth well enough to always get at least one (or two) sneak attacks off before or during a fight. She also speaks something like 10 languages at 6th level!
No one in the party thinks she sucks.
My own monk, Byron Kalgoolie, is a barroom brawler with a heart of gold. Wanting to get away from the image of the humble, spiritual, ascetic, I concentrated on the physical stamina and versatility of the monk, particularly his mobility. Byron is basically an Aussie, living on the outback, hunting and scouting for his home town. He drinks (but not to excess), he fights (but never maliciously, just trading knocks with his mates at the pub), and he chases down roos, gators, and dingoes.
He has a slight spiritual bent to his abilities, as he believes that his ancestors watch over him (and his whole village) from the Dreamtime, and that they help him achieve the remarkable physical feats he is capable of. This gives him an in-game basis for his more mystical abilities, without trading anything out. His archetype is Empty Hand, which is perfect for a roughhouse brawler. He hits his enemies with his fists, feet, forehead, beermugs, barstools, discarded mops, and occasionally, their friends.
Have you seen the TV show Leverage? It's a good intro to a conman that joins with a party. You've got your fighter (Eliot), your wizard (Hardison), your traditional thief (Parker), and a non-criminal type that is a good parallel for a paladin or cleric type (Nathan). Sophie Devereaux is the conman, and she is actually a solid anchor for the group.
One of the only things that I would suggest to keep the party on your side is to make them part of your cons. Don't leave them out, but give them roles to play to reinforce the scam. This gives them the chance to RP some, and to reap some actual in-game benefit from the RP, namely the loot you swindle!
I have found that sometimes a quick victory over a carefully planned NPC can enhance the story. Case in point from my own campaign:
Years ago, one of my players (Fighter/Wizard Gishy type) had to fight a duel against a janni duelist to win a wish from the janni's father (a djinn). She won, and the janni was forgotten for a time.
Cue foward a few years, and the party is on the trail of a big, nasty plot involving amnesia-curses, world-transplanting, and other high-level shenanigans. One of the conspirators in this plot is the Gish's corrupt uncle, who had stolen her birthright (a moonblade).
The janni shows up early in this pursuit, declaring his hatred for the gish and vowing to have his revenge and his honor restored. He won't fight her right away, because he wants her to know WHY he hates her (she is one of the ones with the amnesia-curse). So he follows the party, even helping them once or twice so that the gish can recover her memories and know why he wants to kill her.
Just before the party gets to the evil uncle, the janni appears before them, declaring that he will wait for his honor no longer, and transports himself and the gish to the ethereal plane to fight. Initiative is rolled, the gish wins, and she attacks him...and then reminds me that she had stored a spell in her sword (she's a spellblade by this point). I ask which spell, and she says, "Phantasmal Killer".
Groaning, I roll the save and, naturally, the janni fails. He slumps to his knees in front of her, and chokes out, "I was never worthy..." and they both blip right back to the party, who never even had a chance to check their spellbooks and scrolls to see if they could follow the duel.
It was a great moment for us, and I didn't care one bit how long I had spent preparing the janni.
I think what is unbalancing about the high bonuses to damage from your version is that Dex based fighters already gain a buttload of advantage from having a high Dex outside of attack and damage bonuses. They get Initiative, AC, Reflex saves, and skill bonuses to boot. The Strength fighter gets ONLY attack and damage bonuses, so adding 1 1/2x or 2x damage bonus is just a way for their high Strength to shine. The Dex character (rogues in particular) are already shining with their other abilities.
Really, I think just being able to add your Dex to damage instead of strength is enough of a boost to most Dex-based fighters. The Swashbuckler in my group gets 7 attacks a round, and that would up his DPR by 14 points without Cat's Grace up. The Bladesinger has no Str bonus, so her damage goes up by 6 points per attack with this style.
That's a lot to give to characters who would have been taking most of the pre-reqs for this feat already. Only the high level requirement (which is fine at +7 BAB) makes it close to balanced.
master arminas wrote:
I'm playing a "monk" in a PF homebrew right now, and most of your views on his role click with mine. He is an agile, fast fighter that needs nothing more than his two hands and the will to succeed. That will is just starting to manifest as something beyond the normally possible, having only just gotten his ki pool. As a "Monk" of the Empty Hand, he doesn't even know how to use most of the exotic monk weapons, at least not properly. He just grabs something heavy and starts smacking the bad guys around.
As for his flavor, I just approached the class from a purely mechanical point of view. He's quick, he's a canny fighter able to duck and weave away from his enemy's strikes, he kicks like a mule, and has an incredible level of fortitude and willpower. I decided that the most fun I could have with those abilities would be to play him as a barroom brawler with a heart of gold, one that goes out into the wilderness on occasion to really test himself and push his limits. He's basically an Australian outback roughneck, who drinks with his mates, is good to the sheilas, and can chase down a kangaroo and knock him silly with a solid right to the jaw. He's a hoot to play, and doesn't have any of the Eastern mystical stereotype about him at all.