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.
As the primary GM for our group (a role which I have lately not had to perform, yay!), I have long been in the habit of having NPC's along with the party. In my current party, I have two, both of which are designed to be secondary in any decision making capacity. One is a character's husband, but with some curse-related mental problems, so he doesn't trust himself as a leader right now. The other is a direct military subordinate to another character. Neither of them outshines any party member in combat (except when their buttons are specifically pushed), but they do contribute.
The big advantage I have with running NPC's is the ability to have an in-character conversation with the party. It gives me a voice to find out what they're thinking or planning, and to point out basic background details or remind them of facts they may have briefly forgotten. It also just adds basic RP opportunities.
Duna the Explorer of Indol wrote:
Do you know what the Matador was doing?
Of course not. That action sounds much more like a RP action than any sort of technical or mechanical response. Your DM clearly has a deep plan in action and is letting it be revealed as appropriate during the game.
Really, other than purely technical questions, asking any of us here on the boards what your DM is thinking is not going to get you a satisfactory answer. Simply put, we ain't him.
And seriously, read The Lord of the Rings. If you're in a campaign featuring anything called 'The One Ring' and you haven't read it, then you're swinging blind throughout the entire campaign.
One of the golds in my campaign invested all of his hoard into creating a grand opera house in a nation's capital. He makes regular visits to the opera in human guise to nurture new talent and to see to it that certain plays are kept in the public eye. Those plays are all morality plays that advance the ethics of Lawful Good society, of course. His riches are the advancement of civilization and the spread of good throughout society!
(Other dragons think he's kind of weird, but he likes it...)
I occasionally meta-game when designing encounters, but I try my best to justify the NPC's abilities within the context of their established roles WITHOUT THE PC's. I assume these NPC's are as competent and as specialized as the PC's and that they would have made these choices without knowing of the party's existence or makeup.
However, I have made specific baddies to force my players to think. The primary fighter in my 3.5/PF game is a fighter/duelist with two rapiers and way too much luck when he attacks. He gets a lot of crits, and has come to rely on them to carry the day. In order to get him to start thinking outside the 'stab them really hard until they stop moving' box, I made a bodyguard for a big bad that specialized in reciprocal strikes. Every time you hit him, he had two or three ways do return damage to you without wasting an action. His AC was through the roof as well (high 30's to low 40's), forcing the fighter to waste the tail end of his iterative attack sequence.
Of course, the fighter got a crit on the first shot. Imagine his surprise, however, when I told him that he took over 50 points of combined damage from the multiple reciprocal effects! Then the bodyguard got his turn, and hit him for almost 40 more with a spell. The player rolled with the punches, however, and taunted the bodyguard into focusing on him with melee attacks, and then he turtled up with full-defense. He thought outside the box, and barely managed to win the fight.
Not once was I accused of metagaming the villain.
My father-in-law owns a bar. I can reluctantly say that he purchases domestic beer at wholesale for around .67 a bottle. and then charges $3.00 for that same bottle to customers.
Yeah, of course he does. Because the markup on that bottle of beer also has to pay his employees, and his cleaning supplies, and replacing broken glass or furniture, and a host of other things. Truly, if a bar has great atmosphere and a staff that is fun and courteous, I usually don't care how much I pay for drinks. It's all part of the package.
Check your math. One one-hundredth of $90 is 90 cents, not 9 cents. A silver piece is worth $9, and a copper is one-tenth of that, or $0.90.
That means that mug of ale isn't 40 cents, but $4.00 (actually, $3.60, but close enough).
Mabven the OP healer wrote:
There are a lot of bladed weapons which in real life are quite capable of both piercing and slashing which have only one of those types of damage in pathfinder: Short Sword, Long Sword, Halberd, Punching Dagger, Great Sword, Bastard Sword, and I am sure there are some I am missing. Basically, I don't see why you should alter the mechanics of a weapon because in a movie the weapon you want to depict is used a little differently. He should have a short-sword, don't change its mechanics. When have you ever imagined a short-sword that can not slash? Well, according to game mechanics it is a piercing weapon only. So what? It is just mechanics for the purpose of game balance, and is not supposed to realistically depict the weapon's use in real life.
I think the reason the short sword is assigned a Piercing damage type only is because it is based on the Roman gladius, which was the backup weapon of the Roman legions. Legionnaires were trained to use it while hiding behind tower shields, waiting for an opportunity to stab an opponent's vitals. It was the equivalent of Muhammed Ali's 'Rope-A-Dope': wear your opponent down with a powerful defense, then lash out when he was too worn out to really defend himself.
Personally, I have felt that a feat that negates the tower shield's penalty to hit, but for piercing weapons only, would be a great way to simulate the Roman legionnaire's advanced combat training. All of their primary weapons (pilum, long spear, and gladius) were used to stab, not to slash.
One of th games I'm in now has two fighters that are twin brothers. The players are good enough friends and dedicated enough RP'ers that they are a solid team, and are the source of great mirth. It also helps that one of them is an obsessive optimizer, and has been helping his 'brother' with his build so that they can both do their job right.
As a plot twist, we have recently discovered that the two brothers are the last in the line of the rightful emperor (who was deposed many years ago by foreign treachery), so we have the added dynamic of a possible civil war...in our party. Luckily, one of the brothers hates the idea of responsibility, while the other is a career soldier and is trained for it. It's gonna work out okay, we hope.
I know. But by that point I'll have picked up a more permanent boost to my Charisma, and Greater SF: Enchantment, and (yes) Heighten Spell. What I can't dominate, I'll charm.
Actually, I think I'm gonna steal a diamond mine first. Lay the groundwork for my wishes later on.
Heh. My Infernal Sorceror is getting DC's of close to 22 at 6th level with Charm spells (Cha 20, Eagle's Splendor, Bloodline Arcana, and SF: Enchantment = DC 20 + SL). Once he gets to Dominate people, I think I'm gonna try to steal a country.
Bruno PC wrote:
I would personally RP it as the character has been working on this new device, tinkering with it on his journeys, and he has finally finished it. It was never a working device UNTIL you gained that first level of Gunslinger, so it wouldn't have counted against WBL.
I don't think that Squawk was implying that your pranks are illegal (which is one possible opposite of lawful), but rather that they are capricious and chaotic (which is the far more important consideration for a paladin of any religion).
If your patron is a little looser than the traditional LG paladin smite-'em-til-they're-sorry kind of god, then the friendly pranks are probably looked at as a party morale booster, as well as a way to keep things from getting genuinely tense between you and the witch. Many NG gods would probably be fine with this sort of friendly behavior. Strict LG gods, though, may have issues with this kind of frivolity.
Luckily, you have already stated that you are a pantheist, so at least ONE of your patrons has a sense of humor, we're sure.
Remember that Weapon Spec. adds to damage, not to attack rolls. So your attack bonuses all drop by 2.
Hmm, Christmas-themed caster, level 17? How about a progressive, but steadfast, cleric that can walk on water, turn water to wine, cast Miracle, and bring about the end of days if he's really pissed enough?
If I choose a bird as my animal companion, it says I can choose a number of feats, but they are lacking fly by attack. Is there a reason? How can a hawk even be some what good if he doesn't get fly by attack? I am very confused by this. Also if I am a ranger and take Boon companion, will that upgrade it to my normal level?
Hawks and other birds of prey generally don't use Fly-by attacks. Their dives and swoops from up high are more accurately charges. It would require a higher degree of tactical intelligence (i.e. stat boosts to Int) to act outside of instinct and rake on the fly-by rather than getting in there and fighting face to face.
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
Good point. What If I gave everybody +2 to a stat of their choice, and gave humans and hybrids a little something to compensate?
I would just give them a choice of +2 to one of two particular stats. For elves, it could be +2 Dex OR +2 Int. For Dwarves, +2 Con OR +2 Wis.
This would preserve the mystique of the races, without stepping on the versatility of the Humans.
One thing you could do is lie about your relative level. You are evil, after all, and while you may trust your party now, that may not always be the case. Tell your party that you have qualified for entry into the assassin's guild, but still require some 'formal training'. Fake having to roll for your poison use. Fudge your die rolls for sneak attack a little (you may have to collude with the DM on this one a bit). You didn't gain spells, so you don't have to hide those. Concealing your ability to deliver a death attack might be quite useful to you and your party, as what they don't know, they can't reveal to others (even accidentally).
My party levels at specific points in the adventure path. We don't track XP, so they get rewarded when they reach point in the story with new levels.
I use this method, too, and my players have been very happy (so far). They don't feel as pressured to chase bad guys, and concentrate more on the plots and the world around them. They have also taken a greater interest in NPC's as more than walking sacks of potential XP.
The White Wolf games did exactly what you are asking: they did away with hit points and replaced them with wound levels that represented levels of injury. They ranged from "Bruised" to "Crippled" and carried increasing penalties at each level. If you were a skilled (or naturally-talented) fighter, you had a decent chance of avoiding taking damage, but it wasn't guaranteed. If you were tough enough, you could ignore some of the damage and avoid those higher penalties. Eventually, though, a running fight would almost always wear you down. And the characters not built for combat almost always went down first.
This worked really well for Vampire and Mage and Changeling, three games in which the role-playing and the deadly reality of combat were emphasized. Characters were encouraged by the system and the setting to find ways around combat rather than diving right in. Granted, certain characters would still be built for it, and they would be good at it, but not invulnerable (unless you were playing Elysium or something like it). With Werewolf, though, it could kind of go off the rails. Yes, werewolves were designed to be killing machines, and they did that really well. The problem came when facing non-Werewolf adversaries. They would steamroller over the opposition.
This would not work for D&D, in my opinion. Using a system like this would be workable at low levels, maybe, but it would break down quickly in the mid-to-high levels. Melee classes would start looking more and more like the Werewolves of the group, immune to anything but magical powers, and the non-melee classes would be too vulnerable when the fighting started. And with the nature of 3.5/PF play and adventure design, and the genre as a whole, it would be much less fun to play.
I don't think you need an Adamantine weapon - leave those for the more brutish fighters. I feel like Ghost Touch makes a solid character choice (Bad Undead!), but if you doubt the usefulness, why not go with Flaming or Frost or the like? Merciful can be useful on a Paladin weapon. How about here?
I second the choice of Merciful. This is a great way for you to maintain your vows and still punish the wicked. If your goal is only to kill the evil baron, and spare his duped guards/henchmen, then your merciful weapon will do the trick. You can knock out all of his guards with non-lethal damage, then switch over to lethal when you face your real target.
This is what I did in my campaign. The wizard had lost her squirrel familiar to a fireball, and wanted to bring her back. After some weeks and months of research, she found a way to coax her familiar's spirit back from the Outer Plane where it resided. As soon as she could take the Improved Familiar feat she did so, while in character she performed the spirit ritual. Long and short of it is, she now has a celestial flying squirrel that gives her all of the normal squirrel bonuses, as well as the ability to smite evil.
If she had gone for one of the more unique critters on the list, I don't think I would have allowed any extra bonuses. They have a utility far beyond one little squirrel's ability to do a little damage in combat.
The thing about Detect Evil is that it detects supernatural levels of evil, which is why it requires concentration. Ordinary evil (say, a low-level fighter who just likes to kill people) doesn't really register on the evil scale. On the other hand, a priest of any level that has dedicated himself to an evil god will ALWAYS register as some level of noticeable evil, even if they're only a novice. As a third level paladin, you should be aware that if your GM says that if you detect evil of moderate strength, you may be in for a real fight. If it's a priest or something like a demon, then it will be a priest of about your level, and that's fine. If it's a fighter, or a thief, or just an ordinary monster (not a demon), then it will have at least 11 Hit dice (which are the functional equivalent of levels), and it will kick your party's ass.
The smite ability is your secret weapon. If you are fighting an evil creature that you know is going to be tough (good example: dragons), then uncork this ability. It gives you your Charisma bonus as an added bonus on attack rolls, and your total paladin level as a bonus on damage rolls against that creature UNTIL IT IS DEAD. This ability lasts until the thing drops, so you can rely on it when you know the fight is important.
As far as why you can't just sense evil as a LG character, it is just the basic fact that people just can't do that. If we could, police officers would always catch murderers and the like and we could trust all CEO's because they would never be promoted if they were evil. In fact, the inability of ordinary mortals to just sense if their neighbor is evil or corrupt is one of the reasons paladins exist. It's your job to keep alert and actively look for the evil-doers. You are effectively a superhero in the eyes of the common man.
Good luck with the game, and I hope you find a groove for your paladin that you can really run with. My own wife and I have been playing together for almost 20 years, and it's absolutely the most rewarding experience. You know, other than the...you know...the OTHER thing.
Oliver McShade wrote:
I wouldn't eat chicken for YEARS after seeing this happen on my great-aunt's farm. An animal that will literally run around like a horror-movie zombie, and THEN collapse onto a farmyard covered in chicken droppings...nope, not eating that.
They never shoulda made a seven-year-old city boy help out with the animals, is all I'm saying...