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Lord-Mayor Haldmeer Grobaras

Owen K. C. Stephens's page

Modules Overlord. Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Society Member. 3,751 posts (3,755 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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Rynjin wrote:
The Bugbear Feats in general are really cool.

Thanks!

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Actually if it's the 2014-2015 catalog we are discussing I just looked, and it's all art from Plunder and Peril. :)

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Yes, this works fine with The Genius Guide to the Talented Fighter. One of the fighter options is a bonus feat, and these can be taken as fighter bonus feats, so you would just select bravery as a fighter option, then grab these as desired.

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Redblade8 wrote:
Actually, I just had a thought occur to me in the wake of mentioning Greater Weapon Focus: is there any reason a warpriest couldn't combo Weapon of the Chosen with Deadly Stroke?

It's feat intensive, but it should work. You'd have the be a 12th level warpriest to pull it off.

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Kolokotroni wrote:
1. What kind of damage does the Shadow Drakes Breath Weapon deal?

Cold, just like its Bestiary entry. Added to errata.

Kolokotroni wrote:
2. The desert drakes sandstorm breath deals both 1d6 electricity and 1d6 slashing at 1st and second level. How much damage does it deal at 3rd (when you get x2 dice)? Is it 2d6 electricity and 1d6 slashing? Or is it 2d6 and 2d6?

2d6 and 2d6. The multiplier applies to all the dice.

Kolokotroni wrote:
3. Would you see any issue with allowing dragon rider options for the dragonmancer? Specifically the bullet point dragon rider feats, and the favored class options for the dragon rider in various products. All of them refer to the draconic steed instead of draconic companion, so by raw a dracomancer cant take them, but it seems to me an easy way to allow in some extra options specific to the concept. Thoughts?

They should be fine, though they weren't playtested.

Kolokotroni wrote:
4. Assuming the answer to 3 is you would allow them, since multiple dice breath weapons (Desert Drake and shadow drake) are unique to the dracomancer, I wonder how would you handle favored class options that add dice? For isntance, a gnome using the favored class bonus for the dragon rider with either a shadow drake or a desert drake, how would you apply that?

Add a single die to whichever damage type the player prefers, but you have to add +1 die to both types before you can add a second die to either.

Kolokotroni wrote:
5. I noticed there isnt really much mention of the dragon rider in this product thematically and its connection or lack there of with the dracomancer. Any insight you can provide on their relationship would be useful, but more specifically, since you call out that metallic and chromatic dragons are rarely bonded with dracomancers, does that mean that the other draconic companion types rarely bond with dragonriders? My first instinct was to allow dragon riders to choose freely from the expanded list, but having thought about it again, I wonder if I should limit it? This is less of a player option issue and more of a world building concern.

Dragonriders certainly can take any draconic companion, but note that in many cases that means the dragonrider won't be able to ride the dragon (either not at all, or not for many levels) unless you have a small, light dragonrider.

There are two basic options I see for dragonrider/dracomancer cultural interactions. The first, and what I'd generally do in my own games, if for them to both be common in the same places, and generally regarded as two aspects of the same idea. In such realms "those who bond with dragons" are seen as mages if they focus on spells (dracomancers) and warriors if they focus on fighting (dragonriders), in much the way druids and rangers are connected.

Another option is for the two groups to be common in nearby but separate cultures, and possibly not trust or respect each other. I could easily see doing a game where both dracomancers and dragonriders are from far-off lands, and locals see them as similar, but the two groups despise each other.

The rules and fluff support either option, and I intentionally wanted to give a GM enough guidance to help set these classes, without dictating how they got used.

Kolokotroni wrote:

One more question, also related to breath weapons with multiple dice. The Dragon Spell talent. It says:

The breath weapon has the same range, area, and damage type or effect as if her companion has created it, but is treated as dealing a number of dice equal to the level of spell slot sacrificed to create it.

Shadow Drake, 2nd level spell slot, how many dice of damage does the effect do? 2 or 4?

RAW, 2 dice.

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This is not an official answer.

Since it says once per round, I'd say you only get it for one attack. However, it is possible for a single attack to get multiple attack rolls, such as when confirming a critical threat. In that case you get to reduce the penalty to all attack rolls associated with that single attack.

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As one of the authors of Star Wars Saga, who also writes Pathfinder (and wrote for 2.0, 3.0, 3.5, and 4.0 D&D), I'll also note that one of the reasons SWSaga scaled differently was that we were emulating a different genre with different exemplars. As long as raising the dead is considered an ability appropriate for 9th-level characters and wish is available to 17th level characters (both fairly iconic elements of the game Pathfinder is built off of), 20 levels of Pathfinder characters are going to scale differently that 20 levels of Saga.
Altering those elements in the way it would take to be closer to Saga scaling would be a big step towards having a different game altogether.

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Manuelexar wrote:
Will the poster be the same poster found in the s&s map folio?

No. It's the most comprehensive map of the Shackles we've ever done, with all major locations from multiple sources marked.

The developers had a conference to make sure we made this one definitive. I'm really proud of it.

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Lord Fyre wrote:
Does this tie-into Giantslayer?

That depends a lot on what you mean by "tie-in."

The two adventures are fully independent of each other. Neither assumes or requires that the other does or does not happen. There are no intentional call-outs or hidden connections that makes them two parts of the same story.

They do take place in adjacent parts of the world and, as you might expect, each is influenced by that. The developers of each are aware of what the other group is doing. We had a conversation about keeping them consistent, to ensure they don't contradict each other in any major details.

So from my point of view the answer is no, they don't tie-in, but we were aware of the need for heightened communication between the teams involved.

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Eric Hinkle wrote:
Odd question time, how much at all does this module relate to the River Kingdoms, especially the Kingmaker AP? Do they have anything to do with each other or are they completely separate? And does it have any further setting information for the River Kingdoms?

The discussion of Fort Inevitable can be seen as fleshing out corners of the area, but Emerald Spire very much focuses on the superdungeon itself, and largely doesn't tie in to current River Kingdoms issues.

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RJGrady wrote:
How do calculate the bonuses from In Your Head? Is it based on the idea of the great detective choosing the target each time and then also taking the improvement to that same favored enemy?

Yes.

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While I *could* be wrong, my memory is that's how the heightened spells in the staff of power are priced.

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Yep, baring a note saying their caster level is modified by class feature or other special ability, the bloodrager falls under the rules for Caster Level in Chapter 9 of the Core Rulebook. "A spell's power often depends on it's caster level, which for most spell casting characters is equal to her class level in the class she's using to cast the spell."

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Think of it this way:

A brawler's combat feats are restricted to those that can be considered related to "brawling," by which we largely mean melee.

Martial Flexibility is designed to be flexible, so ranged feats are allowed. However, since you have to meet the prerequisites for martial flexibility, and all of your bonus feats are braking-based, your still likely to be more melee-flexible than ranged-flexible.

Bonus feats represent being good and pummeling things.
Martial flexibility represents being good at adapting to the flow of combat, and sometimes that's going to involve adapting to ranged combat.

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Note that I had nothing to do with any of the rulings or FAQs in question, and this is not an official answer:

It's not generally a good idea to use monsters to try to figure out how rules for PCs work, because monsters are, well, monsters. While an effort is made to have an abolish, or marilith, make sense they don't always have specific written-in abilities that cover things like their movement rate, number of attacks, or proficiencies. In many cases the "special ability" exists because that is how their stat block is listed. For example, outsiders are proficiency with whatever armor they are described as wearing, and all lighter types. There is no particular reason mariliths aren't proficient with armor, but since it's not listed in their stat block, they aren't.

By the same token, mariliths get 6 attacks with their 6 arms because that's how their stat block is listed. The "Stat Block" entry of the Bestiary tells you that the Melee line lists their melee attacks, and the Ranged line lists their ranged attacks. Once it is listed there, they have it.

If we design a monster with 3 or more arms and manufactured weapons that doesn't have Multiweapon Fighting. If we do, the fact we have included Multiweapon Fighting would let a GM know how to gain that benefit.

On a similar note, the hecatonchires has 100 hands, but does not get 100 attacks. because that's how it's monster listing is set up.

Monsters get as many attacks as are listed, and it works as listed. A marilith with 8 arms would not necessarily get 2 more attacks -- though she would if we wrote her that way.

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While this isn't an "official" answer, it is the answer I got when I asked Jason Bulmahn about this question. (And its the answer I would expect as a RAW reading).

Roll two dice on your attack, take the better of the two.

If that's a threat, you roll one new die as the confirmation roll.

This is because, as noted, GWotC doesn't say to take the second die roll as the confirmation roll, but a reroll is not (game mechanically) a "bonus" for purposes of what you add to a confirmation roll, so the confirmation roll does not also get to roll 2 dice.

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There are some *great* stories that look at what happens when you apply scientific method to magic (the results, of course, depending very much on what the rules of magic are).

I am particularly fond of The Windrose Chronicles (Barbara Hambly, beginning with The Silent Tower) and, those not quite as on-theme, the Darwath Trilogy (also Barbara hamblybeginning with The time of the Dark, and more a man-out-of-time piece, but applying modern thinking to fantasy problems certainly is part of what drives the plot).

Of course I am just flat-out a fan of Barbara Hambly's works, so be aware of my bias. :)

Warhammer 40k plays with a lot of the technology-treated-as-magic themes as well, though given they have psykers and demons it's also more of a fantasy-into-sf blend overall.

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walter mcwilliams wrote:
Best blog post of the year!

Thanks!

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To me, "Hard" SF is SF that doesn't break any known rules of the universe as we understand them, and doesn't hand-wave major new technologies with no scientific basis of how they are supposed to work. FLT, teleportation, psychic abilities, perpetual motion machines, and perfect prediction all drop a story immediately out of the Hard SF category from my point of view.

There are weird cases, like 2001, where one group (humans) follow hard SF rules and others (monolith and those it affects) get handy-wavy powers with no explanation.

I'm a huge fan of Honor Harrington books, which include a lot of math of velocities and momentum and range, but also have ftl propagation of gravity and hyperspace, so I don't see them as hard sf. However, the advance of technology through study, development, research, and the occasional fluke is a huge part of the engine that drives the stories (despite being "Horatio Hornblower Fights WWII in Space with the help of a Psychic Familiar"), so it's core to me is still sic-fi, even if I ignore the trappings of high tech.

Of course, by the definition "advancing technology done in a realistic fashion is a major driver of the story" the Sword of Knowledge books would be Sci-Fi, despite being set on a fantasy world filled with swords and magic (though it is a very *specific* kind of magic).

That said, I certainly don't require anyone to use my definition, or even Aaron Allston's definition. But I find them both useful food for thought.

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It's pretty rare for a rule to actually say "for all purposes." It is, however, very common for them to specify something only applies for purposes of prerequisites, which is not the case here.

Looking at the brawler class's "brawler's cunning" it says it's Int counts as 13 "for purpose of meeting the prerequisites of combat feats."

Martial training says "a brawler counts her total brawler levels as both fighter levels and monk levels for the purpose of qualifying for feats."

Now I agree it's not clear, but the way things are normally worded is to call out something is just for prerequisites (like even the warpriest bonus feats does about using his warpriest level as fighter level as a prerequisite when selecting treats, rather than the broader stament about his base attack bonus.

OTOH it would be a bit odd for Power Attack to work differently for the warpriest depending on when he took it (normal feat or bonus feat), which is one reason an official ruling might go against me. :)

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Noting that I had nothing to do with writing the war priest's ability, and this is not an official answer:

I agree this would work. The warpriest's bonus feat ability says "The war priest must meet the prerequisite for these feats, but but he treats his war priest level as his base attack bonus for these feats (in addition to base attack bonus gained from other classes and racial hit dice).

So if you take Critical Versatility, for that feat you treat your wp level as your bab, and that would include what feats it gives you access to.

I'd argue the same is true of Power Attack taken with the wp bonus feat -- you'd figure your penalty and damage bonus from your wp level, rather than bab.

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Nitro-13 wrote:
yeah i know but along with the Yaoguai it seems like somebody played a bit of fallout before working on the bestiary 4....

They all remind me of garthim from The Dark Crystal. :D

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I had the great honor to talk to author (and gamer!) Aaron Allston a few times in the later years before his death, when he and I were both quests at SoonerCon. During one of those conversations, I asked him what he saw as the difference between a science fiction story, and a fantasy story (or action story, or romance, or whatever genre) with sic-fi trappings.

He said that in true science fiction, the story was at least in some way about how the technology changed things. Not as a MacGuffin or substitute for a threat that could just as easily be a dragon or soldier, but how society, characters, or conflict is fundamentally changed by new technologies. The fiction is at least in big part *about* the science.

That's a tough bar, and lots of things don't clear it. I'm not even sure I agree with it. But it has strongly influenced how I think about sic fi ever since.

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Slacker2010 wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
helpful stuff
While I agree with most of this, remember that the animal companion is giving up regular tricks for these. With this interpretation it shouldn't take up the regular tricks and should be acquired at a rate like the skirmisher.

I disagree. Rangers give up 4 levels of spellcasting to gain tricks. The animal companion gives up other tricks. It could give up a single trickl and gain a very useful ranger trick it could still use 1/2 HD plus Wis bonus times per day. I think it's getting off easy.

That said, how the companion gains tricks, and how many it can have, are pretty clearly defined by the hunter class description.

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There are lots of great stories I didn't mention, in large part because these isn't room for them all in a reasonably-sized blog post, and there isn't time enough to research and categorize them all.

That said, I was really close to mentioning The Dying Earth. I may have come down on the wrong side of that one. :)

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Robert Little wrote:
And do a blog post detailing fantasy and sci-fi mixes in other media. There is well over a generation now of gamers born after Krull, Thundaar the Barbarian, and Ralph Bakshi's Wizards.

Not to mention all of DC and Marvel comics. :D

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Ross Byers wrote:
I realize it almost goes without saying, but I was really surprised to not see a reference to Keep on the Borderlands and the wolf-in-sheep's-clothing.

I was mostly trying to stick to things that predated the first release of D&D. That was my arbitrary line for things that count as part of the "origins."

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I actually didn't write this to change anyone's minds, and I don't expect it will. Some folks dislike genre-blur, and that's okay. There's no reason every adventure path has to appeal to every player. In fact, I'm pretty sure that would be impossible. What we can do is make every AP as interesting and high-quality as we possibly can, and trust it'll find an audience.

But I am a huge fan of a lot of the sources that early science-fantasy stories, so I wanted to take a moment to talk about some of it since Iron Gods clearly owes some of its DNA to these stories. I'm really exited to see where James Jacobs is taking this, and I want to share some of my enthusiasm for the entire concept.

And yes, by all means, go read the full Gulliver's Travels. There is so much weird, amazing stuff in that story that never makes it into any adaptation.

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I had nothing to do with the design of this, and I'm not giving any official answer, but here is my opinion of the RAW.

The spell says you immediately move in a straight line up to 30 feet, and this movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity. You can't end in an occupied space. And that's basically all the know about movement.

Movement, Distance, and Position is its own category in the Combat chapter. This spell gives you movement, so we should look there for the rules on movement.

Here we learn (under Moving Through a Square) that you can't move through an opponent's square unless he is helpless, and can't end movement in an occupied square unless the occupant is helpless (friend or foe). We know from the spell description that we can't end in an occupied square, so apparently for the spell that is true even if the foe is helpless. But since the spell does not say it's an exception to the rule on moving through an opponent's space, RAW it does not grant that power.

The AoO rules would normally apply, except the spell tells us they don't.

On the question of Acrobatics allowing you to move through an opponent's space with this spell, looking at the Acrobatics skill rules they seem to allow it. Those rules specify you can move through an opponent's space with an Acrobatics check (DC 5 + opponent's CMD). Interestingly you are at half speed doing this unless you increase the DC by +10, and I would assume that applies for the spell as well. If you are slowed by medium or heavy armor or a medium or heavy load you can't make such an Acrobatics check at all unless you have an ability that allows you to go full speed. There's no suggestion this spell's movement is affected by armor, so I assume this would be allowed.

As far as it requiring an action, the Action: entry of Acrobatics says it is taken as part of another action or a reaction, so I'd say if you cast a spell that gives you 30 feet of movement, any Acrobatics check you make would be part of the action (spellcasting) that included the movement.

I also wouldn't assume this spell allowed you to fly unless you were flying already, or that it would let you teleport though a solid wall.

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Marc Radle wrote:
I have to admit that last sentence still feels a bit vague. It might be better to just list which skirmisher hunter’s tricks are valid:

Actually if I was going to address that, I'd like stick to saying some may not be inappropriate, and note it's up to GM discretion. I could foresee another rules element coming along someday that allowed (for example) a monkey to use a crossbow, so I wouldn't want to make hard rules on soft topics.

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There are basically two ways to view this, depending on how you read the rules for Hunter's Tricks.

Reading One: Since the category "Hunter's Tricks" on page 128 says how often they can be used (1/2 ranger level + Wis mod per day), and that is separate from how many tricks a ranger *knows*, the Hunter ability to teach his companion hunter's tricks follows the same rules except where the hunter feature says otherwise.
This would mean a hunter's animal companion would only learn tricks when taught by the hunter, and could use them a total number of times/day equal to 1/2 companion's HD + Wis mod (applying the general rule from page 12 of the CRB that monsters "rely on racial Hit Dice instead of class levels for their powers and abilities").
Though I had nothing to do with this design choice, and have no authority to make official rulings, I consider this the most likely RAW reading. Hunter's Tricks only exist as a thing under the entry "Hunter's Tricks," and thus those rules apply to them unless stated otherwise. How often you can use hunter's tricks is the same kind of thing as how often you can cast a spell. Gaining Bonus Spells Known from an archetype of feat doesn't allow you to use those spells without limit just because the spell itself doesn't include how many times per day you can cast it.

Reading Two: Since each Hunter's Trick has a self-contained set of rules they exist outside of the strictures of how a skirmisher can use them. Thus the uses/day mentioned under "Hunter's Tricks" are limits only for the skirmisher, and do not apply to a hunter's animal companion if they gain tricks outside of taking the archetype. Thus there is no limit to how often hunter animal companions can use the tricks they learn.
I understand where this reading comes from - I can look up a hunter trick, teach it to my animal companion, and never encounter rules that say it can only be used a given number of times per day. I don't actually feel this is the correct RAW reading, but I see where it comes from.

My read of the rules is that if you gain an ability, it runs under the rules defining how that ability works unless something specifically says otherwise. Hunter's Tricks has a section talking about how they are used. It does so in the context of the ranger archetype, because no one else had them at the time. But a hunter's ability to teach his companion hunter's tricks does not, in my opinion, change the rules as written on how tricks work *other* than as defined in the hunter companion ability (which tells you companions may have them, and they learn them in place of normal tricks) and the general rules of the game (monsters use HD rather than class levels).
That would mean the companion still follows the other rules that define the function of hunter's tricks, including uses/day. And since we know monsters use HD instead of class levels, the rules for uses/day would switch to hit dice, as that's a pre-existing rule.

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The answers you seek are all in the description of the polymorph subschool of transmutation on pages 211 and 212 of the Core Rulebook.

Core Rules wrote:
When you cast a polymorph spell that changes you into a creature of the animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin type, all of your gear melds into your body. Items that provide constant bonuses and do not need to be activated continue to function while melded in this way (with the exception of armor and shield bonuses, which cease to function). Items that require activation cannot be used while you maintain that form. While in such a form, you cannot cast any spells that require material components (unless you have the Eschew Materials or Natural Spell feat), and can only cast spells with somatic or verbal components if the form you choose has the capability to make such movements or speak, such as a dragon. Other polymorph spells might be subject to this restriction as well, if they change you into a form that is unlike your original form (subject to GM discretion). If your new form does not cause your equipment to meld into your form, the equipment resizes to match your new size.

All emphasis mine.

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Landon Winkler wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

Cool stuff! Thanks for sharing.

So I take it the ratfllk gunslinger didn't take the gulch gunner racial archetype from the APG?

Good eyes!

It's sort of funny: we were inspired to make the character by the archetype, but Djir was already our most complicated character and we didn't want to add anything more that might confuse people.

I'm still a little torn about that. It's a really cool archetype.

It's one of mine, so I'm glad to hear you like it, even if you didn't use it. :)

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Nitro-13 wrote:
Why are Lirianne and Lem fighting a Mirelurk? :P

It's a karkinoi. :D

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For those who have asked about this, in case you missed the announcement:

John Compton wrote:
Pathfinder Module: The Emerald Spire Superdungeon is now sanctioned in its entirety for Pathfinder Society Organized Play. You can find the download either on the product page or in the right-hand banner on the Additional Resources page.

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The Superdungeon does mostly take place in a Dungeon, and a lot of that (though not all of it) is primarily stone rooms and corridors.

That said, the druids I have seen in it have done fine. You may or may not get much use out of entangle, but druids still have lists of options even when underground in a rock hallway.

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A design note in response to a patron's inquiry on why ranger access to bonus feats through combat style is more limited than monk's access to bonus feats.

Ultimately there are three reasons.

First, the monk doesn't as large a pool of bonus feats to select from. A 1st to 5th level monk has 25 feats to choose from with the bonus feat edge. Between all the different combat styles, a ranger has 40 to choose from in the same level range.

Secondly, the monk and ranger have different core concepts. The monk is a master of specialist fighting styles. The ranger is a master of adaptation, becoming part of something outside himself. Thus monks get open selection on their feats, which represent that fighting specialization. Rangers pick a combat style, which represents their adaptation to the forces around them, and can more gradually grow into it.

Third is playtest feedback on play balance. The monk's open access was extensively tested and showed no sign of creating an overpowered end result. The ranger's playtest showed their access to their feat list could be abused if not kept in check. I suspect that has more to do with the ranger's potential selections, which are broader (and include things like firearms), though some playtesters felt it was because a ranger had a full base attack and potential access to spells. But regardless, a talented ranger who could take any feat any time turned out to dominate games that used it, so I tweaked the options until it didn't.

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You can express it here. I, and other Paizo staff, keep an eye on all these threads. We may not respond, and if we do it may not be for a while based on our deadlines and workloads, but we're reading. :)

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You can easily run the three adventures (Rum Punch, Dangerous Waters, and Black Coral Cove) as a single adventure with strong chapters, rather than three unrelated adventures.

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Congratulations, Lucas!

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With some tweaks, a Furious Focus/Vital Strike warpriest build can be amazingly effective.

As a weapon focused character without a full attack bonus, Vital Strike is suddenly a more attractive option (since you don't get as many iterative attacks anyway, and they are less likely to hit than with a fighter). And thanks to bonus feats, you can pick it up well before an inquisitor or cleric can. Just a couple of levels after they could get Vital Strike, you are on to Improved Vital Strike if you want it.

What makes that build particularly attractive is a new feat: Greater Weapon of the Chosen. It is easiest for war priests to pick up (since they get Weapon Focus and bonus feats & are less likely to be penalized for selecting their deity's favored weapon). A human war priest can pick it up by 3rd level, and everyone else can have it by 5th if they dedicate themselves to it (leaving their 6th level free for Vital Strike).

And why is this a great feat? because every time you attempt a single attack with the attack action using your deity's favored weapon, you get to roll the attack twice and take the better of the two.
Let that sink in.

If I'm a 6th level war priest of Gorum wielding a great sword, with Vital Strike and Greater Weapon of the Chosen, I can take an attack action, roll 2d20 and take whichever is better (bumping the chance of a crit), and deal 4d6 +1.5x Str on a successful strike. Power Attack and Furious Focus also play very well with this build. You don't even need fervor and blessings to be effective at that point.

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Samy wrote:
Are they somehow so ultra-specific that you couldn't make your own dungeons on these layouts?

The main thing that makes them less generic is a big green circle, which has a specific use in the Superdungeon.

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Tels wrote:

Devil's Advocate Post:

This is certainly making the Warpriest look better, but is it doing so because the Warpriest is in the hands of someone who knows how to play, or is it because it's the Warpriest itself making himself look good?

That's an ENTIRELY fair question. Obviously both Mark and I have a fair degree of system mastery.

That said, I bring that same mastery to all the characters I play, be that fighters, clerics, inquisitors, or multiclass half orc alchemist barbarians with a thing for mutagen-and-rage.

And, I would expect, I am better at mastering older classes because I have much more experience with them.

I find the warpriest to be easily competitive with all those builds, even if it doesn't duplicate them. Much like trying to run a rogue as a fighter will get you in trouble, trying to run a warpriest as a cleric won't let you take advantage of their several unique class features. When you do find a build and set of tactics that uses them well, the class does great.

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I actually don't have any problems with the action economy. For example, while I have multiple options for swift actions, there's no requirement I do them all at once. With a good weapon and great armor, I don't need to worry about defensive spells unless things seem pretty serious, so those rarely go up on the first round.
As I mentioned I often spring a blessing before a fight, even at the risk of losing it, and even fi I don't they are no more action-intensive than casting a buff spell for every other class. Same with swift spells with fervor -- there's no need to do them immediately in most cases, and a few rounds into combat my swift actions are likely free. If I DO need to rev up quickly, I can fervor a spell s as swift and cast a spell as a standard action.
One of the strengths of the warpriest is that is can have a lot of options and that allows a tailored response to each situation. With better armor and offensive feats than a cleric, it can take a round or two to assess before worrying about if a fight calls for a lowly divine favor, or if bull's strength is more use, or if I need protection from energy RIGHT NOW.
Other things you only use if things go wrong. A warpriest is only using fervor to heal himself as a swift if he's miscalculated where a fight is going, though in a pinch it is VERY useful to be able to take a full defense action and heal yourself from 1 hp. But customizing your response to a specific encounter means you are less likely to try to have everything running before the fight anyway. During the fight many rounds are "Move-And-Attack-And-whatever swift action seems most useful right now." Since those swift actions don't prevent you from continuing to maneuver and attack (which may have you hitting as hard and often as a same-level fighter if you go with the feats mentioned above, depending on exact build and level), you have time to take a few rounds to rev up, if revving up is even needed.

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Some feats are significantly more potent than others. and, of course, in this case they are backed by 6 spell levels of spell casting, and a slew of magic class features.

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AinvarG wrote:
Thanks for the insight, Owen!

My pleasure. It's not often people actually care if I talk about my character. :)

AinvarG wrote:
Curious, since my PDF is still tantalizingly out of reach, does the Greater Weapon of the Chosen affect the roll for the crit confirmation, too? That is, does the character roll twice to confirm?

While it doesn't call it out the answer to that specifically, and I'm a developer here at Paizo rather than a designer, my ruling would be that you don't roll twice for a critical confirmation roll. A confirmation roll gains all the same bonuses as the initial attack roll, but a bonus has a specific meaning in Pathfinder. This is a special power, rather than a numerical bonus.

And as it is, it's REALLY good. It increases your chance to threaten (because you have two dice that might roll in your threat range) in a way that actually stacks with keen (which you can add with sacred weapon if you want) or Improved critical (which you can take with your 9th level bonus feat, despite only having a base attack of +6 at that point).

Luckily you have to take 2 lesser versions of the feat first (although they'll let you reroll miss chances for targets with concealment (they take a swift action to activate, but you can just not activate them if a target doesn't have concealment, and Great WotC does NOT require any activation action), AND Weapon Focus (which you get as a bonus with warpriest). But as I mentioned, you can do that by 3rd if you play a human warpriest.

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And Greater Weapon of the Chosen (and its two earlier feats) aren't in the CRB.
The war priest can use things in ways other classes can't, and I have found there are *extremely* competitive ways to use those abilities.

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So far I have very much enjoyed by final-version war priest, which I have been playing since April (advantage of working here). I've noticed a few things in-play.
Since blessings are their own pool of uses that don't get used for anything else, I'm willing to burn them when a situation seems *likely* to become a fight, even if occasionally that means a minute passes with no fight. I don't always get a blessing up before combat, but I *often* do, and that's great. Even at low levels you can lose a couple of uses a day without wasting all of them. And this strongly encourages team play, since the other PCs are learning to have stealthy folk scout potential encounters to see if they can get me a heads-up. Since the blessing can't be turned into healing or other options spells often represent, the other players never feel like I am wasting potential benefits for them, as sometimes happens with clerics who buff with spells.
Fervor is golden. It's great because with spontaneous casting I don't have to try to guess in advance which prepared spell I want up for a fight. I can afford to see if a spell is even necessary, which oddly makes it easier to conserve spells (and thus fervor). I have never cast a spell in an encounter that turned out to be APL -1 or -2, and then regretted it. While it is true a warpriest does't have as high-level a spell selection as the cleric, the ability to (effectively) quicken a wide range or spells is quite a boost. At 2nd level that's the equivalent of a 5th level spell. Even at 20th level the best a cleric can do as a quickened spell is five fifth-level spells. A war priest can do five 6th level, five 5th level, and a number of 4th equal to his Wis bonus (and those are also all effectively Still Spells).
It's true the war priest has a much, much narrower selection for those Quickened Still spells, but the option to decide you need a divine power, heal, or true seeing right NOW, can be a huge boost. This in turn helps develop new tactics and play styles that work well with the class.
The war priest operates at its best when you look at what it maximizes and work with that as a build, rather than try to make it work like an fighter, inquisitor, or cleric. For example, as a weapon focused character without a full attack bonus, Vital Strike is suddenly a more attractive option (since you don't get as many iterative attacks anyway, and they are less likely to hit). And thanks to bonus feats, you can pick it up well before an inquisitor or cleric can. Just a couple of levels after they could get Vital Strike, you are on to Improved Vital Strike if you want it. And if at that point you are fighting with a rapier, it does 1d10, or 3d10 with IVS, and still has its improved threat range.
What makes that build particularly attractive is Greater Weapon of the Chosen. It is easiest for war priests to pick up (since they get Weapon Focus and bonus feats & are less likely to be penalized for selecting their deity's favored weapon). A human war priest can pick it up by 3rd level, and everyone else can have it by 5th if they dedicate themselves to it (leaving their 6th level free for Vital Strike).
And why is this a great feat? because every time you attempt a single attack with the attack action using your deity's favored weapon, you get to roll the attack twice and take the better of the two.
Let that sink in.
If I'm a 6th level war priest of Gorum wielding a great sword, with Vital Strike and Greater Weapon of the Chosen, I can take an attack action, roll 2d20 and take whichever is better (bumping the chance of a crit), and deal 4d6 +1.5x Str on a successful strike. Power Attack and Furious Focus also play very well with this build. You don't even need fervor and blessings to be effective at that point.

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