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128 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Being made of, at least in part, magical energy, how do they interact with an antimagic field?

Entryhazard wrote:
What about scrolls

Interesting question. Taking the 'Scribe Scroll' feat (or receiving it as a class feat as a wizard) indicates you've researched how to pull together magic energy, mix in appropriate components, and imprint that energy onto a scroll. Those with the appropriate skills or spells can later provide the final trigger to release the imprinted energy, unleashing the spell effect and diffusing the energy from the scroll.

That said, although I have some idea of how I like the fluff to work for this it's actually never come up as an issue we needed to explore in game. It's mostly just been a thought exercise to improve consistency of the game world in my mind. So it's possible (likely?) you or someone else is going to come up with something that blows a hole in my construct. :)

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:

Q, how do you compare the bard to this?

I kinda like how you describe it, though I wouldn't add the genetic componant, instead just treating it like a talent, much as some folks just have a good feel for music while others must carefully train.

UnArcaneElection mirrored my thinking on the bard though you raise a good point about the genetic aspect. Is it obvious I've never played a bard nor has anyone ever played one in my campaigns? :)

So to adjust my stance a bit, drop the genetic aspect. I would agree it becomes more of a talent issue. Some folks have a knack for finding localized maxima of magic energy nearby and are able to tap into that directly rather than needing to weave it together beforehand. In essence a prepared caster collects magic energy at the time of preparation using a specific recipe, whereas a spontaneous caster delays that collection until the moment of casting and have a knack for how to collect it.

This makes more sense when you consider those who dip into a spontaneous caster class. It turns out they had that knack all along and it only developed at that time to the point they could begin casting spells of the appropriate spell list, etc.

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Here's my fluff on arcane casting:

A spell effect is generated by a combination of V(erbal), S(omatic), and M(aterial) components as we all know but there is also a mental component, which when disrupted is where we get our concentration check. In order to cast any spell, at bare minimum you have to have this mental component met. I fluff this as magic being a fundamental force, like gravity, electromagnetism, weak and strong force. Our consciousness is the link between this magic force and how it is formed into an effect in the physical world. The mental or concentration component of a spell, then, is actually how our consciousness is able to form the magic force into a specific effect. The formula for any given effect, therefore, is a combination of the standard V,S, and M components in conjunction with this additional mental component. Think of it like the Patronus spell in the Harry Potter books. You have to grab onto a particularly happy emotion to fuel the spell. No happy thought, no spell. This in addition to the words, with proper inflection, the swing of the wand, etc.

Knowing the VSM portion isn't sufficient. If Fred Fighter picks up Willy Wizard's spellbook and opens to the first page where the Light cantrip is located, in my universe he would see notes in Willy's handwriting outlining the rules of the spell. The VSM portion would be pretty much identical from spellbook to spellbook and Fred could, if he understood the language Willy used, absolutely mimic this part. But Fred has no training for the mental component and a significant portion of Willy's notes would be how to obtain said state of mind for that specific spell in a way that is quite specific to Willy. Again, going back to the Patronus spell, thinking of Harry's parents wouldn't help Ron. Ron needs his own method of achieving that happy place.

The wizard has no inborn magic fuel flowing through his veins, so he studies. He uses first principles and scientific method to extrapolate how to achieve a specific effect. If creating a new spell, he documents his research in his spellbook. If copying from another spellbook, he adjusts the spell's mental component notes to work for him. The chance of failure is a result of being unable to translate that mental aspect to a state of mind the wizard knows how to achieve. Preparing a spell involves studying the spellbook and then pre-casting everything but the final trigger which involves the combination of VSM plus that mental component. Combining those four parts completes the circuit, releasing the magical energy in the desired manner. Metamagic effects would need to be incorporated at the time of preparation because the wizard lacks an innate feel for how to adjust the spell on the fly and so must incorporate the adjustment during that preparation time. A mortal consciousness is only able to contain so many such untriggered magic effects simultaneously, a limit that gradually rises as the wizard gains experience, explaining the increase in spell slots over time.

The sorcerer has inborn magic fuel, and operates intuitively. He has an intrinsic ability to "feel" the flow of magic because genetically he has some sort of additional capability that has permanently and subtly altered his consciousness. By feeling their way through this flow of magic they can instinctively determine how to produce certain spell effects. A sorcerer mentally sniffs around, sensing how to produce new spell effects all the time. But their interest focuses in only so many directions until they finally manage to learn how to produce a few new spell effects. This represents their gaining new spells when they level. In some cases the sorcerer has neglected to refresh in their mind how to create a particular spell effect, instead focusing on a spell effect they hadn't been capable of previously, explaining spell swaps on certain levels. Moreover, where the wizard must prepare the spell, going through part of the incantation during preparation in order to begin engaging the magic flow, keeping it pent up until release, the sorcerer has a tap directly into the magic force. But this tap can only allow so much throughput in any given period of time before rest is required to allow further access. Over time, as the sorcerer becomes more in tune with their consciousness, they also grow the ability to invoke more magic energy in a given day, explaining the sorcerer's spells per day going up. When casting a spell, the sorcerer need only complete the final trigger bits and can even forego the M(aterial) components for most spells, relying not on a prepared spell that had already captured the necessary magical energy and left it waiting to be completed but instead on their innate magical tap to fuel the spell. Metamagic feats represent the sorcerer learning a new trick they know how to apply to their spells when cast, like adding an additional effect when singing. Because the triggering is the only part of the spell the sorcerer need enact, metamagic can be incorporated on the fly.

Whence, then, 'Read Magic'? Read Magic gives a temporary ability to gain an intuitive insight into how magic is invoked. It enables the caster, when contemplating magic and reviewing instructions on how to cast a spell, to bridge the gap between the instructions as written, including the mental component, and the spell effect to be produced, and allows the caster to at least attempt to determine how to achieve the correct state of mind for a given spell. For a wizard it is virtually a requirement in order to research or copy new spells. For a sorcerer it provides temporary access to spells already written that they might not already know how to cast, but won't help them learn the spell permanently.

That's how I relate the two casters. Obviously arcanists combine the two aspects. Hope this helps.​

In TV shows, the spy and the rest of the team do not ordinarily know what the other is up to and part of the suspense is whether things are going according to plan or whether you're about to have a heap of trouble dumped on you.

In a tabletop RPG, to reach the same level of tension and immersion you wind up needing to physically split the group. Yes, the TV show has cuts between the two scenes, but when the GM has to leave the room to go do her thing with the vigilante, the entire rest of the party is stuck waiting about.

With a non-UI party, you might run into that it would be cutting against the grain... the GM would be putting it in to shake things up. With a vigilante, the key aspect of the class emphasizes this entire other identity built around social skills, to the extent that it seems the baseline combat mode is notable reduced in efficacy. Including this class in an adventure practically cries out to force an increased level of social gameplay. This is fine, but it means even larger portions of the game where the rest of the group really can't contribute.

Put another way, every single class, including archetypes, can contribute in combat. Even rogues and monks. Other systems like kingdom building can be used pretty equally regardless of class or build. The vigilante's biggest aspect, Dual Identity, only becomes noteworthy if sufficient emphasis is placed on purely social, non-combat activity, a type of gameplay which many other classes cannot contribute meaningfully to. Certainly not without major sacrifices to their combat ability (i.e. feat and skill selections). The concern then is that inclusion of vigilantes implies either a vastly increased number of social encounters that will likely exclude most of the party or a vigilante character that is mostly engaged in non-social settings and therefore could have been replaced with a far more effective class/build selection while keeping the same concept and backstory.

Cubic Prism wrote:
No reason not to combine all of them together. Give the players the toolbox to make the super hero type character they want. There is no point I can see to divide the Vigilante up into 2-4+ "specializations". If the point of the class is the dual personality thing, make that shine. As it stands now, the "specializations" are what's shining. One class, open up the talents. Make dual personality awesome.

Looking at what they did to "unchain" the summoner, by removing a 'builder' type of system for eidolons in exchange for preconfigured eidolon concepts, I would hazard a guess they've seen too many instances where the a-la-carte style leads to players being able to hyperoptimize and actually ends up killing player options.

UnArcaneElection wrote:

In a PbP, things are a bit easier -- unless you are playing over live chat, for playing superintelligence, you CAN take the time to use Google and/or its competitors to look up stuff (DON'T use this to look ahead in the campaign, if it is a published one). Likewise, for playing supercharisma, you can take the time to compose a good speech. For superwisdom, just play up high willpower and depend upon the GM to let your character notice stuff that other people would be unlikely to pick up.

For playing low mental stats: Just think: What would Homer Simpson do?

If the puzzle is difficult enough or rare enough, all the time in the world spent with Google will not help me solve it.


- the puzzle itself really is difficult enough to challenge your (far more intelligent) character, in which case it is absolutely too hard for the player no matter what resources you give them
- or the puzzle is solvable by the player, in which case it is no longer a character challenge

As for charisma, the same issue exists. If I don't have the skill, you could give me all the time in the world and I won't be able to put together a compelling speech or argument.

The thing is, if you want to include puzzles to challenge your players (NOT the characters) then if that makes the game better for your group, more power to you. But I personally dislike such challenges because I'm not there to simulate myself, I'm there to simulate my character.

If you ask me to solve a puzzle while I'm playing my low-Int barbarian, vs. someone next to me who is, let's say, not as capable mentally, but is playing a high-Int wizard, and the result is that whichever character solves the puzzle receives a bonus of some kind, that would be no different than pointing to the floor and dictating that the first person to pound out 100 push-ups due to a Str test (instead of an Int test) is earning a bonus for their character. It does not accurately reflect the likelihood that my character would succeed in that test.

And yes, it is possible that I roll a 20 on my Int test with my barbarian while my less intellectual friend rolls a 1 for his high Int wizard, and now my barbarian has solved a puzzle the wizard missed on. You know what? I'm okay with that because I know that in the end if we run into enough of these the outcome will match expectation. With the players participating that isn't likely to be the case.

Zagyg wrote:

Back to incinerate: In the light to these 2 examples, I think the supernatural ability should contain precise information about the gear of the ash-turned creatures. If disintegrate has the info, incinerate should have too.

So my question is still unresolved: where in the rules is it written that a supernatural ability that destroys a creature leaves her equipment unaffected ?

I think instead of asking "where in the rules does it say..." you should be asking these two questions:

- Does it say in the rules... ?
- If it doesn't say in the rules, what rules cover...?

The point others are making is that the answer to your recapitulated question (and my first question) is "The rules do not say". Which means you need to ask the second question. The bits that have been quoted above are everyone's offering in response to that question, and it implies that in this case, since it is not stated how Su abilities in general affect equipment when they destroy the carrying creature, you must use fallback rules. And the answer then follows, "Su abilities do not implicitly nor automatically destroy carried items when the carrying creature is destroyed".

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It would have been nice if the teamwork feats offered a baseline personal buff and then an augmented buff when teammates had either the same teamwork feat OR the singular version.

For example:

Shake It Off (Teamwork)

You gain a +1 bonus to one saving throw (Reflex, Fortitude, Will) chosen at the time the feat is selected. This feat may be taken multiple times, but does not stack with itself for the same saving throw.

Whenever you are adjacent to one or more allies with any feat that grants a bonus to the same saving throw, you and those allies gain an additional +1 to the selected saving throw per adjacent ally (max of +4). This bonus does not stack with itself for the same saving throw.

So if you choose "Shake It Off [Will]" you gain a lesser Iron Will. You could also choose to take Iron Will, with which your Shake It Off bonus would stack, giving you a solo +3 to Will saves for the investment of 2 feats.

If you stand next to Fred the Fighter and Bob the Barbarian, things might change. Fred has Iron Will while Bob has Shake It Off [Will].

Because Fred has a feat that gives a bonus to Will saves, as does Bob, you, Fred, and Bob would all gain an additional +3 bonus to your Will saves.

"But wait!" you say, "Bob also has Shake It Off [Will]! Wouldn't I get another +3?"

Nope. Shake It Off [Will] can't stack with itself, so you would only get one or the other, not both.

This would allow you to get at least *something* for your feat investment even in circumstances where no one else works with you, and gives you the ability to buff your teammates without them having to alter their characters. In fact, with a Fighter's number of feats, this would allow them to be passive group buffers, though I suppose that is somewhat stepping on the Inquisitor's toes.

Joe M. wrote:

@Snowblind, Weirdo — I'm more optimistic about the Unchained Monk receiving ongoing support than it seems either of you are, and I'm also pretty confident that it'll get the tricks it needs to play high-opt games for folks who are looking for that, if nothing else than just as a matter of time. More options means more flexibility means more opportunities for high-optimizing players to run their tricks. But that's just a guess about the future, and I suppose time will tell.

@Wraithstrike — Ughbash is referring to the Falchion Fred I put together in my <Reference: Basic Fighter Builds> thread that I used for comparison here, rather than the "original" Falchion Fred (I don't even know where he first came up, honestly—that was before my time on the boards). I checked the numbers at 2, 5, 8, 11 (evenly spaced across PFS play).

@Tels — It seems to me that a *lot* of people have been saying the Unchained Monk is a weak class. But any way about it, it just doesn't seem right to call it a "side grade" compared to the Core Monk. <Check my numbers upthread!>

The Unchained Monk *might* represent a "side grade" if we're comparing [relatively optimized Core Monk drawing on supplemental material and archetypes] to [basic, Core-only Unchained Monk], but that's not an apples-to-apples comparison and it doesn't license a judgment that *the class itself* is somehow a "side grade" (it's plain, I think, that the Unchained Monk is a clear upgrade in comparison to the Core Monk, just comparing the classes themselves). Now, you *might* be able to get to the "side grade" conclusion if you couple that sort of apples-to-oranges comparison with an expectation like Snowblind's that the Unchained Monk will not receive future support and that this is the best that it will ever get. But that seems unlikely to me, and even if it works out that way I'd still...

I have to agree with Snowblind here. Granted, we don't know for a fact that there won't be any supplementary material supporting the UCMonk but Pathfinder Unchained does seem to have more of a feel akin to things like Words of Power as opposed to APG/ACG/UC/UM and so on. Consider, too, that in stipulating that the UCMonk, among all of the unchained classes, was explicitly denied access to all present archetypes, any new material would either need to add an equal number of new options for all classes or focus more exclusively on UCMonk options. In either case in order for the UCMonk to start "catching up" in terms of the number of additional options that all the other classes can access, the amount of relative focus would now need to be imbalanced in favor of the UCMonk, which seems highly unlikely.

Furthermore, I respectfully disagree with your assertion that would should compare UCMonk as it stands now only to Core, non-expanded options. The fact is the CRBMonk exists now along with numerous archetypes which have managed to address, to one degree or another, the deficiencies of the original CRBMonk. Likewise, all of the other classes exist now, including UCBarbarian, UCRogue and UCSummoner, and all still have the archetypes and optional features available to them which UCMonk currently lacks. Put differently, if I start playing a new character today, and must make the determination of which class to choose, I will be comparing all classes as they are now to UCMonk as it is now, not to UCMonk as it might be in the future.

LoreKeeper wrote:

@Mark Seifter: there's a different issue that I would like to see corrected that relates to the monk. The Stunning Fist feat benefit states:

Core, page 135 wrote:
"A defender who fails this saving throw is stunned for 1 round (until just before your next turn)."

The part in parenthesis is, to my knowledge, supposed to be a reminder for the normal duration of "1 round". However, I've seen it stated by various people (including James Jacob) that read the parenthesis literally to mean that in a successful Stunning Fist as part of an Attack of Opportunity, the effect still wears off at the start of your next turn - rather than at the start of the creature's turn who's initiative was active at the time.

If I were to rewrite the bit you quoted, it would go:


A defender who fails this saving throw is stunned for 1 round (until just before the current actor's next turn).

For an AoO, that means the start of the defender's next turn. For something that occurs on the monk's turn, it means the start of the monk's next turn. Either way, the monk gets the benefit of a full round of stun.

I think the other thing that crops up is whether context matters.

Dominating the fighter and telling him to go get as drunk as possible right now should effectively remove him from the combat as he first starts guzzling any liquor he may currently have and then goes off on a bar crawl.

What would have a player up in arms is whether he would do that mid-combat.

In other words, should context matter? Are commands to be interpreted in a vacuum or should the situation matter? Are implications supposed to matter? Because that same fighter who loves to get drunk may only feel willing to do so when he and his compatriots are back home from a hard fought dungeon crawl, pouches full of plundered gold. He may feel a very strong loyalty and would never leave them hanging mid combat.

So would the command in this case, given mid combat, warrant that second save?

Edit: To clarify, the command is not "leave your party and stop helping them in combat" but "go get drunk right now". But contextually the command given implies the situation the fighter would ordinarily never consider.

The first major implication I imagine would be assigning XP values to encounters, as the current guidelines assume equal progression for all classes. Take the rogue/wizard distinction you mention at 2:1 ratio. At a certain point the rogue is 10th level and the wizard 5th level for an APL of 7. In turn an APL+1 encounter will result in either enemies that are almost too trivial for the rogue to overcome (because you used a lot of mooks, let's say) but are on part for the wizard, or will result in an appropriate encounter for the rogue (because you went with fewer tougher opponents) but who are much harder to affect for the wizard due to inappropriately high saving throws and resistances.

While the APL system is intended to overcome that sort of disparity, the expectation is not that levels will diverge over time but rather that they would tend to converge. Of course old school didn't have such guidelines but likewise balancing points like weapon damage figures, saving throw values, etc. were tuned based on that level progression.

The more I think about it, the more it seems like there a number of systems in the game that would start to be affected by that kind of separation such that I think you'd end up with something far removed from PF as we have it now.

Arthur C. Clarke wrote:
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

While it may not adhere to Fallout canon, you could conceivably tack on "miraculous" heal spells via advanced rediscovered tech like nanites to rebuild flesh, sinew and bone. Perhaps a healer type could involve some sort of neural insert that allows them to receive feedback from their nanite swarm, not consume them during treatment, and much more rapidly perform in combat healing. Maybe use of this prevents use of other more powerful combat gear.

I'm just spitballing but if I was going to make a non-magical setting with roughly PF rules and still wanted healing, I would look into this avenue.

CRB indicates unarmed strike is always considered a light weapon. IUS doesn't appear to change that. Impact only works on non-light weapons, so I would rule that it would not apply for that reason.

If it did, I would further rule it doesn't stack with Strong Jaw as it appears to be a similar enchantment type, even though one affects manufactured and one affects natural weapons.

Note that without a ki pool, the Cloistered Monk would have no access to ki strike and thus no UAS compatible method to innately bypass various types of DR without using an AoMF.

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@Liam Warner: The simplest answer is "theoretically yes, but it depends entirely on your assumptions". What you are seeing from those saying the magus learns differently than wizards is an assumption that how the magus learns and casts their magics means they are fundamentally incapable of reaching 9th level spells. If you change that assumption such that learning and casting arcane spells isn't different between arcane caster classes, then your suggestion would be correct that over a long enough span of time a magus could potentially achieve 9th level spellcasting.

So what it boils down to is that it would work exactly as the person setting the scenario would want it to work.

That said, the justification for saying that a magus learns differently would be that that is the most reasonable explanation for why within Pathfinder rules a magus is not capable of achieving higher level spellcasting than they can, no matter how long lived the magus is.

Take physics as an example. Someone steeped in newtonian physics, taught only such theories their entire professional career, will not be able to successfully solve physics problems describing sub-atomic relationships. They will simply lack the proper formulae. Now a particle physicist will likely have sufficient newtonian theory knowledge to solve problems at the gross physical level but will also know formulae for the sub-atomic problems as well. Can the newtonian physicist learn the new principles and start tackling the higher order problems? Of course, but then they are really going outside their first specialty.

And that would basically be like the magus multi-classing into wizard, though the 20 level cap in PF terms suggests a hard limit on such learning that probably wouldn't exist in real life terms.

RJGrady wrote:
I'm just going to put this out there, if you don't like the core monk, several 3pp have already published fixed monks. I'd rather we not focus on negativity and waste the devs time, and focus on making the brawler something a lot of people will want to play.

Keep in mind the two main reasons folks want monks fixed by Paizo in core:

1 - PFS
2 - GMs that do not like to bring in 3PP

Fixing monk issues in core means making use of the fixes in the vast majority of games without skipping PFS play or having to jump through hoops to convince your group to bring in non-core material.

That said, yes, this is the Brawler discussion. Let's talk brawling.

For what it's worth, if you absolutely want the players to "fight" a deity with a chance to "win", I would recommend that you combine both the story approach with mechanics.

For example, take Aroden. Seems dead right? But what if in fact he is somewhere else, on some other plane of existence, went there on purpose, stays there against his will. Trapped now. Suppose his divine essence is somehow being siphoned off to power something, something he initially agreed with but agrees with no longer.

Further suppose that this is taking place within some region on this plane that has protections etched by god-like beings themselves, the likes of which mere mortals could not possibly hope to duplicate, but which are part of the draining. But like ants marching into a fortress, the mortals are beneath notice and may enter this area and encounter a weakened Aroden.

All of this is fluff, hand waving stuff that the players cannot duplicate nor try to circumvent except in a way you very carefully devise.

Now within this region, they can fight an aspect of Aroden, badly weakened but still a massively difficult encounter. You could make it a simple tank and spank or build it up almost like he's built a demi plane with them fighting through multiple encounters, etc.

Finally they get to the final fight and win. But what did they win? Maybe by defeating the aspect they are hastening the draining, in essence they are pushing the divine process along ever so slightly further, speeding up the process. Did they really kill him? No, but perhaps they could say they eliminated his chance to escape by tipping the scales just that little bit. Or maybe they were defeating the part of him that was considering staying in place, still believing it was "the right thing to do". In which case his resolve is strengthened and in time he stands a better chance of escaping.

In the immediate sense, when the players step back onto Golarion nothing will have changed. Aroden is still missing in action, deemed dead. But story wise yes events have changed dramatically. And they would have no doubt had truck with other deities and come directly under the spotlight as a result. It's a compromise and allows a great deal of latitude in giving them a shot at a deity while still retaining that deity's status as being far above mere mortals.

redliska wrote:
The brawler and monk when flurrying should have close to the same chance to hit if they both focus on attack. The bonus that brawling armor property will give the brawler and possibly greater weapon focus give the brawler a slight lead in static attack bonus. But the monk can get an extra attack by spending a ki point. I wouldn't mind seeing a comparison across some levels to see what's more valuable an extra attack or +3 to hit. I am to lazy to do it myself.

It seems somehow inappropriate to compare the brawler armor property (an always on bonus) to an ability which burns an extremely limited resource which is shared among several other abilities which may drain it as well.

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I appreciate the clarification. :)

Well, certainly in light of the cost discrepancy it is how I am planning to do it, but I was trying to see what if anything I overlooked. :)

One of my players has a Cloak of Resistance +1 and wishes to upgrade that to a Cloak of Resistance +2.

The crafting cost of +1 is 500gp and of +2 is 2000gp. The difference is 1500gp.

But the item is slotted (shoulders) which, as far as I can tell incurs an additional 50% cost, making the upgrade cost now 2250gp, more than the cost of just crafting a +2 outright.

Is this correct? I'm looking at the section of the rules in CRB, page 553, 'Adding New Abilities' that reads:

CRB, Adding New Abilities wrote:
If the item is one that occupies a specific place on a character’s body, the cost of adding any additional ability to that item increases by 50%. For example, if a character adds the power to confer invisibility to her ring of protection +2, the cost of adding this ability is the same as for creating a ring of invisibility multiplied by 1.5.

master_marshmallow wrote:
Anguish wrote:

Not the least factor is that if Paizo uses DSP Psionics, that's a significant number of books NOT sold by Paizo compared to if they write their own Psychic Magic system. Imagine if all the Mythic content Paizo got to make was the Wrath of the Righteous AP and someone else made Mythic Adventures and the other tie-in products. Not as compelling a business decision.

Paizo has a history of doing products that synergize heavily. I honestly think that's the killer factor that precludes them ever adopting DSP Psionics. That there are no psionic advocates at Paizao doesn't help but the idea that it's a worse business plan is probably fatal.

Which is too bad. I'd totally like to see what Nick Logue and Richard Pett would do with an adventure in a setting that includes mind thrust.

I don't necessarily agree. Sure, to an extent it is more beneficial to have their own Psionics system, but it would not all be lost when it comes down to not having products.

A psionic Bestiary, new APs, and even a splatbook that spliced already existing classes with psionic archetypes, there's plenty of product they could sell if they adopted the pre existing system and moved forward from there.

Actually I think it may be worse than master_marshmallow represents. If they accepted DSP psionics as "canon" and started building off of that, they become beholden to a 3PP's source material to define things that form a foundation for Paizo products.

If for some reason DPS were to alter the Psion to increase the total number of powers known such that Paizo no longer felt the class was balanced, and having already created splat books based on the Psion as is, it could invalidate their work and they would have no recourse. Right now Paizo has a clear line of control running from the CRB through all bonus source material (i.e. books providing new races/classes/archetypes/spells/etc) and out to any AP or additional content. DSP psionics books would disrupt that if Paizo were to base something on them.

As written, you are correct in noting that the golems are immune to spells that allow spell resistance, so most of your buffs for example would be wasted on them.

That said, in my campaign I would rule that it would be possible to alter the construction of a golem at creation time such that it lacks that spell immunity, allowing for the obvious new weakness but also allowing you to buff it.

Another option would be, again at creation time, to construct it with certain spell abilities built in, perhaps triggerable a number of times per day similar to wondrous items. So if you wanted your golem to be able to gain Haste effects, you would need to incorporate the Haste spell into the construction of the golem, with pricing appropriate to a x/day item of Haste. I would avoid allowing buffing it to be a permanent effect in most cases.

As a GM of course you can handle it however you like. Perhaps by adding a device which allows the controller of a golem to be able to cast self only buffs on their golem similar to how familiars work. But I would either make that a macguffin, possibly an artifact, with appropriate lore reasons as to why it is a one shot thing, or be aware that the group may wish to make use of it too.

As a player it will come down to adjudication by your GM.

And I think the RAI for the spell description is intended to show that the spell is affecting the targeted weapon wielder, not one of their weapons. The idea being that they can switch to a different carried weapon and still make use of the spell's conferred abilities. Otherwise it would have targeted one of the weapons carried meaning a weapon swap would no longer confer the benefit.

Logically I would look at whether the target of the trip has the ability to hover with their flight. If so, I would recommend that a successful trip attempt allows them to attempt a REF save if they wish to attempt to resort to a hover, avoiding the trip.

Otherwise I assume that standing still they do not have the means to just launch off the ground and will end up tripping just like anyone else.

May sound odd, but take a look at the movie 'Solomon Kane'. He self-classified as being among the worst humanity had to offer. In the early scenes it seems as though an other worldly entity had come to claim him for Hell. When confronted with the clarity of the depth of his evil and the certainty of his final judgment, and I think to an extent the depth of true evil, he has a change of heart.

He fought, escaped, and spent quite a bit of time in an abbey of some kind, forfeiting all he owned, living on the generosity of the church. This consumes a potentially significant block of time and would represent, along with his giving up all worldly possessions etc a form of atonement. After this the movie really kicks in and he then discovers he must not just stop doing evil but begin doing good.

Whatever else you may think of it it's not a bad narrative describing the equivalent of an anti-paladin's 'ascent', as it were.

The problem is that you would need to make it still fun for the player. Yeah, who likes playing a depowered paladin/anti-paladin? Then there's the question of how the rest of the party looks. Did they all have epiphanies at the same time?

Anyway, I would try to do something where yes there is a one time penance (divestiture of all ill gotten gains), stripping of all anti-paladin abilities (naturally) and an atonement/geas to perform a significant feat to return to the order. That quest (one time adventure) would be performed as a depowered paladin. After that, you get your powers back but get one or more negative levels for a time. Additionally perhaps the equivalent of an Arcane Spell Failure but applied to all divine abilities (spells, channeling, etc), representing the wavering faith and self doubt involved.

Yes, there would still be some nasty moments where everything fails at once, but at least you're still in the game and not entirely shut out.

The Law/Chaos isn't always (and I would argue for PF's sake, is generally not) tied to following the established order of things vs. overturning everything.

In other words, in my view a Lawful person is just as likely to have an untidy house and constantly be trying new things as anyone else. But they put commitment to an order outside themselves above being ruled by individual dictate when it comes to major life choices. The Chaotic person believes individual needs should outweigh the views of others because the individual has to determine their own destiny and not have it doled out to them by others. Again, primarily in context if major life choices.

So the Lawful scientist may very well be trying new and novel approaches to things in order to further science, things no one else has considered, but they will make sure to adhere to the dictates of what is legally allowed. To put it in real world terms, a Lawful stem cell researcher, while possibly on the cutting edge of what the world sees as acceptable, and while working within a field that is heavily laden with legal landmines, would still seek out novel approaches and would just try to shift to a country more amenable to their world view so as to stay within the boundaries of law. The Lawful Evil subtype might be willing to find such a place that also allows less scrupulous methods of procuring raw samples.

The Chaotic scientist might be stodgy and reactionary but on a larger scale see themselves as defending everyone's right to be so. They may see trends toward novelty in research as an attack, as an attempt to enforce that change on EVERYONE regardless of that researcher's personal desires. They may not like new modes of thought and may dislike anyone's attempt to foist it off on them.

Anyhow... my two coppers.

Thanks for the positive feedback. I promise, I do not carry a pitchfork nor do I sit on anyone's shoulder. ;)

@TheFacilitiesGuy - To turn a paladin all the way into an anti-paladin, you have a LONG road ahead of you, because you essentially have to finagle the paladin into believing they DESERVE to be an anti-paladin.

Take the self-righteous paladin discussed earlier. If you go down the road with them as planned, you may be able to get them to start a purge within the church. The most likely result will be that at the end they will have fallen, lost their paladin status and become what amounts to a fighter. There is a small chance, if things go right for you and you can twist their emotions, that they will go all the way toward CE and become an anti-paladin. For that, you'll have to twist their shame and self-loathing into a hatred for everything they stood for, a hatred for those who blame them. Pride is their weakness and you might be able to get them convinced they are absolutely in the right and how dare the church and the forces of good condemn them!

You've picked a difficult task if that is your goal. Good luck! :)

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Oh... and for those that may seem like the truly righteous, before you give up hope, make sure they aren't just self-righteous. Pride is the key there. Those that are propped up on the prongs of adulation among the faithful will be quick to note the failures of their brethren. For them you just want to show that you are aware of your own failings, striving to do better, absolutely humble and looking to them for inspiration. Heap praise on them, but subtly. Stoke whatever embers burn in their chest that yearn for the praise of others.

Then once you've got things nicely warmed up, use it. Find some hidden evil, suggest it to them. If they take the bait they will do your work for you. Extra bonus points if you point them at one or both of your patsies because then you'll seem to be doing the church's will AND you will be in good with someone with esteem within the church.

But when it's time to go all out, point them at their brethren, especially anyone whom you've managed to turn already. They'll do the rest and the whole assembly will fall to pieces.

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Other things...

- Try to find a patsy. In case it looks like your team will be caught, or perhaps even as a preemptive measure, include a patsy in your group, someone who you will peg as "the" betrayer. At an appropriate time or possibly as needed, let this sacrificial goat be revealed as having been working to destroy the church all along, using your group as patsies. This may involve...

- Being willing to take a hit. This becomes far more believable if you are clearly hurt by this person. It becomes less likely that you were working with them from the start if for example he offed one of you. This may mean ...

- You may need a second patsy. This person would be the actual first sacrificial goat whom you feed to the patsy first mentioned. The set up would be to let the aforementioned patsy believe this patsy is going to give everyone up and must be silenced. Meanwhile you will have revealed your suspicions to the appropriate authorities. Through a simple misunderstanding they would have been guarding you when all along, poor patsy #2 was the real target.

- Take out a BBEG. Not just your rival clan turned zombies. Do some research and find someone whom this church wants brought to justice. You could use your rival gang zombies as an introduction so that you wind up on the church's radar. Make a show of "aw shucks, just doing the greater good" so they remember you. Then ruthlessly hunt down one of their prime targets. Big points if you bring them to justice instead of offing them yourselves. Then you can play with your patsies.

Once you are in, since you are looking to turn them, keep in mind the key to tempting a religious person off the path... find what, if anything, they hold at least as dearly if not more dearly than their faith, then set their faith in opposition to that. Someone has a less than honorable sibling that is in dire need of help? Make that situation a little worse, whisper some soothing words about how the faithful's god will be okay with it, then nudge them off to help their sibling. They can justify it to themselves long enough to make the path a little easier with the next nudge. And so on.

The truly righteous will never budge. For the rest, remember that you aren't making them fall, you aren't even convincing them what they are doing is right. You're just helping them tell themselves that what they want is actually within reach if they just compromise, and then smoothing that compromise over. Blur things. Keep things gray, never black and white.

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Strictly speaking you can get that ki point back by taking the Extra Ki feat.

Some of the variants we've explored also involve requiring the monk to save vs. beneficial spells in the same way the superstitious barbarian does.

But then as a counter-counterbalance to that, the Wholeness of Body ki ability was adjusted to be a swift action and to heal twice monk level rather than only monk level, as well as adding a new ki ability that mimics restoration but can only be used on the monk at 10th level and beyond.

Other things involved limiting or eliminating use of potions and such too. All in the name of self perfection and not relying on magic items any longer.

Again, mechanically I think it ultimately weakens the character, but it is an interesting concept and the key is the ability to absorb enchantments but not need the item any longer, allowing you the fluff.

We haven't finished working things out but I would expect to treat it much like an item in that regard. So if you introduce a Longsword +1 into an anti-magic field its enchantment is suppressed for the duration it exists in the field. Once removed it returns to normal.

As for dispel magic I would think it would also work similarly, suppressing a particular effect for 1d4 rounds if the caster succeeds vs DC 11 + CL of the original effect (or maybe vs 11 + monk level).

The intent is that fluff-wise the monk is less reliant upon magic items, trying to avoid using them but simulating the effects through manipulation of his ki pool. Thus the new source of the enhancement becomes a semi-permanent binding of a ki point rather than through some external means. However in order to empower that binding, the monk essentially has to unravel the original enchantment, fluffed as examining the way the threads of nature have been manipulated to the given effect.

To be honest, it's more flavorful than mechanical and is probably a net loss of power, but it fits my particular character concept. If I were going to set something up for general use I would do something different. That said, while it's similar in nature, I don't think it fits the typical flow of a vow.

With regard to your vow (of New Iron), what are the practical limitations? From an equipment perspective there isn't much that monks use that is metal. It would tend to make them go unarmed but that is a pretty common tactic anyway. How would it affect things like amulets and rings and the like? Or is it mostly just weapons? And what does the monk gain? Is there crunch behind it? Narratively it's an interesting concept.

Vows strike me as essentially "archetypes lite", with each essentially providing a single common boost (more ki points) but varying drawbacks.

From a fluff perspective, I like vows too. I think adding a vow, especially a custom vow that fits your back story and that you can work with your GM to create, provides a very neat form of customization for your character.

That said, I pretty much despise the vows as written from a mechanical perspective. While I get that not every decision is intended to be made with a view toward overall increasing the character's effectiveness and that sometimes a reduction in power is okay provided it fits a concept, the amount of downside compared to the amount of upside on an already relatively weak class makes the Paizo provided vows useless to me.

Edit: I forgot to add, I'm working on a tweak with my GM at the moment which won't be written as a vow but mechanically could be so described. It involves what I'm terming "Ki Binding" which allows the monk to bind a ki point, which mechanically involves reducing your ki pool by 1, in order to effectively "absorb" an enchantment from an item. Doing so ties up the chakra point, i.e. item slot, that the item occupied normally, renders the item non-magical, but confers its benefits to the monk. The monk can release the binding at any time, adding the ki point back to his pool, but losing the absorbed enchantment. Releasing the binding does not re-enchant the item. There are also limits on what can be bound (e.g. no artifacts, no slotless items, no charged or single use items).

Anyway, mechanically it means you can't have items sundered, stolen, dispelled, etc since it's basically become part of you. While you do this though your ki pool is reduced plus you lose resale value of the item nor do you have the option of hanging onto an item in case your equipment loadout changes later to make said item more useful again.

I would be interested in feedback but in any case, yeah, that's one idea.

Justin Rocket wrote:
Quintessentially Me wrote:

Snippage wrote:
... stuff removed for brevity ...

This suggests to me that any further discussion on this point is moot because the two "sides" are approaching this from orthogonal positions.

In one camp are those who believe that provided at least some positives are to be had with the person in the group as opposed to without, then that concept works. That is, an extra attacker beating on the enemy is better than not having them there, even if they won't contribute much, they contribute something.

In the other camp are those who believe that in order to be considered worth using, a concept should be able to answer 'Yes' to the question of 'Do you offer something to the group that cannot be obtained in greater quantities elsewhere?'

Put another way, you have an equation:

Party + Character = Total Effectiveness
P + C = T

If C is not very big and other values (C1, C2, C3...) are bigger, then T would be bigger with those other values. Camp 1 says that doesn't matter because simply put, C is positive and T is larger with than without. Camp 2 says it does matter as why would you not just use C1 or C2 in order to increase

We may be able to reach a bridge on the following point

Being able to attack is not the same as being able to hit or the same as being able to do damage. A first level wizard character contributes effectively nothing to a 20th level party. The same can be said for a familiar.

I'm not sure what your goal is with that. Clearly no one is arguing about mismatched levels on members of the party. Mention of commoners within a party were to highlight that sometimes a contributor doesn't contribute enough, a position held by camp 2.

I don't think anyone defines "contribute" to mean "I gave it my best". I think most think "contribute" means "I positively affected the outcome in a meaningful way". The difference between camp 1 and camp 2 is in the definition of "meaningful".

Justin Rocket wrote:
MrSin wrote:
Justin Rocket wrote:
MrSin wrote:
Mechanics are just easier to measure because they have less variables such as what the GM would let you do.
A lack of interest or concern in rollplaying does not mean a lack of interest or concern in mechanics. The question of how the monk contributes to the party has to consider mechanics, but it doesn't have to consider how the monk compares to other classes. How it compares to other classes is an issue of number optimization (ie rollplaying), whether and to what extent it contributes is not.
And again I point to my example of the commoner. The commoner can contribute, doesn't mean you should play a commoner.
Assuming you aren't rollplaying, you should play whatever you want to play. If you want to play a commoner, then you should play a commoner.

This suggests to me that any further discussion on this point is moot because the two "sides" are approaching this from orthogonal positions.

In one camp are those who believe that provided at least some positives are to be had with the person in the group as opposed to without, then that concept works. That is, an extra attacker beating on the enemy is better than not having them there, even if they won't contribute much, they contribute something.

In the other camp are those who believe that in order to be considered worth using, a concept should be able to answer 'Yes' to the question of 'Do you offer something to the group that cannot be obtained in greater quantities elsewhere?'

Put another way, you have an equation:

Party + Character = Total Effectiveness
P + C = T

If C is not very big and other values (C1, C2, C3...) are bigger, then T would be bigger with those other values. Camp 1 says that doesn't matter because simply put, C is positive and T is larger with than without. Camp 2 says it does matter as why would you not just use C1 or C2 in order to increase T further.

There is no answer to this with a build discussion.

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With regard to making a deal with a devil, it seems there is more than a little merit there:

CRB Paladin Section says wrote:
Associates: While she may adventure with good or neutral allies, a paladin avoids working with evil characters or with anyone who consistently offends her moral code. Under exceptional circumstances, a paladin can ally with evil associates, but only to defeat what she believes to be a greater evil. A paladin should seek an atonement spell periodically during such an unusual alliance, and should end the alliance immediately should she feel it is doing more harm than good. A paladin may accept only henchmen, followers, or cohorts who are lawful good.

So it seems to me that this is a VERY exceptional case. If you can strike a bargain with a devil, eliminating a rival while you are around or something, maybe you can get them to banish you.

Frankly, the "how" is not so important. A GM shouldn't put you in a position like this unless they are willing to work the story a bit to make sure that you have options. So in essence you would be proposing potential adventure hooks.

Furthermore, it should be clear that either you are going to have to keep going it alone or somehow bring your friends into play. Perhaps you have to accept a geas from the devil in exchange for a banishment, doing something in its service in Golarion.

Heck, I'm over here taking notes for my own group. I like the possibilities here. :)

137ben wrote:
Coridan wrote:
Expanded Psionics Handbook (I like the dreamscarred stuff, I just wish Paizo supported it in their campaign/adventures etc)
Paizo has actually used DSP's psionics in adventure paths already:)

If I'm not mistaken, what Paizo used was some of the psionic powers/effects/creatures in an AP. Typically what I understand someone to mean when they say "support psionics" is "support a power point based casting system".

Something else to consider is the concept of self-delusion. Perhaps the paladin in question bills him/herself as being an excellent singer. Then the moment they actually need to get up and perform they attempt an untrained Perform(sing) and fail miserably. Yet they persist in referring to themselves as that same excellent singer.

Eventually they would get a (well deserved) reputation for not exactly seeing things clearly on this point. At that point you simply let things roleplay as they go on.

But the moment the player wants an actual in game mechanical advantage for this point, they would need to indicate what it is that would grant that advantage aside from merely saying it is so.

From Ultimate Combat:


Scatter Weapon Quality: A weapon with the scatter weapon quality can shoot two different types of ammunition. It can fire normal bullets that target one creature, or it can make a scattering shot, attacking all creatures within a cone. Cannons with the scatter weapon quality only fire grapeshot, unless their descriptions state otherwise. When a scatter weapon attacks all creatures within a cone, it makes a separate attack roll against each creature within the cone. Each attack roll takes a –2 penalty, and its attack damage cannot be modified by precision damage or damage-increasing feats such as Vital Strike. Effects that grant concealment, such as fog or smoke, or the blur, invisibility, or mirror image spells, do not foil a scatter attack. If any of the attack rolls threaten a critical, confirm the critical for that attack roll alone. A firearm that makes a scatter shot misfires only if all of the attack rolls made misfire. If a scatter weapon explodes on a misfire, it deals triple its damage to all creatures within the misfire radius.

So it would appear there is no sneak attack damage with a shotgun, which makes sense. Shotgun blasts are not what one would typically call precise as such.

Hi James,

Paizo reps (including yourself I believe) have mentioned that there are things which either have not been revealed or may never be revealed (e.g. what is going on with Aroden). This suggests there is a pretty well mapped out view for Golarion. I'm curious as to how this is managed internally? Is it just sort of gestalt knowledge, not written down anywhere but just passed along from person to person verbally? Is it in some sort of internal wiki-like arrangement so that anyone authorized to do so may contribute, discuss or look up such things given the right permissions? Or is there a Master of Secrets, a sole entity in charge of keeping track of everything and who is the single point of contact internally to both update and request such information?

I ask because it seems like with the amount of information already exposed via published material and the additional amount of information you keep to yourselves, there would be a lot of information management going on.

With regard to the use of the AoMF, consider that even if it had a cap of +10 on total enchantment+abilities, requiring it for UAS boosts still represents a net loss of total overall effectiveness for the monk.

Where any other martial grabs a weapon and enhances it, the UAS monk grabs an AoMF. Problem is, the AoMF takes the neck slot. Now whatever magic effect they could have nabbed via the neck slot is no longer available to them.

Or, put another way, the slots are:

Armor: suits of armor.
Belts: belts and girdles.
Body: robes and vestments.
Chest: mantles, shirts, and vests.
Eyes: eyes, glasses, and goggles.
Feet: boots, shoes, and slippers.
Hands: gauntlets and gloves.
Head: circlets, crowns, hats, helms, and masks.
Headband: headbands and phylacteries.
Neck: amulets, brooches, medallions, necklaces, periapts, and scarabs.
Ring (up to two): rings.
Shield: shields.
Shoulders: capes and cloaks.
Wrist: bracelets and bracers.

A monk cannot make use of the Armor slot and still retain most of his monk abilities and the UAS monk cannot make use of the Weapon slot. Overall magical item slots are two fewer than any other class. The WIS-to-AC and Monk-level-based-bonus-to-AC are intended to offset the loss of the Armor slot, but contribute in part to MAD. Requiring the AoMF to offset the loss of the Weapon slot just moves the missing slot to the Neck.

Providing the monk a built in level based bonus to enhancement for UAS at least offsets the *need* for the AoMF, though it still is required if you want additional effects.

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Malignor wrote:

If you want a realistic fight against an ape, play rolemaster.

Our entire party of 4th level characters ran like sissies when confronted with 1 bear. Why? Because being graphically and violently killed in one attack isn't fun.

To be fair, it's Rolemaster. When encountered with an angry hissing cat you should at least keep track of your exit strategy.

Dabbler wrote:

Last session:

The party took on another wraith, and the monk took the short end of the stick this time, losing 5 con in one hit! The cleric, one wizard, the rogue, and the fighter tore the wraith apart in one round, which was fortunate.

The party meandered their way back to town, and through the proceedings of the next day before deciding they had to raid a factory for more evidence. Through the door, and they ran into a variant flesh-golem. NOW the DR-bypass ability finally came into play. Without it, the monk would have struggled to do anything to the flesh-golem. With it, he was punching clear through it's DR and was able to do some damage. Not a lot of damage, but he was doing something as opposed to nothing.

My main issue is that compared to the fighter he's really struggling on damage output. As strength is a relegated stat in terms of importance, and as damage is still important, I'm going to make a change and make the enhancement bonus a complete one rather than just a bonus to hit. Yes, it is stronger, but frankly I can see now that it's needed. it's simpler, and it's not going to break the game.

Hence I am changing the text as follows:


3a) Amending the Ki-Pool entry as follows:

As long as he has at least 1 point in his ki pool, he can make a ki strike. At 4th level, ki strike allows his unarmed attacks to gain a +1 enhancement bonus as with the spell magic weapon. At 7th level this increases to +2, at 10th level, his unarmed attacks are +3, at 13th level +4, and at 16th level his unarmed attacks gain a +5 enhancement bonus to hit.

What I find interesting is that this change is based on your recent encounters which, if I'm not mistaken, were at 5th level. Meaning this adjustment would still only have produced 1 additional point of damage per attack. Depending on ki expenditures, an addition 2-3 points of damage per round.

Can you provide some actual damage done as a point of reference, both by the monk and by the others?

Daethor wrote:

I like the Vancian system a lot. I haven't seen other systems in play, but some of them seem like they would slow down play significantly. I could be wrong though.

I don't think I would like a system where you create new spells out of "building blocks" because that seems like it would lead to option paralysis. I'm not saying that people shouldn't play with these types of systems, but I don't think I'd like them personally.

What paizo eventually decides to do should be a mix of player feedback and their own personal preferences. They need to make a game that they like so they can continue to support it with the enthusiasm they have for it today.

Bear in mind most power point systems still involve discrete known spells, they just require points as fuel and more points to enhance. This is different from systems like Words of Power, an optional rule within PF, where spells are built up from building blocks.

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DrDeth wrote:

Yep, no one thinks of Jack Vance or Glen Cook or Terry Pratchett. Oh, wait.....(pTerry is 3rd or 4th best selling fantasy author, behind JRRT , Rowling, & Lewis- GRRM might be closing fast however, no one knows what Magic "system" GRRM uses if any)

I prefer Vancian, including it’s sibling version Spontaneous.

Mind you, there’s room in PF for a few variants. We already have the Witch and her hexes, I see nothing wrong with a sorta warlock that can cast from a VERY small list “at will”. Make them “Spell-like abilities”. Give them special abilities & curses ala oracles, then one or two “spells’ per level that can be cast at will, maybe at a caster level -2 or something. And of course psionics for those that want it.

Spell/Mana points? Tried it. Too much Nova then rest or endless calculations. The most realistic magic system was Chivalry and Sorcery, and hardly anyone actually played it.

I keep getting the impression that folks tie the success/failure/popularity of D&D very tightly with the use of Vancian systems. Correlation != Causation.

And the only way that a nova can be accomplished is with no upper bound on power point expenditure for boosting, but most reasonable point based systems apply some sort of a cap, typically based on level or level plus stat mod to reflect increasing power capability.

DrDeth wrote:

Hey look, there's dozens of non-vancian FRPs out there. Try one. Mind you, pretty much all are failures or niches, but still...

No need for throwing the baby out with the Vancian bathwater.

@thejeff, @RDM: Well, looking at how Psions are handled in the Psionics Unleashed material from DreamScarred Press, there are limits on how many powers (spells) you get to know, more akin to how a Sorcerer works. I would have to check but I think the total works out larger than that of a Sorcerer but smaller than what a Wizard could obtain (i.e. everything, technically). As a result, one could provide that there would be limits to how many spells a caster could know. In the end, I suppose I find it frustrating that my effectiveness as a caster in a particular encounter that day could be virtually reduced to zero because I happened not to memorize the correct set of spells that day. For spontaneous casters and non casters, the GM can know for certain what assets those characters will have during the day and can tailor the encounters appropriately. But for prepared casters, they can't really assume you will have chosen the right spell or set of spells to allow you to be effective. It's... annoying.

@Jason Stormblade: The main concern with making things optional or suggesting houserules is the acceptance level. Words of Power are not usable in PFS play and they are part of the published source material. Psionics gets a great treatment from DSP but it's not really commonly accepted in most groups, in some cases just because of the stigma of "psionics isn't magic". It's the same reason why there is a push for acceptance into the core rules for updates of monks/rogues/fighters and any other change folks think "fixes" something. It would be nice to be able to argue for its inclusion at your table with that sort of weight behind it.

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To be clear, I do not like Vancian magic. For me though it has less to do with flavor and more to do with restrictiveness. Maybe that's the lesser argument but there it is.

With regard to the fluff, I can actually get behind the idea of spellcasters having discovered a "formula" for creating a given magical effect. It fits in nicely with the idea of researching new spells too. Divine casters would be an example of the formula being largely shortcut with the power simply channeled to them by their divine source. Spontaneous casters would be genetically different, having a means of imprinting the formula on themselves and not having it go away, but lacking capacity to impress very many such formulae.

For an interesting take on the "formula" angle, check out Rick Cook's "Wiz" series, starting with "Wizard's Bane". Especially fun if you are a Forth programmer. :)

Anyway, having spent some time playing Shadowrun and Rolemaster, I am not tied to Vancian magic and much prefer the ability to cast from my entire repertoire with no limits based on what I happened to memorize that morning.

I think some of the concern folks have with regard to moving away from Vancian magic is about overpowering Wizards/Clerics. For example, even though Sorcerers/Oracles are spontaneous full casters, able to cast from anywhere on their list as long as they have the spell slots available, they are not considered OP compared to Wizards/Clerics because of the limits placed on them, namely the number of spells they have access to.

Moving to, for example, a power point system would allow similar tweaking. At the extreme case, imagine that a Wizard was switched to a power point system where casting a spell required PP equal to the spell level. Now imagine they only get as many PP to spend per day as their max level spell. So, you can cast 9th level spells? You get 9 PP. 1 Wish or 9 Magic Missiles, take your pick. Pretty weak. But it gives you a pretty fine tuned dial you can play with. Turn the number of points up a bit. Add modifiers due to stat. Now throw in modifications for on the fly meta application. Cap how much you can spend on such mods. So on. You're granting more flexibility but there are ways to cap the power level.

@Lauraliane: You're right that this is a cooperative game, not a competitive one, at least by design and intent. There is, however, plenty of room for there to exist "imbalance" between the two extremes of "everyone brings something to the table" and "some classes bring nothing to the table".

I know many groups (both of mine in fact) run with more than four players but the canonical group, if there is one, is a group of four, which explains references to some classes being "good fifth members". The monk is a typical example of this. The thing is no one wants to be a fifth wheel. They want to be a reasonable option for one of the four primary wheels of that group.

Does a monk bring "nothing" to a group? Does a rogue or a fighter? No. But that's not the point folks are making. The point folks are making boils down to how such classes answer the following question:

- What does the class bring to the table that others do not bring to similar or greater amounts and what, in return do they lack?

In the case of a rogue, as was mentioned elsewhere, they do not bring spellcasting or powerful melee to the table, but they do have the potential to learn a lot of skills. The problem is there is already another class which can bring a lot of skills, more even, to the table. Plus they offer better spellcasting and melee prowess. This includes the ability to open locks and disarm traps. Even the Trapfinding class feature is watered down, being available to a number of archetypes of other classes and being one of the main things given up by a number of rogue archetypes.

Will bringing a rogue limit a group so severely that they will be incapable of completing an adventure? Unlikely. Any class, reasonably well played by a competent individual will be able to contribute in one way or another. And in the end, yes, it is up to the GM to adapt the adventure to the limits and capabilities of the group. Theoretically the GM should be able to adapt Rappan Athuk to a group of experts. Though... heheh... heeee... yeah... well... anyway, technically it is possible.

But folks who want to be able to play a rogue would also like to feel they are bringing a special combination of features which other classes can neither duplicate nor emulate, not entirely. In effect, except in exceedingly small numbers of circumstances a bard is a rogue with benefits. You can play a rogue but in the end you know that aside from flavor, you are not helping the group as much as you would as if you had simply played a bard from the get go.

That at least is what I take 'imbalance' to mean in this context.

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