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.
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.
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! :)
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.
- 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.
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:
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:
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
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.
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. :)
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:
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.
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.
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.
To be fair, it's Rolemaster. When encountered with an angry hissing cat you should at least keep track of your exit strategy.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
That's... I actually like that. :)
Your Tactician idea, scrapping Fighter and Rogue, would provide a new class that would have slightly sub-par skill options to the Bard but with a significant in combat boost. When compared to the Ranger, skill selection might be similar but the Ranger gets spells and an animal companion whereas the Fighter gets the expanded feat selection, armor training and other typical Fighter goodies.
It will, of course, never happen in a million years but I like the idea on the surface. :)
With regard to the manticore (and flyers in general), did you consider shuriken? Would they have been viable even? Or perhaps a better question... do you think you should alter your redesign to allow for improved mechanics at range?
I'm in a CRB-only game with a monk right now. I'm at level 5. That said, we rolled for stats using a very generous method and the GM a) tightly controls magic items and b) has been handing out quite a bit of kit. As a result, my monk is pretty well decked out and able to be pretty effective as is, so I'm not feeling much pain. I'm committing the next few levels to enhancing ranged as we are melee heavy anyway and even though I'm still good in melee, I'm still behind the paladin and barbarian.. literally in some cases. Being able to shuriken-flurry from the second rank will be useful.
So, back to your redesign Dabbler... do you see ranged combat as something you can or should try to tweak?
For what it's worth I ran a Shadowrun game based on the same premise. Or started one anyway. But instead of a literal chess board the two opponents had negotiated that each chess board position would represent a different location somewhere in the world. The "pieces" could be individuals or groups and in fact the player's runners were intended to be one such group. Like "The Usual Suspects" one of the opponents was to have dug up enough dirt to be able to push the group into complying but also offered sufficient carrots as well.
The idea was that it was a nice framework from which you could drop the group into any situation you wanted. If they were asked to simply sit tight and guard something, it was because their "square" was threatened and might be attacked. While waiting you could allow them to participate in side jobs, something the contract allows for. Other times they are expected to go in and do some wetwork to take out another group thereby securing another square.
As in your variant just because you move to another square doesn't guarantee you take that square. But the strength of the piece represented how much additional assistance could be provided. You can imagine the players started off as a pawn. ;)
Anyhow, the main difference between this and what you suggested was not making it obvious what they were participating in. At some point they would get curious and start investigating their long term client. Even better is if you drop clues to whet their appetite. Plenty of opportunity for a long term campaign.
For what it's worth, I used Touch of Idiocy with Spectral Hand against my players recently:
Spectral Hand wrote:
I think the concern the OP and I both have is playing characters with higher intelligence than the player has as that means that for tasks for which a die roll could be used but the GM instead has players solve, you are penalized and for tasks (like simple tactical decisions) which the character should be very skilled at you cannot perform at the appropriate level.
Keep in mind the source of your knowledge; as you point out it is because your GMs have been big on foreshadowing (repeatedly in campaigns you have experienced multiple times) and because you read fantasy and know all the tropes (from the many fantasy books you have read over time).
What are the odds that your character has participated in any sort of world building exercises involving broad story arcs culminating in plot point Z? Or that your world is populated with numerous fantasy stories with which your character is familiar?
For what it's worth, I leave that entirely up as a possibility. While in the worlds I create, only in the largest cities or nations with the highest amount of culture and education would it be likely that stories about fantasy and the like would be widespread enough that someone would be familiar with very many, much less enough to be able to claim "Oh, I think I know how this ends." In the campaigns your GM runs it could be that such stories are widespread and very well known, to the point that your character would be very familiar with them.
I just recently had a conversation with my GM about this. Conversely I GM a game in which he plays. We have somewhat differing attitudes on it.
During the discussion my point was similar to yours. I might be playing a character that is smarter than me. Even if I'm very smart, over time my wizard might gain various bonuses that put him so far outside the normal range of human intellect that it is impossible to measure. A 30 INT is not outside of possibility and I'm sure can't be charted. How am I supposed to represent what that really means?
My GM likes to include puzzles in his games, by which I mean actual word or logic puzzles that the players need to figure out. A puzzle might have a certain amount of XP attached to it. If we can't figure it out unaided, he has a series of hints he can give us, each deducting XP from the final award. It can reach zero if we get too much help.
My concern was that my character should be able to figure it out even if I can't. His point was that the game was there to engage the players.
I think both points are valid and depend entirely on the people involved. In my games I view the various stats as models and the game as something of a simulation. I view the RP aspect as a guide for behavior but use stats to determine success. Made a great speech in front of the group? Roll your Diplomacy check and lets see how it did. Why not let that great speech stand as is and sway the crowd? Because Flimflam the Wizard has an 8 CHA and no ranks in Diplomacy but was the last resort in this situation.
The one thing you can't get around is the strategic and tactical thinking. My theoretical wizard with the 30 INT I would think would be able to figure out the dangers involved with going to war with the dwarves vs going to war with the elves. Or more tactically might be able to figure out the best spell selection for the day or even in a given encounter. No dice rolling can help you there.
So it really goes either way. Talk with your GM, express your concern and make sure you are both on the same page regarding how to handle the INT disparity. In the end, no rule, no houserule, no accepted method of doing things, is so important that it overrides the main point of the game... for everyone to enjoy themselves.
Keep in mind that for the monk, his WIS bonus *is* his armor. Everyone gets their DEX to AC (with caps based on armor worn of course). A monk loses an armor slot but gains his WIS as the replacement AC bonus in lieu of armor. Then at levels 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20 he gets a bonus enhancement, intended to represent the magical bonuses one might expect to be on one's armor at those levels. It's a little slow (I would expect +5 armor before level 20) but not horrible.
I only mention this because I get the impression that many folks roll the DEX bonus in with WIS to show the AC equivalency for the monk when in fact only WIS bonus should be considered.
As your WIS bonus goes up it parallels moving up in armor worn, though with the big caveat that a monk's AC protection from WIS has no max DEX bonus and no ACP or Arcane Casting Failure chance.
At WIS 14-15, you are wearing the equivalent of leather armor.
At WIS 20-21, you are finally and firmly in medium armor territory with equivalent of scale mail
You need WIS 24+ to approach levels of AC equivalent to the heavy armors.
Still, no max DEX bonus (assuming you have a sufficiently high DEX to provide an AC boost) and no ACP are nice to have as well.
Evil Lincoln wrote:
For what it's worth, the Fly skill description describes what happens if you take damage while in flight, namely you drop 10'. It states that doing so does not trigger AoO. Extrapolating to falling in general could suggest that your fall there at the end does not actually trigger an AoO. Just food for thought.
Anyway, thanks for the feedback. We're still fairly low level, so flight hasn't been a factor. Most of our fights have actually been of the somewhat vanilla "stand up in a flat boxed in area with no difficult terrain" variety. We did have a multi level area recently but we held at the door to funnel them into a tight space and I just flurried with shuriken from behind the paladin and barbarian in the front rank.
In any event, I'll keep an eye out for situations where I can jump to gain an advantage. :)
I'm running a monk and just hit 5th level, gaining the High Jump class feature. I've been putting a rank into Acrobatics each level and combined with that fact, my DEX bonus and the bonus from 40' base movement, I get a +20 on Acrobatics checks to jump and can do so from a standstill. Yay me.
What I'm trying to figure out is what this gains me. I had assumed that it was partly to go with the mobile combatant that monk seems directed to be. But, although my gut tells me that combat jumps ought to be useful, I can't see any official justification for this.
I had hoped that I would be able to, for example, jump over an enemy combatant or two and land to provide (and gain) flanking advantages, to alter or disrupt the flow of combat on the battlefield. But it would seem that the combination of the very high DC's for gaining any vertical distance, necessary to clear an enemy sufficiently to avoid jumping through a threatened zone, would make such jumps difficult even with the high monk bonuses.
Aside from contrived scenarios like fighting on 5'x5' platforms on poles or something like that, in just a normal straight up fight, is there ever a reason where jumping in combat would make sense? Moreso than simply moving and using Acrobatics to avoid Attacks of Opportunity? After all, with a jump, wouldn't you not only need to make the jump check but also still need to make AoO Acrobatics checks if you also jumped through the same threatened zones?
In short, is combat jumping justifiable in typical combats?
I'm terrible at GM tactics--decent as a player, blah as a GM. Any tips, Lamontia?
Not sure if this is what you are getting at, but if it is...
.. Tactically I was having problems properly challenging my group. In fact I posted asking for help (didn't get any responses but whatever). In the end it came down to taking the kid gloves off.
This came down to two changes to my mindset. One was CR levels. I had been going by the book, setting up encounters of equal APL for "normal" fights and using APL+1 or +2 for "big" fights. Problem was the APL fights were DBT (Dull, Boring and Tedious) from a mechanical point of view and the APL+1 or 2 fights were only a bit better. I say mechanical because while I could describe the scene amply, when they are slaughtering the mooks wholesale, the description, no matter how vivid, begins to lose some of its impact. So I started bumping the CR up of the critters they faced.
The other aspect was just a matter of playing things up to potential. I custom built some creatures tailor made for my group and the fights were far more engaging, by their own admission. More to the point, again in keeping with taking off the kid gloves, I went after them. I worked on going after the squishies in the back waving their hands and making with the magic. I worked on delaying or somehow impairing the big guys in front to work around them. I used hit and run tactics. I played the creatures to their fullest (or fuller anyway) potential than I had previously.
Why wasn't I doing all of this from the get go? Simple.. I wasn't convinced they could handle it. As it happens though in our group there are three of us that GM and two of us play in each other's game. One session he put us in a dungeon with critters that were routinely APL+2 or higher. It hurt, we were close to dying a lot, but we survived. We found ways around the challenges. And that's when it hit me that as long as I'm not being unreasonable, as long as the challenge is surmountable, it isn't my job to overcome the challenge. It is their job to do that. My job, insofar as challenges are concerned, is just to make sure there is a reasonable method of getting around it.
Anyhow, hopefully that is helpful input. If that wasn't the question you were looking to answer then.. um...
LOOK! OVER THERE!! A MONK OVERHAUL!! FROM PAIZO!! *ducks and runs*
Ah, I see. For some reason I took your suggestion of replacing ki strike with the GMF functionality to mean it also replaced your suggestion for the DR penetration.
With regard to a GMF strike, bear in mind that per the spell description:
So while monks would still get the extra hit, they would actually lose out again against DR for types other than magic.
In my opinion, in a system where skills and abilities are determined by the stats on the sheet and not the capabilities of the player, roleplay should not be used to determine the outcome of anything that is in any way opposed, whether by an NPC or the environment or another player.
In the case 3.5 Loyalist mentions, where the DM was requiring continuous Diplomacy checks just to talk to townspeople, depending on circumstances that may or may not have been reasonable. If the PC (fighter or otherwise) walks into the inn and asks about local gossip that's one thing. If they ask about local gossip in a town where the sheriff is a nasty sort who has the entire populace under the threat of violence, then yes, they may need that Diplomacy roll or risk the townie clamming up.
Does that seem dry or excessive? Too much rollplay and not enough roleplay? Could be. The problem is that I am not my PC. I am potentially not as strong, nor as dexterous. I am also potentially not as intelligent nor as glib. My inability to come up with the right things to say or attitude to take in order to wheedle information out of a skittish informant should not be held against my PC with the 22 Charisma. For that matter, the fact that my DM just broke up with his girlfriend should not make it more difficult for my PC to make friends with the informant.
In a way this is a form of avoiding metagaming. Just as my PC should not be helped nor hindered by my own personal reading of the Bestiary and knowledge of creatures and weaknesses, so too my PC should not be helped nor hindered by my own personal ability scores. At least no more than can be helped. If I happen to be more or less creative or smart about using system rules in general, there's not much that can be done. The playing field can only be leveled so much.
But the skill rules exist for good reason.
The Boz wrote:
I don't think I'll concern myself with "Paizo compatibility" too much at this point.
Yes, but the problem comes in with PFS play as well as groups where there is very limited agreement on large scale houseruling. In those situations being able to point to the CRB or official errata makes a huge difference.
And yes, "if the group you are with doesn't play in a way you like, find a new group". At the same time, if your options are limited for some reason then that is no longer an alternative.
This is why I tend not to pay attention to the "just roll your own" crowd. That works in some instances but isn't widely applicable (including in my own case).
Ninja in the Rye wrote:
I think what is happening here, with players essentially performing open playtests of alternate monk rules, is a good thing and I am assuming that Paizo is actually paying some attention to it. Here's my reasoning.
Paizo has stated they recognize that monks have problems and need updates, beyond even those most recently brought about via errata. They have also indicated they have certain limits they do not wish to go beyond, constraints they at least at one point have hinted at. AoMF cannot be made obsolete. Class changes may be constrained by the depth of changes involved (I think I read that the word count or somesuch was important). There are performance expectations for certain levels. And so on. Some are specific to monks, some aren't.
When the players are putting together rules changes that follow these guidelines, playtesting those changes, and reporting the results, it gives Paizo additional information which they would not have had at the outset. Can and does Paizo do playtesting of their own? Absolutely. But ordinarily they have to do the redesign work in advance and then the open playtest begins. Here their design can be informed by the reported results. Are they likely to take all of this as gospel? Of course not. But if the results match expectations it can give them a starting point.
It also helps them know what players are looking for, how little or how much they are willing to "settle for", what folks think is interesting and so on.
@Dabbler: Keep it coming. I think this is the most useful thing someone can do for any of these monk variants is to actually try them out and discuss how they did, both good and bad.
Question: How is your monk's role evolving? Are you seeing anything you feel you could extrapolate out a few levels on with regard to combat roles (i.e. front liner vs. skirmisher vs. scout)?
And Another Question: Is your group (and are you) willing to allow you to continue to tweak the variant class rules as you go or do you plan to stick with this specific set of rules even if it starts to become apparent that something has gone awry?
@the David: The specific example you provide has more to do with available spell effects. That is to say, is there a spell available that can accomplish X? That seems like a bit of a red herring to focus on. Consider that a wizard could start researching his own spells, developing entirely different spells for spell levels 1 through 9, which display abilities that differ from all current CRB spells. Then they die and bequeath this to one of their acolytes, who was never taught any standard CRB spells, only those their master actually researched. When they go out into the world and start spell casting, per your example, they would seem "different". Yet it is just arcane magic.
There are really only two ways to make psionics and arcane/divine magic distinct from each other. One is fluff, the other is mechanics. My suggestion was more fluff oriented. Provide a reason why psionics is just now introduced and then, through description (e.g. "You see a light much like your Continual Flame spell, but the energies that you sense surrounding it are like nothing you have ever sensed before. They seem to emanate from within the wielder, not anchored to the arcane or to a deity as you sense with yourself and your fellow casters.") as well as through world events (e.g. the increasing hostility and misunderstanding between traditional casters and psionic casters), you impress upon the players just how different it seems.
If, however, you try to make them mechanically different, which I was purposefully avoiding, you run into the problem of how to handle meta-abilities. Should detect magic also detect psionic effects and vice versa? What about dispels? Anti-magic/psionic effects? Spell Resistance? Do you also need Psionic Resistance? What about monsters? Would everything with SR automatically get PR? If not, psionicists would seem incredibly over powered since they could plow through magical defenses trivially.
That is why it is more typical to have psionics and magic affect one another as if they were just two sides of the same coin. That isn't to say it is impossible to split them up, but it does have a lot of ramifications.
And to bring it back around to the idea of having psionicists do "different" things, well... between the cleric and wizard spell lists, there is a LOT that is covered. If you want psionicists to not have spells that overlap with clerics and wizards, there aren't many gaps that would be left for them.
If you are using a Golarion-based world with the panoply of deities available, I would suggest Nethys.
He's insane. He has the knowledge and magic domains. I could easily see him deciding that he would bless some random shlubs with psionic abilities. As Frerezar points out, psionicists manifest their abilities with distinctive flourishes that differ from person to person. Moreover, much like casters can no doubt distinguish between divine and arcane magic, psionics (assuming a psionic/magic equivalency so that dispels and detections interoperate) would also have a different feel. And in most societies different is bad.
Which feeds into one of Nethys' other domains: destruction. Some gods just want to watch the world burn. The possibilities for conflicts between arcane and divine casters vs the new upstart psionicists would be enticing for someone looking for a bit of damage on a planetary level.
Anyway, just my $0.02