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This sounds like a fantastic adventure or even campaign premise...
... the PCs are tasked to protect a powerful wizard from the forces of Hell who appear to be bent on capturing a powerful magic item he has forged. He convinces them to obtain the needed components to complete his ritual which will stave off their attacks. All goes well until the PCs begin to realize just what this ritual is for...
Also, philosophically UMD is intended for those times when you are using "alien" magic i.e. magic that you are not already trained to use. Note that UMD is required for casting a spell from a scroll when the spell is not on any of your spell lists. Moreover, that you can cast a spell that is on one of your spell lists from a scroll without a UMD check.
So the caster level check is not because you are using "alien" magic; that is handled by UMD. The caster level check is because you are attempting magic you do understand but that is over your normal power level.
Except that the things that allow a Fighter to specialize enough to match one of his martial peers at what they do (i.e. be as good an archer as a Ranger using Archery style) requires spending most of the Fighter's resources a la feat selection in order to match that peer. Once you've done that, you don't have much left over on the Fighter chassis for "freedom". Yes, you were free to lock in your choice. Choosing Ranger at the outset just moved that decision one point back, from "Choose Fighter->Choose Fighter feats to become an archer" to "Choose Ranger". Plus, that Ranger *does* have other options that make *them* more flexible (e.g. animal companion, more skills, 1/2 caster).
I feel like the flexibility argument for Fighter is a false choice in that molding a Fighter to compete with another martial still locks you out of options.
That said, I understand your point: if you're going to be a martial and if a Fighter could be as good as any other martial at that martial's fighting style (e.g. 1h vs. 2h vs. S&B vs. Ranged vs. UAS vs...), then why be that martial?
My point would be... don't make it about the fighting style. Put another way, frankly, let the Fighter be capable of being as good as any other martial at their form of fighting. I would do this by improving Weapon Training so that the max bonus applies to all selected weapon groups. For giggles I would also alter the Weapon Mastery capstone to apply to all weapons in selected weapon groups. For a Fighter who sticks with their one weapon it would have literally zero impact, good or bad. For a Fighter wanting to be able to switch tactics on the fly, it puts them on par with their martial peers who don't have to rely on specific weapon selections to gain their bonuses (i.e. rage powers affect the Barbarian regardless of the wielded weapon as do Paladin smite bonuses, etc).
I would also change crafting so that weapon and armor crafting actually become easier for martials and in fact more advantageous for them to perform than for spellcasters. Maybe through feats, maybe through class abilities, but something that would be a sizable improvement over Master Craftsman.
And then I would like to introduce a set of abilities that do begin to give a Fighter more narrative power, whether it's through per-day abilities, through a point pool, or through something like the Item Mastery system, give Fighters something beyond simple hired-gun tactics. Yes, you may feel like I just splashed wuxia into your bowl of Fighter Puffs.
You have a situation where one NPC (i.e. under your control) is the primary guard for another NPC. While as you have pointed out the vampire guard may have reasons to do as instructed, if left alone with the necromancer who knows what sort of convincing argument might be presented? Offers of wealth or power? Helpful research to overcome some of the vampire's known weaknesses? An offer of help against a sworn enemy of the vampire's? There's no reason to assume the necromancer can't cobble together a better offer than the party.
Another point... the players are forcing the necromancer to do research against his will. But the research involves reading a book that the players cannot read, would not understand anyway, and are too busy to try to get caught up to speed on. Unless the group has some way to confirm his findings, he could very well feed them information that would not only lead to his freedom but could lead the party into a trap.
"Based on my findings, the only way to ensure the spawn is sent back to its plane of existence is by covering everyone in your group with lantern oil, naked, under a new moon, in complete darkness, all while screaming loudly "I am naked, covered in oil, and wish to die in a fire". This sacred ritual must be performed during the Sacred Meeting of the FireArrow clan of orcs."
Clearly, your necromancer would be at least a tad less obvious.
For those pushing the "must be willingly committing the act" point, bear in mind that Pathfinder assumes a pretty magical world and based on the encounter being described I'm hard pressed to imagine a scenario where the paladin in question has never encountered harmful magic. Furthermore, unless the paladin is incredibly naive, I would have to believe they are aware there may be enchanted items that have ... less than desirable effects when used.
Putting that together, knowing the impact that magic can have when used or having been affected by it, I would argue that the paladin knowingly put themselves and their station as a paladin at risk by using untested magical items without making sure they wouldn't break their oaths.
Now, that said, if the paladin and the rest of the party made reasonable efforts to investigate and ensure the sword was safe and did not successfully turn up the curse, then at that point the infraction would be less serious.
If people's point buy characters are any indication, the average charisma on Golarion is less than 10.
Maybe that's just adventurers... after all if you just can't seem to socialize properly you may only be able to find your place out wandering in the world with the rest of the
Umbral Reaver wrote:
I would argue that the current implementation already represents this. Your Will save is your ability to resist external influence. You are who you are; external influences including influential speakers and beguiling enchanters represent attempts to make you act against "who you are". Your will save represents how successful you are in remembering "who you are", shaking off the external influence, and acting according to your own desires. Failing a will save represents succumbing to that external factor and acting accordingly.
That's as may be, but from personal experience once those epiphanies start, if they're real, it's hard to stop them from continuing.
Besides, that sounds like *wonderful* role play territory; depending on the conscience of the player characters, they may feel somewhat responsible for the dragon's actions at this point and there may be a need to shepherd her growth.
Ammon Knight of Ragathiel wrote:
okay so the consensus seems to be it's pretty terrible. now how to go about making a gunslinging mage. thinking something like a magic sniper focusing on long distance combat.
That's sort of a different question. For example, a straight Gunslinger can satisfy "a sniper focusing on long distance combat" as in fact could any of a number of archery focused classes/builds.
So the real question is what do you mean by "magic"?
Zen Archer, being a Monk, has a number of magic like abilities. If you can combine that with Qinggong you get even more magic like stuff.
Arcane Archer is a thing. Not a great thing, but a thing.
If you mean casting straight up Wizard spells from long range, aside from advising you to be careful about investing too much in long range capability because you may not always be at that range, then how would that be different from just playing a Wizard (or Sorcerer who is generally considered a somewhat better straight up blaster)?
And if you mean, still, combining the two, your choices become more limited. So... what is a "magic sniper" to you?
Can we flip the argument? Instead of trying to state why martials should have a wider variety of options, could those who disagree with the C/MD Hypothesis state why they think martials should *not* be given more flexibility?
For example, there was a thread that asked people to describe how a group of all four martials could successfully breach the fortress of a high power Wizard but using "extraordinary" versions of standard martial abilities. Things like the Rogue being so sneaky they are eventually under a permanent Mind Blank and able to Disguise as well as Alter Self or something at will, that sort of thing.
Why shouldn't such alterations be adopted as a mainstream part of Pathfinder, giving martials the ability to operate within certain areas of the game on equal footing with casters?
This was at one time a form of entertainment for me. I would write what I called vignettes. Like a written version of a still-life picture though as some of the examples you're saying show there can (and should!) be movement and life in your descriptions (unless you're describing a lifeless world of course). I start by just imagining the scene. You might hear some folks refer to "painting" or "building" the scene in their mind but I've never had that level of control. Instead it's like a fog reveal for me. Like seeing what was already there. Anyway, however you want to describe it just imagine your scene. Imagine your point of view, where you are standing, where you are looking. How do you feel? Is it cold? Is it hot? Muggy? Coming in by boat? Imagine how much smaller and more cramped boats were likely to be in that era. Remember, engineering has allowed us to compact things like drive mechanisms. Instead of having an engine room below decks you have the oarslots and rowing deck, or you have the sails and associated equipment crowding the top deck. You mentioned Absalom. Go wild! Absalom is practically the center of the Golarion setting, largest city in the region. You can find virtually anything of any kind there. People of every race, of every profession, some keeping quiet to go unnoticed (but perhaps have the players run a Perception check; make the DC attainable; if anyone succeeds, give an additional description of some otherwise unnoticed characters; make it in front of the whole group but look pointedly at those who made the check; it could be a good way to introduce an NPC or it could just be window dressing but sometimes the players like that sort of little reward).
Now consider their state of mind. Are they exhausted by the trip? Have any of them been to a large city before? Are they cultured or rubes? If you've not grown up in, say, New York City, and have only visited once or twice like me, then you can remember how overwhelming the island can feel, how huge and packed and energetic it feels. How strange it was to see so much happening, in fact just *starting*, late at night. How nothing ever stopped or slowed down. How small you felt and yet how much potential you could feel at your fingertips. Try to imagine that sizzle, that spark, that excitement.
Now write it. Use the descriptions you came up with in your head. Describe all five (or six depending on your mood) senses. Good luck!
Sorcerer is easy. Think of it like being a mutant in the X-Men universe. You think you're normal. You get a job as an accountant. Then one day after you realize you could be due for a promotion suddenly you begin to glow...
It isn't beyond reason to imagine someone being a late bloomer, realizing the arcane potential of an unknown bloodline later in life than those that start at level 1.
In fact, given that Sorcerer's *do* get that innate capability without the need for all the book learning, I think it is the far more reasonable option for switching to an arcane casting class later in life.
What should *really* be blowing your mind is how Johnny Swingsword, who set out to adventure as a Fighter at age 17 (starting level 1) with only his momma's greatsword and daddy's chainmail, can decide, upon completing his very first adventure and gaining enough life experience to increase his potential (hit level 2) can suddenly pick up a spellbook and understand what it took Alfred Castingmore quite a number of years in Wizard's Academy to learn about arcane spells and how to cast them.
The pearl restores the use of a specific spell that you have once used. Taking the canonical example of a Wizard, in this case preparation specifically refers to the selection of specific spells into specific spell slots. Once cast, that spell is no longer available for casting under normal circumstances. If you prepared (memorized) two copies of a spell, each separately memorized copy stands apart.
The rune restores the use of a specific spell level slot. Taking the canonical example of a Sorcerer, the spells which a given spell level slot may be used for are fixed and not changeable. Once the Sorcerer casts one of their spells known it consumes one use of spells at that level which cannot be restored until sleep that night.
The Arcanist "prepares" by selecting a number of spells for the day which will then be fueled by their spell level slots. When an Arcanist casts a spell, it's not a specific instance of a spell that is consumed but one of that spell level's daily casting slots. There are no specific instances of spells to restore, so nothing for the pearl to affect. But there are spell level slots to restore, which the rune handles.
World War I, aka the Great War, was a horrific experience for anyone in any of the armed forces. It was the first time so much protracted war was fought in so many places and began to see the fruits of mankind's ability to find more efficient methods of killing other humans. Trench warfare has become something of a euphemism for nasty, brutish fighting against an equally entrenched and focused enemy but it was a harsh reality for the fighters of the time.
Telegraph: The jokes that hid the terror of the Great War wrote:
Be dark. Allow humor. Humor in the midst of the darkness is a human reaction. To not allow it is to deny a part of what makes us human and doesn't actually add to the verisimilitude.
Philo Pharynx wrote:
Oh, absolutely, but it still becomes a talking point that increases the likelihood of exclusion. Put another way, generally speaking, when trying to determine what will be allowed in a homebrew game, my experience has been:- The vast majority of CRB content is almost a guaranteed lock with a few notable exceptions like the Leadership feat
- "Major" expansion books (e.g. Ultimate Magic, Occult Adventures) are the next step down and the likelihood drops the more recent the book
- Ancillary expansion material (e.g. Player Companion: Occult Origins) has an even more reduced chance of inclusion
- Material with limited scope tends to see a slight bump in the odds of inclusion, presumably due to needing to consider fewer options
Believe me, I understand that there are ways of managing what material gets included that I think make plenty of sense and I've argued them... I guess the problem is mostly one within the groups I've played in.
I agree with everyone about expanding the options for existing elements; what saddens me the most is that such additional options will a) be in yet a different sourcebook and b) likely be mixed in with other non-kineticist specific material, probably expanding on other classes' options too and therefore needing to be scrutinized more heavily by some home GMs before being allowed at a home table.
What I mean is that unlike in PFS where whatever you buy is a valid option, in home games you have to get GM approval to use source material. If he includes Ultimate Magic but no Ultimate Combat and you really wanted to play a Gunslinger, you're SOL but enjoy your consolation Magus?
I know Mark has lamented the print space restrictions he worked under, and as someone who has had to do layout before I totally get it. It's just a pity is all.
As an aside, is it just me or does the Kineticist seem to sort of stick out from the other classes introduced in OA as not being nearly as "occult" as the others? It could have been printed in UM, APG, possibly even the CRB though I think it's more complex than the core classes were from start.
Using the idea that "making something for someone for free is against their nature" as a reason to allow the bonus saving throws seems to me to greatly weaken Dominate Person as a spell since one could easily expand that to "well, I wouldn't do that for the caster while under the influence of Dominate Person" and now every single command gets the bonus save.
I think @rando1000 has a valid concern here. I think it more reasonable to adjudicate based on the question "would this be against the target's character under the most optimum circumstances for the demand". Yes this tilt's the playing field back in favor of the caster but that's rather the point. Why would I bother to cast a spell that is fairly easy to spot for those who interact with the target, has limited if long-term duration, and which already has a provision for those bonus saves when the bar is so low for obtaining those saves?
If the entire war of wills comes down to "I'm going to do what you said but by god I'm going to make you pay through the nose to get it done by dragging my feet and interpreting your demands in the absolute worst possible way" then frankly I don't want to bother with that spell.
Well... would not the Kineticist (Aether) provide a basis for inclusion of Aether an elemental school?
Granted it's a quasi-elemental substance mixing "elemental energy" (untyped or non-specific elemental substance?) with the Ethereal Plane, but it's something.
How about give a Pull rating which would allow for heavier pull crossbows that require more strength to reload. Much as with Composite Longbows which can allow you to use your STR mod for bonus damage, allow Pull to have the same effect with crossbows.
I would require a Heavy Crossbow and for every point the Pull rating exceeds your STR mod, you require an additional standard action to crank to reload. At Pull equal to STR mod you can reload as a standard action (and now can make use of reload speed up feats). If your STR mod exceeds your Pull you gain no benefit.
You then gain the Pull rating to damage on every attack because it is a mechanic of the heaviness of the cranking and how hard it is to reload. Even a weakling would get it though would have problems reloading quickly.
When two nations collide, more than just pure military power (or in the case of Pathfinder and similar RPGs, military and magical power) determines the outcome.
You're right... if a nation has a land that is inhospitable to invaders, has sufficient military might to slow them down, and has notably superior magical power, then if they act in a coordinated fashion they are very likely to win.
Making matters worse is that the Land of the Linnorm Kings (LotLK) is just a group of smaller kingdoms, each with their own leaders, military units, internal problems, interests, and so on. Their culture focuses on individual accomplishment and not necessarily toward unity except as a matter of pride to belong to the Ulfen people.
So you're putting together an idea for a disparate group of leaders of separate kingdoms who don't see eye to eye and have their own problems to deal with, to come together in order to drive a superior force from lands that were forcibly taken in only a month's time ages ago, a superior force that has just had its supernatural immortal ruler returned (i.e. Reign of Winter has happened in your world).
You'll need to come up with a couple of things. First you will need to find a reason for the Linnorm Kings to work together. The land they will reclaim will be sizeable but who will get it? Why is it valuable? Pride? Consider a confluence of events that make taking Irrisen back, and more particularly taking it back within a specific timeframe, important. Possibly The Great Linnorm will appear in Irrisen and whomever defeats this legendary fey dragon will be proclaimed High Linnorm King. Perhaps an artifact weapon of some kind has turned up and Baba Yaga is either prevented from finding or obtaining it or has no interest in it, but will resist anyone else's claim on it. The point being that the Linnorm Kings have gone this long without trying to unite the Ulfenfolk and take back Irrisen, so what has changed to make them willing to work together to do it now?
Second you will need to find a reason to reduce Irrisen's efficacy. Historically Irrisen has been well enough organized that Baba Yaga has been able to maintain control over a lineage of powerful spellcasters and a huge population of monsters. They've not shown any indication that Irrisen is in any way weakening, events in Reign of Winter notwithstanding. Perhaps The Great Linnorm draws power from nearby magical sources, essentially weakening spellcasting or at least limiting, say, divination and/or teleportation magics cast in the region. Or perhaps the artifact grade weapon has a similar suppressive effect. This would stymie one or two key magic-driven advantages of Irrisen forces, namely intelligence and mobility.
To reduce the potency of the monster based army, you could either have a similar aura as the magic suppression but this instead increases hostility and rage. The skalds of the Ulfen could bend this to enhance the rage of their warriors while the monsters might go over the edge and start fighting amongst themselves. Or perhaps some over-achieving orc leader from the Hold of Belkzen has found passages below the Kodar Mountains directly to Irrisen and is recruiting her monsters away, promising wealth and riches (or fresh meat) for any who join them in fighting the defenders of Lastwall, an area which is less demanding physically than Irrisen and defenders who might be considered easier prey (at least when being pitched by a particularly glib orc diplomat).
Note that thus far I've only mentioned things which would have happened completely outside the efforts of the Linnorm Kings. They would simply be trying to take advantage of an opportunity. Extra points if you drum up a scenario where one or more of the Linnorm Kings have actually acted to cause one or more of these events, especially if it was a slow play and *particularly* if you can weave in the effects of Reign of Winter to reflect that this person or group of people were working behind the scenes for years and it was almost ruined due to RoW and now they are finally getting to bring it to conclusion.
I'm not sure where you plan to take this, to have Irrisen fall and the LotLK grow back to its original size or to have Irrisen hold off the invasion, or somewhere in between. Also consider what other groups in the region might due in all of this. Would there be interest from Belkzen if humans were invading a stronghold of monsters and winning? Would the Mammoth Kings be concerned that Ulfen warriors are now essentially just next door and have assumed control over a large portion of land? How will the Linnorm Kings hold their new (old) winnings? Will they consider inviting settlers from other regions? Other races? Might they strike peace with a group or species who is typically considered "evil" but is willing to stick to the laws of the Linnorm Kings in exchange for ruthlessly driving out the other monsters?
Just food for thought. Good luck. It sounds interesting and I hope your group enjoys exploring the possibilities. :)
I don't think "unfair" is the right term. Unfair suggests an inequality or inconsistency in application of the rules. You are stating not only your logic for having applied your ruling but also the philosophy that is underlying your logic. The only way it would be unfair would be if you didn't apply the same methodology to your other rulings.
What I think you're wondering is whether your ruling was reasonable or, if you're looking for a stronger endorsement, correct.
Reasonable? There is enough ambiguity that were I playing at your table I wouldn't be upset about it. I disagree with your interpretation but that's moot.
Correct? I can't say that I think you are correct. I think that given the history of Pathfinder, how it stems from 3.5, how often inconsistencies have been found in the CRB due to text not being consistently handled when brought in from 3.5, and the fact that the team took the time to modify the spell but did not remove the "like" language from the bead, all leads me to believe that the bead is truly intended to function like the spell and that the language difference is unintended. Morever I personally place far more importance on that "like" statement. If something is supposed to function "like" something else, except as noted it should function just like that something else. Neither the bead nor the spell have text that says that teleports or summons are necessarily restricted. Force effects do not extend to the astral. The rules do not, in my opinion, support your stance.
@Douglas: I love your additions here but I did want to point out regarding your second point that you can't really bury the magic jar anywhere because the initial jump from the jar to your first target will require line of effect, even though the initial casting does not:
Magic Jar,PRD wrote:
So any hop between creatures is probably fine within the range of the spell. Any hop back to your body is also presumably okay as those portions of the spell do not indicate requiring line of sight/effect. Any hop back to the jar is also presumably okay.
But any hop from the jar to a target will require line of effect from the jar to the target.
One idea might be to have a circular room (fighting arena) that is no bigger than the max range of the spell. On the ceiling, in the center of the room, have a simple set of crystal lights (quartz crystals with 'Continual Flame' or somesuch) embedded there along with a handful of other otherwise non-descript items. Have the jar, in the form of yet another crystal, also embedded here. Let it pierc through the stone ceiling into an upper room where the BBEG body is located. The jar is now within line of effect of anyone in the room, the BBEG body is hidden and safe. He could have a minion with a Hat of Disguise set up to look like him. Possibly several. Maybe they are Blinking Hats of Disguise (totally made up) which are set up to send the disguise randomly to one minion each round. He can hop around to his heart's content and the party won't really know which is which.
To keep it from being a complete cluster-kitten you can either motivate the BBEG to come down and take care of matters himself i.e. the PCs represent a credible threat to his plans of left unchecked after beating his minions. Or perhaps he just escapes to get them another day. Dunno.
When I talk about wanting a caster cleric, I'm talking about trading away a lot more than any of the above. I'm talking about a cleric who loses all spellcasting abilities for a week if they knowingly touch any weapon. They have stricter AC boosting restrictions than the ecclesitheurge, because they can't use any AC boosting items other than one that comes for free with the class. And then they need to have the ability to always have something to do, since they can't use weapons at all. I would probably boost their spells per level very slightly. They would get three full domains (not 1 and 2/2 like the ecclesitheurge). Also, they would either get a unique cantrip that did damage (and damage that scales up by level so it's always relevant even at high level) or else get a damaging domain power with unlimited uses per day, so they could always 'attack.'
The always available scaling damage cantrip you're talking about is similar to Kineticist base blasts or the Warlock Vigilante's Mystic Bolt. Granted those classes make such a feature a center piece to one degree or another allowing shaping and riders to be attached, but the idea is similar.
The problem is, such a feature *is* typically used as a foundation because it *is* always available and scales with level, never becoming "useless" as such. In the case of what you're describing, such a cleric would either not be able to contribute much to offense (barring archetype variations that expand this feature) or the base class would need it to be fleshed out at which point you'd now have a full caster with an always available damage ability that scales with level.
Milo v3 wrote:
Agreed. With a 15 point buy, your Wizard is still going to pump INT; they may just skip DEX or any of the other attributes in order to keep INT high. And they will probably do just fine.
Your Fighter on the other hand is going to have to decide how much STR to give up to keep his CON competitive. Your Monk is going to choose a different class.
Low point buys don't tend to help with the imbalance because the true monsters in terms of unbalanced high power are SAD full casters.
I always get confused on threads like this. The original premise had to do with whether Pathfinder is unbalanced with regard to classes, an implicit question about the tier system in general the C/MD specifically. It seemed to get pretty solidly derailed into a question about whether GM's spoil player agency and the game overall when they fudge rolls. Now it's shifted closer to the original premise but is dealing with specific mechanics that technically apply to all characters and is now a comparison to power levels in prior editions.
It's confusing because everyone seems to have been more or less okay with the topic shifts.
That said, I have gained a better appreciate for the "don't fudge rolls; be an open GM" camp. I have a confession; I'm a roll-fudger and to make matters worse I'm not inclined to even let the players know. I have tried to gauge player reaction and adjust encounters on the fly without telling them. I wanted to increase the tension and make the "story" more "interesting". I now realize I was making it more interesting for me, not necessarily for them. To be fair, I recall they enjoyed finally defeating encounters that ended up being ramped up on the fly, but I suspect they would have enjoyed simply steam rolling it just as much and it would have been clear they achieved it on their own, likely making it all the sweeter. Assuming I ever GM a game again, I'll be taking that into account. Thanks for that.
Trying to swing things back to the original premise:
I'll reiterate, Pathfinder is not balanced, specifically the classes in Pathfinder are not balanced against one another. It never was balanced. It is an iteration of an already unbalanced game, D&D 3.5, and was purposefully crafted with a degree of backwards compatibility.
Moreover, the imbalance is extreme and covers all of the meaningful aspects of the game. Given that the game is a RPG with crunch, it attempts to gate all meaningful interactions with the world behind success/fail checks. Access to magic provides an effective means of rendering many success/fail checks moot. There is a direct correlation (causative in my opinion) between a class's access to magic and their relative power level.
Finally, I believe this imbalance should not be the default level of power balance. I believe that any player approaching the game with little to no prior knowledge of what to expect, would expect that whichever route they went, their choices would all provide similarly potent options, enabling them to handle any encounters they would meet with, on average, similar likelihood of success and with similar capability to contribute as anyone else. I believe that the grittier, more grounded approach, with Fighters/Rogues/Monks having much lower ceilings, is something that should have been an alternate rule or path, with clear forewarning that doing this will cause the sort of inequity found in the current game.
I have observed it, including within myself. I've played characters that under other circumstances would be perfectly acceptable and which matched my "vision" of that character pretty much spot on... until I realized I had had a "vision" of, for example Daredevil, while everyone else was having a "vision" of Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, and Doctor Strange. Meaning I was feeling badly outclassed and very much like a fifth wheel.
I felt bummed because I didn't feel like I was contributing meaningfully. Even when I did something "cool" and that seemed to be of some significance in combat, maybe getting a lucky set of iterative attack rolls with subsequently lucky high damage rolls, putting the BBEG within a few hit points of death, the next guy would come along and dish out a large amount of damage and end the fight. Was I setting them up for that? Sure, but given how much damage they put out my contribution was probably not needed anyway.
As Jiggy inferred, I don't think anyone made the claim you're saying was made, that "every class should have the same strengths and weaknesses". In fact, what I have seen argued is that classes need variation but need to be able to contribute equally, a somewhat different affair.
Naturally the point of Pathfinder, being a game, is for everyone to be able to have fun and get something out of the experience. Paizo's responsibility in all of this would be to give out a set of tools which, in the default use case, will provide a reasonable group of players (lumping the GM in as a player here) a good chance at everyone having an equally good time.
The problem is that unlike most other games the players all have different abilities to affect the outcome. In poker everyone is equally affected by random selection of cards. In many board games all players begin with equivalent starting states and adhere to the same rules. Few games match a TTRPG for the ability of each player to begin with relatively distinct starting points. That doesn't, however, change the purpose of the game itself, for everyone to have fun.
I would argue, then, that a reasonable person approaching a TTRPG like Pathfinder, upon hearing that the premise is you get to create a character who will be the hero (or villain) you wish them to be and will adventure alongside other players doing the same, would expect that no matter what path I take, whether Fighter or Wizard, Rogue or Cleric, I will have a roughly equivalent chance to be "heroic" and save the day.
And here's the critical part of that argument: that the expectation of equal ability to affect outcome should hold generally across "most" tables and assuming either the "default" rules or the most "common" or most "likely" rules. I would include PFS in this case.
And that is where the failure to deliver lies. At your particular table, your GM may be taking a proactive approach to this by making sure to custom tailor the adventure to the PCs. But that means the players (again, lumping in the GM here) are having to bring in gaming meta-knowledge about Pathfinder to plan out how to run the adventure. An entire group of first time players with a first time GM are almost absolutely going to run into problems because the GM is likely going to pull in encounters which some of the players simply cannot contribute meaningfully to defeating. And this pattern will hold, growing worse over time in fact, if the GM attempts to spread encounter makeup evenly across the available encounters.
"But no GM should do that," you claim. "The GM is given Rule 0 to prevent this in the first place."
No. Or rather, yes, but. Rule 0 does exist but it's supposed to allow you to be able to either tailor things to your group's liking (e.g. we don't like to track ammunition so we handwave that) or to make on the spot rulings for ambiguous corner cases (e.g. any FAQ candidate before being answered by Paizo) or to make larger scale changes but then only based on experienced observation (e.g. we're moving to Kirthcraft rules everyone).
What Rule 0 should not *have to* be used for is to make up for deficiencies in delivering what a reasonable and otherwise unsuspecting potential Pathfinder player/GM would tend to expect in a game with as much documentation as this game has.
Put another way, just because you want to play Gandalf and I want to play Rache of the Renshai warriors, doesn't mean that my ability as a *player* to contribute meaningfully to the group's success should end at the point of my sword while you are able to deal with every threat in one way or another.
"But Rule 0 would allow you to do that, there's no need to change the rules. Why stick your anime/wuxia crap into my LotR saga?" you ask.
I, and others, contend that the *default* ought to be "distinct but still equally capable of contributing" and that the low-magic/low-impact world that Fighters and Rogues (and to a lesser extent CoreMonks and others) are currently relegated to by default should have been the optional path or something that Rule 0 would enable. The only leverage that argument has is that Paizo *did* choose to make the low-magic/low-impact aspects of Fighters/Rogues/CMonks and other bads the default.
More particularly, the vast majority of beings capable of adventuring don't go on to be successful adventurers, having defeated a runelord or settling an entire nation's difficulties. It's those kinds of accomplishments that allow for the meteoric rise in power that most PC's enjoy. Those who pursue things at a more leisurely pace presumably progress much more slowly and carefully.
Good point. Maybe the default for martials (and really any class other than Fighter) should be that their special abilities only work with their declared preferred weapon (not group). Fighters get all of their standard bonuses for favored weapon and such to all weapons (not just groups). Period. They can literally pick up any weapon and be a match for anyone in another class who has spent all their time working with a single weapon.
Not that that changes a ton but at least it makes the crunch match the fluff (master of weapons).
At the moment it seems like your Prime Minion (The Dark Archon), named because it seems to be the most obvious choice for the Big Bad Evil Guy's (BBEG) main henchman, is primarily focused on using direct action, specifically brute force and fear, to achieve its aims. There is some mystery in that the party doesn't yet know the full details (nor do we and nor, possibly, do you if you are winging all of this) of who the BBEG is or who in fact the Prime Minion is, but that's not going to last.
But brute force and intimidation are not the way to exploit Power Hungry. That said, you have two paths you can take and they are not mutually exclusive, so you can do both. One path focuses on mechanics while the other focuses on roleplay.
As @M1k31 and @Kahel pointed out, the core mechanic of Power Hungry is a -2 to Will saves against charm and compulsion effects where the enemy promises wealth or power. At present you have the following noteworthy sources of power or wealth at play in the campaign. Note this is just based on what you wrote; if you have more you can lean on them too:
The other approach is dependent on how much roleplay your group gets into. As a LG character, the character might balk at feeling tempted by purely selfish offers of power or wealth. Instead, you would need to align the offer with the most treasured desires of the character. Some examples follow; keep in mind all of this would be in the context of a charm or compulsion effect targeting the Will save. If Calundan has, for example, sworn to protect some orphanage, perhaps there is some ritual that can be offered to provide protection, health, and/or general providence. Perhaps the BBEG promises to relinquish his hold over the Dark Archon, releasing it from whatever control is in place, and allowing it eternal rest, in exchange for Calundan's personal sacrifice e.g. laying down arms or giving up.
Bear in mind the overall goal is to have fun, so try to avoid strong arm tactics if you can. Still, some players pick up a weakness with the hope that it won't be exposed or that they can shore it up. The expectation only gets worse as time goes by and it goes unnoticed. If you target this flaw for this character, make sure you are fair about doing so for any other characters and to an equal measure. Ideally you do so in a common point in the campaign, targeting each party member's weaknesses. Thematically this matches narrative efforts in print and film where a team or group faces a collective moment of weakness. Heroes overcome. Flawed heroes muddle through. Everyone is transformed. Hopefully the players enjoy what they discover about their characters in the process.
I remember reading something about an entire civilization based on keeping the Tarrasque incapacitated. This included continual mutilation of the regenerating corpse, which doubled as a food source for the civilization.
The Tarrasque being a herald of a god of chaos, evil, destruction, and the like, I can't imagine it being a good source of nutrition. On the contrary, I can imagine such a civilization starting with the best of intentions but ending up something out of a Lovecraft nightmare. The unknowing army of Rovagug.
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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... ?
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".
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.
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:
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.
If I were to rewrite the bit you quoted, it would go:
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.