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Wizard

Reynard_the_fox's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 857 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 3 Pathfinder Society characters.


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Taldor

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1. Great for getting out of a pinch, or getting through a crowded area without taking attacks of opportunity. Excellent for use with Flyby Attack.

2. Fighting just inside the boundary gives you an advantage.

3. Great with Blind Fight or Fog Cutting Lenses.

Taldor

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Haven't read the whole thread, but using ctrl+f no one seems to have mentioned one of my favorite traits for Halflings:

Helpful

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/traits/race-traits/helpful wrote:

You see nothing wrong with letting others achieve greatness so long as the job gets done.

Benefit: Whenever you successfully perform an aid another action, you grant your ally a +4 bonus instead of the normal +2.

With this, as long as you can hit a 10, you can dole out +4s to your allies! As a bard, you can even do it from 15 ft away with a whip.

If you get the Gloves of Arcane Striking, your Aid Another bonus even scales with your Arcane Strike bonus.

And if you don't have anything else to do with your feats, you can get Combat Reflexes and Bodyguard to give +4 (or more) AC to those adjacent to you.

Now go and be a team player!

Taldor

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Yeah, if you look on the animal companion list, they have little superscript numbers that indicate which ACs are available to various classes.

For an Archer ranger, you probably want a nice sturdy companion that can keep enemies off your back in combat. The Wolf trip is typically nice, but since prone foes are actually harder to hit with ranged attacks, I'd probably stay away from it in this case.

If you're OK with a large companion, I would go Camel - they have a huge Con, a no-save sickening touch attack, and being able to move and full attack at range is pretty darn sweet.

If it's indoors and large companions won't fit, Badger could actually be a nice fit. The starting strength isn't super great but he can Rage as a Barbarian and has burrow, climb, and scent, plus a nice high Con so he won't go down quick.

Taldor

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Summoner has always struck me as one of the most open-ended classes in Pathfinder - it essentially gives you a blank canvas when it comes to making your eidolon.

We've all seen plenty of variations on the pouncing animal, the dragon wannabe, and the hulking bodyguard. What eidolons have you seen or imagined that don't look like anything you might find in the bestiary?

Bonus points if the summoner's flavor meshes well, and if the pair manage to be both interesting and effective.

Taldor

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Code of Conduct wrote:

Paladins of freedom do not follow a strict code, other than to say that they always seek to uphold the tenets of liberty and goodness wherever they travel. They resist tyranny and oppression, lead others in fighting unjust rulership, and ignore laws which limit the free and fair choices of intelligent beings. A paladin of freedom adheres to the philosophy of "That which is knowingly consented to by all involved, is just." Most leaders, good or otherwise, consider paladins of freedom anarchists to be sought out and either kept away from others by way of imprisonment, or in more evil societies, simply destroyed as soon as they are discovered. In most organized societies paladins of freedom must operate quietly as to not arouse the attention of the most powerful around them.

A paladin of freedom who fails to uphold these tenets, or who causes, by actions or inaction, sentient creatures to lose their liberty or freedom, or who willfully commits evil acts, loses access to all supernatural and spell-like class features, as well as the spell casting ability. Further, she may not gain further levels as a paladin (of freedom, or otherwise). She regains her abilities and advancement potential if she properly atones for her violations as determined by the GM.

(emphasis mine)

Coming in charging the wyvern to drop it to unconscious is one thing - if you believe wyverns are duplicitous and waiting for a chance to attack, rendering it helpless is a perfectly legitimate route of action. But Coup De Grace after his friends stabilized him? There are ONLY two reasons I could think of that would justify that:

  • He knew beyond a reasonable doubt the wyvern was irredeemably evil.
  • He had a strong reason to believe they were about to be ambushed and the wyvern could be freed to do evil, and there was no time to talk to it.

Otherwise, that counts pretty clearly as "denying a sentient creature of liberty." His friends clearly thought it could be taught and reasoned with, but before even hearing their arguments he killed the wyvern in a blood rage. That's an act befitting a Barbarian, NOT a Paladin.

Again, the key thing to look at here is not that he attacked while his friends were negotiating, but that he killed a helpless creature that possibly could have been reasoned with. Without an extremely compelling reason otherwise, I would say he falls; "It attacked us" is NOT good enough in this scenario.

Taldor

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I think this guy would do better as an assistant to the BBEG than as the BBEG himself. The issue is action economy - sure, the boss can use up all his actions to shut down 1 or even 2 of the party's casters, but then the rest of the party will just kill off his minions and then kill him. You're better off making Mr. Dispel the second-in-command, and let him lock down the casters (even if not quite as effectively as the BBEG would - but that's fine, you don't want them to totally suck). This forces the melee types to choose between killing the boss without magic support, or targeting the anticaster and thus maybe letting the BBEG run up to and murder the casters.

Note that the above is also a common thematic scenario: kings almost always have wizards around to protect them from magic/scry on their enemies, and sorcerous cultists have a habit of summoning demons more powerful than themselves. Variants on those two scenarios are limitless.

Also, be very careful with this type of thing - if you've ever played Magic, you should know why blue counterspell decks are reviled by most casual players. Wizards did a study - apparently, it's more fun to play a creature and have it blown up than have the casting countered in the first place, even if the end outcome is the same.

Taldor

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Blasters can certainly be competent damage dealers - when it comes to dealing with large amounts of mooks, there's no one that can beat them. (As long as you don't run out of spells!) But here's the main issue, I think: for most martials, dealing damage is what they do. If you're a barbarian, chances are you want to run up and smash things for massive damage. With a blaster caster, they'll go down in half the time, but still be at full damage-dealing capacity for that time; with a battlefield control caster, they'll be partially disabled or singled out while you wallop them. Both are legitimate ways of dealing with enemies; however, if I'm playing a fighter, I like to fight! I'd just as soon not have the combat be over in 2 rounds, AND have to focus more on defense since the enemies are dealing relatively more damage.

Another thing to consider is that it's a caster's responsibility to make sure your teammates can successfully deal damage to tricky enemies. If they're invisible, you need to cast Glitterdust or Invisibility Purge; until you do, your teammates are effectively helpless. If they're flying, and your archer can't take care of it, it's up to you to Dispel their flight magic or Air Walk your teammates. True, you could simply blast the enemy... but then your team is just sitting around twiddling their thumbs, and if you go down before the foe is dead they could be in serious trouble.

TL,DR: Blasting is fine, but there are many things only casters can do. Don't neglect those responsibilities in order to blast!

PS: Remember also that bosses usually come with high saves and sometimes spell resistance to boot. Make sure you keep Enervate or something similar in your back pocket, or cast some good buffs so the martials can take care of it. These will be far more helpful than ineffectually pew-pewing at the boss while it slaughters your frontliners.

Taldor

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Oh yeah, if you're using Permanency it's dandy. Protip, though, don't do it if it would bring your Str down to 6 or less - we had a halfling shuriken-based ninja that I permanently shrunk in a high-level game, and he got one-shot KOd by Waves of Exhaustion. And then since he was invisible and tiny we couldn't find him until after the combat ended. : /

I would also highly recommend a permanent See Invisibility. It doesn't come up often, but when an invisible foe pops up you really don't want to have to waste a turn casting it. Your party needs that Glitterdust NOW!

Taldor

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Items:

Ebony Fly Figurine of Wondrous Power - 10,000GP
Wings of Flying - 54K
Lesser Wings of Flying - 22K
Broom of Flying - 17K
Broom of Flying (Racing) - 30K
Carpet of Flying - 20K, 35K, or 60K
Winged Boots - 16K
Cauldron of Flying - 40K
Flying Ointment - 2,250 GP (one-time use)
Winged Shield - 17,257 GP
Floating Feather Feather Token - 450 GP (one-time use)
Cloak of the Bat - 26K
Celestial Plate Armor - 25K
Phoenix Armor - 36K
Wings of the Gargoyle - 72K

Taldor

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The Pale King wrote:
If I was to go Battle/Metal Oracle what weapon would you guys recommend focusing on?

First off, you definitely want to wield your weapon two-handed - sword and board gives up a lot of offense for a little defense. Greatswords are the best early on, but as your static bonuses start to eclipse the damage from your dice, you'd be best off with an 18-20 crit weapon, of which the Falchion has the best damage dice. Improved Critical or the Keen enchantment then gives you a 15-20 weapon - you'll get a critical threat on almost a third of your attacks!

That being said, there are plenty of other interesting weapons out there, particularly if you go Half-Elf to pick up a free exotic weapon proficiency.

-Reach weapons like the Lucerne Hammer or Bardiche are excellent for controlling the battlefield, particularly with Enlarge Person from the Battle mystery. (And combined with Combat Reflexes.)

-If you're considering adding tripping to your repertoire (likely via the battle revelation), you may want a Guisarme or Halberd - being able to trip people with an AoO before they get to you is very, very nice. You don't need a weapon with the Trip property to trip things, but occasionally dropping your weapon by accident is not a good thing.

-There are also some just plain awesome weapons like the Ripsaw Glaive. You really can't beat chopping zombies in half with what amounts to a chainsaw on a stick.

Remember, in the end being happy with your character is the most important thing - if running into combat with a Gnomish Battle Ladder is more fun to you than critting things left and right with a falchion, then go for it!

Taldor

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Unless you're specifically making a save-or-lose character (which I would go Witch for), I would go for a high average ability mod - spread the love out. I would do either:

STR 10
DEX 14
CON 14
INT 19
WIS 12
CHA 10

or

STR 8
DEX 16
CON 14
INT 18
WIS 12
CHA 10

Taldor

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I think the Invulnerable Rager is perfect. In fact, here's what I would do: grab a reach weapon and Combat Reflexes. The sword & board fighter will probably take Shield Slam, so you should convince him to take Greater Bull Rush. Then whenever he slams someone, you get a free attack of opportunity!

In fact... if you convince the Sorcerer to buff you with Enlarge Person (maybe buy him a wand of it), and then grab the Toppling Spell metamagic, things could get almost comedically awesome. Just wear some armor spikes or something and you can get free attacks on anyone within 20 feet of you that stands up. (Any poor guy that gets knocked down in front of the Rogue or Fighter will probably take two attacks of opportunity at +4 each. Ouch.)

The fighter goes a long way to help out your front line, but he can really only affect the enemies right next to him. I think having a Barbarian that can take center stage and make a giant Ring of Pain for any mooks that try to approach the casters would help a lot more than having another ranged DPR character. Plus, with your sky-high Strength mod and 2-handed power attacking, you can expect to easily put out 1.5x the damage of the fighter, and be much better at making non-full round attacks.

PS: Later, you can grab Come and Get Me, which incidentally goes great with Invulnerable Rager.
PPS: Hella ninja'd. Oh, and I wouldn't do vivisectionist - your Rogue might get jealous. :p

Taldor

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See, and that's where Superior Summoning is really good. There's nothing like a herd of Lantern Archons pinging them and curing you guys to annoy the bejeezus out of an opponent. Hell, summon enough and you can get them to Voltron it up. If your DM ever loosens up on source material, you may want to look at the Sacred Summons feat.

BTW, make sure you grab a weapon cord, so you can drop your sword to cast and pick it up as a swift action.

Taldor

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Ah, that does limit your options. In that case, I would just go with a nice generalist array:

STR 14
DEX 12
CON 12
INT 12
WIS 17
CHA 12

Feats:
1 Spell Focus: Conjuration (or Improved Initiative)
1 Scribe Scroll
3 Augment Summoning (or Combat Casting)
5 Craft Wondrous Item
7 Superior Summoning (or Craft Magic Arms & Armor)
9 Improved Initiative (or a Metamagic)
11 Persistent Spell

Take medium armor, pick up a shield & scimitar. At low levels you'll have enough AC and HP to be a front-liner - you can whack low-AC mooks and Aid Another/flank with your pals on tougher things. You'll also have enough strength to make touch attacks pretty well without the need for Weapon Finesse. As a human with 12 int, you'll be able to keep 3 or 4 skills maxed and afford ranks in a few others; your Cha and skills make you a passable diplomat if you so choose. I wouldn't bother with Power Attack - leave the damage-dealing to the muscleheads, and focus on hitting enemies and supporting allies.

As you level up, you can step towards the back and focus on casting and summoning. By high levels, your high-powered, multiple-creature summons will fill up the battlefield, and your Persistent debuffs will take out tough enemies. You will be the backbone of the party - whether they need more muscle, protection/restoration from nasty enemy abilities, a utility spell to achieve a key objective, or the elimination of a key target via magic, you'll be able to help. That's the beauty of the Cleric - they are one of the best generalists in the game, and a godsend (literally) for a small party.

Taldor

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If you pick up Augment Summoning, it's worth it to get Superior Summoning. It sucks bigtime to try to summon multiple things off of a lower list... and get 1. With Superior Summoning, you can get up to 4 in one go! And let me tell you, my wizard's favorite combination of spells at high levels was SMVIII for multiple Tyrannosaurs, Animal Growth one, and quickened Haste. Good times.

Taldor

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If you're going Dervish Dance, you really, really don't need Strength - especially since your dex will probably be high enough to warrant light armor. (You can give your bedroll and whatnot to the strong guys to carry, too.) I would use this stat array:

STR 8
DEX 16
CON 12
INT 10
WIS 18 (with racial bonus)
CHA 10

If you think you're going to be attacking more often than you'll be casting spells with saves, you can put the racial bonus into Dex instead; depends on your party.

Remember that with the domain spells, you DON'T get to spam them - if they're not on your list, you get at most the one domain slot; you can't prepare them in regular slots.

As for feats - well, you'll need Weapon Finesse and Dervish Dance. Some other favorites:

  • Improved Initiative - very nice for getting stuff like Communal Resist Energy off before the party splits up
  • Scribe Scroll - very nice for a Cleric; you can prepare scrolls of stuff like Delay Poison, and keep your spell slots for offense.
  • Skill Focus: Conjuration, Augment Summoning, Superior Summoning - excellent if your front line needs help. Beware, though, summoning involves a lot of paperwork and arithmetic.
  • Toughness - extra HP are always good.
  • Craft Wondrous Items/Craft Magic Arms & Armor - your party will love you forever.

I wouldn't worry about Selective Channel or Combat Casting - the former has a stiff Cha requirement (and you shouldn't really be channeling in combat anyway), and for any case in which you'd use the latter, you'll probably want to be attacking instead.

Traits - Reactionary for +2 initiative is always good. You can use the other to shore up a poor save if you want.

Taldor

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Hey all! If you were going to be playing a character solely at level 1 - that is, just playing him at level 1 for 1 or 2 sessions - what would you play? What are some fun builds that are effective right at level 1?

15 point buy, no stats below a 9 before racial bonuses, average starting GP according to class.

My first thought is a Don Quixote-style Cavalier...

Taldor

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It might help if you told us more about the background/personality of your character. Still, in a vacuum, here are some ideas in keeping with Dave Justus' limitations.

1. The Hula Hole-Maker - a hula hoop, rimmed with spikes. As you hula, it loads a spike in one motion from a quiver on your belt, picks up speed as it swings around you, and lets go to hit an enemy. This also means that your firing routine is literally hip thrusting.

2. The Organ Grinder - a music box with attached crank. Each full rotation brings back and then releases an internal mechanism, loading and firing your choice of projectile. (Perhaps vinyl records, or little jingle bells.)

Of course, simply reskinning it as a crossbow, slingshot, sling, shotgun, etc. is possible as well, but as long as you're in a fantasy setting you might as well have a totally ridiculous weapon.

Taldor

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Shifty wrote:

You can be a decent party face rogue and reasonable skill monkey off a 14 Cha.

Then build to taste. Knifemastsr is quite good, but I'm a fan of the hard hitting STR Rogue with a two hander. Face skills and facebreaking skills.

I'll second this. Focus your stats and feats on combat - skill ranks, class skill bonuses, and items are plenty for social skills. Also consider that in a 6-man group - particularly with two other high-Cha classes - you're best off focusing on one or two skills. Unless you're a caster trying to boost your casting stat into the stratosphere, skill ranks are usually the deciding factor at higher levels.

If one of those is Intimidate, you'd be a fool not to take the Thug archetype - it's one of the very, very few ways to make the Intimidate skill actually worthwhile in combat. A thug build with high-Str, Power Attack, and Cornugon Smash would be pretty effective in AND out of combat.

Also, having played a Rogue as my first character, I think high-Str is the way to go. You don't need Dex as much as you think. Str builds get much higher damage with much less effort, and are almost as good at stealth and whatnot.

Suggested point buy:
Str 18 (+2 racial bonus from whatever race)
Dex 14
Con 12
Int 10
Wis 10
Cha 13, boost at 4th if you want

PS: If you don't need trapfinding and don't want an archetype like Thug that replaces it, I'd go ninja instead of rogue. Invisibility is just too, too good for a sneak-attack based class.

EDIT: As for interesting builds, I've always wanted to try building around Butterfly Sting. Just remember that no matter how big your crit range, you need to actually confirm it, and that the other guy needs to hit the same enemy again immediately. Still... feeding crits to a Barbarian with a x4 weapon is definitely devastating. Alternately, perhaps a Dazzling Display build?

Taldor

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MagusJanus wrote:

BBEG's the players hated?

The BBEG turned out to be faking it and isn't actually evil. The BBEG was hired by a PC's mother to fake villany so the PC would get off their duff and do something with their life. Every bit of evil the PCs have countered that were supposedly part of his plan were just evil items the BBEG found out were going to happen and took credit for. There was no actual evil plan.

Hah! That's hilarious. How did the final reveal go?

Although, I could totally envision a final showdown of the PCs against the mother (read in the voice of Archer): "Mother, why did you turn yourself into a demon?" "Because you always... wanted to be... a hero..." *dies* "Motherrrrrr!"

Taldor

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Lyra Amary wrote:
I always found that sundering was pointless.

No, no, you've got it backwards - it's the WEAPONS that become pointless.

/rimshot

EDIT: When it comes to rust monsters, I think the threat of a rust monster is what's important. Ideally, they should panic a bit and have to reassess their strategy - not actually have their gear destroyed. A barbarian that would charge headlong into a den of devils would hesitate if the path was guarded by rust monsters... which means the party can either find a long-range way to deal with the monsters, or take [insert alternate perilous path of DM's choice].

Of course, the PCs may be able to turn that to their advantage. Bandits giving you trouble? Minor Image a few rust monsters heading their way...

Taldor

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Well, it's pretty much like throwing a Rust Monster at the party - something you do every once in a while just to keep them on their toes. Nothing will send a party into berserker mode like "those guys are trying to BREAK OUR STUFF!"

Use it sparingly, of course. A good time is when the party would be scared for another reason BESIDES "I'm going to have to spend GP to repair this/buy a new one." Case in point: Everybody just bought fancy new silver weapons to use against the vampire lord? Yeah, guess who taught his undead minions how to sunder.

Taldor

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Kazumetsa Raijin wrote:
Personally, I'd recommend a (insert weird race) Qinggong Monk.

Ah, but here's the thing about the Qinggong: you need a decent degree of system mastery/play experience in order to tell which abilities are worth keeping, which SLAs are worth spending Ki on, etc.

Marthkus wrote:

1) Barbar's limited rounds of rage kind of sucks.

2) No heavy armor is another downside. (even with a feat you give up fast movement).

3) Superstition is a double edge sword and can get you killed if you aren't careful.

4) With how con rage works it behooves you to invest in diehard.

Ofcourse the trade-off is ridiculous with non core sources, but those are by no means a beginner builds that's more of "The opt boards wrote my character for me".

I wouldn't worry too much about 1 and 2. After the first few levels, you should have more than enough rounds of Rage per day... and of course, if you have a really long adventuring day, you can just keep your rage stored up for tough situations. Barbarians have enough hit points that they generally don't need heavy armor. And you don't have to pick Superstition as a rage power. Diehard is really, really good for Barbarians, but you can also just take Raging Vitality and be fine.

OP, here's why I would pick Barbarian if I were you: simply put, it's really, really hard to make an ineffective Barbarian. Just give yourself a high Strength and a high Con and take the feats Power Attack and Raging Vitality... and then you can do anything you want. Take feats and rage powers you find interesting and fun and just have a good time raging and beating the ever-loving sh*t out of any monsters foolish enough to stand in your way.

Unless you're playing a pretty high-powered campaign, you should be beefy enough to go toe-to-toe with most monsters. There's a tendency in Pathfinder for people to boost their AC as high as possible with armor, shields, etc... and then find monsters ignoring the tin-can fighter/paladin they can't scratch in order to rip a few hunks out of the lightly-armored Rogue or Wizard. Well, Barbarians don't have that problem - if the monster bites a chunk out of you, you just bite a bigger chunk back out of it. Repeat until one of you (read: the monster) dies. This makes for some pretty visceral, high-octane combat.

Barbarian is also pretty low-upkeep. You don't have to remember what bonuses you have against which creatures or which feats apply to which weapons - just keep one separate character sheet with your raging stats and a rage counter, and that's all the bookkeeping you'll have to do.

You also have a decent number of skill ranks to play around with, and remember that you can use your 2 traits to make almost any skill a class skill, which gives you great freedom in character creation. If you wanted, you could make your Barbarian a proper English gentleman with the World Traveler trait and a decent charisma to make him an excellent diplomat... who goes into a crazed bloodlust murder spree whenever anyone insults the queen. Anything goes!

Taldor

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Remember that a level of Dervish of Dawn Bard gets you free Dervish Dance, a nice self buff, and a little bit of extra utility - access to wands of Silent Image and Cure Light Wounds, etc.

Taldor

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Most efficient use? Get Improved Share Spells and cast it on both of you!

Really, it depends on how you use your actions. Casting it on yourself will do more damage if you then proceed to attack every turn; but if you think you'll be casting spells or summoning more than once or twice, you're better off casting it on your companion.

Taldor

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I think Bard or Lore Warden Fighter is your best bet. Bards are, IIRC, the only class that gets whip proficiency for free, but the BAB and feat requirements for whips are so severe that you're practically forced to go fighter if you want to use a whip AND have stuff like Power Attack or Improved Trip/Improved Disarm. Here are the whip feats you'll be wanting:

Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Whip)
Remember: half elves can get this for free.
EDIT: Also note that Inquisitors or Clerics of Calistria, CN goddess of lust and vengeance, get proficiency with the Whip.

Weapon Focus (Whip)

Whip Mastery (Combat)
Your superior expertise with this weapon does not provoke attacks of opportunity from your enemies.

Prerequisite: Weapon Focus (whip), base attack bonus +2.

Benefit: You no longer provoke attacks of opportunity when attacking with a whip. You can deal lethal damage with a whip, although you can still deal nonlethal damage when you want. Further, you can deal damage with a whip despite a creature’s armor bonus or natural armor bonus.

Improved Whip Mastery (Combat)
You are able to entangle opponents with the coils of your whip.
Prerequisite: Weapon Focus (whip), Whip Mastery, base attack bonus +5.

Benefit: While wielding a whip, you threaten the area of your natural reach plus 5 feet. You can also use a whip to grasp an unattended Small or Tiny object within your whip’s reach and pull that object into your square. To do so, you must hit AC 10 with a melee touch attack. Further, you can use the whip to grasp onto an object within your whip’s reach, using 5 feet of your whip as if it were a grappling hook, allowing you to use the rest of your whip to swing on like a rope. As a free action, you can release the object your whip is grasping, but you cannot use the whip to attack while the whip is grasping an object.

Greater Whip Mastery (Combat)
You can use a whip to make combat maneuvers with ease.

Prerequisite: Improved Whip Mastery, Weapon Focus (whip), Whip Mastery, base attack bonus +8.

Benefit: You are so quick with your whip that you never drop it due to a failed disarm or trip combat maneuver attempt. Further, you gain the ability to grapple using your whip. To do so, use the normal grapple rules with the following changes. [omitted]

Taldor

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One word: characters. As the GM, you're not just the narrator - you're an actor. Skyrim has beautiful visuals and fluid combat, but there's one thing it lacks: personal interactions with NPCs. If your PCs' interactions with NPC are limited to "oh no my *blank* is missing, please fight the bad guys to get it back" then they might as well be playing Skyrim and crushing the same old draugr in the same old dungeon. In your case, it doesn't matter what the quest is, or whether it's optional or "mandatory"; it's why they're doing it that's important.

Get your PCs involved! Give them reasons to care about the NPCs and what happens to them. I don't know Reign of Winter so I can't give you specific advice, but you need to get PCs invested in the results of their adventures for reasons besides loot and XP. This will probably mean spending time with NPCs and getting to know them, which in turn means you need to be able to craft and portray likeable, interesting NPCs. There's a massive difference between a dragon attacking a village you stopped at for a day, and a dragon attacking the village you grew up in, where you learned to fight, where you attended weddings and funerals and births and baptisms. (Protip: referencing your PCs' unique backstories is a great way to get them emotionally attached to proceedings.)

Remember, your greatest strength over a game like Skyrim is that you are constantly developing your story. In Skyrim, everything an NPC can do or say is programmed into the game; all their stories and emotions are simple and preset. You are not limited in this fashion. PCs staying at the inn? Make up a backstory for the bartender. Give him some personality. Maybe he recognizes them when they return from adventuring. Let them slowly change from a couple of random adventurers to his regulars. Want to take it a step further? Don't just change his relationship with the PCs, change him. Make dynamic characters that grow and mature over time, and in response to their circumstances and interactions. Maybe the dragon attacks the village, but the bartender survives - and is completely changed by the experience, from a warm-hearted grump to a steely-eyed, cynical man, bent on revenge. Maybe it turns out he used to be a fighter, and he dusts off the magic sword hanging off the bar and travels with the PCs to wreak his vengeance on the beast that stole his home and the lives of his friends and family. NOW how do the PCs feel about going off to kill the dragon?

You have the freedom to turn any NPC into anyone you want. Don't let that go to waste.

Taldor

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Well, you really, really need to either a) kill it in one turn, or b) hide yourself really really really well, because if the dragon knows where you are at the start of its turn you're pretty dead. Note of course that elder dragons know Dispel Magic and See Invisibility, and have blindsense 60 ft and possibly even Discern Location as a SLA.

So how do you incapacitate/kill a Great Wyrm red dragon in one round? Keep in mind its got SR 33, immunity to fire, paralysis, and sleep,
saves of fort +25 will +24 reflex +14, and 449 hp. In fact, there's only two numbers in its stat block that's less than 10: its Dex of 6 and Touch AC of 0. So any touch attack is an auto-hit except on a 1.

So that's the weak point: Dexterity. A creature with 0 dexterity is incapable of moving, which means no spells with somatic components. That still leaves an extremely dangerous dragon with spells like Greater Shout and breath weapons, but it should be easy enough to handle after that.

Here are spells that might help (remember Exhaustion gives -6 to dex):
8th: Polar Ray
7th: Waves of Exhaustion
4th: Calcific Touch
3rd: Ray of Exhaustion

As YIDM suggested, one Maximized, Empowered Calcific Touch should do it... as long as you can overcome the dragon's SR. An Elf with Spell Penetration and Greater Spell Penetration gets a +6, and if you prepare a Piercing Maximized Empowered Calcific Touch, you'll get another +5, which should give you good odds.

Of course, keep in mind that dragons know Contingency, and could very easily have a Contingency to Teleport somewhere if they are disabled/KOd. In which case you better finish it off quick, or leave the material plane and don't come back.

Taldor

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Two things.

1) Dialogue and Characters
In regular hack-'n-slash gameplay, NPCs characters are mostly vessels for quests and loot. In a murder/mystery they are VASTLY more important. Make sure you prepare dialogue beforehand, and keep in mind each character's personality, motives, and knowledge; index cards are a good way to keep this straight. It also helps to give each one a face the PCs can associate with a name, since they'll be having to keep a number of them in mind.

2) Dramatic Tension & Pacing
I like the investigate by day/defense by night thing, and I think a great way to improve it would be to put the PCs on a clock. That doesn't necessarily mean actually setting a timer/hourglass (though that is one way to do it) - just make sure they feel a time pressure. They shouldn't have time to investigate everything they want to before night falls and they have to focus on defense. Also, make sure you set up some good dark music. If you really want to go all the way, dim the lights, or even try playing by candlelight.

As for an assassin, there are plenty of spells and archetypes devoted to that type of thing.

Taldor

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Volaticus wrote:
Wouldn't that lead to the class being pretty MAD? I guess if I only have to focus on str and int it wouldn't be too bad. Also, our gm uses the 4d6 system instead of a point buy for whatever reason, so I guess it would really just be up to luck.

A little, but since alchemists can only wear light armor you probably wanted Dex anyway. And of course Str was going to be a want for you, and Int is your casting stat. (It's unfortunate that the Str mutagen decreases your Int by 2 (so 1 lower on your bombs' DC & damage), but +4 to str & +2 AC is a pretty good trade off.) You'll be OK with 12 con if you take the Spontaneous Healing alchemist discovery - it's basically a souped-up Toughness. (Toughness gets you 1hp/level, Spontaneous Healing gets you 2.5.) If things get rough you can also retreat and start bombing, and you have spells like Shield, Displacement, and Greater Invis available.

Of course, if you go Archer/Bomber, you only need Dex and Int (and can prepare Dex mutagens instead of Str). There's also a discovery, Explosive Missile, that lets you basically strap a bomb to an arrow. So with a 6th level Grenadier Alchemist, you can move, spend a swift action to add an alchemical item, like an Acid Flask, Smokestick, or Thunderstone, to your arrow; then as a standard load a bomb and fire it. Pretty sweet huh?

Taldor

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One of my characters died to the oh-so-fearsome Hodag in book 2, several levels below access to Raise Dead or Reincarnation. I wanted them to have the option of reviving him, so I told them that a powerful caster had set up shop in a yet-unexplored hex.

This guy turned out to be a 20th level Mystic Theurge known as Magician Humphrey (bonus points to those who get the reference). They got to fight up a winding tower full of monsters and traps and topped by a young giant and lastly answer a riddle from old Humphrey himself, ostensibly to make sure they weren't so dumb as to get themselves killed twice, before he revived their companion.

Of course, if they were to do it again, the tower would be considerably more tricky to climb...

And if anyone asks why one of the most powerful casters in the universe spends his spare time adopting giants and making level-appropriate challenges for random guys? Why, because messing with adventurers is fun, of course!

Taldor

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Jengada wrote:
And before I punch the party, another option that occurred to me is a magic item that lets me cast silence on myself. Then party casters can't cast until I've got a 20' head start, and I have to ring for other situations, too.

You're really trying to get the party to hate you, huh? Trust me - as much as everyone hates the rogue that steals from the party because "it's what my character would do," the barbarian that Silences the casters would get it 100x worse. DO NOT SCREW WITH YOUR PARTY MEMBERS!

If you really, really believe that the casters are depriving you of all your fun, you need to either
a) talk to your GM about feeling useless and ask him/her to send you something a little more challenging, or
b) talk to the casters and see if you can get one or two of them to shift from "sending monsters to oblivion" to "making the barbarian into the monsters' worst nightmare."

I can't say it enough times: Do. Not. Screw. With. Your. Party. Members. You do NOT want to be "that guy." Anyone that pulled something like what you're talking about in one of my games would probably not get invited back to play again.

Taldor

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Your fights only last 3 rounds? What kind of game of rocket tag are you playing?

I would say your best bet is to convince the party not to split up immediately so that you can start summoning on round 1 and then on round 2 summon the creature near your party and immediately hit it and everyone else with Haste. That way your summons is getting in a full attack +1 on round 2, which is probably going to be on par with everyone else except mr. RAGELANCEPOUNCE barbarian.

If you absolutely can't start summoning until round 2, and your fights consistently only last 3 or 4 rounds, then I would just cast something else that fight. Seriously though, if all your fights are that short, then either your enemies are too weak or your party is somehow skewed WAY towards offense. Consider talking to your GM.

Taldor

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The Quite-big-but-not-BIG Bad wrote:

Kinda off topic but the thread name kinda drew me in: I love the idea of a Summoner-based police force. Makes total sense, you've got customizable, expendable shock troops that can fulfill a variety of roles!

Combined with the grab and scent abilities you get excellent crook catchers!

Heh, I could try a good cop/bad cop approach. Since they both need 5 ranks in bluff for Broken Wing Gambit, I was originally considering playing a chaotic neutral guy that pretends to be a mounted Paladin using a hat of disguise... Bluffing in some form will certainly be a part of it.

Hmm... Now I want to try playing in an all-summoner party... I could totally see a halfling or gnome settlement relying on a group of summoners as its guardians.

Taldor

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If the witch would be a cohort, is the idea simply that you want to ride around on a dragon? Because if so, you're best off with a summoner. Or taking a dragon as a cohort. I think there's a 3rd party class that focuses around a dragon mount, too.

Also, there's no reason to get snippy - we're trying to help you out. Imagination is obviously a vital part of Pathfinder or any RPG, but the rules are there for a reason. If you're going to just disregard how the rules for familiars and polymorph spells work, how can we advise you with things that rely on those rules? We're trying to help you make a viable character that fits within Pathfinder mechanics - if you want help inventing your own mechanics, then you should be posting in the homebrew forums.

To give an analogy... It's less like you've brought us an idea for a sculpture and asked us for the techniques to carve it, and more like you've brought us an idea for a submarine that can fly and shoot lasers and asked us to make you some blueprints. Doesn't matter how good at engineering we are, we can't make you something that breaks the laws of physics.

Taldor

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So instead of "Rocks fall, party dies," it's "Party falls, Rocs die," huh? I like it, lol.

Depending on whether the creature is aware of him or not, you might have him make a grapple against "flat-footed CMD" - basically their CMD minus their Dex mod. If they are aware, though, there's a chance they might move out of the way and let him just fall - possibly a Reflex save or something, or maybe you just add one of their scores to the Acrobatics or CMB check, or give them an AoO and add to the DC based on the damage if it connects, like a concentration check.

In terms of grabbing them, I think an easy acrobatics check is appropriate. I'd have them make a "charging grapple" - give them +2 on the attempt since they're speeding towards the foe. I think if he does manage to grab them, I would have them both plummet to the ground immediately. If the fall is long enoguh, perhaps there could be an opposed CMB check to try to rotate each other to hit the ground first and thus take more falling damage.

In the end, I think you want to balance the maneuver such that it probably works, but with the potential to go very wrong against a particularly wary or nasty foe. (He's got a Ring of Feather Fall, right? lol) This is a fairly suicidal attack, after all.

Taldor

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Haste is a fantastic choice, especially if you're summoning things - giving, say, an Ankylosaur or T-Rex an extra attack and move speed is pretty beast, and starting combat with a summon and haste on the party just about doubles your DPS.

Alternately, access to Fireball and/or Dragon Breath opens up the possibility for a pretty decent blaster druid, though you'll still not be great compared to a well-built sorcerer or wizard. (Keep in mind that Cold Ice Strike is on the cleric spell list, too.)

Enervation is also one of the best spells in the game for steadily weakening a big bad with good saves.

What else... Dominate Person is a goodie usually reserved for arcane casters that opens up a whole world of options for being sneaky. Teleport is also something that could come in very handy. From the Cleric side of things, I would definitely pick up Heal - it's one of the few worthwhile in-combat healing spells, for the huge HP restoration AND ability to remove conditions. If your teammates enjoy their current bodies, they might thank you for picking up an alternative to Reincarnation. Break Enchantment is good to have on hand, too.

And, of course, if you pick up Interplanetary Teleport, you could be a MOON DRUID!

Taldor

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Those extra spells and abilities from the domain are pretty important for a caster druid. Remember that you can take the feat Boon Companion to get your AC up to full strength.

At level 11 you should have about 82K gold kicking around; AOMF go for Price 4,000 gp (+1), 16,000 gp (+2), 36,000 gp (+3), 64,000 gp (+4), 100,000 gp (+5). So you could probably manage a +3. (If you want to be awesome, cast Greater Magic Fang on your AC to make its attacks magical, and make it a Flaming Shocking Icy AoMF. +3d6 on each attack!)

Taldor

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For new players with the Beginner Box, I get rid of pretty much every rule that isn't necessary. If a newbie with a level 1 Rogue says he wants to move, pull out his dagger, and throw it at an enemy, he'll have more fun if you just say "sure, roll a d20" than if you sit him down and explain about moving, the rules for pulling out and dropping weapons, how players with BAB of +1 can pull out weapons as part of a move, etc.

On those lines, I would keep the AoOs for spellcasting, but get rid of the ones for moving. Saying "if you try to cast a spell right next to that goblin, he gets to smack you" is pretty intuitive; trying to explain about threatened squares and what types of movement provoke is more complex. New players are going to be learning about move speeds, move actions, how to count squares, etc.; they shouldn't have to worry about enemy positions and threatened squares.

TL,DR: For new players, the rules should give structure without providing limitations or being mentally burdensome. Strip anything you feel appropriate to make it so.

Taldor

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Teamwork feats might be worth considering, esp. if you can get your other party members to take the same one. I'm also a fan of Toughness, especially since rocs have low Con compared to some ACs. Maybe even invest in Light Armor Proficiency so you can have some Celestial Barding made for it.

It's true that SoDs can one-shot an AC, especially if you like to use it in combat and your DM is a jerk, but remember that ACs are, in fact, replaceable. It's not the end of the world if it dies.

Taldor

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Well, let's take a look at the feat.
http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/vulpine-pounce-combat

Vulpine Pounce:
(Combat, Kitsune)
You can change shape mid-charge and pounce on an opponent in the same round.

Special: A kitsune may select this feat any time she would gain a feat.

Prerequisites: Swift Kitsune Shapechanger, base attack bonus +10, kitsune.

Benefit: When you change shape into your kitsune form and use the charge action in the same round, you can make a full attack against your opponent.

And here's the prereq:

Swift Kitsune Shapechanger:
You can change shape more quickly than most kitsune.

Special: A kitsune may select this feat any time she would gain a feat.

Prerequisites: Dex 13, base attack bonus +6, kitsune.

Benefit: You can assume human or kitsune form as a swift action. If you have the Fox Shape feat, you can assume fox form as a swift action as well.

Normal: A kitsune’s change shape ability is a standard action.

Which dovetails with this feat:

Fox Shape:
You can change into a fox in addition to your other forms.

Prerequisites: Cha 13, base attack bonus +3, kitsune.

Special: A kitsune may select this feat any time she would gain a feat.

Benefit: You can take the form of a fox whose appearance is static and cannot be changed each time you assume this form. Your bite attack’s damage is reduced to 1d3 points of damage on a hit, but you gain a +10 racial bonus on Disguise checks made to appear as a fox. Changing from kitsune to fox shape is a standard action. This ability otherwise functions as beast shape II, and your ability scores change accordingly.

So to use these feats to the fullest, you'd need:
-Full BAB (otherwise it will take you a while to get the last one)
-at least 13 Cha
-at least 13 Dex
-A solid full attack
-Gain utility from shapeshifting
-Don't need a swift action

And of course, let's remember that Kitsune give +2 Dex, +2 Cha, -2 Str, as well as a bite attack.

Hmm... Considering the -2 Str, this is pretty tricky. In my opinion, though, your best bet would be a Ranger/Ninja (scout archetype) multiclass. Here's why:
-Aspect of the Beast as your 2nd level Ranger bonus feat gives you a pair of claws to go with your bite, giving you a full-BAB 3-attack routine from the early levels.*
-Ranger's full BAB helps you reach that +10 sooner.
-Sneak Attack means you don't need a lot of Str to deal damage - I would try for a 10 or 12 Str and use Weapon Finesse.
-Ninjas can spend Ki to make extra attacks on a full attack, which is awesome with vulpine pounce.
-Turning into a fox has a lot of value for a sneaky type.

Anyway, I'd suggest looking at some of the ninja, rogue, ranger, and fighter guides in the sticky at the top of the advice forum, and keep an eye open for things that work well with the pounce. Good luck!

*Two Weapon Fighting is not as good for rogues/ninjas as you'd think - the -2 per attack really hurts when you've got a 3/4 BAB and not many ways to buff yourself. Natural weapons get you more attacks at a higher attack bonus, which is vital for landing sneak attacks.

Taldor

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You should definitely take a look at this guide: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/extras/community-creations/treatmonks-lab/treantmon k-s-guide-to-monks

I can tell you from the get go that this build will not be very effective, for a very simple reason: you have no strength! Strength is the primary factor in your CMB. Without strength, you won't be tripping anything. Oh, and check with your GM - are there a lot of humanoids in this campaign? Because if you're primarily fighting monsters (especially those with many legs or who are larger than Medium) tripping is simply not possible. (Big things in later levels have CMDs well into the 40s and 50s.)

Also, for this, you DEFINITELY want a Maneuver Master monk, not a Flowing. Flowing is primarily for monks who want to do the weapon finesse route - which, sadly, doesn't work with quarterstaffs.

Taldor

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Once you get superior summoning it gets kind of ridiculous.

"Turn 1: Summon (roll) 3 eagles around the lizardfolk. 3 full attacks."

"He kills one"

"Turn 2: Summon (roll) 4 more eagles around the lizardfolk. 6 full attacks."

Who doesn't want to roll 18 attack rolls a turn? :P

...hey, I think I figured out why PFS banned master summoners

Taldor

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Two words: Tyrion Lannister

Taldor

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Make sure you get the feat Run.

Taldor

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Neither is "objectively better" than the other overall. They each have strengths and weaknesses. The main difference in perceived power comes from one thing: preparation.

If you give a wizard knowledge of something one day in advance, he can choose the perfect set of spells for it. Give him a few days, and he'll teleport to the nearest magic academy, learn any spell he needs, shrink a few bombs, and summon an outsider or three. If he knows what's coming up, he's immensely powerful.

On the other hand, deprived of information, the wizard has no choice but to leave spots open, or prepare a variety of spells. If he then comes upon a large number of enemies that require a specific spell or tactic, he will use up his one or two prepared copies, then have to retreat/buff/etc. He risks the majority of his prepared arsenal becoming useless.

Sorcerers are less flexible than wizards in the sense that they cannot pick obscure spells to handle unique challenges and enemies, but more flexible in that they can spam any spell they like.

In the end, it all comes down to preparation.

PS: Both wizards and sorcerers get extra feats and powers through their arcane schools and bloodlines, respectively. Wizards get lots of ranks and knowledge skills; sorcerers have the charisma to be a party face. Wizards get spells a level earlier, but must generally pay to get them in their spellbooks, and cannot eschew materials like sorcerers. Overall, they're pretty balanced in these respects; it comes down to preparation.

Taldor

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Dotting. Expecting RAGELANCEPOUNCE any minute now...

Taldor

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Rewatched The Lion King the other day (don't ask why, I don't know), and my friends and I started up the old "what class would he be" thing. I thought, hey, roleplaying Timon and Pumbaa could be really fun. And there's one class that can do it...

Timon::

Halfling Summoner (Neutral Good)
Str 10
Dex 18
Con 14
Int 12
Wis 8
Cha 15 (+1 at 4th level)

Feats
1: Weapon Finesse
3: Mounted Combat
5: Combat Casting
7: Expanded Arcana

Skills:
Stealth, Ride, Bluff (1 rank: know arcane, know nature, spellcraft)

Traits:
Highlander (+1 on Stealth checks, Stealth is a class skill; +2 instead if in a hilly or rocky area)
Fast-Talker (+1 on Bluff, Bluff is a class skill)

Timon is a brown-haired, tan-robed summoner with a penchant for blowing his mouth off. Out of combat, he makes a good party face, with his high Bluff, and a good scout with high Stealth. In combat, he buffs himself and his eidolon up, and rides Pumbaa into battle using Weapon Finesse.

Pumbaa::

Eidolon (Quadruped)
Size: medium; Speed: 40ft; AC: +2 natural armor; Saves: Fort (good), Ref (good), Will (bad); Attack: bite (1d6)

Ability Scores:
Str 14
Dex 14
Con 13
Int 7
Wis 10
Cha 11

Feats: Combat Reflexes, Power Attack, Improved Natural Attack

Evolutions:
Large (4)
Trip (2)
Reach (bite) (1)
Improved Damage (bite) (1)
Improved Natural Armor (1)
Skill Focus (Perception) (1)

Though he appears a large brown boar, Pumbaa is of the "dog" build of eidolon - one nasty bite attack that gets a lot of Attacks of Opportunity. He also has skill focus: perception, so at least one of the pair can pay attention.

I'm pretty confident on my build for Pumbaa, but I'd like some advice on how to build Timon. Right now I have him as a weapon finesse battler that rides on Pumbaa, but I could also picture him as a sling/archery type. I know Summoners can't rely very much on their low amount of spells, but what's the best thing to go with them?

Taldor

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It depends on what type of fighter you want to be, and what the rest of your group is made of. In a vacuum, some popular builds are:

Max Damage Two-Hander - put everything you've got into strength, and take a ton of feats that boost damage. You'll be dishing out a lot of damage (though maybe not quite as much as a smiting paladin or raging barbarian), hitting most of the time, and should have a good AC. (Especially since you're a dwarf, so there's little drawback to heavy armor.)

Attack of Opportunity Mania - take a Reach weapon and get Combat Reflexes, maybe Combat Patrol, etc.; you threaten a HUGE area and get to take constant attacks of opportunity. This is nice if you need to protect a bunch of squishy casters.

Combat Maneuever Mofo - builds up one or two combat maneuvers (trip is a common one) and spams that thing like the world's going to end. This can basically auto-win some encounters, but sometimes (especially as monster CMD grows astronomically around 10th level) can backfire.

Anyway, you should check out Rogue Eidolon's Guide to Fighters. Good luck!

Taldor

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Now, hold on - when you say "creative," do you mean he munchkins to make his spells (effectively) more powerful? Or does he actually combine spells in unique and interesting ways to create powerful effects? Because while the first can get annoying, the second should definitely be encouraged!

Also, when you say he "dominates combat," do you mean he destroys all the enemies singlehandedly, or he uses good battlefield control to let his teammates destroy them? Again, the former should be discouraged, but the latter encouraged - just make the overall combat more difficult.

To borrow some Magic: the Gathering terminology, I'll put it like this. Some people are "Timmy." Timmy loves big, dramatic effects. He probably doesn't munchkin very much or try to exploit the rules - he just wants to Fireball some ogres, because it's awesome. He probably likes the classic spells (Magic Missile, Fireball, etc.) and enjoys vivid descriptions. He likes to really get into the game and experience being a wizard.

Next is "Johnny." Johnny likes being creative. He likes figuring out cool spell combinations - using Pyrotechnics on his Flaming Sphere, sending earth elementals into his Stinking Cloud, etc. He's the one that suggests singing the giant to sleep so the party can sneak by instead of fighting. He's the one that summons a monster, straps some raw meat to it, and uses it as bait to lure some goblins off of a cliff hidden by Silent Image. He probably knows the rules pretty well, but he isn't as interested in dominating the opponent as he is in simply finding unique solutions to whatever problem you're facing.

Last is "Spike." Spike is the guy that likes to win, and will frequently stretch the rules to their limit to do so - the guy that makes a Crossblooded Sorcerer 1/Admixture Wizard 19 (with severely unbalanced stats) and figures out the right traits to make Burning Hands deal 15 damage at 1st level. He probably knows every monster's weakness, and exploits it mercilessly. He jacks up the DCs of his Glitterdust to 28 and hits every enemy with it. He likes to have the most powerful character he possibly can.

Now, everyone is a mixture of the above 3 personalities. I myself am a Timmy/Johnny, with a pinch of Spike. My point is, though, whatever the type of player your player's wizard is, you shouldn't remove the elements that make it fun for him. Placing constraints is one thing, and it sounds like you've done that a bit already with the reduced magic items; but if he's a Johnny, let him get away with crazy combos, and try not to railroad too much. (E.g., let him lure some of the goblins off the cliff, or maybe all of them, and just use the encounter later - see "Schrodinger's GM") If he's a Timmy, let him have his moment in the limelight when he casts his big spell (even if it doesn't actually do much). If he's a Spike... well, that gets a bit trickier, but definitely don't make him feel too ineffectual. As long as you manage that, you can throw whatever magic-resistant thing you want at him, and he'll still have a good time.

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