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
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.
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...
Halfling Summoner (Neutral Good)
Cha 15 (+1 at 4th level)
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.
Size: medium; Speed: 40ft; AC: +2 natural armor; Saves: Fort (good), Ref (good), Will (bad); Attack: bite (1d6)
Feats: Combat Reflexes, Power Attack, Improved Natural Attack
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?
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!
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.
A little while back someone joked about a wizard that solely uses his magic to try to headbutt the enemy (the joke being, namely, that no one with that much int can be that stupid).
I want to build a wizard that focuses all his efforts on delivering touch spells in combat...
...via his head.*
*(Let's assume the DM lets us make an unarmed strike as a headbutt without taking a level in monk.)
I'm thinking a dex-based build. It would probably look like this:
Elf Wizard - Henry the Hard-Headed
A few favorite spells at each level:
There's a start. What else you guys got?
I always imagined the flavor of the ability is such that the shadow you summon actually IS your own shadow. You literally animate your own shadow. That's why losing it or banishing it requires a Fort save - you're basically ripping out a part of yourself, and you have to wait a month for it to "grow back," as it were, before you can animate it again. It also explains why it can't create shades, why you can communicate with it, and why it uses your saves and hit points - it functions more closely to a wizard's familiar (with whom he shares a part of his soul) than to a typical summoned creature.
Don't forget Skill Focus. Half Elves get it for free.
Also, forever relevant:
What are some of your favorite clever combos? One of mine has to be using Summon Monster III to get a few small Earth Elementals, then casting a Pit spell. If my opponent makes the save, I have the elementals Bull Rush him in. (I imagine if I have 3, I command one to earth glide beneath my opponent, pop up behind him to act as a setup, and command the other two to rush him.) Then I have them stand guard and smack him down if he tries to climb out. (Extra effective on Spiked and Acid pits!)
What are your guys' favorite fun tactics? Combat or roleplay.
Hey, if I can sneak attack, a full attack at level 5 gives me 3 attacks at 3+dex (and bonuses from flanking and/or stealth) that deal 4d6 and 1d8+3d6, respectively - pretty darn decent if you ask me. And I believe it's only 5000 for an Amulet of Mighty Fists with the Agile enchantment, which would add another 4 damage on each attack. If I drink my mutagen and an extract of reduce person, and have that amulet, I get +7 to stealth, +5 to AC, +5 to hit and can full attack for 3 attacks of +12 to hit that deal 1d4 + 3d6 + 7 and 4d6 + 7 apiece. Ouch!
@True: Vivisectionists give up bombs, unfortunately. And I don't think Rage really fits the cold, calculating backstory, or using stealth.
@Nicos: You have a point, there. Hmm... maybe he was trained as an assassin, but ran away because of moral conflicts. I could play him as Neutral Good - trained to kill and with no sense of social norms, but learning the value of compassion and friendship. Think Sai (from Naruto) or the main guy from Full Metal Panic.
I'm thinking of trying to make a "glasses-pushing assasin" type character - I'm thinking a Vivisectionist Alchemist with high dex and int and low charisma, and a true neutral alignment.
Using an Elf with 20 point buy, I'm thinking
He'd probably use a Dex-based mutagen (with Weapon Finesse, of course) and take Feral Mutagen for hella sneak attacks. He'd want to keep stealth, craft(alchemy) and disable device maxed out, and would have a fun toolbox of alchemical items and extracts.
What would you guys do for a character like this? Any nice multiclass options I should consider?
Besides my whip fighter Hob mentioned, I've got a couple ideas in the works.
First is a Sorcerer gnome with the Serpentine bloodline. He's 100% neutral, and his whole goal in life is to square off in battles of wits with others; he specializes in illusion and enchantment spells, as well as summoning reptiles and using poison. (Hideous Laughter someone, then summon 1d4+1 poisonous Vipers around him - watch his Con go down the tubes. Alternately, cast the Laughter in the turn the Summoning finishes.)
Sylas the Serpent:
Enchantment/Illusion Sorceror - Sylas
Gnome - Serpentine Bloodline
Alignment - True Neutral
Sylas' serpentine bloodline set him apart from the instant he was born - his eyes, instead of regular humanoid irises, are bright green, with irises shaped like the vertical slits of a snake. As he grew up, Sylas became a natural manipulator - he was easily able to disguise his emotions and bluff, lie, and placate others to get his way. His magic developed to reflect this - he learned to use his magic to deceive others even further, with illusions and enchantments. His bloodline also gave him an affinity for snakes; he learned to summon them and use their venom as potent tools towards enemies held helpless by his enchantments. Though not very intelligent in terms of book smarts or brilliant plans, Sylas grew very cunning; he simply got others to do his planning for him, or usurped their plans himself.
Feeling no true connection to anyone in his village, Sylas set off as an adventurer. He has no grand ambition to rule; rather, he seeks only to test his wits in battles of cunning against others, for only when he sinks his fangs into an outsmarted foe does he feel truly... alive.
Small: +1 AC, +1 attack roll, -1 CMB and CMD, +4 to stealth
Trickster (+1 on caster level for illusion spells)
Gift of Tongues (+1 to bluff and diplomacy, extra language when skill put into linguistics)
Bloodline Arcana: Mind-affecting or language-dependent spells work on animals, magic beasts, and monstrous humanoids
1: Serpent's Fang - grow fangs, 1d4 damage plus poison (save fort DC 10 + 1/2 sorceror level + con modifier; 1/round for 6 rounds; 1 con damage; cure 1 save); can use for 3+Cha modifier rounds per day
3: Serpentfriend - speak with animals with reptiles, Viper familiar (sorcerer level -2 as effective level)
5: Fangs are magical, deal 1d2 con.
7: Poison requires 2 saves
The next is a wizard much akin to the one Douglas mentioned - I'm pretty sure this is the next character I'm going with. The character backstory is that he spent most of his childhood alone at a wizard university, so he decided to specialize in conjuration spells to try to summon friends. His entire inspiration and most of his knowledge of the outside world comes from adventure books.
Cornelius, aka Nilrem the Wondrous:
Conjuration Wizard - Nilrem (real name: Cornelius)
Alignment: Neutral Good
Son of two renowned wizards who mysteriously disappeared when he was young, Cornelius was left in the care of his uncle, a cruel man and archmage of a famous college for wizards. Shy as a boy, and frequently left alone with naught but books for company, Cornelius mastered much of the theory behind arcane spellcraft using his uncle's extensive library. His favorite books were those detailing the adventures of mighty wizards and heros; his greatest role model was the great wizard Merlin.
Lonely, he attempted to learn conjuration spells in order to be able to summon pets or other creatures for company. His familiar is a monkey named Napoleon; in a rare move of defiance, he stole it from a zoology exhibit at the college and cast the ritual to make it his familiar before anyone noticed its disappearance. (His uncle wanted to strip it from him, but the ranger running the exhibit took pity on the boy.)
As he grew older, Cornelius grew more and more tired and frustrated of being cooped up at the college, which was mostly full of older scholars. At 17, he decided to become a hero like Merlin, and stole off during the night in seek of adventure; not wanting his uncle to track him down, he hid his true name and started calling himself Nilrem (Merlin backwards). Thanks to his genetics and a lifetime of study, he has a high intelligence and easily grasps complex magical theories; however, due to his cloistered upbringing, he lacks both common sense (wisdom) and social graces (charisma). He has done little heavy lifting, so his strength is below average, but is surprisignly hardy (constitution), and nimble from running through tight corridors and staying out of the way of scholars and his uncle (dexterity).
Though trained in proper manners and the ways of the college, he has rarely interacted with those other than the scholars at the college, and is easily duped; however, he is a fast learner, and very curious about the outside world. Of course, most of his preconceptions are from adventure books...
Specialization: Conjuration (Teleportation)
Level 1 Spells (largely inspired by adventure books - the classic spells - and his interest in conjuration)
I've also been kicking around ideas of a Dwarven cleric that wades into the middle of battle to use touch spells, and a pacifist, meek-mannered Half-Orc Monk.
I've been dreaming up a whip fighter, looking something like this:
Whip Fighter - Vermillion
Half-Elf - Ancestral Arms (Whip)
Vermillion (named for his bright orange eyes) was the result of the human rape of an elvish woman, part of a tribe of elves. His mother, an elvish woman named Elriella, was picking herbs deep in the woods when she was assaulted by some human soldiers passing through the area. Vermillion grew up with the elvish tribe; he hated humans for the sad look that passed over his mother's face whenever they came up in conversation. His human heritage blessed him with impressive strength, and his dexterity and constitution were bolstered by his years in the woods. Unfortunately, his humanity also caused many of the other elves to ostracize him in public, leading to a lack of charisma. It also gave him a very hot headed streak - he frequently got into fights with others. He is, nevertheless, decently intelligent; he frequently used strategy to bring prey down while hunting, and loved to hear the village elder tell stories.
At the age of 16, Vermillion was far away from his village, when he saw a caravan of human slave traders passing by. Furious, he disregarded the advice of his elders and mother and attempted to ambush the slavers that night. Needless to say, he was captured, and forced to travel many miles away, where he was eventually sold to a colosseum. At first, he repeatedly attempted to escape; however, these too met in failure, as well as severe lashings. Eventually, he relented and settled into the ways of the colosseum, but the scars on his back strengthened his hatred.
Vermillion had some training with whips from his elvish life - they were used as part of the traditional dances performed in his tribe. He quickly and bloodily refined their use in combat, using them to trip and entangle his opponents. His gladiatorial training also trained him in light armor, and a variety of other tools and weapons.
After a few years at the colosseum, Vermillion was a respected fighter, but also a loner; he ate alone and had no friends. One day, he was approached by a relentlessly cheery and talkative human youth named Markus. At first, Vermillion was cold to him, his hatred of humans ever-present in his mind. Nevertheless, Markus persisted, sitting with Vermillion and talking away, telling stories of his home and upbringing, despite the half-elf's silence. Slowly, very slowly, Vermillion warmed up to the lad - he still had a love for stories, despite having not heard any in years. Eventually, the two formed a close friendship, though Markus still did most of the talking.
One day, Vermillion walked out into the coliseum grounds for a fight - the bright sun shining on the same scene he had viewed every day for years. Today, though, was different. Today, the enemy that approached him was not some nameless brute, that Vermillion could dispatch heartlessly. Today, it was Markus that Vermillion was slated to slay.
To be continued...
Weapons: Scorpion Whip* (primary), Heavy Flail, Switchblade, maybe a Composite Longbow
This guy is wonderful at tripping, in theory - in this thread I calculated his bonus to trip at level 7 to be about 24. However, I'm sure my DM will send us up against spiders or flying creatures or something, and whips don't do a whole lot of damage... I'm also not sure what to do after level 7. Advice, please! (Thanks!)
PS: Greater Whip Mastery seems a little useless to me - what do you guys think?
*EDIT: Changed from regular whip to Scorpion whip.
Hi, everyone! I was hoping to clear up some confusion I had about whips and some other regular combat stuff from those of you who've had lots of experience.
Suppose I'm playing this character:
Indiana, 7th-level Fighter
Weapon: Frost Whip +2 (aka Cool Whip) (+1d6 cold damage on hit)
Weapon Proficiency (whip) (from Half Elf)
Combat Expertise (from Lore Warden)
Weapon Focus (whip) (+1 to attack rolls)
Whip Mastery (no AoO from using whip, whips can deal lethal)
Improved Whip Mastery ("While wielding a whip, you threaten the area of your natural reach plus 5 feet.")
Improved Trip (+2 to trip, no AoO)
Greater Trip (another +2 to trip, tripping opponents provokes AoO)
Combat Reflexes (extra AoO equal to dex bonus)
Power Attack (-2 to attack, +4 to damage at level 7 - choose to use before making an attack roll)
Felling Smash ("If you use the attack action to make a single melee attack at your highest base attack bonus while using Power Attack and you hit an opponent, you can spend a swift action to attempt a trip combat maneuver against that opponent.")
So, a few questions:
1. Say I make a Full attack, with my first attack as a trip: it gets a bonus of 7 (BAB) + 5 (Strength) + 4 (improved/greater trip) + 4 (Loremaster) + 1 (Weapon Focus) +2 (whip's enhancement bonus) + 1 (Weapon training, as a fighter) = +24 to trip.
2. Can I use two hands on my whip to apply 1.5x my strength mod to damage? (The whip is one-handed, not light.) If not, is there any downside to me using a shield in my off-hand?
3. Improved Whip Mastery says that I threaten the range of my natural reach +5 feet. This means that I threaten a 5x5 square around me, right? If someone walks toward me, I get an AoO when they're standing in front of me, before they attack (assuming they don't lunge or spring attack or something); if I use the AoO to make a successful trip with my whip, they can choose to either attack me with a -4 bonus or stand up, in which case I can get another AoO (thanks to Combat Reflexes), which I can use to trip them again. Right?
4. Can I use Power Attack with AoOs? If yes, can I use the Felling Smash feat to trip them? (I don't think so, because I'd need to use a Swift Action). If it's my turn, can I do a Felling Smash as part of a full attack? (So attack for damage, if it hits use my swift action to trip, then attack for damage again)
5. If I'm Hasted, could I Full Attack to trip one person with +7 BAB, trip another person behind me at +7 BAB, and take a 5' foot step and try to trip yet another person with +2 BAB?
6. Before I get Improved Whip Mastery (to be able to make AoO with my whip), could I hold a dagger or some other light weapon in my off hand, and make attacks of opportunity with that?
7. A scorpion whip is a whip lined with sharp teeth; it's a light weapon, deals d4 slashing damage, and says "If you are proficient with whips, you can use a scorpion whip as a whip." Do all my feats apply to it? If I were to later invest in TWF, could I use a whip in one hand and a scorpion whip in the other with a -2 on each? (And can you imagine how sick that would be?)
Thanks for your help, gentlemen. If anyone has any critiques about this build, I'd also love to hear them; I'm not really certain if I should maintain pure fighter or maybe take a small splash of Barbarian or something.
I intend on starting a wizard character soon, and I was wondering how all you casters keep track of your spells. I'm thinking a 3-ring binder can act as my spellbook - I'd put a printout of each spell I know in it.
Each day's spells is where it gets a little trickier. I was thinking I might get two openable rings (similar to the ones in binders), get some index cards, and use a hole-punch to put holes in them. I could write in pencil on the cards which spell I've prepared plus a short description (casting time, damage, save effect, etc.), with a separator for different level spells. As I cast each one, I move it to the other ring. That way, I can see at a glance which spells I have left, and easily sort them by level; at the end of each day, I simply erase what's on the cards, and the "spent" ring becomes the "unspent" ring.
How do you guys keep track?
We had a villain in one of our games that had twin lightning/fire swords. Before I joined the game, apparently he threw the lightning sword (a short sword of +3 shocking) at our orc (burying it halfway into her stomach) before fleeing, so our ranger yanked it out, we patched ms. barbarian up, and BINGO! New lightning sword.
Of course, he then took it back a few sessions later.
In our penultimate encounter (now that I've joined as a rogue), he throws the lightning sword AGAIN, and once more it is buried in our orc; ranger gets it again. However, in the final battle, the ranger falls; I pick up the sword and skewer a wizard with it, keeping it afterwards (much to the chagrin/jealousy of said ranger). Unfortunately, the very next session, I'm sent in disguised to a somewhat hostile town to pawn some rubies, and since I'm afraid the ranger will find the sword if I hide it outside the town (damn scent tracking!) I keep it with me; lo and behold, I'm captured by the local thieve's guild and THEY take it.
Two sessions later and we're finally finishing off the leader of the guild, who of course has my sword. Due to the luck of the draw, my initiative comes before the ranger after we kill him, and I beeline for the fallen sword (at 3 hp). We'll see how long I keep it...
TL,DR: Creating contention and/or tension over a magic item by taking it away and giving it back CAN make for an interesting bit of roleplaying, but please let us get at least a few uses out of an item before we lose it.