I think you're best off thinking about Summoner as a bard that trades out skills and performance for a totally customizable, unique beatstick. Like a bard, you have a d8 hit die, light armor, and 3/4 BAB, which combined with buffs make you a passable combatant; you also don't have quite enough spells/abilities to cast something every turn like a full caster. However, while a bard has lots of out of combat utility and in-combat mostly just buffs everyone, you instead get free access to the build-a-boss workshop. Eidolons can do things that NO PC can do, and with the Evolution Surge line, you can upgrade them for the situation on the fly. The true strength of the Summoner lies in this and his obscene action economy; whereas an Alchemist would have to spend turns buffing himself, your eidolon can fight while you buff.
Master Summoners relegate the Eidolon to being a skill monkey, but give you minute-duration summon spells as a standard action, which is pretty obscene. Personally, I disallow Master Summoners at my table, for two reasons.
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)
Weapon Focus (Whip)
Whip Mastery (Combat)
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)
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)
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]
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.
1) Dialogue and Characters
2) Dramatic Tension & Pacing
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?
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!
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
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.
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.
The Quite-big-but-not-BIG Bad wrote:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.