Marquise Cordelia Livia Cassandra Elysia Perseis's Guide to Influencing Varisia's Fledgling Aristocracy
My fellows in arms,
It has come to my attention through the usual channels that we are not meeting with as much success as I would like in our goals for Varisia. It would pain me to see our glorious faction weakened or disbanded, so here I strive to put to ink all of the information I have gathered in the year thus far inasmuch as it will assist towards that goal. Know that if you find yourself in possession of one of the first printings of this guide, then I hold you in the highest regard for both your influence and your discretion, and I trust that you will make copies and send them to all those of whom you are aware who are worthy of such regard.
My humble thanks,
While Korvosa is larger, older, and more aristocratic, Magnimar is the seat of our lodge in Varisia, and it is the most likely place where you will have a chance to influence its nobles, such as they are.
Lord Mayor Haldmeer Grobaras is a selfish and arrogant man of enormous girth. His mandates are rare and sometimes disastrous, and he often ignores those of the Council of Ushers in favor of his own. It seems like stroking Grobaras's already over-inflated ego should make a greater nobility an easy sell for him. If you actually want to get something pro-Taldor done, though, policy-wise, it might be smart to befriend Valanni Krinst, the mayor's assistant, as well.
The Council of Ushers has 117 members, many of whom I have mentioned below. Lady Verrine Caiteil is the executive moderator, which means that influencing her is a big step towards a pro-Taldor hearing before the council. Before you can actually meet with any of the council members, though, you will have to make it past Jacildria Quildarmo, the megalomaniacal Seneschal of Dates. Just be as obsequious as possible and you'll be fine--I'm sure she'll be thrilled to have a true noble kissing up to her.
The Varisian Council's leader is Remeria Callinova, but I'm not sure she's a good candidate for influence. If you want to try, her most recent pet project is finding the Shoanti a place within the city's hierarchy. This will doubtlessly put her at odds with the Scarnettis.
The head of the Justice Council is Lord Justice Bayl Argentine. You probably don't need to influence the Justice Council, but they might be useful allies, as Magnimar has few laws, so much is determined by the creative interpretations of the justices.
The oldest noble family is the Indros family, who descended from Alcaydian Indros, the paladin of Aroden who founded Magnimar and its first Lord Mayor. Currently, their influence has waned and their role is mostly ceremonial, which seems like an easy inroad for an enterprising agent to exploit.
The Kaddren family, another of the oldest families in Magnimar, is focused on the study of magic, and many of its members have studied abroad, though never in Korvosa. They are strongly allied with the Golemworks, so any accomplishments in the Golemworks are sure to impress them. I recommend approaching them if you are knowledgable in arcane matters. For instance, I was able to impress the matriarch, Zimandi Kaddren, and arrange a marriage for one of her daughters. Be sure to name drop how impressive you think Antholus Kaddren was (and make sure you know why--he died breaking the enchantments on the chardas that forced them to serve Riddleport, thus turning them back on their mistress in anger at being controlled).
The Vanderale family is the third of the old elite families that descend from Magnimar's founders. Mivonis Vanderale controls the Merchants' Guild and owns plenty of ships. If you're handy in mercantile endeavors or know your way around a ship, try influencing the Vanderales. They're pretty proud of their family's founder, Nyssalee Vanderale, who beat a Korvosan prince in a duel for Magnimar's independence, so that's one useful talking point. Another is the two Vanderale twins, Cailyn and Romre, whose wizardry defeated all those shriezyx--the spider monsters that poured out of the Irespan a little under a century ago.
The Nirodin family is headed by Cheiskaia Nirodin, a patroness of the arts with a likely-spurious reputation for ties to Korvosa.
The Mindurian family rose to the aristocracy from the most elite of the city's masons. The current matriarch, Filuvia Mindurian, loves gossip, so it should be easy to slip in some seemingly-idle gossip that predisposes her towards Taldor.
The Valdemar family seems to be in the wane from former success in logging, fishing, and shipping, losing ground to the Scarnettis in many of these areas. The family has been having a hard time, and it's patriarch Ethram is dying. Perhaps some clerical assistance would be useful in convincing him that his interests lie with Taldor, but you'll have to go to nearby Sandpoint to find him or else deal with his son Kaleb instead.
The Versade family are known for having the best parties in the city, and Savasha Versade seems amenable to discussion about how to keep it that way, rather than lose the reputation. Bards and other experts in performance could easily make inroads with her.
The Derexhi family made their fortune through mercenary work, founded by Alcaydian Indros's bodyguard Aiten. so this is one of the best places in Magnimar for our martial agents to gain some influence. Their patriarch Randred is a member of the Justice Council. Luma Derexhi, an illegitimate young urban druid, seems malcontent with the way she is treated by her peers and might be an easy contact to use to ingratiate yourself with the family.
The Deverin family are a bit quaint and laid-back, but they have shown an excellent attitude towards helping those less fortunate than themselves. Their patriarch, Hobart, is fighting a recurring fever, so healing magics might be one way to earn his favor.
The Shivarlu family is a minor Ordellian house whose current head, Lady Annsa, is the most influential of Ordellia's nobles, having served six consecutive terms in the House of Ushers. She is also a producer, director, and playwright, so those thespians amidst our ranks might do well to influence her.
Despite her title of "Princess of Sails", Sabriyya Kalmeralm is more of a benign gang lord. Still, she seems fair enough from my interactions with her, so if you're not one of those people who can't stomach the fact that she is Keleshite, she could be a useful ally.
If you can make it into the Osprey Club, take the opportunity--only the highest of Magnimar's elite are usually allowed entry, and the proprietress, Kayasi Zivatchi, surely knows secrets from all of them. This could be an excellent place to catch the nobles off guard, while they are relaxing.
Trosker ep Styrk--fidelity and strength in ancient Taldane (though I'm sure all of you knew that already). The fact that Korvosa even has a city motto in ancient Taldane should already be a good indication to you that we will be able to get some good traction in this city, Varisia's largest and the former colonial capital.
House Arabasti has been the premier house in Korvosa since beating the Porphyria's for the monarchy. However, Eodred II, the last in the line, died childless, so there might not be much of a House Arabasti to influence. Perhaps lesser cousins.
House Arkona is the only family to still live in Old Korvosa. They have grown wealthy through trade with Vudra and their whole estate has a Vudrani theme, so if you speak Vudrani, you can probably impress them. The Arkonas have strong ties to Korvosa's underworld and vices, but supposedly the new lord Glorio is a champion of the people, demolishing his own establishments to make room for tenements.
House Bromathan is a minor noble house that gained its standing when its patriarch sacrificed his own life to save Waydon Endrin from Shoanti assassins. Many of the family serve in the Sable Marines and the Korvosan guard, but the current head of the house, Lord Valdur Bromathan IV, is actually a lesser priest of Sarenrae, so if you're one of those Taldans who can't stand the Dawnflower or are strongly in favor of Prince Stavian's ban, I wouldn't recommend a conversation with him. Perhaps you could talk to his other family members instead, who have always been upset with him for becoming a priest and not a warrior.
House Endrin is small but influential, as it has a history of exemplary soldiers and sable marines dating back to Waydon Endrin, the ranking surviving marine to withstand the Shoanti siege before the colony was founded and the first commander of the colony's defenses. The Endrins have a tendency for heroics and often die in battle. Warriors and accomplished adventurers among our number stand a good chance of influencing them.
House Jeggare is famous for its philanthropy and generous loans to other nobles. According to the priests of Abadar, the Jeggare family may own up to one quarter of all private assets. When talking to the Jeggare family, you could mention famous Pathfinder Varian Jeggare as an inroad.
House Ornelos controls the Acadamae and has many royal advisors and members who control the city's other powerful institutions. Wizardly specialists are probably the best choice to influence House Ornelos.
Magistrate of Commerce Garrick Tann is the master of all taxes in Korvosa. He works to destroy any attempts to clandestinely form guilds as well. Those with a pecuniary interest could talk to him, but be warned that most Korvosans hate his office due to the fact that he collects taxes.
Magistrate of Expenditures Syl Gar spends the tax money on various projects throughout the city. Perhaps you could impress him with knowledge of engineering and the like.
Magistrate of Regulation Lolia Perenne works to prevent cheating among the many merchants of Korvosa. Send clergy of Abadar, paladins, or any with impeccable morals to impress her.
Bonus Section. A little bit about Kaer Maga
Kaer Maga seems like a bizarre choice for influence, but it is by far the oldest city in Varisia. I wouldn't even bother with this section, but I happened to come into contact with some factions in the city, so I might as well give you some small guidance if you find yourself there. I'm not sure if any of these groups would make good nobles, but they seemed among the most influential of the ones I encountered:
The Ardoc family are construct crafters who have a large amount of influence in the Balconies of Bis. They value arcane spellcasting but are unfortunately rather patriarchal and somewhat sexist. Still, I did them a favor, so maybe they will look on you favorably.
The Troll Augurs might seem by their name to be an absurd choice for influence, but they are actually rather urbane and savvy--it seems that part of the reason for their excellent prophecies is that they have an extensive information network that could be of great use to you, as it was for me.
The Dusk Wardens guide travelers up to the city, and they seem to respect competent adventurers.
The Commerce League, headed by Dakar, is a powerful organization that has helped the Society once, though Dakar seems like he might be difficult to influence.
The Arcanists' Circle is a powerful political group in the city, full of talented mages.
Fellow skeptics of Andoran,
I call for your vigilance, as Andoran seems to have infiltrated the courier service and is now appending to the end of all faction missives sent to our personal address an exhortation to listen to that pompous windbag Colson Maldris and represent Andoran in the coming days. I can confirm that this happened to me, as well as two of my associates in the Grand Lodge and the Lantern Lodge. We must stay every vigilant for such brazen Andoren trickery, however foolish and obvious it may be!
Reposting this here so discussion can be moved out of GM threads--
I've gotten to the bottom of it in an old thread. Basically, daylight has a special clause, so let's look at it without daylight for a moment:
Any darkness spell requires a higher level light spell to both beat it and continue to shine light. So to shine through a darkness, you need a 3rd spell level or heightened higher light spell (such as clerical continual flame) while shining through deeper darkness requires a 4th spell level or heightened higher light spell (requires heighten in other words).
Daylight has a special escape clause that says that areas of overlapping daylight and deeper darkness return to prevailing condition, which means that technically heightening daylight is useless (continual flame is a better bet).
So here's the Venn Diagram:
Prevailing Bright Light--Darkness puts you to normal light unless there is a 3rd level or higher light spell present, in which case bright light. Deeper Darkness puts you to dim light unless there is a daylight or any 4th level or higher light spell present, in which case bright light.
Prevailing Normal Light--Darkness puts you to dim light unless there is a 3rd level or higher light spell present, in which case normal light or whatever the light spell gives, whichever is better. Deeper Darkness puts you to darkness unless there is a daylight, in which case it goes back to normal light, or any 4th level or higher light spell present, in which case it goes to normal light or the light spell, whichever is better.
Prevailing Dim Light--Darkness puts you to darkness unless there is a 3rd level or higher light spell present, in which case dim light or whatever the light spell gives, whichever is better. Deeper Darkness puts you to supernatural darkness unless there is a daylight, in which case it goes back to dim light, or any 4th level or higher light spell present, in which case it goes to dim light or the light spell, whichever is better.
Prevailing Darkness--Darkness doesn't change the light level, but it does prevent nonmagical light sources from helping unless there is a 3rd level or higher light spell present, in which case whatever the light spell gives. Deeper Darkness puts you to supernatural darkness unless there is a daylight, in which case it goes back to regular darkness, or any 4th level or higher light spell present, in which case it goes to the light spell.
Other fun facts--light spells and darkness spells can be used to counterspell or dispel others of the same or lower level if you can target the object that is the target of the other spell (usually by touching it).
As far as I've searched, maneuverability for flying creatures is mentioned in two contexts. In the Fly skill, it specifically calls out that maneuverability only gives you a bonus or penalty if you have a natural fly speed:
Fly skill wrote:
Creatures with a fly speed treat the Fly skill as a class skill. A creature with a natural fly speed receives a bonus (or penalty) on Fly skill checks depending on its maneuverability:
Whereas in the section under movement, the word natural isn't included, but it calls out that you should reference the Fly skill for more specific details:
Until recently, this seemed to be an open and shut case to me of specific trumps general, wherein the limitation of application of modifiers from maneuverability to natural fly speeds was intended to make fly checks more difficult for spellcasters and subjects of flight magic that generally grants bonuses. I'm all for requiring more investment from PCs to be a master of flying, so I don't mind ignoring the bonus. But then Shattered Star introduced a Lesser Wings of Flying that gives you a poor maneuverability, and I'm not as OK with ignoring what seems to be one of the intended restrictions on the item (it's also slower than the regular wings). So does maneuverability actually do anything if you aren't a natural flyer? It used to be hugely influential in 3.5, so are items like the Lesser Wings of Flying artifacts of our collective memory of those times?
What do you think?
With a rules forum thread and talking to some other friends who have a good list of dev clarifications, I am as near certain as possible that this is something not covered anywhere in the rules, the FAQ, or past clarifications.
A player's PFS concept hinges on whether natural weapons count as light or one-handed weapons. Literally the only place this is defined is in the "Special" clause of Weapon Finesse, which states that they are considered as light weapons. There are two schools of thought on this matter, and both have valid points--
1) The Special clause of Weapon Finesse only applies to the Weapon Finesse feat, and furthermore the fact that they felt the need to assert this fact at all in the Special clause indicates that the writers do not believe that natural weapons are ordinarily light weapons, so they inserted the clause to make specific trump general. It's most likely that natural weapons are neither light, nor one-handed, nor two-handed, but instead their own classification.
2) Since it doesn't say anything about it anywhere else in the rules, the Weapon Finesse feat's Special clause creates a universal rule that natural weapons are always considered light weapons.
There's also a third, which I subscribe to more-or-less.
3) The Special clause doesn't say anything one way or the other, and we need a clarification in order to know which way to go. Without a strong enough reason to disallow it, if I was blindsided by a character using this fact, I would allow it, but I know many GMs would do otherwise and rightfully so.
The player agrees that both readings are reasonable, and he has plenty of time to change his build (and he doesn't mind) if it is ruled against him. He's just worried about playing up to level 7 and then having the idea (Duelist class using bite attacks "so I can parry with my face" as he puts it) work inconsistently.
A PFS player in our lodge is wondering whether there is any official documentation as to whether a natural attack is a light or one-handed weapon. He would like to use his character's bite attack with the Duelist class. It's clearly a finessable piercing weapon, but the exact wording in the class description calls for the weapon to be light or one-handed. Has anyone seen any reference to the handedness of natural attacks (other than counting as light for Weapon Finesse purposes)? In a home-game, any GM would probably allow this, but in PFS we need to play by the Rules as Written without a dev clarification (or Mark or Mike). There's plenty of time to find out the answer, since the character is only level 2 at this point.
A player asked me this question--if you're a snake, ooze, earthworm, or any other type of creature with no arms or hands (maybe even a human who lost both arms and hasn't received a regenerate), can you still get claws with lesser beast totem. By strict rules as written, it looks like you can, so since this is for PFS, if no one here on the rules forum can find anything, I'll bring it over there.
So this has been coming up a few times for a variety of reasons. Just who can you hire for spellcasting services in PFS, given access to a large enough city. My guess is that it's likely to be restricted in the same way as scrolls. wands, and potions--if you can hire the spell from a wizard, druid, or cleric, then you must, using the lowest level available, just like with wands, potions, and scrolls.
The only thing I know for sure is that there's a messageboard clarification that you cannot find a witch of a specific patron to cast you a spell from their patron list (which I assume would generalize to domains and bloodlines as well). There's a bunch of reasons why this matters a reasonable bit.
Price--If you can pay a paladin to cast a lesser restoration for you, you can get yourself restored for 1/6 the price of a cleric (something that was so undesired in wands and scrolls back in the day that the whole wand and scroll system for PFS was patched to prevent it, so I can't believe the same isn't true for spellcasting services). There are numerous other instances of money-savers here, particularly with summoners.
Spell Level--In situations where higher spell level is an advantage (light and darkness spells are a good example), if spellcasting services are unrestricted, you can pay a bit more to get the spell at the highest possible spell level by finding the caster that gets the spell late entry.
Spells of 7th level or higher are never available--If you can get spells from a summoner (or a bard, but they have fewer good spells), then you can bypass this restriction, since all their spells are actually level 6 or lower.
Arcane/Divine--Sometimes it matters if a spell is arcane or divine. For example, if you can hire spellcasting services from a summoner, in addition to the monetary savings you can get on certain early-entry spells, you can also get an arcane barkskin, allowing a sorcerer or bard to learn barkskin with a ring of spell knowledge.
Now, I can't find anything other than my logic that spellcasting services would not break the trend established with scrolls, potions, and wands to directly support my guess, and I don't want to introduce table variation if lots of other GMs are allowing this, so I'd like to find a definitive answer.
A player recently asked me about Order of the Tome in PFS. They can use either arcane or divine scrolls (their choice upon gaining the ability) with a caster level check equal to their cavalier level -4 (or just outright use the scroll automatically if that caster level is high enough, as per normal scroll rules). Thanks to PFS's houserule on scrolls (removing the arcane/divine distinction), this seems to imply that Order of the Tome cavaliers can actually use all scrolls (so one that can use divine scrolls can still use magic missile and one that can use arcane scrolls can still use divine favor). I'm assuming this was just another unintended consequence of the scroll houserule for PFS and not intended to work that way, but I'm having a hard time deciding how to rule on what spells would work with this class ability.
The relevant ability is below:
Order of thge Tome wrote:
At 8th level, the cavalier gains the ability to read scrolls and cast arcane or divine spells from a scroll as if he had a caster level of his cavalier level –4. He can decipher all scrolls, using his Linguistics skill in place of Spellcraft, and does not need to cast read magic in order to decipher a scroll. Which type of spell the cavalier can cast is based on the Knowledge skill he chose for specialized knowledge. If he chose Knowledge (arcana), he can cast any arcane spells from a scroll. If he chose Knowledge (religion), he can cast any divine spells from a scroll. Furthermore, he gains a +1 bonus to an ability score for purposes of determining the level of spells he can cast from a scroll, and this bonus increases by +1 at 10th level and every 5 levels thereafter (to a maximum of +4 at 20th level). The ability score that gains the bonus is dependent on which skill the cavalier picked for his specialized knowledge ability. If the cavalier picked Knowledge (arcana), he gains the bonus to Intelligence. If he picked Knowledge (religion), he gains the bonus to Wisdom.
As the title says--
Courageous weapon is only a +1 equivalent and increases all morale bonuses by half the weapon's enhancement bonus. Since raging Strength and Con increases are morale, this seems to mean that a +2 Furious Courageous weapon will increase the barbarian's raging Strength and Con by 2 (or 3 for a +4 Furious Courageous, or +1 Strength and Con for a +1 Courageous). Now, this can give temporary odd stat bonuses, meaning that a +1 Courageous weapon is ridiculous good for someone with odd Strength and Con but does little with even Strength and Con--I know it's been a design choice to not include temporary odd stat bonuses, so is it possible that Courageous was only meant to apply to morale bonuses to rolls, rather than morale bonuses to stats? Clearly by strict Rules As Written you add to Strength and Con, but it seems unintended to me (and also much much too much for a +1 equivalent weapon at the high end, since it's potentially giving the wielder +3 to hit, +3 to damage, +3 to all saves, +3 to all skills even if it doesn't give Strength or Con).
Here's an interesting question for which we didn't have a good answer at our last table of PFS--suppose you are performing an act that is not an alignment violation for your character but is clearly in violation of a deity's principles. For instance, a Pharasmin priestess who creates undead, a Shelynite who destroys all artwork she comes across and breaks up happy relationships, a celibate Calistrian who always turns the other cheek, a craven teetotaler Caydenite, a slobbish LN priestess of Iomedae dual-wielding a wand of infernal healing and an unholy battleaxe while summoning devils, etc. Discounting the Separatist archetype, of course.
What if the character is from a PrC or archetype that requires them to be a worshiper of said deity or that directly grants power from that deity (there are a few of these out there). There seems to be precedent for some pretty out-there clerics still receiving spells in Golarion, but on the other hand, perhaps those are meant to be Separatists?
I guess there's possible RP reasons for any of these as concepts, but suppose there was none given--such as a Pharasmin casting animate dead despite the goddess's hard stance on undead with no explanation other than "it's optimal for us to have some additional meatshields" or an Iomedaen with wands of infernal healing despite Iomedae's feelings on evil outsiders recommending them for all out of combat healing because "it's almost twice as cost efficient per hit point--who cares about the devil part?".
There's a solid process out there as far as evil acts go, but what about acts that aren't alignment-breaking but go against the nature of a deity when the deity is hardcoded into the character's mechanics? I'm guessing the response is to just mention the inconsistency "Pharasma despises the creation of undead" and then not do anything at all if the warning is ignored.
Had a player ask me this today--the new Ring of Spell Knowledge from UE allows arcane spontaneous casters to gain additional arcane spells known, even from another arcane spell list. However, the player would like to gain spells known that are traditionally found on divine lists (such as divine favor) by using the fact that certain witch patrons have these spells on their patron lists. Now, it seems open and shut that a witch with strength patron could cast divine favor into the ring. And in a home game that doesn't use PFS's special campaign ruling on scrolls, it is also clear that only a Strength patron witch could even possibly make an arcane scroll of divine favor.
But in PFS, with the campaign ruling that all scrolls are both arcane and divine, the player is wondering if that means he can't just buy a basic scroll of divine favor for 25 gold (or any other spell on any witch patron list for that matter) and have it added to the ring, treating the scroll as arcane on the grounds that there is a witch patron out there that grants it. My gut thought is that the answer is no, since this brings us back to something like the 3.5 Archivist class where you try to search through as many books as possible to find an obscure domain that granted the spell you wanted (in this case, searching for witch patrons instead), but I certainly don't want to nix it if it's legal.
So to move this out of a semi-related PFS thread.
We were discussing the use of the ki arrows ability.
Correcting for the average of 1d8 being 4.5, that would be 27. But this doesn't take into account accuracy or any added damage to the arrows.
Let's assume we have a 12 level Zen Archer for the example above (where 5 attacks become 6). Let's further say that the Zen Archer can hit most enemies 90% of the time with the highest BAB attacks (hits on a 3 or above). This is probably an overestimate in favor of ki arrows (since ki arrows is better the more you hit). This means the second pair of attacks hit 65% of the time, and the final attack hits 40% of the time. So you expect to make 3.5 hits if you don't use ki for an extra attack, or 4.4 hits if you do. So right away we're looking at 24.5 expected damage for ki arrows and 19.8 expected damage for taking an extra attack with ki.
Now, however, we have to add in extra damage from various effects. Even if a zen archer doesn't spend feats on archery for some reason, they still get Weapon Specialization for free as a bonus feat. Let's assume that somehow, between Strength, Point Blank Shot, enhancement bonuses on the bow, and party buffs, the zen archer can only scrape another +4 to damage at level 12. This is obviously a stark underestimate at that level (my level 9 Zen Archer has +6 from permanent items only and without using Deadly Aim). The ki arrows is now giving 45.5 and taking an extra attack gives 46.2. For every point more you're doing than this, the extra attack gains more and more, and for every decrease in accuracy (at least until your accuracy becomes so low that you're basically missing with everything), the extra attack gains as well.
Obviously if you have access to gravity bow through a spell-storing ioun stone or wand, ki arrows is even worse.
As we know, Pathfinder sometimes leaves out common sense rules, like the fact that dead characters can't take actions and the rules on getting tired and going to sleep. It seems like it is currently 100% in the expect table variation realm without official clarification.
What if, in a PFS scenario, one of the PCs uses an ability with a strict time limit and then request to have their PCs take continuous mentally-intensive action for 24 hours? Whether or not they can do so will permanently affect their PFS PC in all future adventures, and the limitation is potentially worth about 700 gold from just the time it happened last session (and it will clearly happen again for this PC). It happens that in this PC's case, the thing they wanted to do for 24 straight hours was add new spells to their spell list (which takes 1 hour per spell level).
At first, I thought there were limits for an 8-hour workday on this activity, as there are for item creation, but we determined that there are not. Deciding that it didn't make any sense to be able to stay active indefinitely without rest, I eventually ruled that performing a mentally and magically intensive activity would require Fort saves to avoid fatigue and eventual exhaustion and unconsciousness. The character managed to go for I believe 13 hours before tiring himself out under this ruling. The player says that if campaign staff rules an eight-hour limit like item creation, he's happy to remove the spells he learned beyond that limit and I of course agreed to go back and give him the last hours if the ruling is that characters truly never get tired.
We may need an official ruling on Deathwatch. As it stands, there's a face slot item to gain the effects of Deathwatch at will for 2000 gp (also a variant tiefling with the same ability). The question is: how much benefit does Deathwatch give you?
The spell doesn't require concentration like detect magic to figure things out, so it seems you access the information instantaneously. The spell's wording is silent on whether it lets you know the presence and number of creatures in the area. If so, this could presumably make you immune to any ambush, even from invisible creatures or creatures with very high stealth. Furthermore, it seems that since there is no action for concentrating on the spell, there are no rules at all for spinning around the cone as you move, thus pinpointing invisible opponents to the square as they hit the edge of the cone.
I'd dearly like to be wrong about this--if I missed a prior PFS ruling, can anyone point me to it.
We have some people in-region with at-will deathwatch, and even the heaviest users agree that it needs some official clarification to specify what it can and cannot do. Is deathwatch truly tantamount to (or in fact superior to) Lifesense? If so, is it really only worth 2000 gp to get it for free?
Invisible or hiding creatures are pretty much a mainstay of PFS scenarios, so it will be good to know if we should all follow this rising trend and buy the lenses or if there's something I'm missing or a clarification that makes this too-good-to-be-true item a bit more down-to-earth.
So at Gencon, I played and GMed at a whole bunch of great tables. Great players, great GMs. But there was one thing I noticed a few times. Other characters were sometimes blatantly illegal, even without an audit. However, every time I came across these characters, it was when I was a player.
One thing that two players were doing (which is statistically significant out of 9 games at Gencon) was misapplying the QFP boon:
They were taking the axebeak right out of the Bestiary 3 as a mount for characters who didn't have a class feature companion of any kind.
We probably need better wording on the boon, since I'm assuming there was no malice and that players just honestly thought they could get a normal axebeak if they didn't have the class feature, even though the wording, though circuitous, seems to me to leave no leeway on the matter.
Another character, for example, had a paladin with a Chaotic Good patron. It wasn't just a new player picking a deity at random without knowing about the deity--the player was a good roleplayer and correctly roleplayed all aspects of said CG deity.
These were also mostly characters more than halfway to retirement levels. They played through over 20 scenarios without anyone noticing. And it's not like it required an audit--these were blatantly announced salient facts about the characters.
So what is another player's place when you see something like that? As a GM, I'm not in favor of lengthy audits slowing down the game, but since these problems were evident without, I let the players know, such that the GMs also heard. The players shrugged and ignored this, and the GMs also didn't care to enforce it in any way. All these games were fun, and the players and GMs were otherwise great. Was there something else I should have done? I figured that as a player, I had done my due diligence, and it would have been too much to pursue it any further (and also I just felt like doing any more as a fellow player would be a dick move, since these were nice people and good players other than that).
What do you do in these situations, if they ever happen to you? As a side question, how can we fix the QFP Boon to make it more obvious which characters can use it. I hadn't even considered the possibility that this many people would misread it the way I mentioned in the spoiler above.
Just an FYI to other PFSers. Personally, this is a welcome change, but I know there were a good number of PFSers on the forums with a universal Masterwork Use Magic Device Tool or a universal Masterwork Diplomacy Tool. Given the emphasis in the text on the power of the individual GM to decide on a case-by-case basis for MW Tools, that probably means that any individual MW Tool won't be PFS legal unless approved by Mark or Mike on a case-by-case basis, and in any case Diplomacy and Use Magic Device are called out specifically as not having universal tools:
Ultimate Equipment, Masterwork Tool:
This tool is perfect for its
intended job. It grants a +2
circumstance bonus on a
related skill check (if any).
The bonuses provided by
multiple masterwork items
do not stack.
Several common items already count as masterwork
tools for particular skills. These are the alchemist’s lab,
climber’s kit, disguise kit, healer’s kit, masterwork musical
instrument, and masterwork thieves’ tools. Therefore, there
is no masterwork climber’s kit, masterwork healer’s kit, and
so on—those items are already the best available for general
checks with the relevant skill.
Some skills have no appropriate tool or masterwork tool—
no nonmagical item exists that grants a bonus for all uses
of that skill. For example, just because a certain perfume is
favored by local nobles (granting a +2 circumstance bonus
on Diplomacy checks to influence them) doesn’t mean that
perfume has the same effect on a member of the thieves’
guild, a foreign berserker, or a medusa. Likewise, just because
a fake beard woven by dwarves out of the beards of famous
dwarves may grant a +2 circumstance bonus on Use Magic
Device checks to emulate the dwarven race doesn’t mean the
beard has any effect on using that skill to activate elven items
or paladin items, or to decipher a written spell.
Individual GMs may want to allow masterwork tools for
other skills at the listed cost. The circumstance bonus for
such a tool should never be more than +2. The tool should
either have a limited number of uses (such as the disguise
and healer’s kits) or only apply to certain aspects of the skill
(such as the balancing pole’s bonus on Acrobatics checks to
traverse a narrow surface or the magnifying glass’s bonus on
Appraise checks for detailed items).
So you're running one of the many many PFS scenarios where enemies have deeper darkness. Heck, it's even one where they have deeper darkness at will. All the lights go out. The PCs, expecting this, bring daylight. They don't have Heighten Spell, so in the overlap of the two spells, normal lighting conditions prevail. They were smart and brought a sunrod or torch, so they can see again. So far, so good.
Here's where we get to something that seems to have severe table variance, and since some versions of what can be done are much much deadlier than others, I think it's pretty important that we all agree on it, whichever side we pick. Now the monster goes again, and it can cast deeper darkness again. But what happens?
If the monster just casts deeper darkness on more and more objects, all the castings in the world still leave regular lighting conditions in the overlap with daylight. So that's pointless. That's not what you what to do--you want to use the clause in the spell that says
Deeper Darkness, PRD wrote:
Deeper darkness can be used to counter or dispel any light spell of equal or lower spell level.
OK, but what do those two mean? It seems that you can ready to counterspell the PC's daylight with your deeper darkness, and you can even dispel their annoying daylight altogether! So if you're like most of the GMs I've seen, you say "OK, it casts the spell again and the light goes out." If you have multiple enemies capable of deeper darkness, you may even be even more devious and have that counterspell readied, so daylight never even happens. But here's the thing--
Counterspelling, PRD wrote:
To complete the action, you must then cast an appropriate spell. As a general rule, a spell can only counter itself. If you are able to cast the same spell and you have it prepared (or have a slot of the appropriate level available), you cast it, creating a counterspell effect. If the target is within range, both spells automatically negate each other with no other results.
But what about the "dispel" part. This is found in the section under stacking magical effects.
Stacking Magical Effects wrote:
So the dispelling version is a negation that occurs if you cast daylight and deeper darkness on the same target. I've seen multiple PFS GMs have the enemy do this to extinguish the light. In my games so far, I haven't been doing this because--
Deeper Darkness, PRD wrote:
So it seems to me that both of these tactics (countering and dispelling the daylight) do not work unless the enemy touches the object you targeted with daylight. Some GMs to whom I've mentioned this (actually all GMs who try to have the monster use this plan) have not agreed.
It would be great to get some consensus on this, though. Obviously whether or not the PCs can see during an encounter makes a huge difference and can probably be the difference between a tough but safe encounter and a TPK. I think I'm right, but I'm fine with being wrong on this, and if I am in fact wrong, I'm doing the PCs in my games a disservice by making it too easy on them, cheating them of the full challenge, so please, any points on either side of this are welcome. This gets even more extreme in a special where tables compete with each other for a prize, as obviously a table that has their daylight removed from range automatically at will by deeper darkness is going to perform worse than a table that doesn't. I hope you guys agree that we should all be playing this either one way or the other, whichever that winds up being.
A while back, I was at a PFS game where we all had fun. I played with a group of great folks all around, both players and GMs.
The last encounter was brutal, and we almost TPKed. Basically most of the party wasn't ready defensively for the enemies' attacks. Two characters died.
Details of the deaths, if they influence your opinion:
One of them was putting themselves in harm's way. The other, the team cleric, basically realized that the other people had AC low enough to make being hit a near-certainty, so she buffed her already best-in-the-party AC up before the fight and reluctantly held the front line so the multiple archers could do their thing and so the rogue could get a flank (The cleric generally expected to hang in the back, but there was literally no other possible melee to flank with the rogue). She prevented three deaths by double-channeling and generally provided clutch team spells, trying successfully to fend off the encounter while the rest of the team got their act together. This only ended when the GM got a string of luck that would make Desna proud and rolled the 6 attacks getting 16 or above on all 7 of them and one of them a natural 20, with a 16 or above on the dice to confirm (16 on the dice was needed to hit the cleric), taking the cleric from full, where she brought herself by healing last turn, to dead before she could heal again)
So, after the game, the topic of Raise Dead came up. The player of the cleric believed that the team should split the cost to bring her back to fighting condition. Half the team (including me and one of the archers) agreed with this, and the other half looked at the first half like they had four eyes. They explained that they would be happy to pay their share of any necessary costs after the cleric had emptied her pockets of all gold and prestige. They didn't want her to lose the character forever, but other than that, they felt the cleric should pay for the rest. This discussion had been slightly predicted earlier in the scenario when the cleric offered the whole party to put Breath of Life scrolls in spring-loaded wrist sheathes for any party member who chose to buy one. That way she could use that person's scroll of Breath of Life and save them from death. The same players who later didn't want to split the raise balked at this and told the cleric that she should be using her own scroll of Breath of Life to save their characters and paying for it herself, which just seems like more of the whole "The Cleric has to pay for the CLW wand to heal me" point of view. They said the cleric was greedy for asking everyone to buy their own Breath of Life scroll to carry around for emergency use.
The cleric's player felt like she prevented a TPK (and she did) by putting herself at unusual risk due to the party composition to save the rest of the team from certain death. She pointed out that she could have kept withdrawing from the enemies and let them get to the archers, in which case the archers would have been the ones to die (the enemies hit the archers on a much lower roll than a 16, and the cleric had been tanking 11 attacks per round until we eventually dropped one of them and took the attacks down to 6). The player of the cleric is always the first to offer to split the raise if anyone dies during the scenario, unless the character dies from doing something stupid after being warned by the party "If you do X and die for it, we're not helping pay for your Raise."
So the upshot is that the people who didn't want to pay eventually paid a substantially reduced share, but they were pretty disgruntled, even though they had been having fun up until that point, and the rest of us who wanted to support the cleric insisted on paying more than a full share to try to compensate this, so the cleric barely avoided losing money for playing the scenario.
So what about your group? How does the social contract work for splitting raises?
I can see a lot of possible ways to do it, and they each have their pros and cons. In my opinion, however, failing to split raises is short-sightedly selfish and ultimately detrimental for the community as a whole, even for the players of classes that keep themselves out of danger by relying on others to stay in front. Why detrimental for the community? Because that kind of social contract is teaching the players of the frontliners who die only one lesson--"Gosh, I shouldn't be playing one of these classes where everything attacks me and I get killed guarding the path to the squishier characters. I should be one of those guys in the back that never has to pay for a raise and make someone else do this job."
This year's Paizocon was amazing--here's some of the highlights for me, with shoutouts to everyone I can remember (and some whose names have been stolen from my con-addled mind, perhaps due to some non-goblin writing them down).
Linda and I got to the con super-late on Thursday night, so sadly no meet and eat or other Thursday events.
Friday morning for me was a JP Chapleau double feature, as he turned out to be my PFS GM when I changed to his table to balance out my original table (large high level party that was playing down). JP, thanks for managing to make it up to Paizocon and run two great games despite the fire!
In our morning game, we were undermanned in exploring the Ruins of Trovaska, but we managed to pull through thanks to clever play from our Machinesmith and Sorcerer allies. Shout-outs for the x3 spear crit that made the Sorcerer the unlikely melee MVP and to the Machinesmith for disguising as the BBEG to trick that tough bastard at the end).
In the afternoon PFS game, I played my illiterate barbarian with three halfling Shadow Lodge brothers as well as a paladin of Iomedae and a cleric/rogue of Sarenrae. Fortunately, the paladin was willing to read Memory of Dreams's faction mission to him faithfully, so he managed to accomplish his mission. Even better, no one was eaten that scenario!
In the evening was the Grand Convocation. The GMs running the side tables for the mini-events were all particularly good, especially the Almighty Oracle channeling the deities. Our group included two rangers, an oracle of nature, and a mounted combat focused summoner. Special thanks to our merciful GM for guiding us through the shadowy horror that was the final showdown!
On Saturday, we started with Jason Nelson's awesome pirate game. Shout-outs to all our worthy pirate foes, though they had to be put to the sword for the glory of House Thrune. Special kudos to Jason for running both a smooth, exciting naval battle and a smooth, exciting combat encounter with over 15 characters and creatures up to 15th level (and archer fire on both sides every round), all in under 4 hours. Not just a great freelancer but also a great GM. For those of you reading who weren't in the game, if you're wondering about the naval system, it worked really well, and Jason had the fight very well balanced--it came down to some lucky crits from our side early in the fight that we leveraged to slowly widen the gap.
In the afternoon, I was going to have an open slot, but I got a call from my friend Cedric that there was an opening in his Minionquest game with Gary McBride. We had many great evil minions on our team and were able to somehow accomplish all our goals for the masters without any replacement minions. This is owed in no small part due to the conniving plotting skills of our unofficial ringleader, Nick the Knife, played by Jason Scott, so a shout-out to Jason for being just the kind of evil schemer that we needed to win the day (and for a well-placed natural 20 on bluff, you know which one). The things we did to that sheep that day shall be forever upon your conscience. Shout-out as well to Amber Scott, our evil party face, who joined us in death in the final encounter. Survivor's guilt shall forever haunt our adept of Asmodeus and dwarven exile. Extra kudos to Gary for GMing with real panache--great storytelling, dramatically-acted NPCs, and a great example of fast-and-loose rule-of-cool style gameplay done right. That last is high praise coming from me, as that's not my usual style, but I can't imagine Minionquest being run any other way.
After the game, I quickly went to get my RotRLAE signed at the panel thanks to a heads-up from Amber, and then the evening had the banquet. That was really the first time I got to talk to people extensively. I had a great conversation in line on the way in about a few topics, including different styles to play Kingmaker (he was running and I was playing, but we managed to share tales and inspiration anyway). Once inside, Linda and I rejoined Justin Sluder for a Gnot Gninjas mini-reunion at Adam Daigle's table. With Nic Logue and Brandon Hodge, as well as Trent from my Grand Convocation team, we formed teanm Donkey Baby Daddy, and we bravely fought to defend our title for the trivia contest against our most worthy adversaries, the Best Masters. Both teams got a perfect score, and we wound up losing the tiebreak by a narrow margin (the word 'sky' in 'City of the Fallen Sky', which shall now haunt me for the rest of my days). If only we had Jeremiziah like last year, we might have pulled through. Sorry to let you down Nic--I know you were very excited when it seemed the store credit might be in our grasp so you could grab the later bestiaries.
The next morning, I managed to stumble into the playtest for Project Swallowtail. I've given a long explanation of how the game worked in the Swallowtail Blog thread, so here I'll give a shout-out to the other five great players at my table for their seriously great teamwork in taking down Ripnugget at the last moment (the goblin bastard hid himself in the very last place we looked for him!). Extra kudos to Mike Selinker, Chad Brown, and Vic Wertz for providing great explanations to all our questions and for making a game that is both refreshingly different and fondly familiar--as I've said before, it can't have been easy to capture the feel of PFRPG in the new medium, but I think you guys have done it.
After the game, I went down to the lobby to chat. I dropped by to officially send Mike Brock regards from the Boston PFS Lodge, since our VC and VLs couldn't make it. Then I joined Sean K. Reynolds, Jodi, and Sean's "new best friend" in a discussion that covered sharing tales with Jodi about Gencon's draconian policies, Sean's topsy-turvy transformation from advocating against the TSR "we own you" policy on fan sites to being hired by TSR as online coordinator, and the pros and cons of the fact that monsters and characters are built the same way in Pathfinder.
Afterwards, I wound up at a table chatting with Erik Mona, Gary McBride, Ryan Costello, and Dave Gross, learning the secrets of Erik's legendary 3rd edition rule design credits (OK maybe not so legendary), and discovering the answer to the following riddle: If Dave Gross tells Ryan Costello "You can't leave now, read to the bottom of this page!", what do you think you'll find there? A shocking plot twist? A sex scene? A big fight? If you ignored all of those possibilities and said "a pun", then you win some. Otherwise you lose some.
Later, I wound up talking to Justin Sluder, as well as all sorts of awesome folks who passed us by, for quite a bit. Dale McCoy chatted with us about secret plans for even more JBE awesomeness in the future. Later, Matt Goodall joined us for a discussion of our shared love for challenging scenarios and a commiseration on certain overpowered abilities that Matt and I (mostly) agreed on.
Cheers and good gaming!
Take a look at the on an object paragraph for grease
The spell can also be used to create a greasy coating on an item. Material objects not in use are always affected by this spell, while an object wielded or employed by a creature requires its bearer to make a Reflex saving throw to avoid the effect. If the initial saving throw fails, the creature immediately drops the item. A saving throw must be made in each round that the creature attempts to pick up or use the greased item. A creature wearing greased armor or clothing gains a +10 circumstance bonus on Escape Artist checks and combat maneuver checks made to escape a grapple, and to their CMD to avoid being grappled.
Up until now, everyone I know has read this to mean that if you make your first Reflex save, the effect doesn't happen--you pull the weapon out of the way of the conjured grease, or whatever. Everything after the 'if' that follows my bolding is under the 'if' clause. This isn't the only spell that uses that confusing version of 'if' (suffocation comes to mind).
However, recently I've seen the interpretation that even if you make your first save, the spell is going to last for 1 minute per level on your weapon. I see where this interpretation could come from in the text, but I don't agree. Since both of us are in PFS, it would be good to figure out which way is right. If we can't figure it out at all, we can always FAQ this.
I'll start by saying that I haven't come across any of these sorts of things in my personal games of PFS, and I'm only listing the three types in the title as examples. This isn't spurred by a particular event--I just happened to see another one of these types of characters when looking at poster profiles for fun, leading me to muse. I have, however, heard of all of them, at least in passing, and I've seen in people's profiles that such characters do exist. The basic idea is--what do you do when a character concept violates canon?
A rundown on each of the three in the title:
Calistrian Priestesses Who Operate Out of Cheliax--
From Cheliax: Empire of Devils, p25 at the bottom: "Some faiths, however, are forbidden under pain of torture and execution. These include the worship of any god of chaos..."
This also goes for clergy of other chaotic deities who operate out of Cheliax (the country, not the faction), but for some reason, probably Zarta Dralneen's manner, Calistrians seem to be most common.
Clerics of Aroden--
This also goes for clerics of concepts, clerics of Razmir, etc
Paladins of Cayden--
This also goes for other paladins of deities that aren't LG, NG, or LN. Pharasma and Cayden seem most common though.
The answer might just be to ignore it, I guess. If I ever see something like this, my plan is to alert the player and then just not do anything else about it.
It's probably unlikely, but the real dilemma for me is the situation where you run into two characters at the same table and the canon-breaker collides with the backstory of the other character.
For example, in character introduction:
Character A: "My name is Zena, a humble servant of the Savored Sting, and I run a very pleasurable temple and...adult establishment on Nessus Street in Egorian. Come check me out some time." *wink*
Character B: "My name is Alicia. After my parents were tortured and executed for worshipping Calistria in Cheliax, I was enslaved until freed by the Eagle Knights. Now I serve the cause of freedom and hope to one day earn revenge against Cheliax in Calistria's name. I'm not sure how you're openly running a temple of Calistria in Egorian though..."
Anyway, as I said above, in these situations I would probably just inform the player of the conflict and then not take any sort of action. As a world-setting lore lover, it would annoy me a bit, but it's obviously not worth ruining the entire fun of the player of the lore-breaking character over a minor concern for myself.
I'm just wondering--has anyone wiser than I am thought of a way to do better than that?
So I didn't read Liquid Courage carefully until today. Am I correct that it is literally useless until level 8 (and it's useless again at level 11)? I believe that it gives a +1 morale bonus to saves against mind-affecting spells, which does not stack with the +2 morale bonus to all will saves you already get from rage. This is a lesser issue with several other rage powers, but this one is the main offender since it is possible to take it at level 2 and it literally can't help you until level 8 (and even then it's pretty meager, since at level 11, the rage bonus increases to equal Liquid Courage's bonus again). Did I screw up? Should this be errataed? Has it been already and I just don't know? Should this be FAQed?
I happened to espy a shiny new (and as-yet-unannounced) Venture Lieutenant title on David Montgomery/HarleyQuinnX (appropriately in the surprises thread). Three cheers for David! Maybe we'll see more people from the Boston Lodge in this thread (I only know of ~2 others who post on the forums).
I just posted a thread about my PFS-based playtest of Crane Style on the General Discussion boards here. I mentioned the fact that I made a character to test the balance of Crane Wing before and heard that other esteemed community members (including I think at least one VC) had been doing the same. So this thread is only to solicit more data from fellow PFSers, since that forum is the right forum for the playtest discussion but this is the forum to talk to my PFS brethren. So please feel free to add any playtest data on Crane Style to the other thread I linked, but leave discussion of the data to the other thread (and maybe post here to say that you added something to bump this thread for visibility). My goal is to have a solid playtest with as many data points as possible. I'll be posting my own conclusions in the linked thread after more people have time to potentially contribute. If you have anything to add, thanks!
A while ago, a lot of threads appeared about crane style (specifically crane wing). A few posters thought it was overpowered. I somewhat agreed with them, but most of the board disagreed, and they made a good point--the people who thought that crane wing was overpowered often referenced contrived situations where the crane wing character got an "auto-win", and they had no good actual playtest data on how it would play in a real game environment. Furthermore, the "crane wing isn't broken" posters argued that in a situation where one character is highly defensive, normally the enemies can ignore them and target the weaker members.
So now it's months later, and I've worked pretty hard to get some solid playtest evidence on the matter, with as standardized a play environment as we can manage over the internet--Pathfinder Society Organized Play. These should give a solid idea of a variety of realistic combat encounters that would occur in a typical PFRPG game (and it's a gateway for new players to PFRPG, so I believe it's the best source of playtest scenarios). To that end, I made a Monk/Fighter named Iakhovas and played him in a variety of scenarios (he's a Master of Many Styles, so he started with Crane Wing at level 1) under I think 4 different GMs. To those of you who aren't familiar with PFS, scenarios usually have various possible subtiers, and I played Iakhovas as a low-level character in the highest subtier when possible. For those of you familiar with PFS wondering how I managed to do that so often, I have other characters at the same level and I would just play the other characters if I wasn't playing up that day--it's one of the reasons it has taken me since August to gather this data. There are obviously spoilers for PFS scenarios.
I'll present the data first without my overall analysis until others get a chance to comment:
Shades of Ice 1--:
Iakhovas's debut as a starting level 1 character, and this was played at the normal 1-2 range. Then Venture Captain and now PFS Head Honcho Mike Brock GMed us through an interesting scenario with a lot of roleplay. This was actually one of the only three times that Iakhovas got KOed, when he failed an Acrobatics check to jump down from a window and took maximum falling damage. He was almost CdGed actually. Even aside from that, Iak rolled very badly on attack rolls and didn't really help that much in this mod. He got his act together for the rest of the mods though, I promise.
GM Credit--Gave him credit for the second scenario.
In this scenario, Iakhovas was level 1 playing at subtier 4-5. He was playing with a party of level 4s. Crane Wing was critical here--thanks to generally high AC from fighting defensively combined with the auto-deflection, Iakhovas basically couldn't be hit by this mod's enemies (which had low attack bonuses with extremely negative riders like ability drain and paralysis). Twice (due to bad saves on their part mainly) the other characters were taken out or crippled while Iakhovas soloed the remainder of the encounter (he only beat the incorporeal enemies by grabbing an ally's magic weapon). This would have been a wipe if not for Iak, the level 1 Monk playing with the level 4s.
Tide of Twilight--:
Iak was level 2 playing at subtier 4-5 with a group of level 4 and 5 and a level 1 summoner. This scenario was one of the other times Iakhovas got KOed. After rocking the early encounters without taking a single point of damage aside from an unlucky blow before he got his first turn (this becomes a recurring theme), he was treated to a quartet of druids with a no-save AoE damage spell. This nearly wiped the entire party, though once they got him back from negative and the druids didn't have this spell anymore, he tanked their shillelaghs without being hit and the party took them down.
Perils of the Pirate Pact--:
Iak was level 2 playing at subtier 3-4 with two level 4s and a level 1. The spiders, ettercaps, pirates, and traps in this scenario couldn't scratch Iakhovas, who managed to stand in the way and protect his allies from harm until the last encounter, when the level 1 paladin of iomedae took her oath to be "first into battle" seriously and charged after the BBEG. Considering how crappy the 3-4 BBEG is in Perils, the paladin won anyway, but she took some serious hurt.
Many Fortunes of Grandmaster Torch--:
Iak was level 2 playing at subtier 3-4. One of the encounters has some ridiculous insects, and the GM had dice aflame for them, rolling two nat 20s and a 19 in the same round (they needed an 17 to hit, I believe). This brought Iakhovas low and the rest of the party gave him a heal and then basically fled. At that point, though, Iakhovas dropped one of the insects (making the chance of being hit twice in a round tiny, since the insects had one attack each). He then soloed the remainder of the encounter. All the other encounters were trivial overall, though Iak did help a lot by grappling the invisible guy in the spice factory.
Mists of Mwangi--:
Iak was level 3 at subtier 4-5. At level 3 he got Crane Riposte and Evasion (important because Riposte ups his damage by a good amount). The party also had a level 5 sorcerer, a level 2 ranger, and a level 1 cleric. Unfortunately, the sorcerer had dice that hated him, and after becoming a monkey for a while (and thus unable to cast) he managed not to get off a single hit with a Scorching Ray until the fire protecting idols came out. The cleric was brand new and hung back with a crossbow for the most part. The ranger helped a bit, but his favored enemy wasn't around and he kept being taken out. The undead encounter had the archer ranger and the sorcerer as monkeys, who had to bash them in melee, so Iakhovas tanked and did 90% of the damage. The apeified scholars sort of just went down in a round or so. The vargouilles actually paralyzed the whole party except Iakhovas, who beat them all, though only after a few kisses to the others. The croc (which we actually fought after the final encounter was over) actually beat Iak in initiative and KOed him in one hit. The cleric woke up Iak though, and once Iak had an actual turn, it couldn't do anything and he soloed it (everyone else stayed out of the room and he blocked the door). If you're wondering at this point why initiative matters so much, Iak loses his fighting defensively AC bonus if he's flat-footed and can't use crane wing either. Anyway, the final encounter kept fearing the whole party, but eventually the idols ran out of fear and Iak blocked the huge ape at the doorway as well, tanking it while the ranger (and level 1 cleric) took potshots from the far end of the hallway, though I think the ranger only hit once on the ape. This would have been a TPK several times over without Iak, who admittedly wouldn't have soloed the whole mod due to the croc and needing the level 1 cleric's cure light wounds, but he came close. He surely could have done it as a two-man with the level 1 cleric.
Iak was level 3 and not playing up this time (3-4). Iak was hit by an invisible imp and was therefore flat-footed, but other than that, nothing touched him (evasion helped with that on the lightning trap). Overall, enemies weren't hard to deal with. In fact, Iak got few ripostes because they had trouble even hitting his AC.
Prince of Augustana--:
Iak was level 3 playing at subtier 4-5. The first fights were the typical easy fare with Iak standing in front and being unhittable, letting ranged allies go to town on the enemies. The final encounter was a bit more problematic, though, for everyone except Iak, since the demons managed to take out all but Iak and one ally (who focused on defending himself in this bad situation) with Stinking Cloud, for the entire fight. Not to be deterred, Iak dropped every demon himself, since they never hit him even once among all of them.
Voices in the Void--:
Iak was level 4 at subtier 6-7. This includes the most iconic example of Crane Wing usage for our PFS group (the t-rex, which I'll get to). We started with the gargoyles, which nearly slaughtered the other characters and even did deal some damage to Iak with multiple attacks at high bonus. The others used Acro and withdraws to keep at range while Iak tanked them and smacked them up, though the Gunslinger/Summoner added in a lot of good damage (including a Haste for Iak to help Iak's damage). Following this, however, came the elder pudding and gibbering mouther encounter. Most of the other PCs went mad (confusion), and the eidolon nearly started splitting the pudding. Fortunately, the enemy couldn't hit Iak at all, so once the eidolon was unsummoned during a moment of clarity for the summoner, Iak just took them down. Then we fought the T-Rex. It begun the fight by winning initiative and dropping Iak to 1 hit point (rolling like a 37 to hit me for plenty of damage). Then Iak got a turn. Everyone else stayed out of the room, the t-rex didn't fit out of the room and was mindless anyway, and Iak just kept blocking every attack until he killed the thing solo since it couldn't hit him anymore (once attack per round versus crane wing). We talked to the aucturnian fungi. For the final encounter, everyone contributed really well overall, though Iak's AoO disarm of Imrizade's scroll of Black Tentacles was pretty clutch.
Devil We Know IV--:
Iak was level 4 at subtier 6-7 again. First we fought some druids and rats. Iak just wasn't getting "hit" in order to trigger crane riposte and negate the attacks and counter, so he started blatantly moving to provoke AoOs to get more chances. This gave him a riposte or two, but he took no damage here. Then we had to fight a really powerful earth elemental. The thing was pretty terrifying, actually. It critted our level 6 Oracle of Battle out of the fight and smashed the eidolon to nothing. With its amazing to-hit and two attacks per round for heavy damage, Iak couldn't stand up to it for long, but fortunately Iak managed to bring it down, 100% due to crane wing blocking one hit a turn and crane riposte adding damage, preventing the TPK. Oh yeah, to make the Gunslinger/Summoner's day worse after his eidolon was banished, his pistol misfired on a 1, he used his tshirt to reroll and got another 1, and then he cursed, took out his backup pistol, and it misfired again. Then we had to fight a Ghast Barbarian whose tactics apparently told it to one-on-one someone at a chokepoint. Sadly for the Ghast, that was Iak, who beat it to a pulp with no damage taken. Finally, we fought a group of derro. We beat them all easily except for the leader who cast Darkness when we didn't have Daylight, but the Summoner summoned an Earth Elemental and we used Comp Languages to have it guide us (with its Darkvision and Tremorsense) to a victory.
I'll give my full analysis later, but make sure to pay attention to what subtier I play Iakhovas at when you read each description. Thanks for reading, and I hope this playtest data is valuable in any future discussions about Crane Wing!
Hi guys--to take advantage of your awesome sale, I bought a bunch of gifts and wound up going over $200, barely. Is there any way you could split that into two shipments that are each over $100 so that each could apply the first $10 of shipping free for an order over $100? I would have just removed half the items and placed the orders one at a time, but I was worried I would forget some of them if I did that, and I remembered hearing from a thread that you guys could do that for me.
Even if you can't, thanks for a great sale, and happy holidays!
I just ran the PFS scenario City of Strangers Part I, and I don't own the City of Strangers supplement, so I relied on the Pathfinderwiki. There's an NPC in the Ankar-Te district whose name is either extremely unfortunate for him or else misentered into the wiki as a prank by a capricious wiki enterer. His name in the wiki is Hyu Zhuang the owner of a casino known as Thrown Bones. According to my Mandarin-speaking players, Hyu is pronounced the same as the word 'hue' and Zhuang is pronounced like the French letter j (like in the name Jacques) and then 'Wong'. So if this is his name, it's pronounced Huge Wang (and he owns a store called Thrown Bones just to rub it in a bit).
Hi everyone! This thread is about pricing, but to post in this thread, I'll ask that you label your observations as one of the following:
Certain Discrepancy--This is when two identical abilities have different costs, or when an ability that is strictly more powerful has a lower cost.
Eccentricity--This is for cases that are *almost* but not quite 'certain discrepancies'.
Personal Judgment--This is for cases where two abilities seem to be priced strangely with respect to one another but they are not directly comparable, so personal judgment comes into play (or where an ability just seems to cost too much or too little with no good reference point but gut instinct). I'm going to try to limit the number of these that I make.
I'll post my three sets (discrepancies, eccentricities, and personal judgments) as the next three posts. If you have any more thoughts on pricing, please share them below (I'd ask to try to categorize them as one of those three type if you would).
I'm working on a more involved thread that catches most of my observations, but this one doesn't fit there, so I'm posting it separately:
Large and Tiny should probably not give a size bonus to ability scores, since then this would lead to weirdness where it doesn't stack with size bonuses from spells or abilities. It doesn't make sense that an ogre would gain +2 strength from Enlarge Person while an Advanced Race Guide 'Ogron' race would not.
I've finally gotten enough people in my home group to create a paizo account so I can report my back-sessions (huzzah--that was like pulling teeth!), but I've discovered I can't do that (at least I don't think I can) without connecting my paizo account to my character(s). I can't find my card (from back in Season 0 at Gencon) after my recent apartment move, so I don't have the activation code. Any chance I could an activation? My PFS number is 1245. I'm hoping this is just routine, but if I need any witnesses that I'm the player of Lasair, I think there's at least a few VCs and other trustworthy Paizoites I've played with over the Gencons and Paizocons who can attest to it. If this is not something the PFS honchos have the access to do and should be in website feedback or somewhere else to get the attention of Gary or whomever is appropriate, feel free to move it.
I have a friend who likes creating archetype or character combos for fun. He never plays them, but he often asks me about them for his own amusement. One such puzzle he put before me was a Qinggong Sensei Monk. He believes that by the rules for spell-like abilities, it would take a full minute, but a 12th-level Qinggong Sensei can Restoration a whole bunch of people for no monetary cost. I can't see anything preventing this. Is this desired behavior? It also means an 8th+-level Qinggong Monk Sensei can Restoration any one person for no monetary cost.
I'll be resubscribing after the Beginner Box, but I just don't have anyone to even gift it. Also, while scrolling through my subscriptions to see if I could do this myself without bothering Customer Service, I discovered that you guys had attached my 20 excess issues of Dragon to my online account. I hadn't realized this, so I've tried to add the 7 free AP issues to my existing AP subscription, and I think it worked, but never hurts to make sure.
Cheers and Thanks!
Edit: And it's done within five minutes! Muchas gracias, you guys rock.
OK, there's some pretty awesome stuff in UC. Here's a teaser of some feats that add a huge amount of damage to nonlethal bludgeoning sneak attacks:
It seems that you can deal about 4x normal sneak attack damage (double dice +3 for each dice) as long as its nonlethal and with fists or brass knuckles (you only lose 1 per dice to switch to a different bludgeoning weapon, and it does save two feats). This comes down to 20d6+60 sneak attack damage at level 19. The +60 may even multiply on a critical, since the feat isn't clear about whether the extra damage is considered part of the sneak attack damage. This only applies when the foe is flat-footed, not just from a flank, though there's a pretty solid way to engineer this with some other UC feats.
EDIT: There isn't because I wasn't being careful with wording--you'll just have to use Grease as usual to get people Flat-Footed
Most of the stuff you need can be taken at low levels (though obviously by level 5 when you can first complete the combo, you're 'only' doing 6d6+18 sneak attack damage, not 20d6+60).
If you have UC and are reading along at home, the feats are Sap Adept, Sap Master, and Knockout Artist if you like for the last +1 per dice (though it requires Improved Unarmed Strike).
EDIT: This is still cool, but it won't help you use this particular combo:Even without Haste or other ways to increase your number of attacks, you are looking at 4 attacks every two rounds for 10d6+20 sneak attack each (not counting the regular attack damage) if you can manage to hit with them. That's pretty handy at level 9.
Then you take Improved Two-Weapon Feint at level 9 if you can (depending on if you had a Combat Trick left to use at level 8 to pick up the pre-req)--this lets you sacrifice your first attack from your primary weapon every 2 rounds to do a free feint that makes them lose their Dex bonus until the end of your next turn (hence why you only need to use it once every two rounds).
You should be able to do this by 9 quite easily if you pass on the Knockout Artist feat for the time being (which is why I listed the damage as 10d6+20 instead of 10d6+30).
I hesitate to even really call this a 'combo', since the meat of the damage comes from two feats that are in the same chain. It seems like a lot, though. Granted if the enemy is immune to nonlethal damage, you'll have wasted two feats, but the rest of the build is a solid two-weapon fighting build.
20d6+60 is 130 on average, so you're doing 650 damage from sneak attack alone if you hit with only 5 attacks (not hard at level 19+).
My personal judgment is that comparatively this is a bit much. What do you think?
Hey Paizo Customer Service!
I love you guys, so I just felt I had to be honest when today I received an e-mail about an erratum for Brinewall Legacy and discovered that I had silently, without being informed, received a pre-Gencon PDF for my entire late-July order as of Monday (which most excitingly includes Ultimate Combat!). I believe this to have been in error (my last e-mail told me that this order is for pickup at Gencon). Now I'm not going to cancel and run off with the PDFs or anything without having paid, but I put this up here because if it happened for me, it may have happened for others, and I want to make sure you guys catch this if it is indeed a common bug among Gen-con pick ups.
If this means you accidentally shipped it to me or something, I guess I really don't mind paying the shipping, and if it was a mistake, feel free to take these off my assets for now or charge my credit card early or really whatever you like. Basically this is just to let you know in case it wasn't just me.
Hey everyone! Obviously there are spoilers for some scenarios in this thread, so be forewarned.
I've been having trouble getting people to show up for our weekly AP games, so I've recently begun replacing them with PFS scenarios. My players like to RP quite a bit, and I've been able to keep them quite happy, using Mark Garringer's excellent list of scenarios as a starting point. I went from not being able to muster up enough players for an AP session to having five regular PFS players and about five others who each rarely show up. They're all PFS newbies except one (who's semi-famous around these parts for rushing to buy a Qadira shirt during City of Strangers at last year's Gencon), and many are new to Pathfinder in general.
So I told everyone that if we have enough people next time, I'm going to have her take the lower level half of them and I'll take the higher, and we'll run City of Strangers. However, I haven't played any Shadow Lodge scenarios other than City of Strangers, and I want to know more about the Shadow Lodge, particularly as to how it pertains to some specifics of my players' characters:
After reading the brief description for Requiem for the Red Raven on the Paizo Store, I came to the conclusion that VC Eliza Petulengro is going to be involved in the exposure of a highly ranked traitor in the Society, and I think I know who it is, and the name begins with the letter 'A' (I'm fairly good at guessing plots from little information, so I'm pretty confident of this). I've already planted seeds of this in the lowest level scenarios, and finally in Among the Living, our most recent scenario, Petulengro herself gave them their mission (despite the mistake pegging her as Varisian in the mod, I figured they just got that aspect of her mixed up with the other VC on the reverse page of Seekers of Secrets). Since they were already literally in Oppara coming back from Railford from Decline of Glory, and since she's a 9th-level Wizard, I had Petulengro Teleport in to where they were on the streets in Oppara to assign them the mission. This served to make her sketchy and a nice red herring (or if I'm wrong and she's involved with the treachery somehow, people will see it as foreshadowing).
She reappeared at the end of the scenario to take the Zyphus Stone from the Taldan noble PC (whose sister was at the opera and was killed), and she left a cryptic warning that a division may be afoot in the Society, so beware even your closest friends. As a Diviner, I figured she might have an inkling of what is to come.
This leads us to one character in particular--the Andoran faction Spy Archetype Rogue. He was at every scenario I ran except one, Assault on the Kingdom of the Impossible. We had a Paladin of Shelyn that week, and she insisted on leading with the rose in every encounter, which eventually led to Zamir being pardoned and joining the Pathfinder Society. The Rogue heard about this and was extremely dissatisfied. He wanted someone who oppressed those wizards into such brutal slavery and murdered so many Pathfinders as well as a Venture Captain to suffer for what he had done. So when the group had their hands on Fel Bustrani, he openly stated that he refused to turn in the Zyphus leader to the society, worried that the Decimvirate would pardon Bustrani if he used his archaeological knowledge to locate other old Azlanti sites. In fact, he specifically said "If they denied justice again and let this man walk after what he did, I might as well join the Aspis Consortium!"
Even though it was clear that the Rogue (Wiscrani originally) despised the Consortium and was using them as an example of how much he disliked the decision with Zamir, this combined with Petulengro's warning led the PCs of every faction but Andoran to come together and present evidence to Petulengro about the Rogue's behavior. She told them that "I have not foreseen any treachery on his part in the near future, but it is wise to be always vigilant."
OK, sorry for making you wade through the context--the question is here: What if the Spy Rogue actually decides he wants to join the Shadow Lodge. Do I have options for that? Based on some sweet advice I saw from Doug Miles on ratcheting up paranoia, I sent out a teaser about City of Strangers where I asked "Have any of your allies turned traitor?" and the player of the Rogue e-mailed me that he would be interested in meeting to discuss what would happen if he was independently approached by these people as a potential recruit. I already plan to have the enemy in Part 2 who fights disguised as a comrade to disguise as him (for the group that he isn't playing in, at least--since remember I'm only running City of Strangers if we split into two groups).
I'm guessing I have no options or leeway for him to join the Shadow Lodge, and that if he actually tries to do so, his character is retired early, but I'm hoping I have more slack just in case. If I don't have the slack and I'm afraid he would join, I suppose I can always just not run that scenario so I don't ever expose him to the opportunity.
Thanks for any input guys--as always, you're awesome!
School enchantment (compulsion) [emotion, mind-affecting];
Level bard 3, cleric 4, inquisitor 3, sorcerer/wizard 4
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target 1 living creature
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will partial (see text); Spell Resistance yes
You fill a target with such profound remorse that it begins to
harm itself. Each round, the target must save or deal 1d8 points
of damage + its Strength modifier to itself using an item held
in its hand or with unarmed attacks. If the creature saves, it is
instead frozen with sorrow, can take no actions, and takes a –2
penalty to Armor Class.
So it looks like this spell takes the target out of the fight for 1 round per level regardless of saves. I think maybe it was meant to be "Will negates and Will partial (see text)" such that if you make an initial save the spell does nothing. Or perhaps after your first successful save, you get that one round of inaction and then the spell ends. Because from where I stand, even if you make every single save, you're immobile with -2 to AC for 1 round per level.
Doppelganger Simulacrum (Su):
: The alchemist learns how
to create a soulless duplicate of his body, into which he
can project his consciousness. As a full-round action,
he may shift his consciousness from his current body to
any one of his available doppelganger simulacra, which
must be on the same plane as the alchemist. If killed in a
simulacrum, he transfers to his own body automatically;
if killed in his own body, he is dead. Unused simulacra
(including his abandoned original body) appear to be
lifeless corpses, though they do not decay. Creating a
duplicate costs 1,000 gp in alchemical materials and
requires 1 week to grow. An alchemist must be at least 10th
level and must have the alchemical simulacrum discovery
before selecting this discovery. The created simulacrum
is a creature, not a supernatural effect.
It seems that you can pay 1000 gold per simulacrum and then just never walk around in your real body, which you keep hidden as well as humanly possible. You could even keep simulacra in multiple locations to save on Teleport and Dimension Door (or if you have plenty of Teleport and Dimension Door available, you can have a lot of them nearby and just keep coming back to the fight and dying multiple times). What am I missing in the wording of this ability? At first I thought maybe your link to the simulacrum could be dispelled or the simulacrum itself could be dispelled, but it says that it "is a creature, not a supernatural effect."
I turn to the forum's wisdom--where's the hidden catch that I can't see here?
Forgive me if this has been FAQed already.
There's a few weird things going on with shapechanging magic and disguises. Firstly--
PFRPG CRB wrote:
Magic that alters your form, such as alter self, disguise self, polymorph, or shapechange, grants you a +10 bonus on Disguise checks (see the individual spell descriptions). You must succeed on a Disguise check with a +10 bonus to duplicate the appearance of a specific individual using the veil spell. Divination magic that allows people to see through illusions (such as true seeing) does not penetrate a mundane disguise, but it can negate the magical component of a magically enhanced one.
So we get a +10 on Disguise. But--
PFRPG CRB wrote:
Polymorph: A polymorph spell transforms your physical body to take on the shape of another creature. While these spells make you appear to be the creature, granting you a +20 bonus on Disguise skill checks, they do not grant you all of the abilities and powers of the creature.
So we actually get a +20 on Disguise.
To help me solve this mystery, I went to ask two classic Pathfinder shapeshifters--Zevanxis the Doppleganger and the unnamed Faceless Stalker minion from Runelords (updated to Pathfinder in the Bestiary 2) what they thought about this mess. Zevanxis told me that the +20 from the Polymorph subschool was correct:
Doppelganger Bestiary Entry wrote:
Disguise +9 (+29 while using change shape ability)
Whereas the Faceless Stalker disagreed and insisted it was the +10 from the Disguise skill that should be applied:
Faceless Stalker Bestiary 2 Entry wrote:
Disguise +14 (+24 when using change shape)
Faceless Stalker Bestiary 2 Entry wrote:
I think this is a case of inconsistency in updating from 3.5. Which one is correct? My instinct is that +10 is correct because the newer monster (Bestiary 2 Faceless Stalker) has that bonus.
So in determining this, I found another interesting question: The Doppelganger has Change Shape (Alter Self) and the nifty ability called Perfect Copy
Doppelganger Bestiary Entry wrote:
Since leads to a very strong implicature--it implies that any creature without this ability cannot copy a specific creature, and the Polymorph spell backs this up. However, Faceless Stalkers as used in the APs can clearly take the form of a specific creature, but they don't have this ability.
I think the upshot to this is that Faceless Stalkers should also have Perfect Copy. The fact that they don't makes me less confident in the assessment that the +10 bonus is correct based on the Faceless Stalker entry.
So, has this been hashed out already? If it hasn't, and if I haven't missed anything obvious, please mark this post for FAQ. Thanks!
An excellent idea from the first round of playtest and well implemented. Looks great
Spell Combat--Moved to level 1 and changed to give lower penalties and to allow an attack penalty to get a Concentration bonus.
Spell Combat was mathematically sound before, but as many people noted, having that chance of failure on the Magus's big iconic power was scary and made it feel less satisfying (since you might blow a big spell using it). It's great to see it at first level. This has the edge effect that for 6th level and 18 Int (or equivalent), any Magus with Combat Casting who doesn't much care about the melee attack can just take the full penalty and automatically cast defensively for any of her spells, even on a natural 1. This can be done at level 2 if you add the trait for +2 Concentration.
Overall, this is exactly the change this ability needed--the suggestion to make it like the Monk's flurry was too powerful, and this takes away the fear of uncertainty over the spells if the Magus so chooses, thus making the use of Spell Combat only a benefit. Nice change!
Spellstrike--The wording has been cleared up here, but no changes.
Arcana--I'll post these changes later.
This is very expensive at higher levels, but since it is effectively spontaneous casting, it's also very versatile. When you first get it, you can actually use it quite a bit and cast large numbers of additional spells. However, there are a lot of other goodies that eat up points, so by higher levels, I see this being used in that clutch situation to pull out the spell you really need right now, as sort of a last ditch effort.
A very interesting ability--this is cheap to use, and it allows some of the combos from last round that people used with a mistaken application of the Broad Study Arcanum (for instance, whipping people with Bestow Curse and the like). I would definitely see most Magi using this at least once or twice each day to pick up situationally useful spells.
Improved Spell Combat--Now all it does is give +2 to Concentration
Assuming you care more about the spell than the melee attacks, this probably actually translates in a +2 to hit, since you will sacrifice less of your to-hit. A level 8 Magus with 18 Int and Combat Casting now only has to take -2 to hit to ensure a successful concentration check (or no penalty at all with the trait for Concentration). This is a small but noticable gain for the Magus.
I've skipped the other things that were unchanged, but I'm somewhat surprised that this hasn't changed. As is, it only applies to a very small number of feats, but I guess there might be more Fighter-only feats in Ultimate Combat.
Improved Pool Spell--Added
This makes Pool Spell a lot more affordable, since a Magus is probably only going to have around 10-12 points at level 10, and 4th-level spells were costing her 1/3 of that each. Though I haven't posted on Arcana yet, it immediately struck me that Dispelling Strike and Reflection would do well to be affected by this ability, since as written, they cost a huge number of pool points.
Greater Spell Combat--No static bonus, but doubles the bonus to concentration from taking a to-hit penalty
This ability isn't terribly useful compared to the others. Even a Magus who has only 20 Intelligence by level 14 (a reasonable minimum, since this gives a bonus 5th-level spell) will automatically succeed at casting her most powerful spells defensively if she has Combat Casting (and even if she doesn't, she only needs to roll a 4 without sacrificing any to-hit, so this effect is at most giving her a +1 to hit).
Greater Spell Pool--Added
This is extremely nice for versatility, and thus has an appropriately expensive cost. Casting spontaneously off the whole Wizard spell list is an amazing ability, and one that can really excite the player to get that 19th level. It is slightly amusing that the Magus can do this while neither the Wizard or the Sorcerer can do so, and it's their own spell list.
True Magus--I may have missed a change, but it seems equivalent to before.
It's still not terribly exciting for a capstone, and not needing the concentration check is mostly-useless. Even a Magus who has not taken any feats or traits to aid concentration and has ignored Intelligence to the limits of sanity (having only 16 Int at level 20 so she can cast all her spells) could already take a -1 to hit to cast a 6th-level spell defensively automatically (or take no penalty and succeed except on a 1).
I'll post my take on the new Arcana soon (but in summary: I really really like what has been done here, with minor suggestions for just a few)
After playtesting an Alchemist who died in Burnt Offerings for the APG playtest (and posting his findings online), I convinced one of my players in my sporadic home-for-the-holidays game to play a Sorcerer using WoP for Skinsaw Murders. He was hesistant at first because there were very few word family choices and he felt he couldn't find very many to synergise well or match his theme, but I promised him that he could sub out all his words as soon as we saw more (we probably won't play that particular game too much more until Ultimate Magic hits the streets). There are some similarities to what Zurai found with his playtest (the only one I've seen so far, and amusingly also a Boreal Sorcerer), but my player was willing to take some effects that were other energy types rather than stay tight for theming (since he knew there werent many words available), so there were a few differences:
The character was 4th level. Like Zurai's Boreal Sorcerer, he suffered greatly from lack of Mage Armour--his AC was 12 for most of the adventure, 10 flat-footed, and this made him rather easy to hit.
The character build is as described in my thread in the discussion forum--he has Greater Elemental Focus [Ice] and Irrisen Icemage, with the campaign trait from the APG that gives three specific spells a +1 DC and caster level--clarification in the spoiler block
I made my own clarification when it comes to that trait, Spell Perfection, and other similar effects that boost one specific spell--"Whenever a feature tells you to choose a spell, you may instead choose one effect word. You only apply the benefits of that feature to Words of Power spells that use the chosen effect word to determine their school of magic (in other words, the chosen effect word must be one of the highest level words in the spell for the effect to count).
He took some non-ice spells as well, figuring he could apply Irrisen Icemage 3/day if necessary to keep his theme.
Right away, we ran into the duration inconsistency, mentioned in other threads--the pdf contradicts itself, saying that two separate durations are tracked separately in one place and that the shorter duration is used for both in another place. We decided that the durations should be tracked separately, since otherwise it needlessly weakens spells that combine the duration acid spells (which already weaken when combined because their SR: None is removed). This was actually never relevant, but it made the Boreal Sorcerer very excited for later levels and some combinations he could do.
Without Word Burning yet, the Sorcerer's only contribution to the adventure so far in terms of spells (he roleplayed and had some ideas in the mystery part) has been Frost Fingers. However, he is very very good at Frost Fingers. His Frost Fingers do 5d6 damage with a DC 20 save to take half and avoid the stagger effect.
All Encounters Summarized:
They're in the Misgivings, having just freed Iesha when we stopped the session, so they haven't had too many encounters. Here's what we have so far:
Scarecrow Ghoul--Norrith rolled low on initiative, but his Cold Snap cantrip finished off the ghoul (it had 2 hit points left by the time he could act).
Ambush by Rogors and 6 Ghouls--Norrith failed Perception and rolled very poorly on initiative, so few ghouls survived to his first turn. He finished one that was almost dead with Cold Snap again. This is more a matter of ghouls being extremely unsurvivable creatures compounded with the Cleric of Sarenrae with the Glory Domain channeling twice to hit all the ghouls.
3 Carrionstorms--I used the updated versions (I think updated by LordFyre?) of these swarms, which were particularly nasty. The entire party would have certainly TPKed if not for Norrith. He shot out a small cone that defeated two of the three swarms outright and left the other one (which made its save) close to final death. The monk finished it off, and the other members managed to stabilize.
Norrith the Boreal Sorcerer will likely become much more effective once he gets Word Burning--this will let him use Servitor II with a 4 point buff as a standard action, which is a great summon option at this level, as well as a few other useful combinations. He also plans to pick up Intensify Spell by level 7 at the latest--clarification in the spoiler block
Intensify Spell clarification:This will let him get good mileage out of his lower-level effect words. He's also really looking forward to the later levels when he will get barrier spells and the ability to combine two non-cantrip effect words to make a new spell.
There's some ambiguity here--I'm fairly certain that the rules do not intend to allow a spell that combines 4 5-dice cap effect words to do 40d6 damage at level 10, so I told Norrith's player that he can choose *one* effect word to have its cap raised by 5, not all of them.
In total, though he admitted that the ability to pull out the exact shape he needed to defeat the swarms was more useful than he expected, Norrith's player said he still prefers the regular sorcerer. He enjoyed the chance to use a new system because he likes fiddling with new rules, but his main issue is probably immaterial once we see the other families--he prefers playing a Sorcerer with extremely varied effects available (he's particular a fan of fog cloud and other crowd control spells), and as is, he had to take a high number of evocation direct damage spells, which made him feel less varied.
We did not run into the issue mentioned on the discussion board with the calculations being too difficult to use in play, but admittedly I went over the possibilities with the player ahead of time, and he pretty much knew his default combos and what he could change and still fit into the word cost limit by heart.
Hope this helps!--I'm not sure if I will be able to get together a group with someone who can play WoP again before the end of the playtest, but I'll try.
I've convinced one of my players this weekend to playtest a WoP Sorcerer. He's figured out a combo already--
He's playing a Boreal Sorcerer with Greater Elemental Focus (cold). The plan is to add Cold Snap (the 0 level ice spell that does 1d3 damage) to everything he can. Thanks to his Bloodline Arcana and feats, this will give him a +3 to DC for any spell (since many of the best save or suck spells for WoP are necromancy, this may eventually be stacked with Greater Spell Focus (necromancy) for +5 DCs).
What other clever combos have you created? This thread is for ideas that let you use outside abilities (such as feats, bloodline arcana, etc) to maximum effectiveness using WoP (so we can see how strong this can be or if anything synergises too well).
So I've set about creating some combinations with the words we have so far. Most words created using effects of their level seem pretty comparable to spells of their level, but there's a few interesting effects when using lower-level effect words together in a higher-level word.
But first, a few side notes--
Acid Wave does instantaneous damage and has a sickened effect for 1 round per level, but the duration is listed as 2 rounds, so I believe that is in error.
It isn't clear if spells with two effect words are supposed to be resolved in series or completely simultaneously (this matters for Power Words combined with damage spells, for instance).
Force Ward probably should have an increased cost for making it Mass like the other buff spells in the Body section--as it stands, you can make it Mass without increasing the level, and compared to other 6th-level Mass spells, it seems strong (it guarantees at least +2 to AC, outperforms the top Bracers of Armor as soon as it is available, and lasts long enough to just gather everyone together and prebuff it). Granted, other buffs are generally weaker for the wordcaster, so mainly this is meant to be their "killer app" buff, in which case I guess its fine.
Okay, on to the meat of the experiment!
Word Burning is pretty much crucial for allowing us to create words that cost somewhere in between two levels of spells without wasting points. I'll assume you always burn a word of at least the second highest slot available to leave you this leeway. Let's see what we could do.
Caveat--I know a lot of people think blast magic is weak or worthless, but in my experience, it depends on game style, and we've been given mainly blasting magic, so this analysis will focus on that.
I'll start with a 10th-level Sorcerer:
Fire Blast and Lightning Blast combine nicely into a 15 cost attack that's quite powerful--it does 20d6 damage of varied elemental types, twice as much as Cone of Cold--but it only hits one target. Fortunately, thanks to Word Burning, we can use a single point of burned word points(we have 13 of them per day if we burn a 4th-level slot or 16 a day with a 5th) to spend 17 points and get the Mass target (likely to become a favourite target word due to its precision and its low cost--it would be unlikely at this level to get better mileage out of the more-expensive Small Burst unless your enemies were packed into the burst on purpose). That's pretty darn good damage for a 5th-level spell, and you can do that with all your 5th-level slots and still have burned word points to spare (EDIT: It actually only works with 4th-level slots, using 4 points of the burned word per casting, but on the plus side, that's 4x/day and you only used a 4th-level slot each time, so in a way that's even better). I don't think the normal caster can keep up there.
As I spot more combinations, I'll post them here--please share any such combinations you notice here as well (I think that the combos, rather than just using the flat effects alone, will be where we see the true flexibility of the system and thus where we must be careful when playtesting).