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Ross Byers

Ross Byers's page

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32. RPG Superstar 7 Season Star Voter. Pathfinder Society Member. 10,329 posts (11,232 including aliases). 3 reviews. 2 lists. 1 wishlist. 10 aliases.


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RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Phase spiders and araneas.

I thought Araneas were in one of the token packs he did.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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There is also the possibility that those avatars DO exist, but have been claimed by a Paizo staffer or contributor as a unique avatar, and are therefore unavailable for public consumption.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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James Jacobs wrote:
Cole Deschain wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Pastries are more of a halfling delicacy. Elves can kick ass, of course, as pastry chefs, but it's not a type of food they're traditionally known for.
What are elves known for, kitchenwise? Salads? Wines?
Wine for sure. Probably savory breads? Fruit-based deserts and meals? Dunno off the top of my head honestly.

And now I want to watch The Great Golarion Baking Show.

Wait. That's not a question.

.
.
.

How are you doing today, James?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Chris Lambertz wrote:
Ross Byers wrote:
I agree it was time...but what about ePubs of the previous Journals?
In the backlog, and hopefully moving up list of priorities soon :)

Yay!

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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I agree it was time...but what about ePubs of the previous Journals?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Tangent101 wrote:
I would warn the player "I do not want you to run a hobgoblin. If you insist on running one despite my objections, just know there will be consequences and you will not be happy about them" and then the character will be arrested, if his party members try to support him they will be arrested as well, and in all likelihood he'll be put to death.

Again, this level of 'consequences' is wasting table time while you force the player to make a different character anyway. Save time and just say 'no'.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Tangent101 wrote:
And again, I'd let the player know ahead of time that there will be consequences of their running a hobgoblin.

Lisa: Bart, just get out of here.

Bart Simpson: Hey, you get out out. It's a free country.
Lisa: That doesn't make any sense.
Bart Simpson: I know you are, but what am I?
Lisa: Get out, get out!
Bart Simpson: All right. But on my way, I'm going to be doing this...
[windmills his arms]
Bart Simpson: If you get hit, it's your own fault.
Lisa: Okay, then I'm going to start kicking air, like this...
[kicks up her foot]
Lisa: And if any part of you should fill that air...
[kicks up her other foot]
Lisa: It's *your* own fault.
[They shut their eyes and move toward each other, grunting as they flail or kick. Cut to downstairs in the kitchen, where Marge and Homer are. Their grunts soon turn to yells of pain, and sounds of fighting]

Just say no. 'Yes but I'll murder you' is just a less-honest form of 'No, it's unfit for the campaign.'

Trying to punish player choices like this, at best, leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth. At worst, it backfires because of either letting the offending player succeed in making the campaign all about their character, or being a tactical window that can be exploited (because their character has a 'taunt').

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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The Dominion of the Black is old. A few millennia wouldn't slow them down much.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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How is Roy's dad in Heaven again? (Instead of, say, Mechanus?)

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Is immortality overrated? Underrated?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Gorbacz wrote:
or their 18+ Sailor Moon tumblrs.

I realize you are referring to 'adult' blogs, but for a moment I parsed it as saying someone had more than 18 Sailor Moon blogs.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Ventnor wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:
magic circle wrote:
When focused inward, the spell binds a nongood called creature

"I wish I was a good outsider for 6 seconds" doesn't seem too far outside the realms of wish.

(of course it fails if your summoner saw that coming and overlaid a magic circle against good)

But in reality, as others have pointed out, Pit Fiends won't miss an opportunity to attempt to corrupt any summoner powerful enough to bind them, even temporarily.

Just wish that you were a True Neutral Outside for 6 seconds. Ain't no magic circle that can stop Aeons.

Actually all the magic circles stop aeons. Magic circle against evil binds non-Good Outsiders, not Evil ones. And therefore magic circle against law binds non-Chaotic ones and so on.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Planar binding includes instructions here. If the caster can compel you to grant a service, then do the job - It is required to require a finite amount of time. Then do whatever you want. If the caster is unable to compel you, then the magic circle will expire in 24 hours per caster level.

More specific twists rely on the exact favor being asked. Many tasks can be accomplished with that wish, leaving you free willed (with your captor present) in mere moments.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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I haven't had 'amazing mod powers' in quite some time now...but I'm feeling like I missed something here. I consider Crystal a friend, and I was just trying to be supportive and encourage her to be happy that there are so many people that care about her and are willing to pitch in. Or was it merely grammar I assaulted in some way?

To get back on the theme of questions, what upcoming Paizo products are you most excited about?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Drejk wrote:
137ben wrote:
Alex Martin wrote:
These days, don't you mean Hail Hydra!? ;-)
Hydra is an important source of revenue!

Note that in the final panel the goblin is old and rich... He couldn't be if the world had been destroyed by the gods or Snarl...

Unless goblins age fast enough that he grew the grey beard in what, half a year?

Dan. His name is Dan.

Maybe he was already old and just took being rich as an opportunity to stop shaving?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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I could argue that there might be a difference between most sources of damage and an incorporeal paladin's smite evil.

But instead I'm just going to salute your archive-fu.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Please do not hit people with me. My jar isn't up to it.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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It's also possible that MitD isn't so much deliberately trying to derail Team Evil so much as he's stupid, childish, and impulsive. He could have just decided that painting 'X's on doors was fun, so he did it a couple more times when Xykon et al were not looking.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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137ben wrote:
Ross Byers wrote:


Xykon is CE and deathless. Redcloak is LE and mortal.

The Bearer of the Crimson Mantle does not age physically according to SoD. Redcloak is at least 54 years old (intro bonus content in War and XP says he was 54 at the time, which would make him either 54 or 55 now, I forget the in-comic time-table,) making him very old for a normal goblin.

(Redcloak has shown hypocrisy concerning how "natural" he is, given that he claims to be a 100% natural goblin to distinguish himself from Miko and Xykon, even though Redcloak also has his life magically extended.)

I know Redcloak is ageless. What I mean is that if you stab him, he feels pain. If you stab him a lot, he will die. Those are bad outcomes for him.

In comparison, Xykon can't die. The worst case for him (as far as he knows) is he wakes up in his Astral fortress. And as an undead, he probably doesn't feel pain. (He's certainly aware of injury, but that doesn't necessarily equate to pain, if that makes sense.)

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Almost certainly not.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Brayon wrote:

I may have missed it somewhere else, but is there an Official Reading List of both In Universe Chronological Order, & Publish Date of all the Tales?

If I'm not mistaken, Prince of Wolves should be the first Novel in Publication, but not the first in Chronological order.

I believe the intent is they can mostly be read in any order - Reign of Stars isn't really impacted by Prince of Wolves or vice versa. Only books by the same author, featuring the same characters, really have a definitive order. There are occasional Easter eggs, like Reign of Stars name-dropping Gad from The Worldwound Gambit, but the plots are generally not interlocked.

Also, in general Pathfinder products are assumed to occur in the 'present', so publication order will roughly mirror in-universe order.

If you go to the Pathfinder Tales page in the store, you should be able to sort by 'Oldest First' or 'Newest First', which will get you publication order.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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The Raven Black wrote:
I note with interest that Xykon is of the special snowflake team (interesting is best), while Redcloak is a munchkin (efficient is best)

Xykon is CE and deathless. Redcloak is LE and mortal.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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I get that you're trying to keep yourself out of direct transactions by involving anonymous labor (teenagers, day laborers, etc) but you're creating additional loose ends. These are human beings who will immediately realize there is something weird going on. Do your business in cash, wearing generic clothes, and no one will remember you.

It's like how you can walk into a lot of buildings in broad daylight just by looking like you know where you're going, but you'll be noticed pretty quickly if you're trying to act like Solid Snake.

If you're worried about being on the security camera at Best Buy if the Chromebook is somehow traced, then keep it in the box for 30 days. Or 90 days. NO ONE outside the government keeps security footage going back forever when there hasn't been an incident. By then the footage will be taped over and a cash transaction at a big retail store will be a dead end.

Likewise, a charred and mangled Chromebook is unnecessary destruction. If your trail is traced back to the Chromebook, it doesn't matter because all you ever did with it it look up the car (which is how they found it in the first place.) If you're worried about the temptation of using it again, just drop in a 'recycle electronics' bin somewhere.

Likewise, massively overpaying for things with regular fixed prices (like giving a cabbie $1000) is suspicious. If I drove a cab and that happened, I'd 1) leave before you murdered me 2) Call the cops 3) Be thankful for the big tip. You gain NOTHING from doing this. You called a cab, they drove you, that's how it works. Pay the listed fair with a reasonable tip. Disappear into the thousands of customers before and after you. Don't stand out.

It looks like you want to reuse this car, which means the weakest link is accessing it without being noticed. What do you actually need the car for? When are you going to be using it? If you're mostly doing night jobs, you can steal cars, use them, then return them without the owners ever noticing something missing. No loose ends, no reported thefts, and anyone who is trying to match license plates on you is going to be confused by the fact you're using a number of different cars.

Or, since you have a stated budget of $15,000, I'll point out that will buy approximately 15 sort-of-reliable clunkers that can be purchased day-of your job, under a false name, then parked in the back of a long term parking lot, abandoned in a ditch, or whatever, without ever actually filing paperwork for the title and before they have a chance to fully break down.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Rysky wrote:
Given Salim's condition, what are the chances of him having a Starfinder Tale?

By then he's become the Face of Boe.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Someone get this man some Din Tai Fung!

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Re: Snick - I can't think of any actressess known for that kind of manic energy - which probably says something about how women are cast in Hollywood as much as it does about my memory. (If Snick were male, we'd just cast Bradley Cooper to do his Rocket Raccoon and continue the GotG reunion you've got rolling there.) Catherine Tate could probably do it.

Could grab Essie Davis, Tatiana Maslany, or another actress known for being a chameleon instead of for a particular type of role, instead.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Andostre wrote:

I hate myself for asking this, but...

When she took off the ring of water breathing, wouldn't that still leave her lungs full of water?

That isn't actually a problem until the next time she tries to breathe air.

They can buddy breathe, passing the ring back and forth every few rounds, for awhile without a problem.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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You're assuming that Gygax didn't take his pick of inspirations with an eye toward making the game work. He could have been wise enough to realize that letting players make Merlin or Gandalf meant the dude with a sword had nothing to do. (He came from a wargaming background, after all.)

Also, have you read the Merlin saga of the Chronicles of Amber? Zelazny himself describes a magic system damn close to Vancian (except that it actually fits the modern 'prepare' terminology better than Vancian's 'memorize'). Using that type of system for Amber Diceless is appropriate to the source material, not because of a designer's pet mechanic.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Jack of Dust wrote:


My issue is that there always is a "Good or bad" answer that is readily available and always clear. When I mentioned the "right thing", I meant the "Good thing".

Assuming 'Good' is 'Right' is your value judgement, not the game's.

It isn't always 'readily available and always clear', though. Even paladins cannot detect evil constantly, and there are definitely ambiguities in how that spell works. Unless everyone in the world wears a phylactery of faithfulness, not every action is going to get a definitive sorting into the nine alignment buckets.

Quote:
Necromancy is an egregious example of this. Regardless of whether you caused the death of someone, it's an Evil act. It just is. It doesn't matter if you use it to better the conditions of the living and use only mindless undead without souls, it's still evil and you will be judged and punished for it when your life slips away. It's not even a subject of debate, the gods/the universe have just apparently arbitrarily decided that it's worthy of punishment. There's no grey area and I just find it very boring. It's fine if you prefer it that way but it is certainly not my own preference.

I actually agree with you on this. But my beliefs about alignment descriptors on spells and necromancy are complicated and involve the compromises between making the game a world simulator and making it a fun game (with the default assumption that characters are closer to the Good end of the spectrum).

The short version is that I find it excessively reductive to try to define the alignments of specific actions. Intentions matter, nothing happens in a vacuum, and context is important. It is much easier to describe the overall alignment of a character with a set of beliefs and a full history of actions.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Marcus Ewert wrote:

"a-luu-MIN-ee-uhm" versus "uh-LOO-min-uhm" is just one obvious example,

This is a spelling difference, actually. Aluminium (like most other 'um's on the periodic table) vs. Aluminum (the American, and increasingly global, spelling, which was based on a marketing gimmick. Back when aluminum was expensive, marketers were tying it to platinum)

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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But what should I do with all these marzipan tureens?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Diego Valdez wrote:
Justin Franklin wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Cosmo wrote:
ulgulanoth wrote:
"Here at Paizo, we expect each employee to bring their own lightsaber to work, for you never know when a fight against the Sith might break out"
...against?

Sith don't play well with others.

Especially other Sith.

There can be only one!
There can be only 2! A master and an apprentice!

So many secret apprentices...

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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DM Pendin Fust wrote:
Got the job!! Hooray employed again!

Mazel tov! Hurray for paychecks and health insurance!

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Nohwear wrote:
As I continue to read through the archetypes, it is interesting how many of them remind me of famous Pulp heroes. For example, the Enigma Mesmerist reminds me of The Shadow. Although, this could be because the Vigilante has caused me to think a lot about the Pulps.

Being The Shadow happens a lot in this book - the Cipher Investigator would also be pretty good at being The Shadow. The aura of the unremarkable and hidden presence play up that angle as well.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Isn't that why Hawkeye always gets the cool hover-cycle?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Insane KillMaster wrote:
(< can't help but wonder where Skulls and Shackles fit in all of this)

Serpent's Skull + Kingmaker = Skull & Shackles?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Sundakan wrote:
What he's saying is the "willingly commits evil" clause and "can't lie" clause are in separate sentences, disconnected.

'Not lying' is an example given for 'act with honor' - It's a general shorthand for being deceitful or misleading, not an absolute. If there is a situation where lying is the honorable act (or where no one would actually be misled), the paladin can lie. Discretion being a part of valor and so forth.

Inversely, Paladins are barred from being misleading by selective truths, even though those are not actually lies.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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I think an interesting 'caster archetype' for cleric would be one that spontaneously casts domain spells instead of cure/inflict spells.
Doesn't change the chassis much, but makes domains a larger choice and gives some access to the flashier, more ranged, more offensive spells the cleric list lacks.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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hiiamtom wrote:
What I don't like about this is that the 3.5 Cloistered Cleric is right there. It's OGL, and the standard for caster cleric.

The 3.5 Cloistered Cleric gains 4 skill points/level, some class skills, some class spells, Bardic Knowledge, and third domain. In exchange for going down to 1/2 BAB and d6 HD and losing medium armor. That's a lot for a little, especially given that PF domains are better than D&D domains.

(In contrast, the Pathfinder Cloistered Cleric gains 2 skill points/level, some class skills, Bardic Knowledge, and some 'smart-guy abilities' (including Scribe Scroll) in exchange for less spellcasting, a domain, medium armor, and some weapon proficiency. That's giving up a lot for a little, especially if you wanted a 'caster cleric' and not a 'well-read cleric'.)

If were going to adapt the 3.5 cloistered cleric into a PF archetype, we might meet in the middle somewhere?

Cloistered Cleric, trying again
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Cloistered clerics are proficient with light armor and simple weapons. They are not proficient with shields. Note: No special favored weapon.

Class Skills: The cloistered cleric's class skills are Appraise (Int), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (all) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).

Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Scholar: A cloistered cleric must select Knowledge as one of her domains, and must worship a deity with the Knowledge domain. Her base attack bonus from cleric levels is equal to half her class level (which is the same as for a sorcerer or wizard). This ability modifies domains and base attack bonus.

Breadth of Knowledge: At 1st level, a cloistered cleric gains a bonus on Knowledge skill checks equal to half her class level (minimum +1) and can make Knowledge skill checks untrained.

This version is a more straightforward swap of martial skill for...skill-skill and 'bardic knowledge'. 6 + Int skill points could also work, but that's a finicky switch.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Wszebor Uriev wrote:
I see Paizo slowly releasing all the APs as hardcovers.

They release a new AP twice a year. To do 'all the APs' in hardcover will require an 'average' output of two hardcovers a year.

Outside of all of the other given reasons you're overlooking*, that's an impossible schedule to keep up with.

*:
Like cannibalizing the subscriber revenue that helps keep the doors open, because people will wait for a hardcover instead of buying 6 softcovers and possibly pushing people to a 'buy it when I'll play it' instead of 'buy it now' mentality.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Also, some things are relative. Giving a cleric 6 + int skill points per level is a bigger change than giving a wizard the same - That wizard is going to be investing heavily in Int. The cleric is going from 2 to 4 skill points - twice as many. The wizard is going from 6 to 8 - not nearly as much of a difference.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Archetypes can be tricky to balance, especially for new designers, because of the automatic assumption that you should get something for what you give up.

But the truth is that sometimes giving something up doesn't mean anything, and sometimes there is no room to improve.

I'm going to talk about the latter reason first, because it is simpler and it breaks the game faster.

When there is no room to improve

The inspiration was this thread was the desire for a 'caster cleric', so I'll talk about that. Clerics are a 9-level caster with a huge spell list. They don't get free metamagic feats or quite as many flashy spells as Wizards do, but they don't need to keep a spellbook and get more spells every time a new rulebook comes out.

This means that to a certain extent they don't need metamagic, because they can simply find a higher-level spell that does more damage, or lasts longer, or whatever instead of applying metamagic to a lower-level spell.

There isn't a lot of room between 'cleric' and 'wizard' to make a cleric's spellcasting better.

Some classes are already the best at what they do - making them better at that thing just reduces their versatility (because you traded something else off) or breaks the game (because you gave them 10th level spells or a BAB of 2 x level)

Giving up somethingnothing

Sean K Reynolds touched on this when giving advice for designing archetypes:

Sean wrote:

4) Limiting an existing class ability to one already-available choice isn't cool, nor is it a limitation.

A rogue archetype that says "you have to take this rogue talent at level 4" isn't cool.
A fighter archetype that says "you have to take this weapon category at level 5" isn't cool.
And, assuming that choice is especially appropriate for that character, it's not really a limitation because the character would probably want that thing anyway. A character with a dagger-fighter archetype wants to take "light blades" for weapon training, so forcing him to do it isn't a limitation to the character at all, and you shouldn't treat it like it's a penalty or weakness to justify making another new class ability better (as in, "oh, the daggermaster has to take "light blades," so to compensate for that limitation I'll give the archetype this other cool thing...").

(Similar points here and here.)

This most obviously applies to things like taking away bonus feat to give a specific feat that such a character was going to take anyway (Forgepriest Warpriests were going to take Craft Magic Arms and Armor at 3rd level anyway.) Or restricting a domain choice to the ones that thematically match the rest of the class. These decisions aren't bad design on their own - they are bad design when used to justify a power increase elsewhere.

Suppose I made a 'ranged cleric' archetype that gets to apply Reach Spell to all their Touch range spells for free. Taking away medium armor for that archetype isn't as much of a drawback as it looks like, because such a character has an easier time keeping their distance from the bad guys (unlike a stock cleric, which has to get nearer the action). In fact, such a character might have been happy switching to light armor anyway, because the extra 10 feet of movement keeps more space between them and threats.

This is particularly true when designing an archetype for yourself. 'Must worship Desna' isn't a drawback if your character was going to do that anyway. 'Must be X alignment' isn't a drawback if you were going to be that anyway. Being harmed by positive energy isn't a drawback if you were already making a dhampir. Removing spells from your class list isn't a drawback if you as a player were never going to prepare those spells, and so on.

You can't have everything
The 9-level casters generally don't have a lot of class features to play with. They have spellcasting, some type of customization suite (schools, patrons, bloodlines, domains), and a chassis (BAB, skill points, HD, saves).

The arcane casters are hardest: generally its easier to make a new school or bloodline than swap pieces of a wizard or sorcerer - they can't even really trade off bits of their chassis - already having minimum BAB, skill points, and HD.

This means that most cleric archetypes have a very small list of things to trade off - one or both domains, BAB, HD, maybe Channel Energy. One can't get upset with a downgrade to 1/2 BAB to get some other shinies - there just isn't much else to trade.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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I'm just happy there's a few more spells with the (Charm) subschool to interact with the Infernal bloodline.

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Cruel Illusion wrote:
Ross Byers wrote:
Throne wrote:
Barachiel Shina wrote:
It'd be nice for them to explain WHY when they make such controversial decisions.
We know the answer. Goes something like "Whoops! Martials got a nice thing! Get back in your 2-handed Fighter box and stay there."

You've already decided the conclusion is unacceptable. What possible justification could Paizo give that would make you feel better about it?

Giving the 'justification' for a controversial decision just encourages people to argue with it - either out of the sheer principle of the thing or a misguided belief that if they shout loud enough the decision will be reversed.

Probably true, but is arguing such a bad thing? It proves people ccare enough about the game to be bothered when they feel something is wrong with it.

When I stopped complaining about D&D 4th, that was because I stopped playing it.

Oh, by all means, voice your opinions. My point was that I don't see the point in arguing over the justification and the decision instead of just the decision itself.

This is the internet - where people are happy to pick apart an argument point-by-point, and attack the weakest, most-poorly-worded point, possibly out of context, as if it were the entire argument.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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'Surprise' BBEGs can be problematic anyway. The Iron Gods Players Guide points out that the Technic League serves as an antagonist - a character whose ambition is to become a Captain of the League is going to have a bad time.

Likewise,:
If you think Ileosa is supposed to be the good guy, you might make a character that is a loyal servant of the crown...and promptly be left with a character that is opposed to the adventure hooks.

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Throne wrote:
Barachiel Shina wrote:
It'd be nice for them to explain WHY when they make such controversial decisions.
We know the answer. Goes something like "Whoops! Martials got a nice thing! Get back in your 2-handed Fighter box and stay there."

You've already decided the conclusion is unacceptable. What possible justification could Paizo give that would make you feel better about it?

Giving the 'justification' for a controversial decision just encourages people to argue with it - either out of the sheer principle of the thing or a misguided belief that if they shout loud enough the decision will be reversed.

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It's been 8 years. I think the statute of limitations is over on that particular spoiler.

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Renegade Paladin wrote:
Profession (barrister),

This is not the correct 'Law'.

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Let us all begin the blessed 'Dance of F5', so that we might bring sweet rains of PDFs upon our fallow download pages...

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