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Rycaut's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber. FullStarFullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 1,483 posts. No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 5 Pathfinder Society characters.

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If Hell's Vengeance and Hell's Rebels take place in a similar timeframe (I haven't read much about them yet so not sure) just had the thought - would it be possible to run BOTH? Perhaps with the same group but with different characters - alternating one book from one then one book from the other? (and possibly having the two parties effect each other in some fashion?) May not be possible if the stories don't allow for it - but just had the thought that it might be a fun exercise with the right group (or alternatively with two groups that one GM runs...)

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Has anyone considered a neutral party playing Hell's Vengeance? I could see a need to restore the balance being a compelling hook. Another route which might be fun if it is open is a party that starts off good and gets lured to the bad side as the module progresses? Assuming that that the low levels the interactions with hell would be relatively limited mighty be a fun approach. My reign of winter campaign nearly includes a paladin who was likely to fall and become an anti paladin as the full impact of working to rescue an evil near diety took its role (plus character decisions ). Unfortunately that player couldn't continue the campaign due to scheduling.

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A possibly simpler alternative - get some backgrounds from your players (you may already have them) and use characters from your pc's backgrounds for future quests/NPCs.

Ie killing a random npc who seems shifty is one thing - killing an old teacher or your pc's sister's brother-in-law etc is another thing entirely. Get a glimpse into your player's backgrounds and run with them. As a bonus even evil characters don't like it when an ally kills their family or friends - so the PC's may have a motive to keep the murder hobos in check.

One caution don't make this too obvious or too ham handed - and try to over time involve everyone in the party. But initially even just one connection to one pc may keep the rest of the party in check for quite a while.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Has there been any thought of compiling the FAQ's + Extended FAQ related blog posts (and possibly "FAQs via Messageboard posts") into a single document which could then be updated regularly and made available as a free download?

This would be exceptionally helpful for PFS play as it could then referenced in the PFS Guide, Additional Resources and Core campaign as a free resource for answering many questions (for CORE might need a note that only clarifications related to the core book applies).

Even the most dedicated of message board / blog reader/poster may miss an occasional post and extended official explanations such as today's fantastic Light & Darkness post are really really useful for players and GM's alike.

(I think I now get how light & darkness & daylight are supposed to work but it will take some play examples to work out all of the factors... but since light & darkness are really important effects to get right I will certainly be referring back to today's post fairly often.)


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LazarX wrote:
jeuce wrote:

"The unchained rogue qualifies for all existing rogue archetypes, but she is limited to any rogue talents listed in Chapter 1 (including the sidebar on page 24)."

What if that archetype gives access to a feat as a rogue talent? Example; Skulking Slayer giving access to Surprise Follow-Through and the Improved version. How do these interact?
It means that the archetype is legal, but you can not take that talent choice.

Why do you say that?

Generally speaking the specific overrules the general.

i.e. if an archetype gives you something (like access to a feat as a rogue talent), and taking that archetype is PFS legal (for an unchained rogue) (in this case I'm assuming a Half-Orc unchained rogue) then you should get all of the unique features of that archetype - for example an expanded list of rogue talents.

I read the post as stating two separate items about the unchained rogue (not two related ones)

1. The unchained rogue qualifies for all existing rogue archetypes
2. The unchained rogue is limited to rogue talents listed in Chapter 1 (including the sidebar on page 24)

Part 2 applying to ALL unchained rogues whether or not they take an archetype - but that the usual rules for archetypes would still apply - i.e. if they change the class in some way - such as expanding the list of rogue talents that would still apply.

if not that would be fairly unusual.


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I've had some really fun experiences with well done Summoners (as a player with other players playing one and as a DM with players with creative Summoners. They were strong but at least in the hands of the players around my tables they weren't broken (it helped that in the cases I'm thinking of the players had focused on really interesting roleplaying options over every last bit of optimization (but still made effective characters). These players also really focused on the Eidolon (in at least one case playing the character as if the Eidolon was the primary character.

In the hands of creative players, the Summoner had nearly infinite possibilities. I'll take a look at the new version and likely make one to try it out.

On the topic at hand - how does this ruling change (if at all) any feats or spells etc that use Evolutions? Do they now need to use only those options in Unchained? (I haven't read the updated Summoner yet - I assume they still have evolutions?)

(or are all such spells and feats individually banned in PFS already? - stuff like Evolved Familiar? Or there are some spells that involve evolutions)


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Outside of PFS play spellbooks are perfectly valid loot whatever the composition of the PC's. Indeed by reputation they make up a notable portion of the treasure of some AP's.

There is also an entire section of spellbooks that have special properties, traps etc (again not part of PFS play but part of the rules). Which implies to me that spellbooks exist outside of being a class feature. The class feature is more that you learn and prepare spells from spellbooks - not that you are the only class able to do anything at all with spellbooks. IMHO.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Seems like Effortless Trickery could use some errata or FAQ in that case as it sure appears to be intended to allow you to have two illusions up at once. Especially since the wording is pretty specific and the usual rule of thumb is the specific exception overrides the general rule. (In a home game I would definitely let a gnome with this feat use it as intended to maintain one illusion while casting potentially a second spell.

And yes it is powerful and perhaps subject to abuse - but it also seems clearly RAI and unless there is some other reasoning I've missed why doesn't the usual rule re specific exceptions overriding general rules apply here?

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Actually Scrolls of Fabricate (with the item already defined) would be a pretty nifty plot device and loot for a game. I think I will use that sometime.

lots of potential - imagine having a few prepared scrolls that taken together can build something to advance your plot. Sneaking the scrolls into say an enemy city would be vastly easier than the items they could create.

(As a GM I would just say the caster's crafting skills were done and not require the person who uses these scrolls to make craft checks - this would be a plot device with mechanics behind it.)

It would also be a nifty way to conduct trade across long distances - scribe scrolls of fabricate with valuable materials as the components. Then travel a long distance with lightweight scrolls and then cast the scrolls at your destination to move the valuable goods a vast distance. Lots of nifty ways to use this potentially....

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Material components are destroyed when casting a spell - Focus items remain unchanged by a spell. Fabricate is an unusual case but suggesting that it should have a Focus would make it truly broken (as it would be creating something out of nothing). It is pretty clear from the language what it is intended to do - be a magical crafting - taking raw materials and turning them into something fabricated). I think it is quite clear what happens when the spell is cast - a bunch of wood is turned into a wooden object. If you start with poor quality wood the final item is poor quality, if you start with great materials it can be of higher qualify - but also requires a Craft (woodworking in this case) to make something that takes skill to make.

i.e. a simple door doesn't require a skill check, an intricately carved door and frame of fine wood with detail workmanship takes a craft skill.

The materials are "destroyed" in the same sense that they are destroyed in a usual crafting - all abstracted for game play from the "real" world where you would have wood chips etc. Here for game purposes magic transforms the raw materials into a finished product with no wastage etc.

so yes, mechanically it fits being a material component as that component is "destroyed/used up" in the course of casting and something new (in this case an actual object - in the case of other spells an effect) is created.

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Bugbear Cat wrote:

Did anyone mention that Fabricate as its written needs a FAQ check? Cause the Component (M) and the Description of the spell contradict each other.

Per the description The component should be (F). Does one supersede the other?
Also, if used with Blood Money I would have whatever is made with fabricate turn back into blood the next round, unless the spell is supposed to be (F) in which case they wouldn't work at all.

Finally, and I can't stress this enough, HOW ARE ALL THESE WIZARDS GETTING THEIR HANDS ON A SPELL SPECIFIC TO A CAMPAIGN AND THAT HASN'T BEEN AROUND FOR 10,000 YEARS?! Oh and only exists in Karzoug's personal spell book at that!

Sorry about the caps but damn it irritates me that so many people ignore the fluff requirements in a ROLE playing game, in favor of power-gaming. Often the fluff is there for the very reason of limiting things that will other wise be abused.

And damn if I didn't fall into the trap of saying fluff. Roleplaying elements aren't fluff in a Roleplaying game.

Where do you see a contradiction between the description of Fabricate and the components? It is pretty clear to me that the materials are consumed when the spell is cast, the duration depends on the amount of materials used and then turned into the finished good instantaneously by the magic of the spell.



School transmutation; Level sorcerer/wizard 5
Casting Time see text
Components V, S, M (the original material, which costs the same amount as the raw materials required to craft the item to be created)
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target up to 10 cu. ft./level; see text
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no
You convert material of one sort into a product that is of the same material. Creatures or magic items cannot be created or transmuted by the fabricate spell. The quality of items made by this spell is commensurate with the quality of material used as the basis for the new fabrication. If you work with a mineral, the target is reduced to 1 cubic foot per level instead of 10 cubic feet.

You must make an appropriate Craft check to fabricate articles requiring a high degree of craftsmanship.

Casting requires 1 round per 10 cubic feet of material to be affected by the spell.

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But you need more than knowledge of a material.

Fabricate does not make materials. It makes goods FROM materials that you provide as part of the spell's casting. To make a sword you need to start with the metal. To make a wooden door you need wood etc. For modern items you need modern raw materials and a craft skill for crafting modern items.

Fabricate makes things out of stuff. It doesn't create that raw stuff in the first place.

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Indeed. I noted it as a probably cool part of the campaign - it isn't impossible and it shows that your group doesn't just kill everything in sight (and your players and GM are willing to go places that aren't the regular ones).

I still really like the idea of a goblin "chosen one" paladin with an emissary familiar who guides the paladin on his or her very unusual journey to a destiny as a paladin. Unusual but all kinds of opportunities for really fun role playing (and mechanically pretty nifty as well)

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My group decided to try an air assault on the Clocktower (they found that they had enough members who could fly or fly & carry others that it was viable. They flew in and after a challenging battle decapitated the dragon in the skies above Whitethrone. Rather a memorable fight - with plenty of pyrotechnics and ended with a flying barbarian decapitating the dragon (barbarian critted)

Took them a while to clear the tower however as troll bodies pilled up and they eventually were exhausted and fled by air then returned later to clean up the tower.

Oh and did you remember that a person with blink can literally walk through walls... the players somehow didn't appreciate when the witch they were fighting stepped through the walls...

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Would it be possible to make the FAQ Queue a filter on the message boards that anyone can use?

i.e. I'd like to vote up a bunch of ACG related FAQ's - I can either try to find posts via lots of searchers (or browsing) or if the whole FAQ queue were visible I could filter on that, then browse for the posts that are discussing the issues / questions I have.

I can see how this might lead to some abuse - but I can also see how it would help get all the message board readers contributing further to voting on FAQs and perhaps on helping identify overlapping FAQ requests and/or posts that contain multiple issues etc.

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A goblin could be a Warpriest of Lamashtu and be fairly similar to a Paladin (not identical but quite similar)

A goblin Paladin with the "Chosen One" archetype might be really really fun -- you don't get Divine Bond (which for a sea campaign wouldn't be as useful at least not the mount part) but instead get an Emissary familiar from level one. A few paladin features are delayed (Smite Evil at Level 2 and Divine Grace at Level 4 - but once gained progress normally). The familiar gains Knowledge (Religion) but the Paladin doesn't (very appropriate for a goblin paladin) and at level 7 the familiar reveals it's real form - an outside of the same alignment as the Paladin's patron (god) - i.e. free improved familiar. Plus a few other nice abilities.

Overall might be a really fun archetype for a goblin paladin - one who doesn't know his or her true capabilities.

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Skald is pretty solid for Bloodragers - better I think than Bard (not least because Skald's can cast in medium armor from level 1).

However a dip into Arcane Dualist Bard for the free arcane strike and then getting the very nice blooded arcane strike feat is nice especially if you ever plan on the Vital Strike chain of feats (Blooded Arcane Strike means your Arcane Strike is always active whenever you blood rage without spending a swift action - so really nice action economy and unique to the Bloodrager.

As others have noted a one or two level monk dip is quite nice for boosting saves (+3 across the board does wonders for most characters) and there are quite a lot of great options - but does typically require you to be lawful (not sure your alignment) - though martial artist is an option to consider if you aren't.

Eldritch Guardian (Fighter archetype) may at first seem a strange choice but you can take a few levels and get a fairly nice combat buddy (who would have all of your combat feats) - if you take the mauler archetype he could even turn into a medium sized creature. And a Hedgehog would grant you a +2 to will saves though other familiars may offer better combat buddies. But this wouldn't give you any significant spells/buffing - but would be full BAB and does offer some nifty help with many common will saves via the archetypes alternative to Bravery.

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A few notes.

Grease - has a great buffing use as well it can make being grappled harder. Especially at lower levels or for spontaneous casters a spell that has control, offense (disarm) and buffing utility is really good. It is on my short list of utility spells for many casters.

Ceremony - the more I read it the more I like it. It has a lot of utility for a low level spell. Definitely one that will see some NPC usage and remember that many of the effects are basically a communal embue with spell like ability (water breathing for example) and a sacred bonus that lasts days is nothing to sneeze at. Especially for a spell that a low level cleric could cast with the right materials. Perhaps not a spell for an oracle to learn but really nice for a cleric or warpriest to use before a multiday battle or adventure to provide some fairly cost effective long duration buffs or unusual effects. It is also something may work best as something granted to NPCs in many cases (ie make a whole bunch of villagers able to heals a little or able to light fires that can't easily be stopped etc)

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If you are playing from Level 1 to Level 20 then you should also consider the order you plan on taking the classes - personally I would suggest getting into Dragon Disciple as soon as possible and then you have the flexibility to decide if you want to take more Barbarian levels or more sorcerer levels (or something like Eldritch Knight when you are done with Dragon Disciple assuming you want to take all 10 levels of DD.

DD is exceptionally flexible in how you build it - you can be martial focused, blasting focused or more switch hitting. Not sure personally I would love the Barbarian route personally but a few other wrinkles to consider:

1) ACG introduced blood rage powers - your Barbarian could take Draconic blood rage powers if you choose to - though how & if these interact with Dragon Disciple is somewhat unclear - some DM's may rule that your DD bite triggers during your rage if you have the Lesser Draconic Blood rage power - but many others might not agree with that ruling. But it is an option to consider.

2) a robe of arcane heritage is really really good for a Dragon Disciple build - it is exceptional the more you focus on your sorcerer abilities (getting that extra breath weapon and having more dice for it are both really good in the mid-levels.

3) Some other build options you may want to consider:

Bloodrager instead of Barbarian for the melee part of your build. You would get some limited casting abilities (if you go high enough as a bloodrager) and if you take or got Arcane Strike this would open up the phenomenal Blooded Arcane Strike feat. As noted unclear how bloodrager bloodlines stack (or don't stack) with Dragon Disciple levels but even if they don't you would have abilities that work while raging and abilities that work outside of raging which is nice to have.

Bard (arcane duelist in particular) in place of Sorcerer. Lets you cast in light armor, has a lot of spells that have no somatic components if you want to wear heavier armor. Arcane Duelist gives you arcane strike for free so works well with Bloodrager. DD can advance your bard spell casting but you won't have the same blasting abilities as a sorcerer based dragon disciple.

Skald - either along with another more melee focused class (like Bloodrager) or just by itself. You can go Skald to Dragon Disciple as it is a spontaneous arcane caster. You get rage abilities (which you can share with others) but don't suffer fatigue when it is over and better yet you can still use your full skills and even do things that require concentration ( like cast). If you multi class a Skald with another class that gets Rage you can choose which set of rage bonuses to take during your raging song - and if you take enough Skald levels you can even use your rage powers from those levels while under Skald rage - and use your Skald rage powers while using your other rage (if you are at least a Skald 3). Not a full BAB class however, but can also cast while in medium armor. Overall quite a flexible build either straight Skald to Dragon Disciple or something like Skald 3 / Barbarian or Bloodrager 7 / Dragon Disciple 10 could be a pretty potent build (possibly skipping the last two levels of Dragon Disciple which I think offer a bit less than the rest of the prestige class)

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Dirty Trick is among the most versatile feats in the game - it is also one of the ones most subject to table variation (if you are playing in organized play like PFS). If not, you should talk with your GM about what he will/won't allow you to do with Dirty Tricks.

A few of the notable questions:

- can you Dirty Trick with weapons? (RAW is somewhat unclear - implication in many places is yes - I think of this like using a blade to blind an enemy vs deal damage, or to cut clothing/armor in a way that entangles etc)

- do you need to know something about the monster to dirty trick effectively? (RAW there is no such requirement - but as a player and GM I think that if I've say been successful in using Knowledge to identify the monster at the very least as a player I may have a better clue as to what types of conditions to impose

A notable items/feats/suggestions:

- Dirty Trick (Blind) works exceptionally well if you then can make followup attacks with sneak attack (or another form of precision damage) Blind is also amazing against many casters (hard to aim if you can't see your enemies)

- When you can Dirty Trick Master is amazing (and perhaps broken - if you impose Nauseated it is basically game over for that enemy - by then your dirty trick's take a standard action to be removed - and nauseated means you only have move actions = total lockdown basically. Even before then once you have Greater Dirty Trick you can really gain a major action economy advantage - even at very high level play (where quicken spells etc may come into play) you remove most of a caster's effectiveness via forcing them to spend a standard action to remove effects and you even before then you remove a full melee type's ability to make full attacks if they have to spend a move action to remove an effect first (and when it is a standard action you seriously cripple melee types as well)

- look for ways to impose multiple dirty tricks in a round (there is one class that lets you forgo sneak attack damage to instead do a dirty trick as a free action - start stacking that and you can impose a lot of effects all at once - each requiring standard actions to remove...

- look at magic items (there are some) which will help your dirty tricks - the Burglar's Buckler is quite amazing - as a +1 buckler even someone w/o shield proficiencies can use it without penalties and it grants a +2 competance on disable device & slight of hand, to combat maneuver checks to impose Dirty Tricks and to CMD against Dirty Tricks. Plus once per day on command it can turn into any mundane tool weighing between 1 and 5 pounds - with the implication that it can remain in that form indefinitely (so very easily concealed until you need it) plus very flexible.

- if you focus on unarmed attacks to impose your dirty tricks check with your GM but likely Brawling Armor would help you as your attacks are unarmed attacks (the description is a bit unclear in intention - it calls out that it includes combat maneuvers to impose grapple but generally most bonuses to attacks with a weapon apply if you attack to impose a combat maneuver with that weapon instead of a traditional attack. In any case brawling armor is really really good for sneaky types who may often attack unarmed (it is a +1 armor enchantment that grants a +2 to unarmed attacks and damage and makes those attacks count as magic weapons - though you still need Improved Unarmed Strike to avoid attacks of opportunity etc)

The key however to a Dirty Trick build (at least until you have Dirty Trick Master) is to coordinate carefully with your party - you are basically a non-magical debuffer - once you impose effects you need your party (and perhaps yourself) to be able to follow up on those effects and make the best use of them. For example if you blind an opponent they usually can't then make AoO - so it is a great tactic to help party members escape (or help them maneuver around an enemy to get into flanks)

You'll also want to have a lot of other tricks up your sleeves if you play a Dirty Trick focused character - my PFS dirty trick focused character has nearly every skill in the game as a class skill, carries a wide array of potions, scrolls and wands for every occasion (using UMD) and has things like a Cloak of the Hedge Wizard (divination) which gives him a once per day ability to cast True Stike among other abilities (for when he really really needs to land that combat maneuver). His typical tactic is to close very rapidly with the enemy and then start locking the BBEG down and then wait for his party to also close (and sneak attack w/two weapon fighting until then)

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a few thoughts - echoing a few others.

1) if combats as currently being run as "too easy" for your party - vary them up a bit - give them a stretch without combat (exploration, role playing, something to get them engaged). If that doesn't work then look at varying the environments and at making them think a bit about their tactics and approaches. This can be as simple as an environment where there are bystanders they have to keep alive (prisoners, other people in a tavern/street - pick something appropriate to your environment but show them that there are people other than enemies and the party

2) look at what your party does (play styles, character classes/types) and consider encounters that let a different set of people than usual shine for a given battle. If the party melee types are always dominant perhaps have an encounter with some flying (or swimming) enemies - this becomes a different tactical battle - and requires ranged play or tactics such as readying actions. Don't however be punitive here - water can quickly kill unprepared lower level characters (and flying enemies if no one has ranged weapons is also frustrating at any level of play)

[side note - years ago in a different system one of my proudest moments as a DM was getting a player who played a Paladin to choose running away and perhaps needing to atone when he realized that fighting a dragon, in the dragon's lair, where the dragon was able to fly and perch on top of walls that were higher up than the paladin could easily see - but just high enough that the dragon could still breath down and get everyone in the room wasn't a battle he was going to win - and the party ran away w/o any casualties but with a lesson about perhaps not trying more than they could actually achieve at that time. The rest of that dungeon was a related set of lessons - lots of encounters where they had non-combat means of resolving them - if they spoke with the monsters instead of attacking first]

Along those lines I think it is often good to introduce "enemies" who aren't necessarily clear cut "evil" - put the PC's in the middle of two groups who are in a conflict but where there are no clear good (or bad) guys just real differences of opinion and perhaps even fighting and see what the PC's do. Give them non-combat means of resolving encounters - or real consequences if they do engage in battle (one side may start to see them as allies, the other as enemies). This can even work if some of the party are focused on fighting "evil" (i.e. Paladins etc) but in that case don't go too overboard as it might seem punitive to that player if EVERY enemy is N. But a bunch of encounters with N (or even CN) or other non-evil enemies can help teach a party to look at a multitude of ways to resolve combat.

Another similar approach is to give them enemies who use means other than lethal force to attack the party (traps are one option but a non-lethal specialist is another, or a spell caster who focuses on illusions and transmutations). Start getting them to question their reality a bit and to see an approach that is less than lethal but still effective. This has the other side benefit of letting you have an NPC who may "win" against the party without it being a TPK - and without requiring a lot of DM fiat or hand waving to avoid that TPK - knock out the whole party and get them captured etc.

One other thing to keep in mind is that SOLO monsters even at APL+4 above the party are at a real action economy disadvantage to a determined party. So add some minions or others to some encounters to help minimize that. I also find that starting encounters a bit father away often turns encounters which are "easy" into ones that take real skill and push a party - give the NPC's some time to buff and encounters get far more complex. Combine a few encounters in a row and an "easy" module turns challenging very quickly (in many dungeons pay attention to what is in nearby rooms - sounds of battle should have a chance to pull in others to the fray. I also find that in dungeons if the party keeps pressing forward that it can help to stay in initiative order (players may like this as buffs etc stick around a longer) but it also can mean that an unwary party may trigger multiple encounters at once w/o rests in-between to do out of combat healing. Don't abuse this but keep it as an option.


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for 3.5 scenarios I had read somewhere (trying to remember where - I think one fo the Guides - though haven't checked the most recent version of the guide) that you can (and perhaps should) use the stats for monsters that are in Pathfinder in favor of the stat blocks from 3.5 (and you can and should always calculate CMB/CMD for the monsters in any case).

Where things get messy is in scenarios that don't have PFS equivalents - or where the PFS monsters are of a different CR than the ones in the 3.5 scenario. There isn't much you can do there other than run the monsters as written but do your best.

Personally I wish Paizo would republish all 3.5 scenarios with full Pathfinder stats (which would be harder for some scenarios than others) as they did for Mists of Mawagi.

Since PFS scenarios are digital products I actually wish they would correct mistakes in scenarios - it might result in some degree of table variation (for folks who played prior to errors being fixed or for DM's who don't check their downloads for updates) but it would also allow for the updates for changes to goals and prestige awards (and in more than a few scenarios correcting the mistakes would address many issues with some scenarios)

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One of my players has been talking about perhaps running Reign of Winter in the future adding Mythic elements to the scenario - probably incorporating the Baba Yaga's boons as either Mythic levels or some degree of mythic abilities. It seems like it could work - though with a subset of the full Mythic rules.

Has anyone tried this yet? Or looked at what it would require from the GM in terms of modifications of the scenarios?

(Rasputin for example sure seems like he could have Mythic levels - though he is already more than a bit of a handful for most parties I'd guess)

And the final book sure seems tailor made for Mythic rules.


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Mists of Mwangi is a fun and short scenario that if you are careful can be a lot of fun for younger players (try to avoid having everyone paralyzed - you may need to fudge some tactics or roles depending on the level they play at) and be sure to run tactics to be fun vs maximally damaging - but rampaging Gorrilas and monkey people can be fun for kids of any age... and emphasize the last night at the museum kinda vibe.

(paralyzed players can be okay especially if you paralyze adults playing with the kids and give the kids a chance to really shine)


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So from level 1 most PFS players are told to get a Wand of Cure Light Wounds (or Infernal Healing) even if you can't use it yourself just to have it and hand to a party member who can use it.

But what I'm curious about are what other items have you bought (or should consider buying) to have even though you can't use them yourself.

Extreme example - scroll of Raise Dead and 5000gp diamond dust. Perhaps along with a scroll with 2 castings of Restoration (and 2000 gp in components)

I was prompted to this thought by the idea of getting a scroll of Nap Stack to have on hand "just in case" since it is one of those spells that clerics never seem to prepare when it would be possible to use - but when you need it, you really really need it. (to let spell casters regain their spells in 2 hours not 8 or to make 4 saves in an 8 hour period against poisons or diseases or even just to get a lot of natural healing especially of ability damage).

But then I just realized that a Potion of Nap Stack is, I think, possible and just 850 gp. (initially wrote 750gp but realized that there is a 100 gp material component - so a scroll or a potion of it would cost more than otherwise)

So what items have you considered buying?

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I haven't yet used Game Space - but thinking about it as a player but more as a DM I have a few questions/suggestions.

1 - can players control multiple tokens? (i.e. PC & Animal Companion/Familiar/Mount/summoned creatuers?)

2 - can Tokens be numbered or otherwise identified (i.e. Skeleton 1, Skeleton 2 etc)

3 - if tokens and maps can't be uploaded can you list in the description what map packs/options and what token sets are implemented/will be implemented?)

4 - are there plans to implement maps that aren't Gamemastery map packs but are custom maps from modules, Adventure Paths or PFS scenarios?

5 - second the suggestion for Dynamic lighting - really helpful as a player & as a DM for tracking who has light sources. Ideally it can also adjust the map for a PC's vision (i.e. low light or darkvision but that's likely harder to implement smoothly

6 - Will Game Space integrate with online video/voice chat tools like Google Hangout or Skype?

7 - Freehand drawing will help with adding effects or room elements to the map. Will the app have tokens for things like room elements (chairs, stairs etc) or for representing 3D locations (i.e. flying creatures)?

8 - Can you track effects? (Buffs/debuffs etc) and/or are there templates for things like cones, lines or bursts?

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Given the recent FAQ clarifications about Spell Like Abilitys qualifying for feats like Arcane Strike that require "ability to cast arcane spells" (i.e. a Rogue with Minor Magic now qualifies) I'm curious what the full list of races, traits or abilities like the Rogue Talent Minor Magic would now qualify a character for the Arcane Strike feat without that character having class levels in an Arcane caster class (i.e. non-Sorcerer, Bard, Magus, Witch or Wizard)

Off the top of my head here is a start to the list:

Playable races

Gnomes (racial spell like abilities include many arcane spells)
Tieflings / Aasimars (at least some of the racial heritages - others might be arguably only casting Divine spell like abilities)
Elemental races w/spell like abilities

Traits like:

Wealthy Dabbler (Taldor regional trait)
Magical Talent
Varisian Wanderer

(and a few others that grant a spell like ability derived from an arcane spell list)

Rogue Talent - Minor Magic (and the rest of that chain of talents)

What about Eidolons or Animal Companions that somehow get granted a spell like ability?


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[note - I haven't caught up on the "GM rewards for Star Tiers" thread so apologies if this idea has been made there already]

As a DM I have run a LOT of scenarios multiple times - I think each time I run the scenario I do it better - and with great scenarios each time I run is usually a very different experience. I'm nearly at my 3rd DM star in part as a result of running many things many times.

But it is a bit (only a bit) disappointing that there aren't other rewards for DMs to run something a second (or third or fourth etc) time. I've been fairly luck as a game night organizer in finding many DMs who are willing to rerun scenarios because they love running certain favorite scenarios - and don't mind rerunning as it saves them prep time and effort. But I do also have many DMs who prefer to run all else being equal a scenario they haven't run before - in part to get that really nice and flexible DM chronicle sheet for one of their PCs.

What I think I'd like to see is some system that offers some incentives and rewards for DMs who run scenarios more than once - so people get really good at their favorite scenarios yet still get tangible game related rewards for their huge investments in time (and no infrequently in money for maps, minis, books etc).

One idea - use the existing reporting data to generate lists of DMs who have rerun scenarios within a given period of time (say a quarter) then send out some digital rewards to those DM's (perhaps with some variation based on the DM's star level and/or # of scenarios rerun that quarter)

Another idea - allow some great flexibility with chronicle sheets - one idea would be to allow DM's to apply a chronicle sheet once per TIER (so you could apply the chronicle sheet for a 1-5 to a 1-3 char once and to a 4-5 character once). Scenarios with a wider range of tiers (say earlier ones that were tier 1-7 would offer more opportunities to apply those chronicle sheets). This would still mean that many DMs would run scenarios they don't get any in-game reward for running (since many people run things more that twice) but it would give DMs at least some tangible reward for that first time they rerun a scenario.

And it would be relatively easy to retroactively grant these chronicle sheets based on reporting data...


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I think a lot of the table variation besides the variation inherent in different DMs (even under PFS) is in how the players as a group approach playing.

If people play characters that are entirely self-contained - optimized or not Season 4 will be harder than past seasons - especially if they are focused on a single way of solving problems (both the "always attack" and the "always talk" schools will run into problems).

A group of players even if not fully optimized that know how to work together - and who find ways to contribute no matter the situation (even if some characters end up casting guidance or doing aid another). I've seen great players playing not fully optimized characters use all kinds of creative tricks to always be able to contribute - and to make everyone else around them more effective. Simple measures like stacking buffs can make everyone more effective. And cheap measures like having just the right utility potions, oils or scrolls is also amazingly helpful for the right parties.

The Disappeared is among my favorite scenarios I've played or run in PFS. And generally speaking I'm enjoying every Season 4 scneario I have played or DMed. They are harder than past seasons but also all have more metaplot and frequently really memorable encounters and stories. Not every faction mission is all that fun (or achievable) and I'm not a huge fan of the Season 4 ongoing faction missions as at least with my group we've mostly ignored those as a method of getting PA.

Of course as a player I do tend to make fairly strong characters - not perhaps as totally optimized as some people make as I like multiclassing - but generally pretty surprisingly effective so that may help temper my views.


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Michael Brock wrote:

It was a way to field questions immediately and talk "face-to-face" instead of a unemotional blog. Sorry you are disappointed in the method of delivery but we received an overwhelmingly positive response. You are the first to advise it is a complete lack of consideration and shockingly bad judgement. We will try to do better next time with just a plain old blog post and less questions answered with the immediacy we were able to provide.

Also, it was recorded and will be placed HERE if you would Ike to watch it for yourself and not rely on second and interpretations.

A quick suggestion - can you post a blog post with the key decisions (and or some sticky threads) and in the future perhaps have a scheduled post setup to go up just before/during or perhaps after with the key points?

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Cloak the of the Hedge Wizard is my new favorite low cost item. Makes giving up a cloak of resistance really viable for many different builds. My lore warden loved his cloak of the hedge wizard (divination) for the at will detect magic (turned him into the party magic item identifier since his spell craft and knowledge arcana were both very high) and the once per day detect secret doors and true strike were nice as well.

Since there are many they make for great additions of a little touch of magic to many different builds. Especially rogues or fighters that want just a bit of magic without the BAB hit of a caster dip.

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The Hexcrafter archetype of the Magus class is a very interesting one but it has a number of somewhat confusing rules elements (this is for PFS play so that further complicates some things - can't just make a house ruling)


A hexcrafter magus adds the following spells to his magus spell list: bestow curse, major curse, and all other spells of 6th level or lower that have the curse descriptor.

However some spells that this will add (to his spell list - so still need to be added to the Magus' spellbook) have different levels for the classes that get them.

Bestow Curse being the key questionable spell here. Since the Hexcrafter pulls from the Witch I think a strong case could be made that the RAI is for the Magus to get Bestow Curse as a 3rd level spell. However the Magus as a class has a lot of ties to the Sorcerer/Wizard spell lists (with class abilities that open up those spell lists for example) so a counter argument might be made that Bestow Curse should be a 4th level spell for Hexcrafters.

This matters since Bestow Curse as a touch attack spell could make for a fantastic spell to embed in a spell storing weapon or a spell storing suit of armor - and such a usage feels very Magus like (in a home game I would rule this way since it fits so well into the flavor of a Hexcrafter Magus. i.e. discharing a curse at anyone foolish enough to his a magus with a melee or melee touch attack. Or likewise discharging a curse after a successful hit to open combat.

[in PFS play I would probably impose the 50/50 chance of acting each turn as that is quite potent but in a home game I would encourage creativity in the curses]

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Well you can also argue that a fighter gets so many bonus combat feats that for many builds they can dedicate more of their regular level feats to non-combat feats than many other classes could. Combined with an archetype like the Lore Warden you can have a fighter as a face or even knowledge expert outside of combat.

All while still being highly effective in combat.

I play a fighter/monk/rogue (possibly adding wizard for his 10th level) in PFS and he is extremely effective in and outside of combat. In combat he two weapon fights and uses combat maneuvers (especially dirty trick) and has over a 25 AC even while only wearing light armor.

Outside of combat he has nearly 20 skills at over a +10 (many over +15) and can always help the party in nearly every situation (he even identifies magic items better than most casters)

To build a fighter than can do more than just fight you have to do a few things:

1) don't dump every mental stat and consider investing in at least one possibly two mental stats - WIS for perception and heal etc, INT for knowledges, spellcraft and skill points, CHA for diplomacy/intimidate but also UMD

2) be open to a multiclass level (or even a few). A sprinkling of rogue for skill ranks and sneak attack or a level or two of a caster class (either arcane or divine) will add a lot of out of combat utility and might add some skill ranks (if bard, oracle etc)

3) be creative with magic items - sure invest in a magic weapon, armor and mobility but consider adding items that give you tricks - stuff like a cloak of the hedge wizard are really fun (for ~2500gp adds prestidigitation and one 0-level spell at will and two 1st level spells 1x a day from a specific school). Not huge but well worth the investment - divination gives detect magic at will and detect secret doors and true strike 1x a day. What fighter wouldn't love true strike when needed?

4) consider playing a race that gives you stuff you can use. Gnomes for a few spells and obsessive for a boost to a craft or profession. Even human with focused study gives you three skill focuses over your career. Use the first a low levels to boost an out of combat skill (say perception for example) then look at using regular levels to explore Eldritch heritage feats. (You can be a fighter with a familiar if you like via this path)

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So I run a lot of Pathfinder Society and it is getting a bit old drawing out maps - I've seen occasions where other DMs have printed out scale versions of the maps found in scenarios... but I'm not sure what trick(s) they used to accomplish this feat...

Can anyone point me at a simple method of taking a map image and getting it to print out as a series of tiled pages at roughly the right scale that I can tape together to use for a game? Clearly I'm missing some key feature(s) and/or apps because I can't figure out how to get an image printed out across many pages - let alone do so at anything close to the right scale for minis.

(as an aside I'd love it if as PFS GM I could buy printable, scaled correctly versions of custom maps for a given scenario)


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A suggestion, though I suspect it won't happen, but I think if it did it would improve PFS.

Many PFS scenarios have errors that have been caught after they have been published (and frequently, though not always, discussed in detail here on the messageboards). Many others have important plot points/sections which were cut during editing but which help clarify what was going on in the scenario (and in at least a few cases help make faction missions achievable)

Further with older scenarios there are updates and changes to PFS play, such as the doubling of the number of factions, which might usefully be noted if older scenario PDFs were ever updated.

So here is what I would suggest at least be considered for PFS in 2013.

Every scenario from Season 1-3 be published in an updated format with at a minimum the following changes:

a) insert guidance for DMs running older seasons re which factions missions to assign as well as the rules on awarding Prestige for that scenario. Ideally including updating the Chronicle sheets to the new format w/space for Day Jobs, Fame etc

b) correct known typos and outright errors in the scenarios - stuff like tactics that suggest illegal actions, incorrect stat blocks/references, or other known errors in the encounters

c) INSERT advice/guidance/corrections/suggestions based on play experience - i.e. reminders that maps were drawn at a different than normal scale or return some flavor text to the scenario if doing so makes some faction missions achievable etc. To keep page references easy I suggest doing this as an appendix not via reflowing every page.

d) correct known errors on Chronicle sheets (there is precedent for this happening as it has been done in the past) - things like incorrect prices. Potentially the tier rewards for some older scenarios might be raised to be closer to those of newer seasons especially where off by a lot (some older scenarios may offer half or even less than the rewards of s similar tier scenario from season 3 or 4)

I realize this would take both a lot of work and make a degree of changes - but I think the end result would be a better PFS with lessened table variation - and with potentially a renewed interest by players and DMs (and event organizers) in older scenarios. There still would be plot changes over time that mean it makes somewhat more sense to play newer scenarios after old ones - but many classic scenarios are fantastic but flawed (with well known flaws in many cases) - I think rolling those changes into the published documents would help everyone.


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I've started thinking about a Heavens oracle illusionist probably gnomish. Color spray becomes rather decent if you have a very high CHA and the revelation that allows you to subtract you CHA bonus when determining the effective HD of a foe for a pattern spell (like color spray).

Not sure if revelations work with non-Oracle spells if they do might look at multiclass options or just go straight oracle. There are some illusionist prestige classes to consider as well. Many illusion spells suffer from table variation in how they are used but the pattern style spells have the least table variation.

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Specifically the Nagaji get a racial bonus on Handle Animal check "against reptiles" yet there actually isn't a definition anywhere I've found that defines which animals count as reptiles for the purposes of this check (and whether it also applies to magical beasts that are also reptiles)

So anyone have a source for what counts/doesn't count?

(I'm specifically asking for PFS play as I may play a Nagaji build with an animal companion and clearly I would want to take a reptile - while Snake, Constrictor is a decent choice I'm curious which other options also qualify as reptiles...)


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Sigh. Rogue's waiting for flanking to get sneak attacks should be around the 101, day one, lessons on "how to be an effective PF rogue". Really really basic move players should master.

More basic still but some folks don't get so bears repeating.

1. Rogues and anyone w/sneak attacks should if possible have a ranged, usable in a surprise round way to deliver a sneak attack. Only useful if you get a surprise round and are 30' (well 35') away from the enemy but well worth pulling off if you can (minor magic for acid splash works well - ranged touch is far easier to hit with

2. For everyone, but especially rogues closing to get an attack while opponents are still flatfooted can be really valuable

3. After you have buffed - spread out to avoid being in "fireball" formation (lines are just as deadly as being clustered together.

(Buff, Buff, Buff - sure Bless is "just" +1 but that is akin to a full BAB hitting as if they were one level higher and the impact on non-full BAB classes is even higher - yes not quite as good as a real level but still very helpful. Start having Divine and Bardic casters buffing at the same time and you suddenly are acting as 4-6 levels higher - makes a huge impact on the battle and everyone's survivability.

4. READY actions. Both the "wait until I have flanking" but also attacking a caster at range but only have a single attack - frequently your best move is to ready an attack to attack the caster as she is about to cast a spell - occasionally she may surprise you and not cast during her turn - but if she does then you're likely reasonably happy as a party anyway.

5. Know your options like Attacking defensiely, total defense and any other special features of your class and items.

6. Know how to use acrobatics to avoid AoO (as well as the benefits of having at least 3 ranks of Acrobatics when you attack defensively or use total defense)

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If I were to houserule this for a home game I would probably say "all melee weapon enhancements that make sense can be added to an amulet at a 2x cost since it is slotless"

But for PFS play I'm less clear. The big potential enhancement is Dueling at 14,000 gp for a bunch of nice bonuses. But it might be amusing to figure out how glamered would work (like a hat of disguise? Allow a monk to appear weak and helpless only to strike with a surprise fist? Lots of flavor potential if likely little functionality.

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For example the powerful Major Hex - Ice Tomb doesn't appear to have a range specified. Is it literally just line of sight? Can a Witch hex someone with Ice Tomb via scrying?

Ice Tomb isn't the only hext that is lacking a range. A few are clearly personal in range (Flight for example) but many others are less clear.

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A few things.

1) if the outcome of a battle is obvious after people have expended a bunch of resources and all that remains is a lot of rounds of very similar dice rolling it is completely legit as a DM to handwave and say "you win after ..." and declare the cost of that victory (i.e. estimate damage or count up what folks have been casting/shooting each round) The point of the game is to have fun - if the tactics are fun keep at them - but if they become a slog and everyone DM & Players alike are clearly bored just wave your hands and declare what happens. This won't please everyone all the time - and you shouldn't do it all the time - but if you do it to keep the story moving forward and avoid time sinks I suspect your players will be very pleased (and you may progress more rapidly through the AP). I left a group a while ago which was playing through some modules in no small part because it took us far far too many play sessions to finish the single module (we rarely had more than one combat in a play session since everything seemed to take far too long)

2) At high levels you will have a LOT of buffs and the like to track. I would encourage your group to create a stand process to track buffs - the Gamemastery Buff deck is a decent starting point (but isn't perfect) - Notecards or table tents for each buff are a perfectly good option as well. Make sure to note when the buffs were cast and when they end - and then be sure to track rounds of combat. Make it a mutual responsibility to track all buffs and effects - they are a crucial part of the game but all to often it is easy to forget durations.

3) 3D combat can be hairy. One fairly simple "hack" I use in my own games as a DM or as a player is to require everything that is flying to have a die next to the mini which indicates height (I track it in 5' increments ) so you can scan the table quickly and see how high up you are, how high up other creatures are and it helps greatly with maneuvers. Tracking everything around a 3D encounter can be tricky - hovering, fly checks, banking, ascending/descending etc so don't get too caught up in every minute detail - but focus on the big stuff - make flight an advantage for those using it - but also make it a cost (for example it is very very hard to pull off a Full Attack when flying if you can't easily hover and/or don't have feats that are specifically Fly specific (fly by attack etc). This means that the flying melee types may have challenges.

(my high level cleric loves Air Walk as a way around the challenges of flying - if you can just walk on the air you can easily do things like charge on the air or stand on the air and full attack... great to cast on melee types and then see the flying monsters be very unhappy)

In terms of giving players a challenge it is also worth knowing how your party plays and tailoring encounters a bit toward them - if they tend to have a 5 minute adventuring day then consider linking encounters (in the wilderness a big battle for example might attract other predators or scavengers looking to pick over the remains of one side or the other, in a dungeon if a battle is raging it may attract attention from other inhabitants etc). Some of the most challenging adventures I've run as a DM for players have been where one encounter ran into the next resulting in 15-20+ round encounters that definitely tested the party - but not unfairly (since in that case it was their own fault for opening up closed doors and splitting the party)

It also ins't the worst thing if your players enjoy using all of their abilities for the 5 minute adventuring day to happen a few times - but make the world react to this - if they keep teleporting away after one encounter then show consequences when they return (another party came in after them and gathered up the loot in the rooms just beyond that were now ungaurded or other monsters came in to settle down in the power vacuum created in the wake of the party etc. There are also specific traps and monsters (like Haunts) that specifically do reset after some period of time. Other monsters/NPC's might have observed the battle (scrying for example) or gone through the wreckage of the battle and adjusted their own plans and preparations accordingly. In short show your players the downsides of always retreating/resting between encounters and let them judge when to continue doing that. This doesn't always require forcing their hand via a ticking time bomb type scenario.

The contrast to the 5 minute adventuring day however is equally frustrating to players and GMs alike. In a recent PFS game the party cleric and wizard (both playing pregens at 7th level since they were relatively new to PFS players) kept saving their powerful spells and buffs for whatever was next - leaving the rest of the party at real risk w/o the buffs and healing those characters would typically offer to a 5-7 level party. Sure it was good they still had resources to spare - but it certainly extended some of the encounters and made the whole process longer and harder than it had to be. If some players are using every trick they have - and others are holding back it won't be a lot of fun for either group.

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One reading of Reduce Person however implies that projectiles will do LESS damage since they depend on the damage of the item that shot them for damage (i.e. size of the bow, crossbow or gun) - so while you will have an increase in your chance to hit (+2) you will deal somewhat less damage on each hit.

If you were a thrown weapon specialist reduce person wouldn't effect your damage output since thrown weapons deal damage based on the weapon itself - and once you throw it it would return to normal size.


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An idea occurred to me the other night as I drew out by hand a map for the PFS game that I was drawing - and as one of my players was offering to print out maps in the future if I could get him the digital files in time (he works for a school of architecture so has large scale color printers)

Why aren't there separate digital asset files for PFS scenarios? It would be fantastic if instead of just images embedded in PDF files the digital maps and perhaps pawn sized images of key NPCs and monsters were available as scaled correctly digital art - either as a bonus in addition to the original file or as a small additional purchase (a dollar or two at most I think). This would make it really easy to print out such assets - it would be better still if these files were available in a format that could be used with a digital tool.

Clearly maps that exist as Gamemastery products cost more - but nearly every scenario (and especially many older ones) have custom areas - in many cases complex and awkward to draw (Among the Living from Season 0 being a prime example of a very large map shown at a 10' square scale - drawing it as a 5' scale dramatically changes the encounters and scenario as a whole.

The ideal would be if these were available with layers so could be printed out w/o showing hidden features (secret doors/traps/plot devices) allowing just those to be drawn or overlayed at the table as needed.

Anyway I know this is unlikely to happen quickly but wanted to suggest it to save many DM's hours of prep time.

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A human Lore Warden / Alchemist (Mindchemist) / Rogue with a maximized INT, the Human alternative racial feature - Focused Study that grants three bonus Skill Focus feats in place of the human bonus feat (at level 1, 8 and 16) would have tons of skill ranks as well as the majority of every skill in the game as a class skill.

(the Lore Warden / Rogue is only lacking Fly and Heal as class skills, adding levels of Alchemist (Mindchemist) means those two skills as well are class skills - meaning that this character would have every skill in the game as a class skill from level 3 onward (though you might want to stack levels in one or more classes early on - I'd suggest starting with Lore Warden for 2-3 levels, then Alchemist for 2 levels, then Rogue for a few levels then picking which class to progress further in - any could be strong choices - rogue would give the most Skill ranks but Alchemist and Lore Warden aren't too far behind.

You probably could take a few useful traits to add bonuses to certain key skills over an above what you will get from stats and class ranks.

I'd probably suggest:

INT > CHA > DEX > WIS > CON > STR for this character though getting the balance of stats right would be tricky - you want a very high INT for the maximal Mindchemist bonus to Knowledge skills as well as the most skill ranks possible for this concept - but you can't dump CHA or WIS due to their impact on key skills (and would probably want some bonuses from them if possible) STR impacts other skills (though likely the least important skills for this character though he'll probably be in at most light armor). DEX would help with a few skills but also with AC (and finess if you go that combat route) and CON would mostly help with saves and HP.

Prestige classes you might consider would be Scholar of War (though straight Lore Warden may be stronger) and there are af few others that give good skill ranks and boosts though possibly not stronger than continuing in any of your three main classes.

Kirin Style is another tempting option - though it has a lot of feat requirements for this type of build (which suffers from somewhat of a lack of feats) .

As a alternative to a human you might consider a race that could qualify for Breadth of Knowledge - but personally I think the 20 bonus skill ranks from being Human plus the three bonus skill focuses from Focused Study would be hard to beat for this type of character.

If somehow you could manage a high CHA as well as a very high INT you might also consider Eldritch Heritages to further leverage those bonus Skill Focuses.

I think such a character might be really fun (I'm already playing a Tiefling Lore Warden who is going to be multiclassing - very likely into Alchemist (mindchemist) and potentially into Rogue as well - I don't get the human skill bonuses and he dumped WIS and CHA so will never be a total skill monkey - but if I go the Mindchemist route he will have +14 or more on EVERY Knowledge skill at level 5 (assuming a +2 INT headband - with the headband also giving him bonus ranks to some other skill). Already at level 3 he has more often than not served as the skill monkey/knowledge guy for every party he has been in (this is for PFS play)

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On a more serious note - initial thought(s) would be to upgrade your stat boosting items or to invest in the appropriate tome(s) - i.e. if your current stat boosting items are +4 either make them +6's or consider adding one or even two stats to each item. If a character doesn't have both a physical stat and a mental stat boosting item look at adding them?

Does every melee character have a decent backup weapon to their primary? One that might bypass different types of DR?

Does every character have a means of dealing with flying opponents (ideally a decent means of flight?)

Do you have access to spellcasting services? (and/or characters with access to Permanency lots of useful things to look at making permanent)

Do you have funds set aside for potential future resurrections?

Consider as well getting some of the items or enhancements to existing items that are nice to haves but aren't usually the first things people get. For example add comfort to you paladin's armor etc. This might be a great opportunity to play with items that would add flexibility or flavor to each character without being too expensive (or too hard to keep track of)


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With the new retrain rules I had a thought that we should assemble a checklist/help document for new(er) players who have a character approaching level 2 for things they should consider prior to reaching level 2 with their character.

For example:

- are you enjoying this class? (if no - rethink character completely, if yes proceed)

- are there class specific choices that aren't working (spells? weapon selection? feats? archetype you choose?)

- did you select two traits (of different types)? (seems basic but worth double checking as many new players may miss traits entirely)

- was there a 1st level only feat you would like to have taken? (Fey Foundling, many race-specific feats etc)

- did you note all of your race specific bonuses and features? (new and older players frequently forget one or more racial feature) Did you make all of the necessary decisions (skill focus choice for a half-elf for example) Have you looked at alternative racial traits (or heritages for Aasimars or Tieflings)? (many offer options that replace racial features you will never use given the class you have chosen for a feature you could get great use from - tiefling's prehensile tail for example)

- are you happy with your skill ranks? (did you want to have something you could use for a day job role? did you start with ranks in mostly class skills?

- did you remember to take a favored class bonus (assuming your favored class is the class you have started with - a very small # of builds might choose to start in a class other than their favored class in those cases did you make a point of NOT taking a favored class bonus)? Did you look at alternative favored class bonuses for your class & race? In many cases these take multiple levels to take effect so may be a decision you need to make at level 1.

- have you spent your wealth and PA in smart ways (I'm less clear on the rules for purchases if you are retraining - as a DM I'd generally err on the "as long as it is reasonable and you haven't used it up we can adjust" i.e. replacing medium armor with light or no armor if your class/archetype decisions have changed what you can use, swapping out weapons etc.

- not retraining specific but do you have: a means of healing, a way to deal with swarms, a light source, the basic equipment you need for your class - i.e. spell component pouches for a caster, holy symbol for a cleric, weapons for a martial class, arrows for an archer etc.

- have you noted encumbrance (not counting weight of your coins) and any armor check penalties and adjusted movement speed and skills appropriately? (and perhaps attacks)

- does your character sheet show calculations for your most used combos of attacks? (i.e. show your melee and ranged attacks but also calculate out ahead of time things like power attack). Getting in the practice of calculating out each of these things will be good for a new (and for that matter experienced player)

- is your AC correct (for regular, flat-footed and touch)? Even experienced players may make mistakes here from time to time.

- are you aware of the various types of bonuses you are getting (if any) and have you doublechecked that you don't have conflicting bonuses (i.e. have a cloak of resistance but expect to cast "resistance" on yourself or others already wearing a cloak of resistance etc) This can easily happen for spellcasters as they select their spells - things like already wearing armor (or wielding a shield) and then casting a spell that overlaps with what they are already using)

- have you calculated out numbers like concentration checks, damage/healing from spells, durations of spells you will be casting often etc. (or for melee types are you clear on how combat maneuvers work or on your attacks with every weapon you use - for example on throwing vs wielding a dagger)

What else should any player approaching level 2 evaluate before they lose the option to retrain?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

And speaking of the basics:

Wayfinder w/dull grey ioun stone (250gp for the wayfinder, 25 gp for dull grey ioun stone) = read magic. Sure you don't need it often but frees up a spell slot for a more useful orison or let's a non Spellcaster possibly have a chance to identify a scroll you find perhaps to use via UMD.


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The various kits in the Field Guide can be really handy (and offer a slight discount on a bundle of things).

Basics that folks sometimes neglect:

- whetstone for a cheap, only on first attack minor bump to damage. Not a big deal but so cheap even a 1st level character w/o any scenarios can use it and at early levels every point of damage can matter

- masterwork armor, weapon, thieves tools - all fairly inexpensive and grant some nice benefits

- masterwork backpack to help lower STR (and heck even higher STR) characters carry just a little bit more w/o penalties

- alchemist fire - cheap and gives you at early levels something to do against swarms. But also note that at some mid-levels arcane caster may want to explore how using alchemical items can enhance certain spells....

- pre-knotted rope - a knotted rope really helps those heavy armor, low dex members of your party with their climb checks

- healers kit (for folks with a heal skill)

- extra backup weapon, holy symbol, spell components pouch (when you need this you will really need it)

when you have a bit of money that old standby - Handy Haversack (and for archers Efficient Quiver). Makes worries about encumbrance far less pressing - and for archers the quiver makes it easier to carry a selection of arrow types

weapon blanches - can really help especially at mid-levels when you first encounter DR

for casters - Pearls of Power... yes it is basic but oh so helpful (heck for non-casters investing in a level 2 pearl to hand to your divine caster in the party for an extra lesser restoration could save your party...)

speaking of which - scrolls of lesser restoration or if you can afford it a wand of lessor restoration is likely going to see a lot of use

For archers there is a new bracers that grants Aspect of the Falcon (from Ultimate Equipment) - pretty insanely great - even my Eagle Domain Druid / Zen Archer who already preps Aspect of the Falcon every day (domain spell) will be buying this ASAP.


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So we have a venue and a warhorn page and shortly a registration page (via Eventbrite - not quite up yet - registration is required but free)

Here is the link to the Warhorn:

I've also added the first month of events to the events page here at

The plan is to have a geek game night every Wednesday evening here in San Francisco. We'll be playing at Yetizen Innovation Labs, a local incubator for gaming startups who have graciously opened their space to us for a regular night of game playing.

We should have 2-3, perhaps more, tables of PFS as well as people playing a variety of other games. I've added a few low-tier scenarios to Warhorn to get us started but if you would like to play a specific scenario (or run one) get in touch with me and I'll add it to the warhorn. I definitely expect a number of players who are new to PFS so wanted to start out with some introductory scenarios.

Hopefully the great Bay Area Pathfinder Society can support one more regular night of gaming fun!

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The rules are fairly clear that you can use ANY weapon for a trip (or disarm actually) - and apply the relevant weapon focus/training or feats like Weapon Finesse if you have them. The special abilities give certain extras (in Trip's case however this isn't a very big one - just avoiding dropping the weapon if you fail miserably)

In terms of the OP's question a few recommendations:

- look at either taking a dip into Monk early on if you want to go the Grapple route - free Improved Unarmed Strike plus the monk bonus feat which can be for Improved Grapple. Look at the Maneuver Monk archetype in particular as it is fantastic for a dip (consider 2 levels for the second bonus feat & evasion - and the +3 to all saves is nearly another two-three free feats itself - Iron Will, Lightening Reflexes ++)

- for the fighter class consider strongly playing the Lore Warden. It will likely lean you towards taking a high INT for your build (gives you 2 bonus skill points per level limited to INT skills, all INT skills as class skills - yes that's very Knowledge, Spellcraft etc) but the kicker for a maneuver build is the Lore Warden's scaling with levels straight bonus to CMB & CMD + the Lore Warden's FREE Combat Expertise. You give up Bravery (but if you also dip Monk your saves will make up for that most likely) and you are limiting yourself to Light Armor.

But remember that a maneuver focused fighter likely prefers maneuverability over super high AC so it may be a good tradeoff to consider. But it does mean that the Lore Warden can be a bit MAD (Int being useful, STR as a fighter often good and DEX definitely helpful if you are only going to wear light armor)

My Lore Warden for PFS play is a high DEX & INT build with a far lower STR. So i'm going the weapon finesse route with him over two handed weapons - but still considering Power Attack. I haven't, yet, dipped a second class with him but I'm considering Maneuver Master Monk quite strongly (the other option for him is probably Magus as with an 18int he would be getting a great deal from the magus levels)

Very fun character to play - and quite different from a more traditional fighter.

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