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.
Michael Brock wrote:
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?
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.
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]
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)
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)
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.
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.
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...)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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)
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.
- 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?
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.
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 Paizo.com.
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!
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.
Perhaps then can I suggest a sticky thread here or a page that gathers up all such updates, errata and clarifications/faqs? Something to help both new and experienced players and especially GM's who may have missed a blog post or a message board thread and want to know what other changes and errata they should know about. I do think players playing a character should do some research but it would be easy to miss such errarta if it isn't listed on the FAQ pages, the additional resources page or the official errata page.
hmm just noticed that I could also just take Power Attack (as I do have a STR of 13 already) so perhaps that's the easier route - is there any drawback to taking Power Attack over Piranha Strike?
(the only - admittedly edge case I can imagine is if I were ever to get STR damage I'd lose the use of Power Attack - but would still qualify to use Piranha Strike). Power Attack would also be useful when/if I used another weapon - as I do occasionally but likely that's not a very common occurrence for this particular character)
So the question(s) then are what are good feat progression chains for a Weapon Finesse focused fighter? (in my case Lore Warden). My current feats are:
Iron wlll (1st level base feat, to help w/very weak will saves)
Combat Expertise (bonus feat for being a Lore Warden, in place of Bravery)
Combat Reflexes (1st level fighter bonus feat - have 18 DEX & Fencer trait that gives +1 to AoO's with blades - challenge is setting up to get lots of AoOs...)
Weapon Finesse (2nd level fighter bonus feat)
Improved Trip (3rd level feat) - to really leverage Lore Warden's +2 to CMB/CMD as well as setup for plenty of AoO's - result when combining with Weapon Finesse & +1 Rapier is a +12 CMB at level 3 on Trip attempts - +13 if done as AoO's with the rapier!)
One option for Level 4 would be Piranha Strike which would really help my damage output. But other feats I'm considering are:
Weapon Focus (Rapier)
and of course if I decide to multiclass this character my feat selection gets even more complicated depending on that class...
So suggestions? Is Piranha Strike something I should prioritize highly? Perhaps even above Weapon Focus etc? (clearly this character's first weapon category for Weapon Training will be light weapons at level 5... )
There are actually a few other spells that Tieflings and Aasimars as Outsiders (Native) avoid or interact with differently (or in a few cases their corpses can't be used):
Create Undead (Outsider corpses can't be used for many types of Undead, if this impacts a player they have a rather major problem - i.e. being dead)
Antilife Shell (Outsiders can pass through the shell) - though this probably won't show up in most PFS play except perhaps at the highest level modules
Also noteworthy is that certain class or creature abilities won't work on Outsiders. For example the Witch's Charm hex only works on humanoids.
Has anyone taken an inventory of the boons available via various scenarios taken any steps to make sure that at least a few other PFS scenarios make those boons usable? (I'm talking about the many boons that have specific city or regional limitations)
In almost every case I've seen so far as a player I've yet to see one of these regionally specific boons to be usable in any future scenarios I've played.
Actually the character is fine.
There are "Racial" traits and "Race Traits" which are two very different things.
Racial traits are one of the rare types of bonuses (Dodge and some circumstance being the other two) that DO stack. This is particularly important as there are many spells which grant Racial traits (especially for Perception in fact).
Racial traits are inherent abilities of a given race. Some of them give Feats (Adaptability for Half-Elves) which is what is giving the bonus here - Skill Focus (Perception) which definitely stacks with other bonuses.
Race Traits are one of the many categories of Traits (Campaign Traits is another). The rules generally are you can't have multiple traits of the same type (so only one Campaign Trait etc). In this case there is only one trait the character has - a campaign trait.
That, in turn, is giving the character Perception as a Class Skill - which is quite a nice Trait but a fairly common type of Trait.
I have a character which is similar to this player's character (playing a class which has Perception as a class skill but otherwise fairly similar choices). At level 4 I have a baseline perception of +17 and often much higher - +19 if my familiar is within arms reach (Alertness) and +22 if the perception check is sight based (or opposed) in broad daylight (since my familiar is a hawk) and my familiar is within arm's reach or +20 if my familiar is flying farther away (less than a 1 mile) and the check is in broad daylight. Yeah, a tad more complicated but definitely one of the things my character has specialized in doing.
Sure it means I can sometimes track fleeing invisible foes (character is a multiclassed monk - so he can give chase quite well) but I still have to be looking for the right things. If I'm concentrating on say finding traps I may very well miss something else. As a player I have to be specific in what my character is doing - and the rest of the party certainly has acted impulsively triggering traps I probably would have spotted (and/or moving forward ahead of me and triggering ambushes etc)
My point is that not every player knows how to correctly calculate APL - GM's should do that to avoid any cases of players playing in tiers they can't legally play (either too low of a level of a character or too high) - it can also give a good sense of if the party is really stretching to qualify for a tier (but still do) or if they are solidly at a higher tier.
I think there is also a big difference between a GM and players who play together regularly and a group at a convention or open game night where few people know each other's characters and play styles. In either case I think it is the GM's responsibility to make sure that any newer players (either new to the group or new to playing PFS) fully understand their options before playing up (at a minimum offering them the choice to play a pre-gen in lieue of playing up if a pre-gen would fit the tier of that group - which typically is the case between the 1st, 4th and 7th level pre-gens)
In our PFS group we are also lucky that we have a lot of players who are also GM's so we've often split off to two tables if we get a lot of players or have players with characters in different tiers - but not every group will have the GMs and the space to add a table to accomodate more players.