Ok, so the class looks mighty cool and I'm interested in building one for an upcoming campaign. The problem I'm facing is that a lot of material has been released in the last year and I've gotten a bit rusty.
Anyways, here's what I'm currently looking at.
I tend to play wizards so I'd like to make this druid more martially inclined. My goal is to be both a wild shaping fury and have the ability to fall back on my spellcasting when the situation deems it more useful.
I think the rolled stats will offer a bit more flexibility in my array. Currently my priority is STR>WIS>CHA>CON // DEX=INT. I definitely want to pick up the charm person gaze attack at 9th level since I've been informed that the game will feature less combat than our DM usually pursues.
I'm sort of at a loss for how to go about building the character though. I'm not familiar with the third party feats so I don't really know what I'm missing. Of course I'll take Natural Spell, Power Attack, and Improved Initiative, but after that? Quick Wild Shape and Powerful Shape both look nice, and Extend Spell is useful for nearly all types of druid.
As for animal companions I'm unsure. Should I build the companion to be a damage-monster, a combat maneuver specialist, a demoralizer (dazzling display), or something else?
Thoughts? Advice? Thanks in advance for anything you can offer.
edit: Forgot to add something.
Right, so I'm going to be participating in my first PF adventure path and our DM has chosen Serpent's Skull. I read through the players guide (briefly) to get a feel for the setting, but best I understand it's just a lot of jungle.
The Deets so Far:
Stats: Going to be rolled, probably 4d6 drop the lowest 7 times.
Books: Anything pathfinder, and perhaps some third party stuff if the DM feels it's balanced.
Races: This one is tricky. The DM already said he's interested in some non-traditional races that he'll need to balance against the rest of the party. I don't know what these races are, but I do know that the Advanced Races Book is available so all of those options are mine.
Group Make-up: Races are undecided, but we're going to have a Rogue, a Soulknife (reflavored to be divine), and a martial type- currently leaning Ranger.
I've never read through the AP and I really don't want to either. I'd love some spoiler free advice on the whole thing, though. I've played a lot of wizards so I don't want to go down that path. Also, I freakin' hate clerics. Nothing against the class, but the flavor rubs me the wrong way. Same with summoners. They're neat, but I don't like the class.
Currently I'm leaning towards building a druid. I think it would be really fun to build a wildshaping druid who could fall back on spellcasting in a pinch. I'd really like to play a monstrous race (perhaps a Merfolk?). Oracle might also be fun, too. Honestly I'm just looking to play a caster with a melee presence. I've done the "hang in the back and let the others fight" character and no matter the flavor they all start to feel the same after a while. Bard also seems like a strong choice for a party with this much melee capability, but I'm not sure. It seems like we could really benefit from a full caster.
Thoughts? I'd appreciate anything y'all can offer.
Thanks in advance.
Looking to build some custom content for a druid/bard fusion focusing on the fey concept of nature. I'm not sure whether to go with an archetype or prestige class, but the group I'm playing with heavily favors archetypes. Also, only Core & APG is available, as well as thoroughly reviewed homebrew content. So I'm gonna make some homebrew content.
Aside from the basic theme I'm not sure where to go with this and I'm looking for some ideas. Charm/enchantment magic seems very appropriate to the theme, as does animal companionship. I'm not sure if wildshaping would tie into this at all.
I've recently gotten involved in a PbP game in a custom world setting. We've been piecing our characters together and I can't seem to decide on which class I'd like to play. Due to the nature of PbP it's going to be ridiculously slow paced (1 post a day, ignoring weekends) and initiative is ignored. I haven't seen combat play out in these games, so I don't know how tactical it will be or if a tactics-based class is worth it.
Here are the basics:
About the only thing I've cemented so far is that I want to be a Surface Drow (+2 Dex/Int, -2 Con) which you can find detailed here if you're interested. I'm really heavily considering going the Druid route, building the character into a hybrid style (similar to 3.5) capable of going melee after his spells are depleted. With 30 points I can build up some decent physical stats while focusing on wisdom.
I just don't have much of a clue on how to do this successfully, though. Which archetypes are worth considering for this type of build? What feats are essential (beyond Augment Summoning, of course) for a hyrbid style druid? Or would there be a stronger class that I could pursue instead?
Thanks in advance for any insight/tips/guidance you can offer.
Hello! I just recently got involved in a surprisingly cool PbP community known as Woldian Games. I don't speak on behalf of the community, but instead invite you to go check them out and perhaps join up. The game I've joined is called Legacy of Heroes and has three open slots available to be filled. The group is still discussing what sort of character they'd like to play, so it's all very malleable. Here's a quick primer on the campaign:
Setting: The Wold (homebrew)
If any of this is interesting to you I fully recommend that you go check out the community.
Woldian Games - This is the splash page to get you into the site. Check out the Woldipedia for all of the setting-specific rules and information. It's seriously chalked full of interesting tidbits.
Recruitment Page - This page here has the info you need to get involved with any of the games. You'll find the email down near the bottom, marked "apply to join us." Legacy of Heroes is a career game, just FYI.
I look forward to seeing any of you around the site!
So I was over at Living Pathfinder and I was musing over the kind of character I'd like to play. Then I saw that they allowed access to Merfolk.
Ok, so Merfolk take a no-nonsense approach to racial stats. +2 Dex/Con/Cha, +2 Natural Armor, a swim speed, low-light vision, and a crippling 5 ft land speed.
I'd rather not get into an argument about whether or not the race is overpowered. Instead I'd like to explore ways to increase this horrendous land speed to something that a group of adventurers would find acceptable.
Being a "living" setting, they allow no homebrew and only allow access to the Core Rulebook, Advanced Players guide, and the Adventure Armory. Characters start at 1st level, 150gp, and 2 traits. Ways I know to get an improved movement speed so far are:
Is there anything I'm missing? My goal is to simply gain at least a 15' movement speed- the same as a small character in heavy armor.
The sandman gets the ability to raise the DC of any spell when cast against an enemy who is denied their dex bonus. My goal here is to get the highest spell DCs for a bard, which is a bit difficult. Here are ideas I've come up with:
Stealth: Generally effective, though difficult to use in combat. Cannot be combined with Dirge of Doom. For full effectiveness you'll need to dip Shadowdancer, which is a tough feat investment for the bard.
Surprise Round: 1/combat isn't a bad deal and makes the sandman an even stronger contender for a high initiative. Can be combined with Dirge of Doom for a +2 to spell DCs.
Feint: By RAW, this isn't actually viable because feint only denies their dex bonus to AC vs. your next melee attack. Arguably this could be used on touch spells, but that's a short list. Greater Feint is where the magic is. It straight up denies your opponent their dex bonus until the start of your next turn. This means you can use a move action to feint and then a standard to cast your spell with a boosted DC. Can be combined with Dirge of Doom for a boosted +2 to spell DCs.
Conditions that deny the opponent a dex bonus: Cowering (Difficult to achieve), Helpless, vs. Invisibility, Paralyzed (helpless), Pinned
Any idea on how to consistently gain Sneakspell's bonuses during combat?
[[Stupid freakin' board ate my looong post, so I abbreviated this one.]]
My wizard just bit the big one, and I wanna replace him with a nature based character. We're playing in the Scarred Lands (white wolf), and the three casting classes who tap into Primal magic are the Druid, Ranger, and Bard. I almost always play casters of some flavor, and as such I've narrowed my choices to those three.
Our party is as follows:
I've got access to most 3.5 books, and the character is 11th level. I'd love some suggestions on what sort of character would accompany this group well. I enjoy playing skillful characters, and I would play up the nature aspect of any of these three classes (Bard can be considered a nature based class for this discussion). The only constant here is that I don't want to play a melee type. I won't be able to get my AC high enough to survive with these two melee types we already have. Bard/Ranger would probably be archery based, and druid would likely be a caster focus.
Thanks in advance.
Animal companions have evolved a good bit with changes of Pathfinder, and most of them are good changes. Something I've noticed is that most companions seem to lose steam in the higher levels, notably past 12-ish. They struggle to hit as often, their AC falters, and they end up becoming little more than a flanking bonus for your melee oriented characters.
This got me to thinking: what are some other ways to use an animal companion that goes beyond simply attacking and doing damage? Once you increase the companion's intelligence to 3 you gain a wide expanse of options for feats.
So far I've only been able to come up with the following:
Mount: Fairly obvious, sure. Animal companions make the toughest mounts for any class choosing to pursue this concept.
Wild Shape, as a utility, is uncontested in its usefulness. The ability to fly, burrow, swim, & climb at a moment's notice, and to raise your AC and gain benefits like DR & energy resistance is wonderful. Well, wonderful for a casting focused druid.
Wild Shape for the combat oriented druid has been a subject of varied debate. I'm not looking to start a forum war on whether or not it's still useful or not. Rather, I'd like to discuss options to make it as strong as possible while remaining within the Pathfinder books. Specifically, the APG offers us a few new variants that change Wild Shape significantly.
Plains Druid: Makes for an interesting option for skirmishing druids. Boosts to speed (which I believe stack with any wild forms), evasion, and bonuses to stealth make this druid an interesting take on the original. Delayed wild shape hurts, but not too much.
Blight Druid: Comes paired with an awesome boost to melee combat, ala the sickened debuff for any adjacent enemies. Since it's a game of save & be immune for the day, just start your day by sickening your allies until they're immune. They lose access to the animal companion, which sucks, but gain some decent domain options. If you go with James Jacob's post about all domain users having access to the cleric subdomains, you can pick up the Rage (destruction) domain for a very decent boost to your melee capabilities.
Swamp Druid: Pretty decent for a grappler, with freedom of movement at all times coming at level 13. Probably more powerful as a casting focused druid, however.
Desert & Mountain druid: Both add new options for wild shape while sacrificing plant shape. I'm not sure how useful vermin shape is, and giant form will likely just transform you into a full-casting huge fighter type. Sorta ruins the flavor, but in a numbers race it's a strong option.
Ok, so the spell contagion is really awkward to me. I'm not sure I understand how all of this works.
So, the order of disease is as follows:
Contagion messes with this in two ways. First, it uses its own saving throw (as per the spell) for step 1, contact with the disease. Secondly, it removes the onset period. This is where it gets sticky for me.
If the target fails its save vs. the Contagion spell, does she immediately take damage based on the disease and from then on use the actual disease's DC?
Or, if the target fails its save vs. the Contagion spell, does she then immediately make another saving throw using the actual disease's DC to determine if she takes damage?
I recently lost my character in a year-running campaign. The campaign has been centered around characters who are, mostly, unusually oriented. Genasi, aasimar, psionically imbued (psionics don't really exist in this world), and now my character: a wererat.
Our campaign takes place in the Scarred Lands, where resurrection is nearly impossible and the divide between clerics & druids is wide and severe. My DM suggested that I look into this tiny encampment of Were creatures who had overcome their lycanthropic nature and instead harness their curse to help others. They live on the outskirts of one of the most twisted places on the continent and reach out to recently afflicted weres in an attempt to help them control themselves. Weres that succumb to their evil natures are killed, obviously, as they can't be allowed to live and spread their taint.
My character would be a lowly druid type who was afflicted with his curse at a relatively young age- 16-19ish. He was taken in by this group and taught to control his monstrous nature and use it as a tool against the hordes of the Were Goddess, Belsemeth.
The basics of my character are simple. I want to be a nature caster, but druid is a waste. My DM already ruled that I wouldn't be able to combine my were-forms with my wild shaping, so it seems like I'm taking a level adjustment for nothing or wasting class features. Spirit Shaman is an awesome compromise. We've made a few adjustments to the class to bring it up to par with the Pathfinder core.
Changes to the Spirit Shaman:
After making all of the pathfinder changes (skills, HD=BAB, etc.) the following changes are made:
Stats: Not rolled yet, but our group goes with a very powerful rolling system. 8+1d10 for each stat, keep rolling until you have an overall +8. Wisdom, my casting stat, will be my primary stat focus, but I won't have any trouble maintaining two/three stats at a reasonable level.
Wererat: We're not actually using the book version of this, but instead a templated version similar to what my DM wrote up for the genasi in our group. I don't have specifics yet, but I know it will contain boosts to Dexterity and Intelligence, as well as DR ?/silver and a bite attack.
Race: I'm pretty easy on the racial front. I'm not much of a fan of dwarves or elves, and gnomes aren't really in the setting at all. I'd like to pick a core race, though.
Feats: Weres of this specific group are required to take two feats: Control Shape and Shapeshift Mastery. This allows them to have complete control over their lycanthropy and only pass on the disease when they actively choose to.
Other stuffs: Starting level is 11 (ignoring the level adjustment), alignment is neutral good. Equipment is standard to my level. Books available are all the pathfinder official, as well as most of 3.5. I prefer sticking as close to core as possible, but I can't discount a feat/spell that makes my concept possible.
I'd really like to take at least a moderate focus on archery. Wererat offers a (currently unknown) boost to my dexterity score, and my group is downright terrible about pushing our casters past the point at which they're reduced to cantrips. My last character was a wizard, and casting cantrips in the heat of combat is downright embarassing at level 11.
Beyond that, I'd like to build a moderately powerful caster. Druid casting is among the weakest of the "main three," but the flavor is completely awesome. Ideally I'd like to start off combat with some crowd control, perhaps a summon or two, and then start picking off enemies with my bow/javelins/crossbow/etc. I'll be focusing heavily on Wisdom, so my spell DCs will always be respectable. I want archery as a backup, but I don't want archery to be as useless as a wizard pulling out a crossbow. I'd like it to be a meaningful contribution when I perform it.
Our group currently consists of the following: Earth Genasi Barbarian (super high AC), Earth Genasi Fighter (super high AC), Air Genasi Sorceress (Blaster), Changeling Warlock (Blaster), and an NPC healer. Our DM throws heavy hitters at us because our melee has such high AC, so I'd like to avoid melee if at all possible.
Thanks in advance to anyone who can offer some advice or insight. I really appreciate it!
I've been playing in this campaign for over a year now, and I'm on my third character. The first was a necromantic cleric that I chose to drop because everyone kept trying to relegate me to the Healer role and I wanted to take a proactive approach to gaming. I got frustrated and decided that my friendship with these people was worth more than my character- so I dropped him. I replaced him with an Archer bard who was killed in his first session. In my frustration I decided to play a Wizard. I'm a big fan of arcane casters, and I'd played a wizard (3.5) for two and a half years just 2 campaigns ago. I really enjoyed it then.
I've been playing my wizard, Naveck, for 4 months now and I absolutely hate him. The pathfinder wizard, as new and evolved as it is, ends up playing exactly the same as the 3.5 wizard. Naveck is an Air Elementalist Wizard, level 10, and plays the standard role: stand back, debuff, crowd control, buff allies. It's a successful strategy to be sure, but it's exactly what I was doing with the previous character. I'm so bored and frustrated that I want to quit. But I can't. I need to salvage this character and make him something I want to play. The DM has invested a lot in our group and each character, including personal ties to his campaign & groovy bonuses. I don't want to throw away his hard work by tossing up my hands at this character. What I'd like to do instead is choose a new way to develop him, probably with a good bit of retconning.
What I'm currently playing with is a Half-Elf Air Elementalist Wizard. He's level 10. I don't have the character sheet in front of me, but if I recall his stats are Str 10 / Dex 18 / Con 16 / Int 24ish / Wis 13 / Cha 16. His feats don't matter much, but they include toughness, improved initiative, & skill focus (Use magic item). We use a very high powered stat rolling system to make up for the more limited access to magic items.
Our party is made up of the following: Barbarian, Fighter, Sorcerer (Blaster type), Warlock (3.5), & an NPC healer type.
The campaign will play out to 20, maybe even a bit longer, but usually they die at 20. I don't want to go to my DM with a new character and ask to swap him out. Yes, I can do that, but I really don't want to. I want to modify this character into something that plays differently from a standard Wizard and still maintains his basic identity (wizardy half-elf). My DM is a very reasonable guy. I'd probably be able to retcon up to 2-3 levels, and several feats. I'd also probably be able to swap around my stats to accommodate a new build.
I've got fairly open access to most 3.5 stuff, so that's also on the table. My last character was a loremaster style character, so I'd like to avoid that. Also, we play in White Wolf's Scarred Lands, so Mystic Theurges are basically no go.
I really appreciate any advice anyone can offer.
I've always been a fan of the ranger class. The rough and hardy woodsman with an eye for tracking who made a career out of hating his enemies: what's not to love? However, they always ended up being largely situational. They've improved vastly from 3.5, but the situation remains that some campaigns are simply not suited for rangers.
In 3.5 a ranger would grab favored enemies that were immune to critical hits & additional damage: undead, elementals, oozes, etc. This kept you relavent in most fights. With 3.PF removing a lot of these stipulations, the ranger has a broader choice of enemies and fewer penalties for choosing one over the other. Still, the fact remains that you'll probably never face a favored enemy every day, so you'll dwell between moderate artillery with lots of skillpoints & a few spells a day & a face melting damage machine with a score to settle.
The APG introduced a lot of new options for the Ranger, and most of them change his playstyle in a significant way. Here are a few of my observations:
Guide: Dismisses a lot of the ranger iconics in favor of a X/day paladin style "smite anything" mechanic that makes the ranger unreasonably good against a single opponent. This keeps the ranger useful every single adventuring day, but infinitely less powerful than a standard ranger fighting her favored enemies. Also, this mechanic can be simulated by focusing on a single favored enemy and using higher level ranger magic to treat the target as that type.
Spirit Warrior: Gains a significant boost to her spellcasting power, up to 5 addtional spells of any level per day. Considering that she generally only has about a dozen or so castings at her highest levels, this is an impressive boost. Add on the fact that it's any spell from the ranger list spontaneously and I'm very impressed. The only downside is that the text doesn't seem to be clear if you can use this ability outside of your favored terrain.
Skirmisher: Opposite of the Spirit Warrior, the Skirmisher gives up spellcasting in favor of combat tricks to aide her on the go. I haven't had a chance to fully evaluate them, so I can't make any judgements.
What do y'all think?
I was just reading through the druid options in the APG and saw the Mountain Druid. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that they get a crap-ton of bonuses for meager tradeoffs. In fact, the Mountain Druid single handedly solves two of the major issues with Druid Wild Shape builds: the relevance of wildshape after 12th level, and the ability to keep up with the AC of other front-line fighters.
The addition of Giant Form allows the druid to maintain his own weapons, benefitting from his BAB, as well as keep his armor (since it will be readjusted to fit his new size). This means that a druid can have a shield, full plate (Dragonscale or some such), Barkskin/natural armor pendant, & the armor bonuses of his new shape. This ends up becoming a very decent AC with only as much required of any other melee type.
Adding on to that, the druid can also grab regeration (troll), rend, rock throwing/catching, immunities/resistances, and additional vision. All while weilding a weapon, wearing armor, and casting his wide selection of spells.
This may not be a return to the former glory of the druid, but nobody wants that. This does, however, put druids back on the map as a character who can successfully take to the front lines and remain competitive all the way to 20.
In a game I'm playing in I was gifted the unique oportunity to have an extradimensional home. Long story short, we saved a magical library and they offered us a boon. I chose a mobile home.
The details are pretty simple: I have a magical door knocker that I can attach to any surface, knock three times, and boom- extra dimensional home. The process takes up to a minute, so we don't have the option of using it in combat.
Inside the home it's designed like an elven atrium, with frosted glass walls that are illuminated with a magical representation of the outside sky based wherever I open the door. The floor square footage is approximately 128 5' tiles, which is equivalent to a 40' x 80' room. I was thinking something more circular, but you get the drift. 30' high ceilings are the max. Past that, I get to choose the details, including the layout.
Here were some of my ideas:
My DM said that small magical effects were fine so long as they didn't provide a distinct mechanical advantage. He also told me that I could easily build this up with my own resources.
So, suggestions? Anything neat or cool that would work well to start, or anything I could add on to my extradimensional home? I'm buzzing with excitement, but I feel like I'm missing a lot of the opportunity to be had. I welcome any new ideas. Our party is roughly 11th level, and I'm the party wizard (who is in love with base building). I also have a good amount of monetary resources that I've yet to use.
Thanks in advance!
I've got a wizard who's just hit 10th level, and I'm doing some revamping to make him an Air Wizard. Because of this, I've needed to make a few feat changes and noticed the impressive possibility of Preferred Spell.
The beauty I'm seeing is that once I hit 15 I can take Spell Perfection and basically cast it as a 8th/9th level spell no matter what slot I cast it in, since heighten spell will essentially be free as long as I don't need to apply other metamagics.
So, ignoring blast spells, what's a good preferred spell for a Wizard? I've been mulling over some of the more interesting enchanments, as well as Break and Slow. I'd prefer the spell to be on the low end, as to benefit the most from the free Heighten, but I'm flexible.
Ideas? Thanks in advance.
Looking over the new elemental wizards I got really excited. They're the new Wu Jen! Then I got to the spell section. They seem to have fewer spells total than what normal wizards go access to with the new book. Am I missing something, or are elemental wizards the great flavor, poor nutrition alternative to the standard wizrobe?
Ok, so I went to the game last week with my shiny new bard and watched as 2 chain devils tore him limb from limb. This particularly awful display of evil highlighted a major weakness of our party: a lack of battlefield control.
Before I head into all of this, I want to make a few things clear: First, I'm not asking which is better, but instead asking which is better for my group. Secondly, seriously, please don't turn this into a debate about which class is more powerful. Now, with that said, here's what the party is currently running with:
Dwarven Barbarian: Damage, damage, damage. He fancies himself a "battlefield controller" with feats like stand still and lunge, but generally he just hits stuff. Hard.
So, as you can see, my party has damage dealing covered quite well. What I'm looking for is a character to cover the major gaps of the party: Buffing/Debuffing, Battlefield Control, and Utility casting. I'm torn between druid and wizard.
As a druid I'd take the earth domain and focus on shutting down the battlefield and porting in summoned critters to flank and distract. As a wizard I'd be a transmuter and take preference to buffing, wall spells, and the wonderful "hand" line. I'd also be able to provide a high amount of utility casting as a wizard, which seems to be lacking from the druid list.
What do you think? My character is 8th level. Thanks in advance, guys.
Ok, so I recently started a new character after my last one perished in a pretty horrible manner (leech golem anyone?). He's already been built and statted out as an archer bard, so I don't really need any help on that front. What I *do* need help on is figuring out what sort of character he might be.
Some quick info on the character:
A note on Genasi: Our current campaign is running with the theme of all the party members having been the offspring of noble genies. We each got to choose a single template to represent a loose heritage based on the elemental genie of our parentage, and I chose water (nobody else did). It gave me a swim speed, water breathing, the native outsider (water) type, and an ability called suffusion that lets me heal myself a couple times per day by drawing the moisture from the air.
So my character is basically a bard who is the 3rd generation descendant of a Marid and a human. I'm stumped on how to play him, and I'd love some ideas. All I've got is that he grew up on the floating Isles and that he's a water genasi descended from a Marid genie.
What's the difference?
I'm not talking about the roleplaying interpretations of each magic, because that's going to change with each setting. What I mean to ask is this: What is the mechanical difference between the two magic types?
At a cursory glance, arcane magic is capable of "moving mountains." Its effects are overt, distinguishable, and often flamboyant. In raw damage vs. damage for the blasting type (an inferior version of spellcasting) arcane magic always wins, often with twice the damage capacity. Divine magic is more subtle, and has access to healing magic.
Except that's not really the case. As a primary divine caster, Druids are very near to Wizards/Sorcerers in terms of magically making things happen. Druids move mountains, conjure beasts, and explode plants to entangle enemies. Bards are sort of like Druids in the same respect, relying on the more subtle aspects of magic to achieve their goals. Ignoring the fact that bards are capable of casting healing magic (from it's offshoot of the druid class), Bardic magic hardly seems par for classification as arcane.
This is all pretty confusing to me, since arcanists suffer heavy drawbacks in comparison to their divine companions. Few know their entire spell list (beguiler, dread necromancer, & warmage being the exception), and all suffer heavy penalties to their spellcasting capabilities with arcane spell failure. The problem with this, though, is that most of the "best," or most mechanically effective spells exist on both sides of the fence- or at least have mechanical substitutes (command vs. suggestion, entangle vs. web, shield vs. shield of faith).
So really, what's the difference? What question do developers ask when they see a spell that allows them to allot it to one of the spellcasting classes, other than thinking "it's leafy/elemental, so give it to the druids" or "I could see merlin doing this, give it to the wizards"?
I was digging through the cleric domains and found that there is a real difference in the power of domains. Some domains are very powerful, others seem situationally powerful, and a few seem monstrously weak.
Now, I'm not trying to start a "ZOMG DOMAIN [x] IS TEH BEST!!!" thread, or even try to rank them by tier. What I'd really like to do is explore the inherent strengths of each domain, and perhaps builds and concepts that could fully actualize said strengths.
Here are a few thoughts I have on the domains:
Animal - This domain seems pretty decently powerful at first glance, as an animal companion would prove quite useful to a cleric. However, it falls short when you realize that the best animal buffs (greater magic fang at the front of the line) aren't available to you. Still, the ability to communicate with your animal companion is quite useful. The spell list is quite weak, though it does give access to many spells not on the cleric list. An exception here is Antilife Shell, which is a fantastic spell for *any* caster.
Artifice - This domain surprised me with how powerful it was. The artificer's touch ability makes you an excellent locksmith, escape artist, and construct-foe. I can see using this ability all the way to 20. Dancing weapon lets you focus on casting without losing too much melee ability, and the spell list is pretty decent. Real shining stars include Minor/major creation and fabricate. Artifice would be the perfect domain for a crafting cleric, but a solid choice for most clerics.
Plant - The domain abilities seem pretty weak at first, yet I can see some inherent strengths in them. Bramble Armor requires you to get hit, which sucks, but it's certainly useful in a grapple. Wooden Fist allows a range-based character to eschew a back-up melee weapon for the times when she gets stuck in melee combat. Ranged clerics should probably invest in weapon finesse, and unarmed strike will certainly benefit from that. The spell list is among the best, drawing almost entirely from the druid list and many of them are winners (entangle, barkskin, plant growth, wall of thorns, repel wood, shambler).
Protection - While most of the abilities grant the same bonuses a magic item would, they're still dang useful. A +1/5 levels resistance bonus to saves means you'll never invest in a cloak of resistance, and you've got the option of giving it to an ally (meh). Aura of Protection grants a deflection bonus to ac (yuck), but also grants resist 5/10 to all elements, which is downright amazing. This essentially makes elemental weapons useless and takes the sting off of any enemy trying to employ magic that isn't force, negative, or holy. Domain spells are pretty meh, but they aren't spells you'd never want to prepare.
What do y'all think?
Ok, so my group has a campaign on the horizon and everyone but myself has decided on what class they'll be playing. I'd really love some help deciding on which path to follow.
First, some campaign notes:
Now, each member of our group will be one of the 4 elementals and descended from one of the genie races. I'm heavily leaning towards fire, but the choices are largely flavor-related. The only real difference between the 4 elements is that each receives a resistance to their element (10+1/2 HD), a minor bonus (air = breathless, levitate @will. water = swim 60, water breathing, earth = tremorsense 30, +1 NA. fire = +5 land speed, double or negate nonmagical fire at will, scorching ray 1/day + 1/5 levels).
Our group currently consists of: an Air Elemental Sorcerer, a Fighter, a Barbarian, and a Warlock (3.5e). With the leadership feat we'll also have a cleric/oracle/favored soul (3.5e) running around with us as well.
Now, the stuff for my character:
Ok, my stats are as follows: 18, 16, 16, 16, 10, 10. Being a half elemental also grants me a +2 to one of my physical stats and a +2 to one of my mental stats.
We have open availability (within reason) to WotC 3.5 material, but I'd prefer to stay as close to core as possible. I really wanna try out the new system, you know? Some options are simply too good to pass up (like Knowledge Devotion for a bard), so they aren't negated. I'd prefer not to go into any prestige classes, but I'm open to all suggestions.
Now, after looking at it all, I think I've narrowed my choices down to 3 classes: Bard, Druid, and Ranger. Bard would be an archery based character, Druid would be spellcasting focused, and Ranger would be a Switch Hitter for maximum flexibility. There is going to be some plane hopping, so the ranger would focus on elemental favored enemies & terrains. I realize that, archery wise, ranger & bard are on par with damage & attack, but bards take a while to really get into the swing of things with archery. I'd be down for a melee based bard, but I'm not sure. Druid seems like a really fun choice, and it would provide a lot of bonuses to the party with its wide spellcasting abilities. I also have access to the spell compendium for some druid spells, but my DM limits that stuff pretty strictly (a lot of it is totally borked).
So, that's the jist of it. I really appreciate any insight and advice you can offer.
I've read through the rules, and I'm fairly sure I understand how an archer is going to function on the back of a mount. In the case of a ranger, the archer can get her full-round attack while mounted at penalties based on how much the mount is moving (-4 double move, -8 running).
Here are the things I can't seem to find:
The priest gets the ability to spontaneously cast spells from one of their three domains OR cure/inflict wounds, as a cleric. Now, the priest gets 2 domain slots at each level, and of the three domains I'm choosing (Air, Charm, Knowledge) charm is probably the most powerful in terms of spells.
Now, is it worth simply preparing Air/Knowledge spells and then having charm spells available to spontaneously cast as the need arises? After all, when the need DOES arise I'll want them ready, but the charm/enchantment spells tend towards situational use, and you can't spontaneously convert domain spells.
Or is it a better idea to grab the spontaneous cure wounds line and keep my charm spells in the domain slots?
My thinking is that the spontaneous charm isn't a bad deal, since most of the spells are on par with when a wizard would get them. Charm monster & Heroism are a level behind (5th & 4th, respectively), but both are powerful spells and worth it even a level later (Charm Monster even benefits from the higher DC).
So, there's been some hate. Bards, despite their countless improvements in 3.PF, are still the most controversial core class since the start of 3rd edition. People on the forums seem to fall into two categories: those who see the inherent strength of the song-caster, and those that see it as a largely underpowered class that functions better as a cohort than as a player. These people tend to throw out their points on what's strong and what's weak, and there's very little "convincing" done between the two. I thought I would organize my thoughts into a single thread to really expand on the strengths and weaknesses of the class. I'm not looking to try to convince anyone, but I *am* looking to explore the possible strengths of the wandering minstrel.
Attributes: Charisma is touted as the bard's main stat, but like the Paladin, it is its secondary stat. Bards are not sorcerers, and as such don't gain the immense benefits of a high charisma. With only 2/3 the level of spells, many of the bonus spells derived from a high ability score are never seen. Adding to this, all of the Bard's best performances don't allow for saves (inspire courage/competence/greatness/heroics, dirge of doom, soothing performance), which makes a high score useless.
All of that means that a charisma score of 16 is the ideal score for a bard. 16, with the inevitable +6 headband, grants the bard a score of 22, which is the point at which she gains at least 1 bonus spell of every level. Make Dexterity your highest score, as it provides the most benefits to a bard (much like a rogue).
Combat: Bards have a medium BAB, which means that they're built for combat. Whether you choose to pursue melee or ranged combat, the bard is decently suited to either. Both require a moderate feat investment, but most classes do. Melee bards should invest in weapon finesse at first level, while Ranged bards should acquire point blank shot and precise shot as quickly as possible. All bards should take Arcane Strike as you near 10th level, since it allows you to add +3 to your weapon damage rolls and shore up your poor strength score. This makes archer bards a viable choice. With Inspire Courage & Arcane Strike, their attacks deal up to +9 by level 20, which makes them ideal candidates for "flurry attack" builds. Spells like heroism, haste, and good hope all add to this.
Spellcasting: Many people brush off the bard's modest spellcasting as "backup" compared to the sorcerer or wizard. Because their spell list is only 6 levels long, their most powerful spells have a DC trailing by up to 3 points compared to a full caster. On top of this, Bards shouldn't focus on Charisma, which means that their save DCs are even lower than usual. Bards have several advantages, though. First, their spell lists contain light healing magic, which no other arcane list has. Secondly, when a bard reaches level 8 they have a powerful tool at their disposal: Dirge of Doom. Activating a bardic performance is a move action at level 7, which means that you can first activate this ability and then cast your standard action spell. Enemies don't get a save, which is incredibly powerful, and are given the shaken status. Shaken imposes a -2 penalty to all saving throws, which effectively boosts your DC by 2.
Remember how I said that all bards belong in combat? Well, at level 13 bards qualify for Critical Focus, and at level 15 they qualify for Sickening Critical. The finesse melee bard is probably using a rapier, and the dual wielding bard is probably using a pair of daggers, which both have excellent critical ranges. Whenever you successfully score a critical hit, the enemy is sickened (No save) for a minute. One minute is essentially the length of combat. Further, the sickened condition imposes a -2 penalty to all saving throws, which stacks with shaken. This means that at 15, whenever your bard scores a critical hit (which should be fairly often) she can cast spells at the target at a +4 DC for the rest of combat. This keeps the bard a competitive spellcaster all the way to 20.
Fear Effects: At 8th level bards gain access to Dirge of Doom, a no-save fear effect that imposes Shaken. The effect clearly states that it cannot cause a creature to become frightened or panicked, even if already shaken from another source. Depending on how you, or your DM, interprets this line, it may mean that while the Dirge cannot be the instigator that causes a creature to go from shaken to frightened, it can be the start. For instance, a bard could begin the performance and then perform a dazzling display (intimidate vs. all foes within 30', the same range as Dirge). If the bard began the performance first, her enemies would be shaken. If she then intimidated them successfully, they would become frightened. The dirge of doom did not cause them to become frightened, and thus is legal (by interpretation). I'd actually love some feedback on this one.
Buffing and Debuffing: This is actually the mechanical concept at the core of the bard. Many people see this as a boring character to play, never seeming to have the spotlight. This is a completely incorrect standpoint on the bard. The bard begins as a primary support character, yes, but as she progresses she becomes far more independent in her abilities. Her main form of buffing/debuffing, bardic music, becomes easier to activate and thus removed the feeling of "Wasting a round" as you level. Also, all of the buffs and debuffs she provides for the party ALSO count for her, allowing her to also cast spells against enemies with lower saves (shakened) or take advantage of the high combat boosts from inspire courage and haste. Everything she does for her party she also does for herself, making her superior to any other class in terms of being an enabler.
Skill Monkey: Bards have 6 skill points at every level, and a list of class skills second only to the rogue. At 10th level she can make any skill check, even if it requires her to be trained. At 16th, every skill becomes a class skill, and at 19th she can take a 10 on ANY skill, even if not normally allowed. Bardic Knowledge has also been improved, adding phantom points to every knowledge skill from level 1 on. This means that a bard will always know something about something, and needs only invest 1 point in each knowledge to gain a great bonus to the check (4+1/2 bard level+INT). At 5th level, bards gain the ability to take 10 on any knowledge check. Further, her versatile performance ability allows her to abandon certain skills with the ability to substitute perform checks in place of them. This feature starts off strong, with powerful social skills like bluff, diplomacy, and intimidate, but falters near the high levels when you already have all the skill substitutions available and this becomes a wasted class feature.
So, that's pretty much what I see as the bard class. I'd love to hear what everyone else thinks. While I don't believe you should keep your game core, I do believe that to properly analyze the class you SHOULD keep this discussion core.
Ok, so I was in a thread with the original poster going on about how useless the improved familiars were. I'm currently building a Bard who plans on taking the obtain familiar feat from the Complete Arcane and then Improved Familiar to grab a Mephit. I was looking through the entries and I realized that, with a bit of finesse, Mephits were easily the most powerful improved familiar there is. Improved Familiar is basically Leadership Light for DMs that don't like the leadership feat. Here's why:
At 7th level, the earliest you can get one, Mephits are powerful companions. Each has a breath weapon, a few spell like abilities, excellent movement modes, fast healing, great immunities, the ability to speak 2 languages, and a humanoid form which grants them the ability to manipulate items.
Breath Weapon - 1d8 damage in a 15ft cone every 4 rounds is laughable at 7th level, which makes the breath weapon a useless ability. Well, until you notice that roughly half the mephits have the ability to inflict the sickened condition on anyone who fails their reflex save for 3 rounds. The DC isn't great, but it scales with your level (DC 10 + 1/2 your level + 2), starting out at DC 15. Keep in mind that the sickened condition inflicts a -2 to all saves, which translates to Spell Focus/Greater Spell Focus for every school of magic. Total win.
Fast Healing - Some of the fast healing is difficult to activate, but others are easy (like windy areas, underground, or while on fire). This keeps your little guy off the cleric's healing charts, and makes him sturdier than many other options.
Spell-like Abilities - Most mephits gain 2 spell like abilities on top of their 1/day summon. One is 1/hour, the other is 1/day. 1 per hour equates to roughly once for each encounter or every other encounter, and spells like Blur and Glitterdust are great additions to your abilities.
Outsider Type - Outsiders are automatically proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and every Mephit can fly. What's more is that familiars use your base attack bonus, mephits are small (+1 attack), and have a fairly decent dexterity (15) for a companion. All this leads up to handing your mephit a longbow to fire off pot-shots while his breath weapon is on cooldown. A pure wizard/sorcerer, even with her low BAB, will still get some benefit out of this. Especially if she spends some time to cast Greater Magic Weapon, Flaming Arrows, and includes the Mephit in her most recent Haste casting. Eldritch Knights & Bards are generally rocking a BAB of 15+, which makes this even more effective.
So yeah, Mephits are amazing. A lot of this stuff sounds kinda weak, but it's all basically free actions for you as you're doing your own thing. Take advantage of your class feature, and show up those silly nature folk with their bears and tigers- long live arcane magic!
The Player's Handbook II offered an interesting variant on wild shape that allowed you to have an inferior version of wild shape at will. You gave up your animal companion, wild shape, and the ability to speak or cast spells while in your animal forms, but you could shift at will as a swift action.
This was back in the days of stat replacement, which is what largely made this version of the druid inferior. Now that druids are gaining size bonuses to their base stats, the two seem roughly on par. These are the advantages and disadvantages I'm seeing with either choice:
Wild Shape Advantages:
-Many forms offer more than 2 attacks.
-Unlimited uses of the forms means you can swap between forms during a fight, and never have to worry about your inability to speak.
Wild Shape Disadvantages:
-Limited uses early in game subtract from your shifting abilities.
-Bonuses are to strength, a single save, and natural armor.
Anyways, what do y'all think? I think they're mostly on par at this point.
Ok, so the pathfinder Druid took a huge hit in terms of power, and rightfully so. The 3.5 druid was beyond powerful, and generally dwarfed (So to speak) the other characters of the party. Now, this new Druid is a whole new animal, and requires a different eye when exploring optimization potential.
Ok, assuming that 3.5 material is on the table, let's look at how we can optimize the druid. In 3.5 it was pretty much a given that Druid 20 is the way to go. Today, that's still probably the case, but with the changes it might be worth exploring some other options.
For starters, there's a druid prestige class that immediately jumps to mind: Nature's Warrior from the Complete Warrior. In 5 levels you lose 3 levels of spells, 5 levels of your animal companion/domain abilities, and 2 skill points. You gain full wild shape progression (which stops progressing at 12, anyways), a full base attack bonus (which amounts to a whopping +1 over a druid 20), and an array of abilities (the best of which seem to be +5 natural armor, DR 3/-, and fast healing 1).
There are also a few awesome feats, like Fast Wild Shape from the Complete Champion, where you can use your wild shape as a swift action, and Natural Bond which increases your animal companion level by 3 (not to exceed your HD). Many, if not all, of the wild shape feats are invalidated by your level 20 capstone, so anyone who pursues them might want to ditch that last level of druid. With domains you've got access to the domain devotion feats of the complete champion as well, but few seem awesome enough to pursue, and none can be boosted by blowing turn undead attempts.
What do y'all have?
At the end of this progression, you end up with something like this:
Cleric 4 / Wizard 1 / Mystic Theurge 15
This change also makes sorcerer and druid attractive candidates for the class, since they rely heavily on class features.
Right, so I purchased the Tome of Secrets because I was really excited about the Shaman, and I was incredibly disappointed to find that the Shaman was actually just the Spirit Shaman with worse spellcasting and a mobile domain. I liked the spirit shaman in concept, but the fact remained that most of the class abilities were so specialized that they were either useless or overpowered.
Part of what I love about Pathfinder RPG is that it changed a lot of those "useful sometimes" abilities to multipurpose, always useful things. This was a GREAT change, and one I hoped had come with the Spirit Shaman. Alas, no- but my hopes for a spontaneous druid were far from gone. I just went ahead and created one myself.
The biggest problem with creating a spontaneous druid caster is that the druid spell list is inferior to cleric, and very much inferior to wizard/sorcerer. That's why druids got the same amount of spells as a cleric but got combat backup with an animal companion and wild shape. My core concept here was to take the spontaneous druid casting and beef up the class with abilities that were ALWAYS useful. Here's what I've come up with:
The Hedge Witch
Role: Hedge Witches are full divine casters who are more than capable of holding the front lines of battle, though many choose to fall behind allies and dole out support with summoned allies, offensive spells, and powerful buffs. Hedge Witches tend to replace Clerics in tribal societies, and often act as healers in rural areas with the more civilized races. Hedge Witches often take to adventuring to deal with problems of their community, or simply to better understand the natural forces they wield.
Alignment: Hedge Witches are far more involved with their communities than druids are, and hold no alignment restrictions. Witches of the community or healing paths tend towards law, while elemental witches generally favor chaotic alignments.
Hit die: D8
Class Skills: As druid.
Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: Hedge Witches are proficient with all light and medium armor, as well as light shields. They are proficient with all simple weapons, plus the handaxe, short sword, scimitar, trident, greatclub, scythe, and shortbow.
Spells: The Hedge Witch casts spells that are drawn from the Druid spell list. Her alignment, however, may prevent her from casting certain spells opposed to her moral or ethical beliefs. She can cast any spell she knows, much like a bard or sorcerer, without preparing it ahead of time.
Magical Path: At 1st level, a Hedge Witch must choose her path as she progresses in her craft. As she gains levels, she adds bonus spells known to her spells known list and gains foci according to her path. Bonus spells known are in addition to the spells known listed on the chart, and cannot be modified with metamagic. Bonus spells are dictated by the cleric domain spells of the appropriate name. The Hedge Witch gains no additional benefit of the domain. Path Foci are gained at 2nd (Minor), 11th (Lesser), and 20th (Greater).
Soothing Wind (Su): A hedge witch can sacrifice a spell slot as a standard action and grant herself and all allies within 30' fast healing equal to 1 + the level of the spell for 3 rounds.
Brew Potion: At 1st level a Hedge Witch gains Brew Potion as a bonus feat, even if she doesn't meet the requirements.
Green Secret: A witch's time spent analyzing the ebb and flow of the natural world culminates in the discovery of a green secret. She may choose to gain any one of the following benefits:
Hedge Servant (Su): At 7th level a Hedge Witch gains a magical companion to aid her in her dealings. This companion functions as a wizard's Familiar, using her Hedge Witch class level as her wizard level to determine abilities. The creature type does not change, and the familiar does not gain the ability to speak with animals of its kind. The Hedge Witch may choose from the following: Small Elemental (any type), Mephit (any type), or homunculus.
Spells Per Day: As Spirit Shaman in the Complete Divine (page 15).
Ok, so I've been pouring through the druid wild shape rules, and while I realize that there have been a few threads on it previously, a few things haven't been covered.
This is what I understand the rules for wild shape to be:
*Wild shape now functions as a series of spells: Beast shape I-IV (no magical beasts), Plant Shape I-III (no plant shape IV), Elemental Body I-IV. The only real change is duration.
Here's what I'm not clear on:
Right, so that's that. Thanks in advance for any clarifications.