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Paul Jackson wrote:
Over-reliance on divination is a significant issue when it seems that said villain likely had a stockpile of mind blank scrolls a mile long.
Bloodspeaker Mea Culpa wrote:
Orion: "Fellow Aspis agents, we are your replacements for the remainder of the trip. Please return home and take some time off." *Bluff over 50*
Another fabulous moment: during introductions, it was 5 of us that have played together since Eyes/AFI + a level 19 rogue that we hadn't in-character played with - Silbeg (VC Jack Brown). He starts introducing himself and we interrupt with "OH GOD, HE'S NOT IN THE TELEPATHIC BOND! OH GOD, THIS IS WHAT OUR VOICES SOUND LIKE!" We haven't spoken out loud, save occasionally to taunt enemies, in about 7 levels.
Me, during the briefing for Race for the Runecarved Key: "I begin pulling patches off my Pathfinder Greatcoat, take it off, put a different one on, and pull more patches off. I then hand out 4 Aspis bronze badges and 1 silver badge to the other players, keeping a silver badge for myself. Orion, repeat after me: 'We're with the Aspis Consortium. We work for Maiveer Sloan.'"
This is how to inject some humor into your Path to 20 table.
You can think of it as an erratum, but it would probably just be considered a clarification, by the design team. This sort of thing has happened before.
See, that's a problem. You have things like the Handle Animal debate, where people argue that the printing of the Exclusive trick either did or didn't reveal some super loophole with Handle Animal, but then we have the printing of this feat that seems to imply that feint hasn't worked as written for 7 years.
It's a problem to have rules that stop working as written because of a feat in a new book. If the CRB is missing intended verbiage, it should have an actual erratum to address it. If the feat in Ultimate Intrigue is incorrect, then there should be a erratum to address it.
Tactics for the scenario:
4-13 Fortress of the Nail During Combat Losarkur’s loyal edavagor opens combat
with its breath weapon, attempting to get as many
targets as possible within the two cones. On rounds when
it cannot use its breath weapon, the edavagor wades
fearlessly into the largest mass of enemies it can
reach, using its size and many attacks to deal
damage to as many creatures as possible
Special Attacks breath weapon (2 30-ft. cones, 8d6 fire damage
It's exactly what the creature is supposed to do. I also had the pleasure of telling a swashbuckler that he failed to parry repeatedly.
Ranged Feint has some weird interpretations of the CRB. Specifically:
Normal: You can feint only with a melee weapon, and only against a creature you threaten with that weapon.
Combat chapter of CRB wrote:
Skill chapter of CRB wrote:
Feint: You can use Bluff to feint in combat, causing your opponent to be denied his Dexterity bonus to his AC against your next attack. The DC of this check is equal to 10 + your opponent's base attack bonus + your opponent's Wisdom modifier. If your opponent is trained in Sense Motive, the DC is instead equal to 10 + your opponent's Sense Motive bonus, if higher. For more information on feinting in combat, see Combat.
The Feint entry never mentions a weapon requirement OR a threatening requirement. Is the "normal" line of Ranged Feint an erratum of the Feint rules or is it a case of "the contributor didn't read the Feint rules before submitting the feat"?
Ill Omen has a very different wording than Persistent.
Ill Omen wrote:
On the next d20 roll the target makes, it must roll twice and take the less favorable result. For every five caster levels you have, the target must roll twice on an additional d20 roll (to a maximum of five rolls at 20th level).
Benefit: Whenever a creature targeted by a persistent spell or within its area succeeds on its saving throw against the spell, it must make another saving throw against the effect. If a creature fails this second saving throw, it suffers the full effects of the spell, as if it had failed its first saving throw. A persistent spell uses up a spell slot two levels higher than the spell's actual level.
When both are stacked, you do the following:Initial save: roll twice (Ill Omen), take the worst.
If you succeed, reroll the save (Persistent) and, if Ill Omen still has rerolls remaining, roll that one twice, as well.
The shorthand is 4 rolls because that's table speed, but the action flow is Save (roll x2), if succeed Save again (roll x2).
I seldom get more than 1 kill in a scenario as a GM and they usually get better within a round. I've never been part of a TPK as a player, either. My experience is that most tables in my lodge have at least 1-2 players who are capable enough to handle nearly anything the scenario throws at them and we virtually never have tables with open seats. On top of that, a lot of players come with multiple characters within the scenario tier, so they select characters based on party balance and subtier selection, removing unnecessary concerns from playing up.
My most recent kill in a PFS scenario, funny enough, was due to playing up...but it was the level 5 in a high tier 5-9 eating 16d6 fire damage in round one.
Friendly Fire Maneuvers is not a betrayal feat.
Ability scores fall somewhere between these two options, so we'll call this a 4 RP selection. Note that Advanced is not a typical PC race option for ability scores, but your selection is clearly worse than Advanced.
Normal Speed (0 RP): The race has a base speed of 30 feet.
Medium (0 RP): Medium races have no bonuses or penalties due to their size. A Medium creature has a space of 5 feet by 5 feet and a reach of 5 feet.
Strong Arms = Weapon Familiarity. 1 RP
Low-Light Vision (1 RP): Prerequisites: None; Benefit: Members of this race can see twice as far as a race with normal vision in conditions of dim light.
Skill bonus (Intimidate) 2 RP
Human Blood = 0 RP - you can check this vs Half-Elves (Humanoid (elf, human) 0 rp) and Half-Orcs (Humanoid (human, orc)0 rp)
Linguist (1 RP): Members of this race start with Common plus their racial language (if any). Furthermore, members of this race with high Intelligence scores can learn any languages they want (except Druidic and other secret languages).
There is no comparison for the weakness. Looking at other items, it falls roughly between -1 and -2 RP. We'll call that -1 RP, assuming the worst case.
Total = 8 RP. All of the races in the CRB are 8-11 RP.
Combats are at their sloggiest with inexperience on all sides of the table. Faster combat is something honed over time, particularly at higher levels. A couple tricks I use for speeding up my play and GMing:
Ultimately, there are only 3 big problems at high level: math, weird rules interactions, and decision-making. They're the same problems that exist at lower levels, but with much greater scope. I've listed them in terms of ease of solution. Math can easily be prepared for and adjusted at the table. Rules can be discussed before the session and, let's be honest, it's pretty easy to get someone to talk about the cool new thing their character can do. Decision-making can't be prepared for, but it's typically more of a self-selecting problem: you chose a caster? It's your problem.
Steven G. wrote:
Yeah, I think that module is pretty undertuned for the level. A good many combats were ended with 1-2 castings of Confusion. Sometimes I got spicier and used 5th level slots.
I ran with a table of six relatively optimized characters. They only had problems when people had to miss, really. My favorite table as a GM by far was Tomb of Yarrix, which is the first time I've had module content cause a party to run away from the dungeon.
Expect a table of six to absolutely rickroll the content. Depending on the 5, that could be hit or miss. A table of 4 should be reasonably challenged.
Expanding on this point, there's an actual force of elves, the Lantern Bearers, whose purpose is to (A) eradicate the drow and (B) hide their existence from other races.
I agree with the others about the backstory being thin. I don't see anything there that justifies the alignment, the attitude, or the actions. It's also worth noting that drow are socially-ingrained evil, not evil by birth, and that non-evil attitudes likely would have killed your character by that point.
The one of the few explicitly drow thing that is generally legal is Flexible Half-Breed from Blood of Shadows, which allows half-elves to alter self into a human, elf, or drow form once per day as an SLA. Even that's not really anything over and above what was already allowed by the base spell.
I'm pretty happy with the "no drow" policy because there are lore oddities with the race, including the possibility of elves becoming so evil that they spontaneously change into drow, as described ever-so-briefly in the Advanced Race Guide.
Quentin Coldwater wrote:
Players kept failing their saves against a Calm Emotions aura. The players were seriously considering using Blistering Invective on themselves to keep them from getting stun-locked. That was an interesting fight.
If it's the fight I think you're talking about, I definitely had someone digging their own grave for several rounds last time I ran it. Probably my favorite monster tactic to date.
Occultist is a very solid class with some difficult mechanics to work with. Lintecarka is absolutely correct that you end up feeling choked by the standard action part of buffs much of the time. That said, that standard action is very, VERY powerful from a support standpoint.
My archer occultist routinely gets around the buff time problem by giving himself 90' movement speed so he can maneuver around corners, into hiding spots, etc. so he can get that buff time. With a +2 weapon, a level 6 or higher occultist can push it to a +5 equivalent to bypass any DR (+1 bane added), but unlike the magus, your list is completely unrestricted. I cannot stress enough how powerful this is. Fighting something with Fickle Winds, a wind effect, or just being underwater? Cyclonic (+2 equivalent) solves the problem. Don't have Seeking yet, but the opponent is using displacement? You can toss both Seeking and Limning on the weapon and the problem goes away for the whole party. Concerned about teleportation on critters? Phase Locking. You know you're going up against a cleric? Add +1 Healer's Sorrow to an arrow so you can cut its healing in half. Numerous invisible creatures? Glitterwake will highlight everything within 10' of the projectile's path. Incorporeals? Ghost Touch.
Basically, all those abilities that are considered too situational to use are within your reach. This is literally the give-away bonus you get for taking a transmutation implement. Remember how I said it's powerful for support, though? Legacy Weapon is weapon touched, not personal. You can give this to your allies. This is like having Martial Flexibility for weapons, and Martial Flexibility is widely considered one of the best class features in the game (besides spells, of course). In a recent game I was GMing, the APL 10 party was fighting a CR 14 dragon and the party super-buffed the archer inquisitor to take it out. Seeking was applied to ignore miss chance and it had a significant impact on the fight. There were several other buffs that were tossed out, but that really drove home exactly how good this ability is and how you're likely to have it at level 1 because of how good the Transmutation list is for the Occultist.
Occultist is honestly one of my favorite classes at the moment and its because of how versatile they are and what they bring to the party. Legacy Weapon being one of the single biggest enablers in the game is a big part of that.
There are things that should be rolled secretly, for sure - spells like augury, for example, where the text explicitly calls for the GM roll in secret. Technically, Disable Device checks are supposed to be secret according to the CRB, but I've never played them that way.
I have been known to ask the GM questions like "Does my character get the impression that the attacker that hit me did so because of luck or skill?" This typically is for open-roll GMs that are sitting further away from me. My players (even PFS randoms) tend not to abuse my open rolling policy when I GM.
My interpretation regarding learned tricks is that if you don't know the specific command for that animal, you're pushing at the untrained DC. It doesn't matter if the animal has Throw Rider as a trick if you don't know how it was taught to do it.
Still eventually trivial, but definitely part of the table variation for the skill.
N N 959 wrote:
Hold up, we can call something invalid because it's not more than 8 years old? Also, investing in Charisma is a heavy investment if that's not a primary stat for your class.
I believe the original point was "with standard optimization". You can make just about any crazy concept work with one particular build or enough system mastery.
That seems like the end goal for most experienced players I come across these days. I've heard tales of people who rolled for a random, PFS-legal prestige class from Paths of Prestige and had to build a character around it just to challenge themselves.
Murdock Mudeater wrote:
I dunno about that, we had a pair of Banner of Ancient Kings + Flagbearer bards at the last table I ran. I heard no complaints about that other than the two of them bickering about wearing the same dress to the party, more or less.
N N 959 wrote:
There are a number of feats that make it more usable, including Fast Empathy, which reduces it to a standard action. You're still looking at something with abysmal scaling on an off-stat for (I think) everyone that gets it. BNW certainly knows more about the ability than me, though, and may be more familiar with the resources surrounding it.
There is an aquatic elf community nearby, but your GM may not allow that race.
This is the nearest elven settlement, for sure. That said, Kintargo is cosmopolitan enough that there are a few elves just hangin' around. You could be one, too!
Hell's Rebels Player's Guide wrote:
As someone GMing this adventure path currently, I would strongly recommend against choosing to push for an aquatic elf PC and very strongly recommend against a strix.
I can't wait to see the day when someone tries to argue that the Orc Bloodline should add to healing because it's positive energy damage. Someone's gonna do it some day and the backlash will be glorious.
N N 959 wrote:
Throw Rider is a trick in Animal Archive.
I've been involved in some of the prior discussions on this topic. The main areas of contention from my understanding:
Point 1 is virtually always table variation. I feel as though I understand BNW's position - namely that Wild Empathy is a significant resource sink to use well and is significantly limited due to class restrictions, so it should be more powerful/impactful. My interpretation of the text for Wild Empathy and Handle Animal is that they are for separate and distinct purposes - Wild Empathy is the attitude adjustment aspect of Diplomacy, while Handle Animal includes the request aspect of Diplomacy. I think there's an ocean of opinions that span the gap between and a number of things that Handle Animal doesn't properly address, including "what is the duration of a pushed trick?". For example, if my animal companion has both Throw Rider and Exclusive, do I have to push it every round if I want to allow someone else to ride it with the Serve trick, assuming I didn't train the mount to have that as a permanent trick for the specific rider?
Point 2 is a philosophical debate about rules creep and how there are many things that people assume fall into existing rules, but then feats, class features, spells, or equipment suddenly upend that understanding. The Exclusive trick is a prime offender here. It was introduced in Animal Archive and, before it was released, a reasonable, logical case could be made that your animal companion couldn't be commanded by an enemy using Handle Animal if you had treated said companion well and it liked you. Its existence then makes you wonder if that assumption was always wrong. It's especially egregious when considering the implications of issuing the attack command against the owner vs flee, down, stay, etc. As written, Handle Animal doesn't account at all for the animal's attitude towards you or the target and that's a problem.
I think it's objectively reasonable to say that the GM can veto some particularly bad command choices (like "attack your master"). I think it's also objectively reasonable to say that the GM can place situational limitations on the use of Handle Animal. The scope of those limitations, though, is where the table variation comes into play.
Shield champion brawler aka Captain America: the Build. If anybody could help me build it, that would be appreciated.
Funny enough, the geek sudoku mustering of the last scenario I ran included two players with shield champion brawlers. That's not so much an issue of it not working, though - it works fine.
Nearly 2 months ago, as I wrapped up book 3, I predicted an early dragon for my players. They had rescued Shensen in advance of the Masquerade with enough time for her to be the risk-taking, impetuous livewire that I read her to be, so she immediately wanted to stick it to Barzillai by performing the Song of Silver there and, as such, Jackdaw was rescued before book 4 even started. The party ended the Masquerade of book 3 with a mere 30 Authority Points to Barzillai's name. As the book suggests, they're level 10.
Today, my prediction came true. It was not my fault, though, as players are fickle critters.
I had prepared for Rescuing the Rose and the Hei-Fen piece. The morning meeting had reports of a dragon strike (along with a no reprisal, this put the Authority total to 34) and the party had been discussing the state of affairs when they were warned about Tombus' imminent arrival. I gave them 3 rounds until the troop entered via the stairs. The rebellion folks scampered into secret passages and secured rooms, with Octavio running about barking orders in the rear section. 2 rounds after the troop came in, the first wave of cultists entered via the waterways, coming up through the rear of the main floor. The party mopped up fairly handily, including capturing Tombus alive.
Authority Point total: 24
The party immediately decides that action must be taken. They've got the Song of Silver going and it's still the first 24 hours. One PC is concerned that they should get as much done to secure the city as possible while the song is going. Octavio volunteers to go look for Hetamon with Locate Creature, Shensen goes to recruit Chuko. The party does some information gathering with a number of magical methods and I give them as much non-spoilery stuff as I can. The party consensus? They want to take the Bleakbridge. Well, they wanted to hunt Rivozair, but I told them that the AP doesn't exactly allow that and that there's some conditions to that encounter, so they settle for the Bleakbridge.
The battle for Bleakbridge:
Now, I have read the book a few times over, glancing over the encounters generally. I hadn't carefully prepped this, though, so I was taken aback when I saw that this was worth 25 points. I thank my stars that the Bleakbridge map was included with the print copy of the book, plopped it on the table, and quickly got ready to fly by the seat of my pants. Ears of the City had given the party information about Ravzee, so they reached out and secured his aid with something like a 43 on the Diplomacy check, hitting all the right notes along the way in conversation. Ravzee informs the party offhandedly that the horse is meaner than it looks, prompting Thunderhorse jokes before I even mention its name. They're convinced it's not a horse and decide it's a priority target. I was just trying to give them a hint at the nature of its master.
During the fight, the cleric outright dies and there's an immediate note made of the fact that they have zero Breath of Life scrolls, only Raise/Res. There's some panic at the table, especially since they know that the tengu gang has already made this fight relatively easy for them by disabling one of the troops. At this point, it's getting a bit late and I ask everybody how they're feeling about the session, they want to keep moving with any consequences, we're good to go.
As they wrap the encounter up about 30 minutes later, largely injured and with their dedicated healer dead, I walk to our campaign whiteboard, cross out the Authority Point total, write a giant zero, and apparently rolled a successful Intimidate check IRL:
You hear a loud roar from the top of the Temple of Asmodeus. You have 90 seconds. FYI, Raise Dead is a 1 minute cast.
With that, I walked away while they figured out their resource utilization and preparation. They knew that blue dragons typically have electricity breath weapons, so they hurriedly put up protection from energy, communal and as many buffs as possible, healed back up, and prepared for the worst by spreading out into as many different corners as possible on the bridge. Rivozair comes in with her breath weapon, hitting only one. He fails the reflex save. Another player casually asks if this was line or cone shaped as I'm grabbing my d8s for damage.
Ok Robyn, you take 46 damage total, half fire, half hellfire.
There is an audible panic at the table. While the characters are all immune to the frightening presence due to the Song of Silver, the players are now very, very concerned. The archer inquisitor plinks a shot out for a small amount of damage, the occultist frantically begins buffing the archer, dropping a Legacy Weapon on for seeking and +1 enhancement as the dragon puts up Mirror Image. The cleric uses Holy Lance from the Good domain to add holy to the bow, following it up with Touch of Good each round. Rivozair eats a 99 damage crit and a pair of fairly significant hits from the archer. She lands on one of the rooftops and breaths again, hoping to take out the inquisitor, but evasion saves her bacon. The inquisitor fires again and outright kills the dragon in the first 2 shots. As it happens, 37 AC gets wrecked pretty hard when the archer is getting +16 to hit from buffs alone.
The party is breathing easy again. You can see that the players are all feeling physically drained from the combat. One player asks if they leveled today. I tell him that I have to think about it for a couple minutes. Sifting through the book, realizing that they have 3 plot threads to wrap up before going into the temple, I tell them to go straight to 12. I'd rather they get those done in one session and felt that they should enjoy a significant reward for doing the least loot-intensive section of the book while underleveled.
We're meeting again in two weeks. The characters are enjoying a bit of rest and moving to day 2 with no reprisals coming in the morning.
Jakob Kiilerich wrote:
I just ran the first half of the Ruby Masquerade, they threw me ONE very large butterfly, they invited the Queen of Delights. The Queen's favorite spent most of the first half of the night trying and failing to find her, and it wasn't until after the Dance of the Damned that he managed to find her. My problem is how the hell would she react to the Massacre when it arrives?
My post a couple before yours sums up my position on the matter:
Her response is: 'My regrets, darling, dealing with a Norgorberite problem. Sent your friend Molly by boat. Remember me fondly tonight.' This was sent via demand."
Since you've already had her at the party, I would have her Greater Teleport home as soon as the Massacre begins.
My instinct would be to treat it as a scythe for all stat purposes (including price) but then add in the extra bit about how it can be disguised. (yeah, but "Bluff" mechanic doesn't really make sense--maybe the 15 or 20 is the Perception DC to notice it's not really a staff?)
The switchscythe is making a bluff check and the result is 15, or 20 if you add the disguise. It is opposed by sense motive when observed.
While I played that particular scenario on a different character, I would have had +21 concentration at level 9, +25 for casting defensively (CL 9, 26 Int, +2 trait, +4 combat casting, +2 uncanny concentration). I don't have that scenario at hand to see what the DCs were, but I can't imagine failing those checks if I used a move action to center. That said, I had invested heavily into concentration at lower levels to avoid the possibility of failing to concentrate when casting without centering. I've since retrained out of 2 feats (uncanny concentration and combat casting).
The thought component piece is really, really easy to bypass.
My typical experience (level 19 psychic):
1-7: Potion of Remove Fear in a Spring-Loaded Wrist Sheath (if GMs are ok with that) or in an easily accessible pouch/Handy Haversack.
8+: Logical Remove Fear (if you grabbed the metamagic feat) or somewhere in here, you work in Intellect Fortress 1 to your spells known.
In all of scenarios that I've played, I've not had more than 1 round lost to any fear effects. Most of the time now, I lose no more than a swift action (either Quickened Logical Remove Fear or Int Fortress). If I'm particularly concerned, I use Joyful Rapture.
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