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Hooded Man

Serisan's page

FullStarFullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 3,141 posts (3,162 including aliases). 5 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 20 Pathfinder Society characters.


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Torbyne wrote:
Serisan wrote:
TOZ wrote:
We're already well into 2.0, they just didn't reboot the product lines to do it.
There's a reason I hold the relatively unpopular opinion that the ACG classes are better balanced in virtually every way than the CRB classes.

Is that a very unpopular opinion? i would suggest that the APG and ACG classes are extremely capable and balanced... with perhaps a few minor exceptions. still i would agree with you more than i would disagree.

What Paizo has done with the 3/4 BAB chassis are amazing and I wouldn't mind a new system where they were the norm and the 1/2 or full BABs were gone.

I've gotten a lot of haterade in the past for it.

Generally, I agree with you re: 3/4 BAB chassis. I'm not looking for a "dump the system and start over" refresh, though - just continue to write more 3/4s and adjust new content appropriately.

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TOZ wrote:
We're already well into 2.0, they just didn't reboot the product lines to do it.

There's a reason I hold the relatively unpopular opinion that the ACG classes are better balanced in virtually every way than the CRB classes.

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I would strongly be in favor of a CRB 2.0 that fixes all the nonsense of the CRB without dramatically altering the base game. There's a lot of content that I think works just fine within PFRPG as a whole. It's the CRB that's really the problem. Lack of parallel language, failure to incorporate full rules for conditions in the glossary (i.e. magic chapter says that unconscious = willing, but not the glossary), prosaic writing in what is effectively a technical manual...many, many issues come up in the CRB and Paizo has significantly grown as a company since then. The publishing quality is better now than when the CRB was originally released. Errata docs don't address the basic problems of the book. I'm not even going to bring up the legacy balance stuff as a primary concern - I'm far more concerned about how the CRB is muddied by poor organization and writing quality.

A lot of the things you brought up are GM decisions. That's by design and I think it's fine. Allowable source material is a table decision.


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I realized that I hadn't uploaded my prep doc to PFS Prep for this scenario, so I fixed that. It organizes the info by killer. linky


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IMO, the PP cost being easy to calculate makes sense, but a lot of the original time values don't. It's funny, to say the least, that it's cheaper to retrain a level twice than do archetype replacement if you have a 1 level dip for some classes. It's also rather absurd that it takes 20 prestige to learn a language, while you could spend 5 prestige to move a skill rank into linguistics (assuming it's not maxed).

That said, I think the prestige cost to retrain a feat or a class level are perfectly reasonable. 5-7 prestige is kind of a big deal and it's nice that the retraining comes with an opportunity cost.

Fromper wrote:

I never saw the Harrowed stuff from the playtest, but I'd love to see Paizo publish something that makes the medium class both versatile and useful, instead of just being the champion spirit delivery system that it is now.

It was complex and interesting. 54 spirits planned (attribute + alignment), 18 at playtest. Some of the melee options were amazing, including the option of being huge sized all day when you wanted at a certain point. Your available spells changed every time you changed your spirits for the day - you knew what you channeled for the day, with strength spirits having fewer spells and int spirits having more. You'd have a chain of spirits and that impacted available powers.

Super interesting, but easily a table stopper if players weren't prepared and it certainly took a LOT of pages to explain everything.

Mark Seifter wrote:
Serisan wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
I'd say in that case use spirit dancer. It's closer to my original alpha vision of the medium that never reached the playtest (which had spirits known and fewer spirits contacted for the day and then you could switch between the contacted spirits in combat as a full-round action at first and then more and more easily, kind of like a Persona main character) but it turned out to be a high drain on cognitive resources to rejigger your character that much in the midst of combat, so it was changed to daily in the beta (but you could have more active at once). Since I had to rewrite the archetypes for the final medium anyway since the freelancer only had the beta Harrowed medium to work with, the spirit dancer was a little bit of a callback for me to the alpha (not all the way, but some of it) that was allowed due to being an archetype and not the default class.
Can we count this as my quarterly "Hey, any news about the Harrowed Medium?" check-in? :-)
Sounds like a plan. Of course, I'll tell you guys if it comes to be, so it's always going to be an answer of "No, and it's out of my hands" for all the check-ins.

I get that, but noise = pressure and I want that friggin' class. :-)


Mark Seifter wrote:
I'd say in that case use spirit dancer. It's closer to my original alpha vision of the medium that never reached the playtest (which had spirits known and fewer spirits contacted for the day and then you could switch between the contacted spirits in combat as a full-round action at first and then more and more easily, kind of like a Persona main character) but it turned out to be a high drain on cognitive resources to rejigger your character that much in the midst of combat, so it was changed to daily in the beta (but you could have more active at once). Since I had to rewrite the archetypes for the final medium anyway since the freelancer only had the beta Harrowed medium to work with, the spirit dancer was a little bit of a callback for me to the alpha (not all the way, but some of it) that was allowed due to being an archetype and not the default class.

Can we count this as my quarterly "Hey, any news about the Harrowed Medium?" check-in? :-)


He did say "try."

Re: orcs, they're "balanced" by being susceptible to magic (+0 reflex vs Grease, -1 will vs Color Spray) and ranged (oh goodie, 4 javelins for ranged offense at +1, 1d6+3!). Yes, they're big bads in melee. Don't engage them there. Use clever withdraws to utilize terrain as a charge prevention measure. If you get stuck in their grill, utilize total defense to set up for your allies. Move and drop caltrops/marbles behind you.

Orcs are a challenge because people want to out-melee them at low levels, expecting to win that fight before they have level 2 gear. That is a fool's errand.

So, the claim to fame is that it's a jack-of-all-trades. The reality is that most players are going to take it for Champion, probably with Relic Channeler, and never use another spirit. A fairly significant number of those will be doing the 1 level dip for bonus damage on another class.

Every few months, I bother Mark Seifter again to see if/when we'll get the Harrowed Medium back, which got page count slaughtered after the playtest. I hold out hope that it will eventually be released because, from a numbers perspective, the Medium doesn't hold up well compared to other classes. You really have to invest yourself into the specific flavor of the Medium. By comparison, the Harrowed Medium, while very complex, did interesting things that couldn't be duplicated elsewhere.

This is not to say, though, that the Medium lacks viability. It simply lacks much reason to select it over other classes for whatever purpose you're looking to build into.

Chess Pwn wrote:

@Serisan I think your post was in response to mine, and you took it in a way I didn't mean, Or you went off on your own tangent. I currently play exclusively PFS, and I love it, so I have nothing against PFS.

But my statement is pretty true exactly because of the reason you start off with. Standardizing stats to be equally available and not have a chance for a 19 to be with a 50 is standardizing. Having a worldwide campaign for everyone will needs standardization for consistency and ease, thus it will not roll for for stats. As such things grow the portion of people being standardized grows. As people encounter it they share, and as they share home games will adopt, because standardization is enticing and easy way to fix/limit the problems of variance between players. Also, when things are large, they make a nice base assumption. I bet many people use 20 pt buy because PFS uses it. If PFS had 25 or 15 I'd imagine that those values would be more common for a generic home game.

Indeed, I misread the terms "death" and "by the wayside" as pejorative. My apologies for the false accusation.


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I'll gladly carry one or two spikes at mid-levels for other characters at my table, even if I can't effectively use it myself. Perhaps it's just the level of content I've been playing lately, but I've seen entirely too many incorporeals over the past few months that resulted in "welp, guess we're doing this the slow way."

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As I've already brought up on page 2, I've never met a person who wants to play a rolled character with an equivalent 19 point buy alongside a rolled character with an equivalent 50 point buy. They're basically not playing the same game at that point. One character is the ubermensch, the other is a squire.

There's this weird undercurrent in the non-PFS side of play that basically says that "PFS IS BADWRONGFUN COOKIE CUTTER." I have seen more character (personality) variety in PFS than I've ever seen in home games, with more mechanical variety in many cases, as well. I know a guy who plays archetyped bards exclusively and each of them is pretty distinct. We've practically renamed the class after him locally. The only Drizzt clones I see are written into rare scenarios. Some new players tend towards stereotype characters, but typically branch out once they get their feet wet.

Saying that PFS, and the "standardization" (expanded, worldwide house rules) "kill rolling" is blanket elitism and it's pretty baseless, as well.


Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Yeah, ghost touch actually allows you to sneak attack incorporeals. And short swords show up on the proficiency lists of most classes that really need this.

Sneak Attack, crit, general precision damage (investigator, swashbuckler, etc.)...yeah, ghost touch is very helpful.

Torbyne wrote:
Just wanted to point out to those who suggest giving better arms and armor to make up for lower stats on 10 point martials... that misses out on a little more than just AC and damage. :ower point buy for a class with MAD mean they suffer behind in every check; their AC, HP, accuracy, damage, saves skill points per level and over all skill checks will all lag behind something like that 10 point wizard who really just gave up an extra +1 from DEX and CON with the reduced point buy.

So yes, you're correct that you will be behind everywhere, but that's to be expected with lower point buy. I mean, that's sort of the point, right?

The point about wealth is that your relative deficiencies within the 10 point buy environment narrow as you get gear. The difference between a 10 point buy fighter with a +6 belt, +5 weapon, gloves of dueling, etc. and a 20 point buy fighter with a +6 belt, +5 weapon, gloves of dueling, etc. will be fairly minimal - both should be able to perform against on-level challenges. The differences presented by point buys are most apparent when you have lesser wealth and feat compensation.


Muser wrote:

It's cool, but I wouldn't bother as a two-handed weapon user or someone with a lot of feats or resources invested into their main weapon. Take the dwarven waraxe cavalier going from 1d10+14+1d6 with her +1 valiant waraxe to just 1d6+9.

It's great early on though!

1d10+14+1d6 = avg damage 23, halved to 11 because it's not ghost touch.

1d6+9 = avg damage 12.

I'm currently playing an occultist archer in PFS with a courier theme. At level 2, I had the same implement outlay as you, then added Conj at 6. If you're finding that the party has healing covered, I would delay Conj to 10 (when you'll want it for teleportation effects) to get a second Trans selection. 7th level offers a LOT of great Trans spells (Fly and Haste at the very least). Otherwise, you'll still be able to grab the Side Step power at 7 if you've grabbed Conj at 6, giving you short range tactical teleportation as part of a move action used to move.


Haven't sifted through the list, buuuuuuuuuuut...

Spiritbane Spike $300 (none), Undead Slayer's Handbook - alchemical item, cut self with it to make a ghost touch short sword for 10 min

Basically, you don't have an excuse to struggle with melee damage against incorporeals.

Name: Rolicharr
Race: Tiefling
Class: Occultist 7/Investigator 1
Alignment: CG
Origin: Historian of rebellions and subversive anti-Thrune scholar
Adventure: Dance of the Damned
Location: Menador Keep
Cause of Death: Elulae

The party was rapidly working through the floor and failed their initiatives pretty hardcore, so Elulae opened with an unholy blight, which Rolicharr failed to save against. Whether this is as-intended or not, the player of Rolicharr tells me that, as a CG Tiefling, he gets the Good Outsider version of that damage. The party cleric, who had Status up at the time, failed to ask or recognize the significant danger that Elulae represents. 3 rounds later, Elulae throws out another unholy blight, which Rolicharr fails to save against and immediately dies.

Fortunately, the party had recovered a few Raise Dead scrolls by this point, so he got better immediately.

I wouldn't say I was vitriolic, but I did post my concerns:

  • Low point buy puts more emphasis on gear and wealth to achieve results that higher point buys can skate by without.
  • Wealth can be diminished at a more rapid rate as consumables become more important to address on-level challenges.
  • Low point buy favors classes that either hyperspecialize in 1-2 stats or are able to mitigate their own stats by having pets, summons, or similar as core components of their gameplay.
  • The challenges of low point buy are focused on the earliest levels, before you have sufficient wealth to compensate for the initial challenge.

You've provided a few points that I think are reasonable - most notably that system mastery determines success. If that is the game that your table enjoys, then play and enjoy it. I think that a lot of people find that base requirement to be painful. Moreover, a number of people are so averse to dump stats, railing against the idea of taking a pre-racial 7, that what I deem to be a reasonable build (your swashtigator on pg 1) appears to be anathema to them, regardless of the stories you and your table are able to tell with them.

A lot of the responses on the boards descend into vitriol quite quickly. I would not expect much else with something as divisive as character creation and optimization.

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I ran Menador + Vyre a week ago with great success. All I had to do to cement the wonderful markets of Vyre in my players' minds was to have Molly mention that she knew a shop that sold fried grippli legs. The dinner party went smashingly, with the party getting over 30 banquet points and the party occultist (also a tiefling) getting successfully bedded by the Queen of Delights. Menador went smoothly, but it felt pretty generic by comparison to the rest of events. The only real challenge was the advanced erinyes.

We've been skipping the organization stuff for the most part as I absolutely cringed at the thought of doing it after suffering through the Way of the Wicked organization rules, which were significantly thinner. Still, I rolled a couple secrecy checks for while they were out at Menador and the rebellion managed to hit the high mark on both checks. As we wrapped up the session, they managed to rescue Shensen and loot the treasury.

Shensen being who she is, though, will be leading the party on a little merry chase after Jackdaw. She's pissed about what Barzillai did to "her" opera house, in addition to the indignity of being turned to stone and her house being burned down. As such, her plan is to perform the Song of Silver AT THE RUBY MASQUERADE. Should be fun. I've already got my players' buy-in on this diversion into book 4 and, with the recently acquired loot from the vault, I believe they'll be able to handle the First Warden.

It's worth noting that you do need to take the feat Accomplished Sneak Attacker to qualify for Arcane Trickster at 5.

If your goal is to avoid multiclassing, yes, the Eldritch Scoundrel is the best single class choice. It's slightly more trickster than arcane and quite good, though significantly slower progression than the AT on the higher end of the power curve.

JonathonWilder wrote:
I can never understand those who say they saw someone roll three 18s and a 16, as this has never been anything I have seen in all my years of playing AD*D,D&D< or Pathfinder. Heck, in most cases a player is lucky to get a single 18.

Let me give you one better.

In Palladium 2E, if you have a 3d6 attribute (and ONLY that type of attribute), a result of 16-18 "explodes," giving you an additional 1d6 to that attribute. If you roll a 6 on that die, it also explodes. As such, you can have 28-30 for an attribute all of the sudden. Attribute bonuses are also linear and start at 16. A stat under 16 is effectively worthless, while anything over 20 becomes RIDICULOUS.

I was rolling up a human (all attributes are 3d6) assassin NPC for that game and had 3 of its 8 attributes explode, all on physical attributes. If we were to make a CR comparison here, this single NPC was effectively CR+4 for his actual level, exclusively because of his base attributes. He was stronger than minotaurs at level 1 and had the equivalent DEX of a 20th level unchained rogue, along with through-the-roof CON.

Dice are wild. Sometimes, you get some huge rolls. The typical set averages out, but as you can see from my earlier post on this page, averages still contain outliers.


While I don't have a family setup among my characters, I'm finally introducing my protege into Society and the character providing those boons is going to be his herald vanity.

For archery, definitely the inquisitor, though I would follow Claxon's advice. The single biggest concern you should have when creating an archer is removing the positional penalties - i.e. "How fast do I get Improved Precise Shot or a suitable replacement for it?" Solo Tactics + Friendly Fire Maneuvers is a suitable replacement and you can have it as fast as level 3. Your next biggest concern is maximizing damage, which is effectively addressed once you get Bane, one of the single best damage abilities in the entire game. Using the Chivalry Inquisition is the easy road to a companion, albeit it will likely be a horse. If you're super concerned about that, you can invest feats to fix that problem via Monstrous Mount and the associated Mastery feat. Get your griffon and be ridiculous.

As someone playing a hunter archer in PFS, I can tell you with absolutely no doubt in my mind that I am leagues behind an inquisitor in raw damage. I have a better utility spell list and funnier class features, but I can't hold a candle to an inquisitor. I took a 1 level dip into Medium for a damage boost, but it doesn't compare to on-demand Bane, which can help you not only do damage, but also bypass DR types that you aren't hitting with your arrows already.

For the melee/reach builds, I think that's a bit more competitive. My personal opinion, though, is that a melee build with the druid list may as well be a druid with melee stats. A lot of teamwork feats are pretty terrible and, frankly, the one build I've seen that relies on companion + teamwork feats used keen kukris, Butterfly's Sting, Outflank, and Paired Opportunists. The table effectively shut down for a minute or two as a PC and his ape companion bounced back and forth with AoOs. He used hunter levels for that. You could probably do it with Sacred Huntsman, too.

Qaianna wrote:
Both systems have, at their core, one key 'problem', and that's that all stats are treated equally. Points in Charisma are the same cost as in Strength regardless if you're preparing a barbarian, bard, or barkeep. And it's hard to think of a way to really make them otherwise.

There are systems, such as Cypher System, that solve the attribute problem by not assigning bonus values to attributes. It's an interesting, elegant solution, but it's completely contrary to the design principles of Pathfinder and the OGL it's based upon.

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DrDeth wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I mean, the goal of rolling for stats is to generate six numbers between 3 and 18. No matter what algorithm you use, as long as you're generating six numbers between 3 and 18 (and everybody is using the same algorithm, and not lying about what they rolled) you're not cheating.

3d6 strict, 4d6 drop low, 4d6 drop low reroll 1s, 2d4+10, etc. are all equally valid just like how 15, 20, 25, etc. point buys are all equally valid.

It is interesting how much better pt buy is that rolling and rolling and keep in order is the worst (but can be fun!)

I rolled 5d6 drop 2, reroll ones. Got

str 15,
Int 15

That's 30pts! And any class is a decent choice, except maybe a full spellcaster. (and with racial adjustments, any class works- but a cleric will have a bit of a challenge, however certainly doable)

But let us say you spent 30 pts and built a fighter
Cha 9
A MUCH more optimized and min-maxed PC, with hardly any dumping even.

Now me, I'd rather play the first one, and certainly so if it was those rolls OR a 25 pt buy. (hard to turn down a 30 pt buy, eh?)

Following your example, I decided to roll out a couple blocks to see if statistics come into play as I suspect. Note: I'm typing the post while I roll. I am using the same rules for rolling as you: 5d6 reroll 1s drop 2 lowest.

1st set: 13, 15, 12, 15, 11, 17 (33 pt buy)
2nd set: 15, 12, 11, 17, 18, 16 (50 pt buy)
3rd set: 14, 10, 16, 13, 9, 12 (19 pt buy)

There was no fudging here. Let's go ahead and put those in with the one you rolled (30 pt buy). The average of those point buys is 33. Can you tell me, with a straight face, that the owner of my set 3 is going to feel like they're playing the same game as the owner of set 2? Your set and my set 1 are roughly equivalent and I doubt there would be any complaints there (other than the HUGE volume of odd numbers), but set 2 is an order of magnitude more powerful than set 3. Set 2 is amazing for so many different builds, even in the order rolled, that it can and will overshadow virtually anything else at the table until wealth distribution comes into play and potentially provides uplift to the character with set 3 (probably bloodrager, paladin or barbarian?).

When people talk about rolls vs point buy, it's largely about creating table parity and removing the sense of unfairness that comes from significant variation in luck. Some players might enjoy that difference - they might be drawn to the type of story you could tell with that. Many players likely won't enjoy the feeling of outright inferiority.

I would use the incorporeal definition from the Universal Monster Rules, which says nothing about incorporeal creatures being invisible.

UMR wrote:

Incorporeal (Ex) An incorporeal creature has no physical body. It can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, magic weapons or creatures that strike as magic weapons, and spells, spell-like abilities, or supernatural abilities. It is immune to all nonmagical attack forms. Even when hit by spells or magic weapons, it takes only half damage from a corporeal source (except for channel energy). Although it is not a magical attack, holy water can affect incorporeal undead. Corporeal spells and effects that do not cause damage only have a 50% chance of affecting an incorporeal creature. Force spells and effects, such as from a magic missile, affect an incorporeal creature normally.

An incorporeal creature has no natural armor bonus but has a deflection bonus equal to its Charisma bonus (always at least +1, even if the creature's Charisma score does not normally provide a bonus).

An incorporeal creature can enter or pass through solid objects, but must remain adjacent to the object's exterior, and so cannot pass entirely through an object whose space is larger than its own. It can sense the presence of creatures or objects within a square adjacent to its current location, but enemies have total concealment (50% miss chance) from an incorporeal creature that is inside an object. In order to see beyond the object it is in and attack normally, the incorporeal creature must emerge. An incorporeal creature inside an object has total cover, but when it attacks a creature outside the object it only has cover, so a creature outside with a readied action could strike at it as it attacks. An incorporeal creature cannot pass through a force effect.

An incorporeal creature's attacks pass through (ignore) natural armor, armor, and shields, although deflection bonuses and force effects (such as mage armor) work normally against it. Incorporeal creatures pass through and operate in water as easily as they do in air. Incorporeal creatures cannot fall or take falling damage. Incorporeal creatures cannot make trip or grapple attacks, nor can they be tripped or grappled. In fact, they cannot take any physical action that would move or manipulate an opponent or its equipment, nor are they subject to such actions. Incorporeal creatures have no weight and do not set off traps that are triggered by weight.

An incorporeal creature moves silently and cannot be heard with Perception checks if it doesn't wish to be. It has no Strength score, so its Dexterity modifier applies to its melee attacks, ranged attacks, and CMB. Nonvisual senses, such as scent and blindsight, are either ineffective or only partly effective with regard to incorporeal creatures. Incorporeal creatures have an innate sense of direction and can move at full speed even when they cannot see.

Format: incorporeal; Location: Defensive Abilities.

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Derklord wrote:
Serisan wrote:
In a 10 point buy, PCs are still struggling with encounters that are CR = APL-1.
Wrong. Some PCs are struggling with CR-1 encounters. Imagine for instance a party consisting of a Druid with pet, a Summoner, a Wizard, and a Herald Caller Cleric. Those a party can easily steamroll CR+3 encounter even with a 10-point-buy. You think a cMonk, cRogue, Samurai + Swashbuckler party on 25-point-buy will have an easier time in combat?

So, I see you're illustrating the point that only T1 SAD classes that do everything they can to ignore their own stats may apply to play 10 point buy. Excellent.


J Michael Neal wrote:
Is Formach supposed to be wielding a warhammer or a greatclub? The stat block says a warhammer but he isn't proficient with that. (His god's favored weapon is a light hammer.) So how can he have Weapon Focus (warhammer)?

*waves from across a room and 2.5 years*

He has Martial Weapon Proficiency as a feat, though it's incorrectly tagged as greatclub. I think the intention here was to have a variation on the standard Hill Giant, which has both MWP greatclub and Weapon Focus greatclub, but only one of the feats was changed.

I ran this last night at the 7-11 subtier. The party roflstomped the scenario. It turns out that hedging hill giants out of melee with Blade Barrier is sufficient to mitigate their presence from the fight entirely. That was two encounters. The CR 7 standard hill giants cannot hit the broad side of a barn with their rocks and are smart enough to walk through something that looks like it hurts real bad.

Queen Lareecan had issues with none of the party getting suckered into area E, her warbirds not standing up well to the party, and then getting hit with Mental Block, making her forget how wings work and plummeting to the ground 80' below, adjacent to a melee character.

One member of the party took the bait to fight the decoy king and shouted for a 1:1 challenge. With that in mind (and the party's general success otherwise), I had Formoch use Righteous Might before getting dim doored down into position. He then took a full round on that character and nearly floored him, but he got better well before death. The alchemist and investigator who had 6 rounds of buff time then proceeded to end most of the giants, while the psychic threw out quickened Ill Omen, then Psychic Crush at Atga, who never got a turn to do anything offensive.

In short, very effective party. They were also pretty gross throughout, including using Mantis Embrace gloves to pop off several heads, cutting open a hill giant mid-combat to have the grappler dwarf climb in, like Luke into a tauntaun, so he could safely get pushed through the Blade Barrier, and one character's (yes, character, not player) casual Suggestion spell to "go **** yourself" resulted in a grisly scene involving a greatclub being stabbed into the ground and a slam attack onto it.

It was a very entertaining evening, even if the scenario did not result in multiple kills.

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0o0o0 O 0o0o0 wrote:
With 10 points it is on the one hand a boring grind in order to survive and as others point out, only a very few classes can make a go of it. If I was invited to a 10 point game I would play a Wizard, and so would my fellow gamers and the fault is on the GM.

I want to circle back to this point, as I think it's one of the most instructive about the OP's original question. I think it's is a very elegant way to discuss the problem overall.

In a 10 point buy, PCs are still struggling with encounters that are CR = APL-1. Enemy NPCs are built with 15 points, meaning EVERY foe has an advantage. This leads to situations where, until mid-high levels, PCs are caught in a cycle of repetitive content. If you cannot progress normally along the CR chart without significant cost (daily resources or wealth), you get stuck in what is referred to in video games as ELO hell - you are held back from where you should be by circumstances that are generally beyond your control. You end up in a near death-spiral of progress as the wealth you need to progress up the CR chain is instead used to hover around current challenges.

The reason that 20 point buy is the baseline for PFS and relatively popular for home games is that you can punch slightly above your APL weight. This allows for the "unlocking" of more interesting and varied encounter types. Once you get to 2nd or 3rd level, 3 skeletons should not be a significant challenge, but at 10 point buy, they still could be.

Squiggit wrote:
going from 20 to 25 PB is at best going to give you a couple +1s to a couple secondary stats. How the hell does that translate into a 15% higher success rate?

As I touched on in my post, the big question is we're looking at the composite of all possible actions or focusing on specializations. If I'm playing a character with negative CHA and no diplomacy ranks, I could elect not to attempt a check and refer to it as a "soft" failure - I didn't try, so I couldn't succeed. The difference between 20 and 25, then, is the possibility of having either more INT for skill ranks or more CHA to offset prior penalties, I could start to see minor improvements, pushing up the average results of my diplomacy checks, or other checks that I might have invested more into.

Sliska Zafir wrote:

I once read that the 55% success rule was something to follow in order to have happy players. The players win, at least 55% of the time.

Now in my experience, playing D&D since 1977, D&D 3.0 since 2000, a four star PFS GM, 100s of tables of Living Campaigns (Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms) and Pathfinder since it came out, I'd have to say that a 20+ point build will move the needle to 60% and upwards player success. For 25 point, I'd say 75% success.

As a player, if I specialize in something, I expect closer to 75%-85% success, even within a 20 pt buy. There are certainly things that I think shouldn't work like this (lololol grapple builds, where a tiny fox kitsune can successfully grapple huge creatures and completely shut them down because grapple does not have a size restriction), but if I'm investing significant wealth and character resources (feats, pt buy, etc.) into a single task, then 75% success is my minimum acceptable rate. If I feel as though I'm closer to a coin flip, I find the play experience to be erratic and unfulfilling. That said, if I'm not specialized in something, or have actively avoided something, I'm far more forgiving about failure. If we're talking about averaging out success rates, where high success activities are countered by low success activities, then I can believe that 55% figure. This is a similar attitude that I see from most players in my region within PFS.

I've been playing and GMing for ~15 years across a number of systems, myself, including designing and co-authoring a system.

Fabius Maximus wrote:
@Serisan, another option may be the Automatic Bonus Progression system from PF Unchained without cutting WBL.

I disagree. Because you're using the wealth to compensate for stat challenges, you actually lose out with ABP due to the specific pacing. Not receiving your +4 mental until 11 and +4 phys until 12 is HUGE - if you look at the PFS environment, +4s are typically targeted around 7-8 for aggressive purchasing builds, with +6s on SAD characters targeted closer to 10 or 11. That's in a 20 pt buy environment with explicit limitations on purchasing. MAD characters may delay this slightly, but those are dramatically delayed. Weapon +2 comes online at 9, meaning critical enchantments like Holy aren't available until then and preclude all other options.

There are a lot of things to be concerned about with ABP, and I say this as someone who is currently running an AP using ABP no-magic, which advances the chart faster. It's not the right solution to this problem, though.

Torbyne wrote:

Theres that, a 10 point buy definitely lets the PCs feel like they have vulnerabilities and gaps in their capabilities. Oddly enough it pushes the PCs into stereotypes, fighter have to be dumb to be big, wizards have to be slow and frail to be geniuses etc. Oddly enough, you can still make a powerful SAD class on 10 points,

STR 8 DEX 12 CON 12 INT 16 (before racial) WIS 10 CHA 8

That there is still a highly effective wizard.

I agree with this analysis. 10 point buy effectively kills certain classes for this reason. It's my opinion that this becomes a poor play experience as a result - i.e. "Monk would be a better fit for this character concept, but it's so terrible that I have to settle for Brawler."

The other thing this does, for weal or woe, is put a LOT more focus on gear and wealth. Higher initial stats provide a cushion of effectiveness without the Big 6 items. Low initial point buy means characters are significantly less effective until they have a baseline of gear that makes up for the point buy deficit. Later in the game (levels 10+), stats become slightly less relevant as scaling measures come online. You'll still feel the difference, but between typical wealth and typical available daily resources (buff spells, class features), you sort of level out.

If I were to run a game with a 10 point buy, I would increase expected WBL by at least 25%.

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I once met a veteran while waiting for a bus from a parking lot to a local festival. He was maybe 5 years older than me, but had been trained to recognize a number of things about situations he walked through. In the time it took to walk from our cars to the bus stop (about 400'), he pointed out every piece of security equipment that was visible - cameras on specific street lamps, in the buildings, etc.

He was trained in perception - he had invested hours into becoming better at noticing very specific things. In game terms, he probably also had Skill Focus: Perception. I am not similarly trained, but I could see the things he pointed out to me. That is why perception is a skill.

I can understand the argument about how skill ranks are earned. I think that is one of the key flaws of many classes. That said, Intelligence is, among other things, a measure of your capacity to learn. It makes sense to tie skill ranks to it.

For those wondering about viability, I'm currently running a party through with the "no magic" variant of ABP and the only loot I remove or reduce are things that are duplicated by the ABP bonuses (i.e. no cloaks, belts, weapons and armor get stripped down to non-enhancement versions). I'm running the Dance of the Damned (book 3 culmination) in a week and a half.

Party: melee occultist, support cleric, aetherkineticist, and archer inquisitor

Challenges for the players:
Some combats are still tense. I killed the occultist last session (Menador Keep's advanced erinyes) and nearly took out additional party members in the process. Varl Wex nearly killed the kineticist (they had 3 that day, no cleric). I've been pretty concerned that they're under-geared for a lot of what's going on, so I was glad that their rebellion managed to find the opera house loot before they engage in the grand melee at the dance. Even as far back as Hocum's, they were having some challenges with combats, requiring a minor rescue from their rebellion in the form of a partial CLW wand to move from floor 1 to floor 2.

Numerically, they're in kind of a weird spot now. A lot of enemies are starting to have trouble hitting them, but I think that's honestly for the better in a lot of regards. They've had a lot of answers available that other groups wouldn't necessarily have, in particular via the occultist, but I wouldn't say they've had it easy by any stretch.


andreww wrote:

I ran this again today for five players at high tier, they declined hard mode which is probably a good thing. They managed to finish but it was very touch and go.

I had:

Vital striking alchemist/barbarian, high single attack damage
Fighter/Barbarian/Monk hitting for about 40 damage a hit over 8 attacks a round, all bludgeoning
Fighter/Paladin archer
Fighter/Barbarian melee reach polearm master
Hellknight with a mix of multiple different classes

So the group had no primary caster at all, they had 9 levels of alchemist and 9 bloodrager and that was pretty much it. If they couldn't kill things quickly they were going to struggle.

** spoiler omitted **...

I'm surprised that they'd go into that adventure (or any high-level adventure) with that composition. I'm curious as to how they do in part 3!

Sounds like you need a Shield Slam / Greater Bull Rush / Combat Reflexes build. Slayer and Ranger tend to do this best.

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Secret Wizard wrote:
Doomed Hero wrote:

Build any fighter.

When you're done, bring it here. I bet that the folks on the forum could easily build a few characters using other classes that do your Fighter's schtick better than the fighter does, and has a bunch of other benefits as well.

Heck, the Avenger Vigilante is essentially just "Fighter, with a bunch of Bard stuff too."

DISCLAIMER: I don't get tired of posting this g@%~*@ned link. Still waiting for a reply.

And the whole "YOU ARE SACRIFICING CLASS FEATURES JUST TO EVEN OUT WITH OTHER DUDES" argument doesn't work. They are sacrificing class power budget too. If you can sacrifice a feat to obtain a scaling bonus, like the Fighter can, then you are doubling down on an investment.

I'll give you that the Siegebreaker is an interesting build that I can't readily replace with another class.

I think the Hoplite (Vigilante, Slayer, UC Rogue, Cavalier), Hunter (Slayer, Juggler Bard, Ranger), and Marksman (Ranger, Slayer, Zen Archer) are fairly replaceable and I'm up in the air about the Marauder (Arcane bloodline Bloodrager, perhaps?). While not necessarily the same numeric values, I think the role you're trying to fill with the Hoplite, Hunter, and Marksman builds are all reasonably easy to fill with other classes.

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master_marshmallow wrote:

Archer rangers get to skip like... One feat.

They can use Weapon Focus instead of Weapon Specialization for point blank master. All the other ones you could skip you don't want to.

Your post is blatantly incorrect.

Archer rangers get the most important feat (Improved Precise Shot) 5 levels earlier than fighters. That's kind of a big deal. The single biggest fighter advantage as an archer is at level 1, when you can get 2 archery feats (3 if human), while the ranger is waiting until level 2. Later on, rangers also get the ability to say "my favored enemy bonus is against you" even when it shouldn't be, meaning they're getting HUGE damage increases compared to the fighter who invested additional feats into hit and damage.


Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
You should come out of retirement. The newer stuff is pretty easy combat wise. The difficulty is in the roleplay and skill challenges.

I'm just not meant to play evil.


This is a fixable problem.


I totally have a very insane cleric of Lamashtu in Core that joined the Silver Crusade ("WON'T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!?!?") with Profession: Childcare. He's SC, in part, due the ability to take the trait that increases his aura strength. If I ever play him again, he'll start stunning lowbie paladins soon when they detect his OVERWHELMING EVIL AURA. :-D

The key is that the character should not be disruptive due to their deity. I've also got a Norgorberite arcane trickster named Rumor. Folks have generally enjoyed working with Rumor, though he makes sure to redact his name from their reports.


Storval Stairs, man.

Besides the question of level, I would also ask what type of optimization you're seeing. Caster optimization vs kensai bladebound magus optimization vs ridiculous AC fighter/paladin/whatever are all very different things.


Fromper wrote:
Emotion Component: If a spell has listed that it requires a somatic component, for a psychic spellcaster that instead means that is has an emotion component. All this component really does is restrict when a psychic spellcaster can cast spells. If the psychic spellcaster is under any kind of non-harmless effect with the emotion or fear descriptors, then the psychic spellcaster cannot cast a spell with an emotion component at all as the effect interferes with spellcasting. Yes, this includes having the shaken condition from an intimidate check to demoralize.
And this is why all psychics, spiritualists, occultists, and mediums that focus on casting should walk around with potions of Remove Fear (50 gp). Mesmerists have a class ability to deal with this, I think starting at level 3.

At higher levels (8+), Intellect Fortress 1 is very handy. I also use talismans on my psychic, including Warrior's Courage to reduce any fear I fail the save on to Shaken, allowing me to Int Fort for the team.

Chess Pwn wrote:
Snowlilly wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
I just dislike how many of these "fixed" or "cool" fighters are using all this stuff that isn't PFS legal. I see a build about huge AC and see that they are using many PFS illegal options to get good AC while keeping damage good.
PFS does not generally run to a level where most of those options are used or needed.
Lv11 is high enough to run into many of the options you're taking.

I'm running a level 16 PFS table this weekend with the intent of getting our characters up to 20. These things can be used in PFS.

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Snowlilly wrote:
Serisan wrote:
Isonaroc wrote:
Snowlilly wrote:
AC scales another 11 points in 5 levels (Ring bumps AC to 58 vs. single opponent at will). A red great wyrm needs a natural 20 to hit, with room to spare.
Assuming the dragon has no gear or spell boosts to hit. Still, that's pretty boss.

Given that we don't have an official bestiary entry for Great Wyrm Red Dragons (we have charts and Ancient, which is 2 categories lower), it's hard to say for certain, but I will definitely say that casting spells as a 19th level Sorc (HD-10 = CL across the board, and Great Wyrms have 29HD) and possessing Quicken Spell (since the Ancient does, I suppose the Great Wyrm will, too) means that you are unlikely to fight an unbuffed, ungeared Great Wyrm. Still, based on what I'm seeing, a full attack routine would be +41/+41/+41/+39/+39/+39 unbuffed (4 more BAB and 4 more strength from aging up). The dragon thus needs 15s on primary attacks and 17s on secondaries to hit. Not good, but much better than Nat 20 Only.

Barring better uses of spell slots (and there are many, including Limited Wish at a minimum), that Great Wyrm could reasonably cast Quickened True Strike every round.

  • 1. We do have a site that has applied the appropriate calculations: SRD. That is a +37 to-hit on primary attacks.
  • 2. Assuming a full attack, with a quickened True Strike, the great wyrm will have 1 reliable hit; assuming the fighter does not fight defensively. If fighting defensively, the great wyrm needs a 10+ to hit with True Strike. (4d8+24/19-20/x2)
  • 3. The fighter, without buffs, using combat expertise, hits on a 2+ with her first attack (1d10+50/15-20/x3) and auto confirms crits. Her first iterative hits on an 11+
  • 4. The fighter is unlikely to fight defensively unless unable to full attack. She deals far more damage than the great wyrm on a full attack.

That is not an official bestiary entry, but point taken. I missed the table entry that increases the size to colossal, providing a -4 penalty on attack that I hadn't accounted for. That said, the dragon can remove a minimum of 21 AC from you and provide relative immunity to your party with Antimagic Field. Granted, that's the "cheap" way of addressing your character, but we're talking about a critter with Time Stop in its stat block.

Edit: lol Grapple. It might not be able to hit you consistently, but it only fails a grapple on a nat 1 and you can't attack with a nodachi while grappled in your listed build.

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Bloodrealm wrote:
I'm not sure how you'd run a Paizo AP with an Evil party, though.
Run Hell's Vengeance.

You could re-tune Hell's Rebels by simply deciding that the bad guy of the story is worthless and that you want what he's got (namely, a small duchy), combined with a favorable bluff mod for the NPC interactions.

Can't help you on the concept part, but rest assured that levels 1-2 are the most fragile you'll ever be as a character. I nearly killed my players for Hell's Rebels with the Grimples...and again with the Toothfairies...

They've gotten significantly more capable since then.

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