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Wayne Reynolds wrote:
Depending upon the interest level and reaction to the concept description, I may write about the other Iconics - Time permitting.
I'd be very interested in hearing what sort of art order specifics you get for a character like Harsk, and then what inspires the creative contributions you add.
Leaving aside mechanics entirely;
The Scarred Lands, Kara-Tur, Al-Qadim, Hamunaptra, Freeport and Nyambe settings. Just incredible flavor in those regions. Al-Qadim and the Scarred Lands, in particular, were *amazing.*
Greyhawk, Ghostwalk and Spelljammer (don't laugh at me!), to a lesser extent. That said, almost every setting has it's awesome bits, and I'm certainly not meaning to 'diss' Eberron or the Realms or Mystara.
More Ninja Tricks, two of which (Cold Iron Attack and Mage Killer) would be of particular interest to Witch Hunters;
Cold Iron Attack* (Su): When you sneak attack a foe with a cold iron weapon, you leave behind cold iron residue in the wound, forcing the target to make a Concentration check (DC 10 + the number of dice of sneak attack you possess + spell level) to cast any arcane spells.
Ninja Master Tricks
Ki Devouring Strike* (Su): When a target within 30 ft. is subject to your Ki Block, you can spend a standard action to steal a single point of Ki from them, reducing their daily uses of Ki by one and increasing your own by one, to a maximum of your daily limit (although you can continue to drain Ki from them, even if your Ki pool is already full). You must have Ki Block before selecting this trick.
Mage Killer* (Su): When you strike an arcane spellcaster with Cold Iron Strike, they lose a number of prepared spells or arcane spell slots equal to your sneak attack dice, starting with the highest level spell allowable, but otherwise chosen randomly. You must have both Cold Iron Strike and Dispelling Attack before selecting this trick.
Elric doesn't spam spells psionic style, in fact he rarely casts at all, but when he does it's a long drawn out ritual full of extremely precise intonation and incantation, and only done once. you don't get much more Vancian than that.
Sounds nothing like Vancian. Sounds more like Incantations, IMO.
I believe one of the later Amber series had some Vancian type magic, where the character would prepare must of a spell and then sort of 'tie it off' and 'leave it hanging' to complete with a single word or gesture later. *That* was super-Vancian, IMO.
The only reason Elric's spells were only cast once (and he rarely cast more than one or two spells in an entire book's worth of adventure anyway) was that every time he summoned something, they told him, 'Lose my number, I only answered this because one of your ancestors bound me to do so and you're wearing his ring, but you aren't worth my time.'
Undeath and gluttony? Hm. Who got dragged into the underworld, and they couldn't drag her back out because she couldn't help but stuff her face while she was down there?
(Seriously, 'though, I'm not sure there's a great port for Urgathoa in *any* pantheon. Goddess of death and gluttony / hedonism? That's a pretty original pairing.)
Enkili, as a dual-gendered sky/storm god, also maps over pretty well to Gozreh.
Otherwise, yeah, I agree with most of this. Some are almost eerily similar (Madriel the Redeemer, NG goddess of healing, mercy and the sun pretty much *is* Sarenrae, for instance), others have an aspect here or there.
Corean is sort of Torag + Iomedae, for instance.
It seems that most Golarion gods can be gods of a thing, without actually being that thing, or having total dominion of that thing.
Abadar's the god of law. Lots of other gods are lawful, and seem to think of themselves as 'gods of law' to an extent, including Asmodeus and Iomedae (who is *also* a 'sun goddess!').
Nethys is the god of magic, and yet, he's not the first, or the only. An Azlanti magic goddess preceded him, and he's currently sharing the title with Qi Zhong in Tian Xa as well. (As well as assorted other gods with heavy Magic associations and the Domain thereof, like Asmodeus and Urgathoa.)
Gozreh shares dominion over storms and sea and sky with Hei Feng, and, to a lesser extent, Rovagug.
Cayden, god of freedom, shares some of that with Desna, who actually has the Liberation domain, which he does not!
Aroden and Irori were both gods of history, at the same time. (Until Aroden shot himself in the head with a loaded crossbow. While tied to a chair. Three times. "Worst case of suicide I ever saw...")
I prefer less gods to more, and for their not to be sun gods and death gods and magic gods for every single culture, race, continent, etc. (lest we end up with stuff like that 2nd edition book with a god of liches and a god of dolphins and whatnot), but that's the way it's been since Greyhawk and the Realms, and settings that tried to move away from that (Dragonlance, Kingdoms of Kalamar, Scarred Lands) didn't really take off.
The All Seeing Eye wrote:
I also wonder where my out and out Fantasy Western corner of Golarion is...or have I missed that?
Taldor has shades of Greece, Rome and Spain, depending on where you look. It gets more overt when dealing with the phalanx fighting armies of the former empire and rondolero duelists, obviously.
The Lands of the Linnorm Kings pretty much have 'fantasy Scandinavia' stamped on their backside.
Galt is post-Terror France.
Ustalav is gothed-up fantasy Eastern Europe by way of Ravenloft.
There's not a perfect analogue for every Western European nation (since they've plopped a devil-worshipper nation into the 'Nazi Germany' role, and a smallish American Revolution into the middle of their 'Europe analogue' and a large mostly undeveloped area (Varisia) as well), but a fair amount of upper Avistan plays along with European themes. Irrisen and Brevoy also follow some Polish / Eastern European / Russian themes pretty closely.
Few of them are as overt a 'port' as Fantasy Asia or Fantasy Persia or Fantasy Egypt might feel to those of us who are less likely to be Asian, Persian or Egyptian and realize how those 'ports' are more fantastic interpretations of our already distorted western perceptions of those cultures, owing as much to Harryhausen movies and whatnot than to the actual cultures, but that's possibly a good thing.
There doesn't happen to be a perfect analogue for *England,* but 'England' isn't 'the West.'
And so begins Paizo's expansion into the gaming food and drink market, starting with Liz's addictive cookies.
"Go ahead, the first one's free..."
Oh yes. You will drink Goblin Pickle-Juice flavored soda, and you will like it.
Oooo...I DO HOPE one of the 8 Archetypes is an Avenger-type Archetype (aka an assassin who works for a religious order).
Ooh, shades of Al-Qadim's Holy Slayers!
The Storm Which Destroys! The Wrath of the Old!
Holy Slayers of Pharasma, dedicated to not just putting down undead (that's for the clerics to do), but to killing the actual necromancers that raise them up, and, less boasted about, divine casters who defy the cycle of life and death by raising or resurrecting or reincarnating people excessively, or Thuvian alchemists who are part of the blasphemous elixir manufacturing process...
Holy Slayers of Nethys, who hunt down those who would persecute or outlaw the use of magic. They must be good at their jobs, as there aren't are multiple places that outlaw divine magic (Rahadoum, Touvette) or marginalize it (Razmiran, Hermea), but *nobody* outlaws arcane magic...
Any of the non-good gods could be fun to design Holy Slayer organizations for. Calistria? Oh yes, too easy. Gorum? Cowards and foes of using combat as a resolution. Cursed are the peacemakers, for they allow the smooth-tongued and weak to steal honor from the strong and brave, who would have righteously beaten them in a fair fight. Abadar? Vault-robbers and brigand warlords beware! Irori? Foes of self-improvement, such as slavers who those who keep their people uneducated? Gozreh? Enemies of the natural world, such as the leaders of the Lumber Consortium in Andoran.
Norgorber could have four different orders of Holy Slayers, based on his four aspects!
Also, I'd love a power ranger esque flute dagger but only if it wasn't playable after a crit due to being stuffed with Gore ;)
Basically a bull-roarer with a knife on the end. Woom, woom, woom *stab!*
Seeing and seconding calls for;
A base shapeshifter class.
And my own notions;
A Skill specialist class that does what the Rogue does with trapfinding, having niche specialized applications of skills like Perception and Disable Device that few others can match, only with a larger assortment of skills, like a mundane Heal skill user, who can do all sorts of stuff with the Heal skill that Bob the Cleric can't (like treat conditions, or CPR someone who's only 'mostly dead' back to life if he gets there fast enough, etc.). It's kind of what I wanted to see from an 'Alchemist' class, someone who makes lives or dies based off of use of the Craft (alchemy) skill, and has a daily pool of 'free alchemy' he can use so that he doesn't spend all of his WBL just to use his class feature of throwing (ever increasingly effective) alchemist's fire and tanglefoot bags at people.
If only there was some sort of point-based generic, universal system that I could use in any genre.
There are many, and many of them have zero built-in balance. In GURPS Supers, for instance, you can find guys written up by the actual game developers that have 15 *die* attack, and DR 8 or so. Woo, freedom! 500 CP supers like Black Pearl that a 100 CP Fantasy wizard or fighter will absolutely smoke like a fine Cuban. It's crazy easy to build terrible characters with some of those systems, both terribly competent, and terribly *not,* which leads to some bad play experiences, and ends up driving people away.
Mutants & Masterminds, with the mixed concept of point-buy character design and offensive and defensive PLs was a step in the right direction for that sort of thing, IMO.
A long time ago, I saw a game in which people started out as Warriors, Adepts or Experts, and then 'graduated' to PC classes, paying the difference between the faster XP they were getting as NPC classes to upgrade each level to a PC class level.
Warrior to Fighter was obviously the easiest back then, since the only difference was spend some XP and get some feats.
The Rot Grub wrote:
Updated second edition Players Handbook and DM's Guide came out in 1995, twenty years ago, so perhaps some of the concepts in those books are being considered, like wizards school specializations (instead of just 'magic users and illusionists').
I really don't remember what changed between the first 2nd edition books in 1989 and the new release in 1995, so that might be a bad example...
Most of the sacred cows I was thinking of where stuff like skills and character classes and dice, which have been around longer than twenty years.
"Dice? Where we're going, we won't need dice..."
Green slime or similar hazards are cheaply available and very effective at turning corpses into yet more green slime.
It won't stop a True Resurrection, but there's no need to fork out for a Cacodaemon Improved Familiar / Lesser Planar Ally / Lesser Planar Binding (or any of the even more expensive options like sphere of annihilation or trap the soul) if the dude isn't likely to have a 17th level cleric on retainer.
I miss not feeling guilty whenever I refer to spells by preceding the name of the spell with the wizard who created it. Some of the spells just sound awkward without it as well -- could the name Transformation for a spell be any more generic and undescriptive?
The Kingdoms of Kalamar game had alternate names for those spells, based on famous arcanists from their own setting, which was a kind of cool and thematic way of handling that.
So the 'Otto' spells were named after Azsul, a dwarven wizard from the earliest days.
I miss the displacer beast and mind flayer, of the 'closed' beasties, but some of the others, I don't miss at all. :)
James Kight 810 wrote:
I am not James, but the Animal Archive lists animals associated with various gods on the back cover, and for Desna, it's; Butterflies, moths, caterpillars, owls, sparrows, dragonflies and messenger birds.
Of those, owls fit under the 'Bird' category of a druids animal companion choices. (And work thematically, being flying nocturnal beasties, even if Desna is more of a bug-lady than a bird-lady.) You could flavor it up a bit more, if your GM approves, of having a specific species of Varisian owl that has markings on it's wings reminiscent of the luna moth or a blue-black butterfly (which shouldn't hinder it's ability to function stealthily at night, since it's prey rarely see it coming, and would generally only see it's drab underside anyway...).
A giant butterfly or luna moth might be thematic and cool looking as heck, but you'd have to stretch it off-theme a bit to make it a viable companion, since butterflies aren't renowned for their combat abilities. (You could use giant wasp stats, from Ultimate Magic 37 as a base, and maybe even flavor it as a giant venomous biting butterfly to match the giant wasp stats to your 'giant butterfly companion,' since a dog or wolf sized butterfly is already playing it fast and loose.)
Something destructive and violent seems appropriate for the more evil members of his faith, like flinging his corpse at an enemy, or animating it to go on a bloody rampage.
Making a weapon out of his bones (even just making arrow-tips with bones taken from his ribs or shoulderblades and shooting people with them, so that he gets to get some licks in from beyond the grave) could be a slightly less over-the-top way to go for the CN sorts. Even as one-shot weapons, they might be considered to be individual acts of remembrance and to allow multiple people to each fire off an arrow at some point and give him another chance to engage in battle, at least vicariously. (Bones important to one's ability to fight, like fingerbones, would be left intact, most likely. Leaving the body in a condition where it couldn't, in theory, fight, might be seen as disrespectful.)
Burial in armor and with a weapon (preferably a greatsword, gripped in gauntleted hands?) seems appropriate, but, given the real world tendency for priests to eat the animals 'sacrificed' to their gods afterwards, or people to send their ancestors worthless 'spirit money' instead of burning actual cash, there might be a level of practicality built in where the Gorumite is dressed up in ceremonial armor (for cheap seats) or mundane armor (for higher ranks) and only very rarely is someone buried in masterwork or magical armor of value.
AI, doesn't that stand for Arcane Intelligence in Pathfinder?
Seriously though, there's a ton of transhuman potential already in the game.
Intelligent weapons and constructs.
Sentient machines just adds another course to a big buffet of options to tell post-human 'who counts as people?' and 'who gets rights?' types of stories.
In Geb, for instance, the Dead Laws allow a ghoul or vampire or ghost to 'inherit' his own stuff from life, while, technically, in any other country, if someone's meat gets cold enough, all of their belongings and properties can lawfully be pillaged by their heirs (who might even hire monster-hunters or exorcists to evict them from their own homes, and / or this plane of existence), even if they are still active and doing stuff.
And yet ownership and legal rights of dead parties is completely arbitrary, as the Knights of Ozem seem to think that Geb 'stole' the corpse of Arazni, while, any other day of the year, they'd insist that dead people don't have any right of ownership over anything... As with most such laws, they are inconsistent in favor of the people crafting them. People they don't like (dead folk), don't get rights. If people they don't like do something they don't like (corpse-robbing), on the other hand, they'll totally make that illegal, even if it contradicts their previous stance of five-minutes-ago.
Intelligence alone, or even self-awareness, clearly isn't enough to grant rights of personhood (as many 'monsters,' but also intelligent magic items, constructs, familiars, awakened animals & plants, etc. would attest).
Such things would be philosophical ivory-tower stuff in most lands, but in post-Iron Gods Numeria, when there are self-aware machine people walking around, it could become a serious question, one that only Geb has attempted to resolve (and only in the very specific case of undead) before. (Perhaps also Nex, regarding ooze hive-minds, or even sentient items and constructs, but until we get a 64 page treatment on that nation, it's up in the air what sort of, if any, rights or citizenship status intelligent magical creations have.)
Because, of course I would, I was looking at the ninja class the other day and thought to myself 'take out all the culture-specific stuff, and this is a good chassis for a witch hunter...'
Witch Hunter (Ninja Archetype)
Skills A witch hunter does not gain Appraise, Diplomacy, Escape Artist, Knowledge (nobility), Linguisitics or Perform as class skills, but adds Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (dungeoneering), Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (planes), Knowledge (religion) and Spellcraft to their class skills.
Weapon and Armor Proficiencies A witch hunter does not gain proficiency with the kama, katana, kusarigama, nunchaku, sai, siangham or wakizashi, instead gaining proficiency with battle axes, bolas, hand axes, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, throwing axes and whips (including scorpion whips). The shuriken used by witch hunters resemble metal spikes, even smaller than darts, and are called hex nails. They function identically to shuriken, otherwise, and anyone proficient with shuriken is proficient with hex nails, and vice versa.
Resist Witchery (Ex): If you succeed at a Spellcraft check to identify a spell being cast that would affect you, your specialized training and distinctive tattoos afford you a +1 circumstance bonus to saving throws versus that spell. You can continue to make Spellcraft checks to identify a continuing spell each round to gain this benefit, if you do not initially succeed, so long as it is either affecting you, or has a visible effect you could identify.
Witchery (Su): A witch hunter has a reserve of innate power, sometimes called cruor, or sang, or heat, depending on culture. This power functions identically to a ninja’s ki pool, but is based off of Intelligence instead of Charisma. For any class feature or trick that uses Charisma to determine uses per day or saving throw DCs, use Intelligence instead.
Know Your Enemy (Ex): At 3rd level, when you can make a Knowledge check of the appropriate type to identify the special powers or vulnerabilities of a creature, you gain a +1 bonus to your armor class versus those creatures attacks for the duration of that encounter, and a +1 bonus to save against their special abilities. This bonus increases to +2 at 10th level and +3 at 20th level.
New Witch Hunter Tricks
Severing Strike* (Su): A target that takes damage from your sneak attack loses their empathic connection to animal companions, eidolons, familiars or special mounts for a number of rounds equal to your sneak attack dice. While this connection is suspended, the benefits of Link and Share Spells are suspended.
Spell-Rending Attack* (Su): A target that takes damage from your sneak attack has the duration of their lowest level active beneficial or harmless spell or spell-like ability shortened by one duration increment per die of sneak attack (so if your sneak attack is +3d6, and you strike someone with mage armor and shield active, mage armor would lose 3 hours of duration, or shield would lose 3 rounds of duration). If the target has more than one applicable spell active, you can choose one, if you know which spells are active, or the result is determined randomly.
A superstitious magic-distrusting Kellid witch hunter, who uses scarification and tattoos to unlock his own inner power, which he calls 'sang' or sometimes refers to as his 'heat,' and associates with the iron in his blood, or his body heat (he's sometimes unclear on the specifics...). He can use this power to render himself unseen for brief moments in time, and strike to devastating effect, while invisible, using the power in his blood to strike out against 'witchery,' particularly that of the Winter Witches of Irrisen.
His class levels are all in ninja, he just doesn't use words like 'ki' or 'katana' and doesn't dress in black pajamas. His faux-Asian weapons are 'the traditional blade of the witch-finder' and his shuriken are spikes of metal (spike shuriken, from previous editions) that are mechanically identical, that he calls his 'hex nails.'
Ideally, he'd use some sort of AT that swapped out skills and weapon proficiencies to put him more on theme as a Kellid/Ulfen/'western' witch hunter and not a ninja assassin, but he's usable out of the box.
Gnomish giant space werehamster clockwork mage, for an 'anything goes' Spelljammer game (he had a collapsible exercise bike-like contraption that he would use to 'prepare' his shocking grasp spell, by generating electricity to charge a metal gauntlet, other spells were similarly tech'd up).
K177Y C47 wrote:
So, I know many people like to say that martials should be beefed up, but I was thinking, maybe casters should be brought down a bit and specialized?
A little of both, I think.
A condition is a condition, for example.
A Fighter can impose some conditions by purchasing a critical X feat, at around 9th+ level, that goes off if he scores a critical hit (10% chance-ish, with a good weapon and reliable confirmations). It might happen to a 'trash' monster like the skeleton standing between him and the evil big bad boss guy, and then never happen to the evil 'boss' at all.
A Wizard can impose some buff conditions, like 'asleep and helpless' or 'stunned by color spray' to entire groups of people *at first level.*
*Both* of these things should be moved more towards the middle.
Lower level Fighters should be able to impose lower level conditions right out of the gate, and not just have a small and random chance of imposing them at 10th+ level. Shaken, sickened, dazzled, lamed, entangled, a small ability penalty or movement restriction or even a point of ability damage here or there. Nothing too shocking at the start. The great stuff like blinded and nauseated and stunned can wait a few levels, and require a little bit more investment.
Lower level spellcasters, using limited resource spells instead of every round martial attacks, can do things Fighters can't, like imposing conditions at range, or affecting entire groups at the same time (or removing conditions without Heal checks to stop a bleed or end lamed or actions spent to un-entangle or Str checks to break free or whatever), but should *still* be sticking to lower level conditions like shaken and sickened and lamed and dazzled and fascinated at lower levels, and getting the sexy stuff like panicked and stunned and asleep and unconscious at higher levels.
A better selection of conditions (such as a step between dazzled and blind that gives the 'super-dazzled' victim a 20% miss chance as if all foes have partial concealment, in addition to a -2 penalty to hit, or just completely replacing dazzled with that...) and some consistency between both martials and casters as to what levels the ability to apply those conditions might appear (with casters having *some* advantages, due to using limited resources), would, IMO, go a long way to making fights feel like more than a DPR check, or gating off casters or martials into 'damage-dealer' and 'debuffer/control' roles.
Instead of the occasional uber-fiddly and over-specialized 'martial controller' appear as a chain-gatling-tripper or whatever, the martial controller would be a viable thing, and not be utterly dead weight against something that can't be tripped, since he wouldn't *have* to overspecialize to operate in that mode. Martials would be *expected* to have multiple options, and not just 'I stab it with the pointy end, yes?'
Noh Masuku wrote:
So I've seen a few mentions and hints at the whole versatile "pool" concept, ki pools etc. and I wonder if this means something like the old arduin grimoire (and various psionic systems) mana points will come into the mix especially for sorcerers. Certainly would lend itself to some versatility but there would have to be some serious limits put into place to keep the high level blasting down.
A hard level-capped limit on how many 'resource points' (be they ki, channel uses, mana points, spell slots, power points, etc.) you can throw in a single round is one way to go, to both prevent gross sorts of alpha strikes (I use eight hours worth of resources in round 1!) and 'fifteen minute work-day' situations.
'Throttling' it too hard might end up making the resource management aspect futile, on the other hand, and eliminate 'oh yeah!' moments where people cut loose and 'shoot their wad.' (And there are already games that scratch that 'slow and steady wins the race, what I do this round will be the same as what I did last round, and my first combat of the day will be very similar to my seventh combat of the day' itch.)
To prevent round by round 'mini-nova-ing' riding those hard limits ragged, there could even be a 'build up power' or 'cooldown' sort of mechanic, where attempting to use every 'spell point' you can in consecutive rounds causes damage or requires Spellcraft or concentration checks to avoid a spectacular flameout (or just lost / wasted resources).
Now I kind of want the story of one of her sisters.
"Yeah, we had this sister, she was a total freak! Always punching and biting and spitting and cussing. Would not sit still for history or languages or letters, or dress fittings or falconry or dressage, for that matter (she actually punched a horse once, true story!). Anywho, she ran away to join some underground fight club and left our family to extricate itself from that scandal. I lost my shot at the Kitharodian because of her damage. So I'm in year four of training to be a Pathfinder archaeologist, an acceptably daring sort of role for a young Taldan lady such as myself, or, at the very least, the best opportunity left at that point, and, there she is, working for my expeditionary force as a rented thug and face-puncher like a hired mule. Thank Shelyn I had some work done for my sweet sixteen, and she didn't recognize me, plus, thanks to not totally ignoring my lessons to go punch boys, I speak four languages, so I just said everything in this ridiculous Ulfen accent..."
I brainstormed a bunch of stuff for potential books on spells and effects of lawful and chaotic magic (and divine and 'anti-divine' magic) for SGG, but it kind of fell through.
Those alignments have been mostly ignored throughout the history of the game (witness the Paladin, paragon of Law and Good, who has exactly *nothing* to do with powers related to law or opposing chaos, being all about evil vs. good), which is kind of funky for a game system originally having only the two alignments, Law and Chaos.
Ideally, a consecrate or hallow (or holy word/smite/aura) type spell should stand alone, and have effects keyed on whether or not one is compatible with the faith and alignment of the caster, instead of their being a 'good consecrate' and an 'evil consecrate' and a 'chaotic consecrate' and a 'lawful consecrate.' A LG cleric of Iomedae should be able to make an area sacred to her goddess both a good and lawful consecrated area, while a CE cleric of Lamashtu should cast the exact same spell to consecrate and make holy an area of ground with her patrons power, benefitting chaotic and evil types and penalizing good and lawful types.
A 'desecrate' or 'unholy ground' type spell, on the other hand, should cut off an area of ground from holy forces (good or evil) and penalize divine spellcasting in the area. (Perhaps creating some sort of 'divine static' that forces divine spellcasters to make a concentration check to cast spells and making divine agent outsiders like celestials and fiends in the area feel distinctly unwelcome?)
But that's not what 'consecrate' or 'desecrate' do anyway. They just buff or hinder undead (because positive energy and negative energy are non-aligned forces like fire or cold, that are inexplicably limited to good and evil), and even if the undead is a holy ghost of a paladin showing up to offer guidance to her descendants, or tell them how to fight evil like she did back in old country, she's going to be 'blessed' by evil desecrate, and cursed by good consecrate, because the gods are just amazingly stupid at times.
Stuff like 'sacred' and 'profane' and 'holy' and 'unholy' and 'blasphemy' come to mind, as well. If you pee on an altar of Asmodeus, in a game world where he's an actual *god,* it doesn't matter that he's evil. By the definition, you are profaning a holy place.
And then there's the hilarity that this bad use of language has led to actual rules nonsense, like a sacred bonus from a cleric of Iomedae being unable to stack with a sacred bonus from a cleric of Torag (because they are both sacred), *but* both being able to stack juts fine with a profane bonus from a cleric of Urgathoa (because no matter how much a god she is, her 'sacred' bonuses have a different word, for no reason at all, and can stack with good guy 'sacred bonuses')...
There should have been only one descriptor for holy magic, regardless of the alignment of the gods involved, and another descriptor for 'anti-divine' magic, that is actually 'profane,' in that it is opposed to all that is sacred or holy or important to the gods, defying and countering all godly forces and magic (whether it be from Sarenrae or Rovagug).
Yet more fertile ground for a third-party to tread, with spells, class features, etc. based around either non-aligned 'divine power' (like the stuff that shows up in a flame strike) that doesn't trouble itself with holy/unholy, sacred/profane mislabels *or* anti-theistic gods-defying features and magics all about countering the machinations of outsiders meddling with the mortal races.
Jim Groves wrote:
From an objective distance, gnollish areas of concern and Pharasman doctrine have a fair number of Venn diagram overlaps.
Huh, thought I posted this ages ago...
Resistances cold, electricity, sonic; DR evil or silver; Racial Save Bonuses +4 vs. electricity and petrification
Resistances cold, electricity, fire; Racial Save Bonuses +4 vs. cold and poison
Resistances acid, cold, electricity, fire; DR cold iron or evil; Racial Save Bonuses +4 vs. acid, cold, petrification and poison
Resistances electricity; DR evil; Racial Save Bonuses +4 vs. electricity, petrification and poison
Resistances cold, electricity, fire; DR cold iron or evil; Racial Save Bonuses +4 vs. electricity and petrification
Resistances acid, cold, electricity, fire; DR good or silver; Racial Save Bonuses +4 vs. acid, death effects, disease and poison
Resistances acid, cold, electricity, fire; DR cold iron or good; Racial Save Bonuses +4 vs. electricity and poison
Resistances acid, cold, fire; DR good or silver; Racial Save Bonuses +4 vs. fire and poison
Resistances acid, electricity, fire; DR cold iron or good; Racial Save Bonuses +4 vs. fire and poison
DR chaos; Racial Save Bonuses +4 vs. death effects, disease, mind-affecting effects, necromancy effects, paralysis, poison, sleep, stun and any effect that requires a Fortitude save (unless the effect also works on objects or is harmless). They also have a +4 bonus to any saving throw or check to avoid the effects of nonlethal damage, ability damage, ability drain, fatigue, exhaustion, energy drain or death from massive damage.
Resistances acid, electricity, sonic; DR good or silver; Racial Save Bonuses +4 vs. acid, effects that would restrain its movement, effects that would cause physical blindness or deafness or polymorph effects.
Resistances acid, cold, electricity, fire; DR cold iron or good; Racial Save Bonuses +4 vs. cold, mind-affecting effects and poison
There's probably no real need for a Qlippothic or Div or Agathion creature simple template (and, if there is, at least as much 'need' for a Kyton or Psychopomp or Oni or Rakshasa creature simple template, but, eh, that's what I've got done). :)
Definitely not me.
The idea sounds interesting, although I've always been a fan of weapons that 'grow' with a character, so that, for instance, Amiri the Barbarian could 'unlock' hidden potential within her giant sword, even such oddities as it being revealed to have been made of a special material, but so covered with verdigris and grime that it wasn't obvious until after she got the money to have it alchemically cleaned off (mysteriously the same cost to upgrade to a weapon made of that special material... How odd!). Coin spent on buying a new magic weapon would instead be spent on unlocking ancient power within a current weapon, for instance, and so Amiri could 'discover' that her giant sword was actually the magical sword handed down by frost giant jarls over many centuries, and only needed some TLC (and exactly the amount of gold it would have cost to buy one with those abilities) to unlock the 'hidden potential' of her legacy blade.
It's interesting that the game has had for some time magic items that give different abilities for people with alignment X or class ability Y or who are worshippers of deity Z. Magic items that had some sort of special bonus when used by Fighters could be interesting.
Magic items that interact with spellcasting, or a character's ki pool, or even sneak attack dice, cavalier banner bonuses, etc. already exist, and yet, the Fighter not really having any sort of resource pool or special mechanic (other than a bonus to fear saves and some armor mastery), there haven't been as many items that interact specifically with Fighter class abilities.
Again, an issue that perhaps stems from Fighters not having as many unique class features, other than 'heaploads o' feats.'
Quite a few Pathfinder-era changes could also use some magic item / integration love, such as Domain power related items, Bloodline power related items, Arcane school related items, etc. but that's OT.
Back in Pathfinder Beta my notions were some combination of the following;
1) A flat damage bonus to weapon / unarmed damage. +1 at 1st level and +1 per two Fighter levels thereafter.
2) Some sort of defense bonus to Armor class.
3) The ability to swap damage bonuses, attack bonuses (from BAB) and defense bonuses around, like a 'free' point-for-point version of Power Attack (-atk, +dam), or Reckless Attack (-def, +atk), or Accurate Attack (+atk, -dam).
4) The ability to impose weak conditions at lower levels (with a Fort save to resist!), around the power level of sickened, or the 'lamed' condition applied by caltrops, or a beefier version of the dazzled condition, or staggered for 1 round, all while still imposing damage (perhaps half damage for these 'hindering blows?). At higher level, the Fighter could impose these lesser conditions while inflicting full damage, or attempt to impose stronger conditions (nauseated, blinded, stunned) with reduced damage. Options that ended up being gated off by Critical feats to only apply to 10th level Fighters on 5% of hits when tap-dancing during a June hailstorm and wearing a seaweed sarong would instead be possible for a low level fighter on any hit.
5) Built in 'Vital Strike.' No more reliance on full attacks to get all your increasingly plinky iteratives off. Just one big solid hit (or bow shot, whatever) per round, with more dice as levels accrue.
Would stuff like this solve the 'problem' of martials having trouble with spells like wall of force, or fighting flying beasties? No.
Those aren't 'problems' with the class, IMO.
One is a problem with wall of force (an all-or-nothing spell that should be redesigned to be slightly less impervious than the Death Star force field, perhaps being toned down to mere Star Trek levels, able to be beaten down, by force majeur) and the other is a problem with a player who is playing one of the best ranged damage dealers in the game and forgot to buy it a bow.
Not every un-fun or frustrating aspect of playing a martial character needs to be 'fixed' by adding a swack of new powers to the class. Some can be 'fixed' by pruning out things that shouldn't work the way they work anyway (indestructible walls of force) and others by encouraging less 'I have one thing, and that's all I do' builds that end up useless in any situation that doesn't play to their very specific single attack option (rage-lance-pounce, or whatever).
If all a martial can contribute is raw DPS, then it's the system pushing people to make over-specialized damage-dealers, which leads to the inevitable complaint that they are as useful as teats on a bull in any combat where they can't do their one specific thing (or where the encounters success doesn't hinge on large damage numbers). Adding more combat options (applying conditions, for instance), and allowing a Fighter to move numbers around to better adapt to changing circumstances, would free them up to not overspecialize on pure DPS numbers (not that this will stop those prone to do that anyway, but they are their own worst enemies anyway...).
Worst class in the game is clearly the Commoner. Look at all those dead levels! And the Warrior is like a Fighter without class features. Which, since the Fighter is already a Fighter without class features, is kind of like an Ouroboran Mandelbrot pattern of suck.
NPC Classes Unchained, y'all!
Seriously 'though, Monte Cook's Book of Experimental Might 2 expanded on the notion of combat feats having two 'levels,' one for any old schmoe who took them, and then a little something extra for if they were taken with a Fighter's bonus feats from class levels, so that anyone could use Power Attack, but a Fighter who took it as one of his Fighter class bonus feats got a +2 damage over and above the usual effects.
He had the extra effects gated off by levels (so the above damage bonus only applied at 11th level), which seemed a bit weak, but he also had 'boost' effects that allowed a Fighter to perform a few stunts a day, with each Combat feat having an associated 'stunt' he could use by spending one of his boosts, so there were a couple levels of increased combat feat utility for Fighters.
(The Power Attack 'boost' for instance was to be able to reroll a melee damage roll.)
The downside of this sort of concept is that it would require extra lines of text for every combat feat, for abilities that will mostly only be relevant to Fighters (or, perhaps in special circumstances, other martials, perhaps limited to Combat feats selected with Ranger, Cavalier, Monk, etc. bonus feats, or as Rogue Talents?).
For a game system that spends 165 pages on magic and spells and 25 pages on melee and ranged combat and maneuvers, that could be crazytalk. :)
I kind of feel that one problem with the feats in general is that there are just too many of them, and a *lot* of them 'feel' more like they should be options that anyone can attempt, almost as if some of these feats aren't adding options to the game, so much as subtracting them by taking something that anyone should be able to attempt, and gating them off as only able to be done by someone who has spent a limited resource to train to do something that, thematically, might only happen a couple times in their life.
•30 different half-breed races that are playable from the start, with more than half having a stronger variant more in line with their ancestry. From the Dwarf-Roper hybrid Lasher, to the Human-Troll halfblood Grendle, there are combinations and races for almost any concept.
Ooh, from the sounds of Lasher and Grendle, this sounds like the races from Bastards & Bloodlines!
I loved the Aellar, Blinklings, Sthein, Trixie, Watchers and Wendigo, particularly, and the potential for there to be 'LA +0' versions of them playable as starting races is very cool as they were mostly priced out of being playable in an LA +0 game in 3.X.
There were only 28 races (although half goblinoids and jovians included three to five sub-races) in the original book, and some, like the burrower, half-kuo-toa and mind ripper, are likely to be sir-not-appearing-in-this-book anyway. So I'm intrigued as to what new faces will appear!
•Alternate racial traits and new favored class options for all of the 30 new races presented in this book!
Excellent, the races being even more versatile shows promise!
Reminds me of those old 'third party' 1st edition products where the creatures had a 'percent is liar' rating due to an intentional misreading of the old 'percent in lair' category.
**[For both of these, if bonuses to a Perform check, used to emulate a Bluff check via a Bards Versatile Performance, stack with a specific bonus to a Bluff check, then a feature (or multiple Skill Focus feats) could be a useful synergy.]
Bard - Versatile performance from Perform - Act, Comedy, Sing or String Instrument. Glibness spell.
Feats - Skill Focus (bluff), Deceitful.
Traits - Fast-Talker (+1 bluff, always class skill) or Charming (+1 bluff and other stuff vs targets that might be attracted to you), situationally.
Best *lair* ever? The hollowed out shell of a Spawn of Rovagug, obviously!
Detect Magic wrote:
Did you ever include any of that Geryon/heresies content in a game? If so, how'd it go?
Oh hey, my thread exists!
I have not, but I'm still a fan of the idea of heresies being a part of the setting.
A random other heresy I had lying around;
The Order of She
This Geryon-created heretical order claims that Aroden had three demigod-wives (and that polygamy was a common Azlanti custom, which records do not seem to bear out), Iomedae, Arazni and a forgotten third, a former servant of darkness that saw the light and betrayed her kind to join the crusade for the Age of Enlightenment and the (inevitable, in her view) end of the Age of Darkness. Like Aroden himself, his third wife was a creature of law, but not good, making her the clear favorite, as she was most sympatico with her husband's own moderate moral position, and this led to her downfall.
Her old name, as an agent of darkness (possibly a kyton demagogue?), was foresworn, and she similarly was stripped of her new name after being betrayed by Arazni and Iomedae, jealous of this new favored wife. And so now the third wife of Aroden is now known only as ‘She who is Nameless’ or ‘She’ for short. Her order was designed to complement the orders of Iomedae (paladins, clerics and cavaliers), Arazni (magi, wizards and cavaliers of a more intelligent / tactical nature), being composed at the time primarily of rangers and inquisitors specialized in hunting orcs, undead and other creatures of darkness that threatened humanity during the Age of Darkness, although, in recent times, they are more focused on demons (and still the undead, to a lesser degree) than orcs.
The Order of She's three primary headquarters are in northern Ustalav, northern Numeria and the eastern Realms of the Mammoth Lords, and each is led by a mute priest who is called ‘the Keeper of the Name,’ reputed to be one of the few on the planet who remember the name of ‘She,’ keeping it safe until such a time as those forces seeking not merely her destruction, but to erase all knowledge of her from the world, have been defeated. (Those forces said to be those of Zon-Kuthon, the dark lord she betrayed initially, the Knights of Ozem, last servants of the fallen Arazni, and the church of Iomedae.)
While the secretive initiates of the Order fight the forces of the Worldwound, and also undead in the region of Gallowspire, they do so using unique methods, turning the forces of darkness against itself, with many learning techniques to bind the dead into service, or separate their own shadows to attack enemies, in a manner similar to that of the Shadow Dancers. They also mix and match Ranger and Inquisitor abilities, sharing special training that allows an Order of She Inquisitor to select a few spells from the Ranger list, and vice-versa.
The exact end-goals of this heretical order, in the eyes of Geryon, remains unclear. The Orders’ claims throw shadowy insinuations on the churches of Aroden and Iomedae, and the Knights of Ozem, as well as encouraging the practice of necromancy and shadow-binding, all non-good acts, but, as heresies go, the order doesn’t seem to be as actively undermining the faiths of other gods, or causing schisms in rival churches. It’s possible that the order remains a lingering remnant of an original faith meant to undermine the faiths of Aroden and Arazni, making much of their original goal moot, and leaving them only to cast a shadow on the faith of Iomedae, and, secondarily, fight demons, rivals with the devils for the souls of mortals.
It's entirely possible that Geryon has all-but abandoned this failed experiment, the death of Aroden (and Arazni's ignoble fate) having robbed it of much of it's intended purpose, and that the Order of She is simply maintaining itself out of inertia, at this point, although the Order's Inquisitors (and Rangers) do not seem to be lacking in divine power.
Reminded of this thread, and the many names of Empyreal Lords, Rakshasa Immortals, Oni Daimyo, etc. splashed around the Bestiaries, I decided to make an Empyreal Lord, using a format sort of like the one in Chronicles of the Righteous.
Born aloft on four feathered wings, and never touching the ground, even when he sleeps, Cocidus has the head of a crowned eagle, and four taloned limbs resembling an eagles legs in of arms, flying in an upright position, like a winged humanoid, although having only a slender humanoid torso and legs dangling from his avian upper body.
Able to speak to any domesticated beast, and turn them to his will, Cocidus is patron to animal companions and familiars and mounts of all types and species, regarding the bond between man and beast as a sacred gift, and one not to be abused or taken lightly, meant to ennoble the beast, and yet also make pure and unclutterd the instincts of man, so easily led astray by conflicting and over-complicated notions. 'Taming' is not merely for the animals of the wild, lacking self-discipline or an understanding of morality, but also a necessary tool for the trainer himself, to recognize that he is not merely training a horse or hound or hawk, but, perhaps even more importantly, training the man who is to command that animal. He will not hesitate to use his authority to sever the companion or familiar bonds of of those he finds unworthy, or even 'un-awaken' those he considers unworthy (or not properly respectful) of the gift of intelligence, reducing them to the primal instincts of a mundane animal.
Cocidus is always surrounded by a circling cloud composed of dozens of hawks, functioning much like a rending swarm, when he is threatened. In his claw-like hands, he carries a pair of shortbows, and his talon-tipped arrows continue swooping to attack foes after being launched, like the shield of living hawks accompanying him.
While he greatly respects Erastil, and willingly follows his lead in all things, he is also a proud creature, and any assumption that he is subordinate to Old Deadeye leaves him quietly seething.
But that exposed dagger blade hanging over her thigh is going to be the death of her :( I'm probably just fixating because i played with a critical fumble GM once who would have killed us all if we described a character like that.
Eh, she could be Damiel, who is going to go up in a pyroclaustic mushroom cloud of toxins and incendiaries if he ever so much as trips, let alone actually ever gets hit by something...
Ross Byers wrote:
Why does turning into a rat give you water breathing?
Core p. 212. "If the form grants a burrow or swim speed, you maintain the ability to breathe if you are swimming or burrowing."
Bestiary p. 132, Rat entry, "Speed 15 ft., climb 15 ft., swim 15 ft."
It's just one of the things that the attempt to make shapeshifting into a buff that makes you look like a creature, but not have many of it's actual features (since actual creature stats were 'too good' for PCs to have, eliminating actual fantasy shapeshifting from the game because it was 'unbalanced' for a PC to be able to use monster stats), did that looks a little funky.
Attempting to 'fix' the problem of some creatures having stats that might be 'too good' for a druid to bring to the PC side of things, you've now got a fantasy shapeshifting mechanic that doesn't actually turn you into a rat, but a rat-shaped thing that doesn't necessarily have rat stats (and might have abilities that an actual rat doesn't possess, like water breathing).
And Pathfinder fixed the thing about the Str 6 gnome druid turning into a bear, because the polymorph spells give strength adjustments, not flat values like the 3.5 spells. (Synthesist summoners ignored this, and it is part of what makes them broken.)
Which was my point. A relatively minor 'problem' (stat dumping druid getting a Str out of whack with her point buy) was 'fixed' (at the cost of making a low-strength druid or wizard turn into a feeble bear-shaped creature that is really in no way actually a bear, making it less 'shapeshifting' and more 'minor buff with a cool cosmetic effect'), like it was some sort of crazy game-breaker, while the dozen or so actual problem spells, which could break the world, like simulacrum and gate and wish, not so much.
I disagree. Monster should have unique and awesome powers, both to reflect their places in folklore (genies grant wishes. It's what they do.)
They don't, in folklore, grant wish *spells.* Indeed, many of the things that their 'wishes' do grant, such as entire castles appearing, or peasants becoming royalty, or vast treasuries full of gold and gems, or create flying carpets, is explicitly beyond the power of the wish spell, making it a complete failure at replicating folklore 'genie wishes' anyway.
But genie wishes shouldn't be wish spells in any event. Aladdin never wished for a +1 inherent bonus to strength, or to duplicate an 8th level or lower sorcerer/wizard spell that wasn't one of his opposition spells (which, not being a sorcerer/wizard, he didn't have anyway).
Genie 'wishes' should be actual services that the genie can perform with the abilities that they already have (which, like with the djinni, should include a fair number of conjuration (creation) effects, like enduring versions of major creation, heroes feasts, create food and water, etc.). Just like the word 'evil' being a game term that could represent alignment, descriptor or type, or 'level' being a game term that could represent character level, class level, spell level, etc. there's no reason why a genies 'wish' *has* to be a wish spell, which, as I already mentioned, does a crappy job of replicating the wishes of genie folklore (some of which, for balance reasons, wouldn't be available in any case).
I think the right answer is to cut the rope. The problematic effects are always the open-ended ones: planar binding, simulacrum, 3.X polymorph, command undead (and Command Undead), even wish itself, if you go off script.
And, except for wish, all of those spells you listed are problems because creature stats are 'too good for PCs.' It isn't that the spells are necessarily too open-ended, it's that some monsters, designed in a vacuum, isolated from any thoughts of them existing beyond the three rounds they will appear on-screen, have powers that, if used with a pair of brain cells to rub together, would totally mess up the setting.
Spells like summon monster and the assorted polymorph spells give curated access to powers deemed safe. As do class abilities like animal companions. Heck, even the create undead spells only give access to a fixed list (even if it is one that is assumed for NPCs instead of PCs).
And yet more symptoms squashed, because the creature stats were 'too good.' My animal companion bear can never be the size of a bear-in-the-woods I just ran into (even if it would be statistically weaker than a tiger, even at size large, and my companion wolf can be larger than a monster wolf!).
Command undead has to allow a daily save, because too many undead can create endless hordes of undead and are (particularly if incorporeal) effectively unstoppable by many creatures up to twice their CR.
A simple guideline that 'sometimes people killed by X return as X,' instead of a hard and fast rule that '*always* people killed by X return as X exactly Y rounds later,' and all the power goes back to the GM, who can rule that a shadow got loose and killed fifty villagers, and not a single one of them generated a new shadow. I guess Pharasma snatched them up too quickly or something. Who knew she's actually good at her job?
(Vampires taking so much longer to create spawn, might have a somewhat more reliable method, but perhaps still not a *guaranteed* one, leading to much angst among the emo brethren of the night as their favored would-be 'children' sometimes 'stay dead'...)
To wit, it isn't broken that trolls have regneration, because they're monsters, they still die quickly. It gives them an identity as a monster and makes a troll something different than a bigger ogre. On the other hand, PCs shouldn't be able to get regeneration cheaply. Giant form i is a 7th level spell. That's probably a safe point for PCs to get access.
I don't consider troll regeneration to be a problematic ability. Like the druid with bear stats, it's just a very cool ability that will affect a single element of the game, combat (and can rarely if ever keep up with CR appropriate incoming damage, making it more of a DPS check than anything).
Back in earlier editions, when a troll could rip off it's hand, throw it to the ground, and some time later there's a whole 'nuther troll there (and his hand has regrown as well), *that* would be crazy, and neither balanced for a monster to have, nor balanced for a PC to have.
(Even then, if a GM wants a monster with a similar mechanic, the newly generated trolls or wraiths or oozes could have finite lifespans, so that the hacked off troll-spawn is a threat for X rounds, but then withers and dies.)
I'm not sure why Shadows are always the example here. They don't present a bigger self-replicating threat than vampires, for instance.
You lost me here. Incorporeal attackers who can function by day, enter homes uninvited, can move through walls, water, etc., are not repulsed by holy symbols or garlic, can move faster and fly, and, most relevantly, create spawn 1440 times faster (1d4 rounds, instead of 1d4 *days*).
Existentially, shadows are *many, many* times a bigger threat than vampires. (Wraiths and Spectres also have the sunlight powerless limitation, making them only a single many times more dangerous than vampires.) :)
And I think if demons and devils and the like were being redesigned today, they'd get dimension door instead of greater teleport.
Sensible. That's what their ability was primarily used for anyway, to bip around (or into, or out of) a fight, not to zap across the planet on courier / assassination missions.
(As for Korvosan imps, or other things like villagers being able to drive off a golem in Savage Tide, I try to remind myself that stat blocks are for on-screen action, with the PCs there. They aren't simulationist in an absolute sense. I have to put it aside the same way I have to put aside that two Huge giants, when fighting each other, are limited to 5-foot steps, even though they should be able to treat each other the same way two humans would.)
Eh. Larger creatures should have a 'step' equal to their space, or something. That, and how emanations, etc. operate from creatures larger than a standard Medium spellcaster, is mostly just stuff that slipped by, IMO.
Rules for situations like that would be neat, not just for dragons casting anti-magic field, but for PCs who end up larger than normal for whatever reason, but I imagine that giving Large creatures a 10 ft. '5 ft. step' is pretty low on the priority list.
Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, IIRC. A dragon is sweeping in and out of the room breathing and running. Somebody points out that the corridors are kind of small, and he's breathing awful hard for such a small-looking dragon, and on the next flyby, a magic ring is noted on one of his claws. A dispel magic flies out, and sure enough, he was magically reduced in size. Returning to full size in the small corridor turned him into gooey tube-of-meat-shaped dragon giblets.
Wall of force seems like a fun way to brutally stop flying creatures moving at speed, or a cavalry charge, or bison stampede, as well. (Or wall of stone, ice, prismatic death, etc. although they are more visible.) Never did it in D&D, but did wreck a dragon in GURPS with the GURPS magic equivalent (force dome).
James Jacobs wrote:
didn't like how the eidolon didn't fit in to the world (it felt tacked on and had no weight to it).
Along that train of thought, and totally unrelated to Summoners, where would you feel that the Magus best or most thematically 'fits' into the setting?
My own notion is that the notion of a fighter/magic-user mashup 'caught on' with Jatembe and his 'Ten Magic Warriors,' and that the oldest Inner Sea schools for the practice are in places like Nantambu, in the Mwangi Expanse, even if the practice has, over millennia, spread all over (and is likely picking up some major adherents / a new renaissance in Rahadoum, which shuns the divinely-assisted Paladins and Rangers).
I suppose it could just as easily be an Elven thing, or an Azlanti remnant, as well, 'though!
Alex Martin wrote:
That's another game that I can spend hours in the character generator, although there's so much to do *in* the game (choosing paths / leveling up your bridge crew, for instance, ugh) that I get overwhelmed soon after entering the game and just want to go back and design more captains and crews (like an all-Redeemed Borg ship, or an all-bald, all-Deltan crew or an all 'choose your own alien' custom crew...).
Like in DCOnline (a game whose gameplay I do not like, at all), the 'familiar' bits and characters and elements just make it awesomely fun, for someone who knows stuff about the setting.
In addition to that, I observed earlier that the 5th level Pain Mastery ability appears to be designed around the Disciple of Pain class ability, but instead refers to the Masochism ability (both in name and mechanics, sacrificing hit points for a bonus).
I imagine that, during conversion / updating, something got changed in mid-design, and not all changes were propogated successfully.
Also, kind of odd that in a book with new mortification techniques / rules, the Pain Taster wouldn't really interact with them. Possibly those two rules elements were written by different people who did not know what the other hand was doing and couldn't coordinate their developments?
Probably something (the questions about Pain Mastery / Masochism / Disciple of Pain) that should be FAQ'd.
IMO, the problem with planar binding spells is the same problem that rears up when a creature becomes a cohort, or a 'monster' becomes a PC, or certain types of monsters get dominated, undead-created, rebuked/commanded, diplomancered / intimidated into cooperation, or run as if they had the brains the gods gave a turnip.
Monster design allows for abilities that nobody with a shred of sanity would give a player, such as granting wishes or creating spawn or infinite self-replication, and since there are a dozen different ways that a player can get their hands on those creatures and bend them to their will (or a creature with a 'broken' or unrestricted ability can just flat out choose to laugh at game balance and destroy the world), the 'oh, that will never be a problem because it's not a class ability, just a monster power' logic flies right out the window.
Pathfinder re-arranged a single deck chair on this Titanic by making animal companions and wild shapers and polymorphers use a meager helping of vaguely related abilities, instead of 'monster stats,' so that if you turn into any sort of creature, you have pretty much the same stats of any other creature of that size, and wonkiness like polymorphing into a *rat* allows you to breath underwater, because, reasons, but those issues (ooh, the Str 6 Druid turned into a dire bear and ignored her dump stat! Apocalypse!) were a drop in the bucket compared to what you can do with a commanded shadow or a called efreeti.
It's not a problem with commanding undead or dominating monsters or calling efreet, it's a problem with those monsters having powers that are wildly inappropriate, and trying to 'fix' planar binding or planar ally (or gate, or command undead, or simulacrum, or shapechange, or monster cohorts, or monsters-as-PCs, or coercion/compulsion spells, or Diplomacy) are putting bandaids on a person who is being dragged behind a truck. The truck needs to be stopped.
The answer to questions like 'why haven't shadows overwhelmed the world' or 'why haven't the Worldwound demons teleported all over the world' or 'why haven't the Korvosan imps, explicitly immune to anything the local pseudo-dragons could do to them, wiped them out yet' shouldn't be 'they haven't tried yet,' or, worse, 'they have a Plan, and it involves Katie Sackoff and if you stick around to the very end, you still won't know what it was...'
TL;DR The problem, as I see it, isn't with planar ally/planar binding, it's with 'monsters' having stupidly unbalanced powers and options all out of proportion to what PCs should be allowed to have.