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FullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 549 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character.


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The way I see it a Chaotic Neutral character hates conformity, traditions, restrictive laws, authoritarian styles of governance. Note that this does not necessarily mean acts like a jerk to their friends or adventuring companions. A CN character will generally try to assert their independence from society in general. They will try to do things OUTSIDE the law where reasonably convenient due to disdain, distrust, or because they simply can't be bothered. Placed in a position of authority a CN character will try to keep their hands off as much as possible because they tend to believe that society functions best that way. Chaotic Neutral tends to correlate with counterculture, anarchism, and dislike of such practices as slavery, mind control magics, hierarchies, or imprisonment.

CN does NOT mean that a character is undisciplined, that they have no moral code (although it does presume that they are not prone to excessive altruistic urges toward individuals who are not their close friends/loved ones as that would make them CG), does not mean that they are inherently inconsistent or lazy.


Anzyr wrote:
Persistent Metamagic Rods? Please, I get my Persistent Color Sprays for free off my Magical Lineage and Metamagic Master/Wayang Spellhunter traits.

The existence of a combination of abilities involving an obscure splat book that does the same thing does not make the former any more balanced.


I've got zero problem with awesome display. I've seen it quite a bit in play and the comparatively few spells it applies to have not proven hugely more dangerous than all the other save-or-die/suck spells available to casters.

Persistent Metamagic Rods (and -possibly- Quickened Ill Omen spells) however, are abominations that should die horrible, horrible deaths.


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Who describes the weapon? When the wizard identifies the weapon, who tells them what they detect? Who gets to decide precisely how magic items function in their game world? Whose responsibility is it therefore for injecting flavor?

The GM.

There are any number of ways to describe magic items:
"The rusted blade nevertheless seems to hold a surprising sharp edge."
"You detect the distinct pull of a spirit or deity's hand upon the weapon. It seems to be of moderate strength."
"The runes upon the mace seem to indicate a powerful curse that draws out the blood of victims it is wielded against."
"An echo of rage seems to permeate the length of this weapon. This would likely increase the strength of the bearer's attacks fairly significantly."
"After considerable examination, you are able to determine that the blur around the blade is actually a temporal distortion field. The runes on the hilt seem to indicate that the weapon was wrought with the ability to warp reality to a minor extent to better suit the desires of the wielder."


Contrary to popular delusion, the bard never really eclipses the bard. The rogue is -usually- able to outdamage the bard (or at least to inflict more damage than the bard can personally). HOWEVER, the bard outperforms the rogue in a skill/utility context while full BAB classes consistently outdamage the rogue.

There are several components to the bards' superiority with skills/utility:
1) Versatile performance which gives them effectively the same number of skill points as the rogue, albeit with a couple having a more favorable stat bonus.
2) A reasonably powerful arcane spell list, which makes many skills and utility abilities otherwise obsolete.
3) Bardic knowledge can ALSO make a significant difference depending on campaign circumstances.
4) Bardic music abilities can improve some skills.

Altogether, the bard really wipes the floor with the rogue class utility-wise to a depressing degree. Particularly considering the rogue's historical role as the origin of lockpicking, sneaking, climbing inaccessible places and the like.


One major component of druid imbalance: GMs who let players direct 2-intelligence animal companions and summons with pinpoint accuracy.


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The existence of those options do NOT make the barbarian unbalanced. However, yes, it is sad that there are not viable alternatives. I am vehemently opposed to the implementation of pounce amongst PC abilities. Not because it is overpowered for a martial character - no, it isn't. However, it IS so strong that it should never have been granted to only a single martial class and it should never have been made one of several exclusive options for that class. That is, sadly, just poor class design.

...and it should never in a million years have been given as an eidolon option...but that's only one of numerous idiocies that contribute to make up the abomination that is Summoner.

EDIT: I suppose that actually fits the definition of unbalanced to a T. My bad. Just not overpowered.


I'd certainly -consider- showing a PC the date of their death (whether the appropriate powers of fate believe that's a good idea or not). The main problem with doing so is that enforcing it probably entails a heavy-handed bit of Deus Ex Machina on the GM's part. Which a GM should be -VERY-, -VERY- careful about using. To make sure said fate happens as a GM one could use emissaries of fate such as Aeons, Mothmen, Inevitables, Norns, or the like. Either to help or hinder the PC should they die too quickly or do not die at the appointed time. Preferably allowing the PC some chance of avoiding the unpleasant, at least with good tactics.


Ravingdork wrote:

Never had a chance to develop a tactic really. The party Vanaran monk climbed the enemy ship's mast to get a better view of the combat when he encountered her along the yardarm. She 5-foot stepped in and attacked. The monk deflected with crane wing, countered with crane riposte, tripped her with Improved Trip, kicked her twice more with Greater Trip and Vicious Stomp. Since she had only made one attack, she used her move action to stand up which got her punched in the face. On the monk's turn, he bull rushed her off the yardarm, causing her to fall 60 feet, landing on the deck prone. He used his move action to swing down after her, landing deftly next to her.

Seeing that most of her crew had been swept away by the other PCs, she took the total defense action and successfully stood up on her turn, taking only one minor hit from one the PCs. The monk tripped her again on his turn and the entire party got AoOs against her from Greater Trip, then the monk got another from Vicious Stomp.

It was horrible what they did to her after that.

So...the problem here, other than nasty....story and/or logic requirements (eewww)...is that a Fighter BBEG really serves a different role than a Fighter would in a PC party. I'm not intending to specifically accuse you, RD, of not knowing how to build a fighter BBEG btw. It is, nonetheless, a fairly common problem I've found. (Even amongst PFS writers, sadly enough). In a PC party, the fighter is usually a tank. They stand in front of the more vulnerable characters and beat things. A BBEG fighter on the other hand is actually a glass cannon. The PCs will normally have many tricks that will just shut down a fighter - will save spells, even a simple grease on their weapon.

The trick to making an effective Fighter BBEG in my opinion is to be sneaky. Hide amongst the minions and make someone else look like the real threat. Fight in locations where the BBEG cannot effectively be targeted at range - such as a smoke(stick)-filled room or behind a twist in the corridor. Have a support minion hide behind a tapestry in the throne room and concentrate on maintaining the illusion of a imposing figure on the throne while the BBEG tries to blend in with guard-minions. Use potions of invisibility, glamered armor, hats of disguise, or simply the Disguise skill. Find ways to ambush the vulnerable PCs from the rear - behind the party tanks.


The concept of action types that take so little time that they can be used effectively in response to longer actions is not remotely "metagamey". Much in any real-world melee combat - such as parrying, dodging REQUIRES split-second reactions to longer events (e.g. an opponents strike).


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thaX wrote:

I will give you the short answer.

Guns are a newer discovery than typical fantasy worlds have, and some would liken the introduction of the gun akin to making the game into a western, or that the guns would be overpowering. (They are a bit much sometimes with the high crit multiplier and touch attacks)

The fact is, except for Eberron, the Gun is out of place in most of the Brand's settings, including Forgotten Realms that most of the future products seem to be going toward.

I would hope to have something like the Warforged in PF soon, to be honest, along with a dragon kin race.

You guys all know that guns predate plate armor, right?


If most fiends hate everyone and every thing, why precisely should they single out the daemons?

Even if Lamashtu is much stronger than the daemons are collectively, that doesn't necessarily mean that she has the forces to win a multi-front war. Does one imagine Lamashtu's own myriad personal enemies would kindly refrain from attacking her if she were to devote her resources to eradicating the daemons?


SOME illusions are mind-affecting spells but not all. Figments and glamers are NOT. Spells that are mind-affecting are clearly labeled as such. Since Mirror Image is not mind affecting, it is unaffected by the ability.


I would definitely consider evil eye. While yet another mind-affecting ability, it imposes a decent penalty without save. 9 is a very good level for witches - you get 5th level spell slots, which allow for powerhouses such as Dominate Person and Teleport. As well as Quickened Ill Omen. Pick up Quicken Spell if you don't have it already. Or a metamagic rod.


So the recent Crane Style revision underscores a very serious balance issue that has been bothering me for a good long while: The relative value of feats.

Feats and feat-like abilities (such as rogue talents) comprise major features of a couple classes. As compared with magical abilities, such as spells and spell slots, feats are:
1) Static. That is, one cannot change them out every day
2) Given to those classes that receive them as class features at a SLOWER rate than spells and spell slots
3) Most of the time (though not always) technically usable more times per day than spells, but more often so limited or circumstantial that reasonable opportunities only occur a couple times per day, if that.
4) Sometimes more easily combined with other actions (such as attacks and attack routines) but generally less versatile. For example, weapon focus gives you a bonus on all attacks (with a particular weapon). A summon monster spell may be used to attack the enemy, to draw enemy attacks away from others, for utility purposes, to heal, etc.
5) Often have prerequisites that are much more prohibitive than the spell level requirements for spells. Spells may have level prerequisites based on spell level, but do not generally require the caster to know other particular spells or have a certain number of skill ranks.

In short, feats represent a GREATER character investment than spells. Not spellcasting altogether perhaps, but greater than individual spells and spell slots. So WHY ON EARTH are feats so much less powerful? What is considered so unbalancing about a feat that protects a character from one melee attack per round when the user takes a particular type of action whereas a spell that literally makes an enemy your slave for hours if not days is NOT so?

EDIT: Apologies for some delays and editing. Still trying to work out my thoughts here.


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This change is yet another of those wtf were they thinking moments.


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The Pathfinder half-orc is thematically fine. The floating stat bonus represents the human heritage and orc ferocity represents the brutish orcish heritage.


The only class I've got significant issues with is Summoner. While the class is a nice idea, the reality just has too many loopholes, involves too much book-keeping (which creates a significant opportunity for PC abuse or error and thus requires significant GM oversight), and is just plain poorly balanced against other classes. Certain archtypes are more egregious in this respect than others.

Gunslinger is MOSTLY ok, excepting the double-barreled weapon thing which is really more of an equipment issue than a class issue. You know, double your damage for a whole -4 to hit (or at least at and beyond level 13). Which qualifies as a "what could they possibly have been thinking?" Not to mention that monsters in the first two bestiaries were really not written with touch attacks in mind.


I suppose the alternatives are not COMPLETELY useless:
1) There's really nothing I can find that prohibits summoning a tiny creature into something's square. So... vipers and poison frogs can occasionally poison something if it rolls a natural 1 on the save. 50% of the time a viper can inflict not one but TWO points of damage as well if the summoner has Augment Summoning. Go viper! Of course, if you're using a 1st level spell slot to summon these, one might as well use Summon Minor Monster instead and get 1d3 of 'em.

2) Ponies can take a hit or two from a low level enemy. And distract griffons. Until they die.

3) Dolphins can flop around comically, possibly distracting foes for a round or two with laughter. Against foes actually in the water they're mostly useless since they deal bludgeoning damage and...enemies in the water take half damage from bludgeoning attacks. MAYBE they'd be able to help a drowning PC or something. If you could somehow talk to them they might be occasionally useful since they have blindsight for some reason.

3) Fire Beetles can light up dark places as they distract the enemy with scratches. The equivalent of a cantrip.

4) Dire Rats....in the hands of a villain (because the enemy is otherwise not expected to survive) can on rare occasion force the PCs to make a heal check against a low-level disease.

5) Dogs can...maybe find something by scent. Like vipers, ponies, dire rats, and...most of the other possible summons.

Stirges on the Summon Nature's ally list are much more amusing.


Maezer wrote:
Eagle's run into the problem there are relatively few things they can actually attack having 0 reach and being small. Unless this too has been eratta'd and I missed it.

They've got standard reach in -my- bestiary. EDIT: And in the prd as well.


Slaunyeh wrote:
Shadowdweller wrote:
Hmm...my core book lists Riding Dog, not Dog. Significantly better animal, while I note that the PRD lists dog. Regardless, one possible caveat of the eagle is that they are finesse-based attackers. Their attack bonus thus does not go up from Augment Summoning.
Yeah, this was errataed a while back. When I played a Malconvoker, I had a writeup of all the various summoning spells with pros and cons of the various summons. This was before the riding dog errata, and the riding dog was clearly outperforming everything in the SM1 (and, for that matter, SM2 even before realizing that you got 1d3 of them) list. The dog is pretty bad though.

That is unfortunate (although I have noted that the Riding Dog outperforms the Wolf on the SM2 list) because as the OP says, there really isn't otherwise any reason to summon things other than eagles. And I like viable alternate choices :( MAYBE the pony would be worthwhile if it were combat trained.


Hmm...my core book lists Riding Dog, not Dog. Significantly better animal, while I note that the PRD lists dog. Regardless, one possible caveat of the eagle is that they are finesse-based attackers. Their attack bonus thus does not go up from Augment Summoning.


Actually...something useful you can do with your familiar is to take the Intimidate skill and have them try to Demoralize the enemy. Familiars take penalties to the skill (generally due to small size and low charisma), but if successful the shaken condition imposes a -2 to saves amongst other things. Which is particularly useful for a witch.


Edenwaith wrote:
Giants and Balors and Witches oh my. I think all that is missing the point. A witch and a party of who cares with scythes, longspears, and greataxes walk into a 4-hour PFS scenario. The witch casts slumber on EVERYTHING nullifying 75% of the scenario and all walk out an hour later. The next three hours finds all the 'who cares' rolling up witches and the GM searching for a scenario specifically aimed at defeating witches (not many I grant you).

Yeah, except for the fact that that doesn't ever actually happen. Or at least in any PFS scenario I've ever personally played thusfar as or with a witch.


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Hey Guys, did you know that a 1st level paladin has a 5% chance of not just deciding but actually killing a Great Wyrm red dragon. If said paladin came across the dragon sleeping. Cuz dragons are generally depicted as sleeping for long periods of time. That's the equivalent CR of BOTH Balors. That's something not even an INFINITE number of 1st level witches with the slumber hex could do!


I've been quite disappointed by poisons in Pathfinder. The save DCs are (mostly) pretty anemic because either 1) the devs wanted poisons to be more intimidation than penalty, 2) they didn't really run the numbers on the chance of failing with multiple saves, or possibly 3) they thought the comparatively low DCs were counterbalanced by the additive effect of multiple doses.

Regardless, the result in play is a prohibitive number of rolls and poisons that are mostly ineffectual. But occasionally lethally threatening. Not to mention a system that is counterintuitive to the point of needing an in-depth blog explanation. And there are still major, glaring questions: How is a dose of inhaled poison handled? Most doses of poison require only one creature to make one save (vs the initial effect). Except that inhaled poisons fill an area. And the passage talks about holding one's breath to avoid the poison. So do inhaled poisons just fill an area for an unspecified amount of time? Does holding one's breath for a round make one immune? Can a dose of inhaled poison affect multiple creatures?


Fergie wrote:
I think the better question is what ability other then slumber hex allows a group to trivialize a large percentage of the encounters in an adventure path? If these tactics are so effective, why isn't the military tactics of the world based on using slumber hex?

Is this intended as a serious question? Two-handed weapons, Summon Monster SLA, Glitterdust, Blindness/Deafness, Haste, Smite Evil, Animal Companions.... to name a paltry freaking few. The witch pays heavily for their hexes....fewer spells, a smaller and much more limited spell list, a familiar that cannot be easily replaced...


Rerednaw wrote:
I'd be hard put to argue yes when your odds of success are 30% in the optimal situation. And failure is death.

Failure...or losing initiative...


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Hold Person does not instantaneously break when the target takes damage. Hold Person allows multiple CdG attempts. A held victim cannot simply be freed by a flunkie or servant (barring appropriate magic items). Hold Person can be used at a comparatively safe range. Hold Person can be enhanced with Persistent Spell, Bouncing Spell, Heighten spell or appropriate metamagic rods.

A creature that is flying with wings, is perched on a pillar of sufficient height, or has a flunkie or familiar to wake them is effectively immune to the Slumber Hex. A mounted foe has 50% effective resistance.


The only issues I have with the slumber hex is that it is, like all hexes, a supernatural ability and therefore does not provoke attacks of opportunity nor is subject to disruption. I do not believe that this is a good mechanic from either a balance or narrative standpoint. (And these pale in comparison to things like the antagonize feat or the entire summoner class). The possible balance issues from having a short-range, single target save or sleep effect are nonexistent in actual play.


Ahrrhrm...horned devils have regeneration vs good aligned attacks. Making it literally impossible for an appropriately-equipped 1st level party to even kill the thing.


Honestly, the slumber hex ends up being nowhere as effective off the paper as several posters seem to imagine it is. While powerful, the Witch pays for it with a number of notable deficits in their spell list as compared with Wizards and Sorcerers.

EDIT: Partially retracted statement.


Not really sure what people mean by 'letdown' here. Domination is one of the more frightening possible things I can think of to happen to a character. Let alone all that stuff about no longer being able to breathe air...


The agile property applies 1.5 DEX to two-handed weapons, right? (I don't have the appropriate book so I would not know if there is some sort of restriction). If so, despite SKR's statements regarding intent, it would seem that it is equally applied to Dragon Style (i.e. 1.5 DEX) IMO.

EDIT: Ah, there IS such a restriction. So, nevermind the above.


Depends on how you mean 'broken'. Less broken in terms of single, big damage attacks but more in terms of effectively two characters in one would be Druid and Summoner. Or possibly Cavalier/Samurai if you feel like playing more of warrior-type.


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A fighter is a highly-trained, expert warrior not some random peasant. In a world were magic is relatively common any reasonable weapon training has to include some basics on tactics and spell users. No, that is NOT meta-gaming. It's neither something exceptionally esoteric - it's not like the fighter is trying to identify the exact spell based on the precise sounds and glowy marks the caster is making in the air.


Let 'em try a CMB check (pull or trip maneuver) with a -4 penalty for a not-fully-appropriate weapon?


Student orator (trying to learn to become an effective statesman) who, having grown up as the son of the biggest cheese around, doesn't quite fully grasp the concept of other people owning property?


There are countless animals that try to intimidate potential enemies (e.g. roaring, growling, raised hackles, beating on chests) and yet animals consistently get shafted on that skill as well.


Bludgeoning and slashing weapons take penalties underwater for one thing.


Unholy water allows one to bathe or wash one's hands in EVIL. Blood sounds nice and all, but it's really quite sticky. Gold has its uses, but that density makes the experience a lot less physically pleasant than you'd think. Excrement....


Yeah, personally, reducing traps to a set of die rolls is the last thing I'd ever want to do as GM. Unless the player is 1) acting grossly out of character, and/or 2) bogging play down excessively for the others. The ultimate point of traps and/or monsters is to entertain. If a player wants to spend personal time, creativity, and effort avoiding risk then more power to them, I say.


The summoner doesn't NEED to quicken the spell-like ability. One example of the Summoner class being poorly written is how the SLA interacts with itself. When the Summon SLA is used, the last summons disappear. But there is nothing in the RAW (other than uses per day) to prevent the Summoner from waiting for the summons from last turn to make full attacks, then summoning something new, which immediately ALSO gets to make a full attack.

It does not SEEM that ability was intended to work this way. It is, however, perfectly legal. The Master Summoner archtype doesn't even have the replacement restriction.


All summoners more or less put martial characters to shame. They combine abilities that should never have been placed together in the hands of a PC. Synthesists manage to SEEM particularly egregious at putting martial characters to shame. Furthermore, in terms of rules clarity and consistency, the synthesist is perhaps the most poorly written archtype of a poorly written class.


I'm not sure how proficient your players are tactically, but I would tend to think playing a Very Young (CR 8) red with good (e.g. merciless) tactics might be a better way to go with newish players.


Sounds like kind of an unpleasant situation, but that's how it goes when the GM doesn't really understand the ruleset all that well. The GM's assumptions and retconning don't sound ENTIRELY unreasonable though. The thing I would tend to watch for is whether the GM is setting reasonable limits on NPC perceptions and tactics. It's one thing if the GM was unclear on whether the very intelligent NPC was trying to cast while threatened....it's another if the NPC is trying to cast defensively when within the threat range of an invisible character.

Ultimately though, if you feel that the GM's action have been unfair, talk to him. Keeping silent about an objectionable behavior isn't going to result in that behavior being addressed. Just...you know...avoid being overbearing or rude about it. Contrary to, sadly, popular belief playing some prank - such as brazenly retconning yourself to teach the GM some supposed lesson doesn't tend to result in positive outcomes.


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"I am Gorum's blade. Do I LOOK like your private nursemaid, boy (/girl)? Embrace the pain as a warrior or run back screaming to your mother's skirts."


Frankly, it's easy enough to maintain the specialness of magic items with even a minimal introduction of creativity. One doesn't have to continuously find replacements, for example. Instead: The PCs find a gem said to enhance the power of item X. Or a (one-use) incantation said to do the same. Or a legend about how to awaken further powers. Or a specially constructed piece (such as a hilt). An item might even simply absorb power as a consequence of some magic event or cosmically significant deed.

The rewards are simple to manage - there are set gold piece values associated with the difference in enhancements.


Roberta Yang wrote:
Look, logically Bone Devils aren't only going to fight high-level characters. They exist, so there is a chance for one to happen upon the party. And if they do, they're not just going to go, "Oh, sorry, you're only first-level, I'd better leave you unharmed until you've gained several more levels," they're going to kill you. If they players can't handle a couple of CR9 outsiders, then it's really their fault, I'm not going to fudge things or actually provide a fun playable game or anything.

Your point is still a good one and all, but a minor quibble: Why on earth would a bone devil want to kill a low-level character? Think, for instance, of the countless possible hours of enjoyment that could be derived from torture. Not to mention possible slave or even souls if you pull it off right. I mean, a troll...yeah ok we've got a couple light snacks. Or a daemon.


Way back in a silly, middle-school D&D game I had a character wish that they were a deity. The DM smiled a wicked little smile and allowed it to go through. Ten seconds later, three other deities and a host of powerful liches, wizards, and divine beings appear to alternately deal with the upstart, magically steal his divinity, and/or study the effects of divine nature. The fledgling deity, still not completely sure of how to use his powers, is smashed nigh instantaneously. The others quickly turn on each other. End result: A cataclysmic battle that devastates half a continent. Somehow the other PCs slip away.

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