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For Great Weapon Master, maybe change it to a Strength saving throw to avoid being moved 5 feet? Or a Wisdom saving throw to avoid being frightened for 1 round (Charisma-based DC).
This would encourage tactical thinking by the players and presenting interesting terrain by the DM: pits, difficult terrain, campfires, caltrops, hunting traps, cracks in the ice, pools, traps triggers in general, etc.
Prince of Thorns spoilers:
Hey Lord Snow: They do explain a bit more in the later books. The main character is like an evil version of my nephew, who was over 6 feet tall at 13 years, is very athletic, smart in many fields, and has good people skills. So it was kind of weird and creepy for me. But I like it and its sequel series so far.
This happened in my 2nd 2nd Edition campaign ever. Actually, only 2 or 3 out of 4 or 5 or 6 PCs asked to be traitors....
The dominant religion is actually The Clock Queen, high goddess of creation, invention, and the arrow of time.
The campaign is set in a mostly isolated steampunk city-state surrounded by a barbaric Stone Age cultists and savages. So it's pretty much a local issue.
I'm re-reading Perdido Street Station and maybe its sequels (which deal (mostly off page) with the repercussions of a (mostly failed) machine rebellion). I'm also reading the The Mechanical series by Ian Tregillis. Also some inspiration by Ex Machina, Terminator, Battlestar Galactica, etc.
Raising the PCs' stats will make them hit more often, for more damage. They will be tougher and more resistant to special attacks (more hit points and better saves and AC). They might have an extra spell or two per day, and the save DCs will be higher.
All these increases will be maybe +1 or +2.
You can add the advanced template to monsters, or just an additional monster or two to each group of monsters, depending on the size of the group and/or their CR relative to the PCs' level.
The main advantage of better rolls and higher point buys is the ability to make competent MAD-classed characters. (MAD=Multiple Ability Dependent) So you can have monks, magi, paladins, inquisitors, etc.
I think a major background event, and possibly more than minor campaign focus, for my new swords & sorcery steampunk mash-up campaign is going to feature the emancipation of clockwork servants.
Any ideas on what the two sides will look like?
Just spitballing here:
Banshees and Will 'O Wisps can be a deadly combination. Fomorians might be fun, too. Or CN/CE air elementals, maybe with a Wisdom save or take 1d10 psychic damage each round (kind of like a fire elemental's burn ability). Maybe use ghosts with possession? Jump from PC to PC as a bonus action or reaction or even Legendary Action might be bewildering.
Honestly fora good dm the strength of the PCs do not matter. if you have a 10, 0, 30 point build. As long as the DM adjust the game accordingly.
I think the OP mentioned it was the GM's first campaign, so the GM might not be a "good" GM yet. That will come with practice. He's currently a beginner GM.
And I think someone else upthread mentioned that there might be a false equivalency going on where "Low Point Buy" = "Low Magic" = "Easier to Run."
Hopefully, the OP and their group can work together with the new GM and share their experiences and can create a collaborative campaign they can all enjoy.
I played in a 15 point campaign that was fun and gritty, but we also had NPC henchmen bolstering us. The NPCs were 5 point or 10 point builds with NPC classes (exclusively warriors for ease of play). This was also a campaign with only 3 PCs.
Maybe do the opposite of what Lorathorn is suggesting.
Make them make really difficult decisions, and then show how their choices are inconsequential.
Is your Pandemonium like the old 2nd Edition Planescape Pandemonium?
When I think of Pandemonium, I think of madness and dark tunnels filled with howling winds. Maybe look into encounters that do psychic and thunder damage, Strength saves to avoid being blown away, and Wisdom saves to avoid getting Insane (using the Insanity rules from the DMG).
Maybe a bunch of Shadow Demons? How many would be a fun challenge for a CR 12 party? What about a Shadow Dragon?
Also, does Pandemonium have gravity towards the walls of the tunnels, away from the centers of the tunnels? If so, emphasize that somehow. Maybe use clear plastic tunnels with the pawns stuck to the interior, so it is kind of disorienting for the players, but still capable of regular grid-based combat.
A half-elf druid with Skill Focus Perception, racial +2 to Perception, class skill point in Perception, and a 16 Wisdom (14 is 5 points, +2 racial bonus to Wisdom) will give you a +12 to Perception.
Or put Skill Focus in Survival and still use that +2 racial bonus in Perception.
Even if you dump Int, you can max 3 skills or max 2 skills (Perception and Survival?) and dabble in a bunch of others, like Handle Animal, Knowledge nature, and Spellcraft.
Maybe a party member help with natural 1s and 20s? Like a witch or Luck domain cleric or some kind of oracle or Rage Prophet? Do some races have luck-like traits, like halflings or catfolk?
And definitely double check with your GM about what version of gestalt you are using.
And good job using gestalt to make a character that focuses on a single thing (without being a one-trick pony!). Often, gestalt builds try to be TOO versatile, and then get locked down when they try to decide what to do. For example, if you made an oradin//rogue/wizard/arcane trickster, you might freeze in combat when you have to decide if you should cast a divine spell or heal, cast an arcane spell, tank, smite, cast a Quickened spell, move into flanking so you can sneak attack, or 5 foot step and full attack, etc.
13 12 12 8 13 8 Before racial adjustments. Probably pick a +2 Strength race and raise it at 4th, Strength-based 2-weapon fighting.
Maybe go Halfling pet-riding archer:
Feel free to raid Charisma for more points.
Still get 5 skill points per level: Climb, Perception, Stealth, Survival, Swim to begin, keep Perception, Stealth, and Survival maxed, dabble in Handle Animal, Ride, Knowledges at level 2 and beyond.
Reach cleric (or even Wannabe Reach cleric) is a good secondary role for support. You can even flank and/or use Aid Another and/or even use some of those touch range domain abilities on allies in melee with your foes.
The Spell Focus Conjuration can be good if you're forced to use cures against undead in melee. Or if you get create pit somehow (I think the Caves sub-domain grants it.).
Yeah, I DMed for a monk in our World Serpent Inn campaign, and the ability to flurry pretty much at will and/or using Stunning Fist on practically every round of combat and mid level (6 or 7) is pretty good. Especially with scaling damage from unarmed strike. Granted, that character started at 5th level, so 2 or 3 d6+4 or +5 at that level. The same player had so much fun with that monk he is going to play a level 1 monk in my new campaign, so we'll get to see how it works at the lower levels.
But I think his 6th or 7th level halfling monk was doing damage comparable to his 12th or 13th level half-orc barbarian in our RotRL campaign. :-O
The Survival skill already has a check for hunting and gathering. You can just use that unless the environment is totally different than normal, like a radioactive desert (DC +10) or an abandoned Wal-Mart or recently deserted noble menagerie or the royalty's stocked hunting forest (DC -10).
Honestly, micromanaging PCs' calorie consumption just isn't fun, and basing nutrition on CR is just plain wonky (a CR 13 iron golem is a lot less tasty than a CR 1/4 deer--unless you're a were-rust monster!).
One thing you can do that IS fun is have some types of animals have special items. For example, maybe the heartblood of a dire bear is equivalent to a Potion of Cure Serious Wounds. Maybe the antlers of the (probably unique) albino stag can be fashioned into a +1 composite longbow. Stuff like that. Make things special for the PCs, since they are the stars. Just don't allow industrial slaughterhouses of domesticated dire bears to mass produce Potions of Cure Serious Wounds. And by "don't allow," I mean run a campaign where the characters (PCs AND NPCs) wouldn't be inspired to do that, as opposed to using DM fiat to ban factories or dire animal husbandry.
Artifacts are weird.
They mess with Wealth By Level.
They often provide abilities vastly higher than normal for the PCs' level.
Multiple artifacts might have to be given out to balance the party. If you do this, it kind of cheapens the specialness of artifacts. If you don't do this, one PC might be vastly more powerful than the rest of the party.
Artifacts can often trivialize many encounters.
I wonder if a fix would be to just give PCs 90% of their WBL for free, and let them trade out their WBL gear each level.
The remaining 10% of WBL would be earned through adventuring or downtime activities, etc., and would primarily be used for consumable items and "prestige" purchases, like ponies and castles and fancy hats and shiny baubles and bard tales.
283: It sprouts a bean-shaped cookbook filled with delicious bean-based recipes. Following the directions from this cookbook grants a +5 bonus on Craft/Profession cooking.
284: A stalk with 2d6 stinky beans grows in 1d4 rounds. Mashing a bean and rubbing the paste on you grants you the Stench ability of a troglodyte for 1d6 hours, using your Constitution score to set the save DC.
The Mobile feat does this.
It gives you:
+10 feet of speed
You can use a main gauche if you want, or a shield, or a two-handed weapon, so it's pretty general.
That's like 2 1/2 feats! :-O
I would drop the AC bonus and let Defensive Duelist remain its own feat.
I would also replace the word "reasonable" with the words "number equal to your proficiency bonus" or "number equal to your Dexterity modifier (minimum 2)" to make it more precise. And to nip arguments about what is reasonable in the bud.
There is definitely design space to increase the potency of light and/or finesse and/or thrown weapons.
Do you have a god of the undead? Maybe some evil gods dedicated to other evil monster types, like demons, devils, dragons, aberrations, magical beasts, evil fey, evil humanoids, monstrous humanoids? Maybe gods of pirates, bandits, marauders, thieves, robbers, waste, torturers?
In my campaign, I focused on Good and Neutral pantheons that PCs, heroes, and normal folk would worship, at least in public.
The evil deities are less organized and more secretive, partially because the PCs won't be worshipping them, and partially to give me some wiggle room as the campaign develops.
Does anyone know if he did that because he plans on writing a sequel trilogy or something?
Although, to be honest, I don't even really remember how it ended. That last 100 pages really were that weak!
I'm trying to maximize the usefulness of the Fast Hands archetype feature from the Thief. It lets you use your Cunning Action bonus action to use Sleight of Hands, thieves tools to open a lock or disarm a trap, or Use an Object.
I'm trying to find fun and exciting ways to Use an Object. So far, I've thought of ball bearings, caltrops, oil flasks, and a grappling hook with rope. Someone else (Petty Alchemy) in another thread suggested using the healing kit, and ideally, the Healer feat (which I probably won't take).
I kind of want to be the Jackie Chan of half-elf street urchins.
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
A Cheese Ninja would stink!
I was going to suggest VMC alchemist, but it doesn't give mutagen until 11th level, and the 3rd level ability is practically useless, and the bombs at 7th level are a little meh.
Sissyl's idea about buffing saves is a good one. You (probably) don't want to get confused or dominated into attacking your allies.
Maybe Master Craftsman and Craft Wondrous Item so you can make half-price Amulets of Mighty Fists?
Extra Rage and/or the Berserker of the Society trait might be worth it.
Dragon Style (eventually) lets you add 1.5 of your Strength modifier to unarmed strikes. Not sure if it also works with natural attacks.
Faeriepunk. Like Planescape without the planes, maybe focusing on the First World, replacing the Blood War with the conflict between the Faerie Courts.
Bronze Age, post-apocalyptic Cthulu cultists riding dinosaurs through deserts and jungles, pyramids and volcanos.
Steampunk, with classes focusing on tinkering like MacGyver and Doctor Who and Kaylee and Chewbacca, golemmancers that build and control constructs (maybe an archetype for Summoners and/or Hunters), Pilot classes and ship to ship combat rules that incorporate the whole party.
An Oriental Adventures book that delves deep into all sorts of "Orients"
A New World campaign.
I have a 7th level Half-Elf Urchin Rogue (Thief) with the Fast Hands feature. It allows him to use the Use an Object action as a bonus action.
I'm looking for fun options for Use an Object. He's a parkour specialist (Expertise in Acrobatics and Athletic, Mobile feat), if that helps.
So far I have:
1. Drop ball bearings
Do they have that "blood in the water" ability? Or whatever it's called? The one where you get advantage on attack rolls against creatures with less than their full hit point total?
If not, it's definitely a trait that quasi-piranha could have/would have/should have.
You could also boost their Dex score and/or give them "Expertise" on attack rolls and double their proficiency bonus on attack rolls.
And maybe the paladin will be "sensible" and take off his full plate before going swimming. Even though 5th Edition doesn't apply any penalties for wearing armor and swimming (that I know of). Maybe the swim DC itself could change due to armor? Like normally it's a DC 10 Strength (Athletics) check, but 15 in light, 20 in medium, and 25 in heavy armor? I'm just spitballing here.
Shopping should be done via email, not during valuable table time.
But I hate shopping in real life, let alone in my heroic fantasy hobby time.
I also hate it when the prices are different than those listed in the rulebooks. I don't care about market forces. Inflation isn't fun.
Roleplaying shopping is sooooooooooooooooo boring!
I also hate keeping track of every single copper piece and dealing with awkward treasure portions. If there are 7 PCs, the party should find 700 gps, or 1400 sps, or 350 pps, not 387 gps & 1203 sps.
K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple, Sorcerer!!!
I like ettercaps, but I just can't get into kobolds. I remember them from Basic Edition, where they had 1/2 HD (1d8/2) and were more like wimpy mini-gnolls. I remember there were kobold-like minions to a witch in a later season of Gummi Bears. They were really yippy and bouncy, but not as bouncy as Gummi Bears.
I once played in a game with a guy who played a Feral-template kobold Battle Sorcerer in a 3.5/PF combo/conversion. Did a fun combination of wraithstrike (a swift action spell that made all melee attacks touch attacks for 1 round) and claw/claw/bite/tail/wing/wing.