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The Chort's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 824 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character.


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Originality is overrated, I say. Stand atop the shoulders of greats and take the ideas of others even farther!

My favorite idea that I've stolen is from a post in another thread I started where someone explained a great way to run sandbox campaigns. Establish the existence of time and have 3 or 4 plotlines occurring simultaneously. Have each plot advance whether the PCs interact with it or not. An individual plotline could reach a critical point where the PCs have even more compelling reasons to resolve it. Or it could be resolved by other heroes who got there before you. Or whatever. Just seemed like a great way to maintain that openness of a sandbox, where players can go and do what they'd like, but add some urgency and verisimilitude that this is an actual world that moves without you.

What's your favorite idea that you've taken, perhaps reworked a little and added to your game? As a player or game master.

And the final chapter!

@yronimous: I feel I have a GM who can railroad us even more than the GM you described; it's not "You stand at the outside of the dungeon, what do you do?" "Wrong!"'s more like... "My GMPC is leading you into the dungeon as you follow behind." The story can keep going without us making any decisions. Anyway, as you explained, I hope to provide my players with enough information, set the mood of the campaign and let them make informed decisions which have meaningful consequences.

@Cap. Darling: I do plan on using some "All roads lead to Rome" tactics, especially with any number of NPCs able to drop the same plot hooks, and perhaps any number of subplots lead to a bigger plot.

@Devilkiller: There are certainly some skills I'll need to master: improvisation and, failing that, controlling the flow of the game to non-offensively stall the PCs, thereby buying you the time you need to create a dungeon/flesh out a plotline that the PCs will explore next time.

@Bodhizen: Good reminders; I intend to have a weather forecast for the entire campaign. Players can railroad is a concern, I know one player who can get a little dominating. I could use some in-game consequences and punish this player, but I'd sooner take him aside and discuss it with him. He's been in my Pathfinder group for 7 years, so I'm comfortable enough.

@SteveGeddes: I'm unsure how comfortable my players will be without rails, I'll do my best to guide them subtly throw in plot hooks and decide for themselves which they'll bite. I do have a player who, when the story isn't moving at a pace she enjoys, will shout "Find the Plot!" a parody of "Find the Path", hoping similar magical results will be reached. Hopefully when the PCs stumble on one of the multiple plotlines found in my sandbox, it won't feel aimless nor require further castings of "Find the Plot"

@MrCharisma: Hope you don't mind if I straight up steal some of what you posted for my campaign. Great ideas. Really digging the separate yet interconnected and constantly moving plotlines.

...and it's over! Thanks again so much to everyone who posted. ...and feel free to post more. This has really helped inspire me to keep on plugging away at building my sandbox.

...and continuing!

@TGMaxMaxer: That sounds amazing. Especially the "3 plotlines, chose what to focus on, see what consequences unfold because of what you ignored." I've told my group I want to include the concept of time, and that the world is moving before PCs get there and after they leave. The "3 plotlines" strategy sounds like superbly focused way to do this; rather than tracking 10 individual towns/cities, just track the effects of the 3 plotlines.

@kyrt-rider: Good luck in your endeavor to return to the GM seat! It can be daunting, frustrating and rewarding. I look forward to tossing an encounter they simply cannot defeat, but of course give them the chance to escape. Also I do have something of an assistant GM; I'll lean on him more after the game begins.

@ChengarQuordath: Good point; I don't want to completely take my hands off the world, I can still guide them to the plots through my available tools, like NPCs.

@pezlerpolychromatic: I'll keep the concept of "something to strive for" in mind. Aimless PCs in my "unlimited potential awesome Sandbox" is a fear of mine. What good is my sandbox if my players have no sense of purpose?

@squankmuffin: I will encourage my players to have individual goals, but not necessarily count on those to guide the story. There are storylines in the world that the players can interact with that can have regional/global consequences that should add a sense of purpose and stave off feelings of pointlessness.

@Errant Mercenary: That's a great list of information you want to know as a GMing when building locations/plotlines within you sandbox. Rather than writing the plot in advance, write the villians / NPCs in advance and have them react to the world around them.

...even more to come!

Apologies for disappearing after posting; I just wanted to pop back in to thank everyone for the phenomenal responses. And to think I almost didn't post this thread thinking it'd be uninteresting!

@Petty Alchemy: Point taken; I hate too many irrelevant quests.

@chbgraphicarts: Freaking sweet! Thanks for pointing this out. I've noticed that our group is not lethal in the slightest, no PC deaths ever. I never quite put two and two together that it was because it's somewhat of a jerk move to kill PCs in a railroad plot, and of course our group always railroads. I look forward to TPKing every combat. (Totally kidding, but less pulled punches!)

@MsPleiades: That's my intention! I want this campaign centered around kingdom building rules. Should help tether them down; they're free to wander but they do need to come back eventually.

@Ithnaar: I'm glad to have mortal danger as one tool in my toolbox. Thanks for pointing out the 3x3x3 system! Took me a moment to put in the proper google search, but found it. I've had my players design NPCs for me, but not nearly 9 each, and not nearly as focused.

@Create Mr. Pitt: I'm doing my best to create a world with its own cultures and social/power structures. I don't intend to have linear narrative, but a bunch of chapters my players can explore in the order they choose.

...more later!

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One GM tactic that can rub players the wrong way is railroading, where the GM is overly controlling of the story. No matter what the players do, the story continues down the path the GM has laid out. All GMs in our group, myself included, are guilty of using this tactic at least once, if not constantly.

So in my next campaign I'd like to intentionally NOT railroad the group. My campaign is sandbox style, but that does not by definition prevent railroading. I think the true agony of being railroaded is that the players' decisions are meaningless and don't affect the outcome of the story. So I'm trying to brainstorm ways to make the players' decisions matter.

1. Recurring NPCs:
Take notes for each NPC you introduce. Did PCs do a favor for this NPC? Did PCs mistreat this NPC? Have karma bless or bite the PCs. Excessively, if appropriate. Make it over the top awesome or horrible.

2. Players Express Interest:
PCs are especially interested in some throwaway line about an ancient ruin? Let them investigate! If you have trouble completely ad libbing this unplanned dungeon from start to finish, make it a 2 parter and flesh out the details by the next session.

3. Reward Roleplay and Creativity:
Player does some great roleplaying or lays out some really clever plan? Reward behavior you like seeing in your players by letting their roleplay or plan achieve its intended results, even if it stretches what they could normally accomplish within the rules. Or give the player a literal poker chip or some other token they can turn in for free rerolls or something.

How else could a GM implement the opposite of railroading?

Since many classes offer ways to pick up Weapon Finesse as a class feature (Swashbuckler, Rogue Talents) you may want to ask your GM if you can get a replacement class feature.

In our home games, we give out Weapon Finesse for free, and allow people to take Slashing Grace/Fencing Grace/Dervish Dance/Deadly Agility if a class feature would give them Weapon Finesse. Other options could be any combat feat, or some simple static feat, like Dodge.

I'm thinking a traditional fighter, actually. Or perhaps a fighter with the two-handed archetype, to represent just how heavy her swings are. She doesn't seem like a Paladin (she has strong convictions, but not like that) or a Barbarian, (she doesn't go crazy, she's collected yet brutal) so I'd go fighter. Maybe a knightly martial prestige class would be fitting, like Golden Legionnaire.

Successfully bringing Brienne of Tarth to Pathfinder involves... Well, roleplaying Brienne of Tarth in Pathfinder.

Haladir wrote:

Here's one suggestion that doesn't require a whole lot of work...

** spoiler omitted **

Nice! That seems a plausible and simple way to rewrite the story so it satisfyingly ends with the defeat of Mokmurian.

So I've been running the runelords campaign for a few years now, and I'd like to conclude it in chapter 4.

1. My players are losing their excitement for this campaign. Probably because I'm losing excitement as GM

2. Problem characters, mechanically. I've got a Fey Kitsune Sorcerer who's hyper specialized in save or die combat ending enchantments. This leads to a no-win situation. Either the sorcerer completely ends the fight and the party is bored, or the sorcerer is completely useless and not having fun, while the rest of the party is having a good time. Also, I have an Oracle of Life that makes the game feel too safe. No one's ever in danger since the Oracle is constantly topping off HP as free actions, swift actions, move actions, and standard actions. Occasionally casting scorching ray instead.

3. Well, more a consequence than a reason, but I have already declared my intentions for a new campaign. People have rolled up characters and are stoked to try my first stab at a homebrew story; a sandbox kingmaker-esque campaign.

Possible options:

1. Leave the game untouched, PCs defeat Mokmurian and are left with a foreboding cliffhanger of Karzoug's return.
2. Instead of Karzoug only mentally appearing before the PCs, he literally appears before the PCs. The PCs defeat him, the world is saved, the entire storyline is essentially resolved and the campaign is complete.
3. End the campaign with a TPK. Karzoug appears and kills them all. Or imprisons them. In a prism? Imprismed. Perhaps defeating Karzoug will be an optional story arc to be tackled at the high levels of my new sandbox campaign.

Option 1 seems unsatisfying, while 2 and 3 seem tempting, although I'm nervous about implementing option 3. It could be completely awesome or could go very sour if handled poorly.

Any ideas on how to best conclude the campaign?

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I never thought Pathfinder would have to use the stack.

Just an update:

The Druid has decided to instead become a Void Wizard. (Glad I asked "Why druid?") I'll still need to walk her through some spellcasting tips to get her on a strong footing.

The Bard has taken the tips from the buffer guide to heart and will be a phenomenal buffer. Also, she opted for the Duettist archetype, so she has a performing familiar now.

The Witch is now a Lore Shaman, oddly enough. Too bad about the loss of the potential of sharing spellbook/familiar spells, but very happy to have a full Divine caster on board.

The Swashbuckler is going for the Inspired Blade archetype, allowing her to dominate with a rapier.

The Synthesist... Not really sure what he's up to. I'll discuss his character with him closer to when my campaign starts.

Almost 4 years ago I asked much the same question. And a lot of people gave good answers. Hope this is helpful!

Training myself up to be a good GM

Kolokotroni wrote:

One option that a gm in my group went with to give some of the mythic feel but not go overboard was to give specific mythic abilities peicemeal out to the party.

He chose specific mythic abilities and powers to give out to each character that suited them. Basically we got surge, mythic power and one of the chosen 1st level abilities for a relavent path. But we didnt get all the hp, mythic feats etc. You could give out a few specific things that offer options instead of just extra numbers, and it will have less of an impact on players steamrolling normal encounters.

For instance the fighter being able to jump in the air and attack the dragon isnt really going to be all that different to ending the encounter then him pulling out a bow (all things being equal ofcourse) but it does give that mythic feel. You can trickle in certain abilities as you see fit, that way you can keep things roughly at the power level you would like.

That's another thing I was considering, like letting them keep a single path ability as a token piece of awesomeness after completing a Mythic one-shot/arc.

Or I could use it like your GM and simply hand out the ability without ever going into full Mythic rules.

LazarX wrote:
The Chort wrote:

I've been considering implementing Mythic rules into my upcoming kingdom building sandbox campaign, but I'm also somewhat concerned about my players steamrolling the non-mythic aspects of my campaign.

So I'm considering Mythic only being active when I say it is. They might be mythic for 1 combat, 1 day, or 1 month, depending upon the nature of the challenge they face. What say you? Would this be a good house-rule? Or would this be a headache if you were one of my players?

Best example I can think of a good way to handle this was the three part PFS Adventure Destiny of the Sands. Players got a one time taste of mythic play, had a mythic adventure, and when it was over, they were no longer mythic, but one level higher as a result of the XP they got.

I do not advise that you give Mythic to your players , but keep it in reserve as a tool for your use when you want to throw something challenging at them. If you want to give them a one time taste of mythic the way Destiny did, that's cool. Maybe you can have them encounter a being who grants them mythic powers, sends them on an adventure and then takes them back when it's over. ("Preservation of the Balance and all that chaps.")

But I would strongly suggest that you don't regularly mythic flip flop your players, or give them mythic permanently.

I really like the sound of this; might be the best I can offer my players. Would 1 tier be plenty to feel mythic? Or how many tiers wound you recommend for a "Mythic one-shot"?

alexd1976 wrote:

I would lean towards not using it again... if it is your first time using it, while trying to do kingdom building, be prepared to treat your game like a part time job (20 hours of prep).

Trust me. I have the time, and I still don't always feel prepared for my sessions.

I'm an accountant in the middle of tax season. I, uh, probably don't need another part time job. Haha, thankfully this campaign likely won't start until... May? Still, Mythic is seeming like a lot of work that may not necessarily enhance the game. Between Heroic Progression, Magic Schools, and generally giving access to 3rd party material that's useful to their character concepts, I think the party will seem mythic enough.

alexd1976 wrote:

I have used it all the way up to level 19/mythic tier 9, I'm not sure I would do it again.

It is an entirely different game.

I throw CR+5, CR+7 and more stuff at them, they curbstomp it.

They literally killed (full hp to dead) a custom Balor with class levels and 5 mythic tiers... in 2 rounds.

He killed one of the pcs (vorpal sword)-they mythic timestopped, true rezzed him and continued the combat.

It totally alters the game.

I would advise one of two ways to use Mythic:

a) Introduce it early (gain one tier every other level, starting at level 2)

b) Don't use it at all

I introduced it later, and it was rough...

More or less what I was afraid of. The CR system falling apart (more so than it already does) resulting in excessive preparation time for designing challenging encounters and copious amounts of fudging and on-the-fly template adding just to keep combat somewhat interesting. The party is optimized (I'm helping them optimize; whoops) and I have 5 players so I'm probably already going to have to do CR+5 or more for a challenging fight.

I did mention to my players they'd eventually be mythic, but hopefully they'll understand. Or perhaps they'll forget if I never bring it up again. Haha.

Covent wrote:

I introduced mythic at level 4 and caught them up by level 6/tier 3. They are now level 9/tier 4 and loving it, but they can and have killed up to CR 15 non-mythic without much fuss.

Honestly mythic is going to force me to homebrew all opponents. It is much more work and a very different game but so far lots of fun.

It really could be fun, but I'm wondering if I'm prepared to do all the extra work for designing encounters. Maybe if my players can manage their kingdom without too much hand-holding from me, I could manage.

kestral287 wrote:

Mythic has various means for which it can be granted; using an item (possibly an intelligent one) or a god can handle this easy from a story perspective. If you want it to be a one-off I'd use an item, god is easier for multiple uses.

How important are the non-mythic aspects? That is to say, can you just bring them up a bit in power to compensate?

I was intending to just straight run mythic, but I have so many systems I'm trying for the first time (Downtime, Kingdom Building, Magic Schools, Heroic Progression mitigating the Christmas Tree Effect... Probably more.) that Mythic seems like one more thing I have to take into account for everything.

Not to mention this Q&A with James Jacobs intimidated me:

James Jacobs:
Kalindlara wrote:
5) On that note, actually... do you still want to fix Mythic? (Do you even consider it broken?) I got the impression from a previous question that the forum response to WotR left you completely embittered with Mythic. I think the idea was really innovative and cool, and I'd like to see Paizo refine it a bit more, reining in the problematic aspects. (Less extra attacks and unstoppable spells, more Seven-League Steps and Mirror Dodges, etc.) I hope you and the rest of the staff can find the desire... not to mention the time.
5) At this point I'm pretty down on Mythic. A few folks in particular on these boards really wore me down and made me really frustrated and unhappy wiht how Wrath turned out. A classic case of the vocal minority having a STRONG influence on things, as it were. I suspect we'll continue to use mythic on monsters now and then, but at this point, I'm like 98% convinced those rules belong to the GM and not to the players. That, and the fact that there really wasn't a lot of thought put in during the playtest about how mythic impacts high level play, which was PRECISELY what I wanted it for, was frustrating. Yeah, I am indeed bitter about it.

After hearing that and considering my workload and considering the campaign (It's sandbox kingdom building; explore the world kind of thing. I don't want everything to be a mythic undertaking) I just thought I should give up on it.

OR find a solution like I've mentioned in previous posts. Or potentially just move mythic out to later levels so I can get a feel for what my characters can accomplish without Mythic and prepare myself for what they can do with it. (I was thinking of introducing it around level 4 to 6, maybe I should wait until they're inclined to leave the continent? Plane of existence?)

So that's where I'm at with mythic:

1) GM toggle control it.
2) Move it to later levels.
3) Remove it entirely.

Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
If you let them choose when to use it it's just fine. Toggling it on for special battles is a bit metagamey. But giving them mythic abilities they can use very occasionally at their discretion is fine.

That's interesting... It'd require me to draft up specific rules/limitations in that case. I was of course thinking the opposite; it'd be under GM control. Something like:

As Sting glows blow when orcs are near, PCs go mythic when mythic bad guys are near.


Some benevolent/capricious/malicious/bored/whatever deity (or other powerful being) guides the fate of the PCs by granting them power whenever the deity feels like it. It eventually becomes a plot point to find the source of the mythic power, and something happens. (Benevolent deity? Maybe there's some path to permanently gaining mythic power. Malevolent deity pulling the strings? Defeat it and... something happens.)

I've been considering implementing Mythic rules into my upcoming kingdom building sandbox campaign, but I'm also somewhat concerned about my players steamrolling the non-mythic aspects of my campaign.

So I'm considering Mythic only being active when I say it is. They might be mythic for 1 combat, 1 day, or 1 month, depending upon the nature of the challenge they face. What say you? Would this be a good house-rule? Or would this be a headache if you were one of my players?

I've got my list of recommendations, hopefully she'll like one of them. I can still show her other archetypes/schools if she has another concept that these don't cover.

Wizard Conjurer Teleportation
Wizard Diviner Foresight
Wizard Evoker Admixture
Wizard Void
Wizard Exploiter
Arcanist Occultist
Arcanist School Savant

kestral287 wrote:

The only major 'new' piece is the Exploiter Wizard, which... you can argue over whether it's a loss or a gain, but it is an interesting piece. If she's interested in the Arcanist toolbox but not Arcanist casting, point her there.

Beyond that, a few new spells, same Wizardly ways.

Exploiter Wizard is certainly an interesting archetype, and one made better since I'd allow players to take Extra Exploit with this archetype. (I guess there's some uncertainty about this?) I'll see if she likes the exploits.

Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
If you're starting from first level, there's time to learn. Grease and Pit, Sleep and Charm Person and Mage Armor, Burning Hands if you're a blaster... the first and second level spells are pretty much a set of solved problems. I agree that conjurer and evocation-admixture blaster are the two good ways to go here, with the latter probably being easier for a relative newbie.

We'll be starting at level 3. Which is still pretty low, but high enough to ignore things like Sleep. I'm hoping she'll go Conjurer, to fully enjoy the subtleties of "God" wizard-ness. You don't have to deal the finishing blow to be invaluable to the party's success.

Douglas Muir 406 wrote:

As to something new, I believe alchemical reagents are new since Ultimate Combat. I did a post a while back about how you can use them to make a blaster just a little more blast-y. Here it is; hope it's of some interest.

That was an interesting read! I've used Liquid Ice for Ray of Frost, but I never took the time to read much more into Alchemical Reagents. There's cool stuff for an Evoker like Urea.

thundercade wrote:
Make sure she understands the need to familiarize herself with the spell lists and descriptions - hopefully, she is excited to do this. This takes some time. Especially when it comes to casting times (i.e. summon monster), allowed targets, and which ones need savings throws vs. a ranged attack. A couple guides here in the advice forum give a decent rundown of useful spells.

She has seen wizards in action for several years, so hopefully it won't all be foreign concepts. We'll assist when necessary. Oh, and maybe have another player control monsters she summons. I think I have a player who keeps Summon Monster details on flashcards or excel or something for the most popular summons, so he could run them.

thundercade wrote:
Also, make sure you (or whoever is the GM) is good about handing out scrolls and spell books so there's some stuff for her to copy. I've found this is easy to forget if you don't have a resident whiny wizard in the group.

I was intending to include spellbooks as loot before she chose wizard (There's a witch in the group) but now I'm definitely going to make sure there's a few wizard enemies in the sandbox campaign I'm building.

Renegadeshepherd wrote:
2) most ladies I've played with play because its time to spend with someone they care for OR they want an identity to relate to or play out.

It's probably sexist to categorize women that accurately! Leastways it pans out for my group. The wizard player actually falls in the 1st category, while the other two ladies in my group fall in the 2nd category. She loves spending time with us, but hasn't been especially invested in Pathfinder. Although I think she's willing to put in a little extra effort, hence picking wizard this time.

Renegadeshepherd wrote:
3) wizard isn't hard to learn just hard to master.

Good point. I'll try to give tips on good memorizations and combat tactics (Don't use too many spells, don't use too few, and what spells are appropriate for which situations)

Renegadeshepherd wrote:
4) I am I the personal belief that a wizard transitions better into prestige classes.

I'd agree; Wizards class features are less vital for them to function, while an Oracle, Arcanist, Witch, and others lose a lot more since so many powerful abilities key off of class level.

My player hasn't created a character sheet for my campaign yet, so still plenty can change; I've also considered recommending an Arcanist instead, since it's simpler to run/more forgiving to players new to spellcasting. But still looking at wizard first and foremost since she seems to want the challenge.

I'm helping a friend make her first Wizard. She normally plays Rangers and Fighters, but wanted to challenge herself more than usual. I was thinking of recommending a Conjurer and go with traditional good stuff like Grease, Create Pit, and later on, summons, walls and so forth? Or maybe go Evoker Admixture if she wants to blast...

Is there anything new going on with the Wizard? I haven't created a Wizard since Ultimate Combat came out and was wondering if any new archetypes or spells have challenged the traditional wizard model.

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Having been on the receiving end of a Kitsune Fey Sorcerer in my Rise of the Runelords campaign, I can relate to your GMs desire to create an enemy that isn't instantly killed by you.

It's hard to know who to blame; enchanter sorcerers are a one trick pony, but its one hell of a trick that the GM must always keep in mind. "Is this an encounter I'm content for the Sorcerer to steamroll through?" is a consideration, and hopefully the answer is usually yes, but other times no.

Sometimes the question is "Is this an entire story arch I'm content for the Sorcerer to steamroll through?" and when the answer to that is no, that's when things get rough. You can diversify your spell list, but I'm sure you've sunk a bunch of feats and class features to being good at what you do: enchanting.

Ultimately, I don't think enchanters are good for a long-term level 1 to 20 homebrew campaign. I'm sure your GM wants you to have fun as well as everyone else at the table, but most GMs can't handle both with your build. Very often, either you will enjoy the encounter, or the rest of the party will. It puts your GM in a very difficult position. There's a rare few who might masterfully handle it, but I'd wager most cannot. I'd consider asking your GM if you could roll up another character that's more suitable to your campaign.

Otherwise, take the advise of others: increase your spell versatility to contribute to combat in other ways; buffs, battlefield control or summons might be preferable if only your enchantment DCs are competitive.

Magda Luckbender wrote:

This is the result:

Guide to the Buffer Bard


Thanks for the fix! Glad this guide was pointed out.

Grokk_Bloodfist wrote:
I would get the Druid to reroll as a Shaman.

It's certainly another good possibility. Most players don't have a character sheet yet, so less of a reroll than create her character to begin with. :)

avr wrote:
There's a prestige class for a wizard who wants a little druidic magic - the Magaambyan Arcanist. I'd take that and call it a day.

I considered this, but I have a sneaking suspicion my player is not choosing druid because she's enamored with the spell list. (I'm not sure she knows the difference between the two, other than one is more nature-themed) Still, this may yet fill the concept she's after.

Just a Guess wrote:


I see several options.
- druid with the nature fang archetype. It gets rid of wildshape and his studied targets have a higher save DC against the druid's spells.
- Wood or earth wizard worshipping a nature deity. Has a familiar instead of a companion. Give him bleliever's boon for some nature domain stuff.
- Hunter. A little less casty (only 6th level) but good spells because of early access from the ranger list.
- Cleric with the animal domain

Something I was looking at was Druid with Animal/Feather domain and just take Boon Companion. Seems like a strong and even somewhat flavorful option for the druid with her Roc companion.

Drackhyo wrote:
If the druid just wanted an animal companion, maybe going as a wizard instead and picking the familiar (be sure to check out the familiar archetypes). A wood school wizard might otherwise be "druid"-y enough. Maybe checking out witch instead (still gets a familiar and has a lot more "nature" feel to it)

A familiar with an archetype may fit the bill; I'll have to ask. As for a Witch, considering we have another Witch in the party who also happens to be her brother in game and that she'd prefer to be mechanically different... She probably wouldn't go for it.

Joynt Jezebel wrote:

I must say I like your approach to looking after your players and trying to ensure they are having fun.

On creating archetypes for players with sub-optimal ideas, its a reasonable idea, but less challenging than creating archetypes for players with sub-optimal minds. That can be really challenging.

That's nice of you to say! I guess I've just been shaped by being in a group where we have an even-split of optimizers and non-optimizers. Players with system mastery shined. To help balance things out, rather than restrict/restrain anyone, we work together during character creation. Non-optimizers explain the concept of the character they'd like to play, optimizers look into it and list some of the strongest mechanical options to accomplish their concept.

Similar to how I just researched the support bard. Well, this time the forums researched the support bard for me and explained how it can be viable. Now I'll let the player know about possible builds to choose from and awesome feats like Master Performer that will enhance her concept.

Now to find out what my druid player wants. (Or is it a wizard player?) When I find that out, I'll advise accordingly.

Covent wrote:

For the bard

Master Performer

Grand Master Performer

Either wave or change to a different reputation the Kitharodian Academy TPA requirement if it does not exist in your game.

Also the FCB for aasimar bards is amazing.

The inspire courage buff will be huge, and by pumping charisma bard spells stay relevant for a while.

Yeah, those feats are awesome. They apply to ALL performances? From the way that bard buffing guide mentioned them, it sounded like it only applied to one (Pick Inspire Courage), which would honestly still be worth it, but all is better.

I was intending to use Magic School system for my game, so I think I could use some sort of performing art school to fulfill the reputation requirement.

Claxon wrote:

Your druid sounds like they mixed up druid and wizard.

I would say play a wizard with knowledge(dungeoneering) and knowledge (engineering).

Why exactly are the interested in the druid class at all? Because it doesn't fit anything they are suggesting.

I had the exact same thought, I'll be sure to ask her "why druid?", and advise accordingly. (Will it be easier to modify a druid or a wizard to suit what she has in mind?)

Thanks for the feedback. I'll give them some advice on archetypes that could go well with their concept, but otherwise let the players figure it out themselves. If they ask for help with their build even after the campaign starts, I'll work with them.

Eltacolibre wrote:

The druid sounds like a typical caster druid...and there is nothing wrong with that. Funny enough these kind of druids use the menhir savant archetype most of time , which is often considered a solid or better option than the regular druid. Caster druid just happen to be weak early but get much stronger than melee druid later on.

Classic support bard...its the vanilla bard, nothing needs to be done.

Now, really it depends, is there like a special ability that they are looking for? Because so far, don't think that I see anything unusual that they want to be doing.

Well the druid is a little odd in that she's opting for the animal companion, despite the focus on casting. So I'm concerned she won't have enough spell slots or any other class abilities to use her standard actions on.

Most bards I've seen have had some kind of combat ability; bruisers with 18 Str 2 handing a falcata, or archery or something. But I guess pure support is an option. I'm not sure how much better she'll be at buffing by forgoing melee, so that's what makes me nervous.

Java Man wrote:
Some off the cuff ideas, no pretense of balance to them. Allow a couple more class skills and/or skill points in place of weapon proficencies. The wild whisperer in ACG might be good for the druid.

I was certainly considering that Archetype for her, since it would give her something for having a high Int score. Not a lot, but something.

Some additional points:

It's something of a Kingmaker campaign of my design, and it'll eventually use Mythic rules.

The Bard and the Druid don't seem interested in contributing to combat with traditional weapons. The Bard would like to be exceptional at buffing, and I'm thinking maybe a blasty ability would be good for the Druid. An Int-based ability, preferably. I want to find something for them that'd allow them to consistently contribute something to combat.

For the Bard, Inspire Courage, maybe a single buff spell, then what? For the Druid, cast a spell or two, then what? Do they wait for combat to end? I'd still like for them to have something to do. Like maybe an Arcanist exploit blast ability.

I'm starting a homebrew sandbox campaign and a number of my players have some cool concepts for characters that sound like they'd be weak mechanically.

The Druid:
The druid wants to be very intelligent, reads a lot of books, and is fascinated with ruins. Or runes? Maybe both. She has no interest in being a frontliner/using wildshape, etc and would like to cast from the back row.

The Bard:
Is something of a pacifist hippy performing artist. She's an Aasimar (with wings) that goes on tour from city to city and draws large crowds. She'd rather not dirty her hands with something as crude as a weapon and mostly perform and buff.

The Swashbuckler & The Witch:
These two I'm less worried about, their classes will be optimized as you'd normally expect. Still, maybe I'll treat them to something else; I think the Swashbuckler wants to be stealthy and Witch wants to be a magic item crafter

The Oracle 1/Paladin 2/Synthesist X - Charisma for everything:
I'm, uh, least worried about how his mechanics will pan out. Still, he's a good friend and been very helpful in designing my homebrew campaign, so I wouldn't mind giving him some goodies.

Primarily, I'd like to design archetypes for the Druid and the Bard to more easily enable their concepts. The party is big enough that it's okay for them to be weaker, but as a GM wanting to see everyone filling their role as they imagined, I'd like to help. They don't have an optimizing bone in their bodies, but they do enjoy the benefits of a good build. (They've asked me to help optimize their characters in the past)

Beyond that, I'm totally feeling generous with my players and wouldn't mind tossing out freebies; hopefully freebies that won't dramatically individually warp their combat abilities, but I'm not too afraid of that either. Things like extra skill points, stealthy abilities, improved crafting and more.

Honestly, as a GM, it's easier to handle dex builds in my campaigns than 20 Str Two-Handed greataxe wielding power attacking raging barbarians.

So I'd rather not discourage alternative ways to contribute to combat, and since dex builds are popular in my group, why not? They won't deal half as much damage as the barbarian even with Deadly Agility and the like, but they can do something.

(And as was established in another thread, Pathfinder favors offense over defense)

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LazarX wrote:
Cuup wrote:

I know many posts exist that have very similar alterations to Weapon Finesse, but I can't find any that are exactly like this one, and I'd like some feedback:

Any weapon normally applicable for Weapon Finesse has the Finesse Quality, which gives a creature the option to use its Dex modifier on attack rolls instead of its Str modifier.

Weapon Finesse (Combat): When dealing damage with a weapon with the Finesse Quality, a creature adds its Str modifier, in addition to 1/2 (rounded up) its Dex modifier to damage, instead of just its Str modifier.

The Dervish Dance feat is not altered by this feat.

Bold-ed Edit for clarity

So basically you're giving Dex to Damage characters more damage... for free.

Let me guess... no one really bothers with strength in the campaigns you run unless they're two handed fighters?

Actually, this feat is more balanced than Deadly Agility in the sense that dumping Str has a consequence. And you're paying a feat for the OPs feat so it isn't more damage for free. And it's half dex instead of full dex.

Let's compare a Rapier with Deadly Agility vs Weapon Finesse (OP's rework)

Example 1:

14 Str
14 Dex

DA d6+2
WF d6+3

Example 2:

10 Str
16 Dex

DA d6+3
WF d6+2

Example 3:

7 Str
18 Dex

DA d6+4
WF d6

So the OP's feat is actually rather weak and forces your character to not dump Str as hard as all other Dex to damage feats (Dervish Dance, Slashing Grace, Deadly Agility)

I give everyone Weapon Finesse for free (and Agile Maneuvers) and allow classes that get Weapon Finesse as a class feature (Swashbuckler, Rogue Talent, etc) to replace that with a Dex to damage feat (Slashing Grace, Dervish Dance, a homebrew feat)

I'm also currently playtesting this homebrew feat for my next campaign.

One-Handed Fighting:

Benefit: When wielding a melee weapon in one hand that you adds your Dex to your attack roll, if your other hand is empty, you may add your Dex to damage instead of Str

While there is no early entry into the prestige class anymore by the rules, there is a way to lessen the pain of being a mystic theurge; if you use the Magic School system from Inner Sea Magic.

Check out Magic Guilds:
As guild students increase in fame, they gain the following rewards.

Eclectic Training (5 Fame): Guilds often require members to master and train in different subjects. When your Fame score in a guild reaches 5, choose one spellcasting class you have at least 1 level in—you increase your effective caster level in that class (including the number of spells you know and can cast per day) by +1, to a maximum caster level equal to your total Hit Dice. Single-classed spellcasters should still pick a class to which this bonus applies, since this bonus is retroactive.

Senior Guild Member (20 Fame): You have become a senior member of the guild. Select a category of magic item (such as magic armor, magic weapon, rod, or staff) that has an association with your guild (if no association seems appropriate, select wondrous item). Using guild contacts, you can gain a 10% bonus on the amount of money you make selling these items.

Esoteric Training (35 Fame): The bonus to caster level you gain from Eclectic Training increases to +3 (but is still limited by your total Hit Dice). You may select a second spellcasting class to gain a +1 bonus to effective caster level.

Guildmaster (50 Fame): You become one of the masters of your guild, and no longer need to pay tuition—every time you would normally pay tuition, you instead earn that amount of gold as your salary.

With Eclectic training, you'll only be two levels behind instead of the usual 3 with one class, and with Esoteric Training, you'll be equal level and 2 level behinds with the other casting class.

With SLA entry gone, that's the only Paizo system I've seen that can make the Mystic Theurge up to par with other casting classes.

One possibility would be an Eldritch Guardian fighter; you could take a Tiny flying familiar with the Mauler archetype. Then it can at will switch between Tiny and Medium sizes. It'd be okay at combat, since it has your BAB, a +6 to Str in combat form and a scaling Str score. Might still be weaker than a Hunter's mount, though.

blackbloodtroll wrote:

White Haired Witch sucks. Even more so as a dip.

Maybe just Scarred Witch Doctor/Brawler, with the Prehensile Hair Hex.

A White Haired Witch/Brawler gestalt would be pretty cool, though. Perfect saves. Feral Combat Training and murder things at a distance with your hair for days. (Hair is damage is based on unarmed strike damage, you can use your hair as unarmed strikes for style feats, etc.)

A handful of things measure your Con score instead of your Con bonus (How long you can hold your breath, how many negative hit points it takes for you to die for good.)

Carrying capacity is measured with score, not modifier...

Also, you'll want to have the score written so when you boost an ability score you'll know when to increase the modifier (Did it increase from even to odd, and thus no change in modifier? Or did it change from odd to even and increase the modifier by 1?)

EDIT: Half-ninja'd

pennywit wrote:
I'm going back and forth on that, but I think keeping the secret doesn't matter. The party's 9th level and the wizard has the teleport spell, so they're going to compare notes shortly after the encounters are over.

Yeah, if there's no specific purpose to the secret, which the whole party will become aware within a matter of minutes after a teleport, then I see no reason to split to separate tables.

Do you think your players would enjoy alternating taking the role of bad guys? Do your trust your players skill and judgment to properly execute such a scenario? (You and your players may not use the same tactics and it's harder to pull punches or fudge rolls when you don't have full control)

Important question: Do you want the split party to be unaware of what's going on with the other half of the party? (Team 1 unaware what happened to Team 2) It didn't seem that way, but sometimes it's fun for the split party members to only have knowledge of what's happening where they're at.

If secret information doesn't matter, you may want to consider having Team 2 GM/run the bad guys that are fighting Team 1 and vice versa. Then no one will be bored.

Otherwise, you may want to find a way to have a guest GM run the adventure concurrently at a separate table.

oldmanboy wrote:

ok now I am getting confused a bit.

If I was to go for the high dex route then surely I should have Toughness and FCB to HP to balance out the lack of HP from CON?

Also since my CON is lower I am not going to hap a mass amount of TEMP HP anyways so Raging vitality doesn't really matter as I could just drop my rage if things get messy?

Also, I think Raging Vitality is more beneficial for those that don't take Superstitious as you can't heal when raging and if you are using RV then as soon as you drop Rage you are definitely dead. Seems like a Kamikaze approach to a lose lose situation.

Any thoughts?

Most characters that are ever built by point buy have 12 to 14 con, just because it's an important stat, but not the stat that makes your character shine, it's just necessary to stay alive. 13 Con, or 14 at level 4 is about as good as you can expect. D12 HD + Con 14 is a respectable amount of HP

Now, there's a solid case for Toughness and Con 16 (although I would stick with the Human FCB no matter what.) However, in Pathfinder, when given the choice between being harder to kill vs more combat options/killing power, I usually choose the latter.

High dex opens up new options like archery and reach (combat reflexes) And the initiative, reflex, and AC boost are subtle ways of increasing your HP. (Reflex so you take half damage, AC so you take no damage, initiative so you kill them before they kill you.)

And instead of toughness, I'd sooner start climbing feat trees, save feats for rage powers and so on.

But again, 20 str 14 dex (at level 4) and 16 con is an exceptional barbarian as well. And a Barbarian with Toughness is certainly less likely to die from damage. It's all personal preference.

Like Charon, my suggestion would be:

20 Str (after racial) 16 dex 13 con

Some would argue you should put your ability increases all in Str, but I think it would be a reasonable idea to put your level 4 increase in Con to make it an even 14.

Weapon Focus is nice, but I wouldn't specialize too soon. I'd carry a greataxe, a lucerne hammer, and a longbow with an appropriate str rating. While you don't need to invest any feats in archery or anything, there will always be times when you come across flying enemies. And even if you have a +5 greataxe, it won't do you any good against them.

Other than that, sounds like you have a solid plan for rage powers, and Charon has mentioned possibilities if interested in a reach build. I might pop in later to comment more; have to go to work!

Oh, another more immediate band-aid to your problem would be to punish not showing up in small way:

Rather than permanently falling behind, (Less loot/exp) just create some sort of "worn out" template for players who didn't come last time.

Like, all casters show up with half of their spells (rounded down) expended at each level. I.e.

6 1st level spells - expend 3
5 2nd level spells - expend 2
4 3rd level spells - expend 2
3 4th level spells - expend 1

And then apply the same to limited uses per day abilities or whatever. Maybe if you're especially deep in a dungeon, round up instead of round down.

I'm not sure I'd bother with fatigue or HP loss or whatever, especially if there's a Cleric whose spells and channeling have been reduced by this "worn out" template.

This is a rough one. I don't think there's a perfect solution to your problem, but here are possible courses of action:

Whittle down the size of your group - Consider having a cap of 6 players at any one time? Keep players who are committed to the group and/or players who are good at making the game more enjoyable for each person at the table.

Constantly communicate with players - Make a facebook group; whatever. Do your absolute best to find a date without conflicts

Reward good behavior - This is difficult, especially in AP's, but it is preferable to punishing bad behavior. Whether it's more experience, loot, or some other blessing of the GM, find some way to illustrate it pays to show up.

Make your game as enjoyable as possible - Haha, if only it were as easy to read this instruction and execute. All I'm saying is that if you read your material, do a good job narrating, running combat, running NPCs, and keep a friendly group of players which you communicate with throughout the month... It's more likely to build commitment; an "Oh my God, I don't want to miss this, it's the highlight of my week" kind of attitude.

Melkiador wrote:
It's basically all different forms of organization and management. It reminds me of how back in the day being a WoW raid leader could actually be listed on a resume. Because organizing a team of 40 people to perform a common goal with separate roles was quite a feat.

If only employers counted my gaming as useful experience...

Bought and sold virtual items for virtual wealth until I was an infamous tycoon, learned principals of optimization by playing competitive speed runs on Kingdom of Loathing, GMed for Pathfinder...

Really, Mr. Christopherson, these are legitimate skills! I'm qualified to be your CFO. *cough cough*

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