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The Chort's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 779 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.

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Whenever my mom talks about leading groups of people in present or past bible studies, I can’t help but think “That sounds like a situation that’s come up in my Pathfinder groups.” After experiencing this enough times, I decided to briefly interview my mom with the goal of finding useful parallels between successfully leading a bible study and being a successful GM.

Question: What are your primary goals as a women’s discussion leader in Bible Study Fellowship?

A discussion leader is a facilitator of the group and the number one goal is Balanced Sharing; getting everyone to participate. Some women are shy. I call on them for easy questions to hopefully get them comfortable with sharing with the group. Some women are overly talkative and feel the need to answer every question. Instead of scolding these women, I try to encourage them and redirect them. “You’ve done several bible studies and your experience shows; however, for some of these women, it’s their first year, so I’d like to give them a chance to share too. I want you to be a resource I can call on when no one else has the answer.” Essentially, get that women on your team and help them see the goal of the group. (Balanced Sharing) Encourage and love them, no matter how obnoxious they can get.

Here’s a few things I keep in mind:
1. Be well prepared for the discussion – Read your material
2. Most situations can be resolved with charm, kindness and encouragement.
3. While rare, when all options are exhausted, sometimes you have to tell a woman she’s not a good fit for the group (One instance in the last 23 years)

Question: What responsibilities do you have as a discussion leader outside of discussion time?

I call the women every week to check what’s going on in their lives, if God taught them anything that week and so forth. This is the toughest part of my job, but it’s important to communicate with the women.

Also, every week we have a leaders meeting, probably about 20 minutes each week where we go over what’s going on in our groups each week, like what’s been working, what hasn’t been working. You’re leading a group of human beings; there’s bound to be differences in opinion. So during our leaders meetings we run through hypothetical situations and discuss possible methods to resolve them.

Finally, once a year we have a workshop. We go on a weekend retreat, fellowship and learn how to better lead our groups.

Oh, and most importantly of all, we pray on our knees.*

*I finally let on I was interviewing her for the sake of Pathfinder and thought this was important for you to know.

Unsurprisingly, at least to me, there are tons of parallels on being a good discussion leader and being a good GM. Managing people, no matter the reason, deals with the same issue: You're dealing with people. Some are easy to work with, others not as much.

Here's some lessons I've taken away:

1. Balanced Sharing - This seems an eternal struggle in one of my groups, where we have dominating players and shy or simply less talkative players. The GM should single out the shy ones to get them more involved; have an NPC interact with them specifically, delegate some task to them like tracking initiative.

2. Communicate with players - In BSF, this takes the form of a weekly phone call. In Pathfinder, it's sometime easy to skip this step, but I think it's an important one for the long term health of a gaming group. It doesn't have to be weekly even, but you really want to keep a pulse on how players are individually feeling about the campaigns. Is it fun? What makes it not fun? What would you like to do in the future?

3. Training - In our group, everyone has been/will be a GM at some point, so I think it could really be fun to put together a workshop once a year, every 6 months or whatever and try out new strategies/ways to play to shake things up. One idea I want to try out is a scenario where we take turns GMing a single session; shifting control of the bad guys and NPCs. But the bad guy has a stated objective "I'm going to destroy this city with my hoard of undead" and each GM works within that framework.

What do you think? Does the bible study model have something to offer to GMs learning the ropes?

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UnArcaneElection wrote:

Other horrible truths to find out: You were planning to become a Mystic Theurge, Arcane Trickster, or Eldritch Knight, and then this happened (see the new FAQ itself and this other thread).

Eeeeaaaaaurrrgghhh!! I'm. So. Startled.

*le sigh* Yeah, I spotted that last night and it made me sad. I had been scheming to try one of those, but it never came up. And now it's illegal. I suppose I don't play in pathfinder society or whatever, so I can do whatever homebrew I want. Still, playing by the rules when possible is preferable.

[half-sarcasm]How else are you going to brag about cool builds on these forums? Bragging about how much your GM loves you and gives you whatever you want isn't as shiny as bragging about your system mastery.[/half-sarcasm]

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Tacticslion wrote:

"You expect common magic items to be readily available, but the GM secretly only gives out (minorly) cursed items (or other items with drawbacks that could influence your abilities) while putting you against supposedly appropriate CR'd encounters."

That would be pretty horrifying!

(And not what you're looking for. Still thinking...)

I have been tossing around the idea of using artifacts, cursed items, intelligent items, items that grow more powerful as the wielder gains levels. But these will be related to various subplots and probably won't show up in the typical crafting of a Belt of Str +2 or whatever.

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Zourin wrote:

Double post, but this one is VERY involved and may be a bit of reading.

It also shouldn't be put anywhere near a paladin, or anyone who is sensitive to piles of F-bombs. Be prepared for one hell of an NPC.

Bertrand the Smith

** spoiler omitted **...

That's a pretty sweet story; the sword of a revenant blacksmith. With a few adjustments, I think that could be a nice subplot for the kingdom building arc of my campaign.

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ElterAgo wrote:

When you read a novel that uses this premise. The author's foreshadowing starts letting the reader know something is up (if maybe not quite exactly what) long before the character in the novel catches on.

If the author doesn't foreshadow it at all, then it is just an abrupt left turn in the plot for no obvious reason. Most people don't like that.

You have to remember, in an RPG game the player is both the character and the reader. So it never seems to work out quite as well as the GM hopes.

Not saying don't try it. Just don't get you hopes set on the 'horrifying revelation' reaction.

Nah, I'm not super caught up on a "horrifying revelation" reaction. I'm just trying to sow secrets into the world so it has the feel of an actual, intentional story and not just a sandbox of "Well, run in a direction and I'll throw some random monsters from a table at you."

So yes, I'm attempting to foreshadow some of these secret by creating them right now; months before the first session of my campaign. Then toss hints at them at the existence of these secrets as the story progresses. If someone has an over the top reaction to the big reveal, awesome! If it's just a subtle acknowledgement of good story, that also makes me quite happy.

EDIT: You make a great point about the player being both character and reader, which makes it a challenge to unilaterally create secrets and expect the execution and unveiling of the secret to invoke the exact response you had in mind. It's shared storytelling after all. I'll keep that in mind and temper my expectations. Perhaps it'll be best to create several secrets, but only reveal the ones that fit best with how the story is shaping up with the decisions the PCs make.

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Tacticslion wrote:

Pffft~! Change "work hard" for "have insomnia (and also have to stay awake to care for an infant)" and you've got a correct vision of what's going on. Mostly if I think of stuff I do so with some sort of inspiration.


Carefully consider the impact that something like a reincarnation spell might have on your game, if such a thing is present in it. Because they are outsiders, you might want to make a custom list for your aasimar, for example. This can make all sorts of strange and complicated plots even more strange and complicated! Delightful! ... but potentially ruinous!

And don't feel obligate with any of this. It's just a fun thing. :D

Haha, you really enjoy messing with the mechanical choices players made at character creation.

This idea is actually somewhat tempting for my 2nd Aasimar, the bard who doesn't have much of a story so far. My 1st Aasimar, the child of dead nobles Summoner/Paladin/Oracle seems to have enough action in his backstory, so trying to shift gears to add interesting history for other members in the party.


Gah, I keep on forgetting that this thread is not THIS THREAD, so the same things aren't known.

Relevant Excerpt:


Step 2: Have players work on their backstory together:

This worked out better than I anticipated:
The group is largely LG or CG.
The Witch and Druid are brother and sister.
The Synthesist is an acquaintance of the Bard.
The Synthesist was a noble of the starting city, Almas, before his parents were killed 15 years ago.
The parents of the Witch and Druid used to live in Almas 15 years ago.
The Swashbuckler is the child of one of the leaders of the evil organization that took control of Almas 15 years ago.

Aasimar Synthesist, child of "dead nobles", we're having a field day with his backstory currently.

Aasimar Bard, child of an elven druid who runs a natural reserve of sorts, protecting dinosaurs of a region. She may be full elf or half-elf assimar, the father is missing. I don't think even the Bard knows which she is.

The Human Witch and Human Druid were raised in a forest not too far from Almas. They frequent a nearby town called, tentatively, Storybrooke. (Per the Druid's backstory, considering renaming for verisimilitude, but it has its charm) I believe the story will begin close to Storybrooke, where the population is majority people who fled Almas.

The Human Swashbuckler is the child of a member of the organization. (3 years old when the takeover happened, 18 years old now) She is not very deep in service to the organization and has lead a more normal life than not. Tentatively, I have her on her a mission to Storybrooke where she is to investigate the small town to gauge it's potential as a threat to the organizations intentions (whatever those might be) The Swashbuckler will come to Storybrooke, fall in love with an admirable NPC human Ranger and meet the rest of the party as they come to Storybrooke. A major event will cause the Swashbuckler to reconsider her loyalty to the organization and switch sides to the PCs.

Hope that helps clear things up!

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Broadhand wrote:

I started a game once with an assassin and a cleric of a murderous deity in the party mix as NPCs.


Long and short: DFL realizes he ate human meat while a girl was tortured to death.

... That kind of horrifying truth?

Wow, horrifying in spades. If you were my GM, I'm not sure how long it would take for me to trust your NPCs again.

Although not exactly the horrifying I'm looking for in my campaign; mostly just good secrets. Neat story, though.

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Since I'm wrapping up Rise of the Runelords, I decided to start planning my next campaign. Our group always has three separate campaigns running and I am one of the 3 GMs currently in the rotation. One feature common to all of our campaigns is that the plot is always railroaded upon the PCs.

So I think it's time for a sandbox campaign. I've tried this once before, albeit with minimal preparation and no GMing experience, (4-5 years ago) and failed utterly to create a compelling story. Someone else's sandbox campaign was career-ending. The group lost interest and forced him to retire it and he hasn't GM'd since. (Still plays, though)

So, if possible, I want to do it right. Here are steps I've taken to prevent disaster.

Step 1: Put players to work:
This has been amazingly effective. As a condition of joining this campaign, you must provide a backstory, an NPC for the world, and a location. If you provide additional NPCs and locations, I am more willing to indulge certain things for your character that I'd ordinarily disallow. (Exotic races, OP feats/archetypes, 3rd party/homebrew things, etc.)

Step 2: Have players work on their backstory together:

This worked out better than I anticipated:

The group is largely LG or CG.
The Witch and Druid are brother and sister.
The Synthesist is an acquaintance of the Bard.
The Synthesist was a noble of the starting city, Almas, before his parents were killed 15 years ago.
The parents of the Witch and Druid used to live in Almas 15 years ago.
The Swashbuckler is the child of one of the leaders of the evil organization that took control of Almas 15 years ago.

I can't tell you how much easier it makes my life that all of this happened.

Step 3: Railroad Anyway:
To get the adventurers up and running I decided to begin with a 6-ish session railroad story arc. This will set them up with the power and influence to strike out on their own and build a nation. Or do whatever else they want in the sandbox.

I just hope I can convince the party to care enough about this foundling nation who's existence is constantly threatened by an evil organization. Between their sense of justice I think they'll stick around to defeat the organization and continue to stick around simply because they're invested. (Running a town has benefits) Otherwise, this sandbox will be more difficult to control, but I'll find a way with open communication with the players.

Speaking of which...

Step 4: Open Communications:
Just stating a simple, but important point: Beyond the construction of the world and the PCs story, I want to talk to players between sessions to keep a pulse on the ambitions of the characters. And I can prepare additional material based on these ambitions, instead of preparing a dozen things and hoping they run into it some of it. (I'll likely have to do some of that anyway, but hopefully less so with communication)

Step 5: Go Big Or Go Home:
My two biggest pieces of homework is this: I have to read Mythic Adventures and Ultimate Campaign. Ultimate Campaign is the more intimidating of the two, and yet the most crucial. My sandbox is designed to encourage kingdom building.

Step 6: Recurring Villians:
My campaign has a large cast of villians and the first they'll run into during the railroad arc is the Black Organization (loosely stolen from Detective Conan) currently dominating Almas. The PCs will initially have some successful skirmishes with this organization, but ultimately, they are far to weak to defeat the upper echelon of this organization (Several level 10+) After witnessing the PCs win a battle against the organization, some NPCs will find the courage to pack up and escape the tyranny of Almas, and attempt to start a life away from this city. Which is where Ultimate Campaign and kingdom building will come in.

But the villains aren't done with them yet; Almas will consistently interfere and undermine this budding new kingdom. Beyond that, in my world there are fouler things than orc- er, the Black Organization in the deep places of the earth. Or many other places in the earth, really.

Step 7: Prepare To Improvise:
Sounds counterintuitive, but I need to prepare to improvise. This boils down to having a long list of potential neutral NPCs, evil NPCs, monsters, traps and so forth to toss into the world wherever/whenever appropriate. (Hopefully, with a liberal application of Step 1, a good chunk of preparation has been done for me.) You don't want to peruse the bestiary or anything else in the middle of a session.

So my question to the Pathfinder community:

What cautions/advice would you give to someone starting a sandbox campaign?

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the secret fire wrote:
Of course a lot of people prefer the Arcanist's casting system (not his spell progression) to the Wizard's; it is strictly better. Saying that you prefer the system is like saying you prefer ten dollars to five.

That's borderline delusional; you must be reading the rules of the Arcanist without bothering to look at the numbers on the tables OR watch how a player actually runs one. The Arcanist's casting system isn't that great. In the heat of combat, (which is usually when a well timed spell matters most) the Arcanist is one of the least impressive casting classes. It has less versatility than a Sorcerer and fewer spells per day than any other full caster.

the secret fire wrote:
Solving the problem with the Arcanist took about as much thought as cooking a pot of coffee. The Wizard, on the other hand, actually had to do something clever with his resources, something that the players will remember much more than "ah, the Arcanist just spammed the spell we he always does."

The Arcanist's Quick Study is certainly a neat class feature, but honestly, a Wizard with Fast Study can accomplish much the same as an Arcanist. (Or a Wizard with an Arcane Bond. Or a Wizard with a few scrolls. Or...)

Quick Study is a sweet get out of jail free card, sort of like the Arcane Bond but perhaps usable a couple more times in a day. But remember, it often costs 2 arcane points per use. At level 10, for example, you prepared something like Wall of Stone or Icy Prison as your 5th level spell. (You only have one slot, remember.) Then you Quick Study to change to teleport. After you've teleported, you'll want to switch back to something you can use in combat. So 2 points, and you only have 3 + 1/2 your level in your pool each day. (8 points.) So then you'll have to start consuming spells just keep Quick Study usable. ...and you already have fewer spells per day than any other full caster.

Anyway, I say all that to say that although the Arcanist has a neat trick to pull out whatever spell he needs, it's not without a cost. It's also not that exceptional, when you consider scrolls and the Arcane Bond. And if you overuse Quick Study, you won't even make it through the 15 minute adventuring day, let alone a proper session.

It'll take a clever Arcanist to properly manage his resources, or he'll end up spending most of his day as a glorified commoner.

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Marcus Robert Hosler wrote:
I think people's issue with the Arcanist is that it is better than a sorcerer and a lot of people thought sorcerers were as strong as wizards, just like people think oracles are as strong as clerics.

People throw that around like its a fact; the Arcanist is better than the Sorcerer. Would I prefer to play an Arcanist over a Sorcerer at my next opportunity? Sure. But that doesn't mean the Sorcerer is de facto weaker.

Sorcerers have 2 additional spell slots per spell level. That's a lot of spells. The Sorcerer also has more spells known than an Arcanist has spells prepared, thanks to bloodline spells. And if you add in the human favored class bonus, you have a huge edge on in combat versatility, and your out of combat versatility isn't bad either.

And you still have some respectable class abilities; your bloodline, crossblooded and wildblood. Abilities as great as the Arcanist? Not at all, but you still have something.

So no, the sorcerer is not strictly inferior. Just different.

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Mystically Inclined wrote:

As someone who watched the Arcanist beta test threads and saw the "ZOMG Overp0wer3d" reaction, reading this thread and the 'yeah I won't be bothering with this class' comments make me laugh.

If people are saying that the Arcanist is just barely under the Wizard, and that the class has a "eh... some will take em, some won't" feel to it, then I think Paizo nailed things perfectly.

Thanks for responding to my OP. I was wondering if my message was getting lost; that the Arcanist is actually reasonably balanced. You get some sweet abilities that you can flexibly mix and match as you please, but it comes at a cost. (Inferior spell progression/spells per day, fewer spells prepared than spontaneous classes have spells known.)

I think someone else alluded that an Arcanist is a good introductory class for someone who's never played an arcane caster. It's like a caster that's not committed to any one way of doing magic.

1. Did you like schools of magic and having precisely the right spell for the occasion? Next time, try a wizard with Fast Study.

2. Did you like the flavor of bloodlines, enjoy using metamagic, but wish you had more spell slots? Next time, try a sorcerer.

3. Did you like alternating between casting spells and using non-spell abilities? Next time, try a witch.

The Arcanist is the ultimate generalist.

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the secret fire wrote:
Liam Warner wrote:
Do people think pearl or runestone would be more appropriate for an arcanist? Not thinking about the extra arcane pool exploit but simply using them as a wizard/sorcerer would to get an extra spell or two a day by expending the items power rather than the spell.
To be honest, I don't think this is entirely clear, either, though the consensus seems to be that the Arcanist should be treated as a spontaneous caster. The Arcanist both prepares spells, and casts them spontaneously. Strict RAW, he can probably use both items. I don't think this is actually a good idea, but it is yet another unclear aspect of how this class is meant to function in the game.

I'm fairly confident that they're treated as Spontaneous casters, it's just that they change what they can spontaneously cast each day.

Reading pearl of power, it makes no sense that Pearl of Power would function for an Arcanist.

This seemingly normal pearl of average size and luster is a potent aid to all spellcasters who prepare spells (clerics, druids, rangers, paladins, and wizards). Once per day on command, a pearl of power enables the possessor to recall any one spell that she had prepared and then cast that day. The spell is then prepared again, just as if it had not been cast. The spell must be of a particular level, depending on the pearl.

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Suichimo wrote:
The Chort wrote:

If you count school specializing for wizards, the comparison on even levels is this:

Level 6
Wizard - 4/4/4/3
Arcanist - 7/4/4/2

Arcanists cannot get extra spells per day from having a school:

1. The School Understanding exploit only gives you an ability from the school.
2. The School Savant archetype only gives you extra spells prepared, not extra spell slots.

Arcanists can, however get a Bonded Item. It's under the Bloodline Development exploit.



If this ability is used to gain an arcane bond and a bonded item is selected, the arcanist can only use that item to cast spells of a level equal to the level of spell that could be


Now to see how many people continue to specialize and how many people take Exploits.

Yeah, that is why I crossed the school stuff out. I'd rather get the arcane bond through Eldritch Heritage(Arcane) since you should qualify for that easily enough. Sadly, I don't think you can take the Familiar exploit with this.

That's probably true; maybe go with Half-Elf for Skill Focus? Also, you'd have access to both the Human Favored Class Bonus and the Elf Favored Class Bonus, both of which I think are awesome.

Elf: Increase total number of points in the
arcanist’s arcane reservoir by 1.

Human: Add one spell from the arcanist spell list to the
arcanist’s spellbook. The spell must be at least 1 spell level
below the highest level the arcanist can cast.

So for the Elf FCB, I think I'd take it for the first three levels, maybe also level 5 and 7. The rest I'd take the human bonus. Why? If you look under Arcanist spellcasting, you find this interesting entry:


Unlike the number of spells

she can cast per day, the number of spells an arcanist can
prepare each day is not affected by her Intelligence score.
Feats and other effects that modify the number of spells
known by a spellcaster instead affect the number of spells
an arcanist can prepare.

So from my understanding, that favored class bonus gives you extra spells prepared. Mind you, they're lower level slots, but that certainly adds some nice flexibility, just like the Human sorcerer bonus.

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Suichimo wrote:
Liam Warner wrote:

Minor quibble but on a purely personal note I don't like the fact you still need to memorize the spells each day. Sure you can cast any of them as long as you have spell slots remaining (or at 20th level arcane poolpoints) but I was under the impression once you memorized a spell it remained until you memorized a replacement rather than just fizzling away after 24 hours requiring you to rememorize it.

Not to mention the fewer spells and delayed casting I'm honestly losing a lot of interest in the arcanist class because of this.

You only have fewer spells per day, not counting items, than the Wizard on levels where it has a spell level over you. Take levels 6 and 7, for example:

Level 6
Wizard - 4/3/3/2
Arcanist - 7/4/4/2

Level 7
Wizard - 4/4/3/2/1
Arcanist - 7/4/4/3

Both of them can get a school specialization and a bonded item to allow for casting more spells throughout the day and both run off of the same casting stat for bonus spells.

Technically, the Arcanist doesn't even have fewer spells per day than the Wizard, it's just that at odd levels the Wizard has a higher level spell than you.

Edit: I'm not entirely sure why I thought they could get a bonded item through an exploit. They can only get the familiar. They can get it through a feat though.

If you count school specializing for wizards, the comparison on even levels is this:

Level 6
Wizard - 4/4/4/3
Arcanist - 7/4/4/2

Arcanists cannot get extra spells per day from having a school:

1. The School Understanding exploit only gives you an ability from the school.
2. The School Savant archetype only gives you extra spells prepared, not extra spell slots.

Arcanists can, however get a Bonded Item. It's under the Bloodline Development exploit.



If this ability is used to gain an arcane bond and a bonded item is selected, the arcanist can only use that item to cast spells of a level equal to the level of spell that could be cast by her equivalent sorcerer level (limiting her to 1st level spells unless she spends a point from her arcane reservoir).

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I'm absolutely in love with the new Arcanist class. However, I've GM'd a game with one of my players playing an Arcanist and here's what's stood out to me:

1. Their spellcasting is okay. They can prepare the same amount of spells as spells known by a Sorcerer or Oracle, except they don't have any bonus bloodline/mystery/cure spells to broaden their on the fly versatility. Sure, there's Quick Study, but how often do you want to burn points and full round actions on that? I wouldn't even recommend Quick Study until probably 5th level or later, since you’re limited on resources at low levels.

2. They have less spells per day. They have the fewest spells per day of any full caster and you feel it. No bonus School Slots and so on. However, they can somewhat make up for that, but more on that later...

3. Being a level behind wizards is a really big deal. Just like with Sorc vs Wizard debates, a level 3 Arcanist vs a level 3 Wizard is no contest in terms of spellcasting, and the same holds at all odd levels. Although the Arcanist does have some nice abilities.

4. Abilities like Acid Jet are actually quite good, if you didn't dump Charisma. For a level 3 character, it's akin to more than doubling your spell slots for the day. Prepare some good first level spells like Grease and Color Spray and backing that up is quite the nasty little blast spell. A ranged touch attack dealing 2d6+Cha damage (2d6+3, in this case) and if they fail their save, sickening the target for d4 rounds is really quite a nice alternative to using spell slots, which you are lacking. It never becomes irrelevant, as the damage keeps scaling up, and the DC also scales with your level.

Obviously, campaigns aren't always stuck at level 3 and maybe some of the Arcanist's weaknesses will dissipate after a while, but those are my initial impressions of how they work in practice vs theorycraft “HOMG Arcanist is completely busted.” All that said, I've played my fair share of wizards (Which are still the strongest casting class) and can't wait to roll up an Arcanist. Lots of fun new stuff to try out!

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Azten wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Like that matters if your sole intent is to troll the group.
If someone's intent is to troll the group, they are soon out of my group.

I play games with friends. Hopefully other people play games with friends too? I love everyone in my group. Certain people have weaknesses like terrible attention span outside battle, some are terrible at math, (Who should never, ever, ever use Sacred Geometry...) but all of them are committed to everyone having fun. Because we like each other. I also think it helps that we take turns GMing separate campaigns so everyone knows what its like to be GM? Not everyone has an active campaign, but everyone has done it at least once.

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This is going to be somewhat difficult to explain in words how quickly you can see the patterns, but here's an example:

9 ranks in Engineering, attempting to cast effective level 5 spell. Prime numbers are 43, 47, 53

Here's my dice pool:

3 6s
2 5s
2 4s
1 3
1 2

Here's how I group it (After having thrown it many times, you'll know what kind of multiplication you're looking for instantly)

To get us in the ballpark 6*6 + 6 = 42.

Then group the remaining 6 dice:
5/5 = 1
4/4 = 1
3-2 = 1

So 42+1 * 1 * 1 = 43.

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Belafon wrote:
The Chort wrote:
Chort, how many times have you failed to hit your number?
I have yet to fail. I must have thrown 50 times so far. Mind you, these have been pools of 8 or 9, so it might be trickier at a pool of 5. Although I've thrown that 5 times and still succeeded each time. It might be more difficult/time consuming if there was only 1 target number. But 3? Very easy.
Just to verify: you are using all your dice? Not discarding any?

I'm using all my dice. "Discarding" the remaining dice is a simple matter of matching similar numbers.

5/5 = 1
4-3 = 1
(6-4)-1 = 1

Then add/subtract/multiply 1's. It really goes very quickly.

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Whoops, missed this line of text of the feat:

You can apply any number of metamagic effects to a single spell, provided you are able to cast spells of the modified spell's effective spell level.

That does limit it somewhat, but still very strong. Maybe makes Quicken a mediocre first choice, but you'll likely take it as you get into higher levels. (9th level at the earliest.)

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There was a powerful pro-kobold lobbyist group that pressured our GMs to add a homebrew rule that gave even more power to those OP kobolds.

They had a -2 Str, +2 Dex instead of the normal modifiers. Yes. THAT much power.

Naturally, our game group fell apart over the controversy and agony this ruling caused.

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Vamptastic wrote:

It's weird reading this argument, because I agree with both opposing viewpoints and think they are both correct.

My brain hurts.

Haha, I agree with both sides as well.

Depends. On. The. Group.

If it isn't burdensome and adds value to your experience, your players enjoy the realism, enjoy the balancing act, etc. use it. Personally, I enjoy it, even though I am very often the noodle-armed wizard. I like weighing (haha, oh, ugh, bad pun) my options on what I should carry and what I can live without or have someone else carry.

If your players just want to get on with roleplaying or hack & slash or whatever and don't want to bother with the minutiae, skip it.

Rule of fun, people!

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A Zen Archer Monk is perfectly self-sufficient in providing all the feats you'll ever want in Archery, so I wouldn't think Ranger or Fighter would be necessary.

Also, you Flurry as a Full BAB class, so that doesn't do much for you (CMB and CMD, standard attack actions... But eh.)

I would say you should go one of two routes: Cleric/Druid/Sorcerer or Inquisitor.

That's basically what it would come down to for me. Either go for full caster with very few class features boosting your archery, or go with the mediocre spellcasting with a bunch of class features that compliment you.

Let's see what an Inquisitor has to offer compared to a full caster.


+6 Skill Ranks per level and more Class Skills
Judgments to improve archery
Bane class feature to improve archery (Absolutely fantastic, by the way)
Stalwart class feature (Add in Ring of Evasion and that's all 3 saves!)
+Wisdom to Initiative
+Wisdom to Knowledge Checks
Wisdom instead of Charisma to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate (If taking the Conversion Inquisition)
Some casting

Well, you can read the rest, but yeah. Inquisitor is tough to beat, it takes your archery up to a whole new level, makes you even more durable and you're going to almost always act first.

On the other hand, there's full casting. Which is absolutely fantastic and shouldn't be dismissed in the slightest. However, personal preference, if I had the opportunity to Gestalt, I would go for something with a lot of synergy rather than two aspects that are individually powerful.

ZAM is amazing. Full casters are amazing. Both on the same character? Well, better than either I guess, but you can't cast AND flurry on the same turn, so limited synergy.

ZAM is amazing. Inquisitor is good. Both on the same character? Absolutely fantastic. The Inquisitor really enhances everything you love about being a ZAM.

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Vivianne Laflamme wrote:
The Chort's list is pretty good. Allowing players to buy arbitrary feats is going to quickly run into problems. (Let's ignore for the moment that these problems already exist in the game---cf. metamagic rods.) But it's fine if you let players spend money or other resources on feats that aren't worth a feat slot. Assuming you lack other house rules fixing feat taxes, it could also be used there. Rather than spending a precious feat slot on weapon finesse, you just spend a few thousand gp (or spend the feat slot at 1st level then buy it back in a few levels).

Oh, our campaigns would allow you to buy Weapon Finesse... except we give it to everyone for free, along with Agile Maneuvers. Also, Quick Draw is free as soon as you reach BAB +3, and Strike Back is free at BAB +11.

We did a few other tweaks here and there:

Forge Ring was rolled into Craft Wondrous Items. Craft Wands and Staves were also merged. Since we've made the judgment of allowing crafting to begin with, (Although it's revoked in some campaigns) no need to overly penalize the character who actually takes the feats.

Heighten Spell was eliminated or I guess you could say, given to everyone for free. If you cast from a higher slot, it is a higher level spell.

Two-Weapon Fighting tree is now condensed into one feat. After taking Two-Weapon fighting, whenever you meet the prereqs for Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, you get it for free.

The combat maneuver feats do not require Power Attack or Combat Expertise.

...that's most of the changes we made.

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It is correct. Because the true cost is that there's a 25,000gp material component required to cast Wish. I guess you could say the remaining 2500gp or 1250gp is the cost to have the spell cast and made permanent/readily usable by anyone, even non-casters.

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I've built a Battle Herald once. It was... interesting. I went for:

Standard Bearer Cavalier 1/Bard 1/Oracle of Lore 1/Paladin 2/Battle Herald X.

Instead of trying to squeeze some value out of the Cavlier/Bard class features, I opted for a "Charisma matters" build. Ideally, you'll start with at least 20 Charisma (18+2 racial) for this to be particularly potent. Strength is also important, but secondary. (Angel-Blooded Aasimar, anyone?) Oh and you can dump dexterity to hell. Here's some of the notable stuff:

Class Features:

Sidestep Secret: Add Charisma to Reflex saves and AC instead of Dex.

Divine Grace: Add Charisma to all saves.

Smite Evil: Add Charisma to your Attack rolls and +2 to damage when smiting.

Lay on Hands: 1+Charisma uses per day. (Heals for d6; unimpressive, but useful for another feat...)


Noble Scion: Add Charisma to your Initiative instead of Dex

Radiant Charge: Expend all of your Lay on Hands to deal an extra (Charisma+1)d6+Charisma damage on one attack. (If Charisma is +8, you deal an extra 9d6+8 holy damage. Isn't reduced by anything.) The nice thing about this feat is that it doesn't care whether your lay on hands heal 1d6 or 5d6; it deals the same amount of damage. Since your a multi-class'd paladin and lay on hands would only heal 1d6, there isn't much opportunity cost in using this feat as your ace in the hole.

Leadership: Well, your Charisma should be really high? And Battle Herald improves your score as well. Take the Natural Born Leader trait for additional optimizing.


And a few other details, but that's most of it. With that as the core, you could make a good Battle Herald, I think!

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Well I for one have never been disappointed with the damage output of the eidolon. The biggest draw of Celestial Servant is that it makes your creature more durable, and as a summoner, if you your Eidolon is not as durable as the Animal Companion, big deal! From the sound of it, your party will probably tear to shreds whatever you're up against before your Eidolon falls in battle. Even if it ever does fall in battle, that does let you use your amazing Summon Monster class ability. Standard action summoning is pretty nice!

And finally, if you're still contributing to combat, it's all good. Pathfinder/D&D isn't PvP.

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Given you can enter Mystic Theurge as early as level 4 instead of level 7 (or 9 for Sorc/Oracles…) I’m trying to come up with some solid Mystic Theurge builds!

How is this possible?:
Early access to prestige classes explained? This isn’t 100% settled, (haven’t heard from on high if this is RAI) but the thread makes a strong case that, indeed, SLA’s can be used to meet prestige class prerequisites.

The seemingly best way to meet this prereq is through the Aasimar Daylight abilitiy, which is a 3rd level arcane spell SLA. At level 3 you could take the Aasimar feat Heavenly Radiance to gain access to a 2nd level divine spell SLA, although this isn’t *really* required; you could just wait until you gain access to 2nd level spells naturally. The most important thing is no longer needing to get both halves of your casting up to 2nd level spells.

Here are some samples on ways you could build a Mystic Theurge:

Oracle 2/Sorcerer 1 – A Charisma based Mystic Theurge that doesn’t fall depressingly behind! You get your first 3rd level spells at level 7, instead of level 10. You could also switch to Sorcerer 2/Oracle 1. This build requires you to take Heavenly Radiance at level 3.

Cleric 3/Empyreal Sorcerer 1 – A wisdom based Mystic Theurge. You could take Heavenly Radiance at level 3 to go Cleric 2/Sorc 1/Mystic Theurge X; guess it depends on how important the feat is to you.

Wizard 2/Cleric 1 – Or you could try a witch/druid, etc. but I think Wizard/Cleric are better candidates since they aren’t as reliant on class abilities. Quite possibly still the best form of Mystic Theurge, with 3rd level spells by level 6. Still, you will be more MAD, needing lots of Int and Wis.

So is this new early entry Mystic Theurge absolutely busted? I don’t thinks so; I mean, which is better? Wizard 5 or Sorcerer 2/Oracle 1/Mystic Theurge 2? But no longer does the Mystic Theurge fall woefully behind, and can actually be a respectable substitute if the party is sorely lacking in full casters.

So how would you build your Mystic Theurge?

What sorts of archetypes, schools, domains, mysteries, revelations, bloodlines, etc would you consider for your Mystic Theurge? Feats? Spells?

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Drachasor wrote:
I feel pretty much the same way. Can't stand the implied servility the whole God/Priest thing implies. It's like kow-towing willingly to some being to stroke it's ego so it gives you stuff. Ethically icky to me.

Totally agree.

I'm a Christian and this just bugs the crap out of me. Not so much that the fantasy world has a religion other than my own, but that it seems so ridiculous; it's one thing to believe that there's one true God and act on that knowledge. ...but to arbitrarily pick one of several known "gods" and become a zealot for some powerful, yet decidedly imperfect being? Why is this guy worthy of your worship and praise? Because he'll give you cool spells?


Yeah, stick with ideals if you can help it. Or play a Druid or Oracle or something. =/

EDIT: There's probably no good way to inject religion into fantasy without annoying some group or another, so I'll acknowledge that the way D&D/Pathfinder handles it is probably the least offensive way to work in the ever-present trope of the holy man with healing spells.

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Der Origami Mann wrote:

other point of view:
(INT+CHA+WIS)/3 = IQ => (8+8+16)/3 = 10,67 => Standard IQ

That's an interesting way to calculate it; makes sense? Reminds me of the saying:

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt."

So my character may be slow, but his Wis should actually put enough of a filter on what comes out of his mouth that he can effectively hide it. Occasionally he can come up with a good idea, but when he doesn't he's shrewd enough to know to leave it to the others to figure it out. He should have a good gut instinct; "That sounds about right." ...even if he couldn't come up with the idea himself.

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Matthew Downie wrote:
Remember, clerics get every spell one level sooner. They can cast Heal at level 11 instead of level 12. Oracles need advantages to balance that out.

Almost every spell; Oracle of Life gets Mass Heal as an 8th level spell instead of a 9th level spell. =D

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Oracle of Life is the absolute best healer out there. But I would strongly advise coming up with a number of tricks to do in battle other than heal, because chances are that there won't be a party member at death's door every single round of combat, and you'll find yourself passing your turn, waiting for damage, and that's a bad place to be in.

Proactive vs Reactive:
If you aren't making enemies deader faster, (or buffing allies/debuffing enemies) you're wasting the most precious resource in the game; turns.

What's better? Killing an enemy this turn? Or killing him next turn, because you couldn't do anything to help bring him down, after he successfully hit an ally, which now you must spend channel energy/spells on.

To sum up: It's better for damage to never happen than to have to heal it.

Contribute to Combat Part 1: Burn spells?:
One thing I did for the Oracle of life in my Rise of the Runelords campaign, is I gave her Scorching Ray and a few other burn spells. I'm not sure if it's available to you, but there's an Aasimar specific oracle curse called Blackened which allows you to add a few burns spells to your spell list. I swear, although burn spells aren't always the best use of spells, one combat she really came through where the frontliners weren't, dealing 8d6 damage to the big bad a few rounds in a row.

Part 2: Melee:
Anyway, if that option is not available to you, perhaps try for at least 14 strength? As a mid BAB class, you shouldn't be completely useless as a melee type, but not great either. You'll probably be using a morningstar and have to utilize what bonuses you can, like flanking and charging to get in a few good hits.

Part 3: Demoralize:
A few other things you may wish to consider is maxing out your intimidate skill. You should be quite good at this, with your charisma score, so spending a turn, not wasting spells, to demoralize a foe for a few rounds is not a bad way to contribute when there's no one to heal.

Part 4: Other Spells:
Between having all of the cure spells on your list, and the Oracle of Life spells giving you a solid suite of support spells to round out your role as healer, most of the rest of your spell picks should be oriented toward giving you something else to do in combat that's not healing or some handy non-healing out of combat utility. Your revelations should do most of the heavy lifting for you in terms of hit point damage, so be sure to capitalize on a good selection of spells.

Races for Oracles of Life: Humans:
Humans, whose favored class bonus allows you to gain additional spells known, have a huge advantage in versatility over most races. Skilled, the Bonus Feat, and the +2 to any stat (Charisma) of course are very nice perks, as always.

The best(?) race: Aasimar, the greatest channel energy user:
My absolute favorite race is the aasimar. They have the all important boost to Cha and no negative stat, so that's solid. Their favored class bonus is absolutely busted; it allows you to treat your Oracle level as 1/2 higher for the purpose of a revelation of your choosing. My favorite? Channel Energy. At level 10, you're channeling 8d6, as opposed to 5d6. Combine that with Selective Channel, Quick Channel, (to channel as a move action) and Extra Channel and you'll find that your ability to heal in combat is so great, you can actually spend your standard action doing something else. (Although you can still use your standard action to heal in a pinch) You may even want to try out the Aasimar specific feats, like Channel Force, although mostly this hasn't come up in my campaign.

And of course, if Aasimar means you have access to the Blackened Curse, that's another good reason to try them out; burn spells do complement your otherwise passive skill set. (And allow you to make Str a dump stat!) You want to contribute to depleting the health of the big bad every now and then!

Archetype... Dual-Cursed?:
I really like this archetype. I think the replacement spells are overall a bit better than the Oracle of Life's. (Detect Undead, Lesser Restoration, Neutralize Poison vs Ill Omen, Oracles Burden, Bestow Curse) And of course the big draw is getting those extra revelations at levels 5 and 13. Those are pure gold. Not to mention access to the amazingly powerful Misfortune and Fortune revelations.

While getting a second curse that never advances is rough, it shouldn't ruin you if you choose the right ones. The Oracle of Life in my campaign has Blackened (Aasimar curse) and Tongues (Non-advancing). Her character usually doesn't need much coordination in combat anyhow, just heal whoever gets hurt, or burn enemies to death. And if your allies care enough, they can always put a rank in linguistics to speak Celestial, Ignan, or whatever language you chose.

Revelations; why the Oracle of Life is a Heal Cannon:
Channel is my favorite. Yeah, it's just extra heal, but that's what you're going to be doing as the party healer and huzzah! You don't have to expend precious spells to do it well. Check the Aasimar section for ways to REALLY maximize this ability

Life Link is my second favorite. It's like your entire party gains fast healing 5! Of course you take this damage, so be mindful of that. Although this doesn't scale with level and becomes less major as you go up in levels, its never irrelevant. I think this does a good job of spreading the damage around, so your channel energy does more. Don't forget that you can cut off a link if you think you're taking too much damage! And remember to do what you can to bump up your con score (2nd most important stat, I think) and consider taking toughness to help truly max out the potential of this revelation.

Energy Body is another easy pick. Beyond the standard action to get it going, it helps you really stack on the in-combat heals by healing without spending more actions on it. And it also makes for a solid after combat source of healing. Let life bond fast healing 5 your party back up to full, and use this on yourself! And don't forget the other perks of this in combat; immunity to critical hits, sneak attack damage, poisons, and whole bunch of other stuff I can't remember off the top of my head; all of the stuff that comes with being an Elemental.

Combat healer. Yowza. Heal as a swift action with this, heal as a move action with quick channel, heal as a free action with life link, heal as a free action with Energy body... Heck, by this point you might want spend your standard action on something else!

Other revelations: Lifesense seems like a nifty trick when eyesight is failing you; Spirit boost seems like a nice way to note waste healing. Enhanced Cures doesn't seem that necessary, but hey Cure Light Wounds for d8+15 is one way to conserve spells.

I could probably come up with even more insights on the Oracle of Life, but this should be good for a start. (I hope!)

And don't forget to check out this guide, especially if you're struggling on deciding which spells you want to pick: Channeling the Cosmos: A Guide to the Oracle

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So for a casual game I have been ludicrously richly endowed by my GM:

- I can research existing metamagic or make my own metamagic for 5k
- I have Arcane Thesis (-1 level adjustment for each metamagic applied; ex. Dazing (+2), Lingering (+0) Fireball takes a 5th level slot to cast)
- I have Magical Lineage
- I have Preferred Spell (Cast fireball spontaneously by sacrificing a prepared or unprepared slot)

You may have seen this Arcane Thesis fireball wielding wizard in another thread. At first, I was scared of out-damaging the entire party; however thanks to that thread, I'm stoked about the possibilities of turning fireball into less of a damage spell, and more of a control spell.

Metamagic I intend to use a lot:

Rime (Thanks to admixture evoker and Preferred Spell)
Extend (House-ruled to extend lingering to 2 rounds)

Beyond those metamagic, I have the flexibility to research my own and already have one approved by my GM. (Actually, it's 2 metamagic for the price 1!) These two feats give me low damage, highly versatile fireballs across the battlefield. Imagine combining Break/Lingering/Rime/Extend together! Imagine littering the battlefield with 8 2x2 squares that last for 2 rounds, can do minor damage and entangle creatures for 3 rounds, and do the same to those who enter those squares later.

Break Spell:

Benefit: You may apply this metamagic only to a fireball spell:
You can break a spell, as if casting a weaker version multiple times.

A creature does not take any additional damage or suffer any effects beyond the first effect if an area is hit by more than one part of the Break Spell.

This feat has two modes:

Break - Break Spell splits into 2 mini spells or 4 micro spells of this spell. A Break Spell uses up a spell slot one level higher than it's actual level.

Big Break - Big Break Spell splits into 4 mini spells or 8 micro spells of this spell. A Big Break Spell uses up a spell slot two levels higher than it's actual level.

These mini and micro spells are as described in Micro/Mini Spell, except are treated as a 3rd level spells and have a range of long.

Micro/Mini Spell:

Benefit: You may apply either form of this metamagic only to a fireball spell:

A micro spell is treated as a 1st level spell for all purposes, has a reduced range of close, a reduced radius of 5ft, and all variable damage becomes the minimum amount. (Ex. 6d6 becomes 6 damage) A micro spell uses up a spell slot two levels than the spell’s actual level.

A mini spell is treated as a 2nd level spell for all purposes, has a reduced range of medium, a reduced radius of 10ft, and all variable damage becomes 2. (Ex. 7d6 becomes 14 damage) A mini spell uses up a spell slot one level lower than the spell’s actual level.

Special: Micro/mini spell is not treated as a metamagic for the purpose of abilties that would reduce a spell’s slot when metamagic is applied, such as Magical Lineage.

Anyway, my goal right now is to create some spell-like metamagic. What does that mean? Researching metamagic (many that would branch off of lingering spell) that would make fireball immitate different kinds of spells, such as:

Wind Wall
Antimagic field (Well, maybe not)
Ray of Exhaustion
Icy Prison
Stone Call

The idea is to turn fireball into battlefield control and debuffing. So, suggestions on developing some fun and balanced homebrew spell-like metamagic that I could apply to fireball? (Or frost/shocking/corrosive ball if that better suits the flavor of the metamagic?)

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Barbarians are rather feat starved and have a lot of interesting feats they can take, especially with Extra Rage Power. However, an interesting opportunity opened up with some homebrew rules; first, there are a select few feats that can be trained instead of taken, for a price, such as:

Dodge (5k)
Endurance (2.5k)
Improved Unarmed Strike (2.5k)

I've also been permitted to have a campaign trait that gives me +1 to ac when fighting defensively.

So... If I do buy those 3 feats and take that trait, I could get DR/- 10 with 4 feats:

Crane Style
Improved Stalwart

Fighting defensively:
-4 atk, +2 ac
With crane style:
-2 atk, +3 ac
With trait and 3 ranks in acrobatics:
-2 atk, +5 ac

Enough to get DR/- 10, which stacks with the DR gained from being an Invulnerable Rager.

Examples on what I'm missing:

Berserker of the Society - 3 extra rounds of rage

Extra Rage Power: Knockback
ERP: Strength Surge
ERP: Ghost Rager
Raging Vitality

There's also some timing benefits to skipping these feats, since I'm taking Improved Stalwart at level 11 instead of Dazing Assault

So do I pounce on this opportunity like a greater beast totem Barbarian? Or do I find less resource intensive ways to power up my character?

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Well, uh, we can sell loot at market price, so we usually just do that, split the gold evenly and buy what we want. ~.~

Yeah, I know; we're doing it wrong/loot is never exciting/we broke the game/whatever. It's worked for our group. The GM doesn't need to carefully plan out magic items according to the players' needs, so that's one less burden for the GM to carry. We also never have any disputes on who gets what. We just divide it evenly and shamelessly spend our GP on whatever items we'd like to have.

I am the bookkeeper, by the way. So no running tabs, but I still have to valuate all the loot. Oh, we also don't really appraise or use identify. We're just given the value of all loot. (Unless it's directly related to plot; like we could sell this rare item to one of two different buyers who desperately want it.)

Finally, our items don't need a story; we're the story. If we want to make some big deal about a magical item, I guess we could and it has happened before. (Acquired an intelligent item in the very first campaign we played) But generally speaking, it's beside the point and only occasionally needs to be a point of focus. Let's get our characters leveled up, slap on our big six, and get back to enjoying the story and each other.

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Alright, a homebrew feat with a subfeat have been developed! I can get both for 5k.

Break Spell:

Benefit: You may apply this metamagic only to a fireball spell:

You can break a spell, as if casting a weaker version multiple times.

A creature does not take any additional damage or suffer any effects beyond the first effect if an area is hit by more than one part of the Break Spell.

This feat has two modes:

Break - Break Spell splits into 2 mini spells or 6 micro spells of this spell. A Break Spell uses up a spell slot one level higher than it's actual level.

Big Break - Big Break Spell splits into 4 mini spells or 12 micro spells of this spell. A Big Break Spell uses up a spell slot two levels higher than it's actual level.

These mini and micro spells are as described in Micro/Mini Spell, except are treated as a 3rd level spells and have a range of long.

Micro/Mini Spell:

Benefit: You may apply either form of this metamagic only to a fireball spell:

A micro spell is treated as a 1st level spell for all purposes, has a reduced range of close, a reduced radius of 5ft, and all variable damage becomes the minimum amount. (Ex. 6d6 becomes 6 damage) A micro spell uses up a spell slot two levels than the spell’s actual level.

A mini spell is treated as a 2nd level spell for all purposes, has a reduced range of medium, a reduced radius of 10ft, and all variable damage becomes 2. (Ex. 7d6 becomes 14 damage) A mini spell uses up a spell slot one level lower than the spell’s actual level.

Special: Micro/mini spell is not treated as a metamagic for the purpose of abilties that would reduce a spell’s slot when metamagic is applied, such as Magical Lineage.

May do a little more tweaking, but there you have it! Low damage, but massive flexibility and fun to be had when combining with other metamagic.

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Well, one of our players turned GM is allowing me to use Arcane Thesis from 3.5, as a sort of thanks for GMing for her for all these years.

More On Arcane Thesis:

For those of you who haven't seen the feat, here it is:

Arcane Thesis

Benefit: Choose one arcane spell that you can cast to be your
thesis spell. When casting that spell, you do so at +2 caster level.
When you apply a metamagic feat other than Heighten Spell
to that spell, the enhanced spell uses up a spell slot one level
lower than normal. For example, an empowered thesis spell
uses up a spell slot one level higher than the spell’s actual slot
(rather than the normal two levels higher).

I'll get Arcane Thesis at level 5, and I'm currently at level 3.

If you thought it was broken in 3.5, well now you can reduce metamagic costs further with Magical Lineage, cast the chosen spell spontaneously with Greater Spell Specialization or Preferred Spell, apply fun new metamagic like dazing or rime, and someday Arcane Thesis will horrendously stack with Spell Perfection. (As I read it, Arcane Thesis even reduces the level of the free metamagic you apply with Spell Perfection)

I'll be a fireball-wielding admixture evoker, so I can adapt the damage type to the most effective element. Between spell specialization and arcane thesis, fireball will already do 10d6 damage at level 6. It also has +4 caster level to overcome SR right there, and I'll be taking SP, GSP, and Spell Perfection will double those bonuses someday.

As a homebrew rule, I'll be able to research metamagic feats for 5k, and our GM is very generous with loot. We already have ~9k after just hitting level 3. This means intensify, rime, selective, focused, piercing, persistent, dazing, widen (homebrew'd to only a +2 adjustment), quicken, and eventually much more.

There are a few more quirks, but that's more or less the gist of the build.

Now, being courteous and not wanting to cause grief to my new GM and fellow players, I was thinking of imposing certain limits on myself as to when I actually cast this spell. The nice thing is that I never have to prepare the spell since I can cast it spontaneously, so I can prepare spells like normal and only use it as a backup. Realistically, I invested all of these resources into making this neat trick, so I will use it sometimes.

So has anyone had success with imposing limits on yourself for the sake of letting the rest of the party shine/giving your GM a break? Or a limit to fit your character's personality? Help coming up with a good guideline for when to use it would be much appreciated!

Flavor stuff that might be relevant:

Perhaps ironically, my character is not a bloodthirsty pyromaniac, but something of a pacifist, or at least not wanting to kill people and wants to avoid collateral damage. I actually was given a homebrew trait that lets me change a chosen spell into a merciful spell.

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TheSideKick wrote:
the funny thing is that is you care about RAw over what the writers wanted, you get 1.5 strength when fighting as twf. mind you most dms wont let it fly, but there is no rule in the crb that forces the damage to be treated as a light and one handed weapon. it is still concidered a 2 handed weapon while twfing with it.

Uh, no...?

Double Weapons: A character can fight with both ends of a double weapon as if fighting with two weapons, but he incurs all the normal attack penalties associated with two-weapon combat, just as though the character were wielding a one-handed weapon and a light weapon.

EDIT: My biggest beef with double weapons is whether or not they can be wielded with one hand or not.

James Jacobs seems to think so, but even then it seems dubious...

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Dragonamedrake wrote:
Unfortunately, there is no rule anywhere stating that. Its just not there. It sounds nice though.

People might be thinking back to the d&d 3.5 ruling on the feat Arcane Thesis, which is somewhat of precedence for a thing like this. But indeed, Pathfinder has made no ruling, errata, whatever in regards to this.

PHB II errata wrote:

Page 74 – Arcane Thesis [Omission]

Add the following text to the end of the “Benefit” section: “A spell cannot be reduced to below its original level with the use of this feat.”


Dragonamedrake wrote:

Again unfortunately this isnt the case. Cantrip is another name for a 0 level spell. If you lower any spell to 0 level it is a cantrip.

Quite right, there's no such thing as a cantrip descriptor in a spell, it's just a cantrip by virtue of being level 0.

Pathfinder Core Rulebook wrote:
Cantrips: Wizards can prepare a number of cantrips, or 0-level spells, each day, as noted on Table: Wizard under “Spells per Day.” These spells are cast like any other spell, but they are not expended when cast and may be used again. A wizard can prepare a cantrip from a prohibited school, but it uses up two of his available slots (see below).


A Snooty Gnome wrote:
This has all happened before, and it will happen again.

Of course! Players always look for ways to combine synergistic things and stumble upon all sorts of potential cheese. That's why errata come in. Like with Spell Perfection and Echoing Spell used to create infinite spells. I think there was also a thread last year about Merciful Spell and Magical Lineage.

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Level 1 stats:
Str 10
Dex 18
Con 14
Int 21
Wis 12
Cha 8

Race: Elf (+2 spell penetration)
School: Evocation (Admixture)
Banning: Enchantment and Necromancy
Arcane Bond: Familiar (Compsognathus)
Traits: Warrior of Old and Magical Lineage (Fireball)

Wizard: Scribe Scroll (and Alertness)
Level 1: Spell Focus (Evocation)
Level 3: Rime Spell
Level 5: Preferred Spell (Fireball)
Bonus 5: Heighten Spell
Level 7: Spell Penetration
Level 9: Dazing Spell
Bonus 10: Selective Spell
Level 11: Greater Spell Focus (Evocation)
Level 13: Quicken Spell
Level 15: Spell Perfection (Fireball)
Bonus 15: Intensified Spell
Level 17: Greater Spell Penetration
Level 19: Focused Spell
Bonus 20: Lingering Spell

General Idea:

Play this character as a Treantmonk “God” Wizard. Major difference? You can spontaneously turn any of your prepared spells into a fireball. …but not just any fireball; the “God” fireball. Rime Spell is a great metamagic to start down the path of the “God” fireball user. You can add it to fireball without level adjustment, thanks to Magical Lineage. (Spontaneously cast fireball, admixture to cold descriptor, spontaneously add Rime) All targets become entangled, so long as they take damage. So they’re entangled even if they make the save! (Unless they have evasion)

Once you reach level 9, you gain quintessential metamagic of the “God” fireball user: Dazing Spell. If your dazing spell successfully hits its target, they’re as good as dead.

At level 15, your fireball goes up another notch in power. Spell Focus, Greater Spell Focus, and Spell Penetration are all doubled in power for fireball. Eventually bonuses from Greater Spell Penetration and Focused Spell will be doubled. …and don’t forget the main ability! Tack on Dazing Spell or Quicken Spell for free! You could sacrifice a 5th level spell for a quickened dazing fireball! Nice. Or a 3rd level spell for a quickened rime fireball. Or a 6th level spell for an intensified focused selective rime dazing fireball. Great options.

Flexibility: You can spontaneously cast fireball, so prepare spells that ignore spell resistance, like summon spells, buffs, battlefield control and so forth. Prepare spells that target will and fortitude saves. Finally, prepare situational, but potentially amazing spells. If the situation doesn’t arise, it can always be a fireball.

Softening: Who says a blast spell can’t soften up opponents? With Rime Spell, entangled foes take a penalty to reflex saves. (Remember, they’re entangled regardless of making the save!) So a rime fireball can be a nice setup for a dazing fireball.

Knowledge: Knowledge checks will be important; make sure you know a monster's strengths and weaknesses and admixture accordingly.

Spell Resistance: Use other spells if you can help it. But if you need to, you actually should have a decent success rate with your "God" fireball. As an elf, you have a built in +2 to caster level checks to overcome SR. Thanks to feats, you have +4 at level 7, +6 at level 15, and +10 at level 17. Also consider carrying a piercing spell rod.

Stages of the game:
Early, early game (Levels 1 through 4)
Rough for all wizards. You should be halfway decent with a longbow at this point.

Early game (Levels 5 through 8)
And here’s fireball! Ideally, you’ll admixture many of your fireballs to cold to apply rime.

Mid Game (Levels 9 through 14)
And dazing spell makes its appearance. A well placed dazing fireball ends fights.

Late Game (Levels 15 and up)
Spell Perfection kicks in, allowing you to dominate without wasting your high level spells.

Rules Questions:
Is a Heightened Dazing Fireball in a 7th level slot a 4th level or 7th level spell for the purpose of saving throws? I've never heard this debate resolved. The way heighten is written, I'm tempted to think 7th level. Also: how does heighten interact with Magical Lineage? Would casting a Heightened Fireball from a level 3 spell slot result in a 4th level saving throw?

I'm hoping to run this build in my next campaign, so...

Thoughts? Advice? Criticism? Do you believe in 'The "God" Fireball'?

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I love feats a lot, but considering how precious few we get, for optimization's sake, one feels the need to skip all "flavor feats" and opt for things that give defined, always active or consistently useful bonuses. Things like Improved Initiative, Toughness, Weapon Focus, Power Attack, etc.

So what would be a flavor feat? Things like Persuasive, Endurance, Underfoot, Prodigy, Teamwork Feats, perhaps combat maneuvers. My players hardly even know they exist. Giving them a combat maneuver feat for free might encourage them to try it out. This is too small a sample, but basically, "Feats a min/max-er wouldn't take for his build"

Some thoughts on how to get players more of the feats they'd like:

1) Feat Elimination - Eliminate feats that just seem unnecessary. This has been discussed in other threads; feats like Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Finesse, Agile Maneuvers, Heighten Spell, Leadership, Strike Back, etc.

2) Feat Consolidation - Let's say instead of removing Two-Weapon Fighting from being a feat altogether, make it one feat. Then when you meet the prereqs for Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, you gain it automatically. Perhaps do the same for the Combat Styles in Ultimate Combat. (Especially if for the feat-starved Master of Many Styles)
Combining Power Attack and Combat Expertise into one feat and dropping the stat requirements could open up whole new possibilities for players.

3) Skill Tricks - This is something from 3.5. I believe it worked something like this; instead of spending your skill points to increase your rank in a skill, you can spend them to buy skill tricks. So I'd need to create a list of feats that could be bought with skill points. Although perhaps not the best example of a Skill Trick; Antagonize could be one. It's something you can do with a skill, why not put it there? Dazzling Display might fit here too. (Limit 1 Skill Trick per level or every other level.) Part of implementing skill tricks would be to give every class (or at least classes like Sorc and Fighter) a bonus 2 skill points per level, so even low Int builds would have a few more points to spare.

4) Character Creation Feat - Dole out feats that make sense to the character, kind of like traits. If they have a good backstory, give them something nice.

5) Feats as a Reward - Completing a quest grew the character in some way. Give them a feat to represent the growth. Did they fight under conditions where their eyesight was next to useless? Perhaps they've earned Blind-Fight.

6) Training - Study under a master to gain another feat. You want to learn Mantis Style? Learn from a master. Want to learn how to grapple effectively? Learn from a master. Want to learn how to wield a whip? Learn from a master.

7) Selling Feats - Least preferred option, but perhaps allowing some feats to be purchased as Ioun Stones or some such is something to consider. Once again, the feats you could take would be from a more restricted list. (No toughness, improved initiative, etc.)

8) More feats - Pathfinder gives us 10 feats over 20 levels. How about houserule 15 feats over 20 levels? At 2nd, 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th level, you get to pick a flavor feat.

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I love blaster builds, if only because they make for an interesting challenge; how do you make it viable? However, I love adding a bit of control in there; Dazing Spell (and perhaps Lingering Spell, if you can make good use of it) makes for a fun trick for your Wizard.


So here's my take on a blaster build:

Wizard 1-20 (Evoker, Admixture School)
-Hopefully with a good knowledge check, you'll be able to identify which elements are ineffective against that creature and adapt the energy type to the one that works each and every time with Versatile Evocation.

Elf (Spell Penetration and the favored class option of increasing the number of times you can use Versatile Evocation)

Familiar: Compsognathus (Grants +4 to Initiative; you probably can't grab Improved Initiative with this build, this familiar helps with that.)

Traits: Warrior of Old (+2 Initiative)
Magical Lineage (Fireball? Or Cold Ice Strike, if you don't mind the wait) - Probably? Perhaps instead go for a universally useful trait like Focused Mind for the +2 concentration.

This build will be using Greater Spell Specialization for spontaneous casting, so you shouldn't need to actually prepare blasts. Prepare standard non-blast spells, or situationally awesome spells and convert to blasts (and eventually Dazing Blasts!) as needed.

Wiz - Scribe Scroll
1st - Spell Focus (Evocation)
3rd - Spell Specialization
5th - Greater Spell Specialization
Bonus 5th - Piercing Spell (Target gets -5 SR; use it when you run into it!)
7th - Spell Specialization (Increase versatility by choosing two blast spells of different levels, different elements, different shapes, etc.)
9th - Greater Spell Focus (Evocation)
Bonus 10th - Persistent Spell
11th - Dazing Spell

BE AWARE! Here's where you get 6th level spells and perhaps the most overpowered spell I've ever seen: Cold Ice Strike. Almost makes me want to give up on metamagic; it has the DC of a 6th level spell, 60 ft cone, up to 15d6 damage and can be cast as a SWIFT action. I decided against taking quicken, almost solely because of this spell. (Rods of quicken help too.)

13th - Intensified Spell (So much more efficient than Empower Spell, for where it works. Burning Hands becomes 10d6, Fireball for 15d6, all for a +1 in level)
15th - Spell Perfection (Your favorite blast!)
Bonus 15th - Selective Spell (Worried about hitting friends? Worry no more.)
17th - Spell Specialization (More versatility)
19th - Toughness (Just 'cause?)
Bonus 20th - Immortality (Just 'cause? I got lazy toward the end.)


So this build hopes to address many of the weaknesses of blasting:

1. Energy resistance - Either choose one of the spells you have with Spell Specialization, or use admixture to get whatever element you need.

2. Spell Resistance - Being an elf and having Piercing Spell hopefully covers this. Perhaps eventually Orange Ioun Stone and Robe of the Archmagi can further mitigate this. (Or if your GM is kind, ask if you can get just the Spell Penetration portion of the Robe. As treantmonk says, it's not a great item.)

3. DCs - Spell Focus, Greater Spell Focus, Persistent Spell... (And Spell Perfection doubling the bonuses for that spell) Hopefully that will increase your chances enough for your blasts to consistently hit.


Also, as someone mentioned earlier, being able to research your own spells can be quite a boon. If by 11th level you have Cold Ice Strike and your own homebrew blast as your two specialized spells, they could make for a deadly combination. ...but hopefully this serves as an outline for effective blasting. :3


That isn't to say this is the be all and all blaster build. This is all postulation on what might be effective in my experience with the game. You may rightfully disagree with the order I took my feats, or which ones I should be taking at all. Perhaps you see metamagic like Piercing and Selective as candidates for metamagic rods. You might be right. I just like to have an abundance of +1 metamagic so I can adjust each spell level slightly.

EDIT: Almost forgot! If you have access to preparation rituals for your spellbook, this might be handy, although potentially dangerous.

Harmful Surge (Su) You can maximize a spell, but doing so damages you. Spend this boon effect as a free action when you cast a wizard evocation spell. When you do, you can treat that spell as if it were cast with the Maximize Spell metamagic feat, but you take 1d4 points of damage × the level of the spell that you are maximizing. The damage you take cannot be reduced in any way.


Rime Bite (Su) You infuse your spell with a biting cold that few can withstand. Spend this boon as a free action when you cast a spell with the cold descriptor. Any damage from that spell ignores all resistance to cold, but does not ignore immunity to cold.

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@Kaisoku - Exactly. When I'm told to prepare for an upcoming campaign, I consider it my duty to devote an exorbitant amount of time scouring through each book to find anything that might give my character an edge.

...when my friend is told to prepare for an upcoming campaign, she develops an elaborate story, draws her character, and makes her character almost as an afterthought.

People just have different mindsets in how they approach the vastly complex game/social event called d&d. (or in this case, Pathfinder)

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Meh, I'm ambivalent to the power disparity. I fully agree that a wizard ends up overwhelmingly more powerful than a fighter, (especially in my group, where we have relatively few encounters per day) but the nice thing about d&d and pathfinder is that we aren't really pitted against one another. It's a team effort. While the wizard may be able to make do without a fighter with his raw power, you're always glad to have the melee characters around to conserve your spells. Each member contributes in their own way. Often I like to play the dominating wizard, but I also get satisfaction from power attacking and crit on a nat 15 with Improved Critical (Elven Curve Blade) and making my enemies explode. ...furthermore, I think I have more fun constructing a melee character. I'm a shameless optimizer, and I find optimizing a melee build is more of challenging puzzle than optimizing a wizard. (Although running the character is a different story)

Anyway, who cares? The game is fun however you decide to play it.

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First, a surprise vocabulary test!

If you’re the first to define all 7 words, you get your very own demiplane:


Moving on… The whole notion of us mere mortals creating our own planes intrigues me. So the purpose of this thread is to discuss the functionality of the spells and also how you would use it as a player or as a GM.

The Spells in question!

The Cost: If you cast lesser create demiplane, expand it with create demiplane, and expand it further with greater create demiplane, what is the final cost to make it permanent? From how I’m reading the spell, I think it would be 22,500? It only costs when you have multiple castings of each demiplane spell, but then you pay 22.5k every time you expand with greater create demiplane. …but I'm probably wrong. Also from what I've gathered, adding features to a plane doesn’t cost gp, it just manipulates the current plane.

How do you interpret the permanency cost? On a slightly unrelated note, how much gold do you think you would sink into planar creation?

Planar Time: Another mildly controversial/confusing aspect of this spell is with greater create demiplane; you can have time flow at half time or double time. Hello spending 24 hours in your plane while 12 hours have passed on your home plane. (Spells per day can be replenished faster and all that) You can also assign the timeless trait to your plane; however it only stops time for everything within, but time continues at a normal pace outside of your plane, and time returns to you as soon as you leave. (i.e. Spend 1000 years in your plane and you’re fine while you’re inside your plane. As soon as you leave, you’re dead! Unless you’re immortal or whatever.)

How would you make use of planar time?

Here are a few other questions that come to mind, but feel free to discuss any planar shenanigans inspired by these spells:

1. What would you use demiplanes for? Base of operations and a place for all of your followers? (Leadership people rejoice?) A place to trap your enemies?

2. How would you defend your plane? (It can potentially be destroyed by limited wish, wish, miracle, mage’s disjunction and threatened by invaders) What kinds of traps? Guards?

3. What aesthetic features would you add to your plane? Personal touches rock!

4. How would the BBEG make use of his own plane?

5. How would you make use of the other features? Gravity, Alignment, Element, Seasonal Cycle, Night/Day Cycle, etc. Make planes that cater to your Horizon Walker friends?

I’ve never dabbled with anything related to planes, so your expertise is appreciated!

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Teamwork… It’s actually a bit of a foreign concept to me. My group’s version of teamwork amounts to “attack the enemy until they’re dead.” This tends to work well enough, but after reading through the APG feats, I felt that maybe our group was missing out on some potentially awesome ways to overcome the enemy.

So… do you use teamwork strategies and how so? This may vary greatly from the players’ perspective to the GM’s perspective. I want to hear how teamwork has played a role in your games.

How does teamwork vary from “attack the enemy until they're dead?”
Here’s how I think I would define it: your allies must have very specific placement in order to bring about a greater effect than you otherwise would have. This involves flanking, provoking AoO’s and potentially much more.

Do you have AIDS? (Aid Another tactics)
You can use Aid Another as a standard action to give an ally an edge in battle. Usually this is a lackluster way to spend a standard action, but may have its uses. However, you can Aid Another as a swift action (Swift Aid feat) a move action (Team Up feat) and as an attack of opportunity. (Bodyguard feat) Have you found any of these to be worthwhile, even if only for an NPC? The thought of a character spamming Aid Another seems amusing to me.

Teamwork Feats
Have your characters used them? Have you used them as a GM? What are some of your favorites? How about when using them as an Inquisitor or Cavalier?

Combat Maneuvers
Another thing my group has scarcely made use of. (Why trip when you can kill?) How have you used combat maneuvers in the context of teamwork to produce something more effective than just attacking? …or at least considerably more awesome than just attacking?

Spells and Teamwork
Hydraulic Push, Command, a Lingering Spell… There are countless ways you might use spells in conjunction with your allies. Tell me how you’ve used spells and teamwork to bring about extremely unfavorable positions for your enemies.

Have you ever used leadership for a cheesy teamwork-ish effect? (Attract a bunch of 1st level cavaliers for the tactician ability?)

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To give you an example of just how many feats you have, here's what a human ZAM might have by level 9:

Improved Unarmed Strike
Weapon Focus(Longbow)
Weapon Specialization (Longbow)
Point Blank Master
Perfect Strike
Precise Shot
Improved Precise Shot (Level 6 Monk feat)
Deadly Aim
Point Blank Shot
Combat Reflexes
Combat Patrol
Improved Initiative yeah. You have options.

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I'm trying to weigh the value of one of the Focused Arcane Schools from the APG, the Foresight School.

Foresight School
Associated School: Divination.
Replacement Powers: The following school powers
replace the diviner’s fortune and scrying adept powers of
the divination school.

Prescience (Su):
At the beginning of your turn, you
may, as a free action, roll a single d20. At any point before
your next turn, you may use the result of this roll as the
result of any d20 roll you are required to make. If you do
not use the d20 result before your next turn, it is lost. You
can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 +
your Intelligence modifier.

Foretell (Su):
At 8th level, you can utter a prediction of
the immediate future. While your foretelling is in effect,
you emit a 30-foot aura of fortune that aids your allies
or hinders your enemies, as chosen by you at the time of
prediction. If you choose to aid, you and your allies gain
a +2 luck bonus on ability checks, attack rolls, caster level
checks, saving throws, and skill checks. If you choose
to hinder, your enemies take a –2 penalty on those rolls
instead. You can use this ability for a number of rounds
per day equal to your wizard level. These rounds do not
need to be consecutive.

Okay, questions about Prescience:

1. Any d20 roll you are required to make: Does that mean any d20 roll of your choosing or something forced, like a saving throw?

2. Can you make the roll and based upon that decide whether or not you want to replace it with your prescient roll, or do you have to replace the roll with the prescient roll before rolling it at all?

Questions about Foretell:

1. Is this a free action?

2. A round constitutes when you initiated it until the beginning of your next turn, right?

3. What does this all affect? Are caster level checks exclusively for Spell Resistance or does it have other applications? Examples of ability checks?

Regardless, it's seems powerful to be able to turn on an ability that grants you and your friends a luck bonus similar to having an extra Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Focus, Spell Penetration, Great Fortitude, Lightning Reflexes, Iron Will, etc. for a number of rounds per day.

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