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Well, if you want to have an impact with people, high charisma is generally better. You don't have to be pretty or polite to be charismatic, you have to be memorable. The sort of larger-than life berserker who can make big men blanch, children cry and run and wild dogs whimper with a look? S/he has high charisma.
Intimidating prowess is fun imo, and I'm also a fan of cornugon smash, which allows you to intimidate people as a free action when you hit them with a power attack - which you will probably be doing quite often :)
A class is almost never defined by a single lifestyle, especially a class as generic by the rogue :) Going simply by class abilities and stat priorization, the difference between the two is next to none. Some Rogues don´t sneak around in shadows, some do. And just because the iconic ninja aren´t particularly talkative doesn´t mean none of them are - they have the same skills and skill points as rogue, and tend to generally have pretty decent charisma scores. Sure, rogues have more social-fu in their talents, but they are just one of several options the class gets - and on the other hand, ninja have access to rogue talents by taking them as ninja tricks.
The racial class is interesting, but I really wish there were more options to trade it without trading the skill focus. Anyway, that doesn't really matter for a core character...
The classes can mesh well enough. Just how much you want to mesh the classes depends on you - imo either could be a dip, a few paladin levels give you proficiencies, smite and divine grace, a few bard levels get you a slew of abilities and versatile performance for skill check substitution (and paladins are really skill-starved). Perform Oratory for example can be awesome for a paladin who likes to go ham (which, come on, is pretty much iconic paladin behavior. You can also use it to pick up a few potentially useful skills paladins don't normally have access to, like intimidate. Also, remember the half-elf skill focus? It works really well if you have a signature perform skill you are using with versatile performance - such as if you only dip bard and it's your only versatile performance skill.
By the way, were traits considered core?
Is the soft rule something you set for yourself or something the challenge set for you? I'm generally not too fond of multiclassing, but it could work. Only I'd suggest a two-hander instead of a shield in the off-hand - if you are multiclassing with a full BAB class it should not be too hard to be a secondary combatant anyway. Something like a glaive could be interesting, and you can tie it conceptually with the character being a fan of Shelyn (who happens to have paladins and love bards*).
*Well, she loves most anybody, being the goddess of love and all, but she reallly has a thing for bards.
The rules don't say much about it, interbreeding is probably not something the designers wanted to touch too closely. I imagine a lot of things either wouldn't work at all or wouldn't work right (by which I mean not producing a viable progeny able to reproduce) - unless, of course, magic comes into play. If Shelyn decides to bless the couple with a child or the friendly neighborhood uber-wizard busts out that wish scroll, then race, genetics or even gender can fall on their backs and roll over.
N. Jolly wrote:
You're running the game, you could always just say "But THESE devils are vulnerable to fire". Hell, have someone else take fire too if you're going that round, as energy resistance only reduces x damage a round.
Are you sure about that last bit? It is a per attack thing unless it got errata'd and the srd is behind. [url=http://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/special-abilities#TOC-Energy-Resistance]Source[url].
I'd say even in Cheliax mortals and the like heavily outnumber outsiders, so it's not like a blaster would be useless, but a few minor adjustments can work here. For example, you could base something off the ork sorcerer class bonus, except for instead of +1 damage to fire spells it could be ignoring 1 point of energy resistances per level (or 2 if it is a single element, since that is less valuable than a flat +1 to damage vs everything).
Also, a blaster sorcerer will probably have 1-2 blaster spells known per level. They will most likely have other spells in their arsenal too - remind the player of this if s/he tends to go overboard in their spell selection.
That sounds like someone who enjoys, not to put it too bluntly, messing with the party. In which case, don't worry, a monk's immunity do disease will NOT stop him making stuff up on the fly (I don't imagine you got a save to not lose those levels?) if he wants to, hmm, have a joke on your expense.
By the rules, the monk's immunity to disease is a pretty hard nut to crack. Even with baleful polymorph you have to fail both the fortitude and the will save to lose your extraordinary abilities, and monks tends to have a pretty darn good will save. All of this matters exactly 0 if the DM decides he has to do it to your character and rules be damned, though.
Xia Lee's Angels, coming soon to a theater near you :P .
In that case, though, the "activation" period of the performance should be shorter, maybe a minute. Spending 10 minutes for a 10 minutes bonus is just a clunky mechanic imo. It cold be hilarious - like the geisha performing the ceremony in a swiftly moving carriage carrying several heavily armed warriors to the battlefield - but as a modus operandi of an entire archetype it strains credibility. Purely from a logical perspective, in a culture refined to the point where you can take 10 minutes for a cup of tea, you will probably take a lot more than that for a ceremonial duel, state negotiations and the like.
Hmm, I consider the geisha archetype to be a dedicated non-combatant, but in that niche it strikes me as a pretty decent one. The only thing holding it back is the low duration (or high preparation time) of the tea ceremony. If it was either 1 hour or 10 minutes/level, it would be a pretty solid pre-engagement buffs. The rest are quite solid, possibly great, for a non-combat bard:
- proficiencies: you get a big hit but as noted, you do not expect to see combat. You are a courtier, not a warrior.
- geisha knowledge: you don't absorb a lot of lore about everything, but get impressive bonuses to several skills you will use a lot. 1/2 your level to diplomacy makes you pretty awesome at diplomancing or rumormongering, and you also get your bonus to a single perform check - which, with versatile performer, means two other useful abilities. Oh, and you can use your very high calligraphy instead of spellcraft to craft scrolls to give your friends who DO go out in the dungeons, forests, and so on while you are scheming how to take the thro.. I mean practicing with your lute. You have your core knowledge (nobility) there as well. Sure, I'd love it to contain linguistics as well so you can fake the imperial seal, but it is quite decent for the role as it is.
Craft scroll: I admit, it isn't quite as good as it would be for a prepared caster or if you were planning to go out and about much, but for a NPC it is a great way to stock up on useful tricks for the day they do need to go all out or, much more likely, some of their friends need some bardic mojo in a can.
So granted, it's mostly a NPC archetype, but it can be pretty decent in a GoT-esque intrigue setting. And for a NPC, it has a pretty solid niche as a courtier or a diva - sort of like a court bard, but retaining the core "buff" abilities of the bard instead of the court bard's debuffs, and keeping some of the lore/jack of all trades focus. Giving a bardic knowledge bonus to a perform skill and extending its uses with versatile performer is a big thing for a socialite bard imo.
Its issues as I see them are:
- Tea ceremony has a bad preparation to active time ratio. If it required less time or was active more time it would get a lot more use. Extending its duration with 10 extra minutes per level or 1/2 level would definitely be a plus imo - 10 minutes preparation for 10 minutes bonus is quite clunky and unsuitable.
- The geisha retains some bard ceremonies that are atypical for a non-combat bard and that other socialite bards trade off: dirge of doom and especially frightening tune. For a an infiltrator or an agent these can be useful, but I doubt most characters going for this archetype would want to scare people that often. Then again, it is one of the geisha's ways to get unwanted people away from her/him. Still, more subtle tricks would definitely work.
- Craft (calligraphy)'s uses are very niche outside of substituting it for spellcraft for a scroll's creation (and a lot of other craft skills can be used for item creation as well). The DM should consider its uses for part of what linguistics covers, such as understanding obscure forms of a language you know and the ability create/detect forgeries for the type of documents where calligraphy would be used. It is still far from a common skill, but it will be valuable to the right characters.
So overall, if you want a non-combat NPC bard the geisha is a solid archetype imo. It competes with the definitely good court bard and a few other archetypes such as the negotiator, but I can definitely see it work. If you want an adventurous version that is closer to the typical way D&D parties run, the Lotus Geisha is probably better, but it will be a different kind of character.
Has anyone tried out eldritch heritage on half-elf or humans (with the skill focus trait) ninjas? I think some of them can be quite nice, such as the serpentine bloodline for a more social, high-charisma ninja characters.
Required skill: Diplomacy. As a ninja, are a skill monkey, and eldritch heritage requires good charisma - so diplomacy is a skill you'd probably max anyway. Now you are even better at both having people do what you want and tell you what you want to know.
Eldritch heritage : Serpent's Fang. This is pure gold imo. As a rogue-like character you rely on sneak attack for damage, and this is an extra sneak attack on top of either your two-handed or two-weapon combo at no penalty for the main attacks. As an extra rider, it packs a scaling constitution poison. It is limited in rounds, but still scary good.
Improved eldritch heritage A: Serpentfriend. Okay, this has two parts. First, you speak with any reptiles at will, which is situational, but valuable (I've seen worse feats). Second, you get a viper familiar. Well it's more limited than what you get from arcane (so it can't use wands and is not always socially acceptable to have around) but it's still a familiar with all the skill ranks you as a skill monkey have - so rerolls on a lot of skills and a useful scout. Second, it's a free alertness for if around and a free +3 to bluff on top of your already good social abilities to turn you into a certified smooth criminal. Oh, and you can (subject to DM approval) milk it for free, if not THAT powerful, venom - and with poison use you can't poison yourself doing so. Definitely worth a feat imo.
Improved eldritch heritage B: Serpentskin. A natural armor bonus, bonus vs poisons (hey, you do have a weak fortitude save) and a bonus to escape artist checks in case you want them. At lvl 15 and 19 (if you get that far), the bonuses improve. This one is a bit weaker than the former two imo, but still good enough to merit a feat.
There are other interesting bloodline options imo such as draconic (probably linnorn as energy ray is more useful than claws on a ninja imo), harrowed, orc and a few others, as well as of course the arcane or shadow that the guide already mentioned. Half-elf ninjas with EH can be quite fun imo and I'm sad I have never had the occasion to play one in a face-to-face campaign.
Is there a Bard type that gives access to a familiar?
The Sea Singer gets a monkey or parrot. There was a 3.5 feat that gave any arcane caster a familiar but you'd need to check with the GM on it. Actually, arcane heritage (arcane bloodline) can also work, but you'd need a skill focus first.
Basically, if you go bombs (and there are other options, such as sneak attack), you can do a fair bit of area damage,possibly buffed with status effects or the right kind of elemental damage, that is very hard to block - spell resistance doesn't apply, you hit the relatively low touch AC, and eventually an alchemist could go completely crazy, throwing several bombs per round. With a prepared mutagen and lots of buff "spells" you are ok in combat even apart from that. Basically, a bomb alchemist is an okayish fighter with a special trick that can be very nasty in some encounters where enemies are grouped together. If the enemies cluster some distance away you blast, if they get up close and in your face you stab, and you are ok with both overall.
"Going nova" is a term for when a character can output huge amounts of damage (for that level) over a round or so, but can't do it more than once or a few times per day. An alchemist with the discovery that lets them do full attack with bombs (usually with two-weapon fighting) can definitely do that.
Personally, I am a fan of the archetype that trades bombs for sneak attack damage. Alchemists don't have great weapon proficiencies, but when most of your damage comes from sneak attacks and static bonuses, daggers are a perfectly fine weapon.
One other thing an alchemist is is a secondary skill specialist. They seem like they only have 4 base skill points per level, but they tend to have high intelligence and a good class skill list, so they are an ok substitution for a rogue or a "smart guy/girl" that helps the party know what's happening.
As for the negatives, well, at the end of the day you have the attack progression or armor of a bard. If you are caught unprepared, or your potions have run out, you aren't all that. If you go for bombs, they are a finite resource - especially early on. An alchemist out of tricks isn't all that useful, so you need to get a feeling for resource management - neither hoarding power when it is needed nor wasting it uselessly.
Conceptually, it is iffy at best, but I'd have to say - FE human is almost always a safe pick, and depending on the campaign elves or orcs may also be good choices. So from a game balance perspective, it works okay.
Feel free to have an archetype ability as the "default" option, like what the guide or the slayer get, but don't be surprised if every ranger picks FE (humanoids) if given half the choice.
I think Skull'n'Shackles had it mentioned that it is very low on guns by default and by intention - guns are supposed to be a guarded secret weapon of, well, certain powerful groups and people. If your DM is okay with introducing more treasure like that, a gunslinger is ok. A ranger or hurler is fine, though with a bard and a druid I might be tempted to go full melee and show those average BAB scrubs how a real warrior gets things done with a barbarian or a battlerager.
An Alchemist - perhaps with a Master Chymist for a bit more melee focus - is also an option, and can imo be fun. Both the regular alchemists and vivisectionists can find their combat style to be quite handy - bombs are nasty on a ship, and there will be plenty of ways to make your sneak attack stick. I'd say an alchemist/master chymist is a solid frontliner with a pretty dangerous ranged attacks when s/he has to.
If you fight mounted and use the horse for more than just a transport animal between fights, then yes, it might take some doing to be good at it while in armor and shield heavy enough to wear you down anyway. If you want a cheap combat pet, a guard dog may be an easier alternative.
Look at it this way - like several other combat styles, mounted combat might take some preparation or experience to be good at, and if you lack these you should try to take it easy on yourself. First, medium encumberment is not fun to begin with - if you walk around wearing iron, it helps to have the figure for it. Second, picture yourself riding a horse while using one hand for a shield in combat. It probably doesn't look like it's going to be easy to begin with, is it? Make it easy on yourself and put the shield in the saddlebags until you are sure you need a it, which would coincidentally most likely put you back into light load. When the going could get tough, take out shield, dismount, kick ass. If someone feels tempted to steal your stuff, well, that's when your equine ally gets to pull her or his weight.
Long story short, mounted combat is a schtick just like any other style, and it will take some effort. If you want to be able to do something early on without making a big investment, you might want to make it easy on yourself and make it as simple as you can for yourself.
Basically, for a bard you want to take a tiefling variant that does not get a charisma penalty, ideally one that actually gives you a bonus.
Bards are described as jacks of all trade, but spreading yourself too thin can you be unsatisfying. I'd suggest becoming very good at one or two things, with a couple of other things your character is ok at. That will determine your bard archetype (if you want to get one), feats, skills, spell selection and so on. For example, if you want someone to schmooze the pants of a nun, go for high charisma, traits or feats to boost DCs, possibly an archetype that gets you bonuses to, say, diplomacy For a versatile "skill monkey" bard you'd likely want something that keeps versatile performance or at least gives you a good substitute to much-used skills. A martial artist would likely pick a fitting archetype and prioritize physical attributes. It could even be thematic - if you want to go for a "dis" rap bard, you'd go for an archetype that lets you debuff or damage an enemy with your performance, like the court bard or the soundstriker.
For a new player, btw, I'd recommend not going for something like a demon lord worshipper. Evil characters in general don't work well in a team for new players, and demon lords don't even quite have the power of the major evil deity cults.
An archery ranger is okay, but they work better with a two-hander for a backup weapon imo as it is less feat intensive and archers usually have some strength bonus anyway for the mighty bows. Zen monks are also very good archers, but their lvl 1 isn't all that good - still, if she wants to try it, a zen archer substituting some monk powers via the qinggong archetype is a good base for a very cool pseudomystic character.
I'm also a fan of archer bards, and while they take a while to become good archers, they are all-around handy guys and girls to have around, especially with so many strength-based beatsticks. Going either full support or full blaster is imo not the best route for sorcerers - the more versatile their spell selection is, the better. Some blasting or at least ranged control is always good to have, and another possible support character - bard, alchemist (with infusion) or even summoner or witch are all good options, leaving the sorcerer free to let loose and fry.
Hmm, now I wonder what perform skill a court or soundstriker bard should use for a diss rap at an ogre... I imagine either oratory or comedy. Not quite as easy as a witch cackle, but definitely worth it is you have the time and inclination to RP it right.
IMO summon monster is sort of okayish, but not an automatic choice as you need to take the newer versions to keep up, and sorcerers don't get all that many spells known. The low duration makes it unappealing on low levels. I'd leave it to classes that don't have to expend precious spell slots on it, to be honest. Now, Planar Binding, when you get it, is quite interesting... although these are more ritual allies and less disposable minions (though a part of me thinks this could be better from an educational standpoint).I'd say pick up one or two Summon Monsters spells or emulate them with Shadow Conjuration when you get the right level, unless you really want to go into that schtick.
Generally I'd agree with Da G8keepah's spell ideas on level one, though I'd think about putting at least one damage spell if she doesn't get something from her bloodline when the enemies are resistant to control. Plinking at skeletons with a light crossbow because none of your spells do anything to them is not so fun. Enlarge is an awesome buff and I'd even suggest taking it at level 1, 2 at the latest if you don't get it via the bloodline. The LoL fan in me insists I ask that she shout "Biggify!" or "Tremendo!" when casting it and point at the object, fun will be had :)
A Taldan intrigue-based campaign would be nice, although Galt and Brevoy proper also have potential, and Vudra and southern Tian Xia can be worthwhile too. A visit to either Qadira or Nidal could also be memorable...
However, my second choice after Taldor would be the Land Of the Linnorn Kings. After all the hints Sven Blood-Eagle might not have long until Valhalla, let's do some proper Viking war, trade and politicking - and then kill us a linnorn!
In general, killing a defenseless captive does run counter most interpretations of LG as alignment and good in general. Killing someone because of your momentary desires generally tends to be in the province of the evil alignments -if nothing else it does not speak well of the character´s impulse control.
I mean, we aren´t talking about swearing at the guy, slapping his face or any other "normal" reaction to a taunt. The image I got was that the paladin drew a weapon and murdered a prisoner for taunting her, and that is the sort of behavior I tend to associate with the villainous crowd.
I generally don´t like the idea of characters having to pay for atonement - it smacks too much of indulgence selling. It makes some sense in case the cleric or paladin fell because of avarice, but overall I´d prefer a test instead. Chances are a cleric of that high level that s/he´s able to cast that spell should have a good enough connection with The Big Guy/Gal/Idea that they would not know how to get their attention.
I wonder if this whole encounter will teach the paladin player that there is a thing called nonlethal damage, particularly when you want to deck someone without killing them. Perhaps the OP could spring a bar fight on the party afterwards, mentioning that drawing real weapons there is generally a problem?
OP specifically mentioned being a con artist though. Look, I'm not saying OP is a racist or intentionally offending anybody, but at the end of the day there would never be a thread about how to play a black, asian, or latino stereotype. Yet here we have people actively encouraging this behavior.
Hmm, I missed that part, my bad. I considered the "Gypsy fortune teller" archetype as related to purely fortune telling, which to me is no more offensive than, say, the Armenian or Jewish goldsmith. It is a stereotypical career and there are some negative social factors behind it, but in the end it is a job mostly done by a certain minority. The "Gypsy thief posing as a fortune teller" can definitely be offensive, yeah.
On the other hand, it is a stereotype that exists, just as say the evil stepmother or jealous second child. They are negative archetypes that persist despite there being a lot of perfectly good people in those positions. There are archetypes in D&D that are not particularly good people, and the OP seems to be going for that, at least at first.
The advice that I see so far is purely mechanical - what class functions well for a certain archetype. I apologize if it is seen as disturbing - to me it is the maturity and awareness into the game that can make or break the character. A bland kleptomaniac and a liar will not be a good character. A jaded wanderer looking only for him/herself first and a group of people second, who has a code of morals notably different than most people are used to and thus is seen as dishonorable? That can work well enough I think.
That makes me wonder, though, to what degree is "Gypsy" tied to (Romani) ethnicity in the English language and to what degree does it portray an archetype or lifestyle like "Bohemian"?
I hope it works out without too much trouble, but if the players are uncomfortable with a polytheistic world, I'd suggest checking Dark Sun too. The elemental priests can work reasonably well with both an agnostic view of the setting and if you want to have a neutral supreme deity that does not interfere directly.
Bards are incredibly varied and have both casting and subterfuge. If I'm to suggest a default class for the "gypsy" archetype (in fact, for several different archetypes, positive and negative) in Pathfinder it would probably be this one. You have a lot of skills - possibly more than any other class if you go vanilla bard or any archetype that keeps bardic knowledge or an equivalent - and tend to be the default party face as well as a decent caster. It shines in a group either large enough to have a full-time support charcter or small enough so everyone must be able to do multiple things. With your good charisma, plenty of skills and UMD as a class skill the bard is also great at using UMD to "cast" spells on another's list. It doesn't have quite as good divinations as the right witch or diviner wizard, but gets a fair few. If anything, s/he's even better at illusion and enchantments.
The basic bard works great for the concept, as well as imo the archeologist (less party support oriented, more being able to get into and out of strange, guarded or trapped places), magician (bard focusing on magic and mysticism) and the sandman (a more subtle, roguish bard).
Granted, bards don´t have awesome AC at that level. Mind you, if they are not using a two-hander to thwack at the enemy, they have 0 problems strapping a small shield to their left hand and likely outdo barbarians at that level :)
But yes, for healing and tanking combination that is not an oracle or a cleric (so it offers some variety) a druid can do a good job. Personally, I like the base class enough, though a shaman is sometimes a good choice.
BTW, if you are worried about AC, I would advise the Bear Shaman over the Lion one. The speed boost is lower, but the toughness aspect helps. Do note it is a natural armor bonus, so afaik it stacks with enhancement bonuses to natural armor like Barkskin. Granted, your pets don´t look quite so dashing for the picture, but a bear cavalry charge is hilarious in its own right :)
Hmm, I wouldn't call the arcane duelist bard particularly squishy - especially later on when they pick up medium armor they aren't far from the cleric or druid. Still, for now I'd suggest the druid - it's both close-ish to the previous character and different enough to be refreshing. It doesn't have quite as much healing as the others but still has a fair amoung, and compensates with utility and pets.
Flavor text tends to generalize a bit - basically the draconic influence may tug at you sometimes, but you are still you. Personally, I interpret this to mean that the majority or at least a sizable minority of NPC dragon disciples are of their progenitors' alignment or close to it - i.e. in a game a red dragon disciple would probably be NE, CE or CN unless there is a particular reason for her not to be (as in, as a DM I think it would be cool, prove a point etc).
It's a bit like with tieflings and aasimars - most of them tend to evil or good respectively, but not all of them have to follow the alignment of their outsider forefather, and some expressly go against it.
PCs can feel those urges at times as way to RP, but don't have to accept them or base their behavior on them. Perhaps you have an odd fascination with violence and death by fire - you know they are wrong, and it is shameful and disturbing, but some part of you enjoys it. You can embrace it, try to ignore it, or even go out of your way to fight it to prove (to others and yourself) you are your own person and not a mindless slave to a gene implanted in you generations ago.
@ Kudaku The Nymph doesn't, as far as I can tell (dryads and satyrs do, apparently). I guess it is also a matter of how willing a creature is to use them. Being able to mesmerize or charm an enemy into leaving you alone can be seen as self-defense, even though the same ability can be used for less savory outcomes. And if we are going by mythology, well, when mythology was coined people had somewhat different sensibilities, so it is tricky just adopting the views that worked for them.
Hmm, mea culpa, I guess - I got sidetracked by what I perceived as "succubi are ok, incubi are not" train of thought. Overall, I try to treat it as mostly a matter of agency (are female NPCs as active as male NPCs in such matters, and is there a reasonable and fair explanation if they are not) and balance (are there enough opportunities and reasonably fair representation of both genders). I'm definitely getting at least some of it wrong, so I try to be open to feedback from my players.
I imagine a bit of taste, balance and empathy help avoind that problem in most cases. Though I wonder, do we have a PF version of the Hawkeye Test? :)
@ Jessica Price: well, the regular succubus has charm person and suggesion at will, and dominate once per level, with DCs high enough that a regular Joe or Jane Schmoe does not stand a chance. So sure, she might try to seduce you... but if you say no, and she doesn't want to take no for an answer, she has a whole lot of magical mickey. Whether charm person takes your free will or not is debatable, but against a low-level mortal the outcome is hardly in doubt. Dominate is pretty obvious, but even charm person allows you to order someone around and make them do something they normally wouldn't on an opposed charisma check. Against most of the (demi-)human population that is sort of a win by default
I get the idea that seduction isn't the same as essentilly forcing it (whether by might, magic or other unresistable methods), but I think that the whole succubi being ok vs incubi being rapists is not a very defensible statement. Succubi have a lot of magical tricks to make consent a non-issue, and it isn't like they have anything to hold them back.
I think he is within the limits of human with rolled stats. 18 is pretty much the epitome of natural human gifts, and he essentially lucked at chargen :) .
Ironically, I'm seeing him as a somewhat typical NE character. He can exist within a relatively strict hierarchy without much trouble when it fits him, but he doesn't really care for it much. He can follow orders well enough... but when he has free reign, he will be as vile as he wants to get what he wants.
Classwise, I'm leaning towards the Unbreakable fighter, though he can probably work as a iron hulk barbarian too.