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Cannon Golem

The Shaman's page

844 posts. Alias of Boyan Penev.


1 to 50 of 844 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>

Weapon focus is a safe pick if you plan on having a signature weapon. I can also think of selecting a defensive option like iron will (less required on elves or dwarves due to the save bonuses, but still handy) or even dodge.

With those stats I might be even tempted for a paladin/monk/Fist of Irori, but that might be a wee bit ridiculous :) .

I'd say go with the class that best fits the role you want. All three classes work out and you have great stats, so it's a matter of style.

Sadurian wrote:
A good way to enrich the soil is to have a large battle over it. All that blood and bone is great for the soil, and the slaughter is definitely the RPG way to solve any problem. Just invite the local goblins to attack the village and play 'Magnificent Seven'.

Erm, you need to do some work to ensure that there are no epidemics due to all the rotting flesh and thus grubs, parasites etc that tend to be involved, have the local clergy do some work so there are no angry ghosts or haunts and so on... but yes, it is an option. Still, it might be easier to arrange for some composting :P .

And yes, a decanter might need a few basic precautions, but it can work well enough. If you want it for irrigation as well as for clear water (and you probably would), you will probably want to dig a few ditches to carry the water anyway.

One thing to note for the duelist: you lose precise strike if you attack with a weapon in your off hand or use a shield, not of you just carry a weapon in your off hand... or if you use the hand itself to attack. Here are a few things that, by my reading, would not deny you the extra damage:
- Holding your weapon two-handed for better strength-to-damage / power attack ratio (as long as it is one-handed)
- TWF with unarmed strikes, armor spikes, boots etc as the "off hand."
- Carrying an off-hand weapon but not making any attacks with it, so you can use it for any magical bonuses it gives you or extra AC from the blocking quality, the defending enhancement or with the Two-weapon defense feat.
- Giving up your off-hand attacks for the duelist parry feature.

A lot of the more creative uses for spells are in making magical items - wondrous items in particular. A decanter of endless water can make for a spring in a dry area, for example, and there is nearly unlimited potential to what items you can devise (barring DM veto). For example, an arch with a permanent Diagnose Disease can help you keep the village lifestock in good condition. Still,in general the better spells of managing the land are on the druid list, but spell research can allow you to develop spinoffs or analogous spells - plant growth, control winds, commune with nature...

As for enriching, hmm, how often can you do it, both per day and on one place?

Generally, multiclassing isn't all that great in PF, and druids are well enough as they are. You could do it if you really want to, but I think it is the weaker option.

Anyhow, for a more complete mechanics perspective checking a few guides can't hurt. Overall I'd suggest picking good strength and wisdom - possibly focusing on the strength if you want to be more of a warrior than a caster, with wisdom being in the 14/16 range. Decent dexterity and constitution(12-14) are definitely good if you can afford them, which with poor intelligence and charisma you probably can. Unless your DM rules that a wolf shaman doesn't need to meet the prerequisites for the shaman bonus feats, you need 13 intelligence for improved/greater trip, so this does not sound like a good option. For your starting feats, I'd either go for dodge/toughness for combat bonuses or SF conjuration so I can get augmented summoning soon. At level 3 for a combat druid I probably get power attack, and at 5 natural spell is almost too good to pass up.

I don't like dumping intelligence because I like skills, and the druid list has several very good ones. Still, not all of them are core to the concept, so you don't have to take them With your concept, survival and perception should be pretty much guaranteed, and steath works fine (I suggest getting a trait that unlocks it as a class skill). Heal and knowledge nature can help a bit as useful to your survival in the wild, but are not as central.

In terms of spell selection, well, I'd suggest going for a mix between utility and buffs, depending on what you can expect and who else is in the party.

The story part bugs me a bit, although of course it depends on how your DM and you want to play this. The thing is, iirc druids are assumed to receive some instruction in what they are doing - prepared magic is a sort of magic ritual that you, well, prepare and then unleash. Someone most likely taught you how to do this - a spirit guide, a druid you met later, the fae... This isn't a big deal and can be glossed over, but thematically if that power is bubbling from within it works better with something like an oracle with the Lunar mystery.

The second thing that strikes me as odd is the "animal companion doesn't help him" bit. Remember, druid and ranger companions are, before they start getting bonuses from intelligence from levels, fairly normal animals (ok, particularly fit and reactive ones) and act appropriately. Unless, say, ridden by a spirit or compelled by a spell, they act in a way that animal is supposed to act. It could make for an interesting backstory (why is that wolf acting like that around me), but I'd suggest not troubling your fellow players by insisting you do some epic quests to essentially make use of a class feature you are assumed to have by default. The overall assumption is that a starting character has already completed whaterever tests, rites and training s/he needs to get all the class features at this level.

Cohorts or full-on second characters are ok if they are experienced, otherwise Taku´s idea has merit. I´d still look for an extra player, though, but I probably wouldn´t look for a paladin for that gang :) .

Zhayne wrote:

This doesn't bother me at all. I've no problem with their being more than one way to realize a character concept.

That is actually fairly often the case. Ever since the APG there have been multiple options that cover the same concept. Look at the duelist PrC - there are fighter archetypes that sort of do this, a rogue archetype that somewhat does the same thing conceptually (swashbuckler - though I find it trash from a mechanical perspective), and now the advanced class guide has a class to do it.

Still, it can be annoying, especially if the mechanic is perceived as clunky. Yet I think if a game can handle a wizard, it can handle a summoner.

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Wait, do we have such an agreement? I thought most people just agreed summoners (or some versions thereof) are annoying and step on the conjurer's toes, not that they are stronger. They rival full casters, but outclassing them, eh, that is rather doubtful.

It's not about the strength, it is that it is a class with an archetype that is already mostly covered elsewhere and with confusing/clunky mechanics.

I was under the impression that it was mostly the synthesist and master summoner archetypes that generate a lot of hate, and regular summoners are, eh, tolerated. Yes, they are about as powerful as some full casters, but you can probably do worse when it comes to annoying your DM and fellow players.

Hmm, I think according to Pharasmite doctrine the judgement takes place pretty quickly, so ancient necropoli would definitely not be covered under this rule. It is more likely that the people inside were buried under different customs. Wasn't ancient Osirion supposed to have gods similar to the RL ancient Egyptian ones?

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Okay, I'm looking at Pharasma's deity article. You know what it doesn't say anything about her or the Church objecting to? Looting tombs.

Actually, I was sure something like that was mentioned somewhere. So far, I have found something to that effect in the description of the Pharasmin faith in "Trial of the Beast" (Carrion Crown AP, 2nd book).

"Adventuring priests avoid entering tombs for the purpose of looting, though if a tomb is known to hold undead, they accept this transgression with the intent of dispatching abominations (though they still oppose desecrating non-undead corpses in such places)."

It is fairly weak though, and there need not be Pharasma's own decree - instead it might be part of the dogma and tradition of the church.

Still, iirc the idea in Mummy's Mask is that the Osirioni government itself opened the necropolis with the idea that adventurers would take the valuable relics and, wanting to convert them into riches ASAP, would sell them to local merchants, with the idea that this would allow the government itself to get what it wants. Thus, the local Pharasmin cult might be okay with it as long as certain standards are met, the dead are treated with due respect and any encountered undead are dispatched. It could be seen as a necessary evil, or an opportunity to check up on old tombs that the church itself was not able to oversee and that could have become despoiled or unhallowed. In fact, they might encourage local clerics to join adventuring groups to ensure that "things are done right" - which provides a good hook for the PC cleric.

In addition, the DM could allow the way treasure is received to give the whole operation a more official feel. in order to avoid smuggling or improper treatment the church or the government might offer cash bounties or material rewards (including magic items) for recovered and duly submitted relics, or simply for securing tombs without everything intact - in essence, instead of getting the treasure from the dungeon, the PCs would get it from the authorities. Even in the regular module, you can have it is a sort-of sidequest, where the PC get an offer (through the cleric) to secure the tomb of a noted Pharasmite saint or important historical figure, discretely inspect it, and then reseal it or make it available as a pilgrimage site with the support of the clergy.

The alignment signifies the overall moral and ethical outlook of the character, so what is "extreme measures" might vary per character. A LG inquisitor is not obliged to approve of torture just because she is an inquisitor. Remember, they DO answer to their deity and their own moral compass (ergo should normally act according to their alignment) - it is the church rules and hierarchy they can disregard.

Still, most characters sometimes act out of their usual views because of the circumstances - extreme stress may make someone behave in ways they usually do not. In fact, people often do things they know are not appropriate, that is where guilt comes from. So it is not that good characters never, ever engage in evil acts... they simply know such acts are not right. Some may justify it as a smaller evil, and from then it becomes a total morass.

(Un)luckily for paladins, their code makes the whole "lesser evil" discussion moot.

We´ve had a similar case before... does the phrase "fall from grace" remind you of someone?

Still, these cases are unique. I think the idea is that a paladin in battle with an evil outsider, undead etc can be certain that this is a creature that cannot be expected to better itself or renege on its evil ways. If given an impressive enough evidence to the contrary, well, then it´s time to use his/her head.

If angels can fall, so can demons - but it is not something that one can expect, much less rely on.

Has anyone tried giving spontaneous casters access to higher spell levels on the same levels as prepared casters? This seems to be the major difference between the two, and I´m not sure sorcerers and bards need to wait for the same level for lvl 2 spells.

The rest more or less evens itself out imo, leaving it a matter of what playstyle you prefer. Wizards have somewhat better support when it comes to gear, but new items can be invented as needed.

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bfobar wrote:
It is whether Sarenae or Iomedae or Torag would and would pull the plug on the paladin's powers or not.

That bugs me a bit, actually. If so and all that matters is the will of the Boss, why do paladins have a code any different than that of clerics, and why do only certain deities have paladins anyway? Clerics get the stronger mojo and thus the should have the greater responsibilities.

Depending on what you consider mercy and proper punishment. A paladin may, depending on his view, be perfectly justified that the most merciful end for a particularly wicked creature is a clean death and a prayer for their soul.

"Particularly" is the operative word here, though. A paladin who slays without mercy every creature branded as evil - or even worse, an enemy - is likely taking it too far to fit the description of the alignment and is better off represented as a militant cleric instead. For example, should a paladin slay a vicious moneylender? An abusive husband (or wife)? A malicious noblewoman? An uncaring womaniser? A dishonest trader? A lot of people fall in the 3 evil alignments. Not all of them are evil incarnate. A paladin who draws no line but "slay them all and have the gods judge them" does not seem to fit the description of the good alignment. Sure, the description of LG states that such people want to see evil punished - but punishment has many forms and degrees, as does the offense.

The Torag code has come up as problematic before. A paladin IS supposed to be lawful good, and more ... liberal interpretation of the Torag code is LN at best. Which is sort of ironic, since the Abadar paladins don´t have to be that quite so harsh (though their mercantilistic tendencies are... strange).

By the way, that particular precept can be extremely self-contradictory. You do not accept surrender, so if an enemy tries to flee, what do you do - pursue and kill people who are not defending themselves? The next sentence states that "...even in the struggle against our enemies, I will act in a way that brings honor to Torag." The thing is, most codes of honor do not look favorably on killing someone who does not want to fight, or oppressing non-combatants. Not accepting the surrender of a band of vicious bandits is one thing, but ethnic cleansing of the neighboring kingdom sounds like a direct trip to LN central.

Now, a paladin doesn´t have to be nice or gentle... but s/he must be good, even if it isn´t the easy thing to do.

Enchanted arrows are also a possibility if you go arcane archer. Most arcane casters aren't very good at healing, but some witches do it quite well.

Another option - and the one I would recommend in your case - is to make her (or him?) a paladin. Why?

- Smite evil can work at range and ignores the DR of the target - one of the banes of any archer.
- Paladins also have other healing and exorcism abilities through lay on hands and channel energy (for haunts and related effects) and have auras of purity etc that fit very well if your concept is based on a shinto priestess.
- While smite is usually a limited too, with your divine bond you can ensure you have the right weapon for nearly any situation. The divine hunter archetype helps, but is not required.
- You might not get a ton of spells, but those you do get work fairly well at rounding the archetype.

My two quibble with paladins for that concept are fairly minor. First, you would probably be armed a fair bit heavier than most examples of your concept, and second, you are rather low on skill points and it will be hard if you want to put decent ranks in skills such as heal. Still, I think they are hardly a big deal for what you do get - which is a holy archer and exorcist par excellence.

If the player has this view and wants to play a paladin, this CAN lead to a lot of issues in the game.

Whatever it takes to defeat X is a valid philosophy. However, it is not necessarily a fitting philosophy for good characters as PF defines them. These characters are usually defined by, among other things, not doing certain things to people.

Well, a paladin is lawful enough to fall within the lawful good alignment and have a code s/he adheres to strongly... apart from that, and that the paladin most likely has a deity whose dogma s/he follows, you have a fair bit of leeway. Personally, to me Carrot Ironfoundersson from the Discworld series acts in a way to make many paladins give a standing ovation, although he seldom considers himself anything but a watchman.

Have a code, a fairly strict one, and follow it always, with one exception:

If you have to choose between doing good and following the code, do good.

It could be that you fall, but if you are willing to risk life and limb, you can risk that as well. Perhaps... no, you WILL be wrong. You are a mortal, and fallible, and sometimes change your mind. Sometimes, though... well, I will quote one of the best paladin inspirations: your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move."

And if it doesn't, you will darn well move it or break every bone in your body trying. When push comes to shove, you are the big damn old-school hero.

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There can also be some differences within the church. For example, in the info on Ustalav, especially that regarding the Carrion Crown AP, it is mentioned that there are a lot of zealous Pharasmites who seem to hold it that people should have a hard life in this world to have a better afterlife, and that hasn't been pointed elsewhere in the description of the dogma. I imagine that extramarital relationships would not be looked at too kindly in such a setting. As long as cultural mores don't actively break the dogma, the deity might not have any issues with them.

I am curious if there aren't orders where the clerics take further vows (essentially becoming the equivalent of RL monks) within the major churches, though. It is a tradition present in several RL faiths and cultures, and one I have not noticed much in Golarion.

Or, you could say that it was just your luck when that druid cast reincarnate on you :) .

Yes, as far as I can tell Hermea is all about getting the best and brightest, and introducing some planar blood might be something Mengkare or his advisors decide to do. In fact, trying to make all or a distinct part of the human population something else might fit with the idea.

P.S.: I am a bit peeved about how obvious the hints of all not being nice and shiny about Hermea are. Sure, Andoran is this perfect country that revolted against evil Cheliax but did not go overboard, has liberty and freedom for all, great resources, and nothing points to a shadowy side. Hermea, a country ruled by a freaking gold dragon? The warnings are as subtle as a brick wall.

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Ansibelle wrote:

I might be able to swing an alignment change (CG -> NG) if I decide I want to - she's generally been acting more deferential to the local authorities than one might expect of a CG character.

Either way, I can't see my character deliberately trying to usurp the gods - she's really quite loyal to Hermes - but I could easily imagine her moving closer and closer to effectively becoming one of them through a series of "it seemed appropriate at the time" type steps, this being one of them.

Well, iirc Greece has had its share of mysteries and cults, and of great heroes... if Orpheus or Asclepios could be worshipped, it should be possible to become considered a demipower at least. At any rate, I think chaotic and neutral good are both fine depending on which way your character goes. Just because you want to help everyone doesn't mean you have to obey the typical social conventions and mores - powerful people sometimes do not.

Anyway, look into ways to train a few others as clerics or at least adepts. Some of the cleric cantrips can be literal lifesavers there. Heck, access to first level adepts is a huge boon in a classical or medieval city, especially one beset by refugees - stabilize, purify, mending or create water as cantrips can significantly improve the quality of life and health in an overcrowded city, and guidance may add to, say, notably better crafts and thus economy. And if you can show the people that the gods are willing to share their gifts with at least some of the worthy... well, they certainly care, right? Speaking of which, it does not hurt to have other lasting examples of the divine assistance, such as magic items. Sustaining spoons can help people long after you are gone, for example. Crafting magic items is a fairly cost-effective way to invest your earnings - whether from adventuring or from your spellcasting.

Sometimes you need to play the Brutha - arguing the gods' cause before people, and people's cause before the gods.

Titan mauler works for fluff reasons so you can use a larger weapon. You can probably just get a bastard sword and call it a day, though. BTW, if psionics is allowed, a ranger/ (raging) wilder would probably be my best choice. Sure, you would need the right power selection, but wilders don´t get a ton of powers anyway.

Would psionic material work? To me they work great as psychic warriors/slayers, but a barbarian/wilder can also work fluff-wise with the right ability selection - psionic powers have no somatic or verbal components so you don´t need the mummery to do your job. BTW, you can also use ranger as the martial class - favored enemy works pretty well for them, and the bonus feats can´t hurt.

Speaking about race, the tiefling could work, but the subtle differences can also be represented by having them be changed to elans with minor fluff differences.

I´m not too keen on a few of the things in there. Soldier training adds RP involvement to the class that it does not necessarily have (not every fighter is a soldier, and vice versa), and some of the armor training options seem a bit tacked on (elemental resistance, for example). The boost to bravery is good and only to be expected, considering that near all similar level-dependent features give 1/2 class level. Basically some of the abilities seem a bit like pigeonholing the fighter in certain styles and not others.

Some suggestions:

- 4+int skill points for at least some fighters (this was actually introduced as far back as the PF Campaign setting book). Adding skills such as survival, knowledge (nobility) etc. can help, and pigeonhole the class less than the current soldier feature

- bravery could also add to other specific saves and effects (stabilizing, reflex vs splash weapons and fortitude to resist exhaustion if you want to press on the fighting man archetype). Rerolling saves can help a lot.

- If you want to turn on the mechanical abilities, armor training giving better AC and possibly WT giving you further bonuses when you are fighting someone with those weapons. I´m not fan of rolling 2 dice all the time, but rerolling a missed attack per round is a nice mid/high level bonus.

Rogues can be somewhat inferior mechanically, but "flat out suck" would imply they just don´t work at all, and I can´t agree with that. They do need a bit more support, though, and it is somewhat galling how the ninja gets to have pretty much the same toolset + their ki stuff.

Well, at level 1 it is a bit tricky since composite longbows a bit out of your starting character´s budget so you aren´t doing any extra damage outside of Point Blank shot and smite. So at level one, a greatsword, greataxe, halberd (it would just look so adorable on a halfling) or the like can be more effective, damage-wise. The archer paladin needs level 3 or higher to really start making a big impact. However, if your party already has 2-3 melee warriors jostling at the frontline, it may still be worth it.

BTW, if you go melee, do consider the option for a reach weapon and combat expertise. You will definitely have the dexterity to make good use of it.

Edit: not sure about spiked chains as such, but a paladin wielding battle Poi could be pretty unique.

In general, Pharasma effectively bars resurrection once a soul has been judged, so until then it is fair game. Of course, if a certain subsect decides to go out of its way, it probably won't get them in trouble with the Boss.

If your party agrees to it, though, ok.

I've been meaning to try a ranged halfling paladin. You are a bit feat-starver, but it could work out - archery can cause a lot of damage in pathfinder, and it works with smite evil now. Putting the 16 in dexterity, 14 in strength and one of the 13s in charisma pretty much sets you up. There is an archetype for ranged paladins (divine hunter), but they were quite viable before it came out, too. Rapid shot, precise shot and deadly aim are the core feats for this build. You probably won't have the feats for mounted archery, though, so either pick a mount that can act as your bodyguard (wolf, possibly bear) or have a bonded weapon. I'd generally suggest the latter.

Melee is trickier as in the end of the day, you have unimpressive strength and some of the nice goodies for dexterity warrior (i.e. dervish dance, agile weapons etc) are non-core. If you can get it, a dervish dancer halfling could be quite nice. You will need weapon finesse first, and I would still consider having enough strength for power attack unless your DM allows Piranha strike (a non-core feat that works similarly) to work for scimitars. At the end of the day, more damage is more damage, and you should not have any problems hitting. Plus, you are a dancing halfling paladin, how often does one see that? A weapon bond would again be my first choice here. Feats will probably go from weapon finesse to dervish dance to power attack, although you could start with PA and then go for WF (for example, if you put the 16 in strength and raise dex from then on).

Alternatively, you can take advantage of being pint-sized and thus being able to ride medium-sized creatures and go for a mounted build with your mighty steed. Focus on strength and charisma, and definitely have enough strength for power attack. It is a pity you don't have any score higher than a 16, but it could still work. Until lvl 5 you can build as a pedestrian (power attack, furious focus, anything else you have in mind) - mounted combat and the line are not that great a priority for level 1 since you aren't getting your cool ride until lvl 5.

There are naturally other options - such as sword and shield paladins or the reguler two-handed paladins - but I am not sure they will work that well for a halfling.

Speaking of that, what level do you start with.

Eldritch knight bards don't work that well imo. Unlike many full casters, bards get a fair few goodies in their class levels in exchange for their weaker casting - and the EK sacrifices other class features to boost your casting. If you are using the bard spell list, a martial bard archetype could do better imo.

As for the list, well, a class with shield proficiency doesn't need it quite as much, unless you choose to wield a two-handed weapon. Losing PfE is a pain (though most other classes have it, so someone can probably do it for you), but you have a fair few other buffs.

Well, when it comes to agility, an inquisitor has access to the travel domain, which at lvl 8 means minor teleportation as a move action. Ignoring difficult terrain can be handy as well. Well, not the case here I guess, but the option exists.

The Favored community isn't as good as FT in most cases (though I can imagine it is worth it in heavily urban campaigns i.e. Curse of the Scarlet Throne), but depending on the campaign it isn't the end of the world. I guess it is a matter of taste - I'd rather keep a handful of spells than favoured terrain, but it depends on the concept you are going for.

I wouldn't mind seeing a monk/cleric another monk/caster PrC, I guess, but generally PF seems to be more inclined towards handling it with archetypes. I'd also love a PrC like the duelist but for staves or other double weapon. I don't want to go magus if I want to do a wanderer with a staff archetype and not feel fairly useful.

BTW, I'd love it if the mystic theurge could be made more available without those racial ability tricks -i.e. by just requiring 2nd level spells in one area and 1st level in the other.

I consider it a monk build because it fits the theme and requires monk levels, but yes, it is not a typical monk. Then again, I didn´t expect monks to be that good with longbows before the Zen archer came along :P .

I imagine that continuing for inqusitor is also an option. Spells are handy and you work well off wisdom. Sure, you have less feats but I imagine you can make a nice switch hitter with that character. It´s more of a jack of all trades compared to a zen archer, but can also work.

P.S.: This is some very low charisma for a diplomat, even as a dwarf. He looks more like the security guy :P .

I still think psychic fist and champion of irori monks are quite legit, but the first depends on whether your DM allows psionics, and the second on having good starting stats.

Well, I´d actually suggest a psychic warrior, but then again I do like psionic gishes. If your DM is cool with that power source give it a look - the mechanics are freely available - and I think you may like it. Of the two classes you give here, imo the EK should have more utility, but the Magus can do its thing since pretty much the start.

Actually, if you had the Dervish of Dawn in mind, why no just go for the Arcane Duelist? You end up casting in heavier armors, the spells are useful in a fair few situations, and out of combat you are just as useful as into it. The concept jives a bit with what you are planning but you can consider your performance to be warcries and orders helping the team.

P.S.: Eldritch knights can use mithral armor and arcane armor training or mastery to essentially negate the miscast chance, and with the higher level slots available to them stilled spells are also an option. Do note that arcane armor training takes the swift actions other gishes use for arcane strike or the like.

It is a special, masterwork weapon that ignores DR/Silver without the penalty of actual alchemical silver. And yes, special material weapons aren't particularly cheap. Then again, at higher levels, 2k GP isn't much.

@ Exiel: actually, if we go by the monk of the empty hand, it depends on the size of the duck. If it is small enough to be considered a light improvised weapon, it will be 1d4, if it is a one-handed sized duck it will be 1d6.

Great, now I have to imagine Jackie Chan dual-wielding stuffed ducks.

Well, after a few levels, even new players will have a fair bit of experience with what their character can and cannot do, so some multiclassing or PrCs later on are not a bad thing. I will plug the Psychic Fist again - it can be entered after level 6, or after one or two more levels as the player gets more experienced with her character. IMO this prestige class works great for any monk who wants to do more flashy things than the regular or the qinggong variety. Yes, it is psionic, but that power source works fairly well with the monk theme and it isn't too hard to grasp for people who have been used to measuring their magic as a number of points (mana,anyone?) .

@ Ed: yeah, that was a pretty awesome series.

Yes, because we've never had a character fight with an adamantium staff before. I mean, it would be like being able to charge your playing cards with magic and using them as weapons. Except that makes a lot less sense, and yet is actually supported in the rules.

Honestly, considering that in the end a staff is a weapon with certain look and combat stats, it should be quite possible unless your DM just don't want to be bothered.

@ Zhayne - in the special materials section it gives fixed prices for armors and shields, and says that for other items the cost would be 500 gp/pound (on top of the cost of the work).

Erm,do you have 2 characters or is that some retraining happening there?

I guess it depends on your party. The Zen archer is a very nice archer, although I'm not sure either far shot or dodge are the best feats you can guess (I'd go with dodge among the two). The fighter is a mele combatant with some nice defense, which can be great if s/he also has some melee punch. These are different characters, though, and they do different things. For a mounted archer, I'd probably go for the monk but you need to give him or her a good mount, too - sohei monks are supposedly better at horse archery, but zen archers can also do it with some investment from their own feats and levels.

And yet if a club is made from ironwood, which "is as strong, heavy, and resistant to fire as steel," it is still a club. Weight need not be a factor.

I think that this is DM territory, but should be possible. The shape might be a bit different, but as they say, if it hits a club and crits like a club, it is a club.

And yet if a club is made from ironwood, which "is as strong, heavy, and resistant to fire as steel," it is still a club. Weight need not be a factor.

I think that this is DM territory, but should be possible. The shape might be a bit different, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it will still deal 1d6 damage and have a x2 critical :P .

I'm not really sold on combat expertise, unless you really want to sink resources into the specific maneuvers it allows (disarm/trip and a few others). Remember, not all improved maneuver feats require combat expertise. In your case, I would definitely go for power attack and cornugon smash as soon as possible - if you are already maxing intimidate, it can help you make more use of it.

I'd go for more strength if possible (perhaps 15+2 so you can get 18 at level 4) and if you are human I would consider something to boost your will save.

Well, you can increase your score with 1 character when you gain a level, and once per level (per character, as I understand). Then there are boosts of +2/3 per adventure.

The romance check can be crazy hard - you'd think that after spending several months in close company to someone and went out of your way to get close to them, you wouldn't need a huge DC roll to tell if they open up. I'd say either make it purely RP oriented or make it a simple roll when the character starts getting close to the right relationship score and every time they improve it aftewards.

Yes, if the cleric believes his calling is to help everyone pass over as soon as possible, it would be expected he does not want to come back and a new character is called for.

Generally, clerics of non-evil death gods (or non-evil death clerics) tend to see their job as helping people pass over when their time has come. If you have any familiarity with the Exalted setting, it is like the Chosen of Endings - ensuring things end when they are supposed to. In that case,it could be that he believes his talents are needed to redress a great problem in Minkai, where hundreds of thousands may die before their time. Or it could be that his god tells him that his work is not yet done, so he should go back and do it more. The thing with clerics is that you are not your own boss, so sometimes you are told to do stuff from "up high".

The difference between 15 and 20 points tends to be a +2 in a high stats in my games, so I tend to give monsters a +2 to a useful stat and usually +1 to AC and/or a single save to compensate. Seems to work for now.

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