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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.
I imagine the classic "On the Practical Use and Implications of Yellow Musk Creepers in Agriculture, Warfare, and Cuisine, by Jinna W. Schwarzenhand" would certainly have made it to his or her reading table.
Still, wouldn't a single class character be a better necromancer? I am probably missing something but I don't see what the Theurge brings to the table.
I think most bards can fit the bill fairly well (especially if they have versatile performance or something close to it), and as Imbicatus said Evangelist Clerics and Sensei Monks can do it too (so does the Wanderer, it's another monk archetype). Mind you, this is if you want your storytelling to have a mechanical impact. The class does not define the character - a rogue, for example, can be as fond of telling tall tales as any bard - actually the charlatan and kitsune trickster archetypes can make it part of their skill set.
I'd definitely go with a bard first, though. Versatile performance lets you use your storytelling for two great other skills - diplomacy and sense motive. Persuading someone with a fairy tale is a pretty cool move (and a classic one, I remember a tale from 1001 Nights where someone told a tale to try to persuade the ruler to spare his life, and his tale had acharacter using yet tale to persuade someone).
Point 3 is probably one of my pet peeves - it can really break immersion if there are pinups for the sake of pinups alone. Then again, how many (non-monstrous) females do we see in pictures that don´t look good? Granted, most male NPCs (at least those that are friend/ally material) tend to look okay too, but I simply don´t remember seeing many unattractive female NPC (outside those the party is supposed to come in conflict with, like an ogress or a daughter of Urgathoa).
At least as far as eye candy goes, it would imo be good to have it more balanced - the games I am in seldom get to a lot of PC-NPC romances, but there is no harm to give gamers who are into men more to fantasize over. I wonder if it is due to my own biases, but I think most paths I´ve seen have fewer male friendly NPCs in positions such a relationship with a party member may develop.
"Orphans of the Same Wandering Father - All human or half human. Just received a letter that their father has been killed."
Gah, for some reason this reminded me of the Dudley Boys - except for the father being killed :) .
Actually, being the children of a somehow famous or infamous groups (like a previous adventuring party) has some promise, especially if you want to deconstruct a few cliches.
Another one that a friend of mine said he did was an all bard party. In which the group is all a traveling band. The story was them traveling the world to do certain gigs and got into fights on the way.
I've had this idea too, but with the twist that either not all or none at all must be bards. It would be called something like "Magnamar has Talent" and they try to scrape the equipment, funds, roadies etc for their first tour by adventuring - fight the goblins for their firework stash (and the bounty), save/steal an impresario from a rival band, etc. Also, do you try to find some counseling for the barbarian drummer so he wrecks less sets, or would that weaken his, ehmm, skills?
A few vivisectionist levels could give him both poison use and a bit of sneak attack, but not the rest of the alchemy kit. In PF, it is an ok approximation. I'd probably stick to lore warden/poisoner rogue/duelist if I want to be a purist, but that could work as well.
He definitely doesn't have uncanny dodge, though :) .
I have seen duelist builds using a trident as a one-handed piercing weapon (switching to two-handed for extra PA bonuses). Swashbucklers do sort of the same thing as a single class, but a bit more focused. Alternatively, you can probably do okayish with a simple fighter build such as a lore warden: he is a very capable combatant who knows how to fit his fighting style to his enemy and can avoid many attacks through a good defense and some acrobatics. A lore warden build would probably focus more on combat maneuvers due to maneuver mastery, but both are possible representations.
I do think the Red Vyper merits a SA die or two, though. Also, he's got to have poison use pretty much from his earlier levels. Just sayin'.
The binding spell itself, a protection circle to keep them inside and a dimensional anchor to keep them on this plane, I imagine.
Overall, consider the planar binding as a very long duration summon. Regular summon monsters are spells you use for an encounter, a bound outsider is something you use for the entire dungeon and possibly beyond - or when you have a job that you can't lead to a random local NPC - i.e. the characters might not have the time to guard the secret royal archive vault non-stop for 2 months. However, a bound outsider can do that, and do it fairly well.
A bit on half-elves - I saw multitalented was rated relatively highly for multiclass builds, but isn't single classing (or prestiging for hybrids like arcane archers) usually the better choice, with 1-2 level dips being the most frequent multiclass builds? It always seemed like a pretty poor feature when I looked at it. Can you give me a few examples where it contributes a lot to the build?
I think a creature cannot normally poison itself, but is not immune to the venom of another of its kind (unless it has specific features for that). I would rather suggest a custom spell that changes the effects of the familiar's venom. Otherwise it needs special equipment like those mouthpicks or some weird form of fake teeth.
It is doable, but might require a more creative approach.
I think it is possible. The text says that "the paladin's lay on hands ability also acts as remove curse," so it should function as a casting of the spell.
The DM has the final say, but eh, I'd say roll with it. Essentially, the spell itself says it does not remove the curse from cursed equipment but allows the victim to remove it - so essentially it removed the curse from the person and not the item, which fits the way the mercy feature is worded.
Hm, I was sure I replied to this and thought you meant you'd be scanning for traps. Overall, I'd suggest a more militant cleric and having the inquisitor be more of a rogue or damage support. Put the highest score in strength (or dex if you really, really have to be a sarenraen dervish), 15 or 14 in wisdom, and go to town.
Holy vindicator is a possible option if you go to higher levels and use a shield, but you can probably keep on being a straight cleric. Playing a human would likely be my first choice so you aren't completely useless in the skills department.
So what do you prefer to do, exactly? Ninjas definitely benefit from these rules, especially due to generally being feat-starved, though monks do get something out of it too. It is a matter of what sort of playstyle you prefer.
I have to say though, easy access to mobility and being able to maneuver more to get a flank is very good for anyone with sneak attack. I´d definitely go TWF-heavy for a ninja, and these rules make the scout archetype (which ninja can get, since they don´t lose uncanny dodge) extremely good.
The cosmopolitan trait gives you 2 bonus languages and makes 2 wisdom-, intelligence- or charisma-based skills class skills. Perception is based on wisdom.
Hmm, yours is a fairly magic-heavy party, but I would advise you to leave trapfinding to the inquisitor. You have 2+int skill points, s/he has 6+. Clerics are already starved for skill points. You will either have to get a very decent intelligence score or ignore some core cleric skills.
Personally, I would advise you to focus on the militant cleric aspect and leave the skulduggery to those more fit for it.
I´m not sure if I would bother multiclassing, but if you do, I´d suggest taking between 2 and 6 levels of monk. If the latter, consider the qinggong archetype so you can choose other supernatural abilities. If you get the improved TWF feat automatically, for example, you don´t need more monk levels for improved/greater TWF via Flurry if the feat auto-upgrades.
It depends on who else is in the party and what roles are available, I probably would go heavy on ninja levels after the initial monk dip, since a lot of what you get from monk - except for the mid/late special abilities - will auto-scale with ninja levels.
P.S: and if you mean single class, well, Zen archer did become better :D
Well, if you plan to use cesti I am not sure the Brawler rage power is so great. Personally, I´d probably avoid it especially considering magic weapons start coming around that level. If you have the needed dexterity score, I´d just consider getting TWF and another power.
If you want to use regular fists I think a monk level or three are worth it due to the several feats, saves etc you get. The monastic legacy feat (it requires still mind, therefore 3+ monk levels) will help your unarmed damage scale with other levels, which may be worth it in the long run.