It's still sort of there -- but it's gone up to 10 from 8. From the PRD:
Awarding Experience wrote:
Keep a list of the CRs of all the monsters, traps, obstacles, and roleplaying encounters the PCs overcome. At the end of each session, award XP to each PC that participated. Each monster, trap, and obstacle awards a set amount of XP, as determined by its CR, regardless of the level of the party in relation to the challenge, although you should never bother awarding XP for challenges that have a CR of 10 or more lower than the APL.
Nope -- the Rage Prophet levels stack because of Savage Seer..
Savage Seer: A rage prophet's class level stacks with barbarian levels for determining the effect of rage powers, and with oracle levels for determining the effect of oracle revelations and his oracle's curse. This does not grant additional abilities.
... Which means that the Prophet levels make rage powers, curses and revelations stronger -- but at the same time, it doesn't give you any new ones.
The question of whether this allows you access to higher level powers if you use feats to get there (Extra Rage Power or Extra Revelation) is actually a good one -- good enough that it was answered in the FAQ -- so don't worry about it.
I think so -- Molly (and all of Ken's sisters) are older than he is -- and she took after their father -- both in terms of the serious hard-worker type and the addictive aspect of their personality.
Kenneth never really quite got on with his sisters, partially because of the age gap and partially because they took after dad, who he never really got on with -- and so he was the "black sheep" of the family -- and Molly (more than any of them) blamed Kenneth for not having a better relationship with the old man when he died.
And then, of course, Molly's hard-working addict ways led her from the more standard cocaine addictions that get to high-pressure professionals into vamp venom.
During their last encounter (with Trip), Kenneth would have tried to get his sister clean -- but didn't go all flaming sword and vampire hacking in front of her. He may have tried to slip her a potion, but I don't think he would have revealed his abilities (at partially because she [like Dad] never much cared for the tales of the old ways). Which isn't to say that she wouldn't have heard from the vamps that got away, or suspected in the first place.
Still, while it's a complicated relationship, there's no hatred -- Molly (assuming she's got her own mind) -- generally thinks she knows what's best (stubbornly so -- and add in an addict's certainty, at least when she was hooked) and would want to direct her little brother away from "wasting his life" -- she's the older sister, after all. At the same time, she probably has a hard time thinking of Kenneth as a Warrior-Bard, and would be more likely to think of him as little schoolboy he was when she went off to university -- or as the slacker who dropped out to tour with his band.
So -- yeah -- long story short, I think that works so far. :)
While I also agree that the notion of blocking sneak attack due to rage is messed up, Xara, the text you quoted says:
While in rage, a barbarian gains a +4 morale bonus to her Strength and Constitution, as well as a +2 morale bonus on Will saves. In addition, she takes a –2 penalty to Armor Class. The increase to Constitution grants the barbarian 2 hit points per Hit Dice, but these disappear when the rage ends and are not lost first like temporary hit points. While in rage, a barbarian cannot use any Charisma-, Dexterity-, or Intelligence-based skills (except Acrobatics, Fly, Intimidate, and Ride) or any ability that requires patience or concentration.
Emphasis mine, obviously.
Again, not that I support the interpretation, because nothing in sneak attack claims it requires concentration (or patience).
Edit: Ninja'd by Are by about 9 seconds.
You can't use spell combat to cast enlarge person.
As a full-round action, he can make all of his attacks with his melee weapon at a –2 penalty and can also cast any spell from the magus spell list with a casting time of 1 standard action (any attack roll made as part of this spell also takes this penalty).
You're stepping away from the example that I provided.The ambushers were, originally, waiting for the party to step into range, and did so with weapons ready to fire. However, this is also missing the point I was raising.
I fully admit that the example was exaggerating things -- it was intended to do so. [And, yes, it was deliberately different than the "dogs" situation] My statement was that if combat starts the moment someone takes a "combat" action, then it makes ambushing very difficult (since, you know, drawing your weapon so that you can attack in the surprise round, would be such an action) -- because, per RAW, there's only 1 surprise round.
What I was getting at is that there are known issues with the simplified init/1 surprise round scenario, and I was just demonstrating that a *strict* RAW system doesn't work in *all* cases.
(What happens, for instance, when there are ambushers that the party isn't aware of because they've been baited by someone they *are* aware of? Who are they flatfooted against?)
And, because of this, a GM will often need to make a ruling. And no, I'm not suggesting we go back to the earlier edition rules where both parties could be completely surprised by each other.
You're right -- strictly by RAW, the above would *not* have the dogs being flatfooted against the attacks of the guys with bows, because combat would begin when the PCs start buffing/readying and the dogs are (apparently) aware of the PCs (just not their plans). Technically, the strict application of RAW would have readied actions vs. normal AC (or maybe the -2 for charge AC) and that would be it....
...except that would also make ambushes, and thus, surprise, almost impossible by RAW.
The 8 guys hiding in the bushes with their crossbows drawn waiting for you to come within range would, by rolling their initiatives and readying for you to be in range, only get 1 standard action and the moment that your party moved forward (into the ambush), you'd have taken an action, and thus, would no longer be flatfooted.... unless they chose not to "start combat" until your party was already in range, in which case, how did they draw their weapons prior to combat?
My own take --
In the first scenario, I would roll initiative as soon as the group wanted to start doing combatty things (including buffs/readied actions) -- and then (as anthonydido suggested), have the dogs arrive in d3 rounds. (Unless there's someone in the group who could, conceivably, figure out how long it would take for the dogs to reach them, based on the barking, terrain, etc. -- but probably not).
If the party's readied their actions, the dogs will come around the corner and be attacked immediately. Because they're not intelligent or controlled by something intelligent (I assume), the party will take their readied action (only a standard) and get a shot/spell off as soon as the dogs round the corner. The readied action interrupts the dogs' actions, so they have not yet acted in combat and are, thus, flatfooted. (The movement to get here was prior to the combat). The dog's remaining action (probably a double-move) would then be resolved (assuming that one of the readied spells doesnt' stop it), and then we follow the ready-based init (since readying shifts your initiative) for the rest of combat.
If the dogs, however, were a pack of Hellhounds, they're plenty smart and probably wouldn't just rush around the corner blindly -- and would, instead, be taking preparatory actions based on knowing that the party is there any may have bows or spells (including, potentially, declaring a charge and/or declaring a full defense and only single-moving). In this case, they wouldn't be flat-footed.
In your scenario #2, I would say that your confusion comes from what the point of the perception test is. Despite what the fluff says abotu recognizing the bad guys, it's actually a test to avoid surprise -- so they're not just seeing the "bad guys", instead, they're seeing that the bad guys are getting ready to jump your party.
So people who make their perception check basically saw it coming (the readied weapons, the glances between them and the sudden tension as they get ready, etc -- you can describe it as seeing the sudden tension and anticipation as some of the bad guys start to lunge forward as they wait for the signal to attack [especially since Slow, while an excellent debuff, is not a spell that has a flashy effect, so it would be hard for the other bad guys to know the spell was cast unless they're being hyper-vigilant, which is what *may* give them away])... And, those who won initiative even saw it fast enough to do something *before* the mage casts his spell.
Of course, it's a surprise round, so everyone's limited to a standard action, which means that the casters are the most effective ones -- unless they have the Quickdraw feat, the martial ones will need to use their one action to draw weapons. (Their attackers, since they've got it planned, probably already have their weapons in hand -- which is another reason that your party gets to be suspicious of them)
There is no "roll to block an attack" mechanic outside the duelist -- making a custom feat *could* be done. (There is, however, a feat for catching arrows..)
However, at the abstract level, your fighter could have chosen to act defensively -- either fighting defensively (a -4 to attack, but a +2 dodge bonus to AC), or by using the Combat Expertise Feat (which scales with level), or, finally, by taking a total defense standard action (+4 AC, but it's your standard action -- and you can't take AoO's either).
If it were a proportional change in all dimensions, it would weigh one-eighth as much, since it would be half as wide, half as thick and half as long. (2x2x2) -- the fact that it's only half weight means the shield is only reduced to half size in one dimension (probably height), or is something more akin to 70% as tall, 70% as wide and then just as thick).
To be fair, when talking about Magic Missile, I've always suspected that the objects aren't damaged wasn't about the damage *type*, so much as an issue with the targeting system.... which creates a necessary limitation on the spell since it strikes unerringly and could, otherwise, be used to, as you said, blast wands, potions, etc.
In all cases where force damage occurs, it is not subject to damage resistance (Magic Missile, Spiritual Weapon, etc.), which means that it's its own damage type -- but at the same time it doesn't appear to be one of the "main" energy types (sonic, fire, acid, electricity, cold..) -- [eg. you can't Resist Energy (Force)] (The description of Resist Energy lists the vaild energy types that can be resisted).
It is, indeed, a grey area (and falls into the same place as "holy" and "divine" damage that isn't just Positive or Negative energy [like from a Flame Strike], for instance)... and I don't think there's ever been a clear ruling on it.... so if you're looking for a RAW solution, sadly, I don't think there is one.
I do know that, in my own games, based on the irresistible nature of force attacks and our on intuitions about "force" as having some solidity (as per Shield and Mage Armour), we do not halve the damage of force attacks against objects. (In the case of alchemist's bombs, the dice are already reduced by one size to "limit" the power of the blasts".)
Nope, any skill... However, if it's not selected, *then* you assume it's a random knowledge skill.
A headband of vast intelligence has one skill associated with it per +2 bonus it grants. After being worn for 24 hours, the headband grants a number of skill ranks in those skills equal to the wearer's total Hit Dice. These ranks do not stack with the ranks a creature already possesses. These skills are chosen when the headband is created. If no skill is listed, the headband is assumed to grant skill ranks in randomly determined Knowledge skills.
I would assume that the following would apply to the 3 racial hit dice (though, with a homebrew it may be different):
However, I still raise the question: Why is it necessary that there be any unintentional discharging of the spell as long as the caster is conscious? Is it for balance purposes?
Yes, pretty much.
Because, without it, someone could wake in the morning, cast whatever touch spell they wanted, and carry it all day until they didn't want it anymore (by casting another spell or using it).
So, first up, that person would, effectively, *always* be considered armed, so they would always threaten and be able to take an AoO (if not flatfooted). [Basically, using a single spell slot gets you most of the benefits of a full class feature (eg - Claws) or feat (Imp. Unarmed) -- although, more so, considering that most spells scale with level (an Intensified Shocking Grasp, for instance, would let you fry the first person you didn't like for up to 10d6 for a lowly L2 slot even hours after you first cast the spell)]
In addition, the "standard" tactic of swarming a caster (both for NPCs and PCs) is less useful if the mage can already have a multi-touch spell just waiting for you (instead of suddenly finding himself needing to step back or cast defensively).
Beyond that, allowing a spell to be cast off-camera and just delivered at will also becomes a rather nasty tactic - anyone you meet could potentially be holding a spell and just ready to blast you with a touch -- well, it creates a number of issues. Basically, any potential touch (even the most casual) would have to be considered under the frame of a real threat, which would certainly make crowd dynamics a very different sort of thing. [There would certainly be a lot less hand-shaking, especially in politics..]
And that doesn't even get into the fun you can have when you start thinking about multiclass combinations for that caster -- including, potentially, the ability for a barbarian to deliver a pre-cast touch spell while raging, for instance.
From a rules standpoint, I would prefer to see touch spells treated as readied actions. Just like a Fighter can say, "I ready my sword and if anyone I don't recognize steps within range, I'll stab them," a caster using a touch spell should be treated with an unwritten idea of, "I ready my spell and will discharge it when I touch an enemy."
The current rules pretty much *do* allow this. If you're about to be in a dangerous situation, like jumping the pack o' goblins in the next room, you *can* cast your calcific touch or shocking grasp or whatever spell and hold the charge... and then ready to make your standard action (a touch attack) and blast the first bad goblin to step into range (as long as you don't cast anything else, or start opening doors).
Mind blown! I guess I always just thought humanoid meant bipedal, 2 eyes, a mouth, etc... more of a physical descriptor.
One of my players was surprised when his spells didn't work on a Fey who'd been messing with them (a Quickling) -- but, again, Fey type is not Humanoid type, regardless of shape, and so, Hold Person.... not so much.
Just for the bookkeeping, I'm assuming Kenneth's in formal dress again, so he'll have his potions in his sporran, and he'll be wearing his new (open-handed archer's) gauntlet. After last time, he's also carrying a summon-sword potion (leaving only 1 empty slot).
Technically, he's got 1 more focus item slot to fill which I'm still thinking about -- I don't want to have items replace his spells (which is why I've been having them be his primary offensive things) -- but that gets tricky when your magic is limited as his is.
[Did I mention I broke down and took refinement with his earned refresh?]
Ok, so, I brought my Lore to Superb (Bard, after all), which ups the power of my enchanted items (so I "free up" a slot from the sword, I'll figure out something appropriate to use that slot later), and gets me a new rote spell (again, I'll figure it out in a bit).
I'm thinking I'll use the other to gain a point in Burglary (most likely), which will give me a pyramid like this:
And from that shape, I'll be learning a few more 1's before I can start increasing skills I already have. :)
Beyond that, since I can't think of any supernatural abilities that cost 1 that I'd like, I'm torn between holding on to the point (to get 3 fp!) or, possibly, grabbing a fun mortal stunt -- maybe Poet (fits the bard thing), or Riposte (auto-successful attack on block), or Person of Conviction (use conviction for social stress track) -- or...
I'll keep thinking about it.
DSX got that backward -- backlash affects the caster, fallout attacks the world....
Also, it's not just about being selfish....
Backlash is the caster keeping the power under control and hurting himself to do it -- as such all the shifts of power still happen.
Fallout, on the other hand, is the caster choosing not to take backlash, and effectively releasing the extra energies that he/she couldn't control rather than letting them hurt him or her -- so the area gets washed by uncontrolled magical energies, and that would be your fallout. However, because the caster released the energies rather than taking the hit to pour 'em into the spell, the spell itself is weakened (because the energy isn't there) -- so every shift of fallout is a shift of power the original spell doesn't have to make with the nasty...
First of all -- I agree with your statement that most people looking for alternate paladins are looking for something other than paladin (and it's a reason I was so happy to see the Vindicator prestige class, allowing someone to "dip" into the divine, and, for that matter, the inquisitor...)
However.... that part, there (the bolded bit), is exactly my problem with the Anti-Paladin (and has been since 1986 or whenever I first got my hands on it).
I agree that CE is the total opposite of LG -- but the anti-paladin isn't the total opposite of the paladin -- the bi-polar (eg, opposite on two axes) opposite of a paladin would be undisciplined , and likely destructive without cause other than its own amusement -- and before people start saying I'm advocating for Chaotic Stupid as the opposite to Lawful Stupid (well, actually, I do believe that, it's just that I don't equate LG with LS, or CE with CS) -- I'd really recommend people go read up the description of CE societies in the bestiary (say, Ogre behaviour), or the little note on the "nature of goblinoid evil" in the bugbear description.... or even the contrasts in the descriptions of devils and demons.... or consider the fact that non-lawfuls aren't considered to be disciplined enough to be monks...
I would argue that the "true" opposite of the paladin (both axes) would be some sort of assassin.
However, the fluff (and flavour) of the anti-paladin is not that -- the anti-paladin is not the opposite -- rather, it's the dark reflection of the paladin (or, if you prefer, the paladin of evil), and is just as dedicated to his cause and drawing its strength from the same dedicated focus to its goals -- and at the end of the day.... that's not chaotic behaviour. The very notion of a chaotic creature being bound to a code of conduct seems to miss the whole point of what it means to be chaotic.
Hence, a lot of people (me included) feel that the "real" antipaladin (which is still a somewhat silly name, historical or no, and I thought so as a teenager in the 80s), should be LE - because then you get the dark reflection -- something with the same edge and focus (that comes from Lawful), but dedicated to evil.
They're what happened to the rest of New Edition when Bobby Brown left. Trust me, the Alice Cooper song of the same name is way better. (Especially for a rocker like Danny)
It's all good, Ragadolf -- I've certainly been the one holding us up often enough that I can't complain. :)
And I know what you mean -- I can't begrudge Jim Butcher for taking a little longer than he used to, but I got so used to the rapid release schedule of past books that the extra bit of wait makes me twitchy -- so the fact that my pre-ordered book should be delivered into my hands in less than 2 weeks is very exciting. ;)
It's important information. I'd probably roll and see what it looks like after the resistance, and then look at a mental consequence to reduce the severity. Though, I would also say that Danny's fae nature would probably give him some measure of resistance to a lust-filled gathering, if he were looking for an aspect to tap and throw a fate point at.
From what I read of the ambush rules, if you have the time to prepare you can create aspects to tag (which is why walking into an ambush is a bad, bad, thing, potentially). Of course, it's all subject to the GM approval and the time you have to do that set-up.
Oh, and I'm back.
Also -- as Danny said in the game, good work Sal and Axe.
I'm also liking the themes -- sorry for the posting delay - I was out of town until, well, today. :)
In any case, I'd say that the threats are looking pretty good -- at least good enough to get us all in the right headspace -- and so we might be smart to skip to people/places -- especially since some (at least) of that should be able to inform the threat discussion.
However -- getting back to a more game-like mentality, James' theme suggestion "Good as Gold..." (though without the tax breaks from the government, I'd dispute the half-the-price statement these days, the Canadian dollar's been running above parity with the US for the larger part of the last 4 years...) -- but it got me thinking about a theme which, I must admit, I'm having trouble condensing into a single pithy statement -- so let me describe what's bubbling in my head and see if anyone can hone it down for me.
Present-day Vancouver is, in a lot of ways, a proxy or a stand-in for... well, almost everywhere.
As Hollywood North, Vancouver's film industry is thriving, and a number of deals happen up here instead of in California. So, it's already a proxy for Hollywood, and owns a piece of Hollywood's magic.
However, as Hollywood North, Vancouver also acts as a stand-in for... well... pretty much every major American city... in some film or TV show... which makes it magically linked (because of the belief of others) to many of those cities.
Beyond that, the flux of (primarily Asian) immigrants have led to the creation of a number of sub-communities, including a massive Chinatown, and a (fading) Japantown, a Little India, etc .. and it even has a number of European communities (such as a Little Italy) -- though some of these are fading.
Anyhow, this all sort of rolls up to say that: Vancouver is a city that's trying to find itself and its own identity, while under all of these influences, because... Vancouver, the city itself, is a changeling.
As such, it is *literally* the real-world (or new-world) stand-in, stunt-double or proxy for... well, pretty much everywhere. And, because of it's ability to act as a proxy or a stand-in, what happens here has an effect back at the homelands of all the powers that are now playing here.
[The rather consistent climate fit this nicely, because it puts the City in a more-or-less constant balance between the Summer and Winter courts... Not because it's neither, but because it's both.]
Of course, as I said, I'm not quite sure how to distill that into a simple and small, easily digestible statement.
But -- it does open up a lot of potential threats -- because there would be players from the hundreds upon hundreds of petty powers trying to maintain, reinforce, gain, grow, etc, their influence (often at the expense of others).... especially at a time when the White Council and it's pesky Wardens are busy doing something else. [As are the Red Court and the remains of the Black].
This would put the Jade Court's growing influence into more direct play as a threat -- both on its own -- and how the other Powers would likely be reacting to that -- especially if we consider that under this interpretation, Vancouver is the opposite of Las Vegas -- in that what happens in Vancouver goes everywhere.
Anyhow, just the ramblings of a twisted mind.
Depending on the "real-world" when of things, there's also an element of "fading jewel" happening in Vancouver -- something that we might want to make sure the theme addresses.
Like much of North America, real estate prices have burst -- and Vancouver real-estate was the most valuable of any major Canadian City.
At the same time, over the last few years, there have been a large number of people returning to Hong Kong (back when it was a British colony, before it reverted to China, Commonwealth rules made immigration to Canada relatively easy) now that the Chinese economy seems "safe".
Further, they're coming off the "high" of having hosted the Olympics and seeing that the long-term economic effects aren't as rosy as they hoped (much of this is linked back to the real-estate thing -- they'd planned to turn a lot of Olympic Village into condos to recoup costs).
And there's been a marked increase in gang violence - primarily Asian gangs (though, in this, way, way, way less than Toronto).
Also -- Trying to give advanced warning -- I'll be out of town and away from internet access starting Saturday the 13th, and ending Tuesday the 23rd.
Feel free to background/NPC me during that time to not hold anything up.
Hopefully Kenneth can lead the baddies away on a wild goose chase (or some ouch-inflicting time) so you'll be able to have Danny swapping the tea while I'm gone.