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Now that Rags is back, it's my turn.
I just got a call from the nice people who's cottage I'll be renting over the next 2 weeks informing me that the internet connection to the place is currently flaked out.
Originally, I'd not mentionned the upcoming absence because I thought I'd be able to get on once per day (but later, after the country air causes the wife to get all sleepy), but now I'm not so sure what my connectivity will be like.... and it may depend on whether or not there's decent cell service out there.
Anyhow, bottom line: I will not be able to post reliably from Sunday (the 8) until Sunday the 22nd. Again, I apologize for springing this on people, but it's a somewhat unexpected turn of events. Feel free to DMPC Kenneth -- or have him walk out of scene to take Laura somewhere safe and then try to talk to the council (in the form of Laetitia, I'd imagine). [I'd say he could mix more potions, but he's not used the current ones -- though something to protect against the Poppy King's aura might be useful...]
Well, that's why I said "most" and not "all". It's not meant to be entirely, universally true.
Sorry, what I meant to say is that in my experience more people who dislike T10 do so because of the concerns about it "killing the tension".
In other words, our experiences differ, and so I was disputing your use of "most" for that reason.
But thanks for defining most for me.... I mean, that's a hard word I've never seen before. :P
Most people who dislike these two rules misunderstand their purposes, or are confused about how they work.
That's not entirely true. A lot of people actually (for some reason) seem to like the randomness that allows a well-trained acrobat to trip over his two feet when hopping over a one-foot puddle while not distracted that take 10 was supposed to eliminate.
From what I can gather, they feel that it generates dramatic tension, and so far, all attempts to show that the tension comes from the narrative and the challenges and not the act of picking up a piece of plastic don't seem to have gotten much purchase. (I will say that many of their examples when they draw from movies and the like to show how awesome-sauce this dramatic tension can be generally fall short because the people in those scenes are generally being chased, in a room filling with water or where the sides or roof are coming in, or otherwise clearly distracted by danger -- and when that's not the case, it's the usually the side-kick/escort-mission person [i.e.- the one without skill ranks] who fails to leap from one stone to the next and the tension comes from rescuing them...)
While those of us who like the rule generally think it's insane that someone who is decent at something wouldn't have a decent idea of their own abilities (especially when we're talking about skills they've trained in and practised at), and further, that it actually breaks the narrative when the highly-skilled person fails at something that is rather easy despite distraction (especially when, thanks to the swingy fickle nature of the d20, the clumsy-oaf mook with no training whatsoever succeeded). [This is a fine place to insert the roll to tie your shoes and fail example, but they got rid of Rope Use as a skill... Unless we're all rolling Profession (Sailor) for our knots now?]
Aardvark Barbarian wrote:
Well, since that assumes that food is plentiful (and thus, no penalties) to the roll, no, I think someone can find water and berries, nuts, what-have-you. I'm also pretty sure that, unless the person was hatched out of an egg as a full-grown untrained commoner barmaid, she's likely heard a few "rules of thumb" that don't constitute a full skill rank. (For instance, if you lived in an area where there's a very common poison berry, you probably know what it is and not to eat it.)
Aardvark Barbarian wrote:
Long jump 10' with a running start,
The 10' longjump thing might be a little off, maybe, but it gets back to Sean K saying he could jump 5', reliably, from a standing start. Now, having said all that, I think the issue isn't the mechanic but the rule -- I mean, personally, I have less of an issue with the level 1 untrained barmaid being able to make a 10' long-jump reliably than the idea that 5% of the time, she can double that (and therefore outperform high school atheletes). However, if I'm willing to accept the jump rules, than she *can* leap 20' at her very best -- and in that environment, I have *0* problem with the idea of her always being able to jump 10'. (The child, however, would not be full grown and as a small sized creature move 20, and take a -4. He's not going to make it.)
Aardvark Barbarian wrote:
Follow tracks of a tiny creature in either fog or moonlight across very soft ground,
Are you telling me that you can't find footprints in mud, even in the moonlight? Bear in mind, taking 10 means you're still using standard actions to do this -- and moving at half speed. So, we're saying that you can move 5-10' a round while following the footprints of a raccon-sized animal in the mud. Doesn't seem that amazing an ability.
Aardvark Barbarian wrote:
Guide a mount with her knees while riding bareback,
I have little trouble with the idea of being able to direct a trained mount with your knees -- this is one of those cases where the ability sounds way niftier than it is, because it's how well-trained the mount is that matters.
Ok, sure, maybe not the very first time you ever do it -- but then, I think a GM could (fairly) say you're too nervous about the horse to be able to Take 10. However, after a few hours? No problem.
Aardvark Barbarian wrote:
Determine if food is spoiled from 50’ away,
Again, the problem here is the rule. I would say that anyone without Scent (ex) would have a hard time determining that food 50' away is spoiled, unless you see the maggots moving it. [And, again, if the idea of this ability freaks you out so much, I'll ask you if you're ok with her being able to do it from 150' about 5% of the time? Or even from 50' but only 55% of the time?]
Aardvark Barbarian wrote:
or earn between 1d10 cp/day or 1d10 gp/week of either performing or crafting?
Considering the description of perform is "basically begging"... again, yeah, I'm good with it.
Aardvark Barbarian wrote:
All with no experience or ability whatsoever.
This, I think, is part of the problem.
People hear stories that stick in their head (about how to find water, or what's safe to eat, or that poison ivy has three leaves, or, or, or...) -- all of that information and context is in the heads of the people of Golarion because they grew up in that world. In many cases, I would say using a skill untrained is literally trying to bring those things to mind.
What I'm saying is that there's a world of difference between "no experience or ability" and "good enough to have a skill point". If that's not the case, then all real-world people I know must be level 12-20 experts who just chose not to specialize. (And, really, if that isn't the point, just how dumb are people who learn a class that only gives 2 skill points?)
Ultimately, though, the problem with the "Are you ok with people being able to do <insert outrageous thing here> with no training as long as they're not distracted" game is that I will always be able to say "Let's not confuse an issue with the mechanic that allows taking 10 and what DC 10 can do for you", and then back that up with an even more ridiculous "Are you ok with people being able to do <even more amazing and outrageous thing here that's roughly twice as hard as your example> 5% of the time?"
That's largely my take on it as well -- to be fair, maybe the -10 for a battle or rotting garbage are a bit powerful, but just that's an issue with the Perception rules (just like the lack of fatigue from exhertion is the issue with the swim and climb examples).
That actually sounds neat and I love how AD&D fleshed stuff out to give it some real flavour rather than leave it bland. I like having puzzles in games that you have to actually figure out. You know, like an adventure game rather than just an action game. But again, that's my game not yours, clearly. Neither are wrong. You can't call it wrong to ask for details. It's just not YOUR play style and your way is not exclusively right. You don't have fun thinking things out and solving puzzles? Fine. If you like every solution to every problem to just be a dice roll, then do that. Play that game but it is not right for me and others. Some like to think and play the game, not play the system.
I also love that. Always have.
However, I have to say that my perspective on that changed a little when the player running the party wizard, faced with such a puzzle pointed out that unlike his character, he (the player) doesn't have a 22 intelligence, and that while the puzzle might stump the heck out of the player -- it would likely be almost trivial to someone that smart.
And then I cursed the game for having mental stats at all... because if those numbers do reflect the *character*'s abilities, then they have to do just that. That 22 int cost just as much as the 22 str that is such a boon in combat for the fighter -- and should have as much effect on things.
Ultimately, my compromise was to allowing attribute checks for hints at the solution -- which satisfied everyone -- but being challenged that way really skewed my thinking, I must say.
[This becomes tangentally connected to GMs who refuse to point things out to players and then delight in punishing them -- if you assume those characters are actually people in the world of Golarion (or wherever), then they probably grew up there and know how the world works -- even if the people living in this world who control them don't -- of course, if the GM does warn them and they ignore it, well, then my sympathies instantly evaporate.]
What I would do in your place (besides making sure they get at least 3-4 encounters each day), is treat their APL as 2 higher then normal (1 for the 20 point buy and 1 for the 5th person). I would then up the encounters accordingly but not buy increasing the strength of enemies, but instead by adding more enemies. So if they are level 3 and I wanted to challenge them, I'd throw something like a CR 7 encounter at them, but one that is made up of 4 CR 3 monsters, not a single CR 7.
First of all, I agree with this, though (persoanlly), I'd probably only give them =+.5 on the CR for the 20 vs. 15 point build -- (another thing that's easier to do when you're building encounters with multiple monsters, because you can just add an extra 500-600XP, for instance, to your budget).
However, to take this concept farther, what I often do when you want to have a "challenging" encounter is this to use half my XP budget on one guy (eg - "the boss") -- so at CR 8, that would be CR 6 -- so, staying with the demon theme, a Babau . That leaves half the budget (another CR 6) -- to make his "minions" -- so, in this case, you could do 4 dretch 4 x CR 2 = CR 6, or mix and match a little (a cleric/antipaladin 5 (CR 4), and 2 dretch (CR 2), for instance). I find having a "boss" guy tends to keep the combat monsters distracted somewhat, letting the lesser folk get out there and mix it up too. (Whereas 4 Shiv, the barbarian and paladin get through theirs right away and then go clean up...)
The action economy is a concept which basically shows the value of actions. A large party has a number of actions available to them, which is extremely useful, whereas a single villain has a more limited number -- so, effectively, the party can "out-spend" the villain in terms of actions, and will eventually win (unless the villain is so powerful he can crush the party in single actions).
Basically, all things being equal, the side with the most actions wins -- because the additional actions are: (a) more versatile [eg - you can do a bunch of different things]; (b) more tactical [eg - you can set up flanking, block escapes, etc.].
Also, some actions effectively take away your opponent's actions (or reduce their effectiveness) -- such as trips [need to stand, can't full-round attack], and, of course, spells. (Even just doing damage, eventually, creates a need for the bad guy to heal, and healing generally takes an action...)
As such, your party is going to have a harder time with a CR 7 encounter that is 4 x CR 3 than one that is 1 x CR 7.
Heck, even "underpowered" opponents benefit from the action economy, because you end up having so many actions available (as a group), that you can afford to "spend" some chasing the 20s it takes to hit (or aiding another to help them hit).... and this is especially true when group-buffs (like bardsong and teamwork feats) are available.
Incidentally, this is one of the reasons that summon spells are considered to be so powerful -- especially when you can bring in things like Archons that you can talk to and make plans with.
Edit: Ninja'ed. I know I got distracted and had to come back, but didn't realize it'd be 20 mintues later..
Well, first of all, bypassing hardness doesn't kill something. It just means that the damage you inflict isn't reduced.
Stone, for example, has 15hp per inch of thickness. As such, a 1'-thick stone wall, literally, takes 180 points of damage to become ruined (destroyed).
So the guy with the pick will be working at it for a while -- which makes sense -- heck, (historically) miners have been doing the exact same thing for a long time and without the benefit of a tool that bypasses hardness.
Add to that the fact that stone (and hence, aqueducts) only has a hardness of 8 in the first place -- especially in the context of Golarion -- a world populated by a fair number of Giants and monstrous humanoids that are strong enough to reliably do enough damage to overcome that when wielding their greatclubs.
Realistically, adamantine doesn't look like a weapon of mass destruction, it's just something that speeds the process somewhat.
And, then, all of this is also in a world where a number of people that really, really, like trees and animals can just mutter a few words, put a hand on it and have the acqueduct twist itself into a pretzel. (Or those bookish folk that can point a finger and fire a green beam that turns a huge section of it to ash, for that matter..)
Action economy is a huge thing, and so I strongly second people who talked about that. (The other nice thing about larger groups of enemies, is that they can gain from the abilities of their allies -- an evil cavalier can grant them all teamwork feats via tactician or the orcish warchanter can inspire courage on them -- multiplicative effects are good).
Part of it, too, depends on the point-buy and treasure your group has as well. The "default" position seems to be 15 points at WBL. So, really, a party of 5 guys with 25 points (or even 20) with a bit of extra gear *will* be tougher -- probably enough that you can treat a 5-member party as being at +1APL (instead of needing a 6th)
As long as he doesn't have any special senses, of course. If he has scent, for example, he can auto-pinpoint where you are (square) when you're in 5', and then, he could take his readied action.
As a GM, I would say that Blind-Fight, which takes away the loss of dex vs. invisibles (and thus, you're aware of them) would allow the same sort of thing.
By the same token, if you have a +19 in a skill and the DC is 20, there is no way for you to fail. You will always succeed, unless there is some negative circumsatnce modifier (though usually that would just be part of the DC). Even if you roll a 1 your total roll is a 20, you can't fail at such a task.
In our group, we refer to such autosuccesses as "Taking 1" and the rule is "You can always take 1.". ;)
Hi Spooky --
Here's Vardan, built to serve as a Marshal for group 1. He's a Cavalier (Emissary) of the Order of the Star, dedicated to Shelyn. He left Mendev when he was in his late teens and is now coming back, after having found himself and his faith in the Eternal Rose -- and his mindset is very much about the idea of inner beauty and how it is harder to permanently stain the soul.
Mechanically, I was thinking he'd eventually take "full vows" to Shelyn and dip Paladin (the Order of the Star's ability to stack Cavalier levels for LoH is too attractive not to) -- I'm thinking other than that, he'll likely stay pure Cavalier.
(If that changes, it would likely be for a PrC -- either Battle Herald [though the dip into bard + having a bard in the party may make that less attractive], or possibly Mammoth Rider [because having a huge tiger tearing apart demons is just too snazzy a mental image to not enjoy...])
Spooky -- What are your thoughts on non-human Aasimar (specifically, the small-sized ones) -- I was thinking that as a cavalier, being small (and thus, having a medium mount) would be more effective -- there'd be no leaving the mount behind.
From the alternate rule suggestion, it looks like there's no changes to modifiers or abilities other than sizes (so really, just the x.75 carrying capacity and the shrinking of weapons).
I did, yes, have an extra don't -- but the point remains -- this ruling benefits all classes save one. Unless the devs have suddenly developed a hate for that class, I'm thinking that the FAQ itself is poorly worded and we'll be seeing a correction.
Well, sure, the 6th level is extreme, but the 1 and 2 are not -- and I've had more than one party with a Wizard and an Alchemist, or a Sorcerer and a Bard, or a Sorcerer and an Oracle.
And, generally, ability damage is a lot more common than drain -- and it doesn't reduce spells memorized -- it just lowers the DC of the spells (so say the rules). Negative levels also don't remove slots.
Ability damage, no, not so common... (Feeblemind obliterating all spells notwithstanding...). And, I'm serious -- if I mix up 6 level 1 extracts and then get stupider -- does one of the extracts suddenly lose its magic?
Also, I return to my earlier statement: We're all supposed to accept that all classes except barbarians don't benefit from a temporary bonus -- or do we think this FAQ ruling overrides the text of the rage ability?
Out of curiousity, armour, shield and weapon notwithstanding, just how many items do you have that need activation? (Especially when this hex is permanent and so the whole "be late for the fight" thing isn't really that much of an issue?)
[But, yes, my bad, bracers fail. Doesn't really change my position.]
I do agree though, that it's badly written and I don't think someone was thinking it all the way through -- for example, I really can't predict whether they expected gear to meld, because until right now, you could never be an Aberration [Shapechange may be the most nerfed spell since 3.5] -- and with Aberrations, it's a very mixed bag as to whether or not gear makes sense -- for every near-humanoid Ettercap, there's a totally non-humanoid cloaker or mimic or where, as I said, merely re-sizing the armour wouldn't get you very far...
Which, unfortuantely, is something far more likely to happen in a small book in the Companion line (where they'll not factor it all in to the greater rules).
However, considering they gave you physique IV and not something weaker, I have to imagine the intent is to bypass the 1 HD restriction... (Even if the rules don't say so).
I mean, sure, you gain a new alignment, but your character might already be evil, and it's still the same player soul inside the body. Does getting a new Intelligence score count as becoming a new person?
No, but getting all three mental stats *and* a new alignment and powers, (which will include any hungers, urges, etc.) -- it's a pretty big clue that Jimmy isn't here anymore.
Even if the soul is Jimmy's, the fact is that the mind has changed -- he's smarter, craftier, wiser, and... alien.. because he now thinks like an aberration.
Compare that to, for instance, reincarnate, where you get a whole new body but *keep* all three mental stats.
Actually, I'm not -- I'm quite aware of losing the armour bonus from things that aren't bracers -- you'll see how I called out the belt of physical perfection as something that works.
However, just because the armour doesn't merge into your form (and, yes, re-sizes, I know), I don't think you're still able to wear the full plate when you're turned into a drider or mimic. It's one thing to say stuff changes size, it's another to say that it completely re-aligns and still fits and functions -- and the rules don't say that.
Further, if you're worried about activating gear (like wands and rods), it's simple: drop 'em before being polymorphed. Stuff you pick up afterwards doesn't immediately meld with you, and so you can be a dire ape with a massive greatclub.
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Since Rage increases your Con, the writers had to either key the duration to pre-Rage or post-Rage Con. Making that choice wasn't a binding restriction on how general stat increases work in the game.
I wasn't treating it as such -- I was using that as an example -- and you'll note that it calls out all temporary bonuses (it even names Bear's Endurance!), not just the ones from rage (otherwise, it would say so) -- which is why I think there's some universality expected here.
Because, otherwise, what we're saying is that temporary bonuses help all classes with powers/rounds per day (like bards) except barbarians. Seems a little unlikely to me.
I don't have the stats for that, I think it's a 3PP?
However, to use a less insanely powerful example -- if you turn poor Jimmy into a Moon Beast and he fails his Will save, then...
Jimmy's got Str 14, Dex 8, Con 10, Int 19, Wis 18, Cha 25. His alignment becomes CE.
He gets a bunch of new spell-like abilities (including constant Air Walk and detect thoughts at will). His tentacles will drain wisdom.
Lacking the big hit die, all of the DCs for his power that are built off racial HD would be pretty low.... and 14 str and +0 BAB (from Wiz 1) means the wis drain wouldn't be that much of a threat because he's horrible with those tentacles. He'd have an AC of 12 (-1 dex, -1 size, +4 natural), and 6 hit points.
The one question I have is what the caster level of his new form would be -- but I imagine it would be level 11 (as per the normal moon beast), considering he gets all spellcasting abilities.
Of course, he's not really Jimmy anymore, and is likely to try to enslave and kill the people he was working with.
As I recall, you can't use polymorph spells to assume the form of a unique creature (in the same way you can't become a creature with templates).
Unless otherwise noted, polymorph spells cannot be used to change into specific individuals. Although many of the fine details can be controlled, your appearance is always that of a generic member of that creature's type. Polymorph spells cannot be used to assume the form of a creature with a template or an advanced version of a creature.
Bolded emphasis mine. Sadly, there's no "generic" Great Old One you can assume the form of, so that's pretty much out.
Then again, I'd hate to accidentally create a new massive evil anyway.
(Of course, the fact that you don't gain the Hit Dice, natural armour or physical bonuses does make that a little less impressive..)
My issue with the "just count times per day" isn't how you handle it for powers (so much) -- it's spells.
For example boosting your charisma from 18 to 22 will give someone a new level 1, 2, 5, and 6 slot - so I can use it to cast a bunch of powerful or long-lasting spells, then pass it along. That, to me, is bad.
And, it gets even worse when we have prepared casters -- for example, wizard gets +4 int and now has 4 new spell-slots [the aforementionned 1,2,5 and 6]. He whips out his spellbook and memorizes those new spells. Later, he takes off the headband and gives it to the alchemist to give him more bombs ('cause he's out). Do we remove those spells from his memory? Do we let him pick which spells he forgets? What happens if he already cast 2 other spells -- can we assume those were the int-bonus spells and so he keeps the others in mind?
And, to further the hedge case, what about an alchemist who prepares 2 new extracts or infusions? Do they lose their magic when the headband comes off?
Assuming you're willing to risk your ally's mind, yes. Using it on minions does work, but it's important to remember that you don't give out racial HD either.
Yes, some of those powers are quite useful (breath weapon, pounce, etc) -- but there are some risks inherent in doing this to an ally --
Also, I'll point out that you seem to have a misunderstanding of something:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Finally, since aberration is not on the list of forms that absorb gear all the bonuses and ability improvements from equipment that are usually denied to shapechangers stays in effect for abominated targets.
Specifically, that the rules for shapechange *want* things to meld into your form because they keep working
When you cast a polymorph spell that changes you into a creature of the animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin type, all of your gear melds into your body. Items that provide constant bonuses and do not need to be activated continue to function while melded in this way (with the exception of armor and shield bonuses, which cease to function).
So if you cast shape of the dragon while wearing a belt of physical perfection, you're still amped up.
Whereas, when turned into an aberration, well, the new form may not be able to wear the belt/hat/whatever, because it doesn't have the right body parts anymore. (Though on the plus side, staying mostly humanoid would work since stuff otherwise changes size)
Drakim -- basically, when you use the hex, one of three things happen.
For the sake of this example, let's say you're turning an elven wizard apprentice (we'll call him Jimmy) with 10's across the board (but 18 int) into a rust monster.
#1: Jimmy makes the initial fort save.
No shape-changing. The least exciting outcome, but easiest to understand.
#2: Jimmy fails the initial fort save and also fails the Will save.
Jimmy's about to undergo some changes.
First up, his stats change. A Rust Monster is a Medium-sized aberration, so Jimmy (per Monstrous IV) gains a +2 size bonus to his strength, and +2 natural armour.
However, it's a baleful polymorph type effect. Failing the will save means that Jimmy's mind also goes, based on this:
If this second save fails, the creature loses its extraordinary, supernatural, and spell-like abilities, loses its ability to cast spells (if it had the ability), and gains the alignment, special abilities, and Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores of its new form in place of its own. It still retains its class and level (or HD), as well as all benefits deriving therefrom (such as base attack bonus, base save bonuses, and hit points). It retains any class features (other than spellcasting) that aren't extraordinary, supernatural, or spell-like abilities.
So, because of that, Jimmy's alignment shifts to Neutral, he loses his elven resistances, his spellcasting abilities, low-light vision, most of his class features (because they're Su or Sp) -- and most damaging, he gets the mental stats of the rust monster.
Jimmy's now a rust monster, with S: 12 D: 10 C: 10 I: 8 W: 13 C: 8
So, for Jimmy, he's stronger and wiser than he was. Compared to a normal rust monster, though, he's stronger, but slower (no 17 dex for him), and less well armoured (Nat +2 instead of +5).
On the plus side, though, he does gain the rust monster's special abilities: Scent Metal (Ex) and Rust (Su).
#3: Jimmy fails the initial fort save but *makes* the will save.
Jimmy's body changes, but he keeps his elven mind.
So, again, he's going to undergo changes, and again, Rust Monster is a Medium-sized aberration, so Jimmy (per Monstrous IV) gains a +2 size bonus to his strength, and +2 natural armour.
However, this time, Jimmy doesn't lose his mind and think he's a rust monster, so, instead, his final stats are:
Str: 12, D: 10, C: 10, Int: 18, Wis: 10, Cha: 10.
Jimmy loses the exceptional abilities that come from being an elf (bye-bye keen senses and elven immunities), but then gains any abilities that the new form has that are on this list:
Monstrous IV wrote:
burrow 60 feet, climb 90 feet, fly 120 feet (good maneuverability), swim 120 feet, blindsense 60 feet, darkvision 90 feet, low-light vision, scent, tremorsense 60 feet, blood frenzy, breath weapon, cold vigor, constrict, ferocity, freeze, grab, horrific appearance, jet, leap attack, mimicry, natural cunning, overwhelming, poison, pounce, rake, rend, roar, sound mimicry, speak with sharks, spikes, trample, trip, and web. If the creature has immunity or resistance to any energy types, you gain resistance 20 to those energy types. If the creature has vulnerability to an energy type, you gain that vulnerability. If the creature has immunity to poison, you gain a +8 bonus on saves against poison.
Sadly for Jimmy, metal scent and rust aren't there -- so not only will all the other rust monsters won't make fun of him for being too smart, but also because he can't rust..
Now, if you'd picked Drider instead, well, things would be different -- Jimmy's strength would be 14 (large aberration), his dex would be 8 (same reason), and his natural armour would be +4.... Plus, Jimmy would end up with a climb speed, the ability to web and a +8 bonus to saves vs. poison.... unfortunately for Jimmy, though, he'll never get the hang of using weapons smaller than his big spider body, because undersized weapons is not on the list from Physique 4.
And, on the surface, I agree with you -- the current wording in that FAQ literally means there's no difference, and it doesn't matter.
However, I suspect that the wording of the FAQ was meant to stop the millions of "Do I get extra deflection on smite if I'm Eagle Splendoured? Can the cleric exclude more in selection channel? Does Fox's Cunning really increase the alchemists bomb damage *and* DC?" (insert the literally dozens or hundreds of such questions scattered about) -- and so, they created an FAQ where they dropped a blanket "Yes. It's all the same. Please stop asking." -- not quite thinking about the creation of new spell slots, new bombs, channels and other such daily things.
And yes, I see how some people like the idea of just counting how many you've used 'em and that's it, but to all of those, I'd like to remind them of this:
Temporary increases to Constitution, such as those gained from rage and spells like bear's endurance, do not increase the total number of rounds that a barbarian can rage per day. A barbarian can enter rage as a free action. The total number of rounds of rage per day is renewed after resting for 8 hours, although these hours do not need to be consecutive.
So, I'm saying that I suspect that the FAQ has, in fact, broken their intent (which I believe was closer to SKR's post) -- and so, they'll probably want to fix that (hence my FAQing this with you).
Just to add to the suggestions, the base magic rules are exactly that -- the base rules.
Think about how many trope-y plots involve saving people from being sacrifices to dark cults? Why not let this be the same -- your girl's a low-level animator who has some sort of boon/gift that lets her make juju-zombies as long as she makes the right sacrifices to her patron. It limits her ability to do it (until she grows in power and can do it herself), and makes her that much more evil -- and the party's running after her to save the kids or whatever that powers the "bigger" transformation.
Or, alternately, she's got an artefact-altar that does it for her, which can be subject to whatever rules you'd like.
Ok, first up, I don't think you need to treat each mythic as +1 (the +1/2 is fine) -- but I *will* say a few things here:
- Leadership is a force multiplier and not just "a feat" -- if you want to balance out the party's encounters, you need to include the cohorts in determination of APL. (Especially when you're allowing mythic cohorts -- which seems odd to me -- where's the "mythic hero" part of being someone else's lackey? Personally, I would have given the cohorts the Mythic Companion feat, and that's it..)
- How many encounters are they facing in a day? I mean, yes, 10 channels is a bunch, but if they're facing 4-5 encounters of an appropriate level, it's not at all hard to think that they'll be running out before the end of the day (or, at least, need to get into spell use)
Beyond that, if you're looking to challenge them, I'll repeat what was said -- don't give them encounters that play to their strengths all the time.
[Having that, however -- One exception to that would be to swarm them with undead -- and let the Oracle burn them to ash with their channels.... and then have the "true" threat reveal itself when they're depleted.]
I don't know what they've faced or been facing.... but....
The party doesn't sound like it's well-suited for ranged opponents -- so have them fight a few rangers who start, say 400-500 feet away and were able to set up Spike Growth and Stone Call (or other difficult terrain) to slow the approach while getting pelted with missiles. (Or, same deal, but using a chasm - fired down from cliff walls 100' up). Or have them deal with hit-and-run tactics -- cavaliers in open fields with Ride-By or Fly-By attack (depending on the mount) would probably really ruin their day. (This could be mixed with the archer-threat if we cast feather step or have flying mounts). Use enemies with a lot of magical ability -- persistent damage effects, slow and hinder, battlefield control.. Throw in some negative energy channels against them.
As mythic heroes, at least some of their opponents should also be mythic -- so don't be afraid of that. And, if you're having them going after a BBEG mythic villain, then have his henchmen also take Mythic Companion -- giving them some defenses to the threat of your party.
But, at the end of the day, the point is for everyone to have fun -- so if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Which comes automatically from not knowing the DC, and so, taking 10 is a judgement call that can bite you.... and should, sometimes.
What you're looking for isn't mystery, it's randomness -- and randomness will eventually *always* bite people in the rear.
I mean, lets assume a 6-member party all have a 90% chance of crossing a ledge (when being attacked!).
Your way, even when there's nothing preventing them from watching where they step, there's only a 53% chance they all make it, because of how success multiplies. If the ledge is long enough they need to make 2 checks each, they have less than 30% chance of success.... despite the fact that, again, there's nothing stopping them from paying attention to the task at hand.
And, really, all it takes to make them have to roll is a 10' length where there's a pendulum blade or a dart trap -- anything that will put them at risk and demand some of the attention they'd otherwise be dedicating to their balance.
Lets say I'm doing an oceans 11 style break in to the dragons lair. option 1 is we're rolling. People roll, we wait to see what the dice come up, curse the 1s and cheer the 20s. You could have to run away from the pterodacyles the alarm bell sounded but easily bellyrub the basilisk into submission.
Ok, let's say that.
When I adjudicate that, once again, the players don't know the sleeping dragon's perception modifier, so taking 10 is a judgement call to start with....
Which means that the players are already nervous (especially if I roll the dragon's perception rather than just assuming a take 10).
Then, of course, we add to that the perception of the other, hidden creatures also guarding the lair... (Will taking 10 beat them too? They're not sleeping!)
Also, there's the small matter of the traps in the lair.... (Will tripping any of them make noise to attract attention?)
And when they avoid those traps -- do they disarm and risk setting them off (and taking the time when there are patrolling guards) -- or do they go around them?
And, if they do go around them, how close to the dragon does that force them to get? Inside his blindsense? Close enough that the range penalties to perception don't help enough anymore?
And, of course, there's the small matter of the penalty to stealth for the elves, humans, halflings, half-elves and gnomes when they go through those patches of magical darkness and can't see where they're stepping while trying to sneak. (Which don't bother the dragon or his darkvision-equipped guards...)
That sounds like a game -- they have decisions to make with consequences and don't know whether or not they'll succeed -- and a tense situation to me.
Everyone takes 10.... its no longer an RPG. YOu're now on a script writing a short story.
Not at all - it's an RPG that reflects the fact that your *character* has improved and is actually good at some things (to a certain level)... The players still make a decision "We're taking 10", and then have to live with the consequences.
I've favourited posts along the way rather than commenting until now... but I have to ask:
Why is it considered "fun" to have a character who's amazing at something (say, for instance, a +18 modifier) fail one out of every 20 attempts (on average) to do something that's DC 20? (And the odds of hitting that 1-in-20 becomes more and more likely as additional tests are required -- so remember, castle desginers, let's always hire at least 20 guards...)
Seriously, where's the fun of builing a character who is, for instance, one of the most amazing atheletes (high Acrobatics) and then fall to your doom when you encounter a 10' jump that you can't get a run at?
The point of the take 10 mechanic is to avoid that -- so that people who are good at things are, actually *good* at them -- at least when they're able to pay attention to the task, and not split their attention between that and the repeating crossbow firing at them as they want to make the jump.
You want dramatic tension, then have something create danger (which is what makes the tension, not the leap itself).
A master rogue can take 10 on most locks and succeed -- he may lead the party deep into the castle or vault and that's fine -- but when they accidentally unleash the swarms of undead who are chasing them -- now he can't, because he's under pressure and in immediate risk...
Again, the tension (and drama) that people seem to think are lacking happen right there.
In terms of sneaking past the dragon... sure, you can take 10... but the question is "Will that be enough?" Players don't (usually) know DCs. I mean, yes, you can appraise a lock and get a good idea (assuming it wasn't made to be deceptive or arcane locked... But do you know how aware that dragon is, even asleep? And how close you need to get to it based on the other things in the lair, for that matter? As a GM, I'd be more than happy to let out an evil laugh when someone suggests they want to take 10 past the dragon -- but I'd *never* not let them do it.
If your GM wanted to make it that you couldn't just take 10 to climb out, all he needs to do is add water slowly filling in to drown you all or a group of archers firing down on you -- immediate danger/distraction.
However, without something like that, you can make the test because you know what you're doing and nothing's distracting you, letting you do an "average" job -- which is more than enough in your rough-hewn pit.