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I've reworked the history to be less fragmenty (though the problem with an edit, of course, is that I keep hearing it the original way), so while it's better, it may not be quite as clean as you were hoping. I also filled in a few blanks that I'd left toward the end of the story - but I didn't "finish" the backstory because I was allowing for things to come to a head during play -- but, again, if there's a specific thing you'd like more details about, let me know and I'll add them in.
I'd written the story with the pauses and pacing of an oral storytelling, though I can certainly modify that. In terms of specifics, was there something you were looking for specifically? (I assume you mean about the merchant in Helgen, as I did provide names for everybody else in the story....)
GM mechaPoet-> After losing my last entry and being just too frustrated to go back to it, I'm repurposing a character that I loved from another campaign that died -- originally, the goal was to make him a rage prophet, but with the new playtest classes, I'm shifting him over toward bloodrager.
Dotting -- was thinking of playing a Half-Elven or Suli Shaman (something I've wanted to try out since the ACG playtest came out...) who's motivated to go to the jungle to try to learn about his own nature from the natives -- still spinning the details in my mind at the moment -- if it's the half-elf, it'd be Life or Battle as the primary spirit -- if it's a Suli, then probably elemental ones.
I'm thinking he'll have boarded in Varisia if I go with the half-elf, or in the Shackles if it's the Suli.
Sorry about the gap, folks. Rough end-of-week and week-end. (Work, the possible self-destruction of my RL campaign, a birthday dinner that turned into an endurance session, etc, etc..... if not for enjoying attending a hockey game on Thursday, I might have totally snapped [of course, the subsequent loss over the weekend didn't help]).
However, catching up and will have our usual self-confident bard in place.
I agree with almost all of this -- as I said in my first post, I think that this was the class I was most excited about conceptually.... and I do think it's lacking martial abilities due to the hit die, BAB, armour and weapon profs, as we've discussed (many times).
Personally, though, I'm thinking that one way to "strike balance" between the 3/4 BAB and full BAB of the origin classes would be to have the class be 3/4 by default, but gain Full BAB while doing the War Chant (in the same way that flurrying monks are Full BAB) -- this also makes the warchant/ragesong/whatever a bigger part of the class beyond the buffing the party -- the character literally works itself into a martial frenzy.
Fair enough, Zark -- I actually put Starfox's words in your mouth, and I apologize.
However, again, maybe it's just me but I think the class needs a lot more work than just allowing the [non-badger, rage don't stack..] pets of rangers, druids and cavaliers (and, well, the new classes) to benefit from the song -- and that our energies are much better spent discussing ways to make the skald a better class rather than whether or not animals can benefit from a language-dependant effect (especially since share language solves the problem either way for 24 hours at a time)
Personally, I don't think that the success or failure hinges on whether or not animal companions with 3 int and a rank of linguistics can understand the song, because the other issues seem more important.
Zark -- Most of us disagree with you (and I'm not getting into what Int 3 means for language or skills or tricks or whatever) about 3 int = magical beast. (And that doesn't mean we're disagreeing that animals should *start* with an int of 1 or 2 -- just that an animal that gains 3 intelligence by advancement or a headband isn't automatically a magical beast... and that there is no longer a rule that says so -- build rules and advancement rules aren't the same) -- however, it's not really germane to what we're talking about here.
Maybe you could move that discussion to another thread so we can get back to talking about the Skald?
Unless you think whether or not ragesong affects animal companions is the thing that'll make or break the class?
Its not messy at all, the general rule is that animals that gain an into of 3 become megical beasts. If i am a dm and i want to make a smarter walress i make its int 3, and then change all the other characteristics for my super walruss to match those of a magic beast.
Except that there's no such rule in Pathfinder -- there was such a rule in 3, but it's gone now -- and the blog post linked confirms that.
However, all this seems tangential to the matter at hand.
In its current form? Its just another bard. It could likely be an archetype with some massaging.
Considering how divergent some (existing) archetypes are, I'm not even sure that it would require the massaging, to be honest....
Like many others, I put up a bunch of "fix it" ideas (eg - Medium armour and at least some martial weapons are an absolute must, some way to deal with the bab/hp gap, etc) -- but at the end of the day, if this class is going to come into its own (or at least be a viable "alternate" bard [a la cavalier/samurai thing])... and I really *do* think that the key here is to make Ragesong (and I'm still pushing for renaming it War/Battle Chant) into its own sort of thing -- and that this would be best handled by letting the Skald pick powers (verses, edda, whatever you want to call them) to enhance/refine the song (and that those would include the currently-legal rage powers, but not be limited to them).
Further, while I don't hate the spellcasting as much as some others do (the question, to be fair, is what is the goal of this class? -- If we're trying to make a "full" 50-50 hybrid, then yes, we need to diminish spells... But if we're trying to make a barbaric bard, then, maybe not). I think one of the big issues with the spellcasting is that the bard's list (Heroism and the like notwithstanding) doesn't seem to really fit the mental image of a Skald.
That's why, earlier, I suggested at least throwing them a bone (pardon the pun) by giving them runecasting (augury and divination) -- the notion of skalds predicting victory by casting runes fits thematically.
I'm wondering, however, as I consider the issues with the (partially) ill-fitting spell-list and the desperate need for the class to come into its own if we couldn't kill two birds here, and make the class into something new. For instance, what if we leave the normal bardic spell progression, but then give them access to the magus spell list via runecasting -- (basically, we allow them to pick one spell from the magus list per spell level by preparing runes in the morning, allowing them to supplement their less-combat-oriented spells). It would be thematically appropriate (and further explain how they can cast spells in ragesong) while also shifting them beyond what a normal bard can do by giving them access to useful combat magics.
A little late to the party here, obviously -- I will start off by saying that this concept was one of the ones I was most excited about (though the new rehash of Arcanist is looking pretty cool) -- even more than Bloodrager (especially since, thematically, I would have thought it made more sense for a barbarian partial-caster to be divine and channeling totem spirits, but that's not important right now)....
Unfortunately, as (I imagine) a lot of other people have said, the mechanics here make it look a lot more like a bard archetype than a full class on its own. It's called a hybrid, but you get bard spells and at the same progression, bard BAB and HD, bard weapons .... and then Barbarian skill points (so the one thing that's not the same is worse). Sure, it gets ragesong -- but that doesn't really feel like a new thing (especially since there are already ranger and fighter archetypes that gain full-out rage).
The final product (other than spell keening, which is nifty, and I think makes sense) is something that never quite feels barbarian-ish -- it just looks and feels like an alternate bard -- and, what's more, these guys would be *trounced* in combat by their peers, which doesn't quite fit the mental image I have of them, either.
So, having said that, let's look at a few things that I think could/should improve.
1. Weapon proficiencies: The class needs access to martial weapons -- whether it's all martial weapons, or a pick a favoured weapon mechanic - but Skalds should be going into combat with Battleaxes, not rapier.
2. Armour Proficiency: Here's a place where, if we don't want to change the BAB and HD (and I get why it wasn't, for balance sake), we might look at making a few shifts. One, giving them medium armour (to match Barbarians) wouldn't be a bad call. Yes, there is the issue of casting in medium armour, which I think is a big deal for an arcane caster at level 1 -- but here's where we can play a little -- let them do armoured casting (medium) at a higher level (something that Arcane Duelists get) -- but also have it so that they can cast without penalty while under the effects of the ragesong (since the mechanics seem to suggest the Skald can cast while under its effects).
3. The Hit Die/BAB thing: Well, there are a few solutions I can think of -- one would be, to make up for the smaller hit die, throwing them Raging Vitality as a bonus feat (even if they don't qualify) [assuming it works in ragesong] -- or, even better, have them gain a number of temporary hit points equal to their level (in addition to the con bonus) when they start the song that last until the song ends (the fatigue when coming out of the song, fortunately, makes this hard to abuse). In terms of the BAB thing, what if they became full BAB while under the effects of their ragesong? (Sort of like how monks do when they flurry?) That might be a bit much --- but the problem is that (ATM), the supposed "averaging" of the Hit Die and BAB did nothing of the sort -- it took the weaker of each.
3. Ragesong: I would say that this ability is a little weak. (Also, I'd call it Battle Chant -- I mean, it seems more thematically appropriate) Yes, I understand how we can give people rage powers and they get a con bonus -- it's all good -- but at the same time, it doesn't quite scale like a normal bard's ability (inspire courage is more useful across the board [applies to ranged weapons, doesn't have a 30' limit, doesn't make you fatigued, can scale up to +4 and +6 (so, really, the equivalent of +12 str), etc, etc.).
And, worse, thematically, it doesn't even really help the Skald's most likely pals (eg - barbarians and vikings) -- and that lack of synergy means that the Skald is most useful *away* from his people. Now, my first thought was to just let others enter their own rage without paying rounds -- but then as I thought more about it, I was thinking that since the ragesong is the core and defining ability for Skalds, it might make a lot of sense to embrace it -- which includes allowing refinements (like rage powers/discovery/etc..) to the ability -- call them verses or chants or something -- which would then allow it to grow and scale a bit more -- and open them up to be more than just rage powers.
For instance, a skald who *does* have a party rife with barbs and vikings could take the "chant" that allows him to fuel *their* rage -- so while the power is in use, they get the full benefits of own rage, but don't spend rounds or spend half rounds). That way, they can go full berserk on all of their foes. One with in party of finesse-y types might learn the "focused rage" chant (a la urban) to allow them to use their skills and/or take the bonus to dex instead of str. Another chant could grant DR (so we don't have to worry about the weirdness of whether you can grant the rage power "increased DR" to people who don't have a DR to increase). If the skald gets temporary hp per my original suggestion, a chant could let him give it to everyone. (Or, heck, he might need to get a chant to give him the temp hp in the first place..) These are just suggestions, but I'm sure we could come up with a list of good powers that make sense and just further help with the flavour of things.
Part of me would also really love to see some sort of runecasting ability, I have to say (no, not Words of Power) -- but, again, it would be thematically appropriate -- letting them augury, for instance (which isn't on the bard spell list, so it would be a bit of useful flavour).
I agree that would likely be too powerful, but I'm also trying to make things make sense... I suppose I could make an item that was a block-type shield (personal), since Kenneth's rote spell isn't -- but even so, it's just duplicating things I've already got, which I'm not super fond of..
I wouldn't mind figuring out a way to have an item that would keep sustaining (and maybe enhancing) Kenneth's armour rote -- but that doesn't seem to stay well within the rules, sadly. (You'd think that it would be easier to make an item that works with spells than one that duplicates or goes outside the spell -- or to make a single-spell focus...)
Now, having said that, I can't say that I mind the idea of gaining inhuman toughness -- but (again), I think that tends to be something that's a mite better as a potion.
I suppose I could always just make that open focus slot be 4 more potion slots and go all the way on that... but that seems pretty crazy too.
I'll keep thinking about it -- something that's not imbalancing will pop up eventually -- (like the social defense spell)
If we're to belong to a religious sect, would Order of the Star qualify, which is fully dedicated to championning a faith -- or does there need to be a divine magic(-able) class at every gestalt level?
Also, if we're all of the same faith, there's some synergy with my Cavalier abilities (assuming I keep putting levels in) -- which is pretty snazzy (the same is true of some inquisitor spells, as I recall..)
I was going to make a similar comment -- 4 Gestalts are more powerful, yes, than 4 non-gestalts, but at the end of the day, there's only 4 of them -- which means it's still as easy to flank/injure/break/bleed/whatever them.
I would imagine the fact that they still only get 1 bag of hit points, also, makes them more vulnerable than 6 non-gestalts.
However, if we're not playing blended characters, that brings me back around to... the party is an (eventually arcane) archer, a barbarian and a mindchemist -- so I guess I *will* need to find a divine character to fill the last slot.
It's not just the boom, it's the additional effects -- Explosive Missile *isn't* Explosive Missile(*) -- which means it works with other bomb modifiers -- (Confusion, Tanglefoot, etc, etc.)
However, yes, with sniper you can benefit from sneak attack damage, which is also good (though if you're already getting levels in Sniper, levels of vivisectionist many not be the bestest -- though I guess levels do stack for Sneak damage).
In terms of non-evil vivisectionist, it's quite possible -- just think of yourself as a semi-obsessed mortician -- you have no desire to kill anyone, but you're more than happy to examine the corpses later...
[Of course, that kind of has me thinking -- how many fun abilities can you get as a Gestalt who does a lot of "dipping" with his level choice...]
It's all about Explosive Missile, if you're going AA. ;) Bombing at 500+ feet is beyond nasty.
With access to Gestalt, I'm leaning heavily toward the Ifrit Cavalier/Bard, then Battle Herald/Bard (since Herald doesn't increase spellcasting).
However, if we're all Gestalting into Alchemist, which I still think would be totally cool (though it gives us a *lot* of bombs, barring vivisectionist builds) -- I'll have to think up something fun to mix in.
Sad to hear that he's out.
The Gestalt option could work really well -- especially since I keep finding myself drawn toward the Battle Herald over the Druid (and we're pretty full up on martial characters!) -- so that could be good.
Tirion's questions about Gestalt are important, though -- I've seen people abuse the system with PrCs (mostly by playing "games" with their caster level -- I take a level of my spellcasting class and a level of the PrC that augments my spellcasting! Yay!)
Well, I do see why that would work well -- the Lizardman's natural armour helps make up for the lost AC from lighter armour and raging -- and +2 Str, +2 Con is pretty much the perfect barbarian bonus array.
And then, of course, there's the ability to drop your sword or axe and have three primary attacks (bite/claw/claw) all at full rage-enhanced strength (and with lesser fiend totem, it's 4 attacks at level 2, adding the gore) [and the spikes later are a pretty useful defensive power]
That doesn't suck in the slightest.
So, just for my own mind as I consider how to deal with things -- at the moment, we're looking at a brutish barbarian and the Arcane Archer in the party -- while Chainmail and I are still somewhat less committed as to which of our ideas to follow?
Is it just the four of us who'll be playing? If so, the druid becomes more appealing, since without it there's no divine caster and no full cater.
Oh, and @Horror -- I also really want to play one -- which was the intent of the cavalier in the other party -- and then one of the fighters dipped bard and rather took the role away. However, once I start thinking about characters that could be fun, I usually end up with a bunch of weird ideas (like Kilthan), so I'll hold back and see what the rest of the party's doing before committing to any one of the ideas.
(I'm especially fond of characters that seem to go against type -- which is why I *love* the Orc Scarred Witch archetype -- and keep kicking around the idea of an Undine Oracle born to the Mystery of Flame (or, if you prefer, Efreet-Blood Sorcerer..)
It still is elf-only -- at least in my (older) printing of Core. It was errataed away (in the same way we have the "Stalwart" Defender, now).
And, sorry, to be clear in what I was saying earlier: I meant that the Fighter-Archer was a better way to get *to* AA (over Ranger) now as a result of Fighters getting more options each time new feats are dropped, where rangers combat styles don't change. It wasn't a criticism of an AA build-- being able to drop burst spells that are presently really only limited by their range at 550' or more thanks to your longbow is a pretty snazzy ability.
[Stone Call can be a good example -- it goes from medium to longbow-range, does damage with no save, and then makes difficult terrain to prevent the bad guys from rushing and getting you...]
The new Snap Shot feats have *really* helped with that build approach -- but, sadly, because nobody ever goes back and makes edits to existing things, they're not available as ranger archery style feats [but they are flagged as "combat" feats] -- which means that the fighter-archer ends up being the better build (unless you know you're only facing a certain enemy types or want the skill points that ranger gets you).
Having said all of that, my biggest issue with AA [well, other than the super-focus on the bow, so despite the loss of a racial need, you can't really make a dwarven arcane crossbowman or a halfling arcane slinger...] has always been that the enhance arrow power is rather pointless (or, at least, the level 1 version is) -- by the time you qualify for AA, you most certainly have a magical (composite) longbow (with strength rating). I know that they just (more-or-less) copy-pasted the PrCs in the core rulebook, but I'm a little surprised (and disappointed, really) that the enhance power doesn't follow a paladin/magus/etc weapon-enhancement sort of mechanism.
To be honest, an all-alchemist party could be very effective. (And not just for their ability to go nova on stuff).
A party of four could easily be:
- A "Feral" (Ragechemist, maybe) as a frontliner -- dipping into Master Chymist for the full BAB later
- A Chiurgeon as primary healer
- A Trap Breaker as scout and lock-picker
- A Mindchemist for lore and knowledge skills
All told, between bomb upgrades (dispelling, smoke, tanglefoot, etc), you've got battlefield control down pretty well and likely don't need a wizard. (Throw in a 5th member, a preservationist, and you've really got things working).
Could be fun. (Storing that away to be used against my RL party also...)
I do admit that I sort of wanted to try out a Trap Breaker alchemist, but I've got a beastmorph alchemist in another campaign as the primary skill character for the party -- figured there's not a lot of expanding horizons in that. (Also, that seems to have a lot of overlap with the mindchemist proposed earlier..)
In terms of the planetouched races, it's just a matter of playing something a little different -- when I stick with the "core" PC races I tend to find myself (half-)human or gnome almost as a default setting.
Still, your suggestion has the wheels in my head spinning --- you see, I need to stat out a party of bounty-hunter/mercenaries to hunt down my party and now I'm thinking I might go all Captain Planet on them -- Ifrit, Undine, Sylph, Oread and a Suli to lead them.
Ok, I've got a few ideas -- which one I pick will depend on what the party needs.
One of the thoughts that I've had so far was an Undine Tempest Druid -- revel in the storms, divine caster with combat ability.... especially once wild shape becomes available.
However, if there's a need for a primarily martial sort of character, I'm thinking about a Battle Herald -- likely built from a standard-bearer cavalier (to avoid the whole underpowered mount thing due to it not gaining levels) -- and if I go that way, I was thinking an Ifrit might be fun, going with a whole hot-tempered sort of thing.
If it's about support/face, I've got an idea for a Catfolk bard, probably an arcane duelist.
I'm sure I'll have other ideas if none of those work -- but kind of where I'm at now, in any case.
Glad to be invited -- dotting for now and trying to figure out what I feel like playing.
At the moment, I think I'm being pulled toward something like an Arcane Duelist or a Magus, but we'll see how that rolls out in my head.
And I'm not sure how dubious Kilthan is -- unless you're referring to his dicerolling abilities :)
However, what the party doesn't realize is that the head on a spike next to the door is a Sentry Skull, which allows the witch to shift his senses and see through the skull.
Now, seeing is all he can do -- but -- he's still got line of effect on the party because the mist is not a barrier to anything other than sight.
So, then, here's the question:
Further, can the witch use the perception of the sentry skull to hex the party?
That could be it -- but there were a lot of ways that could have been done that wouldn't have resulted in this, such as:
I mean, just off the top of my head.
(As an aside, I also don't love DR/magic the way it is and would have much preferred something more like "each + of weapon bypasses 5 points of DR/magic, but that's me)
This is a pretty easy self-contained change, perhaps unlike other mechanics which really DESERVE change more but are more 'involved'.
Oh, I quite agree -- it's easy enough to just not use this rule in my house games - And I also agree there are other issues with systems and subsystems that need to be resolve -- but I worry that because of how easy it is to bypass DR/epic now, more and more new (non-mythic) content will have it -- and so we'll see it become more of an issue over time.
My point wasn't that it was impossible -- in fact, I pretty much said it could be done with bane and furious weapons -- I was responding to the logic of "Well, a +6 effective weapon is still a massive invesetment WBL, so only high level characters will be able to do it" and showing that is no longer the case.
What's happened here, instead, is that any class with a self-buff weapon ability (despite the +5 limit they all have) -- can now buff a magic weapon enough to bypass DR. That's a change.
After all -- a paladin's weapon bond, a bard's bladethirst and a magus' arcance pool not only don't allow more than +5 enhancement -- they also don't allow Bane or Furious as possible enhancements -- so prior to this you could not use a class feature (other than the Inquisitor's bane) to make a weapon strong enough to bypass DR/epic. Now, you could do it reasonably by level 9-11 without even looking a little odd from WBL.
Which makes DR/epic... well, far less epic, no?
[And, as an aside, under the old rules, your bane or furious weapon would count as +6 "for real" and thus be able to bypass all forms of DR, including adamantine -- and *those* weapons *would* be the super-high cost that was being alluded to-- whereas now, 18,000gp will get you past DR/epic (thanks to the fun double-dipping and class feature thing)]
I think it's more the latter -- the fact that what was originally the "big" DR - the one you needed something truly, truly amazing to defeat is now defeatable by weapons that don't bypass DR adamantine (or, potentially, DR/cold iron or /silver) -- and, further, these new rules let you effectively double-dip with powers like Bane. (Which is now worth +3 for bypassing DR/epic - the +2 it grants, and the +1 base it occupies, according to the FAQ.)
This is seen as especially bad by the people who don't like this change (like me) because for all the talk about how expensive a weapon must still be to be +6 equivalent (and thus, you still need a very high level, etc, base on WBL), well.... the double-dipping rules in the FAQ mean that a +1 furious bane weapon (a +3 weapon costing only 18,000gp) is effectively +7 for the purposes of bypassing DR/epic when going against the right enemy, assuming the weilder is raging or under the effect of a rage spell.
Similarly, various class abilities allow bypassing DR/epic long before you could afford a +6 weapon. For example, any inquisitor with a +4 weapon is able to bypass based on their Bane class ability. Similarly, a magus with his arcane pool can add +3 to a weapon by 9th level (so, again, the barrier to bypass DR/epic is now an 18,000gp blade). A weapon-bonded paladin can add +3 to a weapon by 11th level. An Arcane Duelist Bard can sing a +3 bonus to a weapon within 30 feet with Bladethirst by level 12.
These class abilities can't raise the weapon's enhancement bonus past +5, and so, under the old rules, they couldn't bypass DR/epic. Now, not so much. (Similarly, will the line in Greater Magic Weapon be changed to say the spell won't allow you to bypass DR other than magic and epic?)
As a result, and the source of the backlash, is that DR/epic (which we all had an expectation of needing to be actually epic -- that it needed to be an Axe of the Dwarven Lords, or at least a +4 Bane or +4 Furious weapon to get past) is considerably less spiffy and impressive -- which results in things like the example everyone keeps using -- you can bypass DR on the adamantine golem with a weapon that won't even fully harm a lesser golem.
In the grand scheme of things, it's not the end of the world because so few non-mythic monsters have DR/epic - which is why this change may never "come up" -- and it's remarkably easy to houserule. (By claiming that the old printings of the bestiary were correct) So I while I agree that you're not seeing people getting "worked up" about it, but I think it's mostly for those two reasons.
Which doesn't mean that a large part of the community doesn't think it's a severe weakening of DR/epic and generally a bad idea.
No, the wording of the example is wrong -- and does not match the description. Why would we care about treating a creature with 100 hp as if it had 85 -- PWK auto-kills up to 100 hp -- so there's no difference whatsoever between 100hp or 85.
However, what the example is likely trying to say (and thus, the math error being called out is correct), is that a 3rd-tier mythic PWK will instantly kill a creature with 115 or fewer hit points.
It says you would instantly kill a creature with 85 hit points or fewer -- but you would instantly kill a creature with 115 hit points.
I don't believe they're going to "fix" it -- There have been comments made by the developers more than once about this issue -- and, further, I think the whole notion of changing the "native" subtype *was their fix for the "being an outsider" thing -- as it addressed a lot of the issues (including the ability to be resurrected).
Realistically, being an outsider is a tradeoff -- there are strengths and a drawbacks -- and I'm rather certain that the devs (based on comments) like it that way -- playing one of the planetouched races is a rather different proposition than being a half-orc.
Also, I'm really not sure why there *are* arguments at the table -- basically, the "short" version is that you can't be the recipient of any spell that ends in person (since they target humanoids), so while that means you're harder to charm or hold (unless they use charm or hold monster), it also prevents happy useful spells like enlarge.... also, getting smote is extra-painful (because you're a good outsider), and you have extra issues with the spells that have additional effects for outsiders.
I really hope that the first book has at least *some* information that would let a good GM shift things around to fit the party -- because I quite agree with the assesment of the traits.
Basically, the book tells you: You can be any race from anywhere in the Inner Sea, as long as you were right here at birth and/or for a few major life events in your childhood. (And I thought Reign of Winter's PG was bad for basically pushing you to make winter-related characters with a reason to be in the North, and then starting in Taldor..)