My experience is that powergaming creates its own need. When players powergame, the GM adjusts encounters to compensate. Powerful encounters require powerful characters, so players -- and then GMs -- must constantly re-tool their characters to withstand the other side. It becomes an arms race, and in my opinion too much time gets spent tweaking stats instead of having fun and being heroes.
Eventually the arms race escalates to the point where four system-savvy players are making effective characters to thwart the plans of a GM who has potential access to all sources, and GM must ask himself: "Am I going to continue following the rules and get out-gunned because four people are spending their time researching builds, while I'm only one person and also have to manage running the campaign on top? Or am I going to start ruling disputes against the players and building encounters just to neutralize builds to keep them in check? Or am I going to just start cheating(~) and making up new abilities and challenging them with encounters far above their APL, at which point their optimizing no longer matters?"
It would be nice if we could just make cool characters and fight monsters without having to one-up each other.
I tended to take the random encounter table from Kingmaker and redesign them into random pre-written encounters >.> Owlbear became 'owlbear catching and attacking a nixie" encounter, who later acted on the PCs' behalf in dealing with some of the locals.
A certain aberration became a guardian of a nearby cairn.
A group of bandits became a group of 'travelers' who were 'just passing through to the trading post', and were later found dead on the walls after they were caught trying to raid.
A faerie dragon became 'Black Tom, the vengeful spirit of a highwayman' that invisibly guarded a particular road in the Narlmarches and demanded tributes from travelers lest they incur his curse. He puts on a nasty show, but he settles for tributes of copper, and his feelings get hurt when people aren't afraid of him. He has a brother that devotes his time to 'fighting evil' and 'rescuing princesses', but he has too short an attention span for long quests.
I kind of rolled with the first TPK. I spun it into an opportunity to play around with the oracle's empowering force with a dream quest, and foreshadow some upcoming events before a mysterious and spontaneous resurrection.
The second time I just said to burn off that day's eternal hope and call it a deal.
FWIW, it's a creature that only uses phantasmal killer every round, so there wasn't a lot the players could have done besides not having traded away the gnome's Illusion resistance >.>
Some players really do prefer staying alive, even if the means are contrived, to the alternative of having four dead characters.
I had a nice big fight about that once after a TPK happened. Next fight I visibly prevented another TPK, and the group was happy. Who knew? Shrug. It puzzled me, because I hate contrived rescues, and if I'm 'miraculously' prevented from a TPK, I still feel awful about it.
Members of the Pathfinder Society, and possibly other factions, can earn 'prestige' in the course of their adventures. Once they have accrued enough, they may be able to spend prestige to be raised from the dead, representing a pre-existing arrangement for Society operatives to recover their body in case it is lost.
There's a rule-based solution that's not charity. Happy gaming : )
Rogues 'not having a monopoly on skills' hardly affects their ability to hold up their part of a team. They have just as many skill points as they ever did -- more, in fact, since Pathfinder gives you the option of putting points into either hit points or skills when you take a level in your favored class.
If they have any fewer class skills, it's because skills have been consolidated.
On that point -- rogues used to have Balance, Jump and Tumble. Now a Pathfinder rogue can get all three skills with just Acrobatics. Rogues used to have Listen, Search and Spot. Now a Pathfinder rogue can get all three skills with just Perception. Rogues used to have Decipher Script, Forgery and Speak Language. Now rogues get all three with just Linguistics. Rogues used to have Disable Device and Open Lock. Now Pathfinder rogues can get both skills with just Disable Device. Rogues used to have Hide and Move Silently. Now Pathfinder rogues can get both skills with just Stealth.
Pathfinder did make skills easier for other classes, sure. Other classes can get more class skills with traits; and now somebody that boosts their non-class skills are just 3 points behind other characters instead of at half the bonus. But although PF raised the other characters up in skills, rogues may very well be the most improved class skill-wise, as you can see for yourself in the paragraph above that nearly everything they could want to do has been combined with other skills.
The most damning argument that they've lost their special edge is the fact that a few archetypes get Trapfinding, which is the only way to disable magical traps (without dispelling). But that's a matter of balancing classes against each other -- the fact that they released an Alchemist archetype with Trapfinding doesn't suddenly make your rogue unable to keep up in the middle of an AP you were playing. Besides, I seem to recall that archetypes usually have to give up something fairly precious for Trapfinding.
Stealth rules are confusing, and perhaps even contradictory. One of the Pathfinder devs commented during RPG Superstar 2013 that it was weird to give a new archetype Hide in Plain Sight, especially 'because stealth is broken' or somesuch.
As such, you're going to run into a lot of people that run it a lot of different ways.
There are people that say that the very moment you leave cover, your stealth fails.
I think a stealth check is made, and then movement is performed. I will give you an example why.
Assume that a combat has begun, between the heroes and some guards. All of the creatures have acted and are engaged in the battle, but the heroic rogue has not revealed herself yet.
An enemy guard is standing in the bottom of a dimly-lit hallway with a T-intersection. He was told yesterday that our heroes include an assassin, so he has Readied an action to attack any figures he sees skulking around with his crossbow.
Our heroic rogue is stealthed 10 feet away from him, just around the corner. She wants to stealth straight across, so she rolls her die, and then attempts her movement. If she succeeds, she gets away with it. If she fails, the guard sees her and may take his Readied attack.
If you ran movement before the stealth check, you occasionally have strange situations where a creature moves, then fails a stealth roll, and then you have to rewind their movement because an event would have been triggered on the way (like being shot, tripped, etc.).
Pathfinder does not have facing rules; creatures are assuming to potentially be looking in any direction with which they have line of sight.
Just like it's easiest to assume your character is always trying to attack the enemy's neck and only manages to when they get a high-damage hit, it's also easiest to assume that your character is always trying to stealth when an enemy's not looking, and success indicates that they managed to pull it off.
Rules are quiet on this one, I believe. However, the Pathfinder devs were working up a revision of the stealth rules (abandoned, but available for people that want to house-rule it) that said you could (and may have to) make multiple stealth checks each round depending on what your actions were.
Shrug. People say yes and no.
The way I prefer to run stealth is that creatures require a condition (such as cover or concealment) relative to other creatures they attempt to stealth against, and they must end their turn with such a condition or the stealth fails. However, I do allow them to sneak across open doorways, and I allow them to enter open spaces to attack opponents from surprise. This is the most fun way I've seen to run stealth, both as a GM and as a player.
Just so you know the full extent of the table variation regarding these rules -- there are people who don't allow a stealthed rogue to perform sneak attacks because "you cannot stealth while attacking". : )
I don't agree with the legality of this. If it were a rider effect, such as a Burn ability that activates every time it hits with a (that is, any) natural attack and had its own Special Ability description, then I'd allow it. But the strength drain isn't a special ability delivered by an attack -- it is the attack. If a shadow monk flurried, it is making a series of unarmed strikes and foregoing the effects of its natural attack.
If a GM finds that his party consistently tears through APL-appropriate encounters, then fine, throw something bigger at them. But to optimize a killer monster and then say "but its CR is legal!" is just playing dishonestly.
No. You are flat-footed only at the beginning of combat. After that, you are not flat-footed even if an opponent attacks you while invisible.
I'm still trying to work out whether I think it should be that way -- but them's the rules.
It just irks me that the basic ability to combine sneak attack with spells has such stricter requirements than sneak attack -- it feels like it should trigger when opponents lose their Dex bonus to AC rather than when they're flat-footed. Similarly, it's weird that Shatter Defenses and Catch Off-Guard causes opponents to become flat-footed to your attacks, even mid-combat, when it feels like they should lose their Dex bonus to AC instead.
The Red Mantis permit others to use sawtooth sabers; they enjoy the effect it has on keeping the fearful rumor of the red mantis alive.
I've read nothing about their armor, but I do believe they'd probably hunt people down for that.
That's not perfectly accurate.
Whenever you fail an Acrobatics check to move through an opponent's threatened squares, it triggers an attack of opportunity; if you were attempting to move through an opponent's space, your movement is also stopped.
If you are damaged while using Acrobatics, you must make a second check at the same DC; failure on this check indicates that your movement ends and you fall prone.
The bit about always stopping movement when tumbling through an opponent's space was released as errata, I believe.
Summon monster specifies that the creature acts immediately on your turn. Normally, the spell completes just before your next initiative count -- but you're speeding up the casting time to 1 standard action, so yes, if you cast the spell the creature acts without delay.
Acadamae Graduate is a 3.5 feat and may require conversion.
Read as written, whenever you cast a prepared arcane spell from the conjuration (summoning) school that takes longer than a standard action to cast, then you reduce the casting time by 1 round and make the saving throw. The text reads as a when-then statement, implying no choice.
Outside of RAW, I would allow a player to choose. They could take this feat at 15th level after a long career of summoning, and it would be strange if it suddenly made them incapable of casting spells normally.
Neither of which is the OP, who spotted it on his own. Good on him.
I don't really think we can make the standard rules any more obvious, because all the rules we'd need to make extra-easily findable would slowly begin equating to the CRB. People can search for this information across the thousand existing thread about it if they choose to. They don't choose to. You can't fix people.
Ausk - in a word, yes. The rogue is built around sneak attacks. Preferably multiple sneak attacks. She can make a sneak attack any time her opponent is denied its Dex bonus to AC, and any conditions that would otherwise prevent it (you can't normally sneak attack a creature benefiting from concealment). If a rogue can't get sneak attacks, they're like a fighter or barbarian but worse.
To stably get sneak attacks, you might try (depending on GM):
That is a monstrous amount of options. Any rogue can take one or (or several) of those methods to sneak attack and make a build out of accomplishing it.
Because a rogue is so easily negated by losing access to its sneak attack, it's important to invest in multiple routes to sneak attack. All too often, I see rogue players invest in just one then complain when it's negated. I think proper observance of this list could prevent a lot of complaints that they're underpowered. I try to spread it around a little.
Although he never explicitly says, I had the impression these were giant ants. He mentions 'each one' being easy to kill, and the victory condition being 50 deaths. If he were talking about a normal swarm, and a Pathfinder swarm includes 300 creatures, then his entire hive would lose sentience and spellcasting after the first hit.
It really depends on how you're planning on spacing out your fights.
The conceptual makeup of these monsters is much more offensive than defensive. They'll die in one hit; buff spells will at best extend one unit's lifespan by a round. Whereas a cleric could benefit from multiple buffs throughout the combat (multiplied by lots of HP), a buff only affects one creature, therefore buffs are suboptimal for the swarm. Attacks and debuffs are good, though -- the effects of these spells will benefit the swarm for the duration of the day's combats.
On the other hand, we have a great potential offensive advantage. A single cleric can be locked down by a creature's reach, or disabled by a single spell. These can't. In fact, with several of them running around the battlefield, they can probably get a clear line of sight to any member of the party near the beginning of the battle. And -- each of them has access to the cleric pool of spells. They could be blasting off several high-level spells a round.
I do have some concerns here. With that kind of firing rate, your monsters may be a little too deadly, and exhaust themselves quickly. Receiving the effects of a 5th, 5th, 4th- and 4th-level spell are pretty heinous for a party. It doesn't matter how weak your enemies are if you don't survive long enough to touch their hit points. Not only that, but after the first round, the creatures have burned off their greatest powers -- leaving them too powerful and then too weak at various stages of the fight.
Consider putting a limit on how much spellcasting they can channel in a single round. Perhaps look at Quicken Spell and use that as inspiration for what a normal cleric could throw down each round.
Because of their fragility, you should take pains to frame the combats to guarantee that somebody survives the PCs' initial volley. If two PCs win initiative and the spellcaster takes out most of them with a fireball and the fighter mops up the rest, that's not good.
Consider giving the hivemind Improved Initiative so they don't consistently run in last and die before acting. Place the creatures in strategic positions. They're smart; they know their weaknesses. Each unit may be expendable, but they don't want to die without causing some damage for the hivemind's survival. Not all of the units should be affected by a single fireball. In fact, you may position some of them in hidden positions so they're not immediately apparent.
You might terrify your PCs with these creatures if you don't give them quick access to knowledge about the hive. If they walk in and see several of these creatures casting 4rth- and 5th-level cleric spells, they might panic, thinking that every one of them somehow acts as a cleric with low hit points. This could lead to retreats, but on the upside, it could lead to weird-but-fun ideas like flooding the hive with water and letting Pharasma sort the rest out.
I do have logical concerns with your victory conditions. One, if the PCs kill 50 of them, there's a chance that they'll run out of spells long before the combat is over, turning the rest of the combat into kind of a toothless slog. Further, if all they need is 50 extra ants to be sentient, and they otherwise act like normal ants -- they might replenish those numbers in days, forcing your PCs to consider wiping out the nest to prevent them from immediately returning as a threat.
Wading through weak monsters is fun sometimes, so the '50' number isn't a bad one. That's what minions are all about. You might change the victory conditions into performing certain actions to kill lots of them however, like -- as said before -- flooding their tunnels, releasing the celestial anteater, or whatever else.
Yeah, this leaves me feeling pretty skeptical.
If you're looking for official information, then you've probably already found it in the CRB as a 'bit of information' with no further clarification. Everything beyond that is just GM fiat. You've already looked for how people like to run them and remain unsatisfied, so I don't think we can really help you with those constraints.
But ... you start with a diamond and end with a diamond. I can already imagine a player repeatedly casting fabricate on a diamond to change its value from 50, to 150, to 450, to 1,350, to 4,050, to 12,150, to 36,450, to 109,350, to 328,050 ...
Shopkeeper: What ... what are you offering me? Dust? A grain of sand?
Heheh. But no, I sense that something here is amiss.
Arbane the Terrible wrote:
A synthetic diamond results in a synthetic resurrection-effect. It looks and acts just like your friend, but there's just something off about it.
And that's where doppelgangers come from.
It doesn't sit well with me that winter wolf armor would be better than white dragon armor. They're both immune to cold, but you don't get cold resist on white dragon armor. You get a discount when enchanting it.
I DO think that bonuses like this is a cool idea. White dragon platemail is no better than platemail until you enchant it. It's only ever 'special' once you enchant it, or for druids. That kind of sucks! So I'm with you on cobbling up new houserules for making nonmagical armor 'special'. Hell, I've been a fan of multiple grades of nonmagical weaponry for a long time. We've only got normal and masterwork; blah to that.
However, I think there has to be a natural limit to the benefits you can get. CR 20 creatures may have +30 natural armor, but there's no way you should be giving that bonus to a PC. On the one hand, it turns most monsters into walking treasure chests -- PCs smiling with glee when they're finally ambushed by a legendary horror, and every fight follows a genre-breaking pattern of Kill - Butcher, Kill - Butcher. Further, it can't really be balanced -- even if you simply try to make it so expensive that a PC has to spend all their money on it, then they're left effectively without equipment whenever they can't bring their broken, overly-specialized advantage to bear.
For the legalese, I'd say something like "Winter wolf armor includes the benefits of a cold weather outfit."
Well, pretty much all the APs are optimized for 4-member parties, and can be downscaled to 3 or upscaled to 6.
I think the best choice would be to pick whichever AP sounds the most fun to the GM to run, or for the players to play, or both. Some groups have an idea what an AP is about ("an overland journey to the end of the world to deliver an important person" or "raising your own kingdom"), while others go in blind.
My only caveats would be:
Once you've selected an AP, check out the forums. There are pinned topics with tons of information that may help you out. In particular, I've seen that each AP tends to have a thread pointing out spots where most groups suffer TPKs; each chapter topic has people pointing out errors with logic or statblocks; and there are topics galore on other issues, like how a person might change kingdom building mechanics in Kingmaker if they think (as many do) that it's too easy.
You can see invisible creatures as if they were normally visible. Normally visible creatures don't get a +20 bonus to stealth. It really is as simple as that.
I realize you want the opposite to be true, and you're coming up with arguments that seem halfway convincing. But the 'translucent' rule is there to indicate that you know when creatures are invisible. If an invisible aristocrat is sneaking through your ballroom, there is no chance that you're going to smile and wave at him without ever realizing other creatures can't see him. The rule is not to indicate that the spell grants you an unremovable +20/40 bonus to stealth even against creatures that see invisible creatures.
I once ran a game where a big horrible monster was chasing its evil summoners around. If it ate them, it got more powerful. When the PCs were interrogating the summoners to gain this information, one of them lied and tried to say that they had to be kept alive -- even though killing them before the big horrible monster got to them was a perfectly valid way to keep it from getting stronger. The PCs almost failed that Sense Motive check ... good that they made it too, because when they fought the monster, it got a summoner in its claws at negative HP at one point. The PCs couldn't keep the summoner alive, but they could finish him off.
Talk to him out of game about what kind of actions are appropriate for your game.
Punishing a player in-game without actually talking to them is choosing the wrong medium for the discussion. All his responses will be in-game, which you really don't want if you're not making it clear to him that this is a problem that you want stopped.
Then introduce some kind of macguffin where, if he's really really sorry, they can continue adventuring. I wouldn't undo the entire event, though. Sadistic as I am, I'd have some lingering effect. You can put holes in a fence but you can't take them out.
Bestiary, page 271 wrote:
CRB, page 247 wrote:
CRB, page 211 wrote:
CRB, page 212 wrote:
Bestiary, page 30 wrote:
Verdict: If a vampire's Darkvision is form-based, then the vampire loses it while using Change Shape. I'm of the opinion that a vampire's Darkvision is not form-based.
If a vampire loses its Darkvision, you could attempt to make an argument that a bat's Blindsense 40 ft. is a greater form of Darkvision, and thus you should gain Darkvision even if the spell isn't powerful enough to grant you the form's full ability.
HOWEVER, that ruling would also imply that once you gain access to beast shape III, you gain Darkvision whenever you gain Blindsense. In fact, gaining Darkvision 60 would allow you to see farther than a Dire Bat's blindsense 40. You could have more (better~) senses than the bat. Thus, I am of the opinion that Blindsense is not a greater form of Darkvision.
Contrast mount with phantom steed, which is a very cool travel spell but explicitly will not attack.
Oddly, a Cold Rider gets phantom steed as a spell-like ability and the Trample feat, allowing its mount to attack. Yet the phantom steed does not attack, meaning you must either build encounters with a suitable mount, switch out a feat, or play the creature out of the book with a poorly allocated feat choice.
You can't cast darkness on a creature, but you could cast it on an object a creature is wearing. Buy your bat a velvet collar?
I think your idea is rather brilliant, really, at least when the bat is smart enough to operate independently. I'd need to invest in enough material to make it resistant to being exploded though, and I'm not sure if there are improved familiars with the enviable sensory qualities the bat has.
I don't have a problem running darkness like a fog, given that I've been running games with fogs for years. The biggest argument about that was whether creatures inside the edge square could attack without penalty but receive concealment benefits.
Just imagine the darkness like, say, cloudy water. You can't see on the other side of completely cloudy water. You can't see anything outside of completely cloudy water while you are inside. If you look across somewhat-cloudy water to examine something standing in clear water, your vision is still obscured. Likewise, when you're inside somewhat-cloudy water and examining things outside of it, everything appears cloudy even if they occupy clear spaces.
Additional thought: I seem to recall a little bit of barbarian could get you a bite attack, which brings you your third attack -- something the pure rogue doesn't get until BAB +11 at level 15. Even better, the ghoul with bonus bite attack doesn't have the penalties that an iterative attacker would.
Can't normally stealth while raging though, so there's that. But there's also ways around that.
The 3.25 supplement Savage Species lists ghouls as a 2 HD creature that deserves a +3 level adjustment, for your interest.
The 'issues' I'm seeing here are that you have incredible ability scores without penalty, two natural attacks, a disease and paralysis (to which immunity is rarely earned, and makes all creatures susceptible to your sneak attacks -- a very good synergy of race and class). Even if you prefer taking a manufactured weapon, at the end of your career you're getting a bonus sneak attack opportunity without two-weapon penalties. The real trick would be to figure out what manufactured weapon you could attack with without using a hand, so you could get your three iterative attacks plus both paralyzing claws ...
Even strictly considering the fact that a CR 1 ghoul has 2 racial hit dice, that means you'd quality for feats and abilities an effective level earlier than other characters. While other people turn 7th level, get their 7th rank in a skill and can take Improved Blah, you've had that for a level already.
Even strictly considering the ghoul just as a monster that could take class levels, giving it two rogue levels for the price of one doesn't look balanced to me. A ghoul is a stealthy combat monster, and a rogue is a stealthy combat class -- I think rogue is an associated class for a ghoul. Putting two levels of sorceror on a troll may be worth just a 1 CR increase, but you're going to see this be FAR more effective.
Hopefully that should help you ballpark what a ghoul should be. I don't see any abilities on the creature that make me think, "at ECL 20 this ability is now worthless and shouldn't be counted against the creature" other than maybe ghoul fever. Not only would I give no discount on rogue levels, I'd have to think about whether the basic ghoul is already effectively a second-level character, or more.
Taking 20 took 20 times as long as doing the action once did. It was basically the player saying "I'm using this skill twenty times, rolling a 1, a 2, a 3 ... all the way until I get 20."
Searching a 10x10 square used to take 1 minute of work, so Taking 20 on searching took 20 minutes.
I admit that even I'm disappointed that there's no real disadvantage to Taking 20 to pick locks. I also used to think that trying to pick a diabolically complex lock took longer -- but nope, they're all full round actions.
Granted, I'm not entirely sure the rogue should be made weaker, so I'm not sure I want to house-rule them back. That's just what the wizards want.
Yep, you don't need Multiattack anymore. A creature with multiple natural weapons uses them all at its full Base Attack Bonus. If it has Secondary natural attack, those are made at a -5; and if a creature attacks with manufactured weapons and natural attacks, the natural attacks are all considered secondary.
I played the CRPG of the same name -- lots of fun. I enjoyed that I could get in over my head by traveling this way or that, although I was a little disappointed that I seemed to miss quest options by taking what seemed like it would be a secret path.
Granted, since players don't always realize they should run away until too late, maybe surprise horrible encounters isn't as acceptable on the tabletop as it is on PC : )