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Hala

Turin the Mad's page

RPG Superstar 2013 Dedicated Voter. FullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 7,905 posts (8,495 including aliases). 5 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 2 Pathfinder Society characters. 13 aliases.



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The time has come to cancel my Paizo subscriptions, to include my beloved Charter AP subscription.

o7 Paizonians.

Turin, signing off.


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On 22nd June, Murder Hobo Company #4755, Varisian Local 400, escorts Ameiko Kaijitsu Amatatsu and company in her quest to ascend her throne.

Naturally, being card-carrying murder hobos, they will do so by way of dishing out (and taking) copious quantities of foolishness, mayhem and especially gratuitously graphic violence upon the bodies of everyone and everything that gets in their way.

The PCs are 25 point buy, 2 gratis traits (or an eligible Story feat), monstrosities starting at 10th level at the beginning of Chapter 4. 62k gp for their pizza, gear and "adult novelties" collections.

No Hero Points though. ;)

Dramatis Personae As current information provides

  • K_GM A "Disciple of Wu" - aka "Herp Derp", trapfinder Ranger/Fighter
  • Haru "Fu Manchu", Summoner (archetype YTBD) with a 'Foo Lion' eidolon
  • le Artiste "Woody", hedonist ratfolk Monk (flowing monk archetype w/ janni combat style & probably some permitted 'dipping' into Monk Vows and Quingoing powers for poos and grins)
  • Agent J "Blasty McBlastsalot" <-- current name is assigned, as I have no idea what the character is going to be other than a Sorcerer
  • "OJ" character unknown

There is no need for a Cleric to be in situ if the PC casters can slather on sufficient buffs to let Herp Derp, Fu Manchu's 'Foo Lion' and "Woody" shred the bad guys and take their stuff. Post-combat bandaging should be easy enough.


Go here to revel in the forthcoming 7th edition of the classic Call of Cthulhu!

Note the tasty, tasty goodies ... the promise of carnage, foolishness, madness, mayhem and violence upon the bodies of hapless investigators as they attempt to thwart the heinous acts of Mythos cults and entities!

Pledge your support ... and grovel before the Greater Evil. 'cause settling for the lesser evil just doesn't cut it anymore. ;)

~squiggle~


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Greetings and smellutations, ladies and gentlecritters. Your friendly neighborhood carnivorous hobbit cultist of the Great Old Ones is slated to begin a joyful romp through the Carrion Crown Adventure Path with "the old gang".

Cast of Players
K_GM, Haru, Agent J, le Artiste (the group's designated 'flake').

There is a possibility that other players may or may not join in the foolishness, mayhem and violence as the campaign progresses.

House Rules
This is as close to old school as the Pathfinder rules allow. A 15-point buy for ability scores for characters of the normal races as the APs are theoretically written for a group of 4 15-point-buy PCs. We will put this theory to the test.

Wall o' Text re: CharGen rules:

The Ground Rules

You will create your player characters on a 15 point buy (page 16, Core Rulebook) for your ability scores. Starting wealth is the average for your class.

Races: as follows.

  • Aasimars are docked 4 points from their point buy & may only pick a Carrion Crown campaign trait. (Thus, aasimars begin with 11 points instead of 15 with which to buy their ability scores.)
  • Tieflings are docked 2 points from their point buy & may only pick a Carrion Crown campaign trait. (Thus, tieflings begin with 13 points instead of 15 with which to buy their ability scores.)
  • Dwarves, Dhampir & Changelings are at full point buy – these races may only pick a Carrion Crown campaign trait.
  • Elves, Gnomes & Half Elves – 1 APG trait of choice + pick a Carrion Crown campaign trait.
  • Hobbits (Halflings) & Humans – 2 APG traits of choice + pick a Carrion Crown campaign trait.
  • Half Orcs, Orcs & Lizard Men – 3 APG traits of choice + pick a Carrion Crown campaign trait.

Traits are in the APG – they are broken down by category and you can only select one trait for each category. The campaign traits in the APG are not available for Carrion Crown.

Dhampirs, lizard men, orcs and tieflings are usually considered very near to monsters – the townsfolk are loath to deal with you. Diplomacy checks are at a – 4 penalty and you are charged 20% more on all purchases. Reduced starting wealth by 20%, and then buy your starting gear at book prices.

Aasimar, Changelings and Half Orcs are disliked by the townsfolk. Diplomacy checks are at a – 2 penalty and you are charged 10% more on all purchases. Reduce starting wealth by 10%, and then buy your starting gear at book prices.

Clerics and Paladins *must* choose a deity – druids, oracles and rangers do not have this restriction. (Druids and rangers often have a patron deity, but there is no requirement for them to do so.)

Permitted Books: Core Rulebook (CRB) & Advanced Players’ Guide (APG).

Traits: each PC selects 1 campaign trait from the Carrion Crown Players’ Guide to explain why they are in the campaign. This is true for replacement characters. Your race determines if you get to choose any additional traits from the APG.

1 bonus skill rank is awarded at character creation in one of the following skills: Craft [choose one], Heal, Perform [choose one] or Profession [choose one] skill of the character’s choice to explain what they did for a day to day living before they got the summons to attend Professor Lorrimar’s funeral in Ustalav.

Replacement characters arrive the next day in game time, late to hearing what the good Professor bequeathed to them for assisting him in years past before his untimely demise.

The local human language is Varisian – this is in addition to Common. Excepting lizard man characters, everyone begins the game knowing these two languages as part of their native language set.

  • The players have to have their characters “bite” on the plot hooks to make the campaign work. This is true for any AP and campaign. You may think the hooks suck donkey balls, but they are what they are.
  • You can feel free to play Chaotic Evil Psychopathic Murder Hobos if you wish. I recommend that you find a way to have your murder hobos cooperate with each other to survive longer than the 30 seconds or less that it would take for you to kill each other off. Note that in a campaign featuring various ‘horror’ tropes, many Evil characters are less than effective – to put it politely – in killing the bad guys and taking their stuff as compared to Neutral and Good characters.
  • Don’t be a jerk. If one of you is playing a Paladin, the rest of you shouldn’t be playing CE psychotic murder hobos. If everyone starts off playing CE psychotic murder hobos, don’t make your replacement character a Paladin or other goody two–shoes. Well, not unless you want to fight each other instead of the monsters and bad guys. (If you go this route, bring another non–jerk character too.)
  • If you do not have something on your equipment list, you do not have it. If it’s safe, you can make your way back to “town”, buy what you forgot and go back. If you are getting munched on by an Eldritch Horror, your characters obviously have other things on their minds. Such as bleeding, squealing like a cute little desert frog and trying not to get eaten or killed.
  • Encumbrance is part of the rules – it is not an optional subsystem. Track your encumbrance and be honest about it. You really don’t want me to track it for you. (Helpful Hint: This starts with “heavy encumbrance” and gets worse.)
  • Cost of Living – worthwhile to understand, although you won’t have to worry about it at the start of the campaign.
  • The campaign tracks XP on the Medium Advancement Track. In order to advance a level you only need to secure a proper night’s rest or sleep in game time and do your morning ablutions (whatever those may be) once you have earned enough XP.
  • The Carrion Crown Players’ Guide is chock full of information as to what you can expect to be stabbing with sharp pointy metal bits and collecting loot from.
  • I am not using the Harrow Points subsystem presented in the Carrion Crown Players’ Guide.
  • In case you are ‘TL; DR’ disposed, the campaign’s starting premise is simple: your characters’ broke first level asses have been summoned to a sinkhole of a town by the name of Ravengro in Ustalav, a land renown for all kinds of horrors and often apathetic pseudo-feudal governments. The local yokels are superstitious and prone to the “pitchfork and torch mob” mentality, especially when things are not going well. You need money, your last job finally got boring and of course you have better things to do than polish knobs / whatever it was you’ve been doing for a meager living when you get the word that some serious money awaits you. Of course, there is the minor matter of actually being one of the pallbearers, planting the old fart’s ass in the ground and figuring out what’s going on from there.
  • I will let a PC ‘cheat death’ once per character level. This must result in the character having outright died despite the abilities and efforts of the rest of the PCs (such as receiving a breath of life spell that did not bring your character to a low enough number of negative hit points to otherwise survive). Doing so still results in being ‘dead for the fight’, the precise consequences will vary. If you ‘cheat death’ in a lava flow, you’re going to be looking like Darth Vader before he got the fancy cybernetics. If you ‘cheat death’ after getting hacked into chunky salsa by a big ass sword, something got lopped off. And so on. There are game mechanical penalties of course. How severe depends on how far past “dead” you went. If you only went a little bit past dead, maybe you had a finger or toe lopped off. If you took an arrow, crossbow bolt or bullet to the brain, you lost an eye and maybe some cognitive function (Int and/or Cha penalties) depending on how far past ‘dead’ your character went. If you were killed by a big arsed sword, your disemboweling leaves you permanently weakened but alive (Con penalty), or you lost a hand, an arm or a leg. If you did the Darth Vader Dive into a lava pit, you are missing both of your legs, an arm, a hand and are sucking on some serious internal organ damage – but you survived! The “darth vader dive” assumes that your character’s immersion in lava is what killed him.
  • The first part of the scripted campaign is … well, about as exciting as farming a patch of sand for cigarette butts. To spare ourselves the boredom, I will need certain particulars of your PCs so I can e-mail out the goodies you get/know before we get down to brass tacks.
  • Specifically you need to e-mail me the following information about your characters: race, ability scores, alignment, class, feats, the campaign trait chosen and Knowledge skills (with bonuses) are all I need for this purpose. In return your characters will start with additional XP – how much XP depends upon how good your characters are at research – i.e. your characters’ collective Knowledge skills among arcana, history, local and religion.

Below are the non–standard races: aasimar, changeling, dhampir, lizard man, orc, and tiefling.

Aasimar Characters

+2 Wisdom, +2 Charisma: Aasimars are insightful, confident, and personable. They are often attractive by human standards, although not necessarily the near-guaranteed eye candy that changelings are.
Native Outsider: Aasimars are outsiders with the native subtype.
Medium: Aasimars are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Normal Speed: Aasimars have a base speed of 30 feet.
Darkvision: Aasimars can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
Skilled: Aasimars have a +2 racial bonus on Diplomacy and Perception checks.
Spell-Like Ability: Aasimars can use daylight once per day as a spell-like ability (caster level equal to the aasimar's character level).
Celestial Resistance: Aasimars have acid resistance 5, cold resistance 5, and electricity resistance 5.
Languages: Aasimars begin play speaking Common, Celestial and Varisian. Aasimars with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following languages: Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Halfling, and Sylvan.

The following favored class options are available to all aasimars who have the listed favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the favored class reward.
Bard: Choose one bardic performance; treat the bard as +1/2 level higher when determining the effects of that performance.
Cavalier: Add +1/4 to the cavalier's bonus on damage against targets of his challenge.
Cleric: Add +1/2 to damage when using positive energy against undead or using Alignment Channel to damage evil outsiders.
Inquisitor: Add +1/2 on Intimidate, Knowledge, and Sense Motive checks made against outsiders.
Oracle: Add +1/2 to the oracle's level for the purpose of determining the effects of one revelation.
Paladin: Add +1/6 to the morale bonus on saving throws provided by the paladin's auras.
Sorcerer: Add +1/4 to the sorcerer's caster level when casting spells with the good descriptor.
Summoner: Add DR 1/evil to the summoner's eidolon. Each additional time the summoner selects this benefit, the DR/evil increases by +1/2 (maximum DR 10/evil).

Aasimars have access to the following feats. They are not FREE; you must select them with your general feats at 1st level, 3rd level, etc.

Angelic Blood
Your blood is infused with holy power.
Prerequisites: Con 13, aasimar.
Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus on saving throws made against effects with the evil descriptor and on Constitution checks made to stabilize when you are reduced to negative hit points (but not dead). Furthermore, each time you take bleed or blood drain damage, each undead creature or creature with the evil subtype that is currently adjacent to you also takes 1 point of damage.

Angelic Flesh
Your skin shines like burnished metal.
Prerequisites: Angelic Blood, aasimar.
Benefit: You take a –2 penalty on Disguise and Stealth checks but gain one of the following benefits, depending on the metallic affinity of your flesh (choose one).
Brazen: You gain fire resistance 5 and a +2 bonus on saving throws made against fire effects.
Golden: You gain a +2 bonus on saving throws made against blindness, dazzling, patterns, and effects with the light descriptor. When you cast spells or use spell-like abilities that are from the illusion (pattern) subschool or have the light descriptor, you do so at +1 caster level.
Silver: You gain a +2 bonus on saving throws made against paralysis, petrification, and poison, and your unarmed strikes or natural weapons count as silver for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
Steel: You gain a +1 natural armor bonus to AC, and your unarmed strikes or natural weapons count as cold iron for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Angel Wings
Feathered wings sprout from your back.
Prerequisites: Angelic Blood, aasimar, character level 11th.
Benefit: You gain a pair of gleaming feathered wings that grant a fly speed of 30 feet (average maneuverability) if wearing light armor or unencumbered, or 20 feet (poor maneuverability) with a medium or heavy load or medium or heavy armor. Fly is a class skill for you.

Metallic Wings
Your wing feathers are made of gleaming metal.
Prerequisites: Angelic Blood, Angelic Flesh, Angel Wings, aasimar, character level 13th.
Benefit: You gain two wing attacks. These are secondary natural attacks that deal 1d4 points of slashing damage (or 1d3 if you are Small).

Celestial Servant
Rather than being a normal animal or beast, your companion or familiar hails from the heavenly realms.
Prerequisites: Aasimar, animal companion, familiar, or mount class feature.
Benefit: Your animal companion, familiar, or mount gains the celestial template and becomes a magical beast, though you may still treat it as an animal when using Handle Animal, wild empathy, or any other spells or class abilities that specifically affect animals.

Channel Force
Your channel is bolstered by your faith, allowing you to move and damage your foes.
Prerequisites: Aasimar, channel energy 2d6.
Benefit: When you channel energy to deal damage, you may choose to affect only a single target within 30 feet. In addition to dealing damage, if that single target fails its saving throw, you may pull or push (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 303) the target up to 5 feet for every 2d6 points of channel energy damage you are capable of dealing.

Improved Channel Force
You move your enemies within a beam of righteous energy.
Prerequisites: Channel Force, aasimar, channel energy 4d6.
Benefit: When using Channel Force, you can affect all creatures in a 60-foot line or a 30-foot cone-shaped burst. You must choose to either push or pull all creatures within the affected area that fail their saving throws.

Greater Channel Force
Your eruptions of divine power move your enemies.
Prerequisites: Channel Force, Improved Channel Force, aasimar, channel energy 6d6.
Benefit: When using Improved Channel Force, you can affect all creatures in a 30-foot-radius burst.

Heavenly Radiance
Your heavenly light can be used in a variety of ways.
Prerequisites: Aasimar, daylight spell-like ability, sufficiently high character level (see below).
Benefit: You gain one additional use per day of daylight as a spell–like ability. Choose one spell from the table below; by expending a use of daylight, you may use this spell as a spell-like ability. To select a spell, you must meet the minimum character level for its listing in the table. The save DC for this spell is Charisma-based.

Spell-Like Ability
Minimum Character Level
Flare burst
1st
Wake of light
3rd
Searing light
5th
Wandering star motes
7th
Sunbeam (one beam only)
9th

Special: You may take this feat multiple times (up to five times total). Each time you select this feat you gain an additional use of daylight and may select another spell from the table.

Changeling Characters
Changelings are defined by their class levels—they do not possess racial Hit Dice. All changelings have the following racial traits.

–2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom, +2 Charisma: Changelings are frail, but possess a sharp wit and unnatural beauty. Changelings are always female, tall, and slender. A changeling’s hair is typically dark and her skin abnormally pale, but she otherwise looks for all practical purposes like a member of her father’s race. A frequent but not universal trait of changelings is their mismatched, different-colored eyes. Upon reaching puberty and adulthood, the average changeling stands approximately 5-1/2 feet tall and weighs about 110 pounds. They are Medium size humanoids with the changeling subtype.

Hag Trait: A changeling possesses one of the following traits, depending on the type of hag her mother is.
Hulking Changeling: A changeling who was born of an annis hag is much more physically formidable than other changelings. You receive a +1 trait bonus on any damage you inflict with a melee attack.
Green Widow: A changeling of green hag descent is naturally able to lure in potential mates and effectively trick them into pursuing her. You gain a +2 trait bonus on Bluff checks made against characters that might be sexually attracted to you.
Sea Lungs: A changeling with a sea hag mother can survive underwater for longer than usual. You gain the ability to hold your breath for a number of rounds equal to three times your Constitution score instead of two.

Claws: A changeling’s hands and fingernails tend to harden and become sharp as she reaches adolescence. This gives her two claw attacks (1d4) as primary natural weapons.

Natural Armor: Hags and their offspring have uncommonly tough skin. A changeling begins play with a natural armor bonus of +1.
Darkvision: Changelings can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
Languages: Changelings begin play knowing the Common and Varisian languages. Changelings who have high Intelligence scores can choose from among the following bonus languages: Aklo, Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Gnoll, Goblin, and Orc. Note that Gnolls are not found in Ustalav.

The following favored class options are available to all changelings who have the listed favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the favored class reward.
Oracle: Add +1/2 to the oracle's level for the purpose of determining the effects of the oracle's curse ability.
Rogue: The rogue gains 1/6 of a new rogue talent.
Witch: Add one spell from the witch spell list to the witch's familiar. This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level she can cast. If the witch ever replaces her familiar, the new familiar knows these bonus spells.

Changelings have access to the following feat. It is not FREE; you must select it as one of your general feats.

Mother's Gift
You inherit a special boon from your hag parent.
Prerequisite: Changeling.
Benefit: Your dark legacy manifests in one of the following ways. You choose the manifestation when you choose the feat, and once selected it cannot be changed.
Hag Claws (Ex): You gain a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls with your claws.
Surprisingly Tough (Ex): Your natural armor bonus increases by +1.
Uncanny Resistance (Su): You gain spell resistance equal to 6 + your character level.
Special: You can gain this feat up to three times. Its effects do not stack. Each time you take the feat, you must select a different manifestation.

Dhampir Characters
+2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma, –2 Constitution: Dhampirs are fast and seductive, but closer to death than most mortals. Blade wanna-be’s start here. Dhampirs are Medium size humanoids with the dhampir subtype.

Senses: Low-light vision and darkvision 60 feet.
Manipulative: +2 racial bonus on Bluff and Perception.
Undead Resistance: Dhampirs gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against disease and mind-affecting effects.
Light Sensitivity: Dhampirs are dazzled in areas of bright sunlight or within the radius of a daylight spell.
Negative Energy Affinity: Though a living creature, a dhampir reacts to positive and negative energy as if he were undead—positive energy harms him, while negative energy heals him.
Spell-Like Ability: A dhampir can use detect undead three times per day as a spell-like ability. The caster level for this ability equals the dhampir's character level. *

* Fangs: On occasion, a dhampir may inherit his father's lengthy canines instead of figuring out how to detect undead. (Guess mommy really didn’t want to get knocked up by a vampire again, eh?) Whenever the dhampir makes a grapple combat maneuver check to damage an opponent, he can choose to bite his opponent, dealing 1d3 points of damage as if using a natural bite attack. As a standard action, the dhampir can bite a creature that is bound, helpless, paralyzed, or similarly unable to defend itself. This racial trait replaces the spell-like ability racial trait.

Resist Level Drain (Ex) A dhampir takes no penalties from energy draining effects; though he can still be killed if he accrues more negative levels then he has Hit Dice. After 24 hours, any negative levels a dhampir takes are removed without the need for an additional saving throw.

Languages: Dhampirs begin play speaking the Common and Varisian languages.

The following favored class options are available to all dhampirs who have the listed favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the favored class reward.
Alchemist: Add +10 minutes to the duration of the alchemist's mutagens.
Cleric: Add +1 to the cleric level of any channeling feat used to affect undead.
Fighter: Add a +2 bonus on rolls to stabilize when dying.
Inquisitor: Add a +1/2 bonus on Intimidate checks to demoralize humanoids.
Rogue: Add a +1/2 bonus on Stealth checks and Perception checks made in dim light or darkness.
Sorcerer: Add +1/2 point of negative energy damage to spells that deal negative energy damage.
Wizard: Add +1/4 to the wizard's caster level when casting spells of the necromancy school.

Dhampirs have access to the following feats. They are not FREE; you must select them with your general feats at 1st level, 3rd level, etc.

Blood Drinker
Consuming blood reinvigorates you.
Prerequisite: Dhampir.
Benefit: Choose one humanoid subtype, such as "goblinoid" (this subtype cannot be "dhampir"). You have acquired a taste for the blood of creatures with this subtype. Whenever you drink fresh blood from such a creature, you gain 5 temporary hit points and a +1 bonus on checks and saving throws based on Constitution (such as Fortitude saving throws and Constitution checks made to stabilize when dying). The effects last 1 hour. If you feed multiple times, you continue to gain hit points to a maximum of 5 temporary hit points for every three Hit Dice you have, but the +1 bonus on Constitution-based skill checks and saving throws does not stack.

Normally, you can only drink blood from an opponent who is helpless, grappled, paralyzed, pinned, unconscious, or similarly disabled. If you have a bite attack – typically by way of the Fangs racial trait –, you can drink blood automatically as part of your bite attack; otherwise, you must first cut your target by dealing 1 hit point of damage with a slashing or piercing weapon (though you may feed upon a creature with severe wounds or a bleed effect without cutting it first). Once you cut the target, you can drink from its wound as a standard action. Drinking blood deals 2 points of Constitution damage to the creature you feed upon.

The blood must come from a living creature of the specified humanoid subtype. It cannot come from a dead or summoned creature. Feeding on unwilling intelligent creatures is an evil act.

Blood Salvage
You do not need to drink blood from a living creature to gain healing benefits.
Prerequisites: Blood Drinker, dhampir.
Benefit: You can use your Blood Drinker feat on a dead creature of the appropriate humanoid subtype. The creature must have died less than 6 hours beforehand.
Normal: You only benefit from the Blood Drinker feat if you consume fresh blood from a living creature.

Diverse Palate
Your taste for blood is broader than that of other dhampirs.
Prerequisites: Blood Drinker, dhampir.
Benefit: Choose a humanoid subtype or the monstrous humanoid type. You may use your Blood Drinker feat on creatures of this subtype or type.
Special: You can take this feat multiple times. Each time you select it, choose a new humanoid subtype or the monstrous humanoid type.

Blood Feaster
Consuming blood gives you superhuman strength.
Prerequisites: Blood Drinker, base attack bonus +6, dhampir.
Benefit: If you use your Blood Drinker feat to drain 4 or more points of Constitution from a living creature, you gain a +2 bonus on damage rolls and a +1 bonus on Strength-based skill checks. This bonus lasts for a number of rounds equal to 1/2 your total Hit Dice.

Natural Charmer
You possess some of the dominating powers of your vampire progenitor.
Prerequisites: Cha 17, dhampir.
Benefit: You can take 20 on any Charisma-based skills to charm, convince, persuade, or seduce humanoids whose attitude is at least friendly to you. Taking 20 still requires 20 times the normal time to perform the skill (2 minutes instead of a round; 20 minutes instead of a minute; etc).
Normal: You cannot take 20 on any check where you incur penalties for failure.

Lizard Man Characters

+2 Strength, +2 Constitution: Lizard men are excellent physical specimens of reptilian machismo.

Swim speed: 30 feet; base land speed: 30 feet. Lizard men are Medium size humanoids with the reptilian subtype.
Alernatively, a lizard man hails from the mountainous terrain of Ustalav instead of the fetid swamps near Illmarsh. These lizard men have a Climb speed equal to half their land speed (15 feet) with the attendant benefits. This replaces the swim speed of 30 feet and its attendant benefits.

Claws and Fangs: Lizard men have 2 claw attacks (1d4) as primary natural weapons and a bite attack (1d3+ ½ Strength bonus; –5 attack penalty) as a secondary natural weapon.

Natural Armor: Lizard Men player characters begin play with a natural armor bonus of +1.

Language: Lizard Men being play knowing the Draconic language. You will need to either take ranks of Linguistics and/or start with a 12 or higher Intelligence score in order to learn either Common or Varisian to play a lizard man.

Lizard Men may select several monster feats as general feats:
Improved Natural Armor (up to 4 times, giving a racial +5 natural armor bonus).
Improved Natural Attack (once for claws [improving damage from 1d4 to 1d6], and once for bite [improving damage from 1d3 to 1d4]).
Multiattack (making your secondary bite attack at only a –2 attack penalty instead of the normal –5 attack penalty.
As with all race-specific feat options, they are not free and must be selected with the character’s general feats.

Orc Characters

+4 Strength, –2 Intelligence, –2 Wisdom, –2 Charisma: Orcs are brutal and savage.
Orc: Orcs are humanoids with the orc subtype.
Medium: Orcs are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Normal Speed: Orcs have a base speed of 30 feet.
Darkvision: Orcs can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
Light Sensitivity: Orcs are dazzled in areas of bright sunlight or within the radius of a daylight spell.
Ferocity: Orcs can remain conscious and continue fighting even if their hit point totals fall below 0. Orcs are still staggered at 0 hit points or lower and lose 1 hit point each round as normal.
Weapon Familiarity: Orcs are always proficient with greataxes and falchions, and treat any weapon with the word "orc" in its name as a martial weapon.
Languages: Orcs begin play speaking Common, Orc, and Varisian. Orcs with high Intelligence scores can chose from the following: Dwarven, Giant, Gnoll, Goblin, Undercommon. (Given the Int penalty, many orcs don’t know these additional languages.)

The following favored class options are available to all orcs who have the listed favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the favored class reward.
Alchemist: Add +10 minutes to the duration of the alchemist's mutagens.
Barbarian: Add +1 to the barbarian's total number of rage rounds per day.
Cavalier: Add +1 to the cavalier's CMB when making bull rush or overrun combat maneuvers against a challenged target.
Druid: Add +1/2 to the damage dealt by the druid's animal companion's natural attacks.
Fighter: Add +2 to the fighter's Constitution score for the purpose of determining when he dies from negative hit points.
Ranger: Add +1 hit point to the ranger's animal companion. If the ranger ever replaces his animal companion, the new animal companion gains these bonus hit points.
Witch: Add one spell from the witch spell list to the witch's familiar. This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level she can cast. If the witch ever replaces her familiar, the new familiar knows these bonus spells.

Orcs have access to the following feats. They are not FREE; you must select them with your general feats at 1st level, 3rd level, etc. Those marked as (Combat) may also be selected as a Combat feat by Fighters and other classes that gain bonus combat feats.

Born Alone
You are so tough and vicious that you killed and ate the rest of your litter while still in the womb.
Prerequisite: Orc.
Benefit: Whenever you kill or knock unconscious an opponent with a melee attack, you gain temporary hit points equal to your Constitution bonus (minimum 1) until your next turn. These temporary hit points do not stack. You do not gain this bonus if the opponent is helpless or has less than half your total Hit Dice.

Bullying Blow (Combat)
With a simple hit, you more easily intimidate an opponent.
Prerequisites: Intimidate 1 rank, orc.
Benefit: As a standard action, you may make a melee attack with a –2 penalty on the attack roll. If the attack damages your opponent, you may make an Intimidate check to demoralize that opponent as a free action.
Normal: Intimidating an opponent is a standard action.

Ferocious Action
You ferocity is quick but shorter lived.
Prerequisites: Ferocity racial trait, orc.
Benefit: When you fall to 0 hit points or fewer, you lose 2 hit points each round, but you are not staggered. If you are in a rage (such as that caused by the barbarian rage class feature), you instead only lose 1 hit point per round.

Foment the Blood
You can unleash a wave of energy that drives orcs into frenzy.
Prerequisites: Channel energy class feature, orc.
Benefit: When you channel energy, instead of creating its normal effect, you can give orcs a bonus on weapon damage and critical hit confirmation rolls until your next turn. This bonus is equal to the number of dice your channeled energy normally heals or harms. Your channel has its normal effect on other creatures in the area.

Grudge Fighter (Combat)
You feel great anger at anyone who dares to attack you, and this fury makes your own attacks that much stronger.
Prerequisite: Orc.
Benefit: You gain a +1 morale bonus on attack and damage rolls made against any creature that attacked you in the current combat.

Orc Weapon Expertise (Combat)
You can do more with the weapons orcs favor the most.
Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +1, orc.
Benefit: When you take this feat, choose one of the benefits below. Whenever you wield a weapon that has "orc" in its name, you gain the benefit you chose so long as you are actually proficient with that weapon.
Bully: Gain a +1 bonus on damage rolls against creatures at least one size smaller than you.
Defender: Gain a +1 shield bonus to your AC (or +2 if wielding a two-handed weapon).
Disrupter: Add +3 to opponents' concentration checks to cast a spell within your threatened area. This only applies if you are aware of the enemy's location and are capable of taking an attack of opportunity. If you have already used all of your available attacks of opportunity for the round, this increase does not apply.
Killer: Gain a +2 competence bonus on attack rolls made to confirm critical hits.
Thug: Deal +1 point of nonlethal damage with the weapon.
Trickster: Gain a +2 bonus on a single type of combat maneuver check that you can perform with that weapon.
This feat has no effect if you are not proficient with the weapon you're using.
Special: You can gain this feat multiple times. Each time you take this feat, you must choose a different benefit. You may only apply one of these benefits per round (chosen as a free action at the start of your turn).

Resolute Rager
Fear passes quickly while you are raging.
Prerequisites: Orc, rage class feature.
Benefit: While raging, when under the effect of a fear effect that allows a saving throw, you can make a new saving throw against that fear effect at the start of each of your turns before acting. If you make the new save, the fear effect ends.

Reverse-Feint (Combat)
You can goad an opponent into attacking you in order to make your counter attack all the more powerful.
Prerequisites: Toughness, base attack bonus +1, orc.
Benefit: As a move action, you can leave a gap in your defenses for one adjacent opponent to use. If the opponent attacks you on its next turn, it gains a +4 bonus on its attack roll. Whether or not the opponent successfully hits, you may attack it as an immediate action with a single melee attack, gaining a +2 bonus on your attack roll.

Trap Wrecker
You can smash traps instead of disarming them.
Prerequisites: Power Attack, Disable Device 1 rank, orc.
Benefit: You can attempt to disarm a trap by striking it with a melee weapon instead of making a Disable Device check. As a full-round action, make
a melee attack against an Armor Class equal to the trap's Disable Device DC. If you miss, the trap activates. If you hit, roll damage. If this damage is at least half the trap's Disable Device DC, you disable the trap. If this damage is less than half the trap's Disable Device DC, the trap activates. You can only attempt this on nonmagical traps. You must be able to reach some part of the trap with your attack in order to use this feat. At the GM's discretion, some traps may not be susceptible to this feat.

Teifling Characters

+2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, –2 Charisma: Tieflings are quick in body and mind, but are inherently strange and unnerving. They are fiendish in appearance and severely mistrusted as baby-eating semi-demons. Their tails don’t help this perception much.
Native Outsider: Tieflings are outsiders with the native subtype.
Medium: Tieflings are Medium creatures and receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Normal Speed: Tieflings have a base speed of 30 feet.
Darkvision: Tieflings see in the dark for up to 60 feet.
Skilled: Tieflings gain a +2 racial bonus on Bluff and Stealth checks.
Spell-Like Ability: Tieflings can use darkness once per day as a spell-like ability. The caster level for this ability equals the tiefling's character level.
Fiendish Resistance: Tieflings have cold resistance 5, electricity resistance 5, and fire resistance 5.
Fiendish Sorcery: Tiefling sorcerers with the Abyssal or Infernal bloodlines treat their Charisma score as 2 points higher for all sorcerer class abilities.
Languages: Tieflings begin play speaking Common and either Abyssal or Infernal. Tieflings with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Abyssal, Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Goblin, Halfling, Infernal, and Orc.

The following favored class options are available to all tieflings who have the listed favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the class reward.
Alchemist: Add +1/2 to the alchemist's bomb damage.
Cleric: Add a +1 bonus on caster level checks made to overcome the spell resistance of outsiders.
Druid: Add a +1 bonus on wild empathy checks made to improve the attitude of fiendish animals.
Inquisitor: Add a +1/2 bonus on Intimidate checks and Knowledge checks to identify creatures.
Magus: Add +1/4 point to the magus's arcane pool.
Paladin: Add +1 to the amount of damage the paladin heals with lay on hands, but only when the paladin uses that ability on herself.
Rogue: Add +1/2 to sneak attack damage dealt to creatures with the outsider type.
Sorcerer: Add +1/2 to the number of times per day a sorcerer can use the corrupting touch infernal bloodline power, or +1 to the total number of rounds per day the sorcerer can use the claws abyssal bloodline power. The sorcerer must possess the applicable power to select these bonuses.
Summoner: Add +1 hit point or +1 skill rank to the summoner's eidolon.
Witch: The witch's familiar gains resistance 1 against cold, electricity, or fire. Each time the witch selects this reward, increase the familiar's resistance to one of these energy types by 1 (maximum 5 for any one type). If the witch ever replaces her familiar, the new familiar has these resistances.
Wizard: Select one arcane school power at 1st level that is normally usable a number of times per day equal to 3 + the wizard's Intelligence modifier. The wizard adds +1/2 to the number of uses per day of that arcane school power.

Tieflings have access to the following feats. They are not FREE; you must select them with your general feats at 1st level, 3rd level, etc.

Armor of the Pit
Your fiendish traits take the form of a protective scaly skin.
Prerequisite: Tiefling.
Benefit: You gain a +2 natural armor bonus.

Expanded Fiendish Resistance
You gain extra fiendish resistances.
Prerequisite: Tiefling.
Benefit: You gain resistance 5 to acid.

Fiend Sight
Your eyes develop keener sight in dim light and darkness.
Prerequisites: Darkvision 60 ft., tiefling.
Benefit: You gain low-light vision and your darkvision improves to 120 ft.
Special: You can take this feat twice. When you take it a second time, you gain the see in darkness universal monster ability.

Grasping Tail
Your tail becomes more useful.
Prerequisite: Tiefling.
Benefit: You can use your tail to grab stowed items. While you cannot wield weapons with your tail, you can use it to retrieve small, stowed objects carried on your person as a swift action.

The Gunslinger, Ninja and Samurai base classes (from Ultimate Combat) are also allowed for Carrion Crown.

The feats, magic items and spells from Ultimate Combat are not allowed excepting the following feats: Amateur Gunslinger, Cleaving Finish / Improved Cleaving Finish, Gunsmithing, Horse Master, Prone Shooter; Deft Shootist, Extra Grit, Leaping Shot, No Name, Richochet Shot Deed, Secret Stash Deed, Signature Deed.

Each character gets to "cheat death with consequences" once per level at the player's discretion. Inspired by the success of a similar rule being used in my Shattered Star campaign, this permits a PC to return from a messy demise post-combat. How severely messed up a PC is depends on how far past dead they wound up.

The Particulars of Cheating Death with Consequences:

d10+ (# hp past Con)
1-5 . . . . . . . . Minor Scar, interesting tale to tell
6-8 . . . . . . . . Moderate Scar, a cut on the face (1)
9-10. . . . . . . . Major Scar, severe facial laceration (2)
11-14 . . . . . . . Loss of a finger or toe (3)
15-16 . . . . . . . Impressive wound (4)
17. . . . . . . . . Lose an eye (5)
18. . . . . . . . . Lose a leg (6)
19. . . . . . . . . Lose a hand (7)
20+ . . . . . . . . Lose an arm (8)

  • (1) A moderate facial scar, granting a +1 bonus on Intimidate skill checks.
  • (2) A major scar, imposing a -1 penalty on Diplomacy skill checks except when interacting with NPCs that are disposed to be impressed by a collection of battle scars. Typically such NPCs are members of the criminal/violent elements of society such as Sczarni, thieves' guilds, pirates, mercenaries, Vikings and certain adventurers. With such groups the major scar instead grants a +1 bonus on Diplomacy checks.
  • (3) The loss of one or two fingers/toes, in game terms, is not a major hindrance. Every 3 lost fingers/toes is a -1 penalty to Dexterity.
  • (4) -1 Con penalty.
  • (5) -4 penalty on all vision-based Perception checks and when determining the DC necessary for a Feint to succeed against you; -2 penalty on all ranged attack rolls.
  • (6) Reduce climb, land and swim speeds by half; cannot charge nor run.
  • (7) Cannot use two-handed items and weapons, including loading projectile weapons that require two hands to do so (certain weapons can be pre-loaded prior to combat, such as hand crossbows, light crossbows and firearms); using many items will either take longer or also be impossible. Losing one hand or arm does not deny a spellcaster the ability to cast spells with Somatic components - losing two hands or arms (or an arm and a hand) does.
  • (8) -1 Strength; cannot use two-handed items and weapons.

Getting a new body (such as by reincarnate) or receiving a regenerate effect removes all missing appendages and scars. At higher levels, what was already missing remains missing as a general rule of thumb.

Because the campaign is only going to play one session a month, there is a vested interest in shaving off as much of the roleplaying gobbledegook as possible. The desire is to cram as much of the campaign into six sessions as humanly possible. I am hoping to be wrapping up Wake of the Watcher (Chapter 4) as of the October session. In an ideal scenario, we would wrap up the entire campaign in six months, but that strikes me as overwhelmingly optimistic.

As such, I requested that the players send me the pertinent particulars.

So far we have:

  • Tuco Benedicto Pacífico Juan María Ramírez aka "the Rat", male Dwarf Fighter, Charisma 5 K_GM PC #1
  • Bennie of the Hills, male Human Wizard, 8 Str, 8 Wis, 7 Cha K_GM PC #2, which was something that I said shouldn't happen unless they are short a player...
  • Skilus, male lizard man Oracle of Life Haru's PC
  • The Hobbit with No Name, male Hobbit Ninja "Burglar" who used the lion's share of his Rich Parents trait to begin play with a combat-trained riding dog le Artiste's PC
  • The Gnome with No Name, male Gnome Cavalier Agent J's PC

K_GM wrote up roughly 16 PCs for this campaign (at least in bullet point style).

There has been some entertaining e-mail roleplaying going on prior to the commencement of actual table-play. To quote a previous CJ post (by Macharious IIRC): "E-mail, where all the real role-playing takes place". This also serves as an excellent method by which to cut out the time-intensive investigative blather-all prior to commencing with messy character deaths .. er, beginning game play all proper-like.

The next posting will detail the e-mail-based roleplaying that has taken place thus far, edited to adhere to the board's PG-13 standards.


The time has come to chronicle the group's foolishness, mayhem and violence in our crack at the notorious Skull & Shackles AP. This is the same group that ran the CoT/KM "combo campaign".

The first session is slated to begin this Sunday the 17th of March. Sadly I have work that evening or we would be celebrating Saint Patty's Day properly with drink and bowls of corned beef stew.

My PC will be an amphibious lizard man (as presented in the ARG). One other player is going to be playing an orc scarred witch doctor. The rest of the slackers still don't know what they are playing just yet. The infamous Hexen Ineptus is optimistic that he can get a home-brew base class approved for play. Torsin at last word was toying with a barbarian angling for rage prophet. Missus Turin is completely at a loss at last word.

I will be amazed if one or more of us don't get themselves keelhauled when all is said and done...


Cast of Characters

  • Abba-Zaba CG male aasimar oracle of flames 1st, Alabaster Outcast #1;
  • Kit Kat ?G female human sorceress 1st, Alabaster Outcast #2;
  • Snickers CG male human two-handed fighter 1st, arena fighter guy;
  • Violet Crumble Neutral female gnome rogue 1st, Ex-Sczarni

Yes, the chuckleheads named their characters after candy bars.

House Rules:

  • Natural 20 automatically confirms a threatened critical hit barring extenuating circumstances that thwart critical hits
  • 2 bonus skill ranks per level in Craft, Heal, Knowledge, Perform, Profession or Sleight of Hand to explain how the character earns a living
  • 25 point buy; 20 point buy for the aasimar (the extra RPs come off the ability point buy)

1st Session

Being the character creation and 'getting to know each other' session for the players, we squeezed in the hook and sent the four PCs off to chase down leads in order to find the wayward N.Vencaskersin, take her stuff and optionally bring her in alive for some extra coin.

They go to the pesh junkie's fortune telling tent in the laundry and tailoring district of the city, Violet Crumble has to restrain herself not to sneak around the back, sap the man unconscious and take his stash of pesh. "I've never done pesh before, c'mooon, y'know you wanna..."

Once they pay the man his 15 gp, they go on their way to track down a rumor of Nidalese slavers operating on the sly out of an abandoned tavern in a run down section of the waterfront. They get in about 2 hours before midnight, scout the place out and prepare an ambush.

Violet Crumble situates herself in the rafters overhead. Snickers gets comfortable in the corner behind the front door. Abba-Zaba and Kit Kat crouch down behind the bar. And they wait.

Nearer to midnight Plutivarch Dremis approaches the tavern and notices the quiet rustling of three of the four PCs lurking inside of his tavern. He backs off a bit, pops off a mage armor, slides his wickedly curved dagger out of its sheath and downs a potion of invisibility. Plutivartch sneaks around the back - only Violet Crumble notices the chap sneaking into the tavern.

Violet blows her initiative check which lets Plutivarch zap Snickers and Abba-Zaba with his first color spray of the fight. Nappy nap time for Snickers!

The fight takes roughly 10 rounds, with the entire party chewing on their fingernails as only Snickers was not unconscious from the ensuing battery of color sprays. He needed a natural 14 to not get sent back to nappy-nap land again. Violet Crumble was a snoring crumpled heap on the tavern floor behind Plutovartch. Kit Kat was stretched out on the floor counting sheep. Abba-Zaba was 'resting his eyes'. Abba had managed to score a critical hit with his morning star (4 hp), Violet had skewered him with two sneak attacks from above, only to hate the man with a passion as he drank both a potion of cure moderate wounds and a potion of cure light wounds during the combat to keep standing before he plastered her with a color spray that kerplunked her face first into the floor.

Plutovartch fired five color sprays - exhausting his entire compliment of non cantrips - with his final attempt to subdue the PCs.

Snickers rolls a natural 17 on his Will save not to join the rest of the group in Nappy-Nap Land. Kit Kat was bemoaning the prospect of a TPK barely 2 hours into playing the campaign.

Needless to say, Snickers the Mighty - after fumbling his first attempt to take Plutovartch down - latched onto him like a pesh junky a day without a fix and throttled his sorry ass into Nappy-Nap Land.

Plutovartch was interrogated about the weekly abductions - the dummy promptly told them to ask the Watch, who were all too happy to fork over 100 gp for Plutovartch's nearly naked hide and tell them that the best lead they have ...

Would be learned at the beginning of the next session.

The PCs earned 600 xp in the 2 1/2 hours' meager game time actually played today. Stay tuned some time next month when the fearsome foursome once more do battle with [redacted].


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I will be utterly amazed if there are not bodies piled in windrows all over the place in this AP.
*
In anticipation of corpsicles galore, here's the standard format.
*
*

Name:
Race:
Classes/levels:
Adventure:
Location:
Catalyst:
The Gory Details: (optional)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

To put it simply, what would a 21st century Theodore Roosevelt be as a candidate for President of the United States?


It's pretty much coming as the New Yorkers can see here.

o7


1 person marked this as a favorite.

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn."

"In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming."

The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft

Get ready to board the crazy train ladies and gentlecritters. In these electronic pages over the coming months you will be regaled with tales of the trials, tribulations, hideous demises and sanity-shattering truths uncovered by this sorry band of investigative players through their hapless characters aboard the 1991 Call of Cthulhu 'mega-campaign' Horror on the Orient Express.

The preliminary investigations regarding matters of which Man Was Not Meant to Know is slated for 16th June 2012.

Investigators should number 4 or 5 per session, which are to occur once per calendar month. More often may strain the fragile minds of these players who, to the best of my knowledge, have never played "real" Call of Cthulhu.

I will be the humble Keeper relating the reports of these events to you the pulp-reading public.

Anyone taking bets on the SAN loss to accrue in the first session? :)

~squiggle~

Brother Faust


Just heard this on the radio.


The title says it all. :)


6 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 1 person marked this as a favorite.

[/QUOTE="FAQ regarding rays and counting as weapons"]

Ray: Do rays count as weapons for the purpose of spells and effects that affect weapons?

Yes.

For example, a bard's inspire courage says it affects "weapon damage rolls," which is worded that way so don't try to add the bonus to a spell like fireball. However, rays are treated as weapons, whether they're from spells, a monster ability, a class ability, or some other source, so the inspire courage bonus applies to ray attack rolls and ray damage rolls.

The same rule applies to weapon-like spells such as flame blade, mage's sword, and spiritual weapon--effects that affect weapons work on these spells.

—Sean K Reynolds, 07/29/11

Bold emphasis is mine.

Vital Strike (and its desecendant feats) have been excluded from working with weapon-like spells according to a different FAQ. The question is, does Vital Strike work with innate ray attacks such as the Jabberwock's eye rays?

Spoiler:
The described tactics in Kingmaker #6 indicates that it does. There is some debate that it should not. Killer GMs' need to know!


Why should the Adventure Paths get all the glory of corpses and tears?

Post your Pathfinder Modules Obituaries here!

<insert tombstone iconography here>

Name:
Race:
Classes/levels:
Adventure:
Location:
Catalyst:
The Gory Details: (optional)


I'm thinking there needs to be a thread for all the wacky, wonky and/or unusual or unanticipated armies that can be cobbled together with the Kingmaker Mass Combat rules.

Here's one I just put together to get things started:

Militia-Slaying Horde of Kittehs - CR 4

Gargantuan Army of 1,000 War-Trained Cats

hp: 12; DV 14; OM +4
Tactic: False Retreat

Speed: 3; Consumption 2; Morale +2
Special Ability: always treats opposing armies composed of NPC classed creatures as having been successfully ambushed.

Leader depends, although a(n) (Anti-)Paladin of Kittehs or a feline-obsessed Bard would be awfully appropriate. The more Charismatic, the better. :)

Preferred Strategy: executes false retreat on the ranged phase, taking advantage of their lack of ranged weapons. During the first melee phase, they shift either to an Aggressive strategy from Standard or immediately to a Reckless strategy depending upon their leader's capacity to rapidly signal the assault in combination with the false retreat.

  • Aggressive Strategy, first melee phase = total OM +12 (damage bonus +3), DV 18
  • Reckless Strategy, first melee phase = total OM +14 (damage bonus +6), DV 16

What other strangeness has any one else come up with?


I need my campaign setting, companion and modules subscriptions to be canceled due to my household's versions of "austerity measures" for the next several months.

If it is possible, could the items on my sidecart be added to my next shipment?

Regards,

Turin


For those who are unaware, but have Discovery Channel available to them, I recommend watching at 9 pm and 10 pm EST (or your equivalent time) tonight to send off Captain Phil Harris. At the young age of 53, he leaves an indelible impression on millions I hope.

A salute to Captain Phil! o7


Please cancel my Modules subscription. Carrion Hill was what I was waiting for! ^_^

Thanks very much,

Turin


Please cancel my Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Chronicles and Pathfinder Companion subscriptions.

Thanks for the wonderful products in these lines up to now!

Regards,

Turin the Mad


Characters are generated on the 25 point buy with 175 gp starting wealth, 1 campaign trait and 2 "regular" traits gratis. Any one who chooses to play a tiefling has to select the pertinent campaign trait from the CoT Player's Guide.

I believe we have:

  • A female half-elf Paladin
  • A female fighter heading Eldritch Knight
  • A (gender unknown, race unknown) Rogue heading Arcane Trickster
  • The fifth character remains unknown at this time.

More info as it comes up!


What started with this innocent post by Doombunny about six weeks ago:

So the Cult of the Cathuggers and the Temple of the Doglovers have finally brought their war to Golarion. I've seen it all before.

Our world will be torn asunder as thousands of 'Hang In There' posters start to adorn the walls of wizard towers everywhere and riding dogs suddenly find themselves wearing knitted sweaters into battle. Cat's Grace will be replaced by Doggie Dexterity in some parts of the land, while the heavens themselves shake as hound archons begin switching to Meow Mix.

Can anyone discover the secret behind these disturbances in time to save our home?

An adventure designed for four 1st-level characters.

Started taking on its own life, possibly to poor Sir Ineptus' discombobulation.

To witness this typed up in a semi-delerium (by me):

"A 3-chapter adventure path in the making.

"In the player's guide, the all-gnome party discovers that their frat siblings have gone missing. The only clue they find is a mysterious collar in the odd shape of a paw print amidst the rubble of what appears otherwise to be a 'start of the season' party gone tragically wrong.

"In Chapter 1 "Hairballs of Horror" our stumpy action heroes find that a sinister Cult of Clawthulhu is behind the almost-cover-up of the frat party massacre at Glassteel Lake. They four-legged feline cultists performed a dread ritual to stir the ire of the gnome-hating undead ranger from his unmarked grave at the bottom of the lake.

"Once they deal with the masked machete-wielding bedroll-grappling lake revenant, our traumatized heroes follow the catnip trail from the site of the ritual to the local catnip dealer. The trail leads from the addicted dealer of catnip to a sacred Cult temple complex in an ancient, enormous bath house ruin known as Hwarf'yeh. Yet a final clue leads them to ...

Chapter 2 "Doggies of Doom" the clue found at Hwarf'yeh directs our stumpy action heroes to tangle with the doggy minions of Al'poh, an obscure canine gawd of kitty slaughter and hedonistic doggy pleasures. Our heroes' last stand against the wrath of Al'poh is in a tree fort in a pitched battle with the local cult leader, a druidic avenger wolfhound that summons a seemingly inexhaustible horde of slavering gnome-devouring fanged critters in all his gory glory.

In Chapter 3 "Chimerae of Carnage" title changed to protect the innocent the very skies shake as the true horror of the agenda of the Cult of Clawthulhu is uncovered: merging all the canine and feline creatures of the Material Plane into new, subservient chimerae species. Will our heroes prevent the unspeakable horror as it spirals out of control, subverting hound archons, hellcats, dragonnes ... even a mighty gold dragon? Or will they become so much pet-kibble in the bowels of the Cult's hideout in dread New'weh?"

After which this exchange took place:

"Turin the Mad wrote:
Doombunny wrote:

No turning back. We are writing this mofo.

Writing what Doombunny?

Reign of Fur:

A 3-Part Pawfinder Adventure Trail"

Then we had:

"JoelF847 wrote:
Yasha0006 wrote:
You guys are bringing back memories! Hahaha!

Who can forget the great Minsc with his Int of 5?! I think his Wis was 7 or 8 as well. Talk about a memorable character!

So...when will the first Pawfinder adventure be coming out?

I'm sure Heathansson will be buying copies!

If ponies were included in the rules, I bet Sebastian would buy a copy also.

[me ==>]Ponies are in the rules, here and here. CR 1/2 eh? hmmmm ...."

Theeeen ...

"Turin the Mad wrote:
Back (kind of) on topic : who wants to see a "Pawfinder" again?

[Kassil ==>]For the lulz and the chance to prove to the world that reptile-kind can be just as mighty in this respect as any malodorous mammal, I will sign to this!"

And of course this just started the snowball of forumites made into antagonists to brutalize the gnome player characters:

"Turin the Mad wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:
Yasha0006 wrote:
You guys are bringing back memories! Hahaha!

Who can forget the great Minsc with his Int of 5?! I think his Wis was 7 or 8 as well. Talk about a memorable character!

So...when will the first Pawfinder adventure be coming out?

I'm sure Heathansson will be buying copies!

If ponies were included in the rules, I bet Sebastian would buy a copy also.

I wonder ... an awakened war pony with Expert levels should fit Sebastian nicely as a stat block.

just sayin'... ^_^

[Kassil ==>]I would now have to second that this needs to be written, with forumgoers around here getting cameos as characters. Cats, dogs, rabbits, lizards, ponies, you name it!"

And one of the more recent postings:

"Balor wrote:
Anyone else out there remember the sagas of Miarow Tomokato?

[me ==>]Very much so Balor - why do you think I'm having to refrain from naming one of the places Katzat-Dum? ^_^"

And yes, I have all five (or six?) books featuring the trusty Samurai Cat, a certain tabby known as Miowaro Tomokato. Although his nephew Shiro is the (little, furry) man!

And thusly starts the Official Pawfinder Thread. :)


Flumphs apparently are OGL - where I have no idea - whilst Axiomatics (formerly known as Mo*dron*s) are not. Out of respect for the request by Charles Evans 25 I've podded ... er, started up this thread to open the topic in a more appropo locale. ^_^

I'd go for re-naming the polyhedral universal menaces as Geometrons or something.

Just sayin'...


Is it possible to sticky a thread (perhaps non-reply) explaining that subscriptions can be suspended - and later reactivated - as opposed to cancelled please?

Thanks in advance!


Sho I've been in, around and almost entirely inebriated in the mediocre little town of Brininford for ... I don't really remember quite how long, but a while.

I get along with most of the locals I sh'pose, 'though I don't remember most of their names. Lately I've been working out of the Baron's Inn as a bouncer/cook/medic in the evening hours in trade for some coin, a lice-free bed and chow. My placard of Cayden Caileen, the Ultimate Drunken Hero and Patron Gawd of Real Adventurers, has its place of honor adjacent to the fancy chamber pot with the seat built over it.

Jusht got done making up 'Drunn's Special Brew' for the party held in celebration of the other local bunch of adventurer types besides mine, paying handsomely for a couple of weeks' work. Gave me something to do while the pointy-ears of my drinking club/adventuring party extricated themselves from an intense legal battle. Seems there was a pimp-lawyer involved, explaining why she was convicted of anything at all.

I mean really, what else are wererats good for besides gamey meat and a supply of accessories? Fireball practice of course! Mosht unfortunate about the whole burning down a block of the warehouse district thing by one of the pointy-ears.

Well, sure enough, I'm all decked out with properly glittering bling - four rings on each hand and the really shpiffy crystal-encrusted silver-silk headband covering my phylactery - when the baron's daughter shows up in his stead as the Big Kahuna of the party.

Naturally, as the night wore on the ladies made their way to my superior partying presence. A little trio of rather homely blonde midgets with a fondness for pink and a matching set of pocket-sized "tea cup Yorkshire terriers". The ladies are Bambi, Barbie and Becky. The little yapping pocket snacks are Itsy, Bitsy and Mitsy. They sure could hold their liquor for a midget - they each downed a full pint!

We were hitting off nicely and I was thinking about my extreme good fortune in hooking up with a set of identical triplets - perhaps my beergoggles were rather thicker than normal. I do confess to the 3 midgets being rather remarkably homely with shockingly bright blonde hair and a distressingly profound fondess for pink and lace. A pleasantly feminine counterpoint to the longish cast of face and rather yappish-voiced. And the eeriness of hearing all three speak more or less in unison, drinking about the same...

Anyhoo, I'm doing my thing while the chow gets spread around, much drink is quaffed, much chow is devoured and everyone celebrates the heroes-of-the-month. Ricket the "ninja" and Dawnflower are the pointy-ears, standing off to one side munching carrots, sniffing granola, sipping fancy smancy wine and probably itching to go hug a tree after a few hours in human 'n' midget company. The lawyer was no where to be found - I guess he was off counting his fees or something.

Once the party wraps up, we're hanging out after the vee-aye-pee's have gone off to sleep or something, scarfing down fried chicken wings and swigging decent lager with a half-dozen still-conscious commoners in the main room, when things got entertaining... er, adventuresome!

Next thing I know a quartet of malevolent little winged stinger-tailed party crashers have come out of the rafters and gleefully engaged in skewering several of the locals with those vicious little stingers of theirs. I made one of them blind with a particularly noxious belch - mixing roast boar, lager, tarts and ranch-slathered veggies generates a nasty breath - and proceeded to pummel mightily with the mighty tankard of the Great Drunken Hero always at my belt. The trio of midgets-n-yap dawgs made herselves useful, peppering the diminuitive foes with pretty rainbow spells and whelmings and what not. Dawnflower webbed the entire chamber during the tussle before dismissing it so proper keister-kicking could be administered. Ricket did his wierd "ninja" stuff - and both of the pointy-ears wound up administering stabbity-death to two of the party crashers with some silvered steak knives and a fork.

Sadly, two of the locals were butchered by the malevolent little flying-stinging turdlings, but at least we crushed three of the quartet before the fourth one fled the scene.

Once the watch arrived, took the particular details down and ushered us off to a well-deserved rest - oh yeah, and we picked up a local flake with a serious mad-on for fiends and the slimy critter-thingies that live beneath sunlight soil. I like his enthusiam though, and he appreciates a good ale and a platter of tater skins appropriately.

At far FAR too early the next morning - what moron gives a public speech to the masses and me at 9 A.M. ?! - I had to get up, drink some more of the dawg that bit me to get back into functioning form. Sadly, one of the homely midget triplets wasn't around, but at least she took her yap-dawg with her, so breaking fast was fairly pleasant. Ricket and Dawnflower tagged along to the pronouncement of His Lordship's latest brainfartings.

Aye wound up with a pair of pink-clad blonde homely midgets on my shoulders to get a good view of the pronouncements. Dawnflower for some reason saw fit to sport a badge proclaiming her allegiance to the Pelorite church. Bah! Sunlight and bashing undead - there's MUCH more to adventuring than bashing undead! Bashing down doors, bashing gnolls in the 'nads, good old-fashioned bar brawls, drinking contests, impromptu singing and wenching are far more fulfilling aspects of an adventurer's careers. And sunlight is a bit rough before it has begun its proper place in the western sky.

Well, sure as Hades, His Lordship had to announce some draconian edicts and introduced a ginormous winged fiend-gargoyle-thing as one of his mini-onions, along with a small horde of much larger bony-carapaced scorpion-tailed mini-onions and a pack of slavering dawgs of Heck, among others I'm quite certain are beyong my admittedly limited powers of perception. Something about crushing the temples of Heironeous and Pelor 'neath hobnailed feet, reporting to militia barracks for 'civic duty', blah blah blah.

Needless to say, Dawnflower's symbol o' Pelor drew undesirable attentions. We had to rumble with a pair of the dawggies from Heck and a handler. We barely, collectively stomped the two Heck dawgs into the ground in the back end of an alley. Never did figure out who the handler was. I was down to orisons by the end of that scrap, and lemme tell you, the dawgs can just royally rain on a good time with a single whiney howl. Dawnflower said it was a "crushing despair" or something - all I know is I had a hard time kicking proper kiester for a little while.

We wound up this exhilerating 24 hour period camped out in Malfoy's lead-lined basement-scry shelter. Malfoy's the fun local flake with a fondness for tater skins I mentioned earlier. Think the lawyer is still lost - or mebbe signed up with the malicious midgets for all I know, don't know yet. Maybe Malfoy stuffed him in a tater sack and stuffed him in a corner in the basement to stay warm and safe.


Rather than burden ONE core class with a highly destructible, very expensive and increasingly-encumbering power source, why not just stipulate that Wizard's learn spells permanently?

In short, while bards and sorcerors cast their spells spontaneously from a small list of known spells, Wizards prepare their spells from the list of spells that they master as they progress in their craft.

Mechanically, this changes nothing in the function of the class while removing a too-easily-abused restriction that no other character has to endure.

Thoughts?


A spell permitting neither saving throw nor spell resistance, requiring only a ranged touch attack - or, in this case, a command phrase is a bit of a problem.

The berries seem to be poorly worded, although I am presuming that has already been covered in the Errata / Typos stickied thread.


Instead of Invisibility granting fixed Stealth bonuses and See Invisibility granting automatic countering of that bonus, why not make it a simple caster-level-based bonus?

Invisibility: + (caster level) bonus to Stealth rolls when moving, doubled when not moving.

See Invisibility: + (caster level x2) to Perception checks to perceive creatures hidden at least in part by invisibility.

Glitterdust: Imposes a penalty equal to (caster level x4) on Stealth checks for the duration of the spell.

Faerie Fire: Similar to glitterdust.


Based on another thread, from the following conversation:

Galnörag wrote:

I'm pro resistance, and against evasion.

Uncanny dodge protects against burst Rogue damage, where as evasion protects against lower AOE damage. Frankly a barbarian should have the HP pool to soak burst damage, and in character he is in the heat of battle as fireballs explode around him, not ducking and dodging. But he is also such a skilled combatant that no one can sneak up on him and stab him in the back.

Turin the Mad wrote:

Eehh - skilled is not the word mentally associated with barbarians outside of the game for me. And how else does one explain denying a rogue flanking other than by dodging, ducking and weaving?

No, if anything, the fighter is the skilled combatant by default, perhaps alongside the monk as a combatant of actual skill. Barbarians normally are the "hit them hard, make them fall down" types.

Of course, the concept of a skilled barbarian-fighter is why I hatched out the 'mindset' idea to begin with. Why on earth a barbarian ever acquired uncanny dodge has never been satisifactorily explained - so far - in a way that convinces me that the fighter shouldn't be the one getting the ability instead.

If we want to go with barbarians as "soakers of massive damage", why not grant them multiple Toughness feats instead of the ducking and weaving? I frankly find uncanny dodge and especially improved uncanny dodge to be rather unbalanced class features. The only ways around it are to paralyze or hold the character (which a steady diet of can generate harsh feelings PDQ) - all else being equal, the barbarian is +2 or greater than a fighter is to resist either effect from rage alone - so the only moderately reliable bypass is to Feint in combat, eating at least a move action to get ONE sneak attack in during a round. Hrm ... sounds like another thread topic ...

So, instead of having barbarians bouncing about the battlefield like rabbits on narcotics, ducking and weaving from rogues that are not 4+ levels higher than they are, how about having barbarians be the damage sponges?

DR/- piling up in windrows is perhaps not the best answer - past 5 or 6 points or so, they utterly ignore lesser creatures (and quite a few secondary natural weapon attacks from many dragons!) with impunity. Instead of uncanny dodge, improved uncanny dodge and trap sense, how about multiple Toughness feats?

This would translate into additional Toughness feats at levels 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 12, 15 and 18 for a total of 8 Toughness feats at 18th level.

Ramifications: Total hp are presuming a reasonable 16 CON and averaged 6.5 hp per d12 HD. Rage is not factored in.

  • 2nd level: additional 5 hp to the base of 12 +(d12 =7) +(2x CON bonus), resulting in 30 total hp.
  • 3rd level: additional 12 hp plus normal total for 3d12 HD (=25) +(3x CON bonus =9), resulting in 46 total hp.
  • 5th level: total hp of 12 +(4d12 =26) +(5x CON bonus =15) +9 +15, resulting in 77 total hp.
  • 6th level: total hp of 12 +(5d12 =33) +(6x CON bonus =18) +12 +18, resulting in 93 total hp.
  • 9th level: total hp of 12 +(8d12 =52) +(9x CON bonus =27) +15 +45, resulting in 151 total hp.
  • 12th level: 12 +(11d12 =72) +(12x CON bonus =36) +18 +72, resulting in 210 total hp.
  • 15th level: 12 +(14d12 =91) +(15x CON bonus =45) +21 +105, resulting in 274 total hp.
  • 18th level: 12 +(17d12 =111) +(18x CON bonus =54) +24 +144, resulting in 345 total hp.

LOTS of hit points? Yep, sure is. Ignores rogues? not any more. Gets rid of a pretty much valueless class feature? Definitely.


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Greater Unarmed Strike (Combat)

Your unarmed strikes deal more damage than normal for a humanoid of your size.
Prerequisites: Improved Unarmed Strike
Benefit: Your unarmed strike damage die size increases by 1.
Special: Your unarmed strike damage die size further increases by 1 at 7th level and again at 13th level.


It has been rather well established that Trap Sense is the most disliked class feature in the game, as there are at least a half-dozen well thought out - and even more that are not - alternatives to this class feature than have been published over the past few years.

Here I condense the listings of the best two I have at hand, then present two extensions of the first one along with a re-vamp of the first one for consideration.

Cold Resistance (ex) As detailed in the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting, page 41: A barbarian with this class feature gains cold resistance 2. This improves by 2 for every 3 additional barbarian levels, for a total cold resistance 12 at 18th level. At 9th level this grants endure elements to cold temperatures and a +1 resistance bonus to cold attacks, effects and spells. At 15th level the resistance bonus improves to +2.

My extensions of this class feature:

Fire and Heat Resistance (ex) A Barbarian with this class feature gains fire resistance 2 at 3rd level. This improves by 2 for every 3 additional barbarian levels for a total fire resistance 12 at 18th level. At 9th level this grants endure elements to high temperatures and a +1 resistance bonus to fire attacks. At 15th level the resistance bonus improves to +2.

Thunder and Lightning Resistance (ex) A Barbarian with this class feature gains electricity and sonic resistance 1 at 3rd level. Both resistances improve by 1 for every 3 additional barbarian levels for total electricity and sonic resistances of 6 at 18th level. At 9th level this grants a +1 resistance bonus to electricity, sonic and sound-based attacks, effects and spells. At 15th level the resistance bonus improves to +2.

In case it is not clear: only one of the three may be selected as an alternative class feature for the barbarian at 3rd level.

Spell Sense Complete Mage, page 35 is the only alternative to trap sense I've come across for barbarians thusfar that is palatable besides the above option. Sadly it is not OGL material however.

As another alternative to Trap Sense:

Uncanny Reflexes At 3rd level a barbarian with this alternative class feature gains a +1 dodge bonus on Reflex saving throws that improves to +2 at 9th level, then to +3 at 15th level. This is another way of injecting Reflex as an intermediate saving throw for the barbarian.


The basic mechanism of rage and its improvements with further barbarian class levels as presented in Pathfinder Beta is excellent and easy to execute, as it is basically "on" or "off". While rage points seemed at a glance to be complicated, they at least served to shorten how long a barbarian remains in a rage with the expenditure of rage points not only to initiate and maintain the rage - with a cost that increased as the character hit 11th and 20th levels -, but also to unlimber the heavy barbarian artillery while within that state.

Sooner rather than later a barbarian could be reasonably expected to burn off all their rage points for the day. While the rest time afterwards seems to be a bit funky, with enough rage points burned through in a lengthly fight the barbarian would be quite debilitated.

The one criticism I have of the recovery of rage points is that it does not dovetail in with the recuperation of any casters' spells nor the monk's ki pool. Only the barbarian gets a full "refill" with 8 non-consecutive hours' rest ? That is inconsistent with everything else in the game.

With the revised rage powers presented here, however, the barbarian gets to rage for FAR longer, in and of itself an inherent problem. While the duration is more predictable (total # of rounds per day rather than by consumption of
rage points), the rapid recuperation of rage completely outstrips all the other class' recuperative abilities.

The rage abilities in and of themselves come fast and furious, on par with a rogue's talents rate of acquisition, both starting at 2nd level and accumulating every 2 levels afterwards. I would recommend a similar structuring of "rage powers" (those available before 12th level) and "greater rage powers" (those available after acquiring greater rage). It is worth noting that while most of a rogue's "good stuff" does not come into play until 10th level, only
two of a barbarian's rage powers are unavailable until 12th level.

In order of availability rage powers are structured as follows (listed alphabetically by minimum barbarian level to select):

2nd level: Animal Fury, Guarded Stance, Intimidating Glare, Knockback, Low-light Vision, Moment of clarity, Night Vision for those who do not have low-light vision as a racial ability, this instead becomes a 4th level or higher rage power, Powerful Blow, Quick Reflexes, Rolling Dodge, Roused Anger, Strength Surge, Surprising Accuracy and Swift Foot.

4th level: Night Vision but only if your character's race does not already have low-light vision. If a half-orc, obviously two rage powers mean nothing to you, Renewed Vigor. Renewed Vigor seems pretty weak, especially for something usable only once a day. 5d8 +CON modifier at 20th level ? Meh.

8th level: Clear Mind, Increased Damage Reduction, Terrifying Howl and Unexpected Strike.

12th level: Elemental Rage and Mighty Swing.

Total of 21 rage powers, although if one's barbarian is a half-orc or a dwarf, there are only 19 rage powers, as you ignore the Low-Light vision and Nightvision powers. For elves, gnomes and half-elves there are only 20. Over the course of levels 2 through 20, a barbarian garners a hodg-podge of 10 powers, most of which consume the character's swift action for the round.

I've also noticed an interesting suggestion by several others - to structure rage powers in "trees" or "themes", which makes either more sense or at least an interesting mental exercise. Examining the rage powers, one notes several 'themes' amongst the abilities. Perhaps instead they are combined into a "raging mindset" that is learned at 2nd level that carries the chracter on through the rest of their career, albiet at the expense of any immediate and swift actions whilst raging. Two example mindsets follow for perusal.

Barbarian-Fighter Mindset: In alphabetical order this is embodied in the Guarded Stance, Moment of Clarity, Quick Reflexes, Rolling Dodge, Surprising Accuracy, Unexpected Strike and Mighty Swing rage powers. This mindset represents a warrior who fights with precision and skill while swimming in a red haze of rage.

* At 2nd level a barbarian-fighter mindset garners the character a +1 dodge bonus to AC against melee attacks while raging.At barbarian levels 6, 10, 14 and 18 this bonus improves by another +1 to a maximum of +5 at 18th level.

* At 4th level a barbarian-fighter mindset improves the 2nd level dodge bonus to AC to cover both melee and ranged attacks while raging. Note that this is a dodge bonus, so it is not a perfect counterbalance to the generalized penalty to AC a barbarian suffers while raging.

* At 6th level a barbarian-fighter mindset garners the character a +1 morale bonus on the first melee attack roll they make in a given round of combat. This improves to a +2 bonus at 12th level and a +3 bonus at 18th level.

* At 8th level a barbarian-fighter mindset garners the character an increase in the number of attacks of opportunity they are able to make by one.

*At 10th level a barbarian-fighter mindset garners the Unexpected Strike rage power as it is written, save that using it counts as 2 of the character's attacks of opportunity.

*At 12th level a barbarian-fighter mindset garners the Mighty Swing rage power as it is written, save that it is explicitly limited to one use per round during the character's turn.

*At 15th level a barbarian-fighter mindset garners the ability to exercise the benefits and drawbacks of the Moment of Clarity rage power as it is written, save that it is a free action to use for that particular round.

A Barbarian-Fighter Mindset requires at least a modicum of functioning intellect, becoming unavailable to the character if at any time they have an INT or WIS score reduced to 5 or less. This mindset cannot be learned by a barbarian with either ability score below 6.

Rampaging Fury Mindset: In alphabetical order this is embodied in the Increased Damage Reduction, Knockback, Powerful Blow, Roused Anger and Strength Surge rage powers. This mindset represents a warrior who seeks solely to crush his enemies and see them driven before him at all costs.

*At 2nd level a rampaging fury mindset masters the first element of this mindset, garnering a +1 bonus on the damage roll for the first attack the character makes in a given round. This improves to a +2 bonus at 8th level, a +3 bonus at 14th level and a +4 bonus at 20th level.

*At 4th level a rampaging fury minsdet the character can make one free bull rush attempt in combination with their first attack in a given round. If successful the barbarian does not have to move back with the target, even if that target is knocked back more than 5'.

*At 6th level a rampaging fury mindset gains DR 1/- while raging.This improves to 2/- at 12th level and again to 3/- at 18th level. This stacks with the damage reduction all barbarians develop as they gain levels in the class.

*At 8th level a rampaging fury mindset can, as a free action once per minute, add his barbarian level as a Strength bonus on one Strength check or bull rush check.

*At 15th level a rampaging fury mindset can enter a rage even if fatigued or exhausted. If he enters a rage while fatigued, he is exhausted for an hour after this rage ends, as is normal for the exhuasted condition. If he enters a rage while exhausted, the character collapses unconscious and helpless for an hour after this rage ends then wakes in an exhausted condition.

A Rampaging Fury Mindset requires at least a modicum of a force of personality, becoming unavailable to the character if at any time their CHA score is reduced to 5 or less. This mindset cannot be learned by a barbarian with a Charisma score below 6.


Overall the PF Beta rules set is superior to the vanilla 3.5 rules set.

Core Concepts

The variety of character creation options is excellent - although our group found that the 'point buy' systems frankly inhales eggs, even at the highest end write-up. We'll stick with good old-fashioned die rolling - if we want 'point buy', we'll play a different game system that is actually designed for it.

The 6 hit point "kicker" at 1st level is not a game-breaker, unlike the other alternatives. If any of the options are to be considered for integration into the "core" Pathfinder rules set, playtesting showed my group that the 6 hp option was a solidly palatable option. NPCs
with "PC" class levels should also receive this benefit.

I have heard rumors that introducing three tiers of base saving throws is under consideration, similar to the base attack tiers. If this is true, I would strongly recommend this mechanic, as the two-tier effects have demonstrably proven to be too predictable after the past several years' of vanilla 3.5 play.

The revised skills system is overall very acceptable. The DCs for various checks - the fixed DC for wands as an example - may well warrant revisiting.

The recommended gear allowances deliniated in PF Beta are substantially greater than in vanilla 3.5 - and frankly are rather unnecessary save a publication of rules requirement. Combined with the overall greater "oomf" of Pathfinder characters, this is proving to be a flawed concept in need of redress. I am of the opinion that the gear dependancy factored into vanilla 3.5 could be redressed and removed or at least greatly ameliorated with the Pathfinder rules set.

Spellcasting saving throw DCs could be simplified: 10 + 1/2 Caster Level (round up) + pertinent ability score modifier, across the board, rather than being spell-level based. This would make a high-level spellcaster closer to what they should be: feared, without gear dependancies.

Character Classes

Bards frankly are best used as Cohorts, while Monks are best suited to duty as trap-triggerers and critter bait, based on admittedly rather limited play test. The other core classes are, to varying degrees, far more palatable as a player character.

Barbarians should be rescinded to using the Rage Point mechanism or something similar - the 'revised' system in play is far out of line with the Alpha system, making Bubbas rather overwhelmingly favorable as the front-line melee character of choice compared to the Fighter.

Clerics and Druids are fine as-is - although the Animal Companion is subject to abuse by a wild-shaping druid (earth or air elemental form) with Mounted Combat-based feats and a buffed-HD rhinocerous or worse... Were these classes to attain some of the Heirophant abilities - or have access to equivelants of them via higher-CL feats - that would be the icing on the cake.

Fighters need some fine-tuning, but not much. Make Reflex an "average" base saving throw and add Perception to their class skills list and you have an excellent character.

Rogues as written are fine.

Rangers need editing and a bit of tweaking - the animal compaanion and spell-casting abilities can in my opinion go away in trade for reworking their combat style, favored enemy and wilderness abilities. At (Ranger level -3), the animal companion and especially spell-casting caster level would be the minimum revisions alongside a serious overhaul of their combat style feats list and awarding staging of same.

Paladins do not need too much - swap out the horse/mount altogether and tweak the divine bond weapon a bit, make the class more 'universal' against Evil in general and ramp their caster level to (Paladin level -3) should be plenty. An alternative to spell-casting would be most welcome as well.

Sorcerors, along with Wizards, suffer the most short of the Bard and Monk.

Sorcerors could be self-contained with analogies to the Dragon Disciple within their bloodline of choice, gaining a second Good saving throw and improved HD size or the like depending upon the bloodline. The first level ability is suggested to contain two options - one a "status" effect (penalty to this or that and the like) as well as a minor at-will damage effect. The combination should prove to bring them more on-par with the divine casters. I would recommend that each bloodline have a 'favored energy type' or the like with which sorcerors of a particular bloodline yield additional damage per die.

Wizards need the most work (asides from Bard and Monk). Possibilities are endless, although I will presently presume the 'standard' take on Wizards as the bookworms of the arcane casters.

1. Grant them an ability similar to the Bards' - say, Wizards rack up ranks in Knowledge skills as a class ability rather than siphoning off their few skill points. I have come to disagree that the Wizard character is obligated to sink their INT skill ranks into skills that benefit the entire party "because they can" or "should". Wizards could learn the Item Creation and Metamagic feats as another class feature. When they hit the proper caster level 3rd, 5th, 9th and 12th, they can choose an item creation feat. When they hit a new spell-casting level 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc, they can choose a Metamagic feat that their highest-accessible spell level supports. Given that they are schooled spellcasters, their INT and WIS modifiers (or INT and CHA, or choice at character creation of INT plus either WIS or CHA modifiers) could stack for purposes of determining their spells' saving throw DCs.

2. Specialists could gain a Good or Average saving throw based on their school - examples: Abjuration specialists could gain all three saves as Good saves. (Given how overall wuss their school is on offense, this could go a lot further...) Necromancers could gain an Average or Good Fortitude saving throw progression. Evokers could gain an Average or Good Reflex saving throw progression, perhaps gaining Evasion at later Wizard levels. And so on.

3. Generalist Wizards could garner abilities formerly belonging to the Archmage prestige class as they attain higher class levels. The "Hand of the Apprentice" should benefit from the clerics' base attack progression, thus bringing it on parity with any Cleric with the Magic domain's 1st level ability. Alternatively, the Magic Domain's version of this ability should share the Wizard's lower base attack progression.

4. The 'bonus' spells for Wizards needs to be treated the same way as the Sorcerors' bloodlines - lumped into the class description rather than shoehorned into the back of the book. I didn't even see it until one of my players pointed it out.

5. While a nice touch, Wizards' ability to 'refresh' at the shortest rest interval in actual play amounted to naught but wasted ability.

6. The requirement to scribe the spellbook et al simply should be discarded - no other core class has such a burdensome requirement to be in play. As long as the GM doesn't go nuts in permitting a Wizard to fill out their known spells roster at mid+ spell levels written into the rules if necessary, this should not be a significant problem.


My profuse thanks to Sir pontoark for the suggestion to re-post my original ginormous posting into 3 smaller chunks. Thanks!

Rogues

Jason Bulmahn specifically directed his line of inquiry at the Rogue's 'Talents', specifically: "Are there enough? Are any of them too good? Are any of them underpowered? Are there any thematic areas that the tricks should cover?"

1. "Are there enough?"

There are 14 Rogue Talents and 8 Advanced Rogue Talents, which is quite a few (22 total) to hit the ground running with. That is a decent number to start off the Pathfinder RPG, although...

2. "Are any of them too good?"

'Slow Reactions' is probably too good - especially with a Rogue that can really Feint. This one Talent can completely remove Attacks of Opportunity from one foe completely - and against a solitary foe, said foe is total dogfood unless the Rogue is unable to reliably inflict damage. A rather improbable situation in Pathfinder Beta...

The other one that I would suggest meets this criteria is the 'Dispelling Strike' Advanced Talent.

3. "Are any of them underpowered?"

'Rogue Crawl' and 'Stand Up' are vastly underpowered by comparison to the rest, offering little as compared to all the other Talents.

4. "Are there any thematic areas that the tricks should cover?"

This really depends upon the thematic elements one is expecting to be so covered. I do not believe that a Rogue should be dispelling with a sneak attack. A better replacement for this would be along the lines of a "channelled offensive spell" or something, although I am of the opinion that 'Dispelling Attack' can be gotten rid of altogether.

Skill Tricks (especially Advanced) could also touch upon or enable 'variations' in conjunction with cashiering the Trap Sense class feature, improving upon 'rogue-ish' combat feats (Dodge and Improved Feint come readily to mind) or getting positively "Ebil" with thrown splash weapons.


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My profuse thanks to Sir pontoark for the suggestion to re-post my original ginormous posting into 3 smaller chunks. Thanks!

Monks The queries from Jason Bulmahn were (roughly) as follows:

(A) Are they effective combatants - if not, how can they be improved?

* Monks are moderately effective combatants, primarily due to having better CMB than others of equivelant or lesser BAB.

However, to really make the most of this in a meaningful fashion at higher level play where BIG beasties await, I would recommend (a) adding an additional bonus to the Maneuver Training class feature. Say, starting at 3rd level and improving by +1 per 3 additional Monk levels until 18th level, a Monk gains an insight bonus when calculating his CMB; (b) awarding monks full proficiency with all simple and martial weapons in addition to the exotic weapons for monks; (c) awarding monks when using Monk weapons their unarmed damage bonus as a replacement for the base damage of the weapon - if/when the former is higher than the latter; and (d) awarding monks as additional class features the benefits of Agile Maneuvers, Defensive Combat Training and Weapon Finesse feats.

(B) Do the monk's ki abilities fit with the flavor of the class?

* It strikes me - and always has - that 3e monks are 'always lawful'. Being as how it seems that monks are (very loosely) based upon martial arts masters, I would propose that monks can be of any non-chaotic alignment. The Ki Strike abilities could be themed along the lines of lawful / good / evil rather than merely lawful. I do believe that monks as written will not measure up to the amount of time a Barbarian of comparable level can spend in a Rage (all else being equal). The Wholeness of Body ability seems especially in need of being improved in capability - say, along the lines of a paladin's Lay on Hands - as it is strictly a personal/self-only ability.

(C) Are there any themes that are missing from this ability? I presume this references Ki ability itself.

*I actually do not understand the rational behind a monk's gaining of certain class abilities, specifically Abundant Step, Diamond Soul, Tongue of the Sun and Moon and Empty Body. I can see them belonging to a monk-based Prestige Class. These abilities if none other can and should readily be exchangable for other abilities more befitting a martial arts master. These also present - along with Quivering Palm and Diamond Body - a body of abilities that can be exchanged either within the core class or within the frame work of any number of prestige classes.

Thematic elements that are missing from the nominally classic 'monk' presented include such concepts as:
* applying Slow Fall without requiring a difficult-to-adjudicate distance to "within arm's reach of a wall".

* massive, short term boosts of strength, a true "Power Blow" as it does not lack in accuracy - say, based on being done as a Full Attack, combining the benefits of the Vital Strike feats with using the Wisdom modifier as the govorning ability score.

* blows smashing through objects (ignoring hardness), such as breaking boards, cinderblocks, etc. A "Breaking Blow".

* "ninja" type stealth such as 'walking on rice paper', the Ranger's 'Hide in Plain Sight' class feature; "ninja" or "lin kuei" are classically known for disguises, impersonation, use of traps and poisons as well, even up to the point of the rogue's Trapfinding class ability.

* hypnosis effects, i.e.: 'clouding men's minds'.

* healing powers (sometimes via internal energy channeled into the recipient, other times via external 'chi' energy channeled into the recipient); a good analogy would be the Paladin's 'Lay on Hands' ability.

* projection of Ki or Chi in various means; examples would include such things as direct "ranged unarmed strikes" to as complex as a blending of Telekinesis with the top-shelf abilities from Master of the Unseen Hand. Other examples of this include 'remote' wielding of melee weapons (typically big nasty ones).

* energy effects channelled through unarmed strikes and monk weapons, classically cold, electricity, fire and sonic (thunder) energy types.

* deflecting or avoidance of blows at the last moment (along the lines of a Moment of Prescience).

* shape changing along the lines of druidic Wild Shape or even full-on Shapechange.

These but scratch the surface of suitable Ki Powers - much, much more can be gleaned readily.


My profuse thanks to Sir pontoark for the suggestion to re-post my original ginormous posting into 3 smaller chunks. Thanks!

Interestingly, the Bardic Music abilities have their "mind-affecting" qualifiers buried in each seperate ability's text. Perhaps this can be simplified in some way? Also, as has already been noted, why effectively require a character to 'burn' at least a third of their base skill allotment (2 out of 6) to function?

Bards I would note are excellent candidates as Cohorts as opposed to "primary" characters for smaller groups. As a general 'rule of thumb', imo.

The Fascinate ability I can see uses for if one's chums are not too quick on the draw to make chum out of, say, guards that need distracting, for example.

Inspire Courage is interesting: it combines elements of Bless with other 'buff' spells. The downside of course is if/when the Bard gets gutted and has to make the Spellcraft check to maintain concentration. Note that "gutted" is not "fragged"... It is not in and of itself particularly formidable - but it certainly outstrips most other morale bonus spells. Sadly, it is beaten or equalled by Greater Heroism in all aspects save for the weapon damage bonus until the Bard achieves 20th level. In and of itself, the weapon damage bonus makes this a worthwhile ability.

Inspire Competence I can see being of use now and then, although some of the circumstances that it would prove of the greatest benefit will largely render them ineffective due to line of sight/being able to hear and similar qualities from such things as inclement weather et al. That having been said, mayhap it could be that Bardic Music is compatible with "verbalized" performances by way of such spells as Telepathic Bond or by way of certain creatures' telepathic abilities? I will refrain from the obvious comment about the mentioned spell in question.

Suggestion Stands as is, working 'hand in hand' as it were with the above Fascinate ability.

Dirge of Doom is missing its requisite typing information: Sonic or Language-Dependant, Mind-affecting, Fear effect. PFRPG Beta, pages 18-19.

Discordant Performance is a risky proposition, having a third of the range of the Fascinate ability. Interesting as to the Perform skills it is attached to.

Inspire Greatness is nice and effective.

Song of Freedom is named interestingly, as the ability itself strikes me as along the lines of a "the funny guy in the squad always tells us these jokes and cracks the rest of us up" kind of thing. I do like it though. :)

Frightening Tune is ... interesting, although I am wary of such close range effects, I can see the rationale behind it. An interesting ability given the character MIGHT have had access to the Fear spell since as early as 10th level.

Paralyzing Show seems to be erroneously identified as requiring that the victim be able to see the Bard while listing Perform types that are mostly auditory in nature (act is at least half; comedy and oratory are pretty much by definition and consistency with earlier abilities).

Inspire Heroics rather nice as with Inspire Greatness. Perhaps the two abilities should be combined at 18th level?

Mass Suggestion can have its uses, as combined with the above Fascinate ability.

Deadly Performance is missing its effects typing: Mind-affecting, Death Effect, Language-Dependant or Sonic at the minimum. Yes, it is supernatural, but it remains a Bardic Music ability.

It is interesting to note that of the 16 Bardic Music abilities, 8 of them can be used with any; 4 can be used with one grouping and 4 can be used with a completely different grouping. I think this is hamstringing the class unnecessarily, 'though the logic is clear enough.


Bardic Music

Interestingly, the Bardic Music abilities have their "mind-affecting" qualifiers buried in each seperate ability's text. Perhaps this can be simplified in some way? Also, as has already been noted, why effectively require a character to 'burn' at least a third of their base skill allotment (2 out of 6) to function?

Bards I would note are excellent candidates as Cohorts as opposed to "primary" characters for smaller groups. As a general 'rule of thumb', imo.

The Fascinate ability I can see uses for if one's chums are not too quick on the draw to make chum out of, say, guards that need distracting, for example.

Inspire Courage is interesting: it combines elements of Bless with other 'buff' spells. The downside of course is if/when the Bard gets gutted and has to make the Spellcraft check to maintain concentration. Note that "gutted" is not "fragged"... It is not in and of itself particularly formidable - but it certainly outstrips most other morale bonus spells. Sadly, it is beaten or equalled by Greater Heroism in all aspects save for the weapon damage bonus until the Bard achieves 20th level. In and of itself, the weapon damage bonus makes this a worthwhile ability.

Inspire Competence I can see being of use now and then, although some of the circumstances that it would prove of the greatest benefit will largely render them ineffective due to line of sight/being able to hear and similar qualities from such things as inclement weather et al. That having been said, mayhap it could be that Bardic Music is compatible with "verbalized" performances by way of such spells as Telepathic Bond or by way of certain creatures' telepathic abilities? I will refrain from the obvious comment about the mentioned spell in question.

Suggestion Stands as is, working 'hand in hand' as it were with the above Fascinate ability.

Dirge of Doom is missing its requisite typing information: Sonic or Language-Dependant, Mind-affecting, Fear effect. PFRPG Beta, pages 18-19.

Discordant Performance is a risky proposition, having a third of the range of the Fascinate ability. Interesting as to the Perform skills it is attached to.

Inspire Greatness is nice and effective.

Song of Freedom is named interestingly, as the ability itself strikes me as along the lines of a "the funny guy in the squad always tells us these jokes and cracks the rest of us up" kind of thing. I do like it though. :)

Frightening Tune is ... interesting, although I am wary of such close range effects, I can see the rationale behind it. An interesting ability given the character MIGHT have had access to the Fear spell since as early as 10th level.

Paralyzing Show seems to be erroneously identified as requiring that the victim be able to see the Bard while listing Perform types that are mostly auditory in nature (act is at least half; comedy and oratory are pretty much by definition and consistency with earlier abilities).

Inspire Heroics rather nice as with Inspire Greatness. Perhaps the two abilities should be combined at 18th level?

Mass Suggestion can have its uses, as combined with the above Fascinate ability.

Deadly Performance is missing its effects typing: Mind-affecting, Death Effect, Language-Dependant or Sonic at the minimum. Yes, it is supernatural, but it remains a Bardic Music ability.

It is interesting to note that of the 16 Bardic Music abilities, 8 of them can be used with any; 4 can be used with one grouping and 4 can be used with a completely different grouping. I think this is hamstringing the class unnecessarily, 'though the logic is clear enough.

Monks The queries from Jason Bulmahn were (roughly) as follows:

(A) Are they effective combatants - if not, how can they be improved?
* Monks are moderately effective combatants, primarily due to having better CMB than others of equivelant or lesser BAB. However, to really make the most of this in a meaningful fashion at higher level play where BIG beasties await, I would recommend (a) adding an additional bonus to the Maneuver Training class feature. Say, starting at 3rd level and improving by +1 per 3 additional Monk levels until 18th level, a Monk gains an insight bonus when calculating his CMB; (b) awarding monks full proficiency with all simple and martial weapons in addition to the exotic weapons for monks; (c) awarding monks when using Monk weapons their unarmed damage bonus as a replacement for the base damage of the weapon - if/when the former is higher than the latter; and (d) awarding monks as additional class features the benefits of Agile Maneuvers, Defensive Combat Training and Weapon Finesse feats.

(B) Do the monk's ki abilities fit with the flavor of the class?
* It strikes me - and always has - that 3e monks are 'always lawful'. Being as how it seems that monks are (very loosely) based upon martial arts masters, I would propose that monks can be of any non-chaotic alignment. The Ki Strike abilities could be themed along the lines of lawful / good / evil rather than merely lawful. I do believe that monks as written will not measure up to the amount of time a Barbarian of comparable level can spend in a Rage (all else being equal). The Wholeness of Body ability seems especially in need of being improved in capability - say, along the lines of a paladin's Lay on Hands - as it is strictly a personal/self-only ability.

(C) Are there any themes that are missing from this ability? I presume this references Ki ability itself.

*I actually do not understand the rational behind a monk's gaining of certain class abilities, specifically Abundant Step, Diamond Soul, Tongue of the Sun and Moon and Empty Body. I can see them belonging to a monk-based Prestige Class. These abilities if none other can and should readily be exchangable for other abilities more befitting a martial arts master. These also present - along with Quivering Palm and Diamond Body - a body of abilities that can be exchanged either within the core class or within the frame work of any number of prestige classes.

Thematic elements that are missing from the nominally classic 'monk' presented include such concepts as:
* applying Slow Fall without requiring a difficult-to-adjudicate distance to "within arm's reach of a wall".
* massive, short term boosts of strength, a true "Power Blow" as it does not lack in accuracy - say, based on being done as a Full Attack, combining the benefits of the Vital Strike feats with using the Wisdom modifier as the govorning ability score.
* blows smashing through objects (ignoring hardness), such as breaking boards, cinderblocks, etc. A "Breaking Blow".
* "ninja" type stealth such as 'walking on rice paper', the Ranger's 'Hide in Plain Sight' class feature; "ninja" or "lin kuei" are classically known for disguises, impersonation, use of traps and poisons as well, even up to the point of the rogue's Trapfinding class ability.
* hypnosis effects, i.e.: 'clouding men's minds'.
* healing powers (sometimes via internal energy channeled into the recipient, other times via external 'chi' energy channeled into the recipient); a good analogy would be the Paladin's 'Lay on Hands' ability.
* projection of Ki or Chi in various means; examples would include such things as direct "ranged unarmed strikes" to as complex as a blending of Telekinesis with the top-shelf abilities from Master of the Unseen Hand. Other examples of this include 'remote' wielding of melee weapons (typically big nasty ones).
* energy effects channelled through unarmed strikes and monk weapons, classically cold, electricity, fire and sonic (thunder) energy types.
* deflecting or avoidance of blows at the last moment (along the lines of a Moment of Prescience).
* shape changing along the lines of druidic Wild Shape or even full-on Shapechange.
* These but scratch the surface of suitable Ki Powers - much, much more can be gleaned readily.

Rogues Jason Bulmahn specifically directed his line of inquiry at the Rogue's 'Talents', specifically: "Are there enough? Are any of them too good? Are any of them underpowered? Are there any thematic areas that the tricks should cover?"

1. "Are there enough?" There are 14 Rogue Talents and 8 Advanced Rogue Talents, which is quite a few (22 total) to hit the ground running with. That is a decent number to start off the Pathfinder RPG, although...

2. "Are any of them too good?" 'Slow Reactions' is probably too good - especially with a Rogue that can really Feint. 'Major Magic' - due to being able to select 'True Strike' - can be argued as too good. The big restraint on this is the restriction that a given talent can only be selected once, which keeps the Combat Trick and Weapon Training talents in check from heavy abuse. Bleeding Attack strikes me as being "too good to pass up", as it adds 'gravy' (DOT) damage on top of the mauling inflicted by the sneak attack itself without reducing the sneak attack's damage output.

3. "Are any of them underpowered?" 'Rogue Crawl' and 'Stand Up' are vastly underpowered by comparison to the rest.

4. "Are there any thematic areas that the tricks should cover?" This really depends upon the thematic elements one is expecting to be so covered. I do not believe that a Rogue should be dispelling with a sneak attack. A better replacement for this would be along the lines of a "channelled offensive spell" or something, although I am of the opinion that 'Dispelling Attack' can be gotten rid of altogether.

Skill Tricks (especially Advanced) could also touch upon or enable 'variations' in conjunction with cashiering the Trap Sense class feature, improving upon 'rogue-ish' combat feats (Dodge and Improved Feint come readily to mind) or getting positively "Ebil" with thrown splash weapons.


As Jason Bulmahn has indicated a narrow remaining window of time in which he will be paying attention to these 3 core classes, now's my chance, mwahhahhah!

The Cleric became the baseline of comparison to which all other spellcasters are measured in 3e, which remains true in the Pathfinder Beta rules set.

'Average' attack progression, two good saves, solid hit points, no worries about somantic spell failure, basic weapons proficiency (plus their Gawds' weapon of choice if it isn't already a simple one), heavy body armor and shields proficiency and full spellcasting prowess add up to a formidable character.

Add in Channelled Energy and Domain Powers, things get ugly.

Channelled Energy in and of itself is not an overpowering ability, so far from my limited playtest it has not been a "deal breaker".

Domain Abilities now, are another matter. The whole "listed spells" part appears to be erroneous (page 22), as there are none in the Pathfinder Beta hardcopy I'm perusing. However, a cleric gets TWO domains, each granting abilities of varying significance at levels 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20th totaling a whopping 14 abilities at 20th level!

I do believe that the Domains' abilities will quickly shed light on ones that become more heavily played than others, generally due to combat effectiveness. In particular the Magic Domain's Hand of the Acolyte is effectively the same as the generalist Wizard's Hand of the Apprentice, which rather rubs that in the poor Wizard's face given the Cleric's better BAB and presumably comparable primary ability modifiers.

By comparison to the Wizard's paltry 4 abilities from their one school at 20th level, this clearly needs to be corrected. By comparison to said Wizard's smaller attack bonus, smaller HD, ONE good saving throw, utter lack of armor/shield/weapon proficiencies and nominal concerns about somatic spell failures ... why bother playing a Wizard again ?

The Sorceror does not fair much better, gaining 5 abilities and 3 bonus feats at 20th level, only a hair better than half of the bonus abilities a Cleric gains at virtually the same expense in AB, HD, saves and ability.

As things presently stand, the Cleric remains the King of the Mountain of spellcasters. Arcane casters are expendable artillery by comparison.

The Druid is an odd class, always has been. 4 skill points beats the mere 2 points clerics get and they retain almost as much durability in terms of hit points, saving throw bonuses, body armor, shields and weaponry. They do not acquire the cleric's ability to use the heaviest armor, but Wild Shape renders that rather moot it would seem at a casual glance.

The Druid has better offensive output in general spellcasting than the Cleric does, but suffers in the curatives department in compensation.

All in all, the Druid core class in my estimate is fine as it stands compared the other core classes.

The Paladin, especially as revised by another post by Jason Bulmahn, is particularly effective against the classes' chosen foes. Based on the other posts I've seen, I do believe the Paladin will achieve a very desirable playability in due course.

As a bit of an experiment, I do want to examine the long-standing debate about a Paladin's melee prowess as compared to the Barbarian, Fighter and Ranger.

Lenny the 16th level Paladin, champion of Gawd, Smiter of Ebil, yadda yadda. Just like his Fighter brother, he's Human. Since STR and CHA are all that matter for a Paladin's offensive capability, we'll presume the pattern I've seen at the table for Paladins and assign Lenny's best two ability scores to them: STR 18 and after the Human ability score bonus a CHA of 18 as well. Thanks to level advancement and magic items, Lenny the Paladin has remembered he's the "Meat Shield of Gawd", adding 4 points of level advancement to his STR bringing it to just shy of the Fighter's at a score of 28 after a +6 STR item. He's also packing (at 16th level, he better be) a +6 CHA item, resulting in a CHA score of 24.

STR 28 (+9) and CHA 24 (+7) - not shabby at all. Same combat buff spells as before, tacking on a +6 attack bonus, +1 weapon damage bonus and an extra attack on a full attack action for Lenny. Base Attack of +16 and a +4 Greatsword sets Lenny up nicely. (Baseline Attack sequence of 16 base +4 enhancement +9 STR +6 buff spells +35/+30/+25/+20/+35.)

As a side note, at 16th level with Good Fortitude and Reflex, assuming a mere CON of 18 (+4), DEX of 14 (+2) & WIS of 14 (+2) WITH magic bonuses, Lenny the Paladin is packing the following bonuses on saving throws: Fortitude +21, Reflex +14 and Will +19. Not shabby, and generally much better than most of the rest of his adventuring band. Note that this doesn't count any kind of Resistance or other saving throw bonus effects... which gives him at least a 50% chance of halving or negating most CR 18 'generic' critters heavy-duty special attacks at the page 294 'Primary Ability DC' of 25 for a CR 18 foe.

FEATS: Lenny has selected Weapon Focus - Greatsword (1st level), Overhand Chop (Human), Backswing (7th level), Improved Critical - Greatsword (9th level), Vital Strike (11th level) and Devastating Blow (13th level). Note that Paladins can be VERY well served to take more general 'survival' feats than offensive ones, such as all 3 saving throw bonus feats, Endurance, Diehard and Toughness. Even the Dodge feat is an early way to increase the character's AC that one or two extra points that can make a survival difference... Note that unlike with the Barbarian and Fighter, not all of the Paladin's general feat slots were used - only most of them.

Altogether, Lenny is packing a baseline attack sequence of +36/+31/+26/+21/+36 dealing 2d6+18 Slashing, 17-20/x2 critical, with his +4 Greatsword and the weapon damage bonus from his buddies' buff spells. <+13 STR +4 enhancement +1 luck> Presuming an AC 35 CR 18 foe, and rolling straight 9-11 on all six attack rolls, he connects on all but the next-to-last attack dealing an averaged total of 150 points. Assuming said foe is available for two rounds, that foe is disabled by the Paladin all by himself. Against an AC 35 opponent - 2 higher than expected for his character level as a 'routine' encounter - Lenny hits on nat 2+/nat 4+/nat 9+/nat 14+/nat 2+. Not shabby at all for a character lacking the higher attack bonus values his brothers the Barbarian, Fighter and Ranger have.

As usual, let us apply Lenny's feats and mix things up a bit.
Vital Strike cashiers his lowest attack bonus (+21) to tack on another +2d6 damage per swing. So, for nothing reliably lost except against the puniest lowest-AC foes, his average damage per full-round attack volley just leapt up another 35 points (+7 per attack for 5 attacks = 32 points each), totaling an averaged damage output of 160 points per full-round attack. Backswing makes that first swing nastier, adding another 14 points of damage on that first attack & increasing his per-round damage output to 174 hit points. Translation: generic CR 18 foe, AC 35, 300 hp, is killed not disabled, barring a CON of at least 70 or so or nearly 60 with the Diehard feat in two full-round attacks, all by himself.

Now we get to play with Lenny the Paladin's "big grin" goodies: Smite Evil and Divine Bond. Lenny the Paladin, like his brothers, is lazy about feeding pets and plants (and sometimes his own siblings), so he went with the 'holy weapon' option waay back at 5th level rather than muck around with another mouth to feed. These are taken from Jason Bulmahn's updated Paladin 'please playtest this' posting.

Smite Evil packs an additional +7 attack bonus and dealing either no additional damage non-evil critters, +16 additional damage evil critters or +8d6 additional damage <averaging an additional damage bonus of +28 points> with each of Lenny's lovely five attacks.

For the sake of simplicity, I am going with the averaged damage on the Smiting of Evil. 'Vanilla' Evil (+1 pt / lvl) totals 4d6+48 <62 points> on the first Backswing attack then 4d6+34 <48 points each> on each of the subsequent trio of attacks, totalling 206 hit points of damage in a single full-round attack. 'Extreme' Evil (the extra dice smiting) averages a total of 48 more points higher for the round, totalling 254 hit points in a single full-round attack. This literally doubles if Lenny was a crafty bugger and had - via luck or Bless Weapon - confirmed all four as critical hits: 508 hit points in one round. ouch...

Now let us turn to the Paladin's Divine Bond with his shiny +4 Greatsword, itself able to add on another +4 bonus' worth of goodies. Let us say that Lenny came into the fight with both the Holy and Axiomatic properties against a Chaotic Evil Outsider with the pertinent subtypes. These two beauties tack on another +4d6 bonus damage for each of Lenny's 4 attacks, totaling another 16d6 of damage that averages out at another 56 hit points for the 4-attack full round. Without either any criticals nor any misses, when smiting evil with this nasty weapon he's packing, Lenny the Paladin now averages 310 hit points of damage in a single round against a Chaotic Evil foe he's Smited mightily. Buh-bye oh demonic one ... we hardly new ye... sniffles.


It is my hope that the good Sir Samuel Leming and all the rest of the gang will drop in this thread with numerically crunched goodness to compliment (or shoot down, as necessary ^_^) the estimations I put together for this trio of "core combat machine" character classes.

To summarize:

Lenny the 16th level Barbarian using Vital Strike, Haste, etc. (from the pertinent thread) in a full attack sequence of 4 melee attacks could reasonably be expected to average roughly 188 points of damage in a single round. Against a CR 18 (AC 35, 300 hp) foe, said foe is dogmeat in one round against a 16th level party - or two rounds if Lenny gets to have his way with that foe in consecutive full attacks.

Lenny the 16th level Fighter (from the pertinent thread) in a full attack sequence of 5 melee attacks could reasonably be expected to average roughly 204 points of damage in a single full-round attack. Again, we have one character that can fell a foe with a CR rating two higher than his character level all by his lonesome in two rounds, and probably only ONE round with the 'standard' trio 16th level buddies.

Lenny the 16th level Archery Ranger (from the pertinent thread) firing off a volley of 5 arrows could reasonably be expected to average roughly 115 points of damage not counting any Favored Enemy damage bonuses. By himself he would need 3 rounds to fell the same critter either the Barbarian or the Fighter can drop in 2. Against his "first" favored enemy critter type he can keep up with the Barbarian and Fighter, dispatching one such CR 18 foe in two rounds.

Lenny the 16th level Two-Weapon Ranger (from the pertinent thread) wielding rapier and kukri dealing out a tally of 7 combined weapon attacks could reasonably expected to average roughly 104 points of damage per round, not counting Favored Enemy damage bonuses. Much like the Archery Ranger, the Two-Weapon Ranger is heavily in my opinion, too heavily dependant upon this class ability/feature to reliably act as the primary weapon-based damage dealer of a party. Again, this is against a CR 18 foe with a 35 AC and 300 hp.

As far as generalized class comparisons go...

The Barbarian is really all about get mad at the drop of a hat and smashing things, living or otherwise. In the latter regard they are quite good, moreso than a Fighter due specifically to Rage, especially against stubborn obstacles (doors, walls...), animated objects, critical-hit-immune creatures and constructs. In this role they excel very nicely. However, asides from being able wilderness types due to skills, they lack the non-skill based flexibility the other two classes enjoy. In spite of the d12 Hit Die, Barbarians must accept that they will have a lower combat-effective AC than either the Fighter or the Ranger due to Rage. This leaves them more susceptible to touch-AC attacks forms.

Due to how Uncanny Dodge works, they are also virtually impervious to being sneak attacked, making them popular and effective alternatives to rogues as "point" characters combined with having Perception as a trainable class skill. Thier Will saving throw bonuses ramp up faster as a general measure as compared to both Fighters and Rangers.

The Fighter is the "multi-purpose" tool of combat, able to use almost every weapon with lethal accuracy. The class bonus feats permit massively effective focus on a single "primary" means of killing things and taking their stuff, while their general feats permit a greater degree of either further refining the character's carnage-dealing ability or picking up the slack on defensive concerns.

While they do not suffer the AC woes of a raging barbarian, fighters are a bit squisher (smaller HD) and only enjoy the Will save bonus of the Barbarian against fear effects. They do benefit from a steadily increasing armor bonus to AC as well as from being generally more accurate with their attacks. This latter accuracy doesn't do much more than keep pace with the Barbarian's Rage however - although it is not subject to disruption other than by having their armaments sundered or otherwise destroyed.

Thier greatest weakness as a class rests in thier paltry few skill points. I do believe that the 2 base skill points does the class a disservice as compared to Barbarians (4 base) and Rangers (6 base).

The Ranger, while demonstrably the weakest generalized damage dealer as compared to the Barbarian and Fighter, gains a great deal the other two classes do not. An enormous pool of skill points matched only by the Bard and exceeded solely by the Rogue is a tremendous asset to character survival, especially considering their trainable class skills roster. Over time they gain considerable prowess at stealth, culminating in the 17th level class ability/feature Hide in Plain Sight. In favored terrain against favored enemies, odds are that the Ranger characters will get to soften up flat-footed foes with hopefully lower-than-normal ACs to gain the most benefit out of his abilities.

It is my opinion that the animal companion and spellcasting class features of the Ranger can be done away with, permitting refining of the class' combat style options. They are not nearly as significant a boon as improving the combat styles could prove to be, imo.

In my opinion - based on game play I've seen in 3e over the past 7 or 8 years - animal companions, familiars, cohorts, followers, and summoned/conjured critters are much more of a drawback than a benefit to game play. With a large player group these matters can REALLY bog things down...


Since 16th level is the high-end of where the current Paizo Adventure Paths are going to end up at, I will go ahead and do a hypothetical examination of these 3 classes at said level. This will be done along the lines of what I've typically seen in 3rd edition play taking into account, obviously, only the Pathfinder Beta rules set.

For this comparison's purpose, all that matters is raw attack and damage capability.

"Buff" spells of 9th level are not factored in, as I am presuming that the GM has not (yet) gone completely insane and permitted the characters access to such magic. That having been said, naturally his buddies want Lenny to succeed in killing everything he can, so they layer on the following "buff" spells in the one round they have before letting go of the leash:

Greater Heroism = +4 morale bonus on attack rolls (among others).

Haste = +1 bonus on attack rolls and the all-important extra attack at the best bonus on a full attack action.

Prayer = +1 luck bonus on attack rolls & weapon damage rolls (the other stuff is gravy for this example).

Total bonuses are the extra attack at best bonus, +6 attack, +1 damage.

Lenny the Ranger

Lenny the Ranger is Human. Mamma Lenny makes Mamma Graul look chaste ... she's just that easy shall we say...

Baseline ability scores are a modest STR 14, DEX 24 and CON 14. The STR and CON go to 18 (+4 modifier) with magic and his DEX to a 30 (+10 modifier) with magic. Base Attack Bonus +16.

The "first" Lenny the Ranger is an Archery Combat Style character, intended to perforate first and ask questions with the cleric.

Lenny's feats are: Weapon Finesse (Human), Weapon Focus - Longbow (1st level), Point Blank Shot (Ranger 2nd via Combat Style), Rapid Shot (3rd level), Precise Shot (5th level), Manyshot (Ranger 6th), Deadly Aim (7th level), Far Shot (9th level), Shot on the Run (Ranger 10th - 'cause the list is messed up a tad), Improved Precise Shot (11th level), Vital Strike (13th level), and Improved Critical - Longbow (15th level). Note that I am seriously missing something USEFUL at Ranger 14th due to not wishing to violate the BAB requirements of stuff that would be useful to have...

(BAB +16 +1 Weapon Focus +10 DEX =) +27/+22/+17/+12 baseline. Buff spells (above) improve these to +33/+33/+28/+23/+18. +4 Composite Longbow (+4 STR rating) and +4 arrows further improve these to +41/+41/+36/+31/+26, doing 1d8+13 Piercing, 19-20/x3. <Averaged damage 17.5 points with an average critical dealing 52.5 points.> At point-blank range the attack sequence is 42/42/37/32/27 dealing 1d8+14 <averaged 18.5 or 3d8+42 = 55.5 on a critical hit>. Against the AC 35 CR 18 opponent that his brothers have been carving their way through, Lenny the Ranger can apply Manyshot in his full attack volley against the one he's set his sights on, firing two arrows on the first attack for a total of six arrows a round. Presuming niether misses nor criticals, Lenny the Ranger (Archer) deals an averaged damage output of 105 points for his six arrows. Compared to the two-handed weapon Barbarian and Fighter, this is strong, but clearly not up to par. If he were to be shooting his highest Favored Enemy, adding 8 points of damage per arrow ramps this up to 153 hit points for the entire volley.

However, Lenny (as with his brothers) has Vital Strike. Cashiering his +27 AB shot tacks an additional 1d8 damage on each of his other four attacks, greatly increasing his damage output per arrow: 2d8+14 points (4d8+42 points on a critical hit) <averaging 23 points per shot or 60 points on a confirmed critical hit>. Instead of 6 arrows averaging 18.5 points per hit, he now fires 5 arrows averaging 23 points for an averaged damage output of 115 points, about a 10% improvement with a significantly improved accuracy rate.

Unfortunately for the targeted foe, it is his most Favored Enemy (whatever it was he selected at 1st level), granting a +8 bonus on weapon damage rolls, totalling 2d8+22 <averaged 31 points> or 4d8+66 on a confirmed critical hit <averaged 84 points> per arrow. Presuming all five arrows are delivered without confirming any criticals nor having any missed shots the sorry critter eats 155 hit points per round.

As one can see, there isn't much apparent damage output difference between the two approaches. However, with the higher number of attack rolls the chances of missed attacks are greater (specifically the lowest bonus ones that Vital Strike and Improved Vital Strike address) far out of proportion to the number of critical hits that would be garnered from and - most importantly - Vital Strike and Improved Vital Strike speeds up game play by eliminating a die roll or two per player per round. And of course it's pretty satisfying to roll more than a single die when dealing out damage.

Note that I have NOT factored in the considerable benefits of the Quarry class ability, which adds a +2 attack bonus and automatic confirmation of threatened critical hits...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As a Two-Weapon Combat Style Ranger, Lenny's ability scores stand nicely, since he's going to want that Weapon Finesse bonus to attack rolls to count.

FEATS: Weapon Focus - Rapier (Human), Weapon Focus - Kukri (1st level), Two-Weapon Fighting (Ranger 2nd), Quick Draw (3rd level), Double Slice (5th level), Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (Ranger 6th), Two-Weapon Defense (7th level), Improved Critical - Rapier (9th level), Weapon Swap (Ranger 10th), Improved Critical - Kukri (11th level), Greater Two-Weapon Fighting (13th level), Two-Weapon Rend (Ranger 14th) and Vital Strike (15th level).

(16 BAB +1 Weapon Focus +10 DEX +4 enhancement on both weapons +6 buff spells =) +37/+32/+27/+22/+37 baseline attack bonus.

+4 Rapier in the primary hand in two-weapon fighting adjusts to an attack sequence of +35/+35/+30/+25/+20 dealing 1d6+9, 15-20/x2 <average of 13.5 points or 27 points on a confirmed critical hit>. Vital Strike is worded poorly for handling two-weapon fighting, so I will play conservative and presume it applies only to the primary weapon. This adjusts to a sequence of 35/35/30/25 dealing 2d6+9, 15-20/x2 <average of 16 points or 32 points on a confirmed critical hit>.

+4 Kukri in the off-hand in two-weapon fighting with the benefit of Double Slice adjusts to an off-hand attack sequence of +37/+32/+27 dealing 1d4+7, 15-20/x2 <average of 9.5 or 19 points on a confirmed critical hit>.

Once per round Two-Weapon Rend will add 1d10+6 points <averaged 11.5 points>. Unfortunately, the wording of the feat does not adequately address *when* the damage is applied - to the primary weapon or the secondary weapon, or does it somehow combine BOTH weapons into a single damaging blow?

Once more Lenny's staring down a CR 18 AC 35 critter. Overall, after factoring in Haste and Vital Strike, the baddy is getting stabbed and sliced a total of 7 times, out of which the critical hits will handily balance out the misses. The rapier deals out an averaged total of 64 points, the kukri deals out an averaged total of 28.5 points and the Two-Weapon Rend tacks another 11.5 points for a combined damage output of 104 points. If all 7 blows are against the same +8 Favored Enemy damage bonus that was hinted at above, the damage output increases by another 56 points to a total of 160 points - plenty respectable indeed.

All in all, a two-weapon fighter is presumably gearing more for the not-always-reliable "energy burst" weapons to ramp up the damage output. Tacking on another 7d6 of damage a round averages an increases of 24.5 points per round, totaling either 128.5 or 184.5 against the +8 favored enemy, per round.


Cosmo,

I've noted that several subscribers have been able to have their subscriptions suspended, to receive their swag at a later date upon "un-suspending" their subscriptions.

I would like to have my subscriptions suspended please.

Thanks,

Turin


Since 16th level is the high-end of where the current Paizo Adventure Paths are going to end up at, I will go ahead and do a hypothetical examination of these 3 classes at said level. This will be done along the lines of what I've typically seen in 3rd edition play taking into account, obviously, only the Pathfinder Beta rules set.

For this comparison's purpose, all that matters is raw attack and damage capability.

"Buff" spells of 9th level are not factored in, as I am presuming that the GM has not (yet) gone completely insane and permitted the characters access to such magic. That having been said, naturally his buddies want Lenny to succeed in killing everything he can, so they layer on the following "buff" spells in the one round they have before letting go of the leash:

Greater Heroism = +4 morale bonus on attack rolls (among others).

Haste = +1 bonus on attack rolls and the all-important extra attack at the best bonus on a full attack action.

Prayer = +1 luck bonus on attack rolls & weapon damage rolls (the other stuff is gravy for this example).

Total bonuses are the extra attack at best bonus, +6 attack, +1 damage.

Lenny the Fighter

As a Fighter, Lenny will very closely resemble his brother the Barbarian. He has the same STR score (30 after the Girdle) as well as the +6 Girdle and +4 Greatsword. Lenny the Fighter is Human, not a half-orc however. He has 16 ranks of Intimidate but sadly a +0 CHA modifier.

While Lenny the Fighter does not have the Barbarian Rage, he DOES have a big fat stack of Feats. The ones pertinent to this example are as follows:
Skill Focus - Intimidate (Human), Weapon Focus - Greatsword (1st level), Power Attack (Fighter 1st), Cleave (Fighter 2nd), Overhand Chop (3rd level), Weapon Specialization - Greatsword (Fighter 4th), Great Cleave (5th level), Backswing (Fighter 6th), Dazzling Display (7th level), Greater Weapon Focus - Greatsword (Fighter 8th), Intimidating Prowess (9th level), Stunning Defense (Fighter 10th), Vital Strike (11th level), Greater Weapon Specialization - Greatsword (Fighter 12th), Devastating Blow (13th level), Deadly Stroke (Fighter 14th), Improved Critical - Greatsword <17-20/x2> (15th level) and Improved Vital Strike (Fighter 16th).

Lenny is a level short of penultimate Weapon Training with Heavy Blades. As things stand at 16th level that class feature grants him a +3 attack and weapon damage roll bonus with Heavy Blades, of which Greatsword is one. This will finalize at a +4 bonus at 17th level, so if one desires one can add another +2 attack and +1 damage to Lenny's ability at 17th level without changing a single item of equipment or buff spell...

Without buffs, Lenny the Fighter has a full attack sequence of +35/+30/+25/+20 (BAB +16, STR +10, Greater Weapon Focus +2, Heavy Blades Weapon Training +3, +4 enhancement) doing 2d6+26 slashing, 17-20/x2. (STR +15, Greater Weapon Specialization +4, Heavy Blades Weapon Training +3, +4 enhancement) He further has an Intimidate skill bonus of +32 (16 ranks, +10 STR, +0 CHA, +3 trained class skill, +3 Skill Focus feat), which will be replaced by his +35 attack bonus and will routinely be higher than that unless Lenny happens to have some magical item or effect that improves his skill bonus higher.

WITH Buffs Lenny the Fighter has a full attack sequence of +41/+36/+31/+26/+41 doing 2d6+27 slashing <average 34 points>, 17-20/x2. Remember the CR 18 AC 35 300 hp BBEG Lenny the Barbarian had to play with ? Same thing here, only with a smidge more accuracy. With the WORST of his attacks connecting on a natural 9 or better against his foe, Lenny will for all practical purposes land all five attacks (with one of them being a verified critical hit) and on averaged damage deal 204 hit points in a single full attack sequence. Ouch! And we KNOW Lenny's brother the Barbarian is a bad-arse, we've already demonstrated that! Now, to be realistic, one should probably factor in chances of missing, criticalling, yadda yadda ... but I'm not a statistician. So I won't - however, I do acknowledge that the odds of connecting in two or three consecutive rounds with a critical every round and not a single miss are HIGHLY improbable.

Let's go ahead and apply some of Lenny's fun new feats. ^_^

First up, Lenny as we all know LOVES dishing out mounds of damage and hates making multiple attack rolls. As a Fighter with Improved Vital Strike, he now with Haste only has to make 3 attack rolls instead of 5. This of course makes Lenny happy.

In exchange for cashiering his +26 and +31 AB attack rolls, Lenny now deals 6d6+27 damage <average 48 points> per whallop on a +41/+36/+41 attack sequence - which hits on anything but the dreaded natural 1 against the AC 35 CR 18 BBEG. It gets worse when one realizes that Lenny adds an additional +20 damage on his first attack roll thanks to the Backswing feat, dealing 6d6+47 damage <average 68 points>. Average damage output without a single confirmed critical hit is 164 hit points. This of course makes the GM happy as the average damage output for the round is theoretically lower until one realizes that with a natural 9 or better being required odds are not all five attacks from the first go around will hit whereas the 3 attacks here are basically *guaranteed* to connect. It doesn't do much good for the CR 18 BBEG since he's another confirmed two-round wonder against ONE player character. With his AC of 35, odds are that Lenny the Fighter will frag his sorry hide in two rounds, same as Lenny the Barbarian.

If Lenny confirms a critical hit on his first attack, that's 8d6+94 damage <average 122 points>. If he confirms the second or third, that's 8d6+54 damage <average 82 points>. If ALL THREE attacks are confirmed critical hits, that's a staggering 286 hit points in a single round.

And Lenny's not even gotten to using Power Attack yet. Speaking of which...

Lenny cannot Power Attack quite so nawstily as his brother the Barbarian - but at a +10 STR modifier, he gets close enough. In exchange for a +31/+31/+26 attack sequence <which connects the AC 35 CR 18 baddy on a natural 4+/natural 4+/natural 9+ respectively>, Lenny's first attack deals 6d6+57 <average of 68 points> (8d6+114 on a confirmed critical hit, averaging 142 points) whilst the second and third attacks deal 6d6+37 <average of 58 points> (8d6+74 on a confirmed critical hit, averaging 102 points). Assuming no critical hits are confirmed but all 3 hits connect, Lenny deals on 3 solid attacks an average of 184 hit points. If, however, the unthinkable happens and Lenny confirms all 3 as critical hits - the BBEG is probably deceased, having taken an average of 348 hit points from three critical hits!

Lenny has two more feats of particular note that would appear to go together like mustard and gas: Deadly Stroke and Devastating Blow.

The former permits a standard action attack with Lenny's Greatsword against a stunned or flat-footed opponent - doing so yields double normal damage and a 1 point CON bleed condition on the sorry bastard. The latter permits a standard action melee attack with a two-handed weapon at a -5 attack penalty to score a critical hit if he simply hits. Thanks to D&D math and Lenny's using a Greatsword, this results in "triple damage" and a 1 point CON bleed.

Hrmm ... so, basically, whenever at all possible, Lenny is a BIG fan of the cheap shot partial charge on the surprise round. However, since we're in a big fight of some kind and Lenny has just finished hewing down a CR 18 bad guy, the other party members have softened up some other CR 18 bad guy and dropped a Power Word - Stun on it. For this example, the bad guy has exactly 150 remaining hit points, so the stun will not last overlong...

Naturally, Lenny has a big fat target to get to roll a HUGE mound of damage dice while only needing to make a single attack roll. As it also so happens, the poor victim is in a straight line from Lenny, so ... he charges! Declaring a Deadly Stroke-Devastating Blow combination and ramping up a Power Attack to go with his Backswing, Lenny is going to RUIN this baddies' day. The Stunned bad guy is hating life, with a -2 AC for being stunned AND losing its not inconsiderable DEX bonus to AC of +4, for an effective AC of 29.

In return, in spite of the -5 penalty for the Devastating Blow, Lenny is packing a vicious +28 attack bonus +31 +2 charging -5 Devastating Blow. Even if the baddie had NO DEX bonus to AC, Lenny would mess him up on a mere natural 5+ on the d20 against an AC of 33. Either way, let us assume Lenny connects, dealing 10d6+141 hit points and the 1 point CON bleed. Average damage of this yields 176 hit points. Without a CON of at least 28, the baddy just died on the spot.

Lastly, let's look at Dazzling Display and Stunning Defense. Given Lenny's buffed attack bonus without Power Attack of +41, it is presumed that he does not have anything that improves his +32 bonus to Intimidate, so he uses that +41 attack bonus by way of Dazzling Display.

This of course is, presuming a "10" roll on the d20, a total of 51. This translates into all foes with a combination of (WIS bonus and HD) not exceeding 41 being made shaken for 1 round. Every 5 points this combination is lower than 41 means another round of being shaken by Lenny's dazzling display. Thanks to Lenny's Stunning Defense, every one of these sorry buggers is susceptible to his Deadly Stroke feat. In effect, anyone who is afraid of Lenny is flat-footed to Lenny. Given how hard Lenny hits, it is wise to be afraid of Lenny.

To use some examples at random from the Monster Manual:

The Frost Giant Jarl has a combined total of 23 (1 from WIS and 22 from HD). Lenny beats him by 28, which means the Jarl is shaken for 5 full rounds. Sucks to be the Jarl, given how the next round it is VERY likely Lenny cuts him down to size in a single blow IF the Jarl survives the check to survive such Massive Trauma. Given my druthers, the 'threshold' would be size-based and the DC would scale by +1 per 10 points over that threshold. I am going to assume this is applicable for the Jarl. The Jarl's normally respectable +25 Fortitude save bonus is going up against a Massive Trauma DC of 26 15 +11. Barring a natural 1, the Jarl will survive - probably to either surrender or flee, barring a death wish which Lenny will gleefully obligate on his next round. Sucks to be the Jarl...

A generic run-of-the-mill Balor demon has a combined total of 27, losing by 24 to Lenny's 51 Intimidate check. The Balor too knows that he should truly fear Lenny the Fighter for the next 4 rounds - although probably not as much as Lenny the Paladin. Sadly, the Balor with a comparatively paltry 290 hit points, will not last long against Lenny the Fighter. Presuming Lenny doesn't outright kill him, the Balor will flee via one of its many abilities and swear off molesting porcine creatures for a century or thirty.

Even an "average" Ancient Red Dragon briefly feels the tug of fear at its heart (for a single round) against Lenny's bad-assedness. Mind you, that according to the MM an Ancient Red is a CR 23. Which was utter nonsense in 'vanilla' 3.5 and most certainly is in Pathfinder.

With an AC of 39 and a very impressive 527 hit points, the dragon is unlikely to outlive Lenny the Fighter. But Lenny will exact a terrible toll in the initiall rounds of the encounter... and the dragon does still have to contend with Lenny's buddies, who probably are about as lethal as Lenny is in their own right. Needless to say, the "CR 23" dragon is rather unlikely to survive this encounter with a 16th level PFRPG character group.

Given the dragon's general damage output will be 4d6+14 bite, 2d8+7 for 2 claws, 2d6+7 for 2 wings and 2d8+21 for the tail slap. Assume a second bite from Haste and that nothing Lenny can do will stop the dragon from Power Attacking (+14 each) and scoring neither misses nor critical hits in a given round of desperately attempting to stop Lenny the Fighter. 4d6+28 x2 <42 x2 = 84>, 2d8+21 x2 <30 x2 = 60>, 2d6+21 x2 <28 x2 = 56> and 2d8+35 <44> are what whallops Lenny each round. Let us assume the dragon enjoys the exact same bonuses Lenny does, increasing each natural weapon's damage by 1 point and his attack bonus by 6. In a nutshell, Lenny is in some trouble...

<86 +62 +58 +45 => 251 hit points tear into our 16th level Fighter this round. For this example, I am assuming that Lenny's buddies had a Protection from Fire on him that absorbed the dragon's entire breath weapon.

Since Lenny is all about offense, he does not have the (slight) benefits of Toughness nor the Diehard feat. If he goes to negative hit points, he is probably done for. Being human but reasonably healthy and packing a +6 CON bonus Amulet of Health, he has a 20 CON and 16d10 HD. Lenny has rolled high-average (6 on the 15d10 after 1st level) and his campaign uses the +6 hit point 'kicker' at 1st level.
<10 +6 +90 +80 => 186 hit points is all Lenny has to his name. If the cleric/druid/person with caster level 15+ Heal spells does not stay REALLY on top of things, Lenny gets one full-round in on the dragon ... and dies. Sorry Lenny. Of course, if this IS one of my Lennies, then Lenny promptly dies setting off an enormous cascade of cold damage which may very well finish the sorry dragon (depending on eating through the critter's Cold Protection and Resistance, of course)...


Since 16th level is the high-end of where the current Paizo Adventure Paths are going to end up at, I will go ahead and do a hypothetical examination of these 3 classes at said level. This will be done along the lines of what I've typically seen in 3rd edition play taking into account, obviously, only the Pathfinder Beta rules set.

For this comparison's purpose, all that matters is raw attack and damage capability.

"Buff" spells of 9th level are not factored in, as I am presuming that the GM has not (yet) gone completely insane and permitted the characters access to such magic. That having been said, naturally his buddies want Lenny to succeed in killing everything he can, so they layer on the following "buff" spells in the one round they have before letting go of the leash:

Greater Heroism = +4 morale bonus on attack rolls (among others).

Haste = +1 bonus on attack rolls and the all-important extra attack at the best bonus on a full attack action.

Prayer = +1 luck bonus on attack rolls & weapon damage rolls (the other stuff is gravy for this example).

Total bonuses are the extra attack at best bonus, +6 attack, +1 damage.

Lenny the Barbarian

Lenny started play with a combined Strength of 20 (18 +2 race) then dumped all 4 level advancement points into Strength as well, for a "nekkid" STR of 24. At 16th level, for offensive purposes, he's packing a +6 Girdle of Giant Strength (giving him a 30 STR so far) and a +4 Greatsword. He of course has a Base Attack Bonus of +16. Feats that matter for this example are Weapon Focus (Greatsword) (1st level), Power Attack (3rd level), Overhand Chop (5th level), Backswing (7th level), Improved Critical (Greatsword) (9th level), Vital Strike (11th level) and Devastating Blow (13th level). Lenny would have Improved Vital Strike, but alas that has to wait until 17th level for Lenny the Barbarian.

So far, Lenny without buffs isn't too scary. Attack bonus totals up to +31/+26/+21/+16 (16 BAB +1 weapon focus +10 STR +4 enhancement). Being a two-handed weapon, Lenny's Greatsword deals 2d6+19 slashing damage (+15 STR, +4 enhancement), threatening a critical hit on 17-20/x2.

However, factoring the buff spells above, Lenny the Barbarian is now sitting pretty at +37/+32/+27/+22/+37 doing 2d6+20, 17-20/x2. Then of course, being a 16th level Barbarian and all, he Rages. Which is Greater Rage at this point, ramping his STR to a 36 (+13 modifier), giving him +40/+35/+30/+25/+40 doing 2d6+24 slashing (19 STR +4 enhancement +1 luck), 17-20/x2. In and of itself, this attack sequence hits the average AC - assuming 10's on all 5 attack rolls - of anything considered a CR 18 or less, dealing an average of 31 points per hit. Statistically, one of those five will be a confirmed critical hit. Thus, in a single full attack, without exercising Power Attack or anything else, he deals out an average of 186 hit points. All by himself Lenny kills an average 300 hp CR 18 critter in two rounds.

For the sake of simplicity, Lenny the Barbarian just so happens to be sitting within reach of the BBEG of the moment. He wisely elects to go ahead and unload a full attack action on the sorry bastard right next to him, being the BBEG and all. The only Rage Power that will matter is Powerful Blow, which when delivered tags on an additional 16 points of damage with whatever hit it is that he elects to burn his swift action for the round on.

Now, the optimum damage output scenario is a combination of Vital Strike (cashiering his +25 AB attack to add +2d6 bonus damage per hit for his other 4, higher bonus, attacks) and Backswing (which increases his STR damage bonus from +13 to +39 - a gain of +20 damage on the first attack). This yields an attack sequence of 40/35/30/40 dealing 4d6+44 on the first attack & 4d6+24 on the remaining three. Assuming
average damage, a Powerful Blow on that Backswing (4d6+60) and no confirmed critical hits yields an averaged damage output total of 188 hit points. If the first swing is a confirmed critical hit (6d6+120!) then the averaged damage output total increases to 255 hit points (+67). If a "lesser" blow is a confirmed critical hit (6d6+48) then the averaged damage output total increases to 219 hit points (+31).

Finally, packing a whalloping +13 STR modifier, Lenny goes all out and decides to Power Attack, cashiering 13 points of attack bonus for a nasty +26 damage bonus. Altogether, Lenny is now packing a full attack sequence of +27/+22/+17/+27 doing 4d6+50 slashing <average damage of 64 hit points per hit>, 17-20/x2. On the first swing due to Backswing, however, that damage bonus is +70, which Lenny is going to go ahead and dump his Powerful Blow on the first swing, ramping that bad boy up to 4d6+86 damage <which will average a whopping 100 hit points>. The first attack, if it confirms a critical hit, deals 6d6+172 hit points, whilst the remaining attacks deal 6d6+100 hit points on a confirmed critical hit.

Presuming he is swinging at the same AC 35 CR 18 opponent, Lenny is making a calculated risk doing this. He will probably connect on the first and last swing (needing only a natural 8 or higher), but probably won't on the second (needing a natural 13+ on the d20) and almost certainly will not on the third (needing a natural 18+ on the d20). Even so, with just the first and fourth attack connecting on average damage Lenny almost reaches his non-Power Attack average, totalling without a confirmed critical hit 164 hit points.

However, the odds of successfully confirming any critical hits are smaller than the odds of simply connecting due to the required 'natural' qualifying attack roll - but sooner or later he WILL confirm that critical hit, probably sooner than the GM would like.

From a 'number crunching' standpoint, one could multiply averaged damage by various percentages (65% for attacks 1 and 4, 40% for attack 2 and 15% for attack 3) then factor in that about 2 attacks every 5 rounds are going to confirm the critical - a daunting task.

In summary, Lenny the Barbarian WILL kill - given two only full-round attacks to do so - a CR 18 opponent in two rounds all by himself with only 3 commonly available "buff" spells and comparatively ordinary gear. All his buddies have to do is control the battlefield enough for him to be able to do it.

Which at that level of play is not exactly a guarantee... but it bears remembering!


I've never cared much personally for animal companions for the Ranger, let alone for the Druid or the arcanists' analog the familiar.

However, given how much of the PFRPG Beta's ranger's abilities are more focussed in terms of stealthily gliding through the shrubbery before perforating many hated foes with sharp pointy sticks, the companion is more likely to be a burden than a boon. The poor critter can't keep up with the character's probable stealth bonuses, is far easier to frag as compared to the druid's & in general is comparatively useless. Note that the operative phrase is "comparative".

Perhaps if the ranger's effective druid level was (ranger level -3) it would be more worthwhile, but that places things (at least potentially) where we don't want them - having one class ability/feature be perceived as more worthwhile than another within the same class or class option.

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