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You're welcome Owly. It's a rule that I stumbled upon a while ago, and find perfect for E6.

Da'ath : The wound idea for duels is a very interesting one ! Is it the second part of the Vitality/Wounds system, the Injury one, or something custom you made ?

Ninja : Then only allow the rule against criticals and attacks that would drop you below 0 hp, and the problem should solve itself. In most cases, that's when you'd really want to do it anyway.

Kirth : Total damage vs shield hp would work too. Though lazy as I am, I would probably find that harder to track than just comparing enhancement bonus. :D
More seriously, my odea comes from the fact that I'd prefer a magic shield (hopefully with a lineage) being vulnerable to destruction only against things like "Sundarr, Cleaver of Gods" the mythical axe, but not a lucky roll on a crit x3 by a brutish ogre.

And good find Azoriel. I completely forgot about this feat. It does almost the same thing, indeed.
Sometimes I regret the fact in 3.x/PF that all ideas that would make good optional rules get sneaked in as feats, and then inevitably end up never used because of better feats mechanically and the limited amount of feats. But that's another debate.


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To the best of my knowledge, the original house rule for "Shield Shall Be Splintered" comes from here and was coined in a retroclone context (specifically Labyrinth Lord, if my memory serves me right)
The "what if the shield is magical" problem is sidestepped in the article because of the relatively low power level of retroclones and the author's campaigns.
The idea was to have a quick, simple, and cinematic option to increase the shield usefulness. It works really well in that regard.

Invoking the rule with a magical shield, I'd probably rule the shield gets the broken condition, and maybe is instead destroyed if the attack has a better enhancement bonus than the shield's.

Those worried about abuse and silly turtling with many shields, and not willing to gently yet firmly slap their players, should rule that this only works against criticals. It's even more suitably cinematic and should limit most of the problems.


BuzzardB wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

Don't forget, a human paladin can take energy resistance as a FC ability. 1 pt of fire and 1 pt of cold and he's basically immune to natural extremes of heat and cold, too!

==Aelryinth

Is this actually a thing? Was debated at a game I was in recently.

The 3.5 splatbooks Sandstorm and Frostburn had both a rule saying that any creature with enough energy resistance to fire/cold to ignore the environmental damage of hot/cold weather could ignore the associated conditions and other consequences like heatstroke, dehydration and the like.

I don't think it's been explicitly ported over to Pathfinder, but Aelryinth has been around for a long time and is very familiar with all incarnations of the 3.x ruleset, so I'd guess he's likely to have this rule in mind.

Also, and perhaps much more importantly :

Lauraliane wrote:
Iron Kingdoms

I love you.


Dexion1619 wrote:
More then likely (At least that's my understanding). Can't really imagine needing to with 25 points, at least not on a Sorcerer (Monk I think you still might need to... how sad is that?)

Surely you meant how MAD is that ?

... Sorry, couldn't resist.


Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
As a rule designer, I find it is vastly more rewarding to take on a quirky thematic rule that adds to the game than to try and "fix" something; only to discover why it was broken in the first place.

Or worse, to discover said broken rule is in fact the least broken solution to the specific underlying design problem to be solved. (Welcome to engineering, where sometimes all options are bad ones !)

Also, A is often incredibly difficult to design and test correctly, so I tend to do B instead. In both cases, I try to make the smallest changes possible.


Insanity Logic wrote:
Well I started making a pathfinder E6 variant way back in like 2008 or 2009. I'm reviewing your variant and I'm seeing a LOT of extra wording, especially confusing sentences.

I think that's mainly because Jr. Annalist aims to have a set of rules as self-contained as possible.

Jr. Annalist wrote:
I finally have the revised Beta version of the Abridged P6 Codex posted at: http://p6codex.com/AbridgedP6CodexV0p2.pdf *snip*

Ah ha ! Very clever solution with the synergy you created between Combat Improvement and Signature Combat Feat. This alleviates most, if not all, issues in build variety in an E6/P6 context.

I think Greater Skillfulness is missing Skillfulness as a prerequisite.

I'd still give a flat bonus to Track checks in the Epic Woodcraft just to get rid of the clumsy (IMO) language/limitation. We're talking maxing at +12 instead of +11, I don't think it's a difference major enough to be worth the annoyance.

I'm still not happy about the power level of the Druid (though I'd have to build a couple characters to be sure), but this is not your fault. What does bother me is in fact the relative power level of Large pets compared to 6th level characters, but I'm starting to think this is more an issue of perceived game balance rather than a true imbalance that would be detrimental to the game. Only way to be sure would be through playtest/feedback. Were you able to do it on your side, by chance ?

There's a few things I would have done differently (*), for sure, but I can't see anything in this version of your P6 rules likely to cause problems. Like I already said, I'm impressed by not only how well-defined the boundaries of your design space are, but also by how well you convey it throughout the document. (The explanatory text *and* the rules themselves)

I would definitely begin with these rules if I were to GM again an E6 campaign.

(*) As food for thought : mainly the idea of an "Epic Skill" and "Epic Toughness" follow-up (signature ?) feats that would give an open-ended bonus to skill points/HP equal to your number of epic feats.
I also like a lot the concept behind the Resistance feat and Ability Enhancement feats from Kirthfinder for their capacity to shift several of the big six magic items bonus back to feats, which seems perfectly appropriate in the E6 context. As far as I can tell, both ideas wouldn't fit within your design guidelines though. (and it's not necessarily a bad thing either !)


This trend of DM afraid of losing "control" on their game is annoying. A GM is here to let campaigns evolve and live free, not limit them with arbitrary rulings.

That aside, this means that you'll either soon play mostly casters, or build melee classes to depend on crits as little as possible (very feasible with minimal damage loss). This decision achieves nothing regarding balance and diminishes build diversity.

As Speaker for the Dead said though, in the meantime, enjoy the fact that you'll probably never be killed by a lucky crit from a monster. (which is an interesting good side effect of this decision)


From the combat section of the PRD, under Damage :

Quote:

Multiplying Damage: Sometimes you multiply damage by some factor, such as on a critical hit. Roll the damage (with all modifiers) multiple times and total the results.

Exception: Extra damage dice over and above a weapon's normal damage are never multiplied.

A "weapon normal damage" is its base damage dice plus all static modifiers : strength, class bonuses (Favored enemy, weapon spec, weapon training, challenge, etc). Very few static bonuses are not subject to this rule, and it's usually explicitly noted.

The exception is for additional damage coming in the form of dice. Sneak attack, flaming property, etc, are never multiplied on a critical hit. From the top of my head, I don't know any exceptions to this rule.

I've never noticed myself, but the wording could effectively be clearer. (and it may be worse in the CRB, but I don't use it much because you know, Internet.)

EDIT : Just noticed that David_Bross has another rule excerpts from the PRD that says the same thing in a different way. That's two sources clarifying the intent and mechanics of criticals to show your GM.


I'm glad to hear my feedback is useful. :)
Just to help me think in the right direction, I understand and fully support your design intent to first do a Core only P6 ruleset, but what do you plan to include later besides other classes ? Archetypes, expanded feat lists ?

Apologies in advance for the incoming wall of text. In the following, assume that everything I boldly declare from a DPR/Combat standpoint has at least some maths to back it up and isn't pulled out of nowhere :

"Jr. Annalist wrote:
Greater Bond is what gives the large animal companions to Druid's though (since that comes at 7th level) so it isn't entirely useless for them. For Rangers, the jump from EL3 to EL4 is pretty good for their animal companion..

Ack. I missed that. It's even worse then, because the Druid can have both a Large companion and Domain Mastery or Master of Forms.

Quote:
Is it that 7th or 8th level Druids in Pathfinder are broken due to the animal Companion? Or that an 8th level Druid's animal Companion is broken in a world of (basically) 7th level max fighters? If the former, then the entire foundation of the ideas for the abridged version of the Codex (that PF Core is vaguely balanced through 7th level is shot) takes a hard shot. If its the later, then would making it either 7HD or +5BAB (and not both) fix it? Is that worth the added complexity?

Core Druids are powerhouses, and there's not much you can do about that in a P6 context. Large animal companions are the main offender here, especially with the access to pounce capable ones. This gives druid the choice between being DPR machines (rivaling or even exceeding martials) or support caster, with the luxury of switching styles when needed with barely any loss in effectiveness.

If you look for balance, however subjective that may be, I think it would be fair to disallow or reduce the effect of large animal upgrades.
If you look for simplicity, nothing has to be changed, and we accept the possibility of borderline broken druids as an unfortunate side effect of the core rules.

For what it's worth, I lean toward simplicity. It should be mostly fine anyway. I'm more wary of unintended consequences further down the line (maybe with the Summoner, for example) that would force a change in the existing rules.

Quote:
At present I'm only looking at feats in Advanced and Ultimate sources for the full P6 Codex. I think I'd be leaning against including Boon Companion even if it were in one of them.

AFAIK, it's legal for PFS play. If no changes are made to the already existing P6 epic feats, better not to talk about Boon Companion, I agree. Let's limit the large animal companions only to the Druid, and specific groups can move the cursor as they see fit as houserules through this feat.

Quote:
That's another one where the problem would be with Core Pathfinder itself... and, for the abridged anyway, I'm trying to avoid changes to it. I'll look into it for the full rules I'm working on. What makes it worse for a 6th level Rogue with 5 epic feats in P6 as compared to a 7th level Rogue in standard Pathfinder.

I'll grant you that they are equally ineffective in combat. :P

However :

Quote:
Would a signature feat that let a character with a +5 BAB take one of those +6 BAB feats fix it (possibly if coupled with additional signature feats every 5 or 10 epic advancements)? That would keep with the spirit that they wouldn't normally get those feats until 8th level.

Besides Greater Maneuver feats and Lunge (more tactical diversity), from a damage standpoint, this effectively gives 3/4 BAB classes access to Manyshot, Improved Two Weapon Fighting, and Vital Strike. This ups their damage by roughly 25%, but it's not nearly enough to make them compete with full BAB classes. Less stat spread and better hit make martial classes by far the most effective at killing things with weapons.

However, access to these combat feats helps the Rogue the most, especially for two weapon combat, closing a lot of the gap with strength rogue, and making them way less useless in combat when compared to other classes.

As such, I strongly suggest introducing such a feat. It solves a lot of potential issues with regard to balance and diversity.

Quote:

5) ...Skillfullness/Toughness...

That's the winner for the most criticized part of the Beta version. I'm working on polishing that up for the revised-Beta version.

I really think making them open-ended is the way to go. Way simpler to explain, and given the constraint of an E6/P6 context, everyone will take them eventually, even if they have a hard-cap, because HP and skill points are very valuable assets. Making them open-ended helps furthering the feeling of progression, albeit slower, that the original E6 paradigm strived for.

Quote:
I'm definitely finding some appeal in the extra signature feats (every 5th? 6th? 10th?), as a specified optional rule if nothing else.

I think a 1,5,10... pattern would be fine. I also strongly think it should be "core" to P6. Otherwise some signature choices are vastly better than the others, which in return asks for system mastery. I'm almost sure that's not something you find desirable for P6 (I know I don't).

Quote:
On the other hand, I appreciate all of your other points (they're the kind I'm looking for) and would certainly be interested in your minor balancing issues.

They would fall more into the streamlining category per se, but here you go :

Spoiler:
  • Combat Improvement could have a BAB +4 prerequisite. Helaman's idea of a 3/5/7 BAB spread helps differentiate classes. and is a very good concept I've rallied to since he first introduced it in a very old E6 thread.
  • Epic Performer should give a flat +1 bonus to Perform and Epic Woodcraft a flat +1 to Survival. Needless complications to reduce the effectiveness of a feat when taking another feat is bad design. (Especially when said feat is supposed to boost a point where the class is supposed to be awesome at anyway, yet narrow enough to not unbalance anything or steal spotlight.)
  • Extra Skill Capacity : I strongly second the 1+Int skill point bonus suggestion.
  • Skillfullness/Toughness : Did I mention making them open-ended ? :P
  • Greater Spell Casting : I think the wording could be simplified by granting a 4th level spell slot (without any 4th level spell known) where appropriate.
  • Legendary Craftsman opens up a lot of magic items previously unattainable. Such as belts/headbands of stat +2/+4/+6 or +3 furious weapons. Is this fully intended in the design paradigm you intend for P6 ? Thanks to the WBL guidelines, this is likely not a problem and injects diversity (and ingame justification for it) in magic itemisation, but I think it bears mentioning nonetheless.
  • Spells and Magic section : The warning about 3rd level Bard spells can probably be generalized to something like "if a spell would be 4th level on the spell list of a Cleric, Druid or Wizard, it's never a valid choice". I know that's basically what it says, but I get the feeling it could be conveyed in a more concise way by making the wording broader (and thus preparing for the future hybrid classes) and give the bard as a specific example.

Besides the two bolded points, I don't see any other major issues. The boundaries of your design space are well-thought and otherwise well implemented, without loss of focus or coherence. If I were to play E6 again, I'd use these rules almost as is already.


Being a huge fan of E6, I'm delighted to see a serious attempt at a pathfinder version. Having toyed quite a lot with E6/P6 innards (I have an incomplete attempt somewhere), here's a few comments :

1) The idea of Signature feats is excellent, but given the power discrepancy between some of them, this needs a bit more work. Maybe one feat every five epic ranks ?
Otherwise, I don't see any Fighter taking greater weapon focus instead of Improved Critical very often, or a Paladin choosing Intrinsic Bond instead of Aura of Resolve.

2) Speaking of Intrinsic Bond : it's broken for Druids, allowing them access to 7th level Large Animal Companions. Buffed Large Cat pouncers with 7 HD and 23/24 Str will make every martials very very sad. With the Boon Companion feat around, it could be broken for everyone with access to an animal companion. (making all martials even more sad. Except the ranger, now prancing around happily in forests alongside sylvan sorcerers and druids)
Greater Bond is the other way around. Compared to Boon Companion (which admittedly isn't core, but damn tempting), it's absolutely useless for animal companions, and only useful for familiars (Speak with kinds, and Impr. Familiar has a lot of choices at CL 7th).
From a design standpoint, this is annoying to solve. Removing Intrinsic Bond forces us to create a separate feat for every capacity that should work at 8th level (Paladin's enhanced Weapon, etc), which is way less elegant. Keeping it means rewording several other things. (Druid's AC, etc).
A possible "simple" solution would be to include the familiar @CL7th in the Epic Caster Feat (it fits thematically and isn't a major power up), specifically introduce Boon Companion as an (Epic ?) feat, and reword Intrinsic Bond to not apply to animal companion.

3) The Rogue at the very least (but possibly other 3/4 BAB classes) absolutely needs something to help it in the Two Weapon Fighting department. In a P6 context, its otherwise even more useless for them than in standard PF. If I recall correctly the bunch of calculations I did, I think a feat reducing penalty by one while TWF was sufficient.

4) There's a very annoying amount of Feats (mostly for combat maneuvers) with a BAB +6 prerequisite, making them lie on the wrong side of the fence for 3/4 BAB characters. This is made worse by the fact that a huge number of said feats would be thematically appropriate (no Greater Dirty Fighting for your Rogue, nor Greater Grapple for your Monk, for example)
One way to solve (if desirable, but my feeling is it's worth the time) this problem would be to create a follow-up of Combat Improvement allowing access to feats with a BAB prerequisite of your BAB +1. This would give a power up to martial classes as well, unless worded to cap at BAB +6, and has other interesting side effects that may be a bit hard to balance properly, however.

5) I'm really not sure Greater Skillfullness/Toughness needs the wording hassle and confusion that comes with a cap. Even though making those feats too good risks making them mandatory, I'm firmly in the "simple is best" camp.

6) There's a lot of minor other points that would fall more under editing/streamlining/minor balancing rather than real concerns. If interested, let me know.

Overall, I really like the power point you seem to be aiming for. I've always been deeply impressed by the sheer elegance of the cutoff point in original E6 (almost everything rounded favorably at that level, for all classes), but the way Pathfinder classes work makes quite a bit of that feeling lost. I think your proposed rules solve most of the temptation of going "too far" into E8 territory while retaining interesting options for every classes. It may needs a bit more iterating here and there, but it definitely stands strong and coherent as it is already. Well done.


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That's incredible work here Dervish ! Much, much depth added to the centaur tribe.

I gather that Xamanthe fate is quite different in your world ?

I also very much would like to know more about the visions. If you have time to elaborate a bit on that aspect, of course.


Quick thoughts :
- I agree it's annoying to see the bonus to saves not going all the way to +5. It's one of the most important defensive bonus for a character.
- The final bonuses to abilities are fine (likely +6/+6/+4/+4 at level 20), but the pacing really rubs me the wrong way with regard to the WBL. I think it should have a slower start and pick up later. Maybe around the level 12 mark.

Not sure how to properly fix though (and not much brain cycles free to devote to the task, sadly). This solution referenced in another thread on the same subject has ideas on pacing that I feel are worth a deeper look though.

I perceive your game design intent behind this variant to be to try to adhere to the power curve suggested by the existing rules (WBL/CR system) as much as possible. If I'm right about this, I'd say it's almost, but not quite, there yet. A few adjustments is all that would be needed though.

It's certainly very well put and usable already in it's current form. Simple enough to be adopted easily, but far-reaching enough to have the intended consequences in gameplay and storytelling.
I like it. (and will probably steal it for a next campaign, if I live old enough to have one - curse you, real job !)


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Excellent idea for an exceptionally fine set of alternative rules, especially the Strain/Injury variant.

You're nearly to the point where you will have fixed everything that annoys me in the 3.x/PF game design paradigm. Only with much more eloquence and elegance than I would ever be capable of.

(Because "bump" does not even begin to express all the good things I have to say about your work)


Having recently moved to a "background" exploration system myself to better suit my gaming group needs (*), I'd argue that "normal" hexploration is hardly costly for PCs. It mostly demands some time, which by the very nature of Kingmaker, is hardly a constraint.

In my campaign, the PCs contracted the Narthropple Expedition (the Gnomes in book 2) to do almost all exploration for them, which is resolved by a global map discovery for the current AP part with markers for all hexes with a special encounter. (Everything hidden that PCs would have discovered by virtue of a standard take 10 Perception roll is discovered by the gnomes too)
These special encounters are left untouched for the PCs to enjoy, as they are the only people powerful enough to take care of such problems. And since they still need to travel there, opportunities to spice things up with wilderness events still exist.

So, no cost for the exploration of empty hexes and flagging of interesting ones, otherwise it's down to metagaming choice of using precious IRL time or valuable ingame ressource. And no stealing of places of interest too, because really, everything marked as "Hidden" on the map is either a) Hidden-for-Plot DC (see: that cavern in book 2), which can be left out or b) meant-to-be-found-by-PCs-and-not-random-people DC, and thus unfair to be left out, or else you're back to the problem where your players have to explore everything themselves.

The idea of an auto-exploration mechanic is very interesting however. It would fit well with the idea of an expanding kingdom, and would also give a tool to DMs with PCs in a hurry to better pace the unfolding of main events vs the kingdom building part. It would also be much more work to do properly than producing a map with a handful of markers, unfortunately.

(*):
We don't have time to play nearly as much as we'd like, so when we can sit at the table, my players want something else than :
- "We explore hex X. Anything ?"
- "Nope, but an angry moose tries to bite you during the night, because random monsters table said so."

If we had the luxury of (IRL) time, maybe I could make the process more enjoyable, but the consensus around the table is that we want things to move forward at a decent pace. I thus need to try to focus things more on key events. This is not necessarily a bad thing in itself, because having well defined "scenes" is also an opportunity to try to tighten storytelling.


@JohnB : This is incredibly awesome.


I think Umbriere is thinking about something like this, which I just stumbled upon. (While borderline silly and badly smelling of cheese, it also seems quite legal.)

Anyway, barring unexpected crits at low-ish levels (probably your biggest potential risk of things getting out of hand), I think it should be fine to have NPC use firearms, especially if they have difficulties getting around reload times.


Whale_Cancer wrote:
Wildebob wrote:
I think the whole "declaring actions before initiative" thing might be where I'm lost. Is that an old rule, or a variant? How does it work?

Old rule.

Everyone declares actions.
Actions have initiative modifiers.
Determine order of initiative.
Resolve actions in initiative order.

This was most notably used to try to interrupt spell casting (since being hit meant losing the spell automatically).

This whole thread has definitely interesting ideas (especially the 6/5/4 for 2H/1H/Light, reasonably simpled and potentially refinable in something without too much exceptions at first glance), but you would have to do a boatload of maths to see if each fighting style has expected average DPR against CR appropriate opponents within an acceptable spread of each other... (And I certainly am not doing that. Not that I wouldn't like, mind you, but I definitely don't have the time, sadly...)

Also, be wary of increased complexity. Pathfinder rules are not a simulationist framework, trying to bring back too much of it will break the whole thing.


"Energy Attacks: Energy attacks deal half damage to most objects" (Smashing an object)

Undead/constructs will be damaged like everyone else, and can make a fort save for half.

The whole "immunity to fort save" is there to make them immune to stuff like stinking cloud, since it makes no sense for creatures, you know, not alive. Almost every damage effect against which these creatures don't have specific resistance (cold immunity for undeads for example) will work normally.


I made the calculations a while back, but IIRC there's just enough XP rewarded by the fixed encouters to get a party to level four by the end of the first part.
Random encounters can add quickly to this, and they should happen fairly often. There's a ~31% chance of at least one random encounter per hex explored and camped into, unless I fail at basic probability (which is entirely possible).

My group had a slow start too. Things seemed to get faster once characters got to level 2 (which made a huge difference in exploration).

So unless your players like to rush things, they should be fine.


Synthesist Summoner with the Arcane Strike feat is probably the most gear independant character that comes to my mind. By level 5, there's not much you would truly need to be effective. (you already have pounce, fly, high saves and AC, good HP, magical attacks, situational summons, and a good selection of buffs/debuffs, what else would you want)

That said, I don't understand this thread. The game and APs are built around a number of assumptions, namely : 15 point buy, low to moderate system mastery and character optimization, and adequate wealth by level. While good players or DMs can and wil make games with low to no gear work, and they can certainly be flavorful, it's not specifically meant to be that way.

Or is this an exercise in theorycrafting, to see how much we can force Schrödinger Wizards to coelesce in an observable form ? If so, I will need more coffee.


To me, there's a huge difference between not being particularly intent on learning how to translate your character concept into a proper character sheet, with all the rules mastery it usually demands, and not being willing to learn how to use said character effectively in game.
While I'm fine with helping a player, even rather extensively, building a character and laying out options for him, not showing any interests for learning basic rules for combat, skill checks, etc is usually a sign of a complete disinterest for the game itself and should be discussed with the player.

On the other hand, if the player contributes meaningfully to the group, and slowly ramps up in the roleplay and/or rules mastery department, what's the problem exactly ? That the character isn't completely her own because it was built partly or mostly by someone else ? Why is it even a problem if she's okay with that and someone can do a better job at something she's just not interested in ? (And do note I'm not talking about the character concept itself, that absolutely still should come from the player)

In the end, you should definitely take the time to talk about all this with her, what are her motivations for playing the game, and what she and the rest of the group are willing to do to ensure everyone is having fun.

Spoiler:
For those of you that may be familiar with the rulesets, would you tell a Mekton Z or Heavy Gear player that he doesn't have the right to play the game because he's unwilling to spend the massive amount of time needed to learn how to build effective mechas for his character ? I mean, really ?


Dabbler wrote:
Of all the reasons for excluding somebody, this is the worst. If we never let in people who do not know the rules, we'd never get new players.

This.

There is no shame in having a character concept fleshed out by someone more knowledgeable of the rules. (In fact, it's usually a very good idea, because internal party balance is a very important thing to have in a group.)

Spoiler:

As an example, in my current gaming group, I have one rule-lover, character-tinkerer player, one with "standard" rule mastery, and two newer players that don't know all the rules yet.
Of those last two, one asks for regular advice on character building (that I gladly provide) and is getting up to speed on actual game mechanics, and the other is less interested by rules and has a character build by someone else with simplified options ("This is your attack bonus and damage with deadly aim already factored in, since it is almost always beneficial to use it"). Both still contributes meaningfully to the group, the campaign, and player dynamics.

That said, complete disinterest for rules AND no or few willingness to invest in games often reveal players either not really interested by our dearest way of spending time, or not finding their place in the gaming group. If such is the case here, it may be best to talk about it with the player directly rather than simply shun it.


As far as I remember, the consensus is that Augment Summoning does work on the summon eidolon spell. It is not applicable when using the normal ritual.

You need Resilient Eidolon if you plan to buy the "large" evolution, for the same reasons Barbarians take Raging Vitality.

I believe I made calculations at home a while back that showed that at lower levels Arcane Strike was better than Power Attack.

Improved Natural Attack will only provide marginal damage increase and can be replaced with something else without mourning.

If I may : be really careful when building your synthesist (and have someone else review your character for errors if you can). Synthesist is the most error prone class of all Pathfinder. I still catch involuntary mistakes on my player's Synthesist almost every level up. :D


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Step 1 : Realise that as a GM, it is easy to TPK any party whatsoever, without resorting to any kind of rule twisting, and that the true difficulty is to challenge players in meaningful ways without quite reaching said TPK.
Step 2 : Realise that internal party balance and player expectations disparity is what creates most problems around a table, not powergaming, and work toward ensuring consistency on those two fronts first.
Step 3 : ???
Step 4 : Profit.

Other than that, what Evil Lincoln said. The best way to deal with powergaming is to make sure everyone agrees on the same terms for the campaign at work. I found it's always what works best, since everyone agrees beforehand on what "fun" it will be rather than having bits of it stolen without warnings, until there's none left to be enjoyed.


I have an intense dislike of anything calling itself "low power" while still pretending to use the Pathfinder ruleset, because it usually breaks said ruleset very badly, often followed in its fall by the campaigns depending upon it. I will assume you know this.

Now, with such low stats, your best bet is to stay full synthesist, because it uses the eidolon physical stats instead of the character's. This will make you bypass most of the intended limitations. Whether it's a good or bad thing is left for you to decide. You wil need to focus on upping your charisma to at least 16 throughout the game to keep up with your spellcasting abilities.

As for a build direction, I'd focus on the "classic" melee synthesist monster : quadruped form, pounce, improvement to natural armor, Large form and flight as soon as able.

At first level, I'd take the Arcane Strike feat (you don't have much use for your swift action, and it will scale as you gain levels), the Mage Armor spell, and a Quadruped Eidolon with claws, pounce, and improved natural armor. Cast Mage Armor before combat, pounce, and shred the target. As you gain levels, simply focus on upping the effectiveness of this tactic, and you will find you can dismantle most things that does not have annoying DR. Focus mostly on buffing for spells, since it does not depend on a high charisma. You will also want the Resilient Eidolon feat quickly to avoid annoying deaths (I'd take it no later than level 3 in your case), but apart from that, you're mostly free to do whatever you want with your feats. Most of the punch comes from the Eidolon itself.

Do note this will likely make your GM cry once you're past level 5 or so, since even in "standard" games, this archetype is often seen as overpowered. I'd revel in it, but like I said, I'm partial in this matter.


My advice in short : listen to the Dudemeister. He is that awesome when it comes to Kingmaker.

Not-so-joking apart, most subsystems I've seen for mass combat implemented the notion of "Player Missions" to reconciliate the problems you describe. Dudemeister's way of doing it for Kingmaker is both simple and sound mechanically.

I like to think of it this way :
- If high-level characters attempt to whittle down an army, it will take a very long time, and they risk being swarmed (which the standard rules does not account for, but mass combat rules implicitly assume)
- If an army attempt to take on powerful characters, it will take massive casualties while doing so, and success is not guaranteed by their numbers.
I feel this approach helps explaining why armies are needed to defeat other armies, and why powerful characters need to confront other powerful characters. It also gives PCs much more heroic deeds to accomplish in the thick of battle, which is almost always a good thing.

So in your second example, it becomes "Your army clashes with the soldiers defending the keep, but as your men slowly advance, Drelev leading a small group of elite armored trolls charge from the inner keep. Your men cannot withstand such an assault, and already you can see them fall back. They need your help if you are to be victorious". Your PCs then bashes on Drelev (who quickly retreats) and his trolls in regular combat to sway the outcome of the mass combat.

And first example is more "Dozens of enemies already fell to your mighty blows, but such is their number that this barely slowed their advance. You either need to fall back or be engulfed by the horde. As you hesitate, your men boldly charge into battle, inspired by your display of martial prowess". And you go back from regular combat to mass combat.


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But, but...

No, okay. That's so unbelievably cool that it *will* be stolen for my campaign. Who cares if it overshadows other "boss" encounters ?


I agree I'm pushing it a bit with my blessed bandages jab, but the +4 to natural healing process is technically enhancing their natural healing. But I was half-joking anyway. Good catch about the fast healing details for construct type. Why not go for the same wording ?

I'd be wary about having a 5% arcane failure as a mage. It's the kind of thing that will bite at the worst of time, usually... But Dabbler as a fair point. The other abilities may very well be worth a feat tax, and it's not as severe in Pathfinder as in 3.5.

(I'm not familiar enough with the other races to give you a decent feedback on them, sorry. I can't see any glaring problems though.)


I echo the sentiment that the PDF is worth its price. It's a good consolidation of the various special Kingmaker rules.

Magic item economy has three potential problems :
- It can make the kingdom swimming in BP after a while, leading to very fast expansion. Whether or not this is deemed a problem is up to every GM.
- Once the players realize the potential of this approach, it can lead to absurd city building (lots of mostly empty district with caster towers, for example). A quick slap with any softcover Paizo product should keep this in check.
- If allowing withdrawal, players can demolish WBL expectations quickly. This is where things can get really wonky. Some GMs will adjust encounters accordingly and let players run with it, other will resort to hardcover paizo products to regulate abuse.

I can't tell a thing about mass combat, we're not far enough in the AP.


I think I'd word Unnatural as doesn't heal lethal damage naturally, period. Unless there is a precedent of a construct with fast healing or regeneration somewhere in the bestiary, I can't see warforged benefiting from such abilities. Besides, current wording allows me to slap blessed bandages on and get half natural healing, which I suppose is clearly not the intent. :)

Also, Composite Plating is not an advantage, it's a freaking feat tax. You more or less have to take one of the warforged special armor feat at level one to fit any given character concept. I'd like to see the feats included as alternate racial features instead, but effect on pricing and overall race balance could be more complicated to adjudicate, I guess.

Other than that, really good work, I like it a lot. It looks well balanced overall compared to, say, those stubborn dwarves and all their cool racial abilities. I've always been a fan of the warforged concept and execution, it's nice to see it revived like that.


SleepybotMonster, a synthesist doesn't use the save progression of it's Eidolon when fused. It's saves are those of its class, so bad progression for Fort and Ref and good progression for Will. Multiclassing works as usual (clarified in the FAQ), so you get your +3 to saves and +1 BAB for having two levels of monk.

I think there is a rule somewhere that forbids using natural attacks and unarmed attacks simultaneously, but I don't remember where. Maybe someone will chime in. You can use manufactured weapons with natural attacks, provided you have hands, and could flurry with it if you otherwise qualify for a flurry, AFAIK.

Similarly named bonuses never stack except if explicitly stated, so you're correct about the shield bonuses not stacking.

A good number of questions on the synthesist is answered here : http://paizo.com/paizo/faq/v5748nruor1fz.

You have to read the rules really carefully when making a synthesist, otherwise you quickly make errors. Wraithstrike and WRoy are so right when they say that nearly every synthesist has errors, that damn beast uses so many rules from everywhere it's almost impossible not to make any. :/


Echoing wraithstrike because it's one of, if not the most important thing as a DM : Being fair is OK. You should continue to do it.

This does not precludes enemies trying to act intelligently. For example, are they dumb enough to run over toward someone holding a spear ? It's obvious that they will be at a reach disadvantage and get hit. Also, as said, it's only one AoO per character (except if said character as taken Combat Reflexes and has a decent dex). So multiple opponents attacking the same character are likely to land some attacks before being mowed down.

But really, I only see things working as intended here. Good tactics and well-built characters are supposed to lead to success, and sometimes not being challenged because you did everything right is okay.

You said it was your first session with this group. It's normal to have a bit of issue with game balance, because you don't yet know how well your group will behave in combat. Now that you do, you will be able to better adjust opponents tactics, without having to resort to out of game knowledge. (For example, the first session of my recently started Kingmaker campaign was easy-mode for my players, second had 2 characters in negative and a fair share of damage spreaded accross all characters, because I now know where to set the difficulty cursor to challenge them.)

The only real advice I have to give though is to be careful about the internal balance of your group. If the other players are at a loss about their characters or how to play them effectively, don't hesitate to offer them some advice about how to build them or usable tactics, to keep them in line with more knowledgeable players. This will improve group dynamics over time. The trick is doing this without holding their hands too much, otherwise they'll never do it by themselves... But it's part of the fun of being a GM.


Thanks Thalin. I understand where you're coming from, and I'd be the first the say that the Synthesist is maybe a bit too powerful. But broken ? Persistent spell cheese with 3.5 clerics was broken. Dwarf Bear Warrior/Fist of the Forest/Deepwarden were not, merely brutal, and the synthesist is along the same line.

It does not escape action economy, and there's still more than one way to shut a synthesist down or hamper it seriously. It will however bring painful tears to inexperienced or unimaginative GMs, or the ones that think that internal character balance in a given group of players is not one of their duty. (if you have a player with system mastery in a group and three others that do not, you better be helping them building their characters, otherwise your campaign will have problems very quickly.)

I hope I doesn't come off as too blunt. I respect your views on this matter, I just disagree with the broken status. The thing where I do heartily agree though is that the 3.x line has a problem reconciliating the imperative of full-attacking with the necessity of mobility, especially at higher levels, and the dreaded pounce ability is not the good solution when only a few melee classes get it.


Both ideas are excellent suggestions. I'll ponder a bit on this, and discuss it with my player too. We'll see what's more interesting or practical, even though I'm tempted to go with both : tracking injury for the Eidolon, and not allowing rest and refit without dismissal. But I still need to think about it.

Also, yes, part of why I bring up this point is because I don't think we discussed temporary hp, and I wouldn't want to leave shadowy zones in an otherwise truly excellent variant rule (I think we left the realm of a mere house rule a while ago). Like I said, I can't think of any other case other than the synthesist that would cause problem though, so it's probably fine as is.

I'll let you know how it turns out in play. Thanks for the help.


The PDF looks great ! Incredible work so far.

Our Kingmaker campaign is now launched, but as next saturday will only be the second session, it's still a bit early to give some interesting feedback. I'm not forgetting this thread though !

I also have a question, and I'm not sure it has been addressed before here. One of my player is playing a synthesist. The fused Eidolon gives its HP as temporary HP, and in the core rules, they are not supposed to be healed through any other means than the rejuvenate Eidolon spell line. It's interesting because usually, temporary hp are given through spells or other similar effects, and are truly "temporary", but the Eidolon suit is different in that it's meant to have staying power.
I have two options here : either saying it's to be healed with spells, and we're back to the wand dilemma (but with lesser rejuvenate eidolon instead of CLW) or saying its strain, and making the Synthesist even more of a powerhouse. I'm leaning toward the latter, but would be interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter.
It's clearly a corner case, and one I'm curious to see how it will unfold as levels get higher.

Fake edit : third possibility, only the hp of the summoner are strain damage, and the temporary hp are regained at the beginning of each day. (houseruling the fact that eidolons get back to full hp the next day if "killed" but not if dismissed. A fair share of players will just whack its eidolon head on a tree before sleeping to get it back to full "artificially", heh)


Nobody said the synthesist is a weak archetype. In fact, everyone here agree to say its a very powerful class. Few view it as truly broken though, and DPR thought experiments and actual gameplay both show this to be a more than defensible position. I can't see what more you do want.

That said, the posted build confuses me to no end. I know you said it was done quickly, but at this point errors are just throwing oil on the fire... :/

1) Where is Steely Resolve from ? The only feat I can find close enough is "Steel Soul".
2) The synthesist archetype on the PRD says "The eidolon has no skills or feats of its own." That means it does not have skills or feats of its own, unless I can't read, so exit toughness and Skill Focus and Skill ranks.
3) How do you get saves that high ? Baseline for 10th level is +3/+3/+7, which gets to +12/+12/+15 when factoring the given stats and shielded meld.
4) I'm not getting the same results for damage either. 30 str is +10 damage with multiple natural attack, +3 for PA, +1 for Greater Magic Fang, so +14. Where does the rest come from ?


Mandatory xkcd link.

But yes, it is annoying.


See, that's what you get by posting quickly while at work. (Note to self : Don't do it anymore.* )

I am not meaning it in a derogatory sense either, but fully in the meaning Evil Lincoln puts so much more clearly into words.
I second (and often play with) E6 as a possible way of mitigating this somewhat (though not necessarily either. You can play E6 games with a very high power feeling.)

@chobemaster : I could note that I used super-human deliberately and delve into the barren lands of semantics debate, but as that would be immensely silly and since I get your point, let's agree to disagree. :)

(* Answer from self : not gonna happen.)


*gives Kthulhu a Cthulhu-shaped, internet-flavored cookie*

With that very important thing taken care of, I think I'd go with the perception rules too. It's one of the more... curious design in the current available rules.

Oh, and yes, Pathfinder is about playing characters with super-human powers. As Evil Lincoln, I feel sorry for anyone not noticing such a glaring fact.


No problem. My player took this pdf out of curiosity, and 90% of what's in there would probably make the synthesist broken beyond recognition if allowed. I had a funny face almost all the time when reading most of the feats in there. :D

I seriously begin to think that most people complaining about the synthesist alleged brokenness (this is not the first thread about it, and certainly not the last) are really complaining about something else entirely. Namely, internal character balance in a given group, and expected playstyle and system mastery (which I will admit can be a tough beast to wrestle). The synthesist only make this painfully obvious.


I agree that posting the build could help this discussion, because the synthesist is certainly powerful, but hardly broken.

As already said though, the problem with this archetype is that it's very very hard to do a crappy character with it, a situation rather unique in Pathfinder.
Wizards, Clerics or even Barbarians all have the potential to be at least as effective (powerful, if you wish) than a synthesist, but it demands much more system mastery from the player. This ease of building can quickly lead to the synthesist overshadowing every other characters, especially in groups with newer players or, uh, those ignorant of the Storwind Fallacy. Coupled with murky wording and rules for the synthesist archetype, and thus lots of mistakes, it gets ugly fast.

@Wraithstrike : I can at least help with the third party feat "Giant Step" (one of my player is playing a synthesist and took the 3rd party pdf this feat is in). It gives a large Eidolon the ability to take a 10 ft step instead of a 5 ft one... The two other I don't know about.


You have plenty of answers on the rules for animal companion already, but I would second the idea of letting a player buy a combat trained horse to give a horse animal companion combat training early, exchanging 110 gp for six early tricks.
Cavalier and Samourai get for free combat training and light armor proficiency for their mount, which otherwise follows animal companion rules, at level one. Giving early combat training to your ranger's mount this way will also help prevent totally legit but extremely silly solutions such as buying a couple heavy warhorses (statistically superior for a ranger level 4, and maybe 5) to use for six weeks while teaching his animal companion the six tricks it needs to be used the same way.

Then, we still have the muddy trenches of the int 3 animal companion, rulewise, but regardless of how you decide to handle that, your ranger should still definitely do it with his animal companion first stat bump.


BlackKestrel wrote:
Actually the classes are open content per page 87 of the IKCG

Good catch ! I retract my statement. :)

Only the fluff text is not OGL, all other general class description and mechanics are in fact open content. I checked my Liber Mechanika too, but apparently the revised Arcane Mechanik in there is not OGL, unless everything in there is OGL, which I doubt, but I may have missed something (again). In any case, it's not a problem from a conversion standpoint.

Incidentally, the last line in every legal disclaimer of Privateer Press, at least for IK books and No Quarter magazines, makes them the best legal disclaimers ever. :P


You don't need Improve Eldritch Heritage, but you do need Skill Focus as a prerequisite. Rereading the Sylvan Bloodline though, it says the animal companion replaces both your first level power and your bloodline arcana, which means I'm not convinced anymore the Eldritch way to get an Animal Companion is legal. Meh.

You can also get a full mount animal companion with four levels of cavalier and the feat Horse Master.

blackbloodtroll, you mean the Cleric and Inquisitor can get an animal companion as alternate class abilities ? Which archetypes are used ? Or is it domains ?


Eldritch Heritage (Sylvan Bloodline) + Boon Companion will give you an almost full level animal companion for the cost of three feats.

Other than Leadership and the combination above, I don't know of any way of getting an animal companion outside of a class ability.


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Anything that steals away player control on their character I can only view as a bad thing, because it's the *only* thing players have full control on in the gaming world. Unless every player around the table is OK with restrictive (*) stat generation, I would be careful about using those kind of alternative.

When doing stat generation, regardless of the actual savor (usually 4d6 drop lowest), to alleviate the common woe of the player having rolled very poorly while others have good to very good stats, I record the stat arrays of every players, and let them choose whichever they want.

Incidentally, the more "old school" or "hardcore" a GM whishes to be, the more min-maxing he risks to elicit among its players. Because character deaths are usually not fun if it occurs because of random kobold #3 or Generic_Deathly_Trap_of_Doom_42 only because of poor stats or ignored WBL (for example), anything that detracts players from the sense of empowerment that is usually assumed to come with the process of gaining levels in Pathfinder will tempt them to play the system to its limit in order to get what they want (generally, some form of successful character).

Edit : I'm unclear on one point : I mean that you should consult your players about the playstyle you wish for your campaign *before* deviating from the default assumption of Pathfinder, not that lower powered or harsher games are inherently wrong. If everyone agrees, then no problem.

(*) Yes, restrictive. PF assumption is 15 point buy.


Diego Rossi wrote:
I use houserules that reduce the BP produced by the magic economy.

I'd be very interested to know the new values you are using. My players will probably quickly find the advantages of magic economy, and I'm trying to come with adjustments before I have to start handwaving things.

As an alternative to the BP reduction, I wonder if limiting the number of buildings "generating" magic items or the item slots of a town could do it. Did someone already tried this ?


It's OGL, so readily available online on the old SRD.

And it's far from a bad idea, in fact. I remember generic classes as being overall weaker than standard classes, but for a Skyrim-themed game, I can definitely see this work.


Gestalt E6/E7 (with optional reduced progression for second class) ?


My Eberron geography is quite blurry and I don't have maps at hand, but it would work fine I think.

You could take most of the locations/encounters in Kingmaker 1 and 2 and reuse them without too much trouble. Mainly changing locations and flavour where appropriate, mostly.

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