|Paizo Pathfinder® Paizo Games|
|About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ|
Then it gets more complicated.
If the fighter/druid starts wild shaping into elementals, that's a giveaway, but not all druids have that. Depending on build they might notably favour a particular type of weapon. If you're sharp you might suss out that a fighter/druid doesn't have as much mundane skill as you'd expect from a hunter with similar martial and magical skill.
Now, I'm not saying that people in-world will always be able to figure out each others' class or classes. But they should be able to recognize and describe notable abilities or differences in skill set, to a good extent.
Ryan Freire wrote:
They're both heavy armor, martial weapon wielding divine warriors who can heal with a touch, have access to spells from their divine patron, and can enhance their weapons (and/or armor) with divine might. There's even an antipal archetype that lets you go LE. No, it seems like the real beef is there's no convenient way to get Cha to attack, damage, saves, and AC via CG paladin of desna.
So I was trying to stay out of this, but I just failed a will save.
I am getting really annoyed with this Shooting Star nonsense, because I've been arguing for a non-LG Cha-based holy warrior for years. It's my biggest issue with the warpriest. I don't really care whether they have full BAB, but a Wis-based character is thematically very different from a Cha-based one. It changes what skills the character is likely to be good at and affects how I see a character's personality. I re-built a Paladin character as an Inquisitor a while back largely because I didn't see them as a Charisma-based character. Almost a year before Shooting Star came out I was arguing that a bloodrager/oracle made a better paladin substitute than a warpriest, because it's charisma-based.
But now we can't have a Cha-based CG holy warrior because this one Cha-based fighting style would make Desnans OP?
High Cha, low Wis holy warriors devoted to Cayden can't exist because DESNA?
Level does make it harder, but not impossible - at least as long as you get the chance to observe them over different contexts and get a good sense of several of their capabilities.
A level 2 hunter is about as good in combat as a level 1 ranger - and can also cast spells, unlike a rookie ranger.
A level 11 ranger is a better caster than a low-level hunter, but their combat skills are legendary, which sets them apart pretty sharply from low-to-mid level hunters.
And you can be a hunter without being a Hunter.
But let's say we have a pair of twins, Rose (class Ranger) and Hazel (class Hunter). Both use a longbow and have a hunting dog companion, and both describe themselves as "hunters." People might not care about categorizing these twins based on their slightly different skill sets, but they might very well be interested in describing the differences between the twins. In which case, how would they do it?
"Well, Rose is a better shot, and she's at her best when hunting the magical beasts in yonder woods, but she can only handle a few simple spells. Hazel's got a more magical talent, and she's a terror when fighting with her dog, but she's not as formidable on her own."
EDIT: Though, OP, I'm a little unclear on why Paizo's descriptions of the classes aren't enough.
For those who relish the thrill of the hunt, there are only predators and prey. Be they scouts, trackers, or bounty hunters, rangers share much in common: unique mastery of specialized weapons, skill at stalking even the most elusive game, and the expertise to defeat a wide range of quarries. Knowledgeable, patient, and skilled hunters, these rangers hound man, beast, and monster alike, gaining insight into the way of the predator, skill in varied environments, and ever more lethal martial prowess. While some track man-eating creatures to protect the frontier, others pursue more cunning game—even fugitives among their own people.
Role: Ranger are deft skirmishers, either in melee or at range, capable of skillfully dancing in and out of battle. Their abilities allow them to deal significant harm to specific types of foes, but their skills are valuable against all manner of enemies.
Hunters are warriors of the wilds that have forged close bonds with trusted animal companions. They focus their tactics on fighting alongside their companion animals as a formidable team of two. Able to cast a wide variety of nature spells and take on the abilities and attributes of beasts, hunters magically improve both themselves and their animal companions.
Role: Hunters can adapt their tactics to many kinds of opponents, and cherish their highly trained animal companions. As a team, the hunter and her companion can react to danger with incredible speed, making them excellent scouts, explorers, and saboteurs.
If you're looking for world-specific roles for the classes then it might indeed be difficult to differentiate the two because despite some differences in focus they do fill very similar in-world roles. I wouldn't, for example, expect to see an organization that would accept members of the Ranger class but not members of the Hunter class.
I don't think it's too good to exist. It doesn't overcome DR/adamantine, /alignment, /epic, or /-. I'd rather have a +3 weapon (overcomes cold iron and silver) than a +1 weapon that can overcome cold iron, silver, slashing, bludgeoning, or piercing DR types, especially if the second weapon takes a standard action to activate.
So it's definitely worth less than a +2 equivalent property or +16,000gp.
I think _Ozy_ is right that +1 or 8-10K is appropriate. If balance is a concern then the +1 is a steeper cost as it remains relevant as you level.
Interestingly, an Intelligent weapon could gain the ability to cast a 3rd level spell like Versatile Weapon once per day for +6000gp, or three times per day for +18000gp; it would use its own action to do so.
You can deliver a touch spell like Touch of Combustion using a claw attack, but it takes a new standard action to make the attack roll instead of being a "free" touch with the casting of the spell.
Magic, Holding the Charge wrote:
If you don’t discharge the spell in the round when you cast the spell, you can hold the charge indefinitely. You can continue to make touch attacks round after round. If you touch anything or anyone while holding a charge, even unintentionally, the spell discharges. If you cast another spell, the touch spell dissipates. You can touch one friend as a standard action or up to six friends as a full-round action. Alternatively, you may make a normal unarmed attack (or an attack with a natural weapon) while holding a charge. In this case, you aren’t considered armed and you provoke attacks of opportunity as normal for the attack. If your unarmed attack or natural weapon attack normally doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity, neither does this attack. If the attack hits, you deal normal damage for your unarmed attack or natural weapon and the spell discharges. If the attack misses, you are still holding the charge.
The Disarming Threat deed is intended to negate the following penalty from the Intimidate skill:
Influence Opponent’s Attitude wrote:
After the intimidate expires, the target treats you as unfriendly and may report you to local authorities.
I don't think it's intended to be possible to improve a target's attitude from hostile to unfriendly by intimidating them. Therefore I I don't think Disarming Threat is intended to let you improve someone's attitude from hostile to indifferent.
I might let you get away with it once or twice at table if I thought it was interesting and you roleplayed well, but I'd see that as "bending the rules for the sake of fun."
Not all interparty conflict is full on GoT-style PvP, though.
If you tell people that all conflict is bad then they might freak out about minor disagreements. I have been there. It is not fun.
In the guide, I would probably open the section on interparty conflict with something like this:
"Pathfinder is generally a cooperative game. Most groups will want to avoid player-versus-player situations where one PC is attacking, stealing from, sabotaging, or otherwise harming another PC. However, it's still common for party members to come into conflict due to different goals, tactics, or personalities. In these situations, it's important to communicate out of character and try to find a compromise that keeps all the players happy - even if their characters don't all get what they want!"
Then you can give some general guidelines for conflict resolution plus specific tips about "what my character would do," ethical dilemmas, tactical lone wolves, dealing with differing playstyles, etc.
bitter lily wrote:
The problem, now that I'm reading things through, is that I don't have anything to add. I'm grateful to you all for all of your encouragement! Weirdo, I especially want to thank you for your cts recently. Very clear & helpful.
I'm glad! The paladin class can be a bit intimidating but it can also be a lot of fun - I hope you and your players enjoy it.
To begin with, in my experience, most people that say they want a paladin type character - actually want to do things that a warpriest or inquisitor is better equipped to do.
That's how my paladin turned into a LG inquisitor. I wanted to play an honourable and self-sacrificing divine knight. Then I realized I wanted the knight to be well-read, a good judge of character, and not all that confident - so not a Cha-based class with 2 skills/level and Aura of Courage but a Wis-based class with 6 skills/level and features like Monster Lore and Stern Gaze. I've got a couple more paladin concepts in the wings but I'm glad that I found the right class for Sir Landeval...
I agree that class distinctions should be a lot fuzzier in-world. Archetypes in particular make it hard to distinguish classes based on individual features - for example there's a ranger archetype that grants animal focus.
Probably the clearest distinction would be that a hunter has a stronger mystical connection to nature (ie more magic) than a ranger - though not as much as a druid.
General rule: If a class ability modifies your spellcasting, it applies to your spells from all classes, not just spells from the class that grants the ability. (The exception is if the class ability specifically says it only applies to spells from that class.)
Occult Adventures wrote:
When Phrenic Amplifications refers to "psychic magic" and "psychic spell," is it restricting the use of the ability to (1) spells from the psychic class or (2) psychic magic generally, as opposed to arcane or divine magic.
I refer you to the Forge of Combat guide on combat roles, and Ashiel's Guide to Adventure for gear suggestions. You can summarize some key ideas and direct readers to the original sources for more in-depth commentary.
I would emphasize the importance of making sure everyone is on the same page about what they expect from the game. In addition to the more obvious things like game genre, tone, or amount of combat vs social challenges, it may be helpful to discuss things like "how will we settle rules disputes?" or "how much control do I expect over how my character develops over the campaign?" or "do I think it's important for the campaign to have a happy ending?" This reference list may be useful in helping people to figure out what, exactly, they need to enjoy a game.
Definitely talk about issues OOC rather than using IC interactions to express frustration.
Finally, it's important to remember that your character is not you, but they are under your control. As others have said, that means that if something your character is doing really bugs other players, you have the ability to fix that. Think about why your character might do something else - if necessary, ask the party for help. On the other hand, if another PC does something contrary to your character's wishes, don't take that as a personal insult or attack.
So the rogue's antics are bugging the paladin, but that doesn't mean that the rogue's player is trying to undermine the paladin's player. If it escalates it's time to check in OOC, agree on boundaries for bickering that both players are comfortable with, and maybe come up with an in-character reason for the characters to tolerate each other. Similarly, the dwarf cleric's player might think that their character's prejudice requires them to kill the goblin babies, but if the rest of the group isn't comfortable with that then maybe the dwarf can reluctantly back down if the paladin makes a sacred oath placing the goblins under his protection, or their friend the gnome bard tearfully reveals that her dear granny was a goblin raised in a Sarenrite orphanage.
While it's important to emphasize that it's a cooperative game, it's possible to warn players against party conflict too strongly. You don't want people to think that any disagreement means that someone is "not being a team player" and has to be brought in line.
You might also take a look at 11 Ways to be a better roleplayer.
The only problem would be using your spell like blast/kinetic blade while raging but I know there are ways around that.
I think the only work-around would be to take the Moment of Clarity and Perfect Clarity rage powers, then get fatigue immunity in order to rage cycle do you can use Moment of Clarity every round. Note this uses your swift action.
Normally I'd suggest a bloodrager with Mad Magic but that works on spells, specifically, not spell-like abilities like kinetic blast.
Doesn't blade adept arcanist just give you spellstrike, not spell combat, and that at 5th level minimum?
Correct. While Blade Adept//Inspired Blade is still a very versatile combination with compatible stat requirements and some ability synergy, it doesn't have a magus' action economy.
Panoply savant is another archetype you might look at, given that you're using a panoply.
The problem with Panoply Savant is that it requires you to take the Panoply before taking any non-panoply related implements. That means for Warrior that your first implement that isn't Transmutation, Abjuration, or Trappings comes online at level 6. For me, I needed Conjuration before that.
Might work for Nixitur if he can retrain his level 7 PC and doesn't mind replacing one of his current implement schools (to get it again at level 10).
Chromantic Durgon, I don't mind you replying line-by-line. I usually do it myself, but it's getting to be too many lines for me to handle.
I don't think Occultist is a great name for the class either, but it's still within the realm of "magical or supernatural" and Outside Contact is reminiscent of previous' archetypes outsider-stuff. Doing extra damage to something, like filling it with fear and doubt, is also "a cause of great distress or annoyance." Again, in this case these words are consistent with general usage as compared to consistent with some specific in-game meaning.
I don't like how evil spells are handled in PF either but it does give us some hints as to likely RAI.
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
Ah, this is my fault. I meant to refer to the action of consuming a creature's body or life force in order to achieve a magical effect. Again, Blood Drinker, Cook People, and Death Knell, the last of which notably does not require a sentient victim.
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
well the blasphemous bit of the item does seem to be calling back to the divination animal organs function/trope, a none aligned trope.
Divination with animal organs is non-aligned BUT it's also something that makes much more sense when associated with sacred concepts than with profane/blasphemous ones, in the dictionary definitions of those words. If the item was non-aligned I would expect it to be a "baleful knife used in bloody sacrifice with a sacred command word" or even a "baleful knife used in bloody sacrifice with an occult command word."
Isabelle Lee wrote:
That was also my thinking, when I raised the question about how to handle the armour.
But reading the precise wording I believe that since the wording of the FAQ is "mithral armor allows its wearer to use it when her own class features or special abilities demand her to wear lighter armor" it does not change the category of the armour when her own class features demand her to wear heavier armor.
Does that affect your thinking?
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
in the nicest possible way, do you think you could use less URLs in your posts, its making replying to them very confusing.
I can try to suppress my strong urge to cite sources.
Similarly, I'm finding it difficult to reply to things line by line so if I can instead summarize:
"Occult" basically means "supernatural or magical," often dealing with spiritual entities including what in PF would be termed Outsiders. Prior to Occult Adventures standardizing the PF meaning of the term, there was also a Dimensional Occultist witch archetype that got planar binding and contact other plane. So that's consistent. Bane is "a cause of great distress or annoyance" which fits with a spell that "fills your enemies with fear and doubt."
Yes, there used to be some confusion over whether evil spells are evil actions. Since I don't know how else to demonstrate that, here is a single link to a previous debate. The argument boiled down to "Of course casting [evil] spells is evil! It's right on the tin!" versus "But why would casting an [evil] spell make you more evil when casting a [fire] spell doesn't make you more fiery?"
Which is why I don't have faith that they'd remember to put the [evil] tag on the knife. They could have thought it was obvious in context.
I do not think that the fact that the word blasphemy only occurs in reference to the third power indicates that only that power is evil. That is because my argument is not based on a strict literal reading of the text ("Blasphemy means evil so the part of the item that is described as blasphemous is the evil part") but instead the idea that the author's use of words like "blasphemy" indicate their general image of the item as they wrote it.
Eating a heart is not always evil, just like the word blasphemy is not always used to mean something evil. However, in PF both the word and the action occur more commonly in evil than non-evil contexts.
It could be an exception, but in that case it is a misleading exception. You could make a non-evil item that has a blasphemous command word but what is the point? What does it add to the item? Is there any reason why someone would write an item designed to be really "nasty" sounding and not make it evil? If the point is that nasty =/= evil, then shouldn't it draw attention to the fact that the knife isn't actually evil? Especially given that the most common association with handling a sacrificial victim's "still-beating" heart is the Aztec human sacrifice and not divinations using animal organs?
Personally, if I intended PCs to be able to use this item without moral repercussions, I would have added a sidebar saying "despite its current use as a tool of human sacrifice the blade is not inherently evil and can be used on animals."
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
given most the examples you gave literally didn't exist at the time of writing I'd say that its pretty likely he wasn't aware of them. there was 6 years between that dagger and that spell...
I think you're looking at Mythic Blasphemy, which is new. The Blasphemy spell goes back to the 3E Core Rulebook. As do Holy vs Unholy weapons and water and sacred and profane bonuses. It's a bit harder for me to find other uses of the word "blasphemy" in the rest of 3E because most of the rules aren't online (at least officially) and google searches keep going back to the spell - which is apparently infamous as a party-killer - with a detour to the Fiend of Blasphemy prestige class for evil outsiders.
These are not minor, fringe things. It's not a handful of independent authors. It's a trend. Words like Bane and Occultist are used in a variety of places, but always used in a way that is consistent with their general useage. Blasphemy, Unholy, and Profane are used in a lot of places in ways that are similar, but contrary to their dictionary definition. That makes it noteworthy.
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
How could you say I'm giving Paizo too much credit for consistency and still expect that they be consistent enough to write down somewhere "blasphemous things are typically evil aligned"? Especially when they have in the past dragged their heels on officially confirming things like "casting [evil] spells is an evil act"?
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
You can blaspheme against anything sacred and evil things can be sacred so I'm just gonna go with. Could be anything.
You can blaspheme against anything. But you can't blaspheme against nothing - any specific action of blasphemy has blaspheme against a particular sacred thing. (Note here that we're using the dictionary definition of sacred, not the pathfinder definition.)
And when people use words, they are usually trying to communicate. So what do you think the author was trying to communicate by using that word? "This effect is blasphemous against... something. Could be anything, I'm not going to be specific"? Or "this weapon is evil, like the well-known spell Blasphemy"?
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
You know how they could have communicated that the weapon was evil? By saying so, in the rules, take your example of an unholy weapon for example, a explicitly evil item not exactly hard to communicate that if you want to. But they didn't. Normally when an item has a clear simple consistent none problematic function people don't go hunting through the flavor text to try and work out another secret intended version of the weapon.
A simple clear non problematic function doesn't include the requirement that you kill a helpless creature to activate the item. Given that effects with similar requirements are often evil, and the word "blasphemy" is often used in the context of evil magic, it makes sense to look at the item and say "hang on, is it possible this was intended to be evil aligned?" Yes, it should have been explicit. But I think odds are decent that if one of the developers bothered to look at this item they would say, like with the action of casting an [evil] spell, "oh, yeah, that's supposed to be evil."
Now, maybe you don't care. If you prefer the weapon to be non-aligned, that's fine. I agree that it's a bit sadistic of the AP author to write a horrific disease into the adventure in a place where the party wouldn't be able to access a cure, and then add a cure in the form of an evil-aligned item.
What I don't agree with is telling the OP that they should use the RAW version of the item even if they think the RAI is different and even if they think that their interpretation of RAI would improve their game.
Elder Pyrausta does seem balanced as a 7th level familiar.
With Improved Familiars the special abilities tend to be more important than the CR. Without something like constant Detect Evil or At-Will Invisibility or truespeech it's not going to overshadow top choices like Imps or Lyrakien (Cha 20!). And the pseudodragon's Blindsense and Telepathy still make them competitive with the Elder Pyrausta. Remember that Pyrausta familiars lose fast healing.
I think if I had a player who wanted one I'd tell them to take a normal Pyrausta with Improved Familiar at 3rd level and age it to an Elder at 7th.
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
It's not just the one spell. You follow the first link, you'll see the word "Blasphemous" associated with the Book of the Damned (a compilation of evil outsiders) as well as a variety of specific devils, demons, and other fiends, and a handful of other evil creatures such as Minotaurs and Heracite, "a particularly blasphemous form of undead created via an obscure ritual of sacrifice, wherein a priest of an evil god offers up at least five worshipers of a nonevil deity to her own deity."
Similarly, a Holy Weapon is good-aligned while an Unholy Weapon is evil-aligned, Holy Water damages evil outsiders while Unholy Water damages good outsiders, "a sacred bonus (or penalty) stems from the power of good" while "a profane bonus (or penalty) stems from the power of evil," and Consecrate is a [good] spell, while Desecrate is an [evil] spell. It's a pretty strong pattern probably influenced by the Christian tradition in which evil is not an equal power but a corruption of good - and I agree it's not really appropriate in Golarion's mythology, but it's how the books are written.
I did find two instances of "blasphemy" being used in a way that is not associated with evil: the Godless Voids in Horror Adventures (created by blasphemy in general, can be aligned in non-evil directions) and the Totem of Angazhan. Notably, both of these are (a) newer than the usages of blasphemy as evil (b) newer than Crown of the Kobold King and (c) indicate a target of the blasphemy. Destroying the totem is explicitly blasphemy against Angazhan. The Godless Void can be created by "churches that fell from grace through the blasphemous deeds of corrupted worshipers" which implies that good-aligned godless voids could involve the blasphemy of evil churches against their own patrons. The description also states that "Good-aligned godless voids, or those aligned to law or chaos, are less common" than evil-aligned voids which suggests that the writers are aware that blasphemy is generally evil and don't want to entirely subvert that pattern.
So while it's possible for something to be blasphemous and not evil, it seems somewhat unlikely that the author would have been unaware of this context throughout PF and dating back to 3E, or that he would use that charged word casually in the description of a creepy but un-aligned sacrificial knife - because if it's not using "blasphemous" in the general PF sense of evil magic, who is it blaspheming against?
But why is it baseless?
The reason it's called evil is because it LOOKS/FEELS evil without any tangible concrete evidence that it is.
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
the lack of anything legitimate to base it on. The closest anyone's got is it says baleful in the description.
Ok, this is specific enough to work with. And to be even more specific, I think it's more an argument about whether there is evidence that RAI in this case is different from the RAW rather than that RAI doesn't matter.
Now, I agree that just because something feels evil isn't good grounds to conclude that it is evil / is meant to be evil (see again: Blood of the Martyr). However:
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
In Golorian the term Blasphemous is completely un aligned, you can blaspheme against Lamashtu as easily as Torag. Given the dagger has no religious alignment I find it extremely difficult to work out what it actually wants from the user to qualify as blasphemous.
This is not true. If you search the rulebooks, you find Blasphemy is pretty exclusively associated with evil creatures and magic. Prime example: the spell Blasphemy, an evil-aligned spell that serves as the mirror to Holy Word.
No, I meant Purge Corruption for the second bit. The problem is it's competing with Mind's Eye as a Focus Power, and Extra Focus Power is competing with Craft Arms & Armour.
We do have access to NPCs with Remove Disease - I'm not expecting to need it in the field much if at all, and if we do we should be able to make do with some combination of UMD'd scrolls or infusions. Neutralize Poison is more of an issue, but I've been in parties without access to that spell, and we've done OK.
And not only does everyone except the psychic has a good base Fort save - we're all dwarves.
@Gisher - Yup, I picked Size Alteration partly with the intent of using it on animals. Didn't think about combining it with Servitor, though - thanks for the idea!
@Nixitur - Danger Sight over Flesh Mend, got it.
Re: Purge Corruption, Neutralize Poison is 4th level for alchemists, so they don't get it until level 10. Otherwise I'd agree it's not worth the feat with an alchemist in the party. As-is it's still tempting to just take Delay Poison and stock up on antitoxin.
I'll keep Energy Shield in mind but I'll probably only take Extra Focus Power once - I also want one or two crafting feats and maybe some actual combat feats. In previous games I've gotten pretty good mileage out of Resist Energy.
Wow, thanks for all the suggestions and sorry for the delay getting back to the thread.
I'm leaning towards Divination at 2, Abjuration at 6, Trappings at 10. We spend fewer rounds in combat than average, so Sudden Insight would be a decent way for me to buff my to-hit.
Shadow Beast is pretty cool, but I'm not confident we'll get to 9th level. I might consider it instead of Trappings at 10 depending on how I'm feeling about combat. Presumably it's possible to make a melee occultist without Trappings.
Focus powers would probably be:
On top of the psychic and alchemist (a ranged build but with OK defenses) we've got two switch-hitters: a geokineticist and a ranger. While I want to contribute in melee, I'm not the party's primary damage-dealer or the only person standing between the enemy and a bunch of squishies.
I have Extra Mental Focus as my 1st level feat.
I'm already Sword & Boarding as a thematic preference. This makes Trappings more attractive and makes Abjuration less necessary in the short term (since I don't need the Shield spell).
I'm expecting a slightly lower than usual WBL but with reliable access to specific items through crafting, and generous application of the custom item rules to make multi-powered items or even re-slot things.
I did look carefully at Haunt Collector but wasn't sold on the thematics, and also was uncertain about which implement to Haunt -
Quentin Coldwater wrote:
How are you spending your spells compared to your Mental Focus? That's basically the question you need to answer every time you get a new Implement. You said you didn't have enough Mental Focus, so I suggest you go look at which spells you like more.
I think Divination - it has a better range of utility spells. Illusion has Invisibility (which is great but something I could access from the alchemist, psychic, or items), spells with DCs (need more Int), and a couple different ways to get a miss chance in combat (nice, but I'd prefer utility).
Evil spells are... weird. I think you can justify them in a variety of ways but it really depends on whether you use deontological or consequentialist ethics, and how much you think a player should be in control of the character's actions.
Some people - Rysky? - are just fine with "evil spells draw on evil powers, so they're evil, end of story."
Others like Chromantic Durgon feel that what should matter is what you do with a spell and that it can't be evil to heal an innocent person even if you use the power of hell to do it. One way to deal with this is to add some clear metaphysical consequence to using these spells, eg "every time you cast Infernal Healing it strengthens Asmodeus' power to influence the material plane." Consequentialists might feel justified to use the spell in an emergency, but there's a clear reason why they wouldn't want to do so lightly.
As already discussed the temptation interpretation is an option (with or without mechanics) but YMMV on whether weakening the player's control over their character's future actions is a good thing.
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
by saying the knife doesn't say its evil, nor does the magic used to make it, nor does the language describing it I thought it was obvious I was suggesting I prioritized a RAW argument. Thats why I said that the RAI argument is baseless.
But why is it baseless?
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
I like this idea. To work best the creature would have to be clearly evil enough that the character could justify killing them, but also clearly redeemable such that they should be able to guess that Sarenrae would want them to show mercy.
Chromantic Durgon, I can understand why you are frustrated but you are no longer adding anything to the discussion.
We've already agreed that the knife doesn't explicitly say it's evil or that it requires a sentient sacrifice. We are currently arguing about the intent. If you want to add to that discussion - or argue that the RAW matters more than the intent - go ahead. Don't just repeat that the knife doesn't say it's evil.
Also, your analogies are not identifying the real issues involved in this situation. In particular:
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
animals can be intelligent sentient beings, why is killing them to live any less evil than killing an evil person?
The general assumption in PF is that animals are not sentient beings, with a few fringe exceptions (eg animal companions with an Int increase). Even awakened animals change type to "magical beast." The game and indeed the majority of real-world moral thinking does value human(oid) lives more than animals. I don't think that you can productively argue against that assumption in this forum.
So what is it about sacrifice that makes it more evil than other forms of killing? Is execution of a helpless creature OK?
A rather gruesome method of sacrifice that involved you eating the person's heart.
Why does something being "gruesome" make it evil? Is slicing someone up with a pair of daggers more evil than shooting them with a pistol? Is burning someone alive with a fireball more evil than disintegrating them? Is acid damage more evil than cold damage?
I'm a bit averse to the idea that nothing in the game can happen that might change the character as you envisioned it before the start, but that's a matter of preference so if you don't like it, I won't do it.
For me, there are some things about my character I'm OK with changing and some things I'm not OK with changing. Usually I prefer to see my character change in ways I see as positive - such as discarding prejudice or gaining attachments, responsibilities, or self confidence. I am generally not interested in "fall arcs" - I find them depressing.
Replying to WormysQueue separately because it's a long post...
No, my main concern really is whether you're confident the player will be on board with however you decide to run this. I know at least two players whose main motivation is to tell an interesting story with lots of emotional character-forming moments, and who would be perfectly happy to either have their character either sacrifice themselves or descend into evil. One of those those players might even be disappointed to be handed a completely consequence-free option like a scroll. On the other hand, some players might quit the campaign over being placed in an apparent "fall or die" situation, especially if a clean way out did not eventually materialize.
Make sure you know what kind of player you're dealing with - and I personally would want to have a more specific idea than "they are OK with a morally difficult situation."
I mean, if I had simply killed the PC via another monster, everybody would be fine with it. But now that I used a monster that inflicted a curse but gave the PC a chance to survive, I'm to blame because I don't go too easy on him? Really?
For me, it's not that the character has a chance to survive but that survival requires an action that essentially destroys the character as I envisioned them. I would experience this as a "sadistic choice" situation that would cause more emotional distress than simply having the character die.
Though on a more general note, I don't see that as intentionally putting the player in a more morally difficult situation. I'm just saying that you can't just commit an horrifically evil act (which is one of the points of contention) and expect me to accept your redifinition of that act as something that is actually endorsed by your lawful good deity (another point of contention). I'm also not fond of going for RAI loopholes just because that is enabled by RAW (third point of contention).
We don't know the RAI of the item. The tone is somewhat sinister but it's ambiguous. Some similar effects like Blood Drinker or Cook People specifically require a sentient target, others like Death Knell don't require a sentient target but get the [evil] tag anyway, and others like Blood of the Martyr or Baleful Polymorph are very definitively not evil.
So there's three ways to read this.
(1) The sinister theming of the item (and its current evil use) doesn't imply that it's intended to actually be inherently [evil].
(2) Like Death Knell it probably is intended to be [evil] but doesn't require a sentient victim.
(3) Not only was the item intended to be [evil], but it was also intended to require a sentient sacrifice.
For me, the tone - particularly the word "blasphemous" - is strong enough to make me think that (2) is more likely than (1), but I don't think there are grounds to infer an additional restriction to sentient sacrifices (3). It certainly isn't necessary to take the harshest possible interpretation of an ambiguous item. Narratively, the baggage attached to [evil] magic is plenty to give good characters pause before using the item - though probably not enough to make a player feel like they've destroyed their character by using it on a deer.
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
Oh, I certainly wouldn't penalize a PC for failing to perform last rites - but I also wouldn't tell a player that if they keep enemies alive long enough to perform last rites they're no longer acting in self defense and therefore doing something morally wrong.
You have to use the blade as a coup de grace so it's not really viable to use in a fight, and if you knock someone out for the sole purpose of sacrificing them then that's Evil. This isn't a case of Good person dies, Evil person lives, since what's preventing you from killing the Evil person in the fight?
So Good person dies, Evil person dies (in the fight) is OK, but Good person lives, Evil person dies (from a CdG after the fight) is not OK? Why?
Hmm interesting. If your gonna eat the pig igther way what are you really sacrificing? Oh well people are weird. go figure.
I'm not an anthropologist, but I believe the idea is that it served as a form of wealth redistribution. Everyone in the community would get some of the pork from the sacrifice, but the wealthy people were doing most of the sacrificing (at least of large animals) so you ended up with rich people essentially sponsoring sacrificial feats for the whole community. Smaller sacrifices like pigeons kept the priests fed.
Iterative attacks. That's the main benefit of Kinetic Blade.
Kinetic Blade wrote:
You can use this form infusion once as part of an attack action, a charge action, or a full-attack action in order to make melee attacks with your kinetic blade. Since it’s part of another action (and isn’t an action itself), using this wild talent doesn’t provoke any additional attacks of opportunity. The kinetic blade deals your kinetic blast damage on each hit (applying any modifiers to your kinetic blast’s damage as normal, but not your Strength modifier).
So here's my question.
A LG adventurer is hunting down an evil mass murderer who she knows to be unrepentant and who she believes it is morally justified to kill. She locates the murderer's hideout, kicks down the door, and...
...kills the murderer without making any attempt to take him prisoner.
...knocks the murderer out and brings him back to town for execution, because she believes that the people have the right to take revenge upon their tormenter.
...knocks the murderer out, performs last rites, and then personally executes him, because she believes that it is important for even evil creatures to be properly prepared for the afterlife.
...knocks the murderer out and performs a magic ritual that will exchange the murderer's life for that of her cohort, who was mortally injured while travelling to the murderer's hideout.
...knocks the murderer out and performs a magic ritual that will exchange the murderer's life for her own, since she was mortally injured while travelling to the murderer's hideout.
In which of these situations do you think that the adventurer has done something wrong?
Well, you get the dagger at the end of the dungeon. Which basically comes down to nothing having been left to fight in the dungeon. If you want to go the animal route, more power to you, in my game that will not be an option because I'm convinced that it's against the intent of the item. Oh, and the clock is ticking, so you might not have much choice whom to sacrifice. But hey, there's the brave, selfless midwife from the hatchery whose life you spared before and who rewarded you with helpful information as a reward. Still, she might register as evil, so it's an easy choice, right?
Are you sure that the player is going to be OK with you intentionally putting them in a more morally difficult situation than is necessary?
If you've already determined that it is moral to kill someone, I don't think it's an evil act to also use their death to save a life.
Dragoncrafting aside, the game does generally apply the "evil" tag to most mechanics that involve some sort of physical consumption of unwilling sentients to gain power (see Blood Drinker and Cook People) so it would be consistent to say using the dagger on a sentient creature would also be an evil act (note one evil act isn't usually enough to turn you evil). If you don't buy that argument - I personally don't - there's also a slippery slope argument, which might be compelling to Lawful types, that by allowing people to profit from the deaths of their enemies you encourage them to be quicker to condemn others to death, which ultimately leads to evil. So I would definitely expect a LG character to be uncomfortable with such an action, but ultimately there shouldn't be severe consequences. Maybe lingering bad dreams and some sort of religious purification ritual (short of a full Atonement). If you want to stress the sinister nature of the item, the character could hear whispers for some time afterwards urging them to commit more acts of violence.
Of course, if you're talking about sacrificing someone who wasn't already condemned to death - or worst of all an innocent - then it's definitely an evil act and potentially a pretty bad one. However, I would generally suggest against adding extra moral complications to this situation. It's already an interesting enough roleplaying situation and I don't see a lot of value in putting a player in a situation where they have to choose between having a character they envisioned as heroic commit a severely evil act, or losing that character.
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I'd be careful about this - not everyone wants things to get this dark in every game they play.
I've played in a variety of campaigns with a range of tones. In one, two PCs died trying in vain to save an orcish infant. In another, the Paladin of Sarenrae saved her older son's murderer from Hell only to have her younger son captured and cannibalized by an undead cult. In a third, the main point of dramatic tension was whether the party would figure out that the ranger was secretly a changeling. In a fourth, when the party cleric got turned into a vampire it was played for comedy.
Personally I find the high drama campaigns can be draining, and if I'm not mentally prepared for those scenes it's very uncomfortable for me. When one of the lighter campaigns briefly put my character's daughter in danger I had to confirm OOC with the GM that he wasn't actually planning on raising the stakes that much - we rescued her handily and it turned into recurring squabbles between a rebellious teenager and an overprotective parent.
No, the samurai//rogue does pretty reliable damage. To be fair, my monk//alchemist is a "reposition and pin down" specialist so flanking is easier than it might otherwise be. If he can't flank, he has Two-Weapon Feint - or a Dirty Trick to blind. If sneak attack doesn't work period, there's challenge. Sometimes he flanks and challenges at the same time and that's when things just die.
You can cast extra spells to buff your attacks or debuff your foes. But that takes actions, and since esoteric magus doesn't get ranged spell combat that means you're either spending rounds not attacking OR you have to spend a lot of time prepping your ambush. Or both.
But they have 2 classes that can use imp invisibility...
But need a standard action to cast it, and then you've got dispel magic, see invisibility, and glitterdust to worry about.
I'm reminded of a ninja succubus I threw at a party a while back. She had vanishing trick, Darkness, and maybe smoke bombs. She gave the party a good scare for the first two rounds and then went down pretty quick.
I don't see the drop to d4 a problem and sneak attack is an issue with any build that has it.
But it's a double issue in gestalt builds that have it twice. Very all or nothing.
The easy way to use those melee abilities is to get Sharding on a amulet and Throwing Magus: punch at range plus get arcane/ki back while doing it. Punch also get the pool ability to 'enchant' their fist. if you wanted to add reach spellstrike or accurate. I'm fine with spellstrike being a finisher move instead of a general damage boost. Overusing a pimped out shocking grasp gets old fast IMO so why not use some spells to buff/debuff?
I was not familiar with Sharding. That's a neat trick, though a bit expensive. I'm pretty sure it doesn't alter the restrictions on spellstrike and spell combat being used in melee. The esoteric magus doesn't qualify for Reach Spellstrike because they don't have Ranged Spellstrike.
Finesse training allows for a viable AoO, something everyone should have. Combined with the sharding/throwing, you could 'kick' at ranged and use a finesse polearm to get dex hit/dam on AoO at reach. Even without the polearm, the bow would give more range.
I'm getting a bit confused about how you're suggesting building this. I think Bladed Brush would let you use Finesse and Spell Combat since you're using the glaive one-handed, but spellstrike is still limited to your unarmed strike - and as described above I don't think Sharding is as good for the magus as you think it is. Enhancing an AoMF plus a manufactured weapon is also pricey. And even when using reach weapons we get back to the issue of "someone is going to close with you, and you have only a d8 HD and no armour and whoever closes with you probably has very good to-hit and damage modifiers...."
Lots more options than 'stand next to target and swing twin wakizashi until one of you drops...
That's not the samurai's only option, it's just the one that usually ends the fights.
Why do you need dragon style to be able to pounce at 11.
Because pounce requires a charge, and Dragon Style lets you charge through allies and difficult terrain. Not necessary exactly, but it makes your pouncing more relaible.
Hmm... I'd probably go kineticist//slayer and buff up the will save. Physical blasts like telekinetic need a decent amount of accuracy, and having a better HD makes it easier to take burn when necessary. Most of the avenger's best talents (eg Lethal Finesse, Shield of Blades, Heavy Armour, Unkillable) seem to be less useful for a kineticist - unless your party houserules Diehard to work better with nonlethal damage in which case Unkillable becomes pretty sweet.
Notably, Kinetic blasts don't depend on size or strength for damage.
doc roc wrote:
See, that would make it worse for me. I think Blessing of the Faithful is an important low-level option for a cleric that isn't supposed to be effective in melee. While I agree that some armour bonus is called for, I'd go for Cha to AC instead of Wis - this isn't a monk or a kensai magus that needs to invest in physical stats and it would be in line with other two-stat full casters like the psychic. I think Domain Mastery works fine as-is and am not keen on ditching Channel.
I'm not forgetting ki abilities. I'm currently GMing for a (non-gestalt) ninja. He's a great scout and does respectable - not fantastic - damage in melee and at range, but regularly gets incapacitated via poison, grappling, or good old being reduced below 0 HP. When he runs into characters that are immune to sneak attack his damage drops considerably. And in a gestalt game he's not comparing damage with a standard full-BAB martial but the samurai//rogue who just dices anything that gets within reach of his twin wakizashi, and who in tristalt would probably also pick up something like Investigator for extra buffs and utility.
Debilitating Injury helps, but first you have to successfully sneak attack your target, which may be difficult if they have a high flat-footed AC or - as is the case with that samurai//rogue - they have an ability like uncanny dodge.
Invisibility breaks when you attack - you can't take Master Ninja Tricks so you never get access to Greater Invisibility. That means one invisible attack per round - assuming that your opponent doesn't have See Invisibility. Smoke bombs are more robust but you need a way to see through your own bombs, it takes a standard instead of a swift action, and they can still be countered by things like Gust of Wind.
Hidden Strike only works at full strength for the first attack you make in an encounter. After that your opponent is aware of your presence and the damage dice drop to d4s. It's also vulnerable to being negated by the same things that negate Sneak Attack, ie uncanny dodge or inconsistent concealment.
You've also got a lot of melee features that are under-utilized if you plan on a primarily ranged build. These include the magus' spellstrike, and arcana such as accurate strike - hitting touch AC would be a great way to get Debilitating Injury onto someone, but it only works in melee. Also, Finesse Training doesn't work on bows, since bows aren't valid selections for Weapon Finesse, which means that you'll rely on strength for a ranged damage bonus.
This could still be an interesting fight as an NPC assassin depending on the party composition and their ability to counter the assassin's core tactics. If the assassin ends up forced into melee I'd expect them to die quickly. I probably wouldn't risk this character as a player where I'd have less control over the circumstances of engagement and the opponents I was facing. And diversifying the build in one of the ways I suggested makes the character significantly more reliable in combat for what I think is relatively little cost.
Interesting concept, but playing a melee character in a tristalt game with only d8 HD, medium BAB, and little in the way of accuracy boosters strikes me as a bit risky.
If you're looking to keep the ki pool shenanigans without sacrificing casting, I'd suggest Eldritch Scoundrel//Esoteric Magus//Unchained Monk or Enlightened Paladin. It only comes with 4 skill points and is a bit more MAD (you'd want to start with at least a 13-14 Wis or Cha), but gets full BAB, d10 HD, and loads of other melee features, including the ki pool and an either Wis-based or Cha-based AC boost (important since the Eldritch Scoundrel can't wear armour). Of course, since OP is now looking for villains the Paladin doesn't work - unless willing to homebrew an "Enlightened Antipaladin" archetype, which I think would work fine as an LE "perfect assassin" idea. Add Crusader's Fist for extra punch.
If vigilante identity is important then Warlock//Esoteric Magus//Unchained Monk or Enlightened Paladin would have a similar effect, though Mystic Bolts turn into an inferior ranged backup option. Monk gives you actual ki powers to work with (though not ninja tricks) while Paladin gets to wear light armour. The Vigilante Finesse talent partly compensates for Rogue's Finesse.
Alternatively, if the idea is just to make a sneaky-stabby-magic tristalt, consider Stygian Slayer//Kineticist (void)//Bard or Investigator. Full BAB, all good saves, 6 skills, lots of combat buffs, partial casting, and assorted darkness themed powers including the ability to shoot or stab people with negative energy that also creates darkness. Could branch out into aether- or aerokinesis in order to get more ranged tricks or flight at 10th level.
Heck, maybe the Occultist is just so good that he can throw whatever stuff he uses to draw the circle in the air and it settles into a perfect magic circle with a radius of 10 ft.
Fast Circles is a 16th level power. Of course a 16th level Occultist is that good.
For comparison, an 18th level alchemist can make any alchemical item as a full round action.
Got a dwarven occultist that just reached level 2, and having some difficulty picking a 3rd implement school.
The character is built for melee with secondary support and utility roles. Already have Transmutation and Conjuration. Considering Abjuration, Divination, and Illusion. The party includes a psychic and an alchemist (with whom I am splitting the healing - hence taking Conjuration).
Starting Int is 15 - planning on bumping it to 16 at level 4 and getting a Headband as soon as feasible but still feeling short on Focus and my DCs aren't great. Planning on taking Craft Wondrous Items at lvl 3.
Upsides: Resonant power is very useful. Spells are solid. Qualifies me to take the Panoply of the Warrior in the long run.
Downsides: Not a big fan of the focus powers until Globe of Negation - which is unfortunate since the resonant power encourages a moderate amount of investment in the school.
Upsides: Resonant power is potentially quite nice, and the base power is useful. Mind Eye is probably my favourite level 5 focus power.
Downsides: As a dwarf, I don't really need low light or darkvision, so I wouldn't get much out of the resonant power until I can invest 9 focus in it for see invisibility - which is hard since it's competing with Transmutation.
Upsides: Base power and several focus powers are moderately useful. Resonant power can be useful but doesn't demand investment. Mirror Image is a very handy spell. Sort of fits the character's personality.
Downsides: Not sure my DCs are going to be good enough - the party psychic might pick up illusions and would do them better.
Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, Starfinder, the Starfinder logo, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Legends, Pathfinder Online, Starfinder Adventure Path, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.