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Weirdo's page

Organized Play Member. 5,436 posts. No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 1 Organized Play character. 1 alias.


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Shadow Lodge

Yeah, I'd go with one level each for the next two monsters.

Shadow Lodge

Also, Re: ask your GM, OP is the GM:

Barachiel Shina wrote:

I am asking this because I have a fire giant fighter against the PCs, who wields two weapons and has the Cut from the Air feat. He was blinded by a PC spell, but he still has Blind-Fight. The Cut from the Air feat specifically says it USES an attack of opportunity, but it's not making an attack of opportunity, it's using one to make a melee attack against an incoming ranged attack in order to deflect it.

Can my Blind-Fight blinded fire giant who is aware he is being attacked still use Cut from the Air when some arrows get shot his way?

If you were considering a Rule 0, it should be to make the gene more fun for the players. This giant is already built to be less vulnerable to blinding and to ranged attacks than normal. It would presumably be less fun for the wizard and for the ranged PCs if the wizard's spell failed to negate the giant's defense against ranged attacks.

Shadow Lodge

Rathendar wrote:
I consider being flat footed as not being aware of the attack.

I disagree. The wording on Cut from the Air is "must be aware of the attack and not flat-footed". If being aware of the attack simply meant not being flat-footed, then this phrasing would be redundant.

Notably, defending yourself against an invisible target doesn't make you flat-footed, it just denies you your Dex to AC.

In this case, I think djdust and Volkard Abendroth are correct - Blind-Fight isn't sufficient because it doesn't remove your vulnerability to ranged attacks, but Improved Blind-Fight would work because it allows you to defend yourself against ranged attacks normally.

Shadow Lodge

Cevah wrote:
Derklord wrote:
You completely ignore thet there isn't a single item in the game that completely advances a character's level, only ever for certain class features.
Did they get rid of the Bead of karma? That's good for 10 minutes a day at 20,000 gp.

That item doesn't disprove Derklord's assertion - it only increases one class feature (caster level).

Hogeyhead wrote:

Look guys "when using her" is just another way of saying "in regards to." The reason why it wasn't worded "extra rounds of" is that you do gain early access to greater bane. That's it that's all, that's what the punctuation in the sentence imply. English is just funny like that. If it was in regards to during the period of active use of the ability, the word used would have been "while" not "when." In this case when is being used in more of an infinitive use, not a specific.

If you really want confirmation take it to a university and show it to an English professor, preferably an old professor.

I'd suggest a linguist instead - they're more likely to tell you how people would actually phrase things rather than how they're supposed to phrase things. (In particular, if you're looking for an old professor preferentially it sounds like an out of date linguistic useage.)

Shadow Lodge

Melkiador wrote:
I think the two different rules sources don’t conflict but are trying to do different things. Settlement rules show the highest level spell someone in that place can cast. The services list say whether you can almost be guaranteed to find someone to cast a spell of that level for you. So in a small town there is likely someone who can cast a 4th level spell, but it probably won’t be the 4th level spell you need or they may not want to cast it for you. But there are enough spell casters in the small town, that you could probably find one to cast any given 1st level spell for you.

that seems like the best way to reconcile the two bits of text. It seems reasonable to me that a thorp would have at least one adept (meaning at least 5% of the population are adepts), but that it would take a much bigger population before you could always buy any 1st level wizard, cleric, etc spell you needed.

Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
Absent specific and presumably unusual PC class features, you also have to be 3rd level to take Brew Potion. And potions don't make good heirlooms. Yet they are generally considered available for purchase even in small settlements.
Or a level one alchemist.

That's why I put in the bolded caveat. Claxon brought up the assumption, which I agree with, that PC classes are relatively rare. In that case, a 1st level alchemist is probably less common than a 3rd level adept. The handful of PC-class alchemists running around would certainly mean that somewhat more NPCs are capable of making potions than could make wondrous items, but on its own I don't think it would account for potions being common while minor wondrous items are not to be found.

There are advantages to making wondrous items over potions. The kinds of potions you can make are limited by available spellcasting, so an unassisted 3rd level adept can make at best one 150gp potion (1st level spell, CL 3) per day, while a 3rd wizard could make a 300gp potion (2nd level spell, CL 3). But they could make a wondrous item worth up to 1,000gp, so if the market exists then there's a much better daily rate.

And why wouldn't there be a market? While the average person would certainly be more likely to buy a 50gp potion of Cure Light Wounds than a magical convenience costing hundreds of gp, the cost of living rules suggest that the "typical aristocrat" spends about 1,000gp per month. You can bet that these households would invest some fraction of that in odour-free chamber pots, sanitary supplies, food preservation, or temperature control for their living spaces. And wealthy merchants or artisans spending 100gp/month would probably aspire to own at least a few of these items.

There would probably be significantly more potions crafted and sold - at least of the commonly in demand spells - but if someone is willing to pay 500gp so that they and their descendants can enjoy cold drinks in the summertime, then enough 3rd level adepts will learn Craft Wondrous Item to make those things, and merchants will sell them.

Personally, if I wanted a setting with plentiful potions and very little permanent magic, I'd lower the level requirement on Brew Potion.

Shadow Lodge

It works. Rage blocks concentration, but supernatural abilities don't require concentration.

Shadow Lodge

VarisianViscount wrote:
While nothing in the shaman/witch description actually states how or even if a shaman can displease their spirit or witches their patron, other sources make allusions to just that. For example, the Spirit Summoner says that some spirits and eidolons are incompatible up to GM discretion, but specifically calls out Heavens and Fiend-like (i.e. devil subtype etc.), implying a Heavens shaman can't be Evil.

Not at all. The restriction on the summoner only affects the eidolon - an evil summoner could therefore have the Heavens spirit as long as their eidolon was an elemental, inevitable, protean, or other suitable creature. There's no indication that the spirit can revoke power based on the summoner (or shaman)'s personal behavior.

Thematically, I would interpret this as indicating that bonding with an eidolon and spirit both involve mystical energy, and those bonds can interfere with each other if the energy is "incompatible".

Shadow Lodge

Absent specific and presumably unusual PC class features, you also have to be 3rd level to take Brew Potion. And potions don't make good heirlooms. Yet they are generally considered available for purchase even in small settlements.

Claxon wrote:
Yes, small towns have some sort of NPC spellcaster and they can only cast 1st level spells (based on the rules). It's also worth noting that the small town is 200 to 2000 people. That's a pretty low rate, and that makes it pretty scarce.

What's your source for this? The settlement rules that I'm familiar with say a small town has 200-2000 people and 4th level spells, while a thorpe of fewer than 20 people still has 1st level spells (and a good chance of buying 1st level potions)

Shadow Lodge

This is a thread to discuss the FAQ system, not a thread to ask questions in.

Shadow Lodge

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You're right, the wording could be better.

But in context it's clearly intended to only affect the Bane ability.

(1) Even without gaining spells or BAB, it's WAY too cheap to make you 5 levels higher for Bane, Judgment, CL, Stern Gaze, and maybe some other features I'm forgetting. Even if it's just while Bane is active.

(2) If the massive consensus reached on the boards was wrong, someone on the Dev team or PFS would probably have noticed by now.

Shadow Lodge

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Shinigami02 wrote:
squarecat wrote:

Barbarians are bad even with rage. Their a tier 4 class at best and only worth a couple dip levels and nostalgia. You want to have fun try paladin 4 with the mercy to negate fatigue as a swift action and 2d6 self heal, this heal can be enhanced with a phylactery, the trait opportunistic gambler for +1d4 rage rounds. I hope Divine grace doesn't need to be pointed out to you. The rest of your levels are going to be Bloodrager for the same rage mechanic as a barbarian plus self buffing.

Let's not forget having a cha score to keep you from going "I'm bored! when are we going to have combat?" That gets you killed in my games. It's the players choice to ham string their rp potential.

I'm going to go ahead and ignore the fact that I inherently disagree with almost everything not strictly mechanical you just said (Gods Above and Below I loathe the Tier List especially) and just point out... you can't stack Barbarian and Paladin. Paladin requires Lawful Good and Barbarian cannot be Lawful.

I think squarecat meant that instead of Barbarian, you should play a Paladin 4 / Bloodrager X, which is legal because the bloodrager has no alignment restriction.

Shadow Lodge


When I say "autosuccess" I mean rolls where the DC is low enough that the PC can't fail (10+bonus if unstressed, 1+bonus if stressed) so I don't bother calling for a roll. Assuming a healthy relationship, greeting your parents is a super low DC and can't fail.

Same reason I don't call checks to tie shoelaces, or why I don't ask a PC with a climb of +15 to roll to reach the top of a knotted rope.

Or, for that matter, ask the character with a +25 Sense Motive to roll to see whether he can tell there's something... off... about this family dinner.

Shadow Lodge

I would not be against placing limits on the autosuccess rules for CMD.

Shadow Lodge

They're definitely not typed bonuses.

I'm inclined to say that it does combine to make no penalty by RAW.

I could see an argument for them not combining, if you apply the skill unlock to reduce the penalty from -20 to -10 and then apply Improved Sniping, which simply sets the penalty to -10.

Also, I think Improved Sniping is a third party feat? The Paizo equivalent being Expert Sniper - the wording of which sounds even more like it would stack with the skill unlock:

Expert Sniper wrote:

Benefit(s): You reduce the penalty on your Stealth checks to stay hidden while sniping by 10.

Normal: You take a –20 penalty on Stealth checks to stay hidden while sniping.

Seems a bit powerful to me for something you can get by 5th level at the cost of two feats (or one if you're an Unchained Rogue and get a free skill unlock as a class feature). Then again, making a single ranged attack per turn is generally not an optimal strategy. It's probably more useful for solo assassin antagonists than for PCs.

Shadow Lodge

thejeff wrote:
MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
Yeah, that makes sense... I do kind of wonder if it would work in something like a "Hell's Rebels" style urban intrigue campaign where the whole party played nobles who were seeking to use their wealth and prowess to instigate a coup against the rightful and legitimate ruler of the city (that was the point of Hell's Rebels, right?:P).

No idea. :)

I still don't see how you keep them from spending an insignificant fraction of the wealth they're using to instigate the coup to completely demolish the expected guidelines for gear at the start. And/or, by the end being able to use their looted wealth to bribe nearly everybody.

You could just fiat it: You're starting with X gold in gear and 10,000 for bribe money, PR, etc. Maintain separate accounts, no crossing the lines. Give them extra loot, but mandate no more than WBL on personal gear. At that point though, I'd be tempted to drop the pretence that the gear budget has anything to do with actual money.

Well, this starts to get into making changes to the system, but if you decouple the adventuring gear from the gold economy it should work out OK. Something like the automatic bonus progression, but including a much wider range of magical effects - possibly even anything that a magic item would be expected to do. Or place some kind of "mystical" limit on how much magic a person can employ, so that once they've hit that limit any additional wealth needs to be spent on things other than personal magical gear.

Shadow Lodge

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If your butterfly has the minimum +51 CMB to beat the CMD 71 of the most grapple-able Kaiju, I'll buy it.

thejeff wrote:

Personally, in almost all cases, I'm much happier with large penalties than with flat "You can't do that" rules.

Pathfinder characters get to superhuman levels. Relying on our common sense ideas and real world experience to determine what they can do doesn't really make sense.

Agreed. Rules are good, but I'd rather say that something has such a high DC it's effectively impossible to ordinary mortals, rather than say it's actually impossible.

Shadow Lodge

MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
I'm sorry - I was not replying to you because I did not see that there was any disagreement in what you were saying and what I was saying. Your position seemed (and seems) to me to be consistent with my view that there are multiple "right" ways to do it.

That's fair. But just because we don't disagree doesn't mean we can't swap ideas and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. Like so:

MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
I liked all of your suggestions - I think there are a great many ways to reward players - certainly building their backstory and character beats into the world is one - and one that I would assume would (or at least could be seen to) have mechanical advantages, right?

It absoultely can have mechanical advantages. For example, if the ranger decides that his village was destroyed by a dragon, and that he's trained as a dragonslayer, I'll probably include more draconic enemies in the game (possibly even a showdown with the dragon that destroyed his village), giving him more opportunites to use their favoured enemy bonus.

I'm also fond of giving out boons from powerful NPCs or supernatural sources, which generally result from character choices rather than just succeeding at dice rolls. Sometimes the boons involve improvements to some character stat.

But I think the only way in which roleplaying affects success in specific tasks is "conversational tactics," which greystone and others have discussed. For example, at a recent dinner party the summoner guessed that the lady of the house was obsessed with her work, so he decided to ask her questions about it, resulting in an easy improvement to her attitude toward him (essentially an auto-success, given the summoner's Diplomacy bonus). Meanwhile, another player did a highly entertaining impression of someone completely out of their depth at a social event and ended up making a correspondingly bad impression (which nevertheless could be advantageous in the long run, since the hosts will underestimate him).

MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
Has anyone had much experience finding ways to incorporate "rich" characters into games without resorting to the tried and true tropes of like the lost heir or disowned/disgraced/bastard noble?

Hm. We've had success with rich characters whose assets weren't accessible for other reasons. In once case, the entire party had been shipwrecked, leaving the noblewoman with only the level-appropriate amount of wealth on her person. And at least one character who had non-liquid assets such as family land, that didn't give mechanical advantage and couldn't be converted to adventuring gear. One or two characters took the "rich parents" trait, but that's only really relevant for the first level or two. In general I wish this was easier to represent mechanically in PF.

Shadow Lodge

MrTsFloatingHead wrote:
I want this thread to be a space where everyone can discuss their own PREFERENCES without fear of direct judgment,and we are free to expand our perceptions of each other's playstyles so that we can come to what I think is the likely conclusion - that we are not actually diametrically opposed at all, but rather that we are just at different spots on a spectrum of "good play", which each of our personal places on that spectrum determined by our own subjective preferences, but that nobody is doing it "wrong" - that way you can share what is best about your games and I and others can share what is best about our games, and everyone's game is richer for the experience.

It is hard to believe that is the case when I've made an effort to discuss different ways to make roleplaying rewarding and you haven't engaged with any of those suggestions.

For example, do you feel your roleplaying effort is sufficiently rewarded when the GM designs plot elements tailored to your character backstory?

Shadow Lodge

Redelia wrote:
I am very uncomfortable any time an adult talks about 'punishing' or 'rewarding' another. I don't think that's an appropriate way to be thinking about any relationship. It's destructive to the relationship, and destructive to any fun in the activity.

I can see what you mean - there's an association of those terms with uneven power relationships. But when I talk about rewarding roleplaying, I mean making players feel that roleplaying is rewarding - that it's a useful and appreciated activity. And incentives are sort of baked into the game. Story XP was introduced when some gamers realized that non-combat achievements should be dusky recognized and rewarded - IIRC there was some concern that giving XP only for combat incentivized murderhoboism. And if you don't use certain skills, that's a dis-incentive to invest limited character resources into them (not that people won't, just that they'll do it less often or less happily.)

Irontruth wrote:
I don't need to hand out mechanical bonuses in order to induce players to "roleplay well".

Ok, you don't need to give mechanical bonuses. And I don't need to feel like Profession is useful to put a rank or two in it. But I definitely feel more rewarded and appreciated if that choice has a mechanical impact.

Shadow Lodge

Wait, you're saying I could convince you to bring a 3-foot tall tower of pastry and caramel to my gaming group... and I shouldn't do it?

Seriously though, it's just a question of what you or your group wants to incentivize.

Shadow Lodge

There's only two ways I can think of to reward roleplaying without using mechanics:

The "positive reaction to the player" some people have mentioned - if someone does something cool, complement it but then move on.

The "narrative reward for narrative effort" approach I mentioned earlier, and which I think some other posters aluded to. Players who roleplay get the kind of in-character reactions that make them feel good about their roleplaying, and ideally get presented with more opportunities to roleplay (eg, give the bard an audience, give the wizard people to act superior to, give the guy with the detailed backstory adventure hooks related to that backstory).

If you're willing to use mechanics, but don't want the result of the roll to drift from character skill, you could also try:

Giving hero points or inspiration for roleplaying (which in-game could reflect strength of spirit or gaining the attention of some patron spirit).

Group XP bonus. If the rogue disarms a trap, everyone gets some XP. If the bard plays a song at the table... everyone gets some XP? Everyone likes getting XP, the roleplayer feels good for being the one to earn the XP.

If you are worried about bias in the latter two, you could make some objective standard like "you get an award for bringing in a piece of art related to your character, making your backstory relevant to the session, or bringing in game snacks".

PossibleCabbage wrote:

One thing I see a lot is that even though a player is well aware that they will rarely need to actually roll something, nonetheless they want to RP as an expert at it and will invest heavily in the skill as a result.

Like, for example, one of my characters was a human who grew up in a circus operated by Dwarves who earned her keep through a comedy juggling act. I put max ranks in "Perform (Comedy)" and "Sleight of Hand" and I don't think I ever had to roll either. GM just let me juggle whatever I said I was juggling and NPCs reacted appropriately to my jokes depending on whatever I intended for them to be (since sometimes "the joke is not funny" is the joke.)

I see that sometimes, too. As a player, though, I like to make rolls for this sorry if thing sometimes, so as a GM when a player puts in this effort I try to give them opportunity to make those rolls.

Shadow Lodge

I think you're right, PossibleCabbage, that expectations are important. If you go into the game expecting that your character is going to be the best smooth talker because they have the highest Bluff and Diplomacy skill bonuses, and find that the group rarely uses those numbers to resolve social situations, you'll be more disappointed than if you're told up-front that social encounters are handled in a rules-light improv theatre style - especially if getting those skill bonuses means that your character is noticably below average in combat.

Honestly my group is pretty fuzzy about social encounters. We do a lot of talking, mostly in first person, and occasionally roll dice when it seems dramatically appropriate. The players with more social characters talk a bit more and make more of the dramatic rolls, but less social characters can also direct the conversation or make assist rolls where appropriate. Outcomes probably don't reflect mechanics as well as they could, and personally I find it difficult to play high Bluff characters because I have difficulty coming up with plausible lies. But players are generally engaged in these scenes, and I think adding dice is more likely to hurt than help.

Note that we do also roleplay in non-social encounters, though for me personally that mostly happens through the way I design my character mechanics. For example, if I make a character who can take a lot of damage they are probably the type of person to get into the thick of combat and shield their allies from attack.

Dracoknight wrote:
RDM42 wrote:
If they can provide a good and creative reason that meshes with their character background why they might know more about this thing, perhaps.

The background skill system and the "Lore" skill was added for just this reason. Forexample if in your background was attacked by a Bear, your lore could be about Bears in particular to manifest that characters way of studying how to kill bears as a revenge.

Personally i think the background skill system that add +2 skillpoints to dedicated "background skills" is a good way to flesh out mechanically a background without sacrificing the utility of far more useful skills. (Who would take Proffersion over Perception forexample?"

I love this system, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to be that widespread. Most of my characters do have at least a few ranks in "background skills" anyway.

Shadow Lodge

I think the best way to rule it is that temp HP temporarily increase your HP total, and you don't fall unconscious until your nonlethal damage exceeds your current HP plus any temp HP.

Of course, this means that if you're carrying more burn damage than your current HP and your temp HP goes away at the end of rage, you immediately fall unconscious. Variation on sudden barbarian death syndrome, as it were.

On the feasibility of ragekineticist:

A bloodrager by RAW can only use Mad Magic on spells, so a strict GM may not allow you to use it with SLAs.

A barbarian using Mad Magic can "keep your rage benefits when using Moment of Clarity during a rage", and Moment of Clarity allows you to use SLAs by RAW (they suffer no penalties of rage). However, since Moment of Clarity is a 1 round per rage ability, if you want to blast consistently you need to find a way to rage cycle. I believe it also takes you until level 5 to qualify for Mad Magic as a barbarian since you need two rage powers (Moment of Clarity and Perfect Clarity).

Alternatively, the Dreadnought barbarian archetype can cast spells during rage, but only gets half the bonuses.

Shadow Lodge

thejeff wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
But personally, I've never been in a situation where I don't know what my character should say as part of a social check and another player has given me suggestions ("Tell the guard we're maintenance workers!"). I have been in situations where I'm struggling to think of something to say and a player with a less socially adept character stepped in and made the check instead. This keeps the game moving but does not encourage me to play social characters. Even if someone else comes up with the conversational tactics, I'd feel good about being able to make the roll with the skill bonus I invested in, and about the fact that my character is a smooth talker.

I have actually seen that happen, not too infrequently either. But those are the bonus for specific points kind of things ("offer your condolences for her kids", tell her we can stop more bloodshed"), not help with the smooth talking oratory kind of phrasing we're mostly worried about here. Not even really sure how to give that kind of coaching or how well it would go over.

I've also seen GMs shut down even the first kind or only allow it with Aid Another rolls or separate attempts.

Have you seen GMs shut down OOC discussions of tactics? Things like “If you move in this way you won't provoke” or “Could you delay your charge until after I cast Fireball?”

Warped Savant wrote:

If someone wants to try to become more outgoing, I will fully support them and do what I can to help. I would things like provide them with ideas, give them time to collect their thoughts, or ask them leading questions to get them on the right track.

In my experience, I don't feel that a bonus is the right way to do this. I feel like it puts undue pressure on introverted people.
Players who aren't comfortable, creative, or knowledgeable enough to act something out are likely going to feel they are being penalized even though their character, by the stats, should know exactly what to do and say.

That is the kind of approach that I personally would appreciate, as someone who roleplays partly to stretch my social skills.

MrTsFloatingHead wrote:
However, there are certainly some situations where I would. If the player specifically built the character to be something of a monster expert because the player wanted to get more use out of heir personal skill of knowing a bunch about monsters without feeling like they were metagaming, and especially if the player had taken pains to establish those real world skills in the context of the narrative (say the character has a notebook of all the monster lore they've collected that they review every night, and in every town they seek out the town loremaster to share info, then I could probably be persuaded to come up with a bonus on the roll, though in truth if the character is built that way it's hardly likely to matter except at very low levels.

If the character built the player to be a monster expert, then they should have ranks in skills that are important for monster identification and possibly abilities that would further improve their ability to identify monsters (such as the Inquisitor's first-level Monster Lore ability). If it is important to the character concept that they be good at something, then that should be reflected in the mechanics. If the player isn't sure how to do that, it's because they haven't taken me up on my repeated and possibly annoying offers to share my character-building obsessiveness with anyone who wants it. >_>

Now, if the character's not supposed to be a monster expert but has a specific relevant pre-established backstory of “a nereid killed my brother,” I can give you some basic information without a check, but that will only happen a handful of times in a campaign (and it's probably a pre-planned character moment).

In fact, you might say that my strategy is to give mechanical rewards for mechanical skill and narrative rewards for narrative skill. You write a cool backstory, and I'll make that backstory relevant to the narrative.

Shadow Lodge

J4RH34D wrote:

I have always viewed combat as much more of a group effort.

I find it happens much more regularly in combat that my group of players will say to each other "Hey, if you move there, I can move there, and then we get a flanking bonus." The nature of the round by round combat basically ensures that everyone gets a turn to effect the outcome.

I can honestly say that I have never had anyone in any of my games, ever say, during someone elses RP "Hey, remember this guy is having an affair, weave that in to your speach." It just isn't something that really happens.

Quoting this because I don't think it's gotten enough attention, given the amount of discussion on different kinds of player skill.

If you're bad at character optimization, odds are good that someone in your gaming group can help – and if not, there are guides online. If you're bad at in the moment tactics, you can ask fellow players advice about what action to take. I think you're more likely to get too much tactical advice than not enough.

But personally, I've never been in a situation where I don't know what my character should say as part of a social check and another player has given me suggestions ("Tell the guard we're maintenance workers!"). I have been in situations where I'm struggling to think of something to say and a player with a less socially adept character stepped in and made the check instead. This keeps the game moving but does not encourage me to play social characters. Even if someone else comes up with the conversational tactics, I'd feel good about being able to make the roll with the skill bonus I invested in, and about the fact that my character is a smooth talker.

MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
The next encounter is a social encounter in the nearby town, trying to figure out who set the *CR appropriate foes* on the isolated farm. Brad feels like this is his time to shine! He's naturally a very social person, which is why he decided to play a bard in the first place, and after that combat, he's feeling kind of like he needs to demonstrate his worth to the rest of the party. So, time for gather information. Roger abstains, as he is uncomfortable with social roleplay, and his character doesn't really have those skills anyway. Brad gives a nice engaging little description of what he's doing, including weaving in the established backstory that Brad is actually from the next little town over, so he probably knows some of these townsfolk, or at least their families. He even marks off some spent gold for the drinks he is buying, and makes up some little snippets of anecdotes to show how he's building trust with the NPC's. Then he rolls, and it's not great. Knowing that circumstance bonuses are within the GM's power to hand out, Brad asks if maybe he's earned one, since that would be enough to turn his final total of 14 to a 16 (likely enough to at least get SOME information). The GM shakes his head and says he doesn't do that, so Brad, ever the negotiator, notes that if he were allowed to use "knowledge (local)" for the check, it would be one higher (this check being boosted by a trait representing the aforementioned background). The GM starts to get a little annoyed, and says that it is unfair to players like Roger to subjectively change the rules to benefit Brad's real life player skills, and that it's not fair to the other players for Brad to hog the spotlight, so he tells Brad that his character makes some friends for the evening, but doesn't learn anything useful.

I don't entirely side with the GM here – but I also don't think it adds anything to just have the check pass because sure, close enough, we'll call it a circumstance bonus. Bad rolls happen. Roger's barbarian can crit fail in combat. What I would do is make use of a technique I've seen in “softer” RP systems called “succeed with consequences.” So maybe Brad finds someone willing to talk, but they need some kind of additional assurances of safety (or just an extra bribe on top of the drinks Brad already bought.) Or maybe he didn't find anyone who has the information, but gets referred to the town gossip (and gets an opportunity to re-try the check by putting in a little extra in-character time). Or Brad gets the information, but attracts unwelcome attention in the process. Whatever adds to the story and recognizes that Brad's character is doing something he should be good at (even if he's having a bit of bad luck). If Brad enjoys the RP side of things, he'll presumably enjoy the extra twist in the scene.

Now, let's flip the scenario: what if it's Roger playing the bard and Brad playing the barbarian? Roger doesn't feel comfortable giving “an engaging little description” or making up “little snippets of anecdotes.” He just wants to say “I buy people drinks and make some small talk. Do they tell me anything interesting? My Gather Information is 14.” What do you do?

“Sorry, Roger, you didn't make the roll. Brad, your untrained barbarian rolled a 17? Then you hear...”
“Roger, that's not quite high enough. I'll give you a +2 if you roleplay your small talk a little better.”
“I'm sorry, I can't even let you roll Gather information unless you let me know exactly which NPCs you want to talk to and what kind of small talk you're making.”

PossibleCabbage wrote:
I would offer, that in fiction a person is not necessarily characterized as knowledgeable because they can spout facts, they're knowledgeable when those facts turn out to be accurate and relevant. A person is not necessarily persuasive because they can talk pretty, they're persuasive because people tend to be persuaded after talking to the persuasive person. So probably the best way to sell the non-confident speaker on speaking confidently in character might be to cajole them to talk then react as an NPC based as someone who was persuaded (assuming the roll backs this up) regardless of how shaky the speech was?

This is not a bad approach. First time I played a high-Cha character (a sorceress), all I really wanted was for people to react to my character as if she was Charismatic – paying attention to her, complimenting her, etc.

HWalsh wrote:

I mean, when was the last time someone made you roll when you said:

"I'm going to move here, then I am going to ready an action to strike when (so and so) moves into flank position on the other side of him."
Did the GM turn to you and say, "Make a wisdom check to see if you are wise enough to come up with that idea!"
No, of course not!

I'm pretty sure I actually have seen this suggested in a thread with the topic of “discouraging dump stats.” Something along the lines of “Make the barbarian make an Int check to flank and he'll think twice about that Int 7.”

Shadow Lodge

Baleful Polymorph would do, if you want a permanent duration. (Also, I don't believe the size reductions would stack.)

An advanced dire wold polymorphed into a (small) dog ends up with a Str 19, Dex 23, Con 19, and AC 18 (+6 Dex, +1 natural, +1 size). Bite drops to d4+4 and loses the trip property. Unfortunately if the pup fails its Will save it'll also go from Wis 16 Cha 14 to Wis 12 Cha 6.

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Genoin wrote:
One option that I had considered was dipping one level of inspired blade swashbuckler on the investigator side, for an INT panache pool, some deeds, and free finesse and focus with rapier.

Not a bad plan.

Genoin wrote:
The cognatogen alchemist sounds interesting though. The rest of the party is a Bloodrager/Bard, a Oracle/Sorcerer, and something fighteresque with some minor casting, maybe magus or ranger, I can't remember

That does sound like magical versatility is a higher priority than martial prowess - point in favour of the Wizard // Investigator or Alchemist with the possible Swash dip. Cleric // UnMonk might not be the best plan if you've got two frontliners and don't need a healer.

Though as another option to consider, if you'd still prefer cleric: Cleric // Hunter? All good saves, 6 skills/level, some extra casting, some extra combat abilities. The animal companion could help with mobility and accuracy (Outflank). Alternatively, you can take Feral Hunter (link) for shapeshifting and a minor boost to Summon Nature's Ally, or Forester (link) for Favoured Terrain, bonus combat feats, Tactician, Breath of Life 1/day, and other assorted bonuses. Either archetype lets you permanently apply the Animal Focus benefits to yourself. It also seems like a thematic class to pair with a cleric of Lamashtu.

I'd be a little more worried about the 3/4 BAB and h8 HD on this one than on the wizard//investigator or alchemist, though, since a bad touch cleric is aiming to be in melee range more regularly. Animal Focus and buffs like Barkskin would certainly help, but I'm not sure they'd do enough.

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Rauðúlfur wrote:

I was wondering if there would be any way to gestalt a Kineticist to get it up to the level of general utility (read tier) as a Bard or a Magus?

A Kineticist could dump up to 3 stats relatively safely. Is there any non-tier 3 class that a Kineticist could be gestalted with and make up the difference in power and utility?

I'm a bit confused by your situation here.

If it's a gestalt game, is there any particular reason that you are trying to limit the power of the gestalt kineticist - are you running a game for quirky lower-power gestalt concepts?

Or do you just mean that you want a gestalt kineticist with a lot of utility?

Or do you want to use the kineticist for a non-gestalt game, but think it's too low tier and lacks versatility? If so, there are probably more targeted houserules that would increase the class's versatility (for example, add skill ranks and give them a few extra SLAs suitable to their element).

Shadow Lodge

It's a good combo, though prehensile tail doesn't affect the time it takes to drink extracts. It allows you to retrieve objects as a swift action:

Prehensile Tail wrote:
Many tieflings have tails, but some have long, flexible tails that can be used to carry items. While they cannot wield weapons with their tails, they can use them to retrieve small, stowed objects carried on their persons as a swift action. This racial trait replaces fiendish sorcery.

Using an extract is a standard action that includes drawing the extract as a free action, so retrieving the extract more quickly isn't useful.

The bad Fort save is concerning, but I wouldn't worry about 3/4 BAB and d8 HD if you're planning on slinging spells and mostly staying out of combat. Not that you couldn't use a weapon in a pinch if you got yourself a high Dex and Weapon Finesse, and used studied combat.

You could also take wizard//alchemist for a better Fort save. Somewhat less utility, but you'll still have lots of skill points and two different spell lists. Mind chemist is nice for the Cognatogen and the massive body to knowledge skills.

What's the rest of the party?

Shadow Lodge

Yup, cleric//ranger or slayer is solid, though it does lean towards battle cleric.

Another idea if you're keen on more utility is Cleric // Inquisitor.

It lacks the martial skill and great mobility of the UnMonk and has no good ref save, but you get 6 skill points per level and utility abilities including Detect Alignment, Discern Lies, Track, and Stern Gaze (+1/2 level to Sense Motive and Intimidate).

It's not terrible with martial combat, either. The base class gets Judgment (selection of basic combat buffs), Bane, Cunning Initiative (Wis to Initiative, nice!), Solo Tactics plus Teamwork feats, and Stalwart. If you're not a fan of Judgment you could take Sanctified Slayer (link) for a simpler, unlimited-use buff.

Personally, though, I'd go Relic Hunter (link). You trade Judgment and Bane for three occultist implements (link) by level 5, and another at levels 7, 10, 13, etc. Focus powers are a bit more limited at one every 4 levels, but you can still pick up some handy tricks. Divination's got great utility - I really like Mind Eye for scouting, though it does compete with Conjuration's Side Step for 8th level focus power. Even just looking at base and resonant powers, Transmutation and Abjuration can largely make up for the lost combat buffs by giving you a free stat belt, cloak of resistance, emergency temp HP (mind barrier) and a more flexible but standard action weapon enhancement (Legacy Weapon).

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miscdebris wrote:
Unchained Monk is not all good saves. For some reason, it is poor Will.

Was talking about the gestalt as a whole, since the cleric covers the good Will save.

Genoin wrote:
But the domain power you would simply Flurry and then on the first hit you would use your Swift to apply the domain power. Correct?

Correct. You can't spend ki to get an extra attack if you use your swift for domain strike, but it's still good action economy.

Genoin wrote:

Also I can see no reason not to take the Ecclesitheurge Archetype? Not wearing armor anyway and you can craft Neck slot abilities onto your holy symbol (Looking at AMF).

Edit: Assuming of course I go with UnchMonk

You do lose your 3rd level Channel Energy die in addition to not being able to wear armour, but that's a trivial disadvantage compared to the flexibility with your domain, the utility of Blessing of the Faithful, and the bonded holy symbol (which also gives you one extra cleric spell of any level).

Gallant Armor wrote:
Magus would be great once you reach level 6 with Broad Study.

That's true - and with the point buy getting both Wis and Int wouldn't be hard.

Gallant Armor wrote:
Shaman would sync well with Wis and give you hexes which are great to have (infinite uses per day, no SR, no concentration), and there are spirits to work with any build.

It's not a bad combo, especially with debuffing hexes. But you've got a bad ref save and don't improve your HD or BAB.

Shadow Lodge


Note that you have to be holding the charge - you don't get a free UAS the round you cast the spell, but if you cast right before combat you can flying kick someone with a nasty spell attached to the first attack.

Shadow Lodge

Right, you did say Lamashtu.

Having a point buy that high makes MAD options a lot more feasible. Thinking...

I linked the Domain Strike feat above. Rules for touch spells:

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.

Shadow Lodge

High optimization? Unchained Monk.

All good saves, full BAB, 4+Int skills (passable), good Wis synergy including Wis to AC, excellent mobility, can deliver touch spells or domain powers through unarmed strike.

Also, do you mean 28 point buy?

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Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
Anyway, yeah, I think you could do a black dragon kingdom and have it be interesting.

I want to run this now.

I wonder if I can fit it into my current campaign or if I have to wait for the next one...

Shadow Lodge

In Golarion, Goblins are afraid of writing. That's a pretty big technological handicap. Orcs are also often described as only capable of crude technology. Not that I'm saying that either of these races necessarily has a higher population at any given time than humans, just that having humans be the dominant species on Golarion doesn't mean that they're necessarily the

And if we consider the fact that evil aligned humans aren't uncommon, and that elves, dwarves, and other usually-good races are described as both uncommon and slow to reproduce, it does seem reasonable that there might be a greater flow of evil souls (human and nonhuman) into the afterlife than good ones.

Boomerang Nebula wrote:
Interesting your comment on the relative value of souls. I was working on the assumption that animal souls are of negligible value, sentient pest races like orcs of higher value. Humans of slightly higher value and ancient races like dragons the highest of all. But I don't know of any rules that support that view.

You're not entirely wrong, but the rules on the soul trade seem to differentiate value based on just sentience and power. The vast majority of sentient souls are lumped into the "basic souls" category, with essentially equivalent value. Only exceptional individuals are given higher value. Human souls might be more valuable on average than the average orc soul, if only because there seem to be more human heroes and rulers to skew the average up. But a level 1 orc raider and a level 1 human guard appear to have the same value.

Soul Trade:
Animal Spirits (25 gp): This category contains creatures of animal-level intelligence, whose spirits—while presumably worth something to some deities, as reflected by the value of animal sacrifice—are rarely traded in the soul markets. In fact, though the existence of animal spirits is undeniably real, there’s rampant debate in many societies over whether such things truly count as “souls.”

Basic Soul (100 gp): This is the soul of a standard intelligent creature—a commoner, a low-level adventurer, a sentient monster of low CR, or any of the other hordes of weak or mundane folk who live out their lives with a normal amount of pomp and excitement. This is the lowest category of souls which interests daemons, who see animals and other nonsentient creatures as hardly worth the time to destroy.

Noteworthy Soul (500 gp): The souls of mid-level characters, rulers, famous or influential people, and other powerful, accomplished, and otherwise important people draw greater attention than basic souls, and drive bidding higher accordingly.

Grand Soul (1000–5000 gp): High-level characters, great heroes, dragons, powerful aberrations, and other such spirits of fabulous power and forceful personalities offer equally significant rewards to those who manage to contain their essences.

Unique Soul (priceless): For the truly unique souls—those of legendary figures, epic heroes, and other massive presences—there can be no going price. The unique sparks that live within these creatures are valuable beyond compare, and the frantic bidding (and backstabbing) that arises when one of these trapped spirits comes up for sale is the sort of thing fiends and undead wait thousands of years for, paying nigh-unimaginable prices for the right to consume or display such an artifact.

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Boomerang Nebula wrote:
The core rulebook says humans are the dominant race and nothing in the bestiary entries on orcs (or goblins for that matter) disputes that. I can see the logic behind chaotic evil races spawning more quickly than other races and orcs being the modern day equivalent of pest species. But I can't see them ever becoming so large in number that they become the dominant race.

A sufficiently large population will probably become dominant, but just because a group is dominant doesn't mean that they have the largest population.

For example, within recent history the United States has been described as the dominant nation on Earth despite having a population roughly one-quarter that of India and China.

And again, orcs and goblins have a much shorter life expectancy than humans. Their maximum lifespan is 60 years compared to humans' 110 years. They're probably also more likely to die young and violently. This means more turnover of the population - so orc and goblin populations could probably produce at least twice as many souls as an equivalently sized human population.

Shadow Lodge

Souls don't have to transform into outsiders an a 1:1 basis.

Bestiary wrote:
With each evil mortal soul that finds its way into the Abyss, the ranks of the demonic hordes grows—a single soul can fuel the manifestation of dozens or even hundreds of demons, with the exact nature of the sins carried by the soul guiding the shapes and roles of the newly formed fiends.

So demons could have a numeric advantage even if CE isn't the most common mortal alignment.

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Dr Styx wrote:

Why let others know you have Undead with you.

Make your Undead blend in with Apperance of Life

Components V, S, M (one Tiny or larger living creature)

Duration 10 minutes/level (D)

Gonna be sacrificing a lot of rats to keep that spell active for long.

Shadow Lodge

Harrying Partners is probably your best bet.

Might also want to look into ways to improve the familiar's aid another bonus. There's a few magic items that would do it, and if you can swap out a familiar base feat for Extra Traits you could snag Helpful to increase its aid another to +3.

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pauljathome wrote:
Note that absent some fairly serious shenanigans familiars do NOT get extra feats. This makes going the teamwork feat route pretty problematic.

That's what valet is for:

Valet Familiar wrote:

Teammate (Ex)

A valet is considered to have all the teamwork feats its master has.

However, I agree it's pretty darn risky trying to flank with your familiar.

Check out Escape Route which would turn a 15-ft diameter area around your familiar into a "no AAO from move" zone for you - and could allow a tiny size familiar to deliver touch spells without provoking from moving through enemy space.

Shadow Lodge

1) Since you can move, you do have a Dex. I'd guess you either use your normal Dex, or else treat it as 1. Leaning towards the former, but unclear.

2) I don't think it's supposed to require you to spend a standard action activating basic phytokinesis every time you use leshykinesis. As you say, the line "The vine counts as a prehensile appendage for the purpose of aiming kinetic blasts and gathering power" strongly suggests you're intended to be able to use your blasts while using leshykinesis, which requires a standard action.

I wouldn't be surprised if basic leshykinesis was actually supposed to be "always active" and the reference to basic phytokinesis was for flavour purposes rather than mechanics. Unfortunately strict RAW does say standard action and RAI is not clear.

Shadow Lodge

Chess Pwn is correct - you choose ONE enemy bonus to increase when you get a new enemy.

It is also possible to have +6/+4/+2/+2 or +4/+4/+4/+2.

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Link to illusion runeward tattoo - it would allow you to detect illusions at will for 1K and no item slot. In fact, it automatically alerts you when illusions are cast within 60ft, which sounds handy.

Other options I can find are a Lantern of Auras (2k), or a Cloak of the Hedge Wizard, Divination variant (2.5k).

Or you could take the Minor Magic rogue talent - not sure how that stacks up against your other talent options.

Shadow Lodge

5th level, starting with 10,500gp?

While you don't want to rule out combat items, you can certainly treat them as lower priority. For example, I wouldn't bother with a magic weapon - masterwork will do.

A Cloak of Resistance and Belt of Dex are useful in and out of combat (especially with a finesse build), so I'd suggest spending half of your wealth on a Cloak +1 and Belt +2. Add your masterwork weapon and decent armour (maybe +1, or a mithral shirt) and you should be set for combat. That leaves you 4-5K for utility and intrigue items.

Handy Haversack (2k) and Pathfinder Pouch (1k) are good picks. Black Marketeer's Bag (pouch security, haversack capacity) is too pricey just yet at 6.2k, but you'll probably want one soon. If you haven't entirely dumped Strength you can probably grab the Pouch for now and upgrade to the Bag in a level or two.

Sleeves of Many Garments (0.2k) are a cheap way to change your clothes, which could help you switch social settings or assist in a disguise. For a bit more gold, the Hat of Disguise (1.8k). Glamered Armour (+2.7K) is probably also worth it in the long run - check with your GM about the social reaction to light armour to decide how to prioritize it.

I don't think there's much of a magical defense against an item that increases your skill modifier, unless it's an item that increases the opposed skill (eg defending against a +5 Bluff from a Bracelet of Bargaining with your own +5 Sense Motive from a Bracelet of Bargaining). So you'll probably want one or more skill-boosting items eventually - and I'll add Circlet of Persuasion (4.5k) to the list of possibilities.

Don't forget mundane gear. I'd invest in at minimum a courtier's outfit and accessories (80gp total), as well - maybe even a noble's outfit. Alchemist's Kindness (1gp/dose), a Grooming Kit (1gp), and Perfume (1gp+/dose) are also fun for flavour. If you didn't get the Pathfinder Pouch, Hollow-Heeled Boots (10gp) are a cheap smuggling boost. You might also find use for invisible ink (2-75gp/vial)

I might come up with a few more things later...

Shadow Lodge

The Bracers do by only work for a Paladin, not for any characters with Lay on Hands.

However, given that the OP would be a Paladin/Oracle, the bracers would activate. They also don't specify that they increase your "effective paladin level" for lay on hands, just that you are treated as "four levels higher." And it's certainly an effect that works with the lay on hands class feature.

Given the wording, RAW I would say that they work for a Paladin/Oracle, but not for a single-classed Pei Zin Oracle.

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Keep Calm and Carrion wrote:
TarSpartan wrote:
CdG is a full-round-action, exposing one to attacks of opportunity. It is rare that multiple party members cannot reach one another with a double-move, so the odds of being able to pull this off without taking significant damage from another party member are slim.
A full round action takes a character's entire turn. Examples include a full attack action, running, and withdrawing. The action is complete by the end of the character's turn--there is no opportunity for other characters to double move, or take other non-immediate actions.

Yes, but you can only complete a full round action if you start your turn within a 5-foot step of the unconscious opponent (or have a swift/immediate action to take you there, like the shift power). That means that unless you have multiple enemies threatening or almost-threatening the same PC/ally, and not threatened by anyone else, the PCs will have at least a turn to move to heal or protect their downed ally. And even if there are multiple enemies they might not act together in initiative, giving an opportunity for the next PC. It's not quite as safe as if no PC can eat a CdG as long as there's an ally within a double move, but it's also not as though the enemy will always (or even often) have the opportunity to CdG a PC the moment they drop unconscious.

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I'm assuming that because it doesn't specify partial vs total concealment and doesn't indicate a miss chance, the blanket's concealment is only intended to enable you to use the stealth skill without having to find some other form of cover or concealment.

Still pretty good for the cost, though.

Shadow Lodge

The rogue ability stacks.

I don't think rangers can get rogue talents. Slayer an option?

Shadow Lodge

Letric wrote:
Graelsis wrote:
Party chat
You probably asked this as a player instead of character, and that made them believe that you person are selfish, which could not be. Maybe your character is. Make them understand it was your character and not you.

I disagree. Unfair loot distribution can hurt a player's enjoyment of the game regardless of what the characters think, so it's appropriate to bring it up out of character. I've interrupted loot discussions to say "my PC wouldn't ask for X, but I'd really like it" or "my PC sees nothing wrong with getting a bigger share, but are you guys OK with it?" In fact, if the other players really think it's unreasonable for you to want them to chip in on scrolls, I think it's immature of them not to have a frank ooc discussion about it.

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