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Goblin

Weirdo's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 3,796 posts. No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 1 alias.


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Shadow Lodge

LazarX wrote:
Forseti wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:

I've always just had animals attack in a straight line unless they are trained otherwise.

Attack dogs will run up and bite you, not run up, circle around and bite your ass.

Funny you should say that. Have a look here:

https://youtu.be/_oIqW2hbEcs?t=30s

The only thing that's missing is a grid. Animals are a lot smarter than you give them credit for. I guess you're confused with vermin.

Smarts has nothing to do with it. Pack tactics are programmed into dogs and wolves genetically. Getting them to pack with a Human however, takes training.

Like the training represented by the Precise Companion and Hunter's Tactics abilities, which represent the extraordinary teamwork between a hunter and their companion?

Shadow Lodge

Huh. Then his build is technically illegal for 6th level because he exceeds the max of 4 attacks (2 claws + bite + tail + wing = 5), though if he is pretending the claws don't exist I wouldn't have a problem with it.

He really should just drop the tail or wing evolution and use the free claws, though.

Shadow Lodge

If you're interested in more combat maneuvers generally, you'd probably be better off with Bull Rush, Drag or Overrun. All of these use Power Attack so you don't need an extra pre-req, and all provide a useful tactical option even with just the basic Improved Maneuver feat.

Alternatively, notice that there's little downside to performing maneuvers untrained when your opponent can't make the AoO against you. You could make basic, safe use of a variety of maneuvers simply by extending your reach (using a reach weapon, getting yourself enlarged, using the Lunge feat, etc).

Tark's guide on maneuvers may be useful.

Since you don't have any decisions to make until level 5 I would recommend keeping an eye on how you play the character - whether you spend a lot of time mounted, charging, whether you see opportunities to use specific maneuvers - and using that to inform your decision.

Shadow Lodge

I'm confused by your use of the term "legal." I would only describe something as legal by RAW if it is unambiguous.

At first I thought your argument was that this case was indeed unambiguous and the people who disagreed with you were breaking the rules to fit how they wanted the rules to work. (Hence statements like "if Mr. Nelson doesn't like it, he can have the Design Team change the rules. Because right now, the rules are clear.")

Are you saying that you initially thought it was unambiguous but now agree that there is ambiguity?

Or are you using a different interpretation of "rules legal" meaning "if a rules interpretation can be defended within the rules, the player has a right to use that interpretation, regardless of ambiguity that creates other defensible readings"?

Or something else?

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I further believe it to be implicit that one attacks opponents and not allies.

Healing bomb still requires a direct hit - and therefore attack roll - despite the fact that it's clearly intended to be targeted at an ally. This is on top of situations where it might be beneficial to use a drag or reposition maneuver on an ally (usually because the ally is immobilized).

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
It's kind of interesting that some people believe that Bodyguard as an Attack of Opportunity Feat makes Bodyguard overpowered, but some people feel like it nerfs the Feat.

Both, and that's why I don't like it. Your interpretation nerfs the feat in most builds but makes it overpowered in a particular build. I'd rather see it consistently useful.

Ad Hominems:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Grey_Mage wrote:
In response to the Ad Hominem:
I'm a little confused: which Ad Hominem are you answering for?

This one:

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Something important, I think, is being forgotten here. You don't play this game with the authors' imaginations. You play with the authors' rules. You play with your own imagination! When a player thinks of new ways to play the game that the authors did not think of, that is not only elevating the game, but is the very heart and soul of the game!

You are implying here that people who disagree with you lack imagination, and that's fighting words in an RPG forum.

Grey_Mage wrote:
I think you are wrong in your interpretation. I say that without inferring you are a bad player or person. The only cause I have of concern is your assertion your interpretation MUST be allowed at a PFS table.

If you want to avoid implying that someone is a bad player, then avoid telling them to reflect on the question: "If the whole society were like me, what kind of society would it be?" Because saying that Scott needs to reflect on this implies that it would be a bad thing if everyone were like Scott and that Scott should adjust his behavior accordingly. Which communicates that you think Scott is, if not a bad person, at least behaving badly.

Shadow Lodge

What do you actually want to do?

Grappling is fun, but also situational. It's difficult or risky to grapple some foes, and you can also leave yourself open to the grappled opponent's friends. It also takes a lot of investment to do well.

Personally, if I were a barbarian with a tiger, I'd want the mounted rage powers and maybe a few mounted combat feats - assuming that I wasn't worried about having to dismount too frequently.

Worth noting though that Greater Ferocious Mount doesn't synergize too well with some of your other choices. Your tiger won't actually benefit from sharing your Beast Totem powers since they already have claws, natural armour, and pounce. The mount also can't use activated powers (like Spell Sunder or Strength Surge) but such powers are also usually the main reason to rage cycle.

Also, I've noticed your second option has CAGM but not Combat Reflexes. I'd recommend taking both or neither, since you really need a lot of AoO to take advantage of CAGM.

Shadow Lodge

First a few rules checks:

1) You say he took "a few" Extra Evolution feats. At level 6, you can take Extra Evolution twice (once at 1st, once at 5th).

2) Augment Summoning only works for summoning spells, so it doesn't effect the eidolon when called through the usual ritual - only when you use the Summon Eidolon spell (which has a limited duration).

3) Your damage isn't correct for the tail. You've got one damage increase (the evolution) which should give you a d6->d8. To get to 2d6 you need another damage die increase.

What's the base form?

The easiest thing to improve your damage is to switch the tail or wing buffet to claws. You get two of them for one evolution point (assuming your base form comes with limbs) and they are primary attacks. Two attacks at d4+6 beats one at d6+3 with a -2 attack penalty. You can also get a primary Gore attack (2 evolution points).

Taking bite again would give you 1 1/2 Str to damage, which is another good boost, especially if you take Power Attack later (it is pretty effective if you have multiple primary natural attacks).

I also wouldn't have taken Multiattack as a feat since you get it for free at 10th level (with claws you'd only have one secondary attack anyway).

However, consider how much you actually want to improve the eidolon. Because of the number of natural attacks they can get, eidolons have been known to outdamage party martials, and when one character's pet is more powerful than another whole party member (and the summoner has spells besides) it can be discouraging. I would recommend taking care not to overshadowing other PCs.

Shadow Lodge

His opinion (RAI) does not clarify the RAW, but is also doesn't mean that the opposite is true. It simply means that the RAW is still unclear.

In those situations, I find RAI very helpful in informing how I think the rule should work - how I prefer it to work at my table. For example, in this case the RAI makes the feat more generally useful (because it can be used do defend against ranged attacks or in other situations where you don't threaten the attacker). I find that preferable to your interpretation where the feat is less generally useful but can be really powerful in a particular build. As Grey_Mage said, that can actually be limiting because the variety of builds in which you'll see Bodyguard will decrease.

I'm also a little confused about why you're all of a sudden appealing to player imagination when your previous argument seemed to be that the combo was "Rules legal." If you don't want to be enslaved to the authors' intentions, why do you want to be enslaved to RAW?

Shadow Lodge

If you have the Bodyguard feat (which helps tanks protect nearby allies) then Benevolent armor is a good deal - though probably not for a few levels. I'd wait until your armour is +2.

Shadow Lodge

In 3.5, you used to replace your stats with the stats of whatever you turned into, instead of modifying your stats. A druid with 6 Strength could wild shape into a bear and be just as potent as a druid with 18 strength wild shaped into a bear. That made it easy to dump physical stats with no loss of combat ability.

Also you got all the extraordinary attacks, not a fixed list, which meant that if a monster came out with a really powerful unique extraordinary attack, you could get that through polymorph.

Shadow Lodge

Bloodline Arcana wrote:
Whenever you cast a spell that deals energy damage, you can change the type of damage to match the type of your bloodline. This also changes the spell's type to match the type of your bloodline.

The only requirement seems to be that the spell deal energy damage, and Elemental Touch does, so your bloodline arcana should work and enable you to produce effects that don't normally line up with your bloodline's energy type and changing the descriptor to match.

Shadow Lodge

Toed wrote:
if unconscious and forced into a rage do these allies with "spirits" then have spirits attacking while they are "out"?

What do you mean? What spirits?

Shadow Lodge

Roles would be more like this:

Captain: Could be anything but high Cha and ability to wade into frontline combat would both be useful. Good place for a bard//swashbuckler or bard//daring champion cavalier.

Quartermaster (keep everyone fed and paid): anything with appraise.

Ship master (keep the boat on course): This would be the best person to be able to control weather, and the Survival skill plus Knowledge (Geography) are used for navigation so druid is a solid first half. Fighter or brawler make good complements for combat, or inquisitor if you're looking for skills and an increased range of spells. Consider the sacred huntmaster inquisitor - get a pet from inquisitor and grab a domain as a druid! Druid//Ranger isn't bad either but there's potentially a lot of overlap.

Boatswain (keep the boat working): In addition to mundane repair using Knowledge (engineering) and Craft (ships), spells from Mending to Fabricate would be useful here, and since these are situational spells you want a prepared caster - so wizard or arcanist. Inspired blade swashbuckler is an easy thematic other half since you get a rapier, panache from Int, a second good save, and decent combat skill (including an AC bonus in light or no armour). Or get more skills and extra part-casting with bard or investigator - the latter being more powerful thanks to Int synergy but slightly less thematic (bards = sea shanties, sea singer & watersinger archetypes, etc).

Doctor (keep the crew working): Probably a divine caster of some sort. Just a Mort's suggestion of Cleric(of besmara)//Ranger is a good one - strong combatant, lots of skills, covers the healing basics. You could also use a Waves Oracle with sorcerer (aquatic?), bard, or swashbuckler on the other half - though I'd warn you that oracles can miss certain condition removal spells like Break Enchantment so this Doc would need help from scrolls or another caster. Witch(Sea Witch?)//Alchemist(Chirgeon) works too, though with the next suggestion that would make three Int-based characters...

Master gunner (keep the weapons working): Gunslinger (Siege Gunner)//Alchemist (Grenadier) works well - avr mentioned it above. Full BAB, Int synergy, two good saves, lots of artillery - use bullets for DPS and bombs for control effects.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The oracle's flavour is different from the cleric in a lot of ways, not just lack of a single deity - with the big ones being the curse and the idea that the oracle receives their power without asking for it. There's still a thematic niche for a character who deliberately follows and promotes a philosophy that is not centred around a deity

I think the cleric class can cover a lot more concepts than just monotheistic religion. My current campaign includes several religions that don't worship deities, including a sort of elemental animism and a hobgoblin religion with a Crom-like creator figure which preaches reliance on self and society rather than on divine interference.

Elemental animism (also known as "Four Houses") works like druidism but with a different focus. Priests typically are affiliated with one element ("House") in particular and select both a domain directly associated with that element and another domain that reflects a philosophical aspect of that element - for example Earth and Protection, Fire and Glory, Air and Liberation, Water and Healing, or Rivers (subdomain) and Travel.

Hobgoblinism offers Metal, Protection, Strength, War, and the Defense and Tactics subdomains. Where this power comes from is unclear - clerics claim to tap into the collective spirit of their people but it's possible they are accessing some sliver of power from their creator despite lack of actual worship.

Off-Topic on Saints:
The major deities also have "saints" - minor divinities, once mortal, whose areas of interest (and hence domains) differ somewhat from the parent church/deity. For example, the saint of vampires serves the goddess of death, and followers of the saint gain access to the darkness domain, which the death goddess does not normally grant.

Shadow Lodge

This is NOT how polymorph works in PF.

Polymorph Rules
Beast Shape (turning into animals)
Plant Shape
Elemental Body

Your mental stats stay the same.

Your physical stats are adjusted according to the polymorph effect used. For example, using Wild Shape to turn into a medium animal gives you +2 strength (regardless of the animal shape assumed). Turning into a huge elemental gives you a +4 bonus to your Strength, and a +6 bonus to your Dexterity

You lose your sensory abilities, natural attacks, and normal natural armour. You gain the natural attacks of the form assumed, any sensory abilties listed under the polymorph effect (typically darkvision, low-light vision, or scent, but also blindsense for bats), and the natural bonus listed under the polymorph effect (such as +2 when turning into a medium animal).

You gain any other special abilities listed under the polymorph effect, but not abilities that are not listed. Skills and skill bonuses are notably not included.

The size adjustments you list do apply - note you also modify attacks with the same bonus/penalty.

Really, it's not that hard. You put together a list of your adjusted stats for each size of animal or plant you can turn into ahead of time and then you can quickly look up the natural attacks and qualifying special abilities of the specific animal you want to turn into. If you expect you'll use a form regularly (for example, tiger in battle) look its attacks up ahead of time, too. If you use excel you can put in each stat and its wild shape adjustments so that you can calculate out all changes very quickly when you level.

Elementals are even easier since the spell lists the special abilities you get for each (eg burn for fire elementals) rather than requiring you to look them up.

Shadow Lodge

I'd forgotten the roc was an option - and one available to the non-primal Hunter. That makes Barbarian//Hunter a ridiculously good combo. Maybe TOO good depending on what the rest of the table is playing. Full BAB, d12 HD, 6 skills/level, not too MAD, buffs through animal focus and spells, and you and your mount can use teamwork feats, rage, and rage powers together. No strong Will save but you'll have a decent Wis and can take Superstition if you want it. If you want to be super crazy and are patient you can be a half-orc and take Amplified Rage to share with your mount - the drawback is being unable to ride a roc until level 7 (when it becomes large).

Fruian Thistlefoot's Ranger//warpriest is another good idea, especially if you're otherwise shy on divine casting. Like Fighter//Summoner, warpriest doesn't have much to specifically enhance the mount but the overall package is arguably better. Bonus feats, stat synergy, all good saves, skills, healing, and buffs (the fact that the Ranger doesn't use a lot of swift actions is a bonus). Sacred Weapon damage won't beat the lance's base damage for a while, though - and note that it is adjusted down by size. The combination works for the Sable Company Marine as well as Beastmaster - the hippogriff is probably more powerful until level 7 but the roc is superior once it gets large.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
LazarX wrote:
Take that discussion to a setting and a GM which includes Ur-Priests. Golarion does not, and neither will any campaign world I run. When you are casting clerical spells, you are calling on a divine power to enact it's will. You can not do the first without the second.

OP specifically stated that he's aware Golarion does not allow for this and he's talking about a setting that would (since the CRB allows for such settings).

Shadow Lodge

lemeres wrote:
A cestus looks like it would be perfect for exploiting this system- 19-20, piercing damage, monk weapon. That would mean you could easily enhance it normally, and stillg et arcane deed and flurry in.

Yes, that would be a problem.

lemeres wrote:
How about making spell combat cost arcane points instead? It would replace the 'extra attack' ki point option.

Sure. I don't think it's necessary, but I think it would still be worth playing, so that sounds fair.

Shadow Lodge

The arcane pool enhancement gives them a big advantage over monks, but not over the standard magus, which is what I'm comparing this to - the Arcane Fist will still have a less powerful weapon than usual for a magus.

Less damage on nova for more consistent damage sounds like a fair trade to me - maybe even more balanced than the standard monk since a common complaint is that it's hard to handle the class when it does nova.

A rapier-wielding magus does not require a feat to use precise strike, so that's an advantage for the standard magus. And as established above, until level 11 the arcane fist does not actually have an advantage in number of attacks (or Str damage on those attacks) due to the change to spellstrike - unless they use the ki ability, which may be grounds for removing that ability.

But if you lose spell combat and the usual arcane pool the archetype will be terrible compared to the standard magus. It'll be better than the CRB monk, but that's hardly a proper standard.

Shadow Lodge

Aid Another is an attack, but that doesn't mean it's an attack of opportunity.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
The fact that the Bodyguard Feat's AoO cannot be used to inflict damage is not insignificant, but lots of Feats have limitations as to what kind of attack you can use. It's almost impossible, for instance to use any Attack of Opportunity Feat to initiate a Grapple.

This is because a grapple must generally be initiated as a standard action, not in place of a melee attack - it's a general limitation, not a specific one.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
If you have Greater Bull Rush, you also can't use an Attack of Opportunity to damage your opponent: the Bull Rushing Character using Greater Bull Rush isn't even the one who gets Attacks of Opportunity. Only his allies do. Between even Greater Trip and Greater Bull Rush, there are extreme differences. I don't think it is clear that the difference between Bodyguard and Greater Trip is greater than the difference between Greater Trip and Greater Bull Rush.

These differences are only in who the AoO are provoked from - the actual AoO are executed normally and can be used with any weapon or for any attack normally allowed with an AoO. Additionally, both feats use the clear language "provokes AoO."

The only restriction I am aware of regarding how the AoO is actually made is in Snake Fang, which requires you to use an UAS ("make an unarmed strike against that opponent as an attack of opportunity") and that's still a standard, damaging attack against the opponent and against their AC rather than an attack roll against AC 10 (which makes the question of who the target is a little fuzzy).

And you'll still get arguments that Snake Fang doesn't work with Paired Opportunists because it says "make... as an AoO" rather than "your opponent provokes an AoO, which must be performed using an UAS" because there's no explicit rule stating that "make an AoO against X" = "X provokes an AoO."

Shadow Lodge

You're welcome! I love gestalt - hope you have fun.

Fighter is surprisingly good in gestalt, given how many people find it underwhelming in normal play. Its base combat competence and passive benefits complement a lot of classes, and your second class can patch up fighter weaknesses like out of combat competence. I don't think it's as good with summoner as with some other classes (like bard, which gives the combo all good saves and lots of skills) but you still get good Fort and Will saves, a lot of buff/support spells*, and the flying mount you're after, and you will be competent fighting alongside or mounted on your eidolon.

*You get some debuffs/control spells too, but many of them require a higher Cha for potency and you probably will want to focus on your physical stats for this build.

Shadow Lodge

Secret Wizard wrote:
PS: You asked for feedback. My feedback is that you are just throwing stuff on the Magus without any true trade offs. Losing armor in exchange for another-stat-to-AC is fine, the rest is too powerful.

Being tied to UAS is a trade-off. Your weapon costs twice as much (therefore isn't going to have as high an enhancement) and you only threaten crits on a 20. How many strong magus builds do you see using a weapon that threatens only on a 20?

Though I notice there is no limitation on the weapon used during the Arcane Fist's flurry, and there probably should be. I would probably limit it to UAS only - or at least require that the bonus attacks be UAS - because even some monk weapons would be a big step up.

Shadow Lodge

DM Beckett wrote:
DevinTowerwood wrote:
If they simply wish to revere the universe or 'the natural order' (as I've seen druids do), treat them as having to stay within one step of TN, and grant them domains that are suitable.
Why? TN doesn't even exist as a universal force. Makes more sense, to me at least, that that would be the one thing that a Cleric of a philosophy could not be, or close to. I mean, these are individuals that are fueled by their passions and dedication to a cause right?

You can have a TN cleric of a deity, which should disprove the idea that TN characters are not dedicated enough to receive powers from their philosophy. TN is not apathy, it means a lack of concern for Good/Evil and Law/Chaos. There are plenty of important things (like Knowledge and Beauty) that don't fit into those axes.

Gisher wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
And, as another person on this thread has pointed out, a 2013 study by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons surveyed over 218,000 inmates in federal prison and found that less than 1/10 of 1% are atheist, while well over 50% claim some form of Christian religion and still others claim other religions.

This is a highly suspect statistic. Even outside of prison many atheists feel the need to hide their atheism. Atheists are one of the least trusted and most disliked groups in the U.S. so many atheists pretend to be religious to preserve their careers or social standing.

Considering that many prisons grant special privileges to religious prisoners, parole board members often take a positive view of religiosity, and that many violent prisoners are also deeply religious, it is likely that the number of prisoners who are atheists is significantly larger than those who are willing to say that they are.

This is not to dispute your larger points regarding morality

Also, even if there genuinely is a lower portion of atheists in prison than in the general population, correlation does not imply causation. There may be a third confounding variable such as affluence or education. Alternatively people could be more likely to become genuinely religious while in prison than the reverse.

DM Beckett wrote:
What could work, though is to have a belief system more like Buddhism. That is, they gods exist. It is an intrinsic part of the belief system, but they are not themselves notably important to the faith and goals of the faith. That is worshiping them is generally not the important part of the teachings, ad one could even be a follower of the faith without believing in deities, kind of.

I don't think deities are really intrinsic to Buddhism. From my (admittedly superficial) reading, these deities were actually local gods from traditions that Buddhism displaced as it spread, and Buddhism simply didn't care about stopping that worship. Kind of how Christianity adopted some pagan traditions as it grew (such as wedding rings, Holly at Christmas, and Easter eggs). This means it's less that you could be a Buddhist without believing in deities, and more that you could be a Buddhist even though you believe in deities. Buddhist theologians are much more likely to be atheist than the average Buddhist.

Shadow Lodge

You want a class that gives mounted combat benefits without an actual mount (since that would be redundant).

Ranger//Monk(Sohei) works quite well. You get mounted combat bonus feats, initiative bonuses, ki powers that you can share with your mount through the monastic mount ability, and at 6th level when you get weapon training you can flurry with a lance. Also all good saves and ability score synergy (physical stats and Wis).

Barbarian has some great rage powers for mounted combat - Ferocious Mount and Greater Ferocious Mount. Pounce (from Beast Totem) is also famously effective with a mounted charger build (though you only get extra lance damage on the first attack - see FAQ). It works with either Summoner or Ranger, though you'd need Moment of Clarity to cast spells in a rage.

The Cavalier's mount is redundant, but I like Summoner//Musketeer - you give up your mount for a firearm but keep your charging abilities. You can use the firearm as a backup or primary weapon. Even better, it stacks with Gendarme if you want to trade tactician for more bonus feats.

Fighter//Summoner is also a decent combination, since it gives you a lot of feats and weapon training in addition to full BAB. Consider Roughrider or Dragoon archetype. I wouldn't bother with Fighter//Ranger since the latter gives you both feats (with Mounted Combat Style) and BAB.

Summoner//Paladin is a good combination in general, with full BAB, good charisma synergy, and a lot of support abilities. However it's not going to add a lot to your mount without shining knight, which also requires you to pick a redundant mount for your divine bond.

Don't bother with Hunter - all its abilities apply to your Hunter companion, which won't be your flying mount. It's also MAD with Summoner (Cha and Wis) and has too many redundancies with Ranger.

EDIT: Just checked out dragonrider and I think it would work well with Barbarian, Musketeer, and maybe Sohei depending on your stats.

Shadow Lodge

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I don't think it's unclear that "provoke" is just a Core Rulebook term that means {Do something that gives opponents a chance to make an attack of opportunity}

"Provoke AoO" is fairly clear by itself. The issue is "make AoO" and "use AoO" as I will discuss below.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
The English terms "make an attack" and "provoke an attack" have very different meanings - you can make an unprovoked attack. While they appear to be used interchangeably in the context of AoO that does not guarantee that they actually are interchangeable.
Your quote doesn't seem to make a lot of sense verbatim: a little truistic. I think you meant " 'allow you to make an attack of opportunity' and 'provoke an attack of opportunity' have very different meanings." If that is not the case, please forgive me. I HATE it when people re-word what I wrote to change its meaning and then attribute their words to me. Doing that to someone else is the last thing I'd do.

Yes, I meant "make an AoO against X" and "X provokes an AoO." Thanks for checking. The relevant point here is that it is theoretically possible for you to make an attack of opportunity against someone without them doing anything that would provoke that attack. Oddly enough Greater Trip is a good example in that the opponent doesn't take any action - rather the trigger is "being tripped" - however it does use the term "provoke." This leads me to personally believe that those two terms are interchangeable. Unfortunately using common English rather than well-defined game terms leaves room for doubt. And using an AoO is another issue altogether as we see...

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
If that is what you meant, then I disagree with you in most cases. As I said before, the Core Rulebook pretty much uses "Provoke and Attack of Opportunity" to describe all actions that leave you open to opponents making Attacks of Opportunity against you. I certainly don't think it is theoretically impossible for those 2 things to be different. Indeed, claudekennilol came up with the example of the Swashbuckler Ability. But Claude's example barely squeaked by with a poorly worded exception, but one which only means that it is an exception, an example of an Attack of Opportunity happening and brought about by something that was not technically "provoking."

The fact that there is that one exception means that the rules allow for exceptions. Parry allows you to use an AoO without an AoO being provoked, therefore it is possible to use an AoO without an AoO being provoked.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
But Bodyguard doesn't have that. "Uses an Attack of Opportunity" still means "makes an Attack of Opportunity" unless someone official says differently, because the description of Bodyguard doesn't say that. I mean, come on: how do you "use an attack of opportunity" without "making an attack attack of opportunity?"

The same way you can use a spell slot without casting a spell. Or "A witch can use a scroll to teach her familiar a new spell" without casting the spell from the scroll. Or, from the variant wordcasting rules in Ultimate Magic, "If a wordcaster is attempting to counter the spell of a normal spellcaster, she must make a Spellcraft skill check to identify the school of the spell being cast. She can then counter that spell using any wordspell" but does not cast that spell.

"To use" can mean to employ something for its normal purpose, or it can mean to expend a resource. You have to figure out which meaning is valid through context, which brings me to...

Scott Wilhelm wrote:

But since it is, what people are arguing against me are saying is that Bodyguard lets you use an attack of opportunity to make an attack in a way that is somehow different from making an attack of opportunity but still counts against your total allotment of attacks of opportunity, and this attack is triggered by a specific event that is somehow not "provoking" even though the Core Rulebook says it is? And the reason why people accept this is because the wording of the text is unclear? This is outrageous!

But it does seem that the author intended just that. But he has never officially said that. A slightly unusual wording does not make Bodyguard different from other AoO trigger feats. You can't presume an exceptions to the rules. Exceptions to the rules must be officially stated somehow. Mr. Nelson just hasn't done that.

Bodyguard is very clearly different from the other "AoO trigger" feats in that it doesn't allow you to attempt to damage your opponent. Because of that clear difference, people do believe that the feat also uses AoO merely as a resource pool.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
This is a customer service issue. This is an issue with the quality control of the Pathfinder product. And if people are actually trying to force players to stop doing what they want, when no rules are being broken, then this is sort of like a civil rights issue. Not really, because it's just a game. But still, just because somebody's way of playing is unpopular, that doesn't make it illegal, and as long as it isn't, they should be allowed to play their way.

In a home game the group gets to play however they want (with GM as final arbiter). If you're playing PFS you have to accept that you can't always play your way, and an FAQ like this is just as likely to have your preferred reading shot down as confirmed.

Shadow Lodge

Scott, I understand that unclear rules can be frustrating in PFS but that does not mean that all rules are clear.

The language surrounding AoO is inconsistent and not formally defined. The English terms "make an attack" and "provoke an attack" have very different meanings - you can make an unprovoked attack. While they appear to be used interchangeably in the context of AoO that does not guarantee that they actually are interchangeable.

Further, Bodyguard's use of the phrase "use an AoO" sets it apart from all other "AoO trigger" feats. "Make an AoO" could reasonably be just a concise way to say "the opponent provokes an AoO from you," but there's no reason to say "use" instead of "make" unless it has a distinct mechanical meaning.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
What are you doing to protect everyone's fun? Have you Flagged this thread for an FAQ? Have you liked Claude's post?

I have flagged it for FAQ, though I'm not sure what "liking" it will achieve. Discussion will hopefully get this thread a little more attention and that's the only reason I'm still here.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Bodyguard wrote:
you may… attempt the aid another action to improve your ally’s AC.
Weirdo wrote:
And those limitations require defensive use…. side-stepping the "aid another only" requirement.
I am not side-stepping the “aid-another only” requirement. Aid Another used this way is an attack. It is described in the Core Rulebook under the heading Special Attacks. It's a Special Attack, but an attack nonetheless.

It's an attack that results in adding to your ally's AC rather than harming the enemy. That makes it a defensive use. Adding a normal, damaging AoO from Paired Opportunist makes it an offensive use.

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I know we like to stay away from real-world religion here, but I can't help but think, chad, that you don't actually know a lot of atheists or agnostics. So let me clarify a few things.

First, belief that there is no god does not necessarily equate to a belief that there is no such thing as a soul (see: Buddhism).

Second, some (many?) atheists believe that life is actually highly likely given conditions that remotely allow life - meaning that we are not lone freaks, but the inevitable result of the laws of nature. Try reading At Home in the Universe.

Third, not all agnostics believe that our uncertainty regarding divinity requires that divinity be uninterested in us. Before humans had any way to prove the existence of viruses, viruses still had a profound influence on human life.

Finally and most importantly, rejection of deity does not equate to rejection of moral values. You admit that believers would find it difficult to cope without the assurance that a divine being will mete out ultimate reward and punishment - and yet there are unbelievers who do perform great acts of compassion in absence of any belief that this will ultimately result in their salvation. That is laudable, wouldn't you think?

EDIT: I should point out that in the time of Jesus, most Jews would consider the Samaritans to be sinful unbelievers - herein lies the greater significance of the parable.

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It does have spell combat, but because spellstrike has been changed, Flurry doesn't give the advantage on number of attacks that it would with normal spellstrike.

A standard 2nd level Magus who uses Spell Combat with a touch spell gets 2 attacks at highest BAB: one normally, one from spellstrike, and can deliver the touch charge with an attack.

An arcane fist using arcane conduit gets two attacks: one normally, one flurry, and can deliver a touch charge with an attack.

Now, you posted:

lemeres wrote:
So at level 8, you are just adding another free hit at full BAB, which goes on top of the free hits you gain already with flurry.

But this isn't the case, because the arcane fist can't use spellstrike with flurry/arcane conduit, so it can't add the weapon attack from spellstrike onto the extra attacks from flurry - it has to choose between a flurry (which can include casting a spell) and a spellstrike. The second bonus attack at level 11 is nice, but at that point a standard magus is easily running around with a 15-10 crit range that applies to spellstrike, and probably has a better weapon because AoMF is expensive.

Actually, it occurs to me that using the term spellstrike for the arcane fist's ability is a bad idea since it doesn't actually work like the magus' spellstrike.

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Regardless of what atheism means or whether Golarion uses it incorrectly, it's important to consider that atheism alone is not a compelling belief system, any more than "there are lots of gods" is on its own a religion. Two complete atheistic traditions may be very different, just like Odinism is very different from Hinduism (and, as mentioned above, Buddhism is very different from atheistic satanism).

Shadow Lodge

I think it's fine.

The features it gains are on their own pretty strong, but UAS is a seriously non-optimal weapon for a magus because it doesn't have an expanded crit range. Also, the extra attack from FOB is in many circumstances just going to replace the attack you get when delivering a touch spell with Spellstrike. Note that the archetype can't use Spellstrike with Spell Combat (by which I assume you mean Arcane Conduit); this combined with the lower crit range lowers damage.

However I would probably apply a -2 penalty to all attacks when using Arcane Conduit (like Spell Combat does).

I'd also specify what happens to your UAS damage at level 1, where you're a 1/2 level monk - is it minimum monk 1, so d6, or normal UAS damage until level 2?

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Rynjin wrote:

A Cleric of Atheism doesn't make any sense. Atheism isn't a belief or an ideal. Atheism is literally defined by what you are NOT, rather than what you are.

It's like saying "I'm a Cleric devoted to the ideal of not being a dog. I believe very strongly that I'm not a dog.".

Agreed. That said, I think you could put together a coherent religion that is atheisic (or misotheistic, or dystheistic).

In the real world, for example, Buddhism is theoretically atheist in its theology, though mixing with local traditions has resulted in some deity-worship among many Buddhists. In Golarion you might see an Iroran sect decide that as Irori ascended to godhood, so are all gods merely ascended mortals, and that mortals should seek to emulate rather than worship them. This sect would probably have a similar set of domains to Irori himself (Healing, Knowledge, Rune, Strength - perhaps add the Purity subdomain).

There are also branches of atheistic satanism that see satan as a literary figure representing individuality and rebellion against theocracy. A similar PF religion might believe that mortal will is superior to - and perhaps empowers - the gods, and its domains would include Knowledge and Liberation, and perhaps also Chaos, Rune, and Magic.

Shadow Lodge

149. A cabinet protected by a simple mechanical trap that sprays a foul-smelling dye on interlopers. It's surprisingly effective against thieves expecting magical defenses.

150. An elaborate machine that emits steam or drips a dark liquid at irregular intervals. Upon investigation the liquid appears to be coffee - very strong coffee.

151. An issue of Wizard's Weekly containing a magically self-updating list of things every wizard should have in their lab.

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claudekennilol wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
The developer statement on Bodyguard however indicates that in that specific case the use of "use an AoO" was intentionally used to distance the feat from the full AoO mechanic.
The developer statement?

Yes, the statement I described and linked to in my first post.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:

So? Bodyguard also has severe limitations on when they may be used, more severe than Snake Fang's, in my opinion.

Bodyguard can only be used when your ally is attacked. And further, Bodyguard's AoO is limited to the Aid Another action.

And those limitations require defensive use. Paired Opportunist AS you describe it allows the ally to make an offensive AoO in response to Bodyguard, side-stepping the "aid another only" requirement. The only requirements still in play are Paired Opportunist's positioning (same for both), Snake Fang's "miss you," and Bodyguard's "attacks ally" - and unless it's significantly more likely that an opponent will attack you than your ally, the "miss" requirement makes Bodyguard more likely to go off. (Note: I've played two characters with Bodyguard and one with Snake Fang and did indeed use Bodyguard more often.)

Further, Snake Fang (especially with Paired Opportunist) punishes an opponent for missing you - meaning if the opponent is likely to miss you they will soon stop attacking you in favour of a squishier target. On the other hand, Bodyguard+Paired Opportunist punishes the opponent for attacking your allies - which for many characters that would use this combo is exactly what they want! It would be very, very easy for a Honour Guard to jack up their own AC and then use these feats to demolish opponents who try to go around the tank. (Now, maybe PF could use a better tanking mechanic but I don't think the answer is to require this very specific feat combo.)

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
What matters is what Mr. Nelson did and didn't write, what he MEANT to write is irrelevant. I own a lot of Pathfinder rulebooks, and nowhere have I been able to find a single rule that was intended. Every rule was written.

The problem with this is that language does not exist in absence of intent or interpretation - when we hear or read language we will actually make very rapid predictions about where a sentence is going or what it means even in the middle of that sentence. (Citation) These predictions involve guessing the speaker/writer's intent. Good technical writing does not make interpretation unnecessary - rather it ensures that the text is more likely to be interpreted in the way the writer intended.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:

What the Pathfinder Core Rulebook did write was that you only get to use an Attack of Opportunity is when someone provokes one.

What Mr. Nelson did not write is that Bodyguard's way of allowing use of attacks of opportunity is different from provoking one.

And if Mr. Nelson doesn't like it, he can have the Design Team change the rules.

Because right now, the rules are clear.

As Gwen Smith pointed out, the rules certainly do not include a clear statement that you only get to use an AoO when someone provokes them - any more than the sentence "Happy Harry gives you free cake on your birthday" clearly prevents Happy Harry from giving you free cake on other occasions.

Bodyguard is currently written in an unclear manner that, thanks to an absence of solid terminology relating to AoO use, can be reasonably interpreted in multiple ways. What is necessary now is not changing the rule, but writing it in a less unclear manner. And possibly standardizing AoO terminology so we can avoid future arguments over whether use = make = provoke.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:

Somebody PM Mr. Nelson that I am defying and insulting his artistic vision, and get him to get the Design Team to fix his mistake. Then I will acknowledge the rules have changed so that my interpretation only applies to the old rules and not the new rules. And claude's applies to the new rules if not the old.

Save poor Mr. Nelson's vision from my rough-shod boots and cast your request for the FAQ on the top of this thread!

I'm going to assume that this is meant to be a joke, but it's also unnecessarily confrontational. Criticism can stay constructive.

Shadow Lodge

Riuk wrote:

but if i use beast shape would that also increase it str score by the table

Creature's Original Size
Str Dex Con Adjusted Size
Fine +6 –6 — Small
Diminutive +6 –4 — Small
Tiny +4 –2 — Small
Large –4 +2 –2 Medium
Huge –8 +4 –4 Medium
Gargantuan–12 +4 –6 Medium
Colossal –16 +4 –8 Medium

or would it only get he +2 str

Yes, Beast Shape is a polymorph effect which means that you adjust stats according to the creature's original size.

The stat adjustment for polymorphing your familiar into a medium animal will be the same as Battle Form. The natural armour and natural attacks may differ. If your familiar already has good natural armour and attacks in their natural form, the benefits of Beast Shape may not be worth the spell slot. If you want a familiar that has a less combat-ready natural form (say, you want a hare for +4 initiative) then Beast Shape will help.

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As written, it only affects HP.

Given the effects of the other unlocks (and the relative power of the ability) I would say it's likely that ability damage is intended to be included.

Shadow Lodge

Actually, Snake Fang doesn't say "use an AoO," it says "make an UAS as an attack of opportunity."

Crane Riposte uses both "provoke an Aoo" (when fighting defensively) and "make an AoO" (when using total defense).

It's not clear whether there is a general difference between "use an AoO," "make an AoO" and "provokes an AoO." There are certainly situations in which "make" and "provokes" appear to be interchangeable (such as the Vicious Stomp/Greater Trip FAQ from the Blog, which uses "take an AoO" when both feats use "provoke").

The developer statement on Bodyguard however indicates that in that specific case the use of "use an AoO" was intentionally used to distance the feat from the full AoO mechanic.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Misroi wrote:
The issue is that Bodyguard is giving you a way to use your Attacks of Opportunity on actions that don't normally trigger the use of AoOs.
That's not much of an issue. Lots of Feats do that. Crane Riposte, Snake Fang, Greater Trip, Greater Overrun, Greater Bull Rush, and many others.

These feats also have more limitations on when they may be used.

Crane Riposte works once per round.

Snake Fang requires the opponent to miss you, not just attack you.

Greater Trip is limited by the fact that you need to successfully trip someone to get/grant the AoO (and some opponents can be difficult or impossible to trip). Greater Overrun and Greater Bull Rush are similarly dependent on combat maneuvers.

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Doki-Chan wrote:

Also with regard to the above "Form" debate with what I surmised for Veil above, is it the same form every time? Or is it like pressing randomize on the "form generator" if it doesn't specify "you take the same face every time".(or a set of limited templates you can add Disguise spell or skill to tweak features later - think Skyrim/ Mass Effect etc.)

Also, does it specify you take the same sex at any point...? Plus what if you randomly generate "this is a purple bugbear, not a blue bugbear"
(I guess that's what having a part of the right *Blue Bugbear Female Nostril Hair* Spell Component is all about...?)

The general Polymorph rules state that you can control the "fine details" of a form, just not precisely enough to impersonate a specific individual. So you can choose to become a blue female bugbear (assuming blue bugbears exist) with one casting, and a purple male bugbear in another casting.

Doki-Chan wrote:
The Monster Change shape says +2 stat doesn't apply but some of its own PQs stay ... (have to assume the spells/darkvision at this point)?

They keep what's described in the polymorph section - which includes spells but not darkvision or natural weapons. (DR and SR are a bit of a grey area, though it should definitely keep Detect Thoughts.)

Doki-Chan wrote:
... but how does it apply in the Bloodline? (is that just the basic Alter Self +2 but if you are Tiefling and A.S. to Human, do you still lose Darkvision)

The bloodline doesn't refer to the change shape monster quality rules, so it works exactly like alter self, including the +2 Str or Dex.

Doki-Chan wrote:
Does it mean a Rakshasa can't change shape into another Rakshasa (for tricksy shenanigans)?

Correct, a Rakshasa can only use Change Shape to turn into humanoids, though they can use the disguise skill normally if they want to impersonate another Rakshasa.

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Paizo sadly lacks technical writers which means (1) terms are not always used consistently and (2) some terms are used to mean specific things without actually defining the specific things they mean.

It sucks.

According to this post by the author, Bodyguard is only intended to use the AoO resource (hence the wording "use an AoO") rather than abide by all the rules involving AoO (which would presumably be "make an AoO"):

Jason Nelson wrote:
My intention with tying it to the AoO mechanic was simply to make it an ability you could use more than once per round, rather than wanting to tie it specifically to all the implied mechanics of AoOs. I had thought about just making it an immediate action, but that limits it to once per round and takes your im/swift action. I figured that was an appropriate mechanic for In Harm's Way, but the defensive bonus of AA was modest enough that I thought it entirely fair to not limit it that way.

This is not definitive but I think when you combine this statement with the fact that using Bodyguard to give a friend a free AoO at +4 whenever someone attacks them is clearly overpowered I think it's safe to rule "No" on this one.

Shadow Lodge

Yes, if an attack of opportunity leaves you unable to finish your action (like if you're disarmed in the middle of trying to use an item) then you lose the action.

Claxon wrote:

I also tend to run those sorts of passive perception checks as taking 10 for the players in these situations. Its much quicker for me as a GM, because I just need to know what their perception modifiers are and don't need to roll any dice.

So effectively, if your character that is attempting to sneak up on the party has a higher stealth score than the party's highest perception score you can "automatically" sneak up on them.

I'd be wary of making it automatic - a character with +10 perception should have a similar chance to spot a goblin with +9 stealth and +11 stealth, not automatic success spotting the former and automatic failure to spot the latter. Taking 10 for the party and rolling for the goblin retains randomness without requiring multiple rolls - though it does eliminate the additional difficulty of sneaking up on a group since the person with the highest perception sets the stealth DC and the number or skill of additional targets is irrelevant.

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Michael Grate wrote:
Speed wrote:
When making a full-attack action, the wielder of a speed weapon may make one extra attack with it. The attack uses the wielder's full base attack bonus, plus any modifiers appropriate to the situation. (This benefit is not cumulative with similar effects, such as a haste spell.)

I think the issue here is not the actions used but whether the extra full-BAB attack granted by the amulet is considered a "similar effect" to the extra full-BAB attack granted by Speed.

Fortunately, this FAQ for the ki pool also applies to the amulet:

FAQ wrote:

Monk: Does the extra attack from spending ki as part of a flurry of blows stack with the extra attack from haste?

Yes. The extra attack described in the ki pool ability doesn't say it works like haste, nor does it say that it doesn't stack with haste, so the monk would get two additional attacks (one from spending a ki point as part of a flurry, one from haste).

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Elitechobohax wrote:
Then why is there this line, in the polymorph rules: "Unless otherwise noted, polymorph spells cannot be used to change into specific individuals" - If no spells specify that you can? Remember, this rule is from the PHB, so it SHOULD apply to AT LEAST one spell in the book and i come up with none.

Not necessarily - it could be present in case a future spell or effect (such as Realistic Likeness) allowed you to impersonate an individual. The PHB doesn't always demonstrate such foresight, but it's certainly allowed to.

EDIT: I don't believe the intent is to use alter self to impersonate individuals, but I think it would be reasonable to allow a character to do so given some extra effort (probably by personally obtaining a piece of the specific individual to be impersonated, or possibly with a feat - see again Realistic Likeness).

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Rynjin wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
James Risner wrote:
Also the fact that dimensional anchor uses movement in one way does not mean freedom of movement is using the term in the same way.
Can I just point out how confusing this is? I mean, we have enough confusion over whether standing up from prone counts as "movement" without having to worry about the actual word "movement" has multiple meanings.
It's no more confusing than using the English language every day.

And yet somehow technical writers manage to avoid these situations.

I am aware that the people at Paizo are game designers rather than technical writers. But if you're concerned with having a clear rule set, it may be useful to start thinking like technical writers, or even hiring one.

And while game design in the past seems to have relied heavily on the group working something out when the rule is unclear, I think increased clarity is something to aim for. It certainly seems to be highly valued in PFS. And even in a home game, getting a GM ruling can distract from play.

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Riuk wrote:
or can i still cast beast shape on it and just use the rules from the spell

Yes, you can use Beast Shape instead of the Mauler's Battle Form. It's only if you want to use Beast Shape and the Mauler's Battle Form at the same time that you may have trouble.

Shadow Lodge

Oops, I checked the BAB and forgot the DD didn't get HD matching its BAB.

Don't think it makes a difference to the conclusion, though.

While raging a full bloodrager matches or exceeds the DD bonuses to Str/Con and will saves. You get more skills, and you're ahead by 3 BAB, DR, and spellcasting levels plus tireless rage and self-buffing as a free action when entering rage. You miss out on +3 Nat AC, blindsense, the bite, a use of your breath weapon, +10ft fly speed, and the ability to use Form of the Dragon when not raging.

Generally better in rage, not as good outside rage. Not a bad option but not the same dramatic effect as a sorcerer/DD - probably because bloodrager/DD seems like such an intuitively good match. The DD is designed to add some dragon-themed combat ability to an arcane caster (ideally sorc), and the draconic bloodrager already is a combat-capable sorc hybrid. So the actual difference between the two ends up being relatively subtle.

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I would go with the arcana. It's simpler and more flexible. I'd be interested in a psychic blade but not necessarily with the rest of the package.

chad hale 637 wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
Gains: 3 Extra bonus feats (limited to blade) plus improved fighter training.
1. The bonus feats should have been "one every four levels thereafter". so 4th,8th,12th,16th,20th....

I miscounted, then. Two extra bonus feats - on top of the three that the magus normally gets at 5, 11, and 17.

chad hale 637 wrote:
2. Also, I had intended to allow the use of arcane pool to enhance the weapon as it states. you summon the weapon and enhance it separately.

You summon it as a move/swift/part of a move (gaining a +1 weapon) and then spend another swift action to further enchant it? That's not an improvement, since it takes the better part of a turn - or even two turns - to get the weapon functional (a +1 weapon is close to useless at higher levels). The instant weapon really needs to improve on its own, separate from the arcane pool enchantment feature, or else it will be inferior to the black blade or to simply buying a weapon.

chad hale 637 wrote:

3. I may actually drop the "fighter training" option and go with Raising the weapon die size: 1st=1d8, 4th=1d10, 8th=1d12, 12th=2d8, 16th=3d6, 20th=4d6. Increased damage as a counter to the loss of armor, rather than a bonus AC.

...

On-the-other-hand, if you can prepare for a fight: Mage armor and shield, work rather nicely. as you advance, bracers of armor and a force shield ring may be available, if not - an extended duration shield spell can help a little.

instead of canny defense and increasing initiative and critical threat chance and a bonus to confirm critical Hits; I ramp up the bonus damage of the phantom blade and allow you to further enhance it according to the normal magus arcane pool enhancement options.

That's not a great trade. Critical hits normally contribute a good deal to a magus' overall damage, so the Kensai's crit advantages (not to mention AoO for extra attacks) may very well match the increase in weapon damage dice you're proposing. The Kensai has the same options to increase AC but isn't as vulnerable without them. The initiative features increase the chance that the Kensai will be able to activate an important defensive spell before being targeted - or quickly take out their opponents thanks to having increased damage in the surprise round.

chad hale 637 wrote:
to which I may add the ability add the properties of special materials (at specific levels) as a separate enhancement. the phantom blade will be able to counter DR

This is not so useful because a weapon with a high enhancement bonus can naturally bypass most DR, and thanks to arcane pool a magus can easily increase their enhancement bonus to deal with DR. Between the weapon's normal enhancement and the arcane pool, a bladebound magus can bypass cold iron, silver, or adamantine at level 5, and alignment DR at level 9.

Shadow Lodge

Actually, dragon disciple isn't as good for a bloodrager as you'd think. Assuming the dragon disciple does advance the bloodrager bloodline, compared to a bloodrager 20, a bloodrager 10 / Dragon Disciple 10:

Gains
+3 Natural armour
+4 Str
+2 Con
+2 Int
+2 Will
Blindsense 60ft
Bite
+1 use breath weapon
+10ft fly speed
Form of Dragon II 2/day (outside rage)

Which all sounds great, but they also lose:

+4 Str (mighty bloodrage)
+4 Con (mighty bloodrage)
10 HP from HD decrease
3 points of BAB
+2 Will/+6 vs enchantments (raging, indomitable will and mighty bloodrage)
20 skill ranks (10 after Int boost)
3 points of DR/-
3 levels spellcasting
Tireless bloodrage
The ability to cast a spell on yourself when entering bloodrage

The dragon disciple bloodrager is more reliable when not raging, but overall significantly weaker while in a bloodrage. That tradeoff might be appealing to some, but if you're just interested in a combat character with draconic powers a straight bloodrager is better - or possibly a bloodrager with just a few DD levels. 4 levels gives you +4 strength and +2 natural armour plus a strong bite attack, which is a pretty good deal if you're natural weapons focused and/or not going to make it to level 20.

If the bloodlines don't stack, the bloodrager ends up getting duplicate low-level abilities while missing out on higher level bloodline improvements (eg +2 increase to natural armour, energy damage on claws, fly 60ft average instead of 90ft good, the capstone). That makes it a bad deal all around. For that reason I'd say the PRC really should advance the bloodrager bloodline.

Shadow Lodge

I do not believe that BAB, HP, or number of skill ranks or feats are considered effects.

Moreover, the intended use of familiar feats is clarified in the texts in which they appear, and it isn't "choose them any time your familiar gains a feat from increased HD."

Animal Archive, Page 20:

Animal Archive wrote:

Feats that are meant for familiars can be switched out for a familiar's default feats (as listed in the familiar's statistics) if the familiar meets the prerequisites. Such

feat replacements must be made when the PC first acquires a new familiar, and-like all new feats from supplemental sources-the new feats should be approved by the GM before being integrated into play.

Alternatively, Familiar Folio page 18:

Familiar Folio: Familiar Feats wrote:
The following feats can be taken by characters who have familiars that meet the listed prerequisites. Wizards can take a familiar feat as a bonus feat, and witches can select a familiar feat in place of a hex. If you lose your familiar and gain a new familiar that doesn’t meet the listed prerequisites for a familiar feat you possess, your new familiar doesn’t gain the benefits of that feat. A new familiar that meets the prerequisites automatically gains the benefits of that feat. When you gain a new level, if your current familiar does not meet the prerequisite of a familiar feat you possess, you can learn a new familiar feat in place of the feat your familiar doesn’t qualify for. In effect, you lose the old familiar feat in exchange for the new one. The feat lost can’t be a prerequisite for another feat you possess, and your familiar must meet the new feat’s prerequisites. You can exchange only one feat in this way each time you gain a level.

Shadow Lodge

Going to organize & condense this a bit so it's easier to see what the trade-offs are.

Losses:
1. No Armour
2. Proficiency in only one martial weapon
5. Diminished spellcasting
7. Spellstrike and spell combat limited to summoned weapon
9. Limited arcana choice (mostly re: spell flexibility)
11. Lose Knowledge Pool (spellcasting flexibility)

Neutral:
3. Bonded item (weapon). Counts as arcane bloodline - cannot gain other bloodlines. Also at risk when sword not summoned!
5. Spontaneous spellcasting and cha-based features
8. Arcane Flow: Trade spell recall (& improved) for ability to convert spell slots to pool points.

Gains:
4. Can throw phantom blade 3+Cha times/day.
10. 3 Extra bonus feats (limited to blade) plus improved fighter training.

Instant Weapon: Instead of enhancing a held weapon, the archetype summons a magical weapon.

  • Pros: Cha to damage, can use with finesse regardless of form, summoning has slightly better action economy vs drawing and enhancing a held weapon in the long run. Can be re-summoned if sundered. Count as having Quickdraw and Arcane Strike for purposes of pre-requisites.
  • Cons: Enhancement values of this weapon are the same as would be bestowed upon a held weapon, but the instant weapon has only those enhancements (no base enhancement) so overall power of weapon is lower. May not be wielded with two hands to deal additional strength damage. Vanishes if disarmed (no option to pick up, must re-summon).
  • ???: Duration of summon matches normal weapon enhancement use?

Conclusion: While the concept is interesting, the execution is lacking.

Giving up armour is a big deal for a character expected to spend time in melee, and unlike the Kensai the Swordsoul doesn't get an AC bonus to compensate. Diminished spellcasting is a similarly big disadvantage, and you add to that less significant disadvantages in terms of flexibility of weapon and spell selection. In exchange you'd expect to get some pretty cool benefits - like, again, the Kensai, which gets abilities enhancing initiative, attacks of opportunity, and critical hits. The swordsoul's gains are not this significant. Having an arcane bonded weapon is a double-edged sword since without the weapon in hand you must make concentration checks - especially problematic if the summoning duration is limited. Being able to cast an additional spell known per day is also not as useful for a spontaneous caster compared to that for a prepared caster. The feats and hand of the apprentice are nice, but not enough, and the Instant Weapon...

It's underwhelming. Cha to damage is really nice at low levels but in the long run a Magus' damage is more likely to come from spellstrike. A bigger issue is that the weapon is actually likely to be weaker than a manufactured one since unlike the Black Blade it has no native enhancement bonus beyond that granted by the arcane pool feature. If your archetype is all about channeling your arcane power through a sweet weapon - the weapon actually needs to be sweet.

Recommendations:

  • Make the instant weapon remain until dismissed, damaged, or disarmed (if that was not already the intent).
  • Allow the magus to improve the basic enhancement of their weapon - use arcane pool to improve it for a short duration. (Like most bonded items, this may work like item crafting, though you may want to reduce the time required to enhance the item.) This should fix the power issue from the weapon.
  • Remove the special rules on weapon finesse and using the weapon with two hands - these strike me as needlessly restrictive on weapon choice. In the same vein, consider allowing exotic weapons as a choice.
  • Consider improving defenses whether with an AC bonus, parry mechanic using the instant weapon, or giving back light armour (if not heavier armours).
  • Consider an additional higher-level feature for the weapon. If you implement all of the above, it doesn't need to be too powerful but should add a bit of extra interest to the weapon. For example, the magus may choose to redirect an attack or spell that would kill or incapacitate him into the weapon, shattering it and rendering it unable to be re-summoned for 1 hour. Since loss of the weapon is a severe debuff this would be dramatic last resort.

Shadow Lodge

Familiars don't actually gain HD - they merely use your HD value when determining the the effect of HD-dependent effects like Colour Spray. Similarly, they get the master's BAB and skill ranks, and half the master's HP, rather than getting the values that would be appropriate for their HD according to their creature type and ability scores.

In absence of actual HD gain, or an ability like the Eldritch Guardian's, familiars cannot increase their number of feats.

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Very interesting use of the class - would make a good theme game.

I don't think that's the intent.

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DM_Blake wrote:

No, it's even simpler if you ask "Can EVERYONE use this with Weapon Finesse?" and then only apply Agile if the answer is yes.

Otherwise, you get this:
Fred: I want to enchant this heavy shield with Agile.
GM: You can't.
Fred: Why not? Bob enchanted it on his heavy shield, why can't I enchant it on mine?
GM: Bob has the Shield-Trained trait. You don't.
Fred: But that makes no sense! These two heavy shields are identical, and it's the same identical Agile trait. If it works for Bob it should work for me...

Why does Fred want Agile on his heavy shield if he can't use it with Weapon Finesse?

If Fred has Weapon Finesse, it's to his advantage to use a weapon that can be finessed, like a light shield - the increase in accuracy will more than outweigh the +1 AC.

If Fred doesn't have Weapon Finesse, he can't benefit from Agile - since as _Ozy_ pointed out, the description states that only "A wielder with the Weapon Finesse feat can choose to apply her Dexterity modifier to damage rolls..."

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