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Weirdo's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 2,881 posts. No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 1 alias.


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Shadow Lodge

Gruugdúrz wrote:
Just a Guess wrote:

Yes, as I already wrote yesterday, a ragebred could be nice because it can start out with 5 natural attacks. 2 claws from the bloodline, 2 hooves and a gore.

There is a feat to get two abilities when changing.

That would be nasty!

Although the hooves would be at -5 as secondary attacks. Still, that sort of character could really dish it out pretty quick!

Especially if it was Ragebred with the Abyssal bloodline. Starting at level four he/she could "biggify" with Demonic Bulk and be able to do even more damage pretty quick.

Sounds fun, though with the Cha penalty you'd probably want to take Spelleater or Untouchable.

You could also try an Elemental (cold) bloodline witchwolf - a winter witchwolf. Taking the feat to get an extra bestial feature, they'd get claw/claw/bite with a natural attack route (in which case, Frostbite is a fantastic spell mechanically and thematically) or could use a two-hander with a secondary bite and +2 to all saves. Stat-wise they get the same Con bonus as the ragebred but no Cha penalty.

Since the elemental movement and form are water-themed instead of cold-themed, they're good candidates to switch out for rage powers with Primalist - unless you & GM want to tweak the bloodline to take Icewalking as your elemental movement, and turn into an ice elemental.

Shadow Lodge

Yes, the skinwalker's bestial form stat increase is still considered a racial bonus to the stat, so it stacks with rage and all common buffs.

Shadow Lodge

Shelyn is here. I think it's the only code online in its full form, but here are some examples of stances on mercy vs justice, from most merciful to most punitive:

Shelyn: I accept surrender if my opponent can be redeemed—and I never assume that they cannot be. All things that live love beauty, and I will show beauty’s answer to them.

Sarenrae: I will redeem the ignorant with my words and my actions. If they will not turn toward the light, I will redeem them by the sword.

Abadar: Bandits are a plague. Under my will they come to justice. If they will not come willingly before the law, where they can protest for justice in the courts, they will come under the power of my sword.

Torag: Against my people's enemies I will show no mercy. I will not allow their surrender, except to extract information. I will defeat them, and I will scatter their families.

Deities often have special interests protected in their code, for example Shelyn abhors the destruction of an object of art, Torag forbids sloppy forge-work, and Erastil requires service to the community.

Shadow Lodge

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I think races are less likely to be reflavoured than classes because races are more distinct in-game concepts/categories than most classes. It's easier for people in the world to tell the difference between a dwarf and an elf than to tell the difference between a witch class and a druid class, especially if the witch is built to fit a "druid" concept or vice-versa. Classes represent skill sets, races represent biologically separated groups.

So a reflavoured race means either:

(1) that race means something entirely different in the world, eg all elves are small craftspersons.

(2) a subrace or variant exists, eg elves living in the cold mountains are hardier and more stone-skilled than their temperate woodland cousins.

(3) the character is highly unusual or unique in a way that draws attention, in which case being a "freak" becomes part of the concept, eg the medium-size treant using dwarf stats, or a grippli to play a character who is stuck halfway between "frog" and "prince" in a world where grippli don't exist as a race.

You can make a character with the druid or alchemist who calls herself a "witch" without NPCs or sometimes even players at the table batting an eye, but if you make a medium-sized "goblin" wizard then either the GM needs to change the setting to include medium-size goblin wizards or else the player needs to accept that they're not just another goblin like all the other magical goblins out there. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen, just that it happens less often than people fiddling with class flavour.

Of course, the amount of difference is also a factor. People probably wouldn't notice in-game if an orc was using half-orc stats or vice versa, while a barbarian would have a hard time introducing himself as a "wizard."

Shadow Lodge

Serisan wrote:
Why do Combat Reflexes without reach and/or the Aberrant bloodline?
Weirdo wrote:
Use Enlarge Person or Long Arm for reach.

10ft reach, of 15ft with both, is not as good as what you can get with the Aberrant Bloodline but it's sufficient. I've been playing a martial artist suli barbarian with a naginata for 7 levels and 10ft reach lets me smack approaching characters, and hassle casters by getting in their face so they can't 5ft step away (which works well with the Arcane Bloodline's disruptive abilities). If you take CaGM that's also probably triggering against foes within 10ft.

EDIT: Also the arcane bloodline's defensive abilities - Blur and Displacement - are important because an elven bloodrager is likely to be rather fragile.

Shadow Lodge

Elven Curve Blade? You don't have to (and probably shouldn't) finesse it, but it's probably the most elegant two-handed weapon around and elven bloodragers are proficient. Power Attack and go for crits. EDIT: Arcane Strike is also good.

Take the Arcane Bloodline. Thematically appropriate, represents training to counter fellow elven casters, and increases your own speed and evasive abilities.

Consider an AoO build: Combat Reflexes (bloodline feat!) and maybe Elven Battle Training. Use Enlarge Person or Long Arm for reach. Be a Primalist and if you have enough AoO to satisfy you trade the 12th level power for Come and Get Me and one more power (probably Improved DR or Flesh Wound for durability, though you could even go for Quick Reflexes for one more AoO).

Shadow Lodge

Jeff Merola wrote:

Just note that crafting with the Amazing Tools is more expensive than normal crafting, it's just far faster.

Cost to purchase Adamantine Full plate: 16500
Cost to craft Adamantine Full plate with the Amazing Tools: 8250
Cost to craft Adamantine Full plate normally: 5500

Time to craft Adamantine Full plate with the Amazing Tools: 9 days
Time to craft Adamantine Full plate normally (assuming 6 ranks, class skill, masterwork tools, 12 int, and taking 10): 132...weeks.

Yes, and in most campaigns 132 weeks (two and half years) to save 66% is completely prohibitive, so you'd rather save 50% with the Tools than save nothing at all.

Cyrus Lanthier wrote:

That's a pretty great savings! Lots of GMs might argue that most of the cost for Mithral or Adamantine is from the metal itself, but RAW I think you're on to something pretty amazing there.

Someone has to actually invest in the Craft skill, I suppose. That or there has to be some master smith in town who you can work out an arrangement with.

Half off is the same discount you get for magic items, so really all it does is give a crafting party the option to spend 8K on adamantine full plate instead of +3 full plate and a +2 shield, and makes it easier to craft magic items when you don't have a lot of downtime. It's a nice item and definitely worth it if you're interested in special materials armour, but not overwhelmingly powerful.

It doesn't make sense to cut the discount on adamantine from a realism point of view, either. If a master smith spends 132 weeks making adamantine full plate, he's going to want significantly more profit than he'd make off a normal set of full plate that takes him 12 weeks to craft. Keeping the cost of materials a constant fraction of the sale price also means that the crafter's profit per hour/day/week of work remains constant.

Shadow Lodge

Amanuensis wrote:
Those are some good suggestions, though I would go with some less generic feats than Weapon Focus or Dodge to add more depth. For example, a nomadic tribe could grant Nimble Moves, a culture with a strong emphasis on martial arts Improved Unarmed Strike and a particularly vengeful society Step Up as bonus feats. Probably won't help with your aim of standardization, though.

You're right, and I don't think it will be a problem with standardization as long as your list of feats isn't too long - the point of standardization is to make it easy to pick a quick set of traits off a list, not to make the cultural benefits generic.

Expanded list:

  • Military: Weapon Focus, Mounted Combat, Nimble Moves, Improved Unarmed Strike (if character has IUAS replace with Weapon Focus?), Blind-Fight, Combat Casting, Combat Reflexes, Endurance, Elven Accuracy, Focused Discipline, Opening Volley, Quick Draw, Step Up, +1 CMB & CMD. For a less militaristic but lawless combative culture, Throw Anything or Catch Off-Guard
  • Magical: Combat Casting, Spell Focus*, Elemental Focus*, Improved Counterspell, Spell Penetration, Ability to cast a cantrip or orison 3/day (or three 1/day) *Consider replacing with bonus on saves for non-casters
  • Mercantile: Cosmopolitan, Well-Prepared, Linguist (+2 Linguistics and learn 2 languages for each rank), Gregarious (when members of this culture successfully use Diplomacy to win over an individual, that creature takes a –2 penalty on attempts to resist any of the member's Charisma-based skills for the next 24 hours)
  • Environment: [Terrain] Stride (Ignore natural difficult terrain of one ranger favoured terrain type), Mountaineer (immune to altitude sickness and do not lose Dex to AC when climbing or balancing), Desert Dweller, Stonecunning
  • Other: Fleet-Footed (Run as a bonus feat and +2 on initiative checks), Fleet (+5ft speed), Poison Use, Gunsmithing
  • Teamwork: Coordinated Defense, Shield Wall, Escape Route, Horde Charge, Lookout, Shake it Off, Swap Places, Spirit of the Corps, Tribe Mentality, Scarred Legion

While I'd be hesitant to include teamwork feats generally, they could be very interesting if you have two PCs from the same culture, or to a lesser extent for cavaliers or inquisitors. One option is to provide them as alternate choices - for example, a character might get to choose between Swap Places and Nimble Moves, or Shield Wall or Shield Focus.

You might also consider giving a culture alternate options for feats that aren't useful to all characters, particularly the magical feats. Generally I tried to select feats that were interesting but useful to a wide range of characters, but not all will be. I also tried to avoid feats that are good enough to make a culture a must-have for certain builds, like Improved Initiative or PBS which is a huge boon to archers - though you could balance this out a bit by selecting two minor benefits instead of three if the main benefit looks particularly strong.

Shadow Lodge

What exactly is the Paladin's order?

Without more information about the order and their specific goals, or at least the character's goals and backstory, it's hard to put together a specific code. You could hash out details about when mercy is expected and what is considered "dishonourable," but without an order that comes down to what you as a GM feel is appropriate.

For example, some Golarion deities with paladins would be completely fine with a paladin executing a repentant bandit (I'm thinking Torag and Ragathiel). Others, like Sarenrae or Shelyn, would be absolutely opposed to killing someone who has a chance for redemption.

Even with an order a lot of it's what you as a GM feel is appropriate.

I don't think she should have to refuse payment for good deeds, but is it wrong to ask for payment even though you're willing to help them even if they can't pay?

The best way to go about that would be something along the lines of "I will of course help you regardless, but if you are able to make a donation to my cause it will assist me in providing aid to others - as the donations of others improve my ability to help you now."

Shadow Lodge

Yes, though many tables ignore it.

Shadow Lodge

Cultures would be somewhat setting-dependent, I think. For example, in my current setting the "arcanist" elven culture is native to the desert and when they use weapons favour the scimitar over the longsword or bow. If I were to write up a separate set of cultural traits for them I might go with +2 Spellcraft, immunity to environmental heat and light-based blindness/dazzle effects, and choice of +1 caster level on light spells or +1 damage with a scimitar. This set of cultural traits doesn't make much sense outside of the setting. Some cultures might be somewhat generic across settings, but the best will probably be a mix of concepts.

If you're just making cultures for your own game this might not be a problem. However, if you're making a lot of cultures or want to share this with others, some standardization would be helpful. Having a quick rule for the creation of a culture makes it easier to adapt the system to different settings - and you could still have a few defaults.

Following Amanuensis' example, I'd suggest giving each culture two or three minor benefits chosen from weapon proficiency, class skill, and bonus language, plus a special benefit. The last could be a feat and should give a similar benefit. (If you want, you can give characters who get weapon proficiency or class skills as class features a +1 bonus on the skill or weapon damage so they don't miss out.) Suggestions based on traits a culture might have (minor trait suggestions in blue):

  • Military: Weapon Focus, Dodge, Mounted Combat, +1 CMB/CMD
  • Arcane: Spell Focus, Ability to cast a cantrip 3/day (or three 1/day) Spellcraft, Draconic language
  • Religious: Ability to cast an orison 3/day (or three 1/day) Knowledge Religion, planar language, proficiency in a deity's favoured weapon
  • Diplomatic/Mercantile: Linguist (+2 Linguistics and learn 2 languages for each rank), Gregarious (when members of this culture successfully use Diplomacy to win over an individual, that creature takes a –2 penalty on attempts to resist any of the member's Charisma-based skills for the next 24 hours) Appraise or craft skills
  • [Terrain] Stride: Choose a ranger favored terrain type representing the culture. Members of this culture can move through natural difficult terrain at their normal speed while within the chosen terrain.
  • Mountaineer: immune to altitude sickness and do not lose Dexterity bonus to AC when making Climb checks or Acrobatics checks to balance. Climb class skill
  • Desert Dweller
  • Underground: Stonecunning Knowledge Dungeoneering
  • Other: Fleet-Footed (Run as a bonus feat and +2 on initiative checks), Poison Use

So my elven culture might grant Desert Dweller, Elven as a bonus language, Spellcraft as a class skill, and Scimitar proficiency.

An underground dwarven theocracy dedicated to Torag might grant Stone-cunning, Dwarven language, Warhammer proficiency, and Knowledge Religion as a class skill.

A militaristic coastal culture might grant Weapon Focus(net or trident), proficiency in net and trident, and Swim as a class skill.

A trading coastal culture might instead get Gregarious, Appraise and Profession (sailor) as class skills, and Aquan language.

Shadow Lodge

Gruugdúrz wrote:

An Ifrit bloodrager with Wildfire Heart sounds cool.

Would an Ifrit's Fire Affinity work with a Bloodrager's spells, though? Maybe not, but it would be some icing on the cake if it did!

I don't think so by RAW because it specifies sorcerers with bloodlines, but it really should. It's thematically identical and mechanically less powerful since elemental bloodragers get fewer spells compared to sorcerers and no class abilities based on charisma (sorcerer bloodline has two).

You could also swap it out for fire in the blood and get a little extra healing.

Gruugdúrz wrote:
I hadn't thought of smaller races as bloodragers. Too many stereotypes in my mind, I suppose. But, still, those are cool ideas. I guess not too many people would consider small races to produce bloodragers, so that could be a lot of fun.

Friend of mine got lucky rolling stats and played a halfling barbarian (titan mauler) with a starting Str of 16. Surprisingly effective and tons of fun - at higher levels he took to disguising himself as a human child and surprising people. And the gnome bloodrager DominusMegadeus mentioned has better race/class synergy than a halfling barbarian.

Interestingly, the gnome alt trait Pyromaniac does work with the elemental bloodrager bloodline: "Gnomes with this racial trait are treated as one level higher when casting spells with the fire descriptor... using the bloodline powers of the fire elemental bloodline"

Shadow Lodge

Oliver McShade wrote:
and what melee class is not wearing medium armor or better.

The kind that invest in acrobatics? Many such characters have a high Dex even if not actually Dex-based, which encourages wearing either light armour or mithral medium armour. Plus, acrobatics in combat is tricky and risky enough that acrobats generally can't afford the ACP inflicted by non-mithral medium armour even if their Dex is low enough that they might want to wear it.

Poor Wandering One wrote:
Or full plate wearing dwarven maneuver master monks.

Well, that's an interesting side benefit to Slow but Steady.

Shadow Lodge

Cyrus Lanthier wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
If you plan on crafting a lot of mundane items, you should definitely talk with your GM about some house rules, otherwise you can spend months making anything decent.
Unless you have these. Full plate in an hour, baby.
Awesome! Expensive, but awesome. I guess if you're equipping an army this could actually pay for itself... *rubs his palms together and thinks about plans for Kingmaker*

Or if you're planning on making even one set of adamantine full plate. Save 8250gp, which is more than the cost to craft the tools (what my party did). Even if you're purchasing the tools, two mithral breastplates bring your savings to 12,550gp.

Shadow Lodge

Gruugdúrz wrote:
Oakbreaker wrote:
Yeah its just Suli really has the stats for it and just kinda goes in the right direction for it

That's true. The Suli are one of the few race choices that get +2 STR and CHA. Which makes them good bloodrager candidates. And their elemental powers would make them cool with an elemental bloodline too.

The elemental bloodline is appropriate, but unfortunately from a mechanical standpoint the early powers overlap with the suli's racial abilities - the first level power is a shorter duration elemental assault, and the elemental resistance doesn't stack with your racial resistance. This isn't too big a deal, but it struck me as inelegant - so I chose Destined bloodline for my suli bloodrager. Hoping to use elemental spells to reinforce the theme.

Ifrit has less overlap (Wildfire Heart can trade out your fire resistance for +4 initiative) and +2 Dex +2 Cha is almost as good as +2 Str +2 Cha. The other elemental races don't get good stats for bloodragers since they all have a penalty to Str, Con, or Cha.

Shadow Lodge

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Matthew Downie wrote:
It can create tense situations. The party and a potentially hostile being are having a face off. It's your move. Do you talk? Lay down your weapon? Cast a defensive buff, and risk triggering hostilities? Abandon all hope for a peaceful solution in hope of getting in the first attack? Retreat? Ready an action?

If you are already in initiative, and it's your move, there's no "hope" of getting in the first attack - if you abandon the peaceful solution, you will get the first attack. It's your move, after all.

Readied actions make it a bit more complicated, depending on how well you can predict what your opponents' readied actions are. If you don't know what they're watching for you could surprise them (avoid triggering their readied action) and go first - or not. However, in the classic scenario where everyone is pointing a weapon directly at someone else, it's pretty clear that the trigger is "when someone attacks," in which case the first person to decide to attack can actually be confident they'll go last. This was acknowledged by Gauss in the linked thread.

One idea to avert that is rolling initiative twice - once at the start of the encounter, and again when one party has decided to attack (giving the initiating party a small circumstance bonus on their roll to make it more likely, but not guaranteed, they'd go first).

jimibones83 wrote:
Any time a hairline decision could trigger consequences, you have an intense situation.

This is definitely true, which means that it probably doesn't make a big difference how you use initiative as long as you're clear and consistent.

jimibones83 wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
It's not metagaming if the GM uses "roll for initiative" as shorthand for "the other party is obviously beginning combat...
I don't. It does turn out to result in a fight a lot, especially when running AP's, but it should not define an encounter as one to me. However, I realize now that the rules do say it actually does equal combat, which has changed my stance a bit. Now I just think its a crappy rule for the reasons Quantum described above, but I was still wrong.

So talk to your players about why you think it's a crappy rule and how you'll be using it in the future. If you have used initiative outside combat in the past, remind them of those instances. Ask to what extent they were influenced by the aggressive introduction of the demon (the AP's fault) vs the actual call for initiative.

Just don't accuse them of metagaming since it's reasonable to interpret a request for initiative as a signal that your character recognizes an immediate and not merely potential threat.

Shadow Lodge

I think this was missed:

Lao Haeris wrote:

Extra question:

as a 9 lvl wizard and 1 lvl sorcerer, my fireball will be 9d6 or 10d6? The spell description says:
''deals 1d6 points of fire damage per caster level (maximum 10d6)''

Caster level equals my levels in all spellcasting classes or just the class I am casting the spell? What's the difference with: class level or character level?

Levels in the class with which you're casting the spell.

When a class feature says "level" it means "class level" (level in the class that gives you this feature) by default. If an ability uses character level (total level in all classes), it should specify. For example, "Familiar Hit Dice: For the purpose of effects related to number of Hit Dice, use the master's character level or the familiar's normal HD total, whichever is higher." A Wizard 9 / Sorc 1's familiar would have 10 HD.

Shadow Lodge

_Ozy_ wrote:
If you plan on crafting a lot of mundane items, you should definitely talk with your GM about some house rules, otherwise you can spend months making anything decent.

Unless you have these. Full plate in an hour, baby.

Shadow Lodge

The character should have been allowed two acrobatics checks. Nothing in the rules about jumping negates a character's ability to roll an acrobatics check to avoid provoking an AoO for leaving a threatened space.

However, if the character's speed is 30ft or less, and they're trying to jump a 15ft pit (20ft total movement), they will need to move at full speed, increasing the DC of the acrobatics check by 10. If I understand the map correctly, they are also forced to make a standing jump, which sets the DC to jump 15ft at 30.

So their position makes both tasks more difficult.

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Torchlyte wrote:
DMJB83 wrote:
She has played thé part of major source of info. As thé bbeg just looks at thé party as a minor annonce right more them thé real threat to his power they will one day become. She is lawful evil to à tee so she shouldbt be hacking innocent people, but an disagreement on what to do with à child pickpocket could be fun. The beat part is there hasnt been à physical side to their little love story, à couple (dates or interactions) but she always leaves him hanging. She does understand hé is à paladin of Srenea, and like to point out that their vids have even worked together before.Thanks for thé opinions and advice keep them coming .
You can hand-wave it if you like, but Antipaladins are chaotic evil.

OP can house-rule it. Hand-wave implies the decision was made irrationally or without much thought, and there is nothing to suggest that's true in this case.

Shadow Lodge

I like the Sisters Market.

Neal Litherland wrote:
What I was talking about is turning the succubus into a genuine horror concept. That would require getting under a player's skin, and as anyone who's been at a table knows fear and sexuality can often be very uncomfortable for some people. The overt tone of rape (mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically) that comes with a succubus's very existence is something that's rarely played out, but if a group was interested in those dark places it's very possible to go there.

I had a succubus possess a wizard PC's estranged wife. She asked for his help and subtly hinted that there might be a possibility for reconciliation, used him (and the party) to destroy her enemies, and then killed a rival who the party had captured and who had knowledge of her crimes. This blew her cover, so she held the wife hostage in an attempt to coerce the wizard into "keeping the guard busy" while she completed her scheme. The wizard crit a bluff check to convince the succubus that she had successfully seduced him - physically and morally - and he led her into an ambush. (I did give her a few levels in ninja to make her more of a combat challenge.) The party barely managed to rescue the wife, but not before the wizard briefly got a profane gift that dropped him to about 2 Cha when ripped out.

We didn't get too explicit, but there were definitely some moments that were very uncomfortable for the characters.

I consider her one of my best villains.

Shadow Lodge

Quantum Steve wrote:
Anonymous Visitor 163 576 wrote:
Asking for initiative is like holding up a neon sign that reads 'fight now'.

I find that a lot (maybe even most) players think this way, which is something I don't really get because neither I nor any of my group think this way. Yeah, rolling for initiative is how almost all encounters (including combats) start, but not every encounter has to be a combat. Is the really that prevalent of a "kill first ask questions later" mentality?

In these situations I find that all the characters, including the demon, usually want to do something. Since the encounter may very well escalate to a combat the order in which these actions happen can be critically important. I cannot fathom a reason why anyone wouldn't use a system designed for resolving actions in order in a situation when you need to resolve actions in order.

In many (most?) groups, noncombat encounters don't start with rolling for initiative. I personally find it's rarely important out of combat to determine the order in which actions happen. For example, when my group was woken up by a group of unfriendly but not yet violent orcs, the fighter announces that she's putting on her armour, the ninja ducks into tall grass to hide, and the summoner addresses the lead orc. The net result was in the leader telling the summoner to gather his allies for parley. but losing track of the ninja. The only question of timing was whether the fighter was able to actually put on the armour and that wasn't an issue of order of actions so much as one of total elapsed time (the fighter, and only the fighter, made a dex check). In fact, when the cleric announced he wanted to cast a spell, I asked "are you rolling for initiative?" as a way of reminding him that in this situation spellcasting would be seen as an aggressive action and would prompt a combat encounter. The cleric decided against casting the spell - my group generally prefers the diplomatic solution.

It's fine to use initiative for non-combat encounters, but in that case you need to make sure that the group does not expect that initiative is only for combat encounters, and thus indicates combat is beginning.

Shadow Lodge

kestral287 wrote:
I guess I didn't make the point I was trying to clear with the Unarmed Strike thing. An unarmed strike is normally treated as a manufactured weapon, so it getting Precise Strike isn't really a big deal. But a Natural Weapon getting it looks to me like trying to sneak through a loophole because that was explicitly shot down in the text, and treating it as both A and B doesn't change the fact that underneath, it's still B, and Precise Strike doesn't work with B. I similarly don't think I'd be okay with a Monk's unarmed strike getting some ability that was said "this works for natural weapons, but never if they're unarmed strikes". The fact that you can treat the unarmed strike as a natural weapon doesn't mean it no longer is what it is.

While an unarmed strike uses iterative attacks, it is actually normally treated as a natural weapon for purposes of spells and effects that enhance natural vs manufactured weapons. For example, magic weapon reads "You can't cast this spell on a natural weapon, such as an unarmed strike (instead, see magic fang)." Align weapon has similar wording.

The entire point of the monk's special UAS ability is to bypass such restrictions. A monk's UAS does in fact stop being a natural weapon if that's disadvantageous to the monk.

kestral287 wrote:
That's also not factoring in that the pre-reqs to set up would require a +1 to hit (Weapon Focus), just the raw "what happens when I add 15 precision damage to each hit".

So you're also not factoring in the downsides of the monk dip: lost BAB, lost level of spellcasting, slower progression of class features, the fact that precise strike itself is a level behind? Plus the opportunity cost of selecting FCT over some other feat?

On top of that, while it's a big jump for the natural weapons magus, it still doesn't increase its DPR far above the example weapon magus - certainly not enough to make it overpowering given the above costs.

Natural Magus: 84.9375 (no spell), 96.05(SG), 165.75 (FB)
Weapon Magus: 71.9825 (no spell), 127.525 (SG), 158.075 (FB)

Shadow Lodge

Bandw2 wrote:

isn't evolutionary programming, just a program that evolves? if i remember correctly it still cannot evolve into something beyond it's starting limit. a program can't evolve intelligence if it was designed to crunch out a university time table.

in essence, evolutionary programming doesn't have unexpected capabilities. you just have it make copies of itself with slight variations and you cull the least efficient ones and copy the most efficient ones.

I'm not talking about programs that themselves evolve, though some do believe that a properly intelligent program - one designed to really think rather than just perform one specialized task - would in fact surpass its initial limits, exceeding human intelligence and escaping our control. Ever heard of the singularity? It's fairly speculative at the moment but worthy of serious consideration, and got some recent media attention when Stephen Hawkings referenced the idea (see the BBC article).

For this argument, though, I meant programs that create solutions to problems using processes inspired by evolution - creating variations and copying the most efficient ones.

The programmers understand the concept of the evolutionary algorithm, but are incapable of themselves implementing it due to limits on human cognitive processing power - we cannot carry out trial and error fast enough to find a solution. However, we can create a computer that does not have the same limitation, and that computer can solve the problem that we can't. While the properties of the program are not unexpected, the solutions it produces - for example the antenna from the previous link - are unexpected.

Similarly, a deity may understand the concept of free will, but be incapable of themselves exercising it due to limits inherent to being metaphysically bound to a concept such as "justice." However, the deity could create a mortal that does not have the same limitation, and that mortal could exercise free will. While the properties of the mortal are not unexpected - the deity knows the mortal has free will - the actions they take as a result of that free will may indeed be unexpected by the deity.

I also don't believe that a deity lacking free will would be unable to conceive of free will. Philosophers aren't certain we have free will, and that uncertainty would be impossible if a creature without free will couldn't imagine the concept.

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kestral287 wrote:

Actually reading the Monk now... I don't think it'd apply. The quote I see is:

A monk's unarmed strike is treated as both a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons.
So, for the purpose of Precise Strike, which improves manufactured weapons, it's a manufactured weapon. Nothing in that wording says "an unarmed strike is a natural weapon", only that it may be treated as one. My understanding of that quote is that you use it as whichever is more beneficial to boosting the unarmed strike, so basically everything works. But unless that wording is transferred via Feral Combat Training... I don't think it works.

Yes, that wording is transferred with FCT. That was Lune's point - if the UAS counts as a manufactured weapon for Precise Strike, so does the FCT weapon.

If I were to not allow Precise Strike Arcane Deed I absolutely would do so as a straight ban. I don't like banning things but if I do I'm honest about the reasons, and in this case it's because I don't like what it does, not because I don't think it's supposed to work.

Shadow Lodge

That works, but as you say true pounce is superior if you can get it.

I'm not sure Kata Master + FCT is all that exploitable. As far as I can tell, the classes that have the most advantages with natural weapons - druids, rangers, barbarians, alchemists, and synth summoners - don't have access to precise strike. The classes that could make use of it are the swashbuckler itself, the magus (through arcane deed) and the daring champion cavalier. Precise Strike is a big boost to the magus, but it's not overpowering - losing the caster level hurts and you have to choose between the otherwise optimal FCT (claw) and the calikang's 6 slams.

The natural weapons swashbuckler and cavalier run into the same problem as the magus: precise strike requires you to give up your attack with the weapon in your other hand. So they go from having two claw attacks (and maybe a bite), to one claw attack with + level damage (and maybe a bite with no bonus damage because it doesn't have FCT). That doesn't sound impressive to me compared to a rapier. If you flurry with your claw you get the same attack sequence as someone flurrying with UAS, which also gets precise strike in this multiclass, so the claw's no improvement. And again, this requires a monk dip and you can't flurry in armour.

Honestly, the last few posts have less turned me off natural weapons magus and more off allowing magi to take Precise Strike as an arcana. It's an unnecessary buff for the rapier & scimitar that widens the gap between those weapons and a number of suboptimal but viable weapon choices like the katana (which requires an extra feat to use precise strike) or the staff (for which you are SOL).

Shadow Lodge

Especially if the GM requires you to predict the spell your enemy will cast, that makes counterspelling essentially useless.

Shadow Lodge

ElterAgo wrote:

Although a few do, most GM's do not allow an if-then-else readied action. Especially not that complex. The closest I've seen usually allowed is along the lines of:

"I ready to shoot at the first person I see come through the door."

"I ready to counter the first spell I see cast by the enemy forces. If I have the counter spell known I will use that or I can use Dispel Magic."

Some people think the second one is too much.

Really? Picking the spell that you will counterspell with is part of the counterspelling action - the second sentence is implied within the first.

counterspell rules:
To use a counterspell, you must select an opponent as the target of the counterspell. You do this by choosing to ready an action. In doing so, you elect to wait to complete your action until your opponent tries to cast a spell. You may still move at your normal speed, since ready is a standard action.

If the target of your counterspell tries to cast a spell, make a Spellcraft check (DC 15 + the spell's level). This check is a free action. If the check succeeds, you correctly identify the opponent's spell and can attempt to counter it. If the check fails, you can't do either of these things.

To complete the action, you must then cast an appropriate spell. As a general rule, a spell can only counter itself. [Weirdo - exceptions to general rule are below] If you are able to cast the same spell and you have it prepared (or have a slot of the appropriate level available), you cast it, creating a counterspell effect. If the target is within range, both spells automatically negate each other with no other results.

Specific Exceptions

Some spells can counter other specific spells, often those with diametrically opposed effects.

Dispel Magic as a Counterspell

You can usually use dispel magic to counterspell another spell being cast without needing to identify the spell being cast. Dispel magic doesn't always work as a counterspell (see the spell description)

Shadow Lodge


Shadow Lodge

Inside the game world, objective alignment is a fundamental principle of reality like gravity is in ours.

At the table (metagame), the GM decides with input from the players.

Scythia wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
Scythia wrote:
Weirdo wrote:

Confusion about alignment in the metagame doesn't imply confusion about alignment within the game world.
If alignment is understood as a certainty within the game world, why would there be guilt over destroying evil?

Because the greatest good is not the destruction of evil, but its conversion into good.

(Go and sin no more)

Evil which can be converted is not a great evil to begin with.

I would disagree there, and so would at least some of the folks at Paizo. There's at least one redeemed demon in the published material.

On the other hand, if an evil is truly too great to be redeemed, there's no guilt over destroying it.

Nor does the lack of guilt in this case involve in-game confusion over alignment, as the rules are very clear: if it can be redeemed, redeem it. If it can't be redeemed, destroy it.

Scythia wrote:
Voadam wrote:
The gods don't have to have free will to create mortals with free will. It could just be an emergent feature of the fact that mortals are not bound by cosmic portfolios and alignment.
I find this unlikely. Has any programmer ever created a program that had unexpected capabilities beyond even the programmers own capability?

Yes. Evolutionary computation can solve problems that humans can't. And the results can be surprising.

Shadow Lodge

kestral287 wrote:

Precise Strike: Applies to A, but never if A = Natural Attack

Kata Monk (or Boar Style or Hamatulatsu Strike) = Unarmed Strike is A
Feral Combat Training = Natural Attack is Unarmed Strike is A
Precise Strike applies to unarmed strike, because of Kata Monk, but since we have the "excluding natural attacks" line, it still should not apply to natural attacks.

If that's the case, then the Kata Master cannot use their unarmed strike with Precise Strike, since the UAS also counts as a natural attack. This is clearly not the intent, thus the more reasonable reading is that the kata master's ability specifically overrides the "no natural weapons" clause. Note that kata master says swashbuckler deeds work with UAS full stop, while Boar Style etc merely change the damage type of your UAS to piercing (giving it the property it needs for deeds to work, but not bypassing other restrictions).

kestral287 wrote:
Regular Magus can actually pounce via Bladed Dash, if only at half the range. Dash is a really cool spell.

Dash is a cool spell, but it's not pounce: it only lets you attack any given creature once.

Lune wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
That doesn't mean he can't be wrong. Look at the evidence in this thread. Look at the fact that you thought the build kestral used - Mathwei's build - "was a pretty bad build to be honest."
It also doesn't mean that he is automatically wrong because the build that was posted is suboptimal. Nor does this go towards answering the question that was posed.

If the build he posted was suboptimal, then he has failed to provide evidence that the natural weapons magus is optimal. He also failed to provide evidence for the claims that DR and AoMF are unimportant - where I provided counterevidence.

Meanwhile, I've also attempted to answer the question posted by comparing a generic natural weapons magus with a similar rapier magus that's not optimal but that "works." The verdict:

Weirdo wrote:
Conclusion: natural weapons exclusive build is viable, and under optimal conditions can beat a simple [ed: not optimized] crit-fishing magus on damage. However, DR is a serious weakness and an AoMF is a must. You shouldn't ignore weapon damage – it may be a minority of your damage output but it's a significant minority and a decent Str mod may give you an edge over that guy with the rapier. Also from the OP's POV you'll need to abandon your natural natural weapons for a polymorphed form, otherwise your number of attacks won't keep up.

As for build...

Lune wrote:
What you say about the Catfolk build is close to what I had in mind. I would probably use Kensai rather than Eldritch Scion but I can see why you chose that.

I really like Kensai and it seems a natural fit with the monk dip, assuming the GM lets your chosen weapon be a natural weapon or UAS (neither of which are actually a "martial or exotic melee weapon"). The MAD factor put me off, especially with diminished spellcasting on top of the lost level - painful when your high-level game relies on polymorph. I might see what I can do with that later, maybe a different race with more appropriate stat mods. Of course, with stats like the OP's it's less of an issue...

Shadow Lodge

Lune wrote:
Weirdo: Being that Mathwei has wrote a guide on Magus (albeit a limited guide) I would tend to believe that he knows what he is talking about.

That doesn't mean he can't be wrong. Look at the evidence in this thread. Look at the fact that you thought the build kestral used - Mathwei's build - "was a pretty bad build to be honest."

kestral287 wrote:
Now, if Precise Strike didn't include that line about not working with natural attacks, I'd be all for it. Throw in Weapon Focus (Slam), Feral Combat Training (Slam), Boar Style (or Weapon Focus (UAS) and Hamatulatsu Strike, to dodge the Style swift action tax), and at the cost of being slower on the setup you could pick up Precise Strike for all seven of those attacks. That'd be a lot more damage and would almost certainly push you ahead. But, that's an "if", not reality, and any GM who allows that will deserve what happens.

Here's an interesting idea for the monk dip. Kata Master lets you use an UAS with swashbuckler deeds, which when combined with FCT lets you use a natural weapon with Precise Strike. That makes up a big chunk of the damage difference between the natural weapons build and the new rapier magus. You also gain the ability to treat your natural weapons as manufactured weapons for purposes of spells like GMW or Align Weapon (via a monk's UAS ability).

To get options that the weapon magus doesn't, we play a catfolk. Claw Pounce + Dragon Style means you shred things on a charge and can charge under most conditions. The pre-requisite for Claw Pounce, Nimble Striker, also makes Lunge a very attractive option; for three feats you get pounce and reach with no AC penalties. Catfolk can also use claws without spending a polymorph spell - though from level 8 on you'll still want Monstrous Physique in significant fights. Also I was finishing up my post when I saw yours and realized that Calikang get slams, not claws, which does put a crimp on higher levels if an alternative can't be found.

I'm going for Eldritch Scion for this because of Cha synergy and because the OP was initially interested in spontaneous casting. Plus, a bloodline that grants claws is a good alternative to catfolk (though in that case you don't get the racial feat line).


Catfolk, cat's claws alt trait
Magus (Eldritch Scion) with dip in Monk (Kata Master / MoMS)

20 PB:
Str: 16
Dex: 15 (13+2)
Con: 12
Int: 10
Wis: 8 (10-2)
Cha: 16 (14+2)

Level increases to Str.

1 - Weapon Focus (claw), Eldritch Pool, Bloodline*, Spell Combat
2 - Spellstrike
3 (Monk) - IUAS, Dragon Style, Dragon Ferocity**, Panache
4 - Flamboyant Arcana
5 - FCT (claw)
6 - Bonus Feat (Nimble Striker)
7 - Arcana (Precise Strike Deed), Lunge
8 - Medium Armour, Bloodline Spell
9 - FEAT, Spell Combat w/o Eldritch Focus
10 - ARCANA, Bloodline Spell
11 - Fighter Training, FEAT
12 - BONUS FEAT, Bloodline Spell
14 - Heavy Armour, Bloodline Spell
15 - Claw Pounce, Improved Spell Combat
17 - Counterstrike, FEAT
19 - Greater Spell Combat, ARCANA
20 - Greater Spell Access

*Bloodline choice is not essential to build. Arcane is good for extra buffing, while Celestial patches up your DR disadvantage vs evil outsiders.

**If you take Dragon Style with your normal 3rd level feat, you can take Dragon Ferocity as your monk bonus even though Kata Master loses stunning fist. This means you've got two levels where you're not getting much use out of them (before FCT at 5th). If retraining is allowed, consider taking FCT + Dragon Style at 3 and then retrain to FCT + Dragon Style + Dragon Ferocity at 5.

Combat Style Master reduces swift action use, so it might be useful in the open feat slots. To take it you need a second style (which you can use with Dragon thanks to MoMS), probably Tiger Style. Improved Natural Attack is actually not worth it compared to Weapon Specialization.

Now, this is probably still not optimal since you're more or less spending a level to make up the Precise Strike gap, you still rely on Polymorph to keep your number of attacks up enough to compete with the high crit range, and you're still potentially vulnerable to DR. But it will pull its weight, and it's interesting both mechanically and thematically - the build really feels flamboyant and showy, with lunging and acrobatic charges.

Shadow Lodge

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Scythia wrote:
Weirdo wrote:

Confusion about alignment in the metagame doesn't imply confusion about alignment within the game world.
If alignment is understood as a certainty within the game world, why would there be guilt over destroying evil?

Because the greatest good is not the destruction of evil, but its conversion into good.

(Go and sin no more)

Shadow Lodge

Lune wrote:
Yes, I follow. We agree here. I can see that the rapier Magus is getting the same number of attacks as the natural weapon Magus. This does not appear inferior to me. In fact, it looks fairly even.

It is fairly even. That's the problem. The main perk of the natural weapons build is that it gets more attacks. If the number of attacks is even, then the natural weapons build is missing out in other areas (crit range being the big one here).

And that's the big reason that a natural weapons magus is an odd build that will differ in important ways from either a "typical" natural weapons user or a "typical" magus.

Lune wrote:
I'm sorry... perhaps I was mistaken. I had thought that you were on the other side of this debate. So, your stance is that natural weapon Magus is a viable build that does work well if build correctly?

Easy mistake to make. I think it's a viable but probably not optimal build (like perhaps the staff magus). It works fine in my rapier example, which would have been moderately optimized pre-ACG, but falls behind in kestrel's updated comparison.

I've mostly been arguing with Mathwei ap Niall because he seems to think that the natural weapons magus is an optimal build, and has glossed over major weaknesses in a way that would mislead the OP or anyone else taking build advice from this thread.

I, personally, would play a natural weapons magus, but I wouldn't play one in a campaign where I expected frequent and varied DR (like the one I'm currently running) or endurance adventuring days in which I'd run out of polymorph. And I'd be more likely to play one if the party had a druid to cast strong jaw on me, or another caster to give the party haste so I could focus on getting my polymorph online.

You could probably do something really interesting for a natural weapons build with a dip in monk, but I think it would be more about FCT goodies than getting an iterative UAS. Might post a build later, spent most of the night baking.

Shadow Lodge

Scythia wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Scythia wrote:
Some have suggested that Good and Evil are universal forces, with no grand judge deciding them. Without a defined arbiter, how do deities know if their actions would cross the immutable line?
The same way anyone else does.
Looking at the alignment threads on the board, I'm going to describe that as "poorly".

Confusion about alignment in the metagame doesn't imply confusion about alignment within the game world.

Shadow Lodge

I also think it's appropriate that a normally sleeping character wake up on dropping to 0 HP.

Another option for balance purposes is to change the range to touch. In that case it would not be significantly different from a CdG (also save-or-die) on a sleeping target - though with the possibility to deliver the CdG in advance of rendering the target unconscious.

Malag wrote:
Undine Curse lasts in hours per level. It's far from auto-kill spell. The PCs would need to cast it a moment before NPC goes to sleep for it work

Or while the NPC is asleep, in this case.

TrajanSPQR wrote:
Also if anyone has ways in which the party could get caught...without an easy witness love to hear some ideas. Not sure if there are csi spells out there.

Magic auras unfortunately don't last long so it's difficult or impossible to identify spells like this after the fact. Blood Biography is about the closest you get to magical forensics, but in a suffocation case all it gives you is the identity of the victim (not helpful here). Detect Thoughts and Seek Thoughts can reveal guilt if you assemble suspects and prompt them to think about the case. Divination should give a lead.

Unfortunately, I think the only person on the ship potentially capable of casting any of these is Peppery Longfarthing, and even if she's still alive she might not have access to the spells. You could make a substitution on her spells known - or have her just make random patrols around the ship with Detect Magic and have the crew sleep in groups with a watch set up. This is entirely reasonable with even one person mysteriously dying in their sleep. If someone can make a Heal check to determine that the dead characters suffocated (should be tricky with no obstruction but not impossible) they'll even know what to look for and can wake anyone the PCs target next. Even having a watch who doesn't know what they're watching for can provide a witness - or just deter the PCs from continuing with this tactic.

Shadow Lodge

mplindustries wrote:
Oh, and I am pretty sure you can't select two different Totems (Beast and Celestial), especially in PFS.

He doesn't have Lesser Celestial Totem, he has Lesser Celestial Blood - it gives you a bloodrager bloodline power. You can take powers from one totem and one bloodline and that's what this character has done.

Shadow Lodge

Krith wrote:
Interesting. So with GDM you can't target multiple objects?

You can't suppress the effects of multiple magic items. A targeted dispel affects one object or creature, and an area dispel doesn't suppress magic items.

However, you can dispel spells on multiple objects. For example, if a +1 Vorpal sword with Bless Weapon cast on it and a +1 Heavy Fortification breastplate with Magic Vestment are within an area dispel, Bless Weapon and Magic Vestment are liable to be dispelled. (Note that melding doesn't protect from an area dispel, so if your Wild Armour has Magic Vestment cast on it, Magic Vestment could be dispelled.)

I think a targeted dispel on the sword would both dispel Bless Weapon and suppress the sword itself, but I'm not certain, because GDM says "you can dispel one spell for every four caster levels you possess" without reference to suppressing magic items. I'd allow it at my table but would expect table variation.

Korythalia wrote:
I think you should be more afraid of an antimagic field. That will get everything, including the wild shape.

Well, yes, but the fact that antimagic field is scarier doesn't mean it's not important to understand how GDM works.

Shadow Lodge

Lune wrote:

Read this FAQ.

The FAQ wrote:

Magus: When using spell combat, can the weapon in my other hand be an unarmed strike or a natural weapon?

Yes, so long as the weapon is a light or one-handed melee weapon and is associated with that hand. For example, unarmed strikes, claws, and slams are light melee weapons associated with a hand, and therefore are valid for use with spell combat. A tail slap is not associated with a hand, and therefore is not valid for use with spell combat.

Spell Combat does not go to waste. And why does Spellstrike not work? I think it would for the same reason Spell Combat does in the above FAQ.

A character can, without spellstrike, deliver a touch spell through a natural weapon. Spellstrike does not improve one's ability to deliver a touch spell through a natural weapon. Thus it is wasted in a build that exclusively uses natural weapons to deliver touch spells. It would be useful in a mixed build, or to make you less gimped if you fall back to a backup weapon to deal with DR, but a focused natural weapons build is wasting it most of the time.

Spell combat is trickier to understand, but first let's establish: spell combat can be used with natural weapons, but only with a specific natural weapon in one hand ("the weapon in my other hand") barring extra arms which give all magi extra attacks. Natural Spell Combat lets you add a non-handed natural attack. So the attack options for the two magi are:

A rapier magus at level 1, without spell combat, gets 1 attack.
If using spell combat to cast a non-touch spell, 1 attack.
If using spell combat to cast a touch spell, 2 attacks.

A magus with claw/claw/bite, without spell combat, gets 3 attacks.
If using spell combat to cast a non-touch spell, 1 attack*.
If using spell combat to cast a touch spell, 2 attacks**.

*A single claw - or 2 (claw + bite) with Natural Spell Combat.
**The same claw, twice - or 3 with Natural Spell Combat.

Spell combat never increases the number of attacks a natural weapon magus gets, and can decrease the number of attacks.

Spell combat never decreases the number of attacks a rapier magus gets, and can increase the number of attacks.

So a natural weapons magus gives up its multiple attack advantage in order to use spell combat. If they use spell combat in a given round, on that round they "waste" their multiple attack advantage from natural weapons. If they want their natural attack advantage, they don't use ("waste") spell combat.

The flip side of this is that spell combat isn't as important to the natural weapons magus as the rapier magus - but I wouldn't call making something less useful such that you miss it less an advantage.

Lune wrote:
I was referring to getting GMF made permanent. It can stack with an AoMF. But you are absolutely correct, Wands work as well. Strong Jaw would be excellent for a Wand.

Strong Jaw would be extremely expensive as a wand: 15,750 gp if you can get it from a Ranger, or 21,000gp if you need the druid version (I think PFS requires using full-caster prices?)

Lune wrote:
Good call on those feats but I feel like those are for niche builds. Whip Master is for sure.

No more niche than FCT.

Lune wrote:

IUAS + FCT are not a heavy feat tax. Certainly not any worse than Fencing Grace or Dervish Dance and Weapon Finesse. Especially considering you can make your full iterative attacks with IUAS and follow up with your natural attacks all at -5. Then you are getting use out of your FCT as well. If you go with Kensai you could pick Unarmed Strike as your "chosen weapon" and use Perfect Strike with it and/or your natural attacks.

I guess I'm just not seeing why they wouldn't work well.

They do work well, but then your entire build revolves around FCT - especially if you're taking the Kensai archetype specifically to get FCT easier. The reason I call them a significant tax is that IUAS+FCT only give you the ability to use other feats & features with your chosen weapon - they require you to spend other resources to gain any benefit. Dervish Dance or Fencing Grace grant benefits on their own.

Shadow Lodge

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plaidwandering, I'm sorry for your PFS woes, but the intent is clear enough that any home game should allow it to function with the witch substitution - and I wouldn't call that a houserule, just using RAI over RAW.

Shadow Lodge

I'm not an expert on magus optimization either, which is why I didn't actually post a build, I posted a mathematical comparison using Mathwei's build and an as-similar-as-possible-but-not-actually-optimal weapon magus. I also don't have anything to prove in the sense that I'm not invested in either outcome.

That said, here's the first problem with your logic:

Lune wrote:
However, these are things that hold true for all types of characters when considering manufactured weapons vs. natural weapons.

A magus has specific limitations with natural weapons, and advantages with manufactured weapons, that don't apply to most natural weapons builds. This is why natural weapons can be a very strong option for certain classes, but not as strong for a magus.

You mention multiple attacks at full BAB, but it's harder for a magus to get those attacks because of the limitations of spell combat (one claw is in use, and bite needs an arcana). That's why Mathwei's build is so reliant on using polymorph to get extra arms. If you don't use spell combat you get the usual benefit from natural weapons, but then you've got two major class features - spell combat and spellstrike - that you're basically wasting.

You mention Greater Magic Fang and Strong Jaw, but magi don't get those spells on their list. This makes the magus dependent on other party members or UMD if they want these major buffs.

The second problem:

Lune wrote:

There are also things that can increase the base damage of natural attacks like Improved Natural Attack, Strong Jaw, etc and these work for several natural attacks at a time. I can't think of any feats that work for manufactured weapons (Equipment Trick, I guess?) that will not work for natural attacks but the same isn't true the other way around. Feral Combat Training opens up a lot of possibilities and there are feats like Dragon Style, etc that help as well. These feats do not work for a manufactured weapon.

The natural weapon magus has more available to it to increase the effectiveness of it's attacks.

Dervish Dance, Fencing Grace, and the Whip Mastery feat chain are feats specific to certain manufactured weapons. INA and FCT are very nice but they're not clearly better than the manufactured-only options; IUAS+FCT is a heavy feat tax to use Dragon Style/Ferocity with your claws or slams. There are also other manufactured-weapon specific resources, primarily Greater Magic Weapon, Align Weapon, and as kestral287 pointed out, the Precise Strike arcana.

Shadow Lodge

First off, the only way to affect magic items is with a targeted dispel on that specific item. Area dispel does not affect items, and neither does a targeted dispel on the creature using them.

If your druid is targeted by Greater Dispel Magic, they might lose Barkskin, Magic Fang, and Strong Jaw, but their Wild Armour isn't affected whether or not they are in wild shape.

This means that items do not ever "soak up" the effects of GDM - they're either targeted or they're not. (Though a caster might be misled into wasting a targeted GDM on a mundane item with an intimidating Magic Aura)

So magic items must be targeted to be dispelled. What does that mean?

Magic Section wrote:
Target or Targets: Some spells have a target or targets. You cast these spells on creatures or objects, as defined by the spell itself. You must be able to see or touch the target, and you must specifically choose that target.

A melded item cannot be seen or touched, therefore it cannot be targeted, therefore it cannot be dispelled.

Shadow Lodge

No, if you choose to deal nonlethal damage with your UAS it is considered a weapon that deals nonlethal damage.

See the wording in IUAS: "Your unarmed strikes can deal lethal or nonlethal damage, at your choice." Note that the brawler "has the same choice to deal lethal or nonlethal damage while grappling." This wording indicates an equivalence in the ease with which the character - including the brawler - deals lethal and nonlethal damage.

"Usually" doesn't indicate the brawler is doing anything special when dealing nonlethal damage. It only indicates that most brawlers will choose to use lethal damage most of the time.

Shadow Lodge

Dave Justus wrote:
My guess is that you won't get a whole lot out of the stealth skill over the course of your Druid's career. Generally, Druids get more mileage out of wild shaping into something innocuous than they do my skulking in the shadows.

I think mundane skills complement the polymorph effect. Turning into something small gives you a big bonus to stealth, but you can still be seen. Turning into something innocuous would fall under a disguise check (with a +10 bonus for a polymorph effect).

Still, I agree with DocShock that Skill Focus (stealth) is overkill. I'd also agree that switching Str and Dex is a good idea and you want to put your racial +2 in your highest score to maximize your point buy.

I also second Ravingdork's recommendation of Extra Rage if you dip barbarian - or Shaping Focus if you want more than a level or two in it.

Anonymous Visitor 163 576 wrote:
If you're going to be doing a ton of scouting ahead, I recommend darkvision. Otherwise, it won't matter, you'll be the quiet guy holding the lantern.

Not a bad idea. Half-orc is good for this if you don't mind a race change. Half elf with the Mooncaller archetype also works.

What's the rest of the party like? Are you the primary scout? The only melee character? Are you going to need to fill any particular casting role?

Shadow Lodge

I'm going to back up kestral287. I posted an admittedly simplistic mathematical comparison for the sake of having something definite to talk about as opposed to just trading assertions (The AoMF isn't important - yes it is - no it isn't). That comparison showed among other things that the AoMF increases DPR by about 30%, and that DR reduces DPR by a similar amount. One page later, I see Mathwei ap Niall is back to claiming that the AoMF and DR "don't matter." Since I don't see any optimized build ignoring a 30% swing in DPR, I can only conclude that Mathwei ap Niall has ignored my post - which took about two hours to write. It's frankly not worth my time or kestral's to disagree with him further.

My math doesn't matter:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Whatever amount of cash is available doesn't matter to my builds. Whether the game starts at 5 gold or 500,000 gold makes no difference to my builds since everything is non-gear dependent. If the AoMF is available then great it makes us more effective but if not it doesn't stop the character from doing everything it's designed to.
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Yes, those DR's are a corner case and truly don't matter. Worst case they are a speed bump and MAY let the target live an extra attack or two.

Both quotes from this page.

I would like to point out however that Accurate Strikes opens up the option of a mixed build - a character who normally fights with a rapier or other manufactured weapon but in a big fight casts Monstrous Physique II to add secondary natural attacks. Such a character has all the advantages of the rapier build and can spend a 4th level spell slot to get 4 extra attacks. Yes, they're at -5, but if you're targeting touch AC you don't care.

Shadow Lodge

As long as there's a party member with Detect Magic and a decent spellcraft (eg max ranks and class skill) I assume that simple items are automatically identified. I ask for a check for items that are unusual and/or particularly powerful for the PCs' level. The first +1 sword a party encounters warrants a check, after that it's not worth the bother.

Incidentally, our party's item identifier is a Summoner. Just because you don't cast using Int doesn't mean you should dump it. Int gives you skill points and bonus languages and boosts your Spellcraft (note: also useful for crafting) and Knowledge checks. If the summoner is filling these roles in the party, then an Int bonus is advisable.

thejeff wrote:
Not necessarily. You need Detect Magic and Spellcraft to id an item. Obviously you can use them together. That doesn't mean the concentration isn't a distraction that prevents you from Taking 10. You can do the identification, you just can't Take 10. There's no inherent contradiction.

It's not just that you can use Detect Magic and Spellcraft together, it's that you need Detect Magic and Spellcraft together to ID an item. Detect Magic is an essential tool. Saying that concentrating on Detect Magic is a distraction is like saying that your lute is a distraction when making a Perform (strings) check, or that the guard dog you are training is a distraction when making a Handle Animal check (after all, it's biting your training glove). The spell, the lute, and the dog are are integral parts of the check, not distractions.

If the use of Detect Magic was intended to make identifying a magic item extra taxing, then there should have been a specific restriction on that use of Spellcraft, like the restriction in Swim that prevents its use in stormy water where the conditions of the check itself is adverse enough to prevent taking 10.

thejeff wrote:
It's not a ruling I agree with and I don't think it even qualifies as official, since it's not in a FAQ as far as I know.

Indeed, thank goodness.

Shadow Lodge

I agree it's overpriced and the set-up is excessive. Compare Amazing Tools of Manufacture. They have a similar but more powerful effect since they grant +4 rather than +2 on the craft check, provide a >100x increase in rate of mundane crafting (compared to 10x) and can speed up the production of magic items. They are also fully portable, and cost 12,000gp. Dave Justus' 5,000gp suggestion sounds about right.

Shadow Lodge

Tom Baumbach wrote:
Princess Of Canada wrote:
Any ideas?
Make things easy on yourself and use the feats already provided in the game: Brew Potion, Craft Construct, Craft Woundrous Item. Just re-label them to suit the situation: Enchant Wafer, Bake Calzone Golem, Prepare Adventurer's Meal.

This, and let the character use Profession (chef) as if it were Spellcraft when making his edible magic items. This isn't OP compared to actually using Spellcraft for all your crafting, and normally it's acceptable to use an appropriate craft or profession check instead of Spellcraft to make items so all you're doing here is saying that (chef) is always considered appropriate for this character's creations.

Note that scrolls can be created through either Craft (calligraphy) or Profession (scribe). There are clearly some areas of overlap where either craft or profession might be applicable. For which:

Parka wrote:

One thing I took from the GURPS book (besides a headache) was the idea of "defaulting" skills... that is, making a check to the closest possible skill at a penalty.

The reason I bring this up is that while Cooking is best represented as Profession (chef), if in the game it comes up that an individual dish needs to be made (what would be a Crafting check), as a DM I would say they default their Profession skill. Profession implies less of a focus on the product and more on the "job-like" aspects; knowing when to say a product is "good enough" and move on to the next one, managing employees, dealing with customers/bosses, etc. I would assign a generic -1 or -2 penalty to the Profession and let it function like Craft, or vice versa.

Good policy. Also works with things like Profession (herbalist) vs Knowledge (nature) to identify herbs, or Profession (cartographer) vs Knowledge (geography) to read a map.

Shadow Lodge

Senko wrote:

Do you suspect its maybe something more than a dangerous game and dress according to what you'd like to be (or as close as you can get) or do you think its just a madman with too much money and time on their hands and equip yourself to try and survive whatever they throw at you?

Serious answers please and don't try to gimp the system by proposing some exotic Codzilla just a simple "I would try to dress according to what I want because ..." or "I'd try to dress for survival because . . ." PLEASE.

Dressing for survival and dressing as what I'd like to be are not mutually exclusive. If I don't get any abilities my odds for survival are best with a chain shirt, longspear, dagger, and light crossbow (the whole point of a crossbow is it's easy to learn to use). This is a perfectly acceptable set of gear for a priest, assuming we're talking about a 3E/PF version rather than the AD&D "can't shed blood" restriction. Grabbing a prominent holy symbol and a false beard costs me nothing and thus is a safe decision even if it is exceedingly unlikely that doing so will actually turn me into a dwarven priest.

I do try to find a group at least at first since I expect that even having a barely-competent person watching my back is better than being on my own and this isn't a "last man standing" scenario.

Shadow Lodge

Lifat wrote:
First: While you are technically right that speak with dead doesn't know if the answer changed after death (ie. seeing what the afterlife is like), I as the GM would allow the player to answer it with that knowledge (And I know that it isn't RAW but I don't care)

Yeah, we do too, but since we're in the rules forum it seemed appropriate to point out the RAW limitations.

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