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Zilvar2k11's page

226 posts. Alias of Christopher Fannin.


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Trying to figure this out in my spare time, without the benefit of having the psionics book.

You indicate that the player should invest in a crystal bow. Why? I am missing something I am sure, but I don't see anything that suggests that the soul bolt can express his ability into a weapon. What am I missing?


I am not currently in a position to need a new character, but if the opportunity arises, I am totally going to pitch this one to my DM.

Looks cool.


Things I've mentioned in the past:

Cure X spells heal based on the natural healing rules. Cure light is 1 day's full rest, then 2, 3, and 5. I am still torn about adding a static bonus based on wisdom or spell level. On the one hand, it's important to have the healing at lower levels...on the other, it defeats the purpose of the change.

Environmental damage effects would be changed so that hp damage is not the direct result. For example, lava immersion would do 1d6 str, dex, and con damage and fort save (something like DC 20 or 30, that an appropriately heroic hero could pass) or die.

Silence is an abjuration rather than a glamor. I have HUGE personal issues with illusions being able to affect real changes on the world ;)


Assuming that by 'standard game' and reference the pregens, you're talking about something pretty different than most of the posters here seem to consider 'standard'....

Anything with earthglide/tremorsense, or druid levels for passing through plants.

More generally, anything that can attack the party from any point and the party can only respond by readying actions and/or getting away from the dangerous area. Druids are particularly nasty with the combination of entangle (to make rough terrain) and pass through plants so they can't be charged if they happen to leave themselves vulnerable because of spellcasting.

Anything with multiple status effects and decent to-hit rolls (ghouls being the primary low-level offender to me). I do not care for these creatures because they interfere with player agency. If, in the middle of a fight, you might as well just get up and watch TV for the remainder it's a poorly designed monster and/or ability.

Anything that requires magical or special weapons to damage and is CR'd earlier than you'd reasonably be expected to have those things (level 4 for a +1 sword for example, even though an argument can be made that people should be stacking potions by level 2). This is an invitation to frustration and encourages players to focus spend money on magic weapons as early as midway through level 2, because +1 sword is easier to remember, use, and book-keep than '# vials of oil of magic weapon (CL1), # vials of silversheen, # vials of ....'

Essentially, anything that interferes with players being able to do something, or anything that encourages players to ignore the game guidelines on advancement, is a Powerful Monster in a hypothetical Normal Game.


I haven't been following all of the current brouhaha about the subject, but during our last campaign we ruled it worked that way.

I prefer to let other players act as cover. It gives area control/tanky guys an additional tool to actually protect friends and party members.


thejeff wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Frankly, invisibility with no bonus to stealth is still pretty attractive.
This is my preference. Invisibility makes you invisible, but does NOTHING to enable you to effectively 'sneak.' Without the Stealth skill, you will be heard. Without Survival and Stealth, you will be smelled. Etc.
OTOH, it being just as easy to notice the invisible person as if he wasn't invisible seems very off to me.

You've never been in the PERFECT hiding spot playing hide and seek and gotten the hiccups?

Man, that happened to me all the time ;)


thejeff wrote:
Still, I prefer the feel that nothing is impossible with skills, just insanely hard. Many of the proposals don't feel like slowly improving to above human levels, but more like suddenly gaining magical abilities.

That's one of the things I was trying to allow for with my synergy suggestion, even though I used spell effects as examples. To stick with my first example, a sufficiently high climb result, with the right synergy, should become a climb speed (ie, spider climb).

But it was supposed to look somewhat supernatural, since the idea was (partly) to reduce reliance on spells that make skills less attractive anyway.


Some interesting ideas in the thread, but I wonder if people aren't overlooking another possibility. If we peg OMG awesome at the aforementioned 8 skill ranks, or level 8, there should be a point where skill synergies are meaninful.

Now, I'm going to admit that I'll lean toward wuxia flavor because that's the first thing that comes to mind, but just because those are the only examples I can think of, don't assume that's all I believe is possible or could be intended, and it's a more conservative idea so it might be a lower power level than some of the previous suggestions.

So, say someone has ranks in acrobatics and climb. Let's start with 8 ranks. For a DC 23 (or whatever gives you a base 50% chance to succeed, trained, with, oh, +2 stats and no skill focus) climb check, you can gain the benefits of the spider climb spell for a number of rounds equal to (ROLL-DC)/5.

For a DC 28 check, if you start from a vertical surface, you can gain the benefits of levitate as you launch off the surface (same duration).

And so on.

Or, perhaps something like synergy between Intimidate and Diplomacy. 8 ranks in both open up the possibility of using Diplomacy with a DC (oh, 25) to put someone under the effect of the Peacebond spell. Or a DC 30 to put them under the effects of Hold Person.

Or use Heal and Perception with some number of ranks to gain a form of lifesense.

I'm sure the possibilities aren't limitless, and I'm equally sure that it would be much easier to focus on a few core skills and harder to find synergies with others, but I think it provides are more interesting avenue than just 'higher DC's equal better stuff'.


Ascalaphus wrote:

I've been thinking about something like that too. What I'm stuck on is estimating what people NEED. Everyone knows that PCs are assumed to have a certain amount of stat-boosting things or they won't be able to cope with encounters of their approximate level. But just how much bonus are they assumed to have?

Are these primarily bonuses to (casting) abilities, HP, saves, to hit, damage and AC? Or are there other things that are assumed - defenses against certain attacks that come online at later levels? At what level is a PC supposed to penetrate what kind of DR or other special defenses?

I'm not sure you'll get a good answer on this. Most people will tell you that some level of advancements are required to keep up. At least one person will tell you that's not true, and consumables are a better bang for your buck and anything bigger than a masterwork weapon isn't really needed until 7th level or so.

I imagine that the 'Yer Doin' it Right' answer is somewhere in the middle. IMO, most players aim for the next +1 a little sooner than they probably 'should' because it's easier and getting that early plus, especially on attacks, gives people a big sense of empowerment (IMO).


Yes, knowledges should be skills. But DM's should probably stop gating critical, important, or just plain 'hey, look at what I did' information behind them...because even if you have the skill you're banking on someone actually being able to make the roll to advance the plot.


Duncan888 wrote:
Where I think balance worries come into play is with haste u get a free move action. So in theory u could make a full attack. Free move stealth every round.

You are talking about pathfinder, right?

Haste doesn't give a free move action. Haste increases your movement speed by 30 as an enhancement bonus, gives you an extra attack when you full attack (at your maximum attack bonus), and gives you a +1 to hit and +1 dodge to AC.

But even if it did, would it be so unbalancing? So much more so than ragepounce? Or standard action summon dire tigers RAR! Or firing off 8 or 9 arrows in a round?

I'm trying to get a grasp on your table's expectations. You're, what, 8th level? Casters are really starting to bend the fabric of reality around their fingers. Barbarians are probably lopping the heads off demigods on a successful ragepounce. Druids are turning into Huge dinosaurs and or Diminutive mice for the entire day and avoiding danger by being harmless. And someone is apparently concerned that a shadowdancer has the potential to be enough of a problem that being very specific about the usage class-defnining-power?

I know it's not my game...and I KNOW it's not RAW, but if somoene wanted to devote the time and energy into getting into the class, I'd want to reward them for the effort. I'd be authorizing WoW- or Thief-style stealth in any light level if there was a shadow big enough to hide in or near.

Sorry. Derailing the thread. Just trying to understand.


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At the risk of having my D&D Card revoked, what's the advantage in being so picky about the shadowdancer's HiPS ability?

You've got a character who's devoted his life to being able to hide in shadows Really Well. He's got all kinds of magical juju to make it happen, and hey, can even see in the dark (which is a good thing). So...why would you want to throw up barriers to being Cool and Shadowy and Awesome?

And if he gets to sneak attack a little bit more often, sweet.


Zhayne wrote:
Zilvar2k11 wrote:


No you didn't, but you are refusing the rever. Losing hp always means you are taking physical damage. In your example, that only works if they always miss until one does enough damage to go from full hp to 'I give up!'

I said nothing of the sort, though I admit to some ambiguity in my phrasing. Mechanically, they would both be losing HP during the battle with mechanical Hits (attack roll => AC). Narratively, they would be parrying, blocking, dodging, and so forth with little more than a scratch until the fatal blow is struck (HP reduced to negatives).

Likewise, my phrasing was atrocious

I intended to indicate a complete refusal of your position by saying your narrative method only works within the established rules IFF both parties always actually missed the target.


Zhayne wrote:
'Miss-Fu' HP explains injury poisons just fine. In that instance, under those circumstances, physical damage was taken. You really don't get what 'not necessarily' means, do you? Quit acting like I'm saying never, please.

I am not acting like anything. I'm telling you that your answer is not internally consistent within the game or the narrative.

There is no justification within the game rules, system, or design that I can locate in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook to support your position of miss-fu HP.

The only possible justification I can think of is some strange notion of realism, and if that's your basis, then I'd add that to the things that I believe need to be excised from Pathfinder ;)


Zhayne wrote:
I never said losing HP *never* meant you weren't taking physical damage. But if two guys are having a basic swordfight, it's entirely possible neither will make physical contact with one another until that one final strike which ends the duel.

No you didn't, but you are refusing the rever. Losing hp always means you are taking physical damage. In your example, that only works if they always miss until one does enough damage to go from full hp to 'I give up!'

Becuase if you take the exact same two guys, the exact same two rolls, and apply poison to the swords, with miss-fu hp, you've automatically got to change your narrative, because John didn't narrowly dodge that sword..it was just a grazing hit, and James didn't sidestep in time...he took that hit and bled from it.

Zhayne wrote:
And falling into lava just means you're dead, barring a really high fire resistance or immunity, IMG.

I like this..but I like doing stat damage better, because then you have the in-the-rules-OPTION of that BBEG rising up out of the lava/acid/whatever for One Last Hurrah before he gets kicked back in and dies. ;) It's not just fiat at that point.


Zhayne wrote:
Zilvar2k11 wrote:


'Miss-fu' hit points are pretty absurd, IMO (how do you heal a miss?). I'm glad that's not really what D&D, d20, or Pathfinder have ever really seemed to encourage to me.

Despite the fact that HP were expressly and consistently described that way since at least 1e?

Sorry, but if a giant throws a building-sized rock at you, that kind of falls apart.

I played 1e, but did not care enough at the time to try to read, figure out, and/or remember how HP were defined. I skipped 2nd edition. I cannot answer to those claims.

But what I do remember is a pretty nifty little paragraph in the 3rd edition players handbook that talks about proportional damage, and a discussion with one of the WotC answer guys that first used the injury poison example from earlier. And really, d20 hasn't changed all that much since the 3.0 players handbook. In fact, all I can find in the core book on a quick scan is a line about hit points being an abstraction of 'how robust and healthy something is' and what happens when you reach -1. My iPad is dying, though, so if there are other references I probably missed them in a rush.

So..surviving a hit from a boulder or larger rock is no more or less believable than surviving being swallowed whole by a purple wyrm, or taking a tail swipe by an ancient dragon, or being nommed by a druid's pet Animal Growthed tyranosaurus with teeth longer than your average halfling (making things up..I have no idea how long the teeth of a great big dino are, obviously).

Heroes do that sort of thing. It's part of the package when you sign on the dotted line.

Regardless, miss-fu flat doesn't work within the realm of rules. It might make things somehow more believable to (some) readers, but it just doesn't work. Losing miss-fu hit points doesn't make somoene less robust or healthy. It doesn't deal with injury poisons. It doesn't deal with massive damage saves, and it doesn't answer the question about how hard it is to heal damage that...never happened?

Abstraction...sure. But no. I just can't see it.


Zhayne wrote:
Zilvar2k11 wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
This also gets compounded with the abstraction of HP. Losing HP doesn't necessarily mean physical damage was done...
Trivially easy to disprove. Injury poisons always call for a save, regardless of how much damage they inflict, ergo some damage MUST have been done.
This is why I said 'doesn't necessarily mean', not 'never means'.

And I stand by 'must always mean', otherwise you have different conceptual visualizations for sword chopping or poisoned needles or falling masonry or whatever. Every hit point has a component of real, physical damage in it.

IMO, and I've said this before in other places, the biggest problem is people assuming that damage has to mean equal things to different people. 8 HP of damage, dealt to an average commoner, puts them down. Probably for good, since they're bleeding out at -4. 8 HP of damage, dealt to an average fighter (both 1st level), is not the same thing. It could be the same stroke, the same sword, the same attacker, but the fighter can deal with the hit better...and he still bleeds. No matter if it was 1 hp of damage, or 100% of his hp in damage. He bleeds in the same way that Lara Croft does in the new Tomb Raider, or Arnold does in your movie of choice, or Harry Dresden does after getting battered by a hexenwulf (or any of a hundred other times). He bleeds because he got hit, and he keeps fighting because he can...well, until he can't anymore ;)

'Miss-fu' hit points are pretty absurd, IMO (how do you heal a miss?). I'm glad that's not really what D&D, d20, or Pathfinder have ever really seemed to encourage to me.


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Zhayne wrote:
This also gets compounded with the abstraction of HP. Losing HP doesn't necessarily mean physical damage was done...

Trivially easy to disprove. Injury poisons always call for a save, regardless of how much damage they inflict, ergo some damage MUST have been done.

On that tangent, I find the 'Cure (light/moderate/severe/critical)' line of spells to be absurd. 1d8+X hp is not a 'light wound' to a commoner, and is trivial to the point of laughter for an ancient wyrm.

Likewise, I find the idea of HP damage from environmental effects to be laughable and absurd. Environmental damage should be handled as status effects and stat damage (as applicable).


Scavion wrote:

The problem comes from describing the action.

(snips)
Power Attack: "He attacks you recklessly."
Combat Expertise: "His fighting style and stance affords him slightly more defense."
Fighting Defensively: "He is fighting defensively."
Total Defense: "His stance is no longer threatening you and is focused on protecting himself."

Hey, just reference some popular media for examples. I'll use Hajime No Ippo because it's got good examples of all of these.

Power Attack: Literally any punch thrown by Ippo
Lunge+Power Attack+Rage: Literally any punch thrown by Takamura
Total Defense: 'Operation Turtle' (Chapter 2, page 12)
Fighting Defensively: Ippo's usual Peek A Boo style
Combat Expertise: The typical outboxer style (exemplified, perhaps, by Miyata).

Just $0.02


Doomed Hero wrote:
Feat Chains need to be done away with all together.

I don't agree with this completely.

I think that it fits within the various source materials to have to train to learn a new Special Move, and that some moves build on the things that the hero has learned before.

Feats just set the bar too low. These are the 'spells' of the martial classes...the abilities they gain in order to balance the scales between martial and caster. And so many of them are 'add +2 to your schtick'. It isn't surprising that people develop issues with that.

Doomed Hero wrote:
Combat Feats should just scale with level.

Yes. IMO, it's disingenuous to claim that, oh, Improved Trip, scales with level because that +2 remains and your ability to trip continues to grow when the effects of spells are typically caster level dependent and get more impressive over time (even if it's just lasting longer).

Feats need the same sorts of considerations. In some fashion, the effect should scale up and combat feats that rely on other combat feats should be rolled into a single scaling feat. I don't think Cleave should turn into Whirlwind Attack, but Weapon Focus scaling up by BAB makes sense to me.


Aelryinth wrote:
]And it's bypassing the magical protection, which is MY point you're completely missing.

The piece of this that the idea of 'magical ablative/protection hit points' ignores is the unlikely, but rules-possible scenario of being attacked by a whole bunch of young vipers (apply as many templates as required to make the damage line be (1-1+DC 10 poison))

I don't care if you have 2 hit points or 200,000,000. You MUST make a saving throw for each successful bite. Ergo, every hit point of damage taken involves real injury. You're not ever 'just missed'. If your hit point model cannot explain that, then your hit point model is, by nature, flawed.


ShadeOfRed wrote:
Zilvar2k11 wrote:
ShadeOfRed wrote:

Stat damage. That is actually bloody brilliant. You fall, you take Dex, Str, Wis damage? I'm feeling the table start to build in my head.

Seriously. Awesome. Gonna think about this tonight.

I usually think in terms of Con damage, actually, but you could make a good argument for hits to almost every stat.

Guess I was thinking broken things, makes it hard to move and hard to carry heavy loads so Dex and Str.

Wis because concussions and shock make it hard to think. Int to perhaps.

If I were really going to try on a rule like that, then those extra results would probably be the result of a failed reflex save, with the DC based on the distance fallen. Some fraction of the CON damage would be unavoidable.

So 0-20 ft, 0 con damage on save, failed save, 1 CON, 1 DEX
21-30 ft, 1 con on save, 2 con, 1 dex, 1 str, and so on.

But this is all just off the top of my head. The end result is that falling becomes dangerous again...at least until you can spam lesser restoration :)


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ShadeOfRed wrote:

Stat damage. That is actually bloody brilliant. You fall, you take Dex, Str, Wis damage? I'm feeling the table start to build in my head.

Seriously. Awesome. Gonna think about this tonight.

I usually think in terms of Con damage, actually, but you could make a good argument for hits to almost every stat.


ShadeOfRed wrote:
In The Ghost King by Salvatore...he has a passage of a high level monk, Danica, falling off a cliff. She does her monk thing of slowing her fall and then backflipping into a large pine tree off the wall, using it to slow her fall the whole way then tries to roll with it and os left near death, broken but still alive. I guess that damage could be somewhat explained like sword damage can be (graze, or small cutd wearing them down). Dunno about the lava though.

Systemic problem, IMO. I think that someone got lazy and decided that environmental damage should be handled with hit points. Lava shouldn't be hit point damage. Falling shouldn't be hit point damage. They should be sliding scales of stat damage and saving throws based on how cinematic you want the game to be.

But hit point damage is what we have, so I just sigh and ignore it. :)


Lemmy wrote:
Personally, I prefer to think of HP it as a mix of luck, skill, fatigue, physical toughness, etc. It's more cinematic and, IMO, more interesting. But from a rules perspective, hp is treated as if it were plain physical toughness.

I prefer to refer to the idea of proportional damage implied in the 3.0 PHB. IMO, environmental damage is the only thing that really isn't covered well.

We already know (as you agree with) that every single hit does real damage. It has to, or fort saves vs poison don't work anymore (what, I gotta make a poison save but my Magical Awesomeness kept me from taking damage? wtf?) We also have a couple lines of text that say that 4 hp of damage to a level 1 fighter is about as damaging as 40 hp of damage to a level 10 fighter.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
That's a high-level martial.

Awesome visuals, but I do have one problem..well, maybe more than one, but I think it boils down to one problem with this.

Martials already fight well enough (*). Almost everything that you ascribed to Cú Chulainn is a feat of amazing martial prowess, and it's been demonstrated that with a PhD in System Mastery (SYM-603 Making Monks Rock is an optional course for the degree) you can make martial characters of any class that can already perform feats of amazing martial prowess.

I don't need my fighter to fight better (**), because if he fights better, then there's less incentive to make him useful in any other situation. He's the Best Damn Fighting Class There Is, and if you expand outside that role, you start to run into possibility of the cleric/wizard/druid problem that we face, just in reverse.

I want to see fighters shake off spells by sheer force of personality (reliably!). I was to see a paladin consecrate the ground he walks on, just by virtue of his grace. I want to see a ranger that is all but undetectable in his element (by any means). I want to see a rogue/ranger make a staircase out of arrows and run up a wall (not anime...LEGO games :) ) A martial built for intimidate should be able to manifest the same kind of terrifying aura that a dragon can....I mean, why not?! He's probably wearing armor taken from a dragon's hoard! I want a barbarian to be able to grab ahold of reality and rip it open (or pull it closed). Or a monk to deflect a dragon's bite (well, they used to be able to...).

What I want is cool, meaningful, options that are available to all classes so that no player ever has to feel useless unless they deliberately set out to be useless.

Don't try to tell me that's the way it works now. It's not. Untrained skill checks and non-class skills do not keep up with level appropriate DC's IN MY EXPERIENCE. Either a skill check is balanced so that everyone can do it (DC 10), or it's setup so that someone specialized in the skill will be challenged (and nobody else even need bother to try) (DC >=15+level, varies depending on the targetted class...IME, DMs just point to the skillful person and say 'roll 15+' and nobody else is even permitted a chance without argument). Failed saves and stupid monsters (ghouls) put people out of fights completely. In order to cover the PROBABILITY of being dead weight, you have to expend character resources in an attempt to patch holes, and the amount of resource expended varies greatly based on the class, from LOTS to very few, and those resources have to be taken from the pool of 'wow, I want to do Neat Things' when it comes to any feat-based class.

EDIT: oops, forgot my footnotes

(*) Remember my previous post that 'we're doing it wrong'. The game is not balanced around hyperspecialization. It's balanced around filling holes and actually taking some time to realize those feat combos and not trying to break or game the system.

(**) I would like to see martial combat, at least for specialist classes, divorced from the full attack paradigm. I think that it contributes to less-fun table time. That said, the full attack is arguably well supported by fiction and source material. I just no longer believe that it's good for the game.


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aceDiamond wrote:
I don't know about that. If martials could be able to do that, why would anyone play a caster? I look at it in the opposite direction. Martials should be so antimagic, they bust down Walls of Force no problem. Or at least get bonuses to save against magic effects because come on.

I sat on this thought for a little while, but there are a few obvious answers to your question.

People will play casters because that's the type of character they want to play.

People will play casters because they bend reality over and spank it like a bad little child. This is a separate function from influencing narrative at the table. Casters make wishes come true and call down the very stars from the sky to punish their foes! Rawr! Bend over, reality! I've got you right where I want you!

And finally, in a game where narrative control is somewhat balanced between classes, people will play casters because there are, and SHOULD ALWAYS BE, things that they can do better than everyone else (or good enough as to not matter...remember what I said about the game being balanced in the player's favor in an earlier post)...as long as that list of things isn't 'everything that (x) other class can do today, and a different list tomorrow'

I believe that a fighter, or a barbarian, or a paladin, or a rogue, should be able to rival the legendary characters that we've been told that they were made to model. I believe that NO MATTER WHAT, a straight wizard shouldn't be able to be a better sneak than a straight rogue. I believe that NO COMBINATION OF SPELLS should enable a cleric to lay down the righteous smackdown that a paladin or fighter can bring. I believe that when a high level fighter steps up, he should have the option (because this is a game, and options are good) to be so awesome in his own right that people who have never heard of his name or deeds will realize, immediately, that they are in the presence of a great warrior, and that should have an impact on the story and the dice rolls. You know why? Because those are the things I grew up reading off my parents (and later, my) bookshelves, and watching on TV and Saturday morning cartoons.

And, by jove, yes, a fighter should get some better saves. Because!

:)


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aceDiamond wrote:

I don't know about that. If martials could be able to do that, why would anyone play a caster? I look at it in the opposite direction. Martials should be so antimagic, they bust down Walls of Force no problem. Or at least get bonuses to save against magic effects because come on.

However, I think that your point helped me realize something. The casters in Pathfinder as is are intended to deal with the BBEG's magical defenses, dispelling and counter-spelling as often as possible, while the martials face them in the ring and rain down blows.

I won't argue with intent, because I generally believe that the paizo devs believe we (most players, definately most forum-goers) play the game wrong.

The game is already so weighed in the players direction as far as they are concerned, that gaming the system to be low-level demigods is 'badwrongfun'.

Doesn't change my fundamental 'want' though. I want martials to be able to influence the narrative in the same fashion casters can, as a function of the class, because otherwise you are applying inequity of expectation amongst the players, where casters are expected to be able to solve more and more varied problems than martials, and that's, IMO, badwrongfun.


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aceDiamond wrote:

Zilvar, it seems like you have some narritive problems facing you there. To get around the Greater Teleporting into the BBEG's room, I'd suggest saying that you're party's not nearly ready to fight yet, requiring your party to train further on those encounters. Spells on the baddies' end such as Teleport Trap and Forbiddance would deter your casters from trying them again if they make it out alive.

Simulacru-yeah, unless used for strictly roleplaying purposes, simulacrum is broken-ish; I'd recommend not allowing that spell to give profane bonuses or Wishes or the like. Blood Money I don't see the hate for, but it still leaves you in the red for when anyone who can do strength damage shows up. Scry can be blocked in so many ways, it's not even funny. Use this with the actual rulings of (Greater) Teleport, wherein you need to know where you're going to actually show up there, and the mage isn't bypassing a whole lot. And if you're going to tell me a straight up Fireball is OP, I think we're playing some very different playstyles here.

You're both missing and strengthening my point.

You list things that should be done to counter various high level spells. I already know all of those things. That's not the point. The point is that, as I said, STEPS MUST BE TAKEN. And every time a new splat book comes out (assumption: and is permitted at the table), NEW spells must also be dealt with. I also didn't say that these are overpowered spells. I said that they were game-changing. Fireball IS a game-changing spell, for both players and GMS, because once you expect it to be available, you orient your groups differently, so that not everyone can be caught in the blast. Events at the table change directly because of the existence of burst damage spells (of which fireball is simply the most iconic).

By virtue of existing, these spells influence the narrative of the game. By virtue of being available, you have to make rulings, mortar your castles with gorgon blood, spend bajillions to magically protect your borders, or whatever. You, as the GM, have been forced to make concessions to the narrative-changing power of one or more spells. That's what spells DO. And that's awesome!

And that's what I want martials to be able to do.


aceDiamond wrote:

Well, there are some prestige classes that allow for that sort of thing. I believe Spherewalker or Horizon Walker allow you to use Plane Shift once per day or something to that effect. It seems as though what fighter does, through and through, is to train martially. Ergo to do something that isn't fight-y requires investment elsewhere. I'm not against giving alternate ways to deal with magic, such, as what Barbarians have access to, or even alternate methods of travel/movement to counter magicians on an even fight.

However, spells aren't exactly a "make the GM do this" class feature. You shouldn't need mechanics telling you how to role play changing the plot. Even if your party mage spends all his downtime crafting magic items, that doesn't mean a martial character cannot make a story happen in the meantime. It just isn't as immediately realized or obvious to new players. Such is the learning curve.

Spells very much are the 'make the GM do this' class feature. By virtue of the existence of Plane Shift, Greater Teleport, Scry, Commune, Dominate Monster, Fireball, Simulacrum, Blood Money, or any of a host of other game changing spells, the GM must either deal with or plan around their existence. The only thing he has to do to plan for a fighter is put down a bad guy.

By virtue of spells, the GM must change the narrative, adapt the narrative, or accept that, whoops, the 15 'random' encounters I had planned to provide an awesome buildup to my story climax won't happen because the wizard just teleported the party from San Diego to New York and, <insert profanity here>...

No martial can do that. The more supernatural a martial is (magus, paladin, ranger, barbarian), the more potential they might prosess to move in that direction, but they never really possess the same game changing power of 'well, <insert profanity here>, I didn't think of that spell.'

Also, your last paragraph emphasises my point. Sometimes players can overcome these limitations, but the classes do nothing to help with that.


aceDiamond wrote:
Me, I know there are some crazy spells when I play a higher level caster. But isn't part of the game to play together? Shouldn't the philosophy be to play strengths instead of deliberately showing up everyone else with broken mechanics? If someone's playing a glory hog, maybe they're the problem more than the class is.

There are probably 99,999 different points of view in this thread, but in my opinion the problem with martials has a lot less to do with someone being a glory hound than someone being dead weight in anything other than a stand up fight.

This is about players as much as classes for me, and it's really easy to see that with new players. My experience with new players is that if it's not listed on the character sheet, they won't think to try it without prodding. If you sit down and look at a fighter, you'll see 'hit it in the face with a hammer' all over the place, and you'll be really good at hitting it in the face with a hammer (as long as it's on the ground, standing still). But what does he do when the king asks him a direct question he maybe doesn't want to answer? (Probably) untrained bluff? (Maybe) trained Intimidate? Or just say something stupid?

What does he do when the obstacle is a cliff, a pit, an ocean, or a mystery? Hope he has just the right magic item, wait for a buff from the friendly neighborhood caster, or just wait for someone else to come up with a solution.

What power does the martial have to assist the party in getting from point A to point B (or Plane A to Plane B)? What power does the fighter have to strip the magical defenses from an opponent? What power does a martial have to inspire his comrades to do greater and better things? What form of martial awesome allows Billy BA to grab ahold of the fabric of reality and rip it open (or closed!)

What power does a martial have to alter the narrative of the story rather than being swept along by the flow?

That's what I want to see a martial character do. Experienced players can get around some of these problems in various ways, but that's the power of the PLAYER imposing his will on the game. That's got nothing at all to do with the classes. And that's my problem.


Atarlost wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
The books do support E6 and E8 play.

Really? Care to list the long form adventure paths that stop the leveling normally at APL 6 or 8 and switch to a logarithmic power curve appropriate to continued wealth and feat accumulation and keep going?

Is there even one, or is this just another chance for you to act smugly superior to people who don't have the time to homebrew everything?

Just to be clear, your arguement is that the RULE BOOKS do not support E6/E8/E(whatever) play because there are no published ADVENTURE PATHS that cater to it?

Regardless of my stance on the issue, you do realize that you're comparing apples and kumquats, right?

(fwiw, I agree, the core books do not support E# play, where # is a value less than 20, since house or optional rules must be enacted to continue character advancement. The only form of E# (#<20) play that is supported is ending a campaign at that level.)


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gustavo iglesias wrote:
Raith Shadar wrote:

This is fundamental difference between the camps. It isn't martial vs. caster.

It's Video Game/Anime Martial vs. Classic Story Martials.

I know you need to make the comparison with Video Game/anime to make your argument look good, but that's absolutely false.

It's Epic Classic Martials vs Tolkien Martials.

I never thought I'd say this..but I am sad I cannot like this post more than once.

We're seeing evidence, presented in game terms, and taken from the source material, that suggests the common trope 'fighters are fine' examples (Aragorn, Conan, etc) are E6 range heroes, and the classic fighters of mythology (the ones even Gygax referenced) are amazing. And that, while fighters can still be impressive, they're not standing up to the referenced heroes very well.

Sweet. I can't wait to see the rebuttal for this.


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I'll steal a flag from Kirth here. Everyone should have the capability to have narrative defining powers of equivalent potency at equivalent levels.

Since we're now running into the requirement for definitions, I'll simplify by saying that martials, as a rule, lack -and need- some ability to alter or manipulate the campaign narrative.

I do not mean this as a caster vs martial post, but it is inevitiable that some of that comparison be made, so please bear with me.

At 3rd level, some casters get the ability to either derail the current adventure with a quick short-circuit, force the GM to take the ability into account, or take the adventure completely off the rails and go do something else entirely. The ability? The spell "Create Treasure Map". The untimely death of a single underling housed at Hidden Base #2 suddenly puts a great big X on the map...literally.

Are there similar narrative defining abilities available to non-casters at 3rd level?

At 5th level, a druid could take a vacation from adventuring and make sure that his kingdom of choice will have fewer food issues over the next year, possibly bringing a whole new level of prosperity or freeing up people from farming to do other things, or maybe even helping a war-torn country recover.

What's your 5th level non-druid doing that has that potential level of impact on a campaign world?

IMO, this is what's lacking from martial characters. They can fight. They can fight better than anyone (well, maybe rogues and monks excluded but I don't want to open th...oops). They need ways to twist the campaign around into a pretzel and make it beg for mercy, like a wizard or druid or cleric does just by virtue of existing.

A rogue should be able to make a 'get inside the GM's head' check and get a straight answer about something every now and then, using his extensive contacts to piece it together. A bard, maybe something similar with obscure knowledge.

A fighter could snap his fingers and rally all of the peons around him into a rousing song and turns them into brave little zealots (/~ No one hits like Gaston ..... ~/). A paladin (who is already darn good) should be able to make people want to be better just by being himself and presenting a good example.

I'm afraid gunslingers should still be verbally abused though. :) No help for those guys. :)


My experience with Crang Wing was that it was a very good feat and it saved my bacon (and annoyed the DM to no end) on a few occasions...but I still have concerns about this errata.

I'm afraid that at any table, it's going to slow down combat a bit more, by forcing anyone attacking a target with Crane style to stop and ask questions about attack styles, or force the attacker to roll a single die at a time (which never happens IME).

I think it will also force some passive rerolls at more lax tables ( 'no, wait...I was going to crane wing that bite attack! I was just ...' ). It seems socially abuseble and not friendly to a smooth flow of activity.

There are some good alternatives here, but I think that anything that calls for a 'before roll' solution isn't a great idea.

All that said...as has been pointed out, it was a multi-feat chain and taking it away just feels too much like 'martials can't have nice things' on the surface.


RutheOtter wrote:

SO I am running a campaign in the Fallout setting. This means no magic and no PC's as Phyckers (IE no pisonics). This has led to the unfortunate problem of healing being well, nearly non existent.

We are all Fallout fans and call b!*&*!%% on cowing down on an apple and gaining 6 HP back, so we are limited to stimpacks but that is ok as stims, super stims, and trauma stims can replace health potions. But the party can't actually have a healer, as with no magic you have no cleric.

The heal skill can allow a character to double the hitpoints of another character recovering via rest, and can stabilize the dying of heal 1 hp per level of the creature. This is unexceptionable, in a fallout setting if a character wanted to be a doctor (and one dose) they should be able to heal more then 1 HP to a friend at first level. They have the benefits of modern medical techniques.

What would be a fair rule set for a trained doctor? What could be done via surgery with a great roll or two? I want ideas to help me come up with how to get the party in battle healing with no magic and not burning up to many stimpaks. (Its fallout, pre-war stuff is rare after all) Lets get all mad scientist in here too, would it be possible to graft on some dead raider's arm onto a companion who ost theirs in combat using the heal skill? What should be done?

My first thought would be to adopt a second-wind like effect from 4e and allow players to suck it up and keep fighting (or, after combat, take a breather and get some hit points back, depending).

My second thought would be to have a profession/craft skill that gave relatively inexpensive access to stims. Replace alchemy with this and let your doctor make stims for the party out of radioactive moss and rat droppings (or whatever).

My third thought would be a series of specialized feats that allowed someone to perform a Heal check (with an easily approachable DC) to replicate the effects of various potions of cure (x) wounds, perhaps requiring the use of reagents that you could replace as loot drops. Something like 'I'm a doctor...', prereq: Heal 2 ranks, whatever, effect: Can use 1 bandage and 1 bullet to close wounds and heal damage. Make a DC 13 Heal check. If you pass, heal 1d8+(ranks in heal, max 5) damage.


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Whisperknives wrote:
I think the main problem with the Rogue class is that too many people have played too many MMOs or other RPG's where Rogues are on of the top damage classes.

Can't speak for anyone else, but my main problem with the rogue is how difficult it is for an iconic rogue (dex, light weapon) to do the things that people seem to believe he should be able to do handily. Some of this is playstyle, some of it is expectation, and some of it is just not getting it.

See, most of my groups' combats happen in two general battleground types. Doorways/constrained areas, and long range.

In a breaching fight, a rogue cannot reliably flank in my experience. IF he can SOMEHOW manage to defeat the CMD of multiple targets to move through them safely, he'll find himself behind enemy lines where the next wave of fodder (or miniboss) is ready to reduce him to slimy paste, because he's now the first or only viable target.

In an open fight, rogues can sometimes flank. Circumstances depend on the actual fight and the tactics used to approach it. Most of the time, the rogues I've dealt with, just can't get to the target before something else (usually some kind of summoned creature) has charged or pounced into range and is blocking access.

With UC and 'Ooh, I'm a prancing pony' Performance Combat, maybe you can do neat things in combat with a rogue, but I believe it's still easier to mess up and make a useless rogue than it is to make one that's interesting and useful. Out of combat, the utility of any given rogue is constrained or boosted by the GM. I can't say much about out of combat utility because my GMs tend to make omg-deadly traps that only the party rogue can solve, if one exists, or not so much if there is no rogue.


Bigdaddyjug wrote:
Silver, I'm sorry you ran into one bad rogue who either didn't know how to build his character, or didn't know how to play it.

Thank you for agreeing with my point. It's too easy to screw up when playing a rogue, and lots of those screw-ups happen at creation or level-up time.

Bigdaddyjug wrote:
Besides, saying the role is two-weapon fighting is stupid. What do you want him to accomplish with the two-weapon fight? If it's melee damage, that can be better accomplished in other ways. If it's something else, state what it is and don't hide behind the straw man of two-weapon fighting.

Nit pick much? The character was built, and spent his feats, skills, and stats, to do the things I listed. It's stupid to nitpick minor quibbles in terminology when you apparently understood exactly what I was saying.

That said, I didn't run into one bad rogue. I've never run into a good one. I've never successfully played a good one. I've never actually shaken hands with a player who has admitted to playing at a table with a good one (though, to be fully honest, nobody ever asks the question). I just used that story because it was the most recent and clearest in memory.


Khrysaor wrote:
TarkXT wrote:
Right then. I think we're done here.
But you still haven't told me what it is you're trying to make your rogue do without wanting him to do everything and then saying the class doesn't work.

I wouldn't presume to speak for anyone else, but, ok.

This is from a now-dead campaign. Had a group with Lion Shaman druid, Cleric, off-again, on-again gunslinger (mostly not there), wizard, and straight rogue.

The rogue was setup to be trapfinder (marginally useful in the duration of the campaign), scout (not useful at all unless the rogue was far enough ahead of the party to get killed when he was spotted due to the Very Noisy cleric, underworld face, and TWF in combat.

He did his face thing pretty well, I guess. 3/4 of what he did was under the table and most of the party had no idea how much he actually shared. Trapfinding was kinda useful at times. But then, the DM was tossing out 15d6 lightning bolt traps just to encourage us to use him. Scouting was a mixed bag. He got destroyed once or twice, and set off alarms that made subsequent combats harder more than once. The odds are really against the rogue. All it takes is one screwy roll to set things off.

But in combat, he was useless. Utterly and completely useless. He couldn't ever flank. Most combats took place in enclosed quarters and CMD's were too high to deal with, and in the two or three rounds it took him to actually work around the fights, he lost all chance at flanking when summoned monsters (cleric and druid) ate up all of the available space. I deliberately tried to leave spots for him a few times, but it was useless. His chances to hit and his damage and his AC were all bad in comparison to anything else on the board.

So, yeah. That's my story. Maybe rogues rock royally if you know exactly what to do, but there are so many more ways to permanently screw up the class that it's just not worth the effort. Pick an easier, just-about-as-good class and win. (Same player did a similar Ranger in our next campaign, seemed much more effective overall. Not so much of the underworld face aspect, but since that had no notable impact At The Table, the rest of us never knew the difference)


SeeleyOne wrote:
Nicos wrote:

A huge bonus in skill do not solve much. The problem is that skill solve certain amount of thing but magic just win the game. Skill focus can give you a +6 but ivisibility...well, is invisibility.

How can the dev do not accept that the rogue have problems when the inquisitor, the alchemist and the bard are just better thieves thant he rogue?

While I understand your frustration, that magic can trump skills, that in itself is not a flaw. I mean, having skills trump magic seems to be kind of silly.

No it's not. What it is, is contrary to your expectations because the system has already beat into your head that Magic > Martial. 'Of course Magic should trump non-magic...It's Magic!' or 'It's a limited resource!', or 'because Lina Inverse can destroy planets and Goury can't!'

But that doesn't make it silly. It's not silly in books, games, or movies when Ezio vanishes into thin air by getting out of sight and blending with a crowd, or when Tom Cruise climbs up incredibly tall buildings, defying reality, or when ... gah...total brain fart, can't spew out a good book example without research!

The point is, these superhuman, non-magical feats of acumen and BadAssery are already part of our collective conscience. Why is it silly that a highly-skilled non-caster, if he rolls Really Well, and puts a significant portion of his character development into being able to do something Really Well, should be able to perform feats that are on-par with what a magical character can do? The Magical Guy gets to do it if he wants to, and can actually make that decision from day to day (in many cases), or even minute to minute (scrolls/wands/whatever). The non-magical guy doesn't get to un-pick his skills and feats (well, without retraining). Despite that it's not a limited resource Per Day, it's very much a limited resource Per Build. He should be able to ThatWasTotallyWicked! things without having to pretend to be a Magical Guy.

It's just...right. It fits with source material. It fits in game..and it's just fair.

IMO.


As stated, there have been some developer comments that more or less state that they're happy with balance. The part of me that reads into things and tries to read between the lines believes that they're more or less suggesting that we're largely Doin' It Wrong, and a lot of the people posting in favor of caster-martial disparity and/or class power concerns are concerned with the wrong things.


That is 3 additional rounds per encounter to factor in. ;)

You don't know the strength and location of each aura until the third round of concentration, after all. Plus any actions required to loot.

We could move faster if we didn't loot after each fight, true, but that's more murder than hobo, and that might be a hard sell for the group! :) :)


thenobledrake wrote:
Zilvar2k11 wrote:
We spent a lot of time moving because of that, as well as time spent listening at doors (and some really ill-advised time spent waiting while the halfling went off on his own to explore...)

Listening at a door definitely shouldn't be more than a full round action unless your goal is to just listen in on a conversation, rather than identify that there are creatures in the room before entering or choosing to go somewhere else.

Zilvar2k11 wrote:
The point is, a lot of stuff happens, and just moving forward has always been a good way to get good and dead.
And my point is that a lot of stuff does happen, but doesn't take nearly as long as you think that it does according to what the game rules do say on the matter.

The minimum time to listen at a door is a round (or StdAction). My groups do not believe that's enough time to determine residence. It's too much of a crapshoot. Typically time spent is on the order of 3-5 rounds, depending on what we've encountered.

That's paid off for us multiple times. What works for you, at your table, by what you perceive to be a strict reading of the rules, would very likely end up with you rolling new characters at our table. So, I'll repeat, 1 min/lvl buffs are, At My Table, typically single encounter buffs and do not often last long enough to be considered top-tier spells to learn (protection from evil being an exception, only because it's ridiculously good against some types of enemies). In a shameless appeal to popularity, I'd suspect that my experiences are far closer to the norm than yours based off my experience in this and other forums, but that's pure supposition. Feel free to laugh and ignore, of course.

So, to further return to my original points, no, I don't think you'd fare well against the ghost. And no, I don't think that you can adequetly cover for the high save DCs present on CR-appropriate encounters (through level+3) without magic item support. All of this caveated by 'at my table' and 'in my experience'. But continue to have a great time at your table, because that's what the game is really about...having a great time. :)


thenobledrake wrote:
Zilvar2k11 wrote:
This is another example of differing experiences causing problems with communication. Mi literally cannot comprehend of anyone approaching the game like you apparently do. It sounds reckless and would get me and my friends a good case of dead really quick.

How long does your party spend walking down hallways?

I guess you are right about us not being able to really have much of a conversation about any of this since you think the walking pace that the game says characters have while exploring is "reckless" speed to use while exploring.

Depends on the hallway. In our last game, for example, we ran into a trap early in one of the hallways of a temple. That trap did significant damage to the party paladin. The paladin was healed and we moved on, but at a slower pace because we ended up spending a lot more move actions search for traps. There are no specific rules in the perception skill (at least not on the srd) to indicate How Much Area is searched and our DM ruled that it caused us to move at half-speed. We spent a lot of time moving because of that, as well as time spent listening at doors (and some really ill-advised time spent waiting while the halfling went off on his own to explore...)

The point is, a lot of stuff happens, and just moving forward has always been a good way to get good and dead. The end result is that our 40-minute buffs were running on empty by the time we reached the end of the temple. Also, our fights tend to 8-10 rounds rather than 3-5. Only one person in the party can roll worth a squat. :/


thenobledrake wrote:
Zilvar2k11 wrote:
I was specifically commenting on the spells that are now minute/level and used to be hour/lvl.
Spell. Singular.

i never mentioned AD&D, nor am I interested in bringing it into the discussion. The spell durations for all of the stat boosting spells were 1hr/level in 3.0 and that was changed in 3.5 and PF.

The move from 3.0 to 3.5 saw an overall drop in the perceived usefulness of those spells. This is an artifact of the communication issues I alluded to in my previous post. We are not even talking on the same subject here.

thenobledrake wrote:


The 90% of my post you don't see the relevence of is simple: Spells are more powerful now than they were before 3rd edition - both the individual spell effects, and the increased number of spells available (both in the general spells per day + bonus spells system, and through access to scrolls at much lower level)

irrelevant to anything I have attempted to discuss with you.

Zilvar2k11 wrote:
Sure, my DMs might have all been fast and loose with time, but I can't help but feel that you're being far too generous the other direction.
I was simply showing you how far a party can travel and spend 20 rounds in round-to-round actions within 8 minutes - such as spending 10 rounds to get all these buff spells in place, walking around the ruins for a couple of minutes, having a...

Searching, looking around, listening for creatures, moving cautiously/quietly/probing for traps all take signicantly longer over the course of your explorations. Merely being able to move across a straight line distance equivalent to a football field while looking at a few select points along the way is not a good representation of how I've ever seen or heard of anyone (before now) approach the game or any form of exploration.

This is another example of differing experiences causing problems with communication. Mi literally cannot comprehend of anyone approaching the game like you apparently do. It sounds reckless and would get me and my friends a good case of dead really quick.

I had forgotten the save bonus for protection from evil...we don't usually benefit for long since cloaks of resistance are more reliable and readily available in a typical game.


thenobledrake wrote:
Zilvar2k11 wrote:
The only issue I have here is that those aren't all long term buff spells and haven't been since 3.0.

Pre-3rd edition most of the buffs I mention either didn't exist or didn't do what they do now.

I fail to see the relevance of 90% of your post? I was specifically commenting on the spells that are now minute/level and used to be hour/lvl. My experience, and the experience of everyone I know, was that the stat spells became bottom tier choices when they just didn't last long enough to be reliably available in a variety of situations.

From your comments below, I can only shake my head at the distinctly different playstyles. Sure, my DMs might have all been fast and loose with time, but I can't help but feel that you're being far too generous the other direction. 3-20 minute durations really aren't that long, especially when you're losing almost a minute of duration casting them on the party. It feels like you're speed-running dungeons/encounters like a bunch of overgeared 90's in Deadmines. I suspect our experiences are too different to reach a good open discussion on the subject.

thenobledrake wrote:


As for the Save DCs: In my party these 8th level characters played by players that know they are never getting permanent magic items would have +9 or better in their good saves, and +5 or better in their poor saves - which are boosted up to +13 & +9 by the spells I suggested using.

I get +2 from the stat boosting spells that we're already disputing effectiveness of. Where's the other +2?


thenobledrake wrote:
Scavion wrote:

How would you go about facing a CR 13 Human Ghost Sorcerer 10 with the Malevolence, Frightful Moan, Telekinesis, and Corrupting Touch abilities. It has +1 CR because it also has PC wealth.

Pre-battle: general long-term buff spells (mage armor, cat's grace, owl's wisdom, bear's endurance, greater magic weapon, magic vestment) and precautionary spells (see invisibility) are kept up

The only issue I have here is that those aren't all long term buff spells and haven't been since 3.0.

In every game I've played, those stat boosting spells are largely a waste of effort because the 8 minutes those spells are active isn't long enough to last for more than 1 encounter plus the time to get to the next encounter. Nobody would ever expend a valuable spell slot on something like that because it's seldom a fight winner by itself. Even in a low-magic campaign they're hard sells (again, in my experience).

Even with your (more reasonable) encounter, the save DCs are so high that it seems ridiculous to believe that you'd have any chance at all to make them without magical assistance (cloaks, stat boosters). I mean, it's incorporeal, and your first inkling of attack could well be when it comes up through the floor and possesses the fighter. Sure, it wouldn't last long, but it could last long enough to power attack the wizard into pasty goop. :)


I seem to recall a 3PP 3.5 supplement that did a lot for Craft: Alchemy, and so did the d20 version of the Iron Kingdom rules. In fact, IK did have exactly that sort of non-magical healing potion since magical healing was kinda bad.


rgrove0172 wrote:

I think your idea has a lot of merit and am still considering it. I think I would have to add a base healing amount to each spell though, above that of the natural healing multiplier, so as not to penalize the lower level characters as you mentioned. They do depend on these items a great deal and having to carry around a bandoleer or potions just seems rediculous.

Perhaps the base healing rates, as listed, plus a bonus at a natural hearling multiplier is the way to go. Ill fiddle with it a bit.

Adding base healing back to the spells puts you back into the cognative dissonance world where a 1st level character can go from dying to full whereas a 10th level character does not. It wouldn't necessarily have to be a bandolier of potions. It could be jars of healing ointment with 4 or 5 uses. It could be a flask of CLW with 3 swigs. It could be caffeine...err...herbal patches that you slap on with the same effect. You're already talking about house-ruling healing. Having a few unusual healing items (or even an early wand) available to replace or support your healers isn't much more of a stretch.

I see your point and your problem. I'm just feeling like this is the best-of-all-worlds solutions from how you've described your table.


Mach Dice for iOS. :) Cheaper than all those dice (if not quite as much fun).

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