Oh, one more observation:
The lack of mage armor's hour per level duration really sucks. It's bad enough that I had to use a 3rd level slot for a very slightly improved 1st level spell effect, but having a duration of 70 minutes instead of 420 minutes meant that I couldn't just cast it and have it up for basically the whole adventuring day; I had to know that a fight would be coming in the imminent future, which means it was utterly useless for traveling. Which meant I had an AC of ... 12. Which meant surprise rounds were even more unpleasant.
We're only about ~20 months (2 sessions) into the kingdom portion of the AP, but here's what our capital city (still unnamed, as is the kingdom) looks like:
I'd link our kingdom map, too, but I don't have access to the hard copy of that to scan it. That one's in full color and looks awesome.
So, our all-Dwarf Kingmaker party took out the Stag Lord's fort last session in true Dwarf style:
We repaired one of Oleg's light catapults, hauled it to the Stag Lord's fort, built a quick palisade wall and spike pit at the edge of the forest, and started lobbing rocks. The first rock was inscribed with a surrender demand. There was quite a bit of debate over whether it should be inscribed in Dwarven or Common; Common eventually won out, just to give them a fair chance to read it and surrender. That rock was aimed at where we knew the Stag Lord was holed up (one of our party who couldn't be there at Sunday's session did an advanced scouting run using the password to get into the fort as a "new recruit"). We waited a couple rounds until the arrows started falling, then started raining boulders with flasks of alchemist's fire strapped to them onto the archers' positions.
Eventually the Stag Lord, Auchs, and Dovan snuck out of the fort and through the woods behind us (which we'd trapped with all the bear traps from the trap field; the traps did no damage, but warned us of their approach). The Stag Lord very nearly killed our Queen-to-be with a lucky helmet-assisted crit, but was crit by a bear-riding cavalier in return. Auchs and Dovan got bogged up attacking my Eidolon and didn't really do much (the Eidolon got a bit beat up, but not even close to being banished), and by the time the turncoat fallen Paladin second-in-command came riding out of the fort to help us against the Stag Lord (and was greeted with an exploding bomb from our alchemist for his trouble -- how were we to know he was on our side?), the fight was pretty much over. Burning Stag Lords don't hide very well.
It was a ton of fun. I don't think the adventure designers really anticipated a bunch of Dwarves building a fort outside of the fort, Caesar-style, and laying siege to the place, but hey, the only other Dwarven option was to tunnel under the walls, and then we wouldn't have been able to use the catapult!
So, anyone else have any awesome "storming the castle" stories?
Half-elves are treated as elves and humans for all effects related to race. They also have the Elven Immunities racial trait in common with Elves. One of the Elf alternate racial traits, Dreamspeaker, replaces only Elven Immunities (the other Elf ARTs either don't affect Elven Immunities or trade out both that and Elven Magic, which Half-Elves don't have).
Can a Half-Elf be a Dreamspeaker? In other words, does "any effect related to race" include alternate racial traits?
The 1st level ability of the Sniper Rogue archetype "halves all range increment penalties when making ranged attacks with a bow or crossbow". Far Shot reduces the range increment penalty from -2 to -1 per increment.
Are the two intended to stack? The way Sniper Rogue is worded, they do stack, and because of the "always round fractions down" rule at the start of the book, the range increment penalty becomes -0.
I'm looking for a Paizo response here, not because I don't want peanut gallery responses, but because only a Paizo response will satisfy the person I'm having the argument with. That said, if you think you can convince him, feel free.
What is the minimum caster level for a +3 thundering merciful holy speed greatsword? Going by my interpretation of the rules, you compare the enhancement bonus*3 (9, in this case) to the highest caster level required for the special abilities (7, in this case) and take the higher of the two. By my interpretation, that makes the above weapon a minimum of CL 9 to craft.
By the other person's argument, you take the highest of (enhancement bonus*3; 9 here), (special ability total bonus*3; 21 here), or (special ability minimum caster level; 7 here). By his interpretation, this weapon would require CL 21 to craft and thus be impossible to make.
So, which is it?
I'm building up to running a play-by-post campaign for my face-to-face (actually, that's a misnomer, because we have a player-in-a-box, ie a friend who plays via webcam and microphone) gaming group because we're all really really looking forward to playing Kingmaker, and don't want to split our very limited face-to-face time between that and another game, but who ever really can say they're playing in "enough D&D games"? :P Also, I've been wanting to do a serious, built-from-the-ground-up campaign for years.
So, I started the ball rolling. Wrote up a questionnaire for everyone in the group to fill out, asking all kinds of questions about what kind of campaign they want to play, etc etc. As the answers started to drift back to me, I got to work...
This is basically an entire campaign setting that I'm building completely from scratch. I thought people might be interested, in the "ant farms are interesting" sense of the term, to see a campaign setting built from the ground up. I'm not currently soliciting for help, so really it's not a Wiki in the true sense of the word at the moment, as I'm the only one who has write access.
With the exception of that first page (the overall setting info math, such as diameter of the planet and so on), all information presented in the wiki is only the stuff that is either relatively common knowledge to the location the campaign is starting in, or that the PCs have discovered. Since the game hasn't started yet, the PCs havn't discovered anything yet. This means, among other things, that it's almost completely system neutral, as there are no game stats anywhere on the campaign setting section of the wiki (nor will there be).
The world concept itself is based strongly on the old D&D Mystara campaign setting, although I have not yet decided whether the world is hollow. The information in the wiki is presented in much the same way that information was presented in the Poor Wizard's Alamanac supplements for the Mystara campaign setting, although I'm not limited by printing concerns so I can go into much more detail. Atlacia also draws on work I've done for games, novels, and campaign settings that I've worked on in the past (all unpublished, to date).
Anyway, people are more than welcome to watch it get built, comment on and discuss any parts of it, or borrow it for their own home games. I do reserve copyright on it, however, so no trying to claim it for your own (not that I think anyone would do that, but it has to be said).
I'm building a WoW-style Death Knight for a quickie evil mini-campaign after our group finishes Curse of the Crimson Throne. I've managed to reproduce pretty much everything about them with one single critical exception:
No Death's Grasp. No way to pull an enemy from a distance away to adjacent to the character.
The character is a gestalt Warblade//Dread Necromancer, so most teleportation type spells are unavailable. Can anyone provide any help?
The character, for the record, because I know someone's going to ask...:
Male Undead (Suli-Jann) Warblade 20 // Dread Necromancer 20
Str: 30 (+10)
Class and Racial abilities:
Hit Dice: 20d12 + 260
Spells: 9/9/9/9/8/8/8/8/6 per day
Another note, SG and ME are much more vulnerable to save-or-dies than FighterMan is. FM had +24/+25/+20 saves, with a Will re-roll. SG has +11/+18/+21 with no specials and ME has +23/+15/+19, with +4 Will vs enchantment and improved evasion. SG is hideously vulnerable to Fortitude save-or-dies. The Balor can't really take advantage of that, but plenty of other high-level enemies can (like Pit Fiends or Tarn Linnorms with their insanely nasty poison). They also have to spread out their resources a lot more and rely on more expensive slotless alternatives (thus all the +2 enhancement bonus ioun stones) than FighterMan, who frankly had a lot of not-terribly-important gear that he could have done without.
So, they're somewhere between approximately as efficient at damage as FighterMan (if everything goes perfectly their way including DM rulings on Multiweapon Fighting) and much, much weaker (if nothing goes their way including the DM rulings). If they're approximately as efficient at damage, that honestly doesn't really worry me; Fighters aren't a very good class to use as a yardstick for balance, so saying "but they're better than a Fighter" isn't terribly alarming. If they're much worse, that IS alarming, because the Eidolon needs to be able to at least hold the Fighter's jock strap. This was an extremely damage-optimized Eidolon; if the TWF thing doesn't pan out and it loses 6 attacks, its damage is going to plummet into the "pretty pitiful, actually" levels.
For the record, it only has 6 tentacles because it's only allowed 6 tentacles. Bipedal Eidolons start with 2 claws, and they can only get up to 8 natural attacks. I can't trade in those claws for tentacles and it was more damage-efficient to put weapons in those claws and swing those rather than use them as natural attacks.
Is it intentional that a Skeletal Champion keeps all of the base creature's special attacks, defensive abilities, and special qualities? They seem potentially way more than a +1 CR over a normal Skeleton with that in mind.
For example, I was making a Skeletal Champion dragon for a short "let's play some evil characters for once" mini-campaign my group's planning before our next Adventure Path. As I went through the list of stuff on the Template, I realized it distinctly lacks the "Special Attacks" and "Special Qualities" sections that the Skeleton template has, and the "Defensive Abilities" section lacks the "... loses the base creature's defensive abilities ..." text.
That left me with a Skeletal Champion Wyrm White Dragon that was CR 10, yet still had its breath weapon, spells, spell-like abilities, cold aura, frightful presence, dragon senses, snow vision, icewalking, blizzard, freezing cloud, DR (not that DR/magic is a big deal), SR, crush, and ice shape abilities. I'm pretty confident that it didn't come out to a CR 10 creature considering the Wyrm White Dragon was CR 16 to start with.
The rules are clear about what happens when an Eidolon is reduced to -Con hit points. It goes poof and the Summoner has to wait 24 hours to summon it back, at which point it will be at 1/2 maximum hit points.
However, hit point damage isn't the only way to kill something. This actually came up in our game last night:
Eidolon was fighting a Charisma-draining (not damage) Spawn-creating undead. Eidolon was reduced to 0 Charisma by said undead. According to that undead's rules, Eidolon dies. However, there's no provision in the Summoner/Eidolon rules for Eidolons dieing through any means other than hit point damage.
This can also come up through ability damage to Constitution, failing a Massive Damage save, failing a coup de grace save, negative levels, drowning, and probably some other methods that I'm just not thinking of right now.
I adjudicated that the Eidolon acted as if it had been killed by hp damage and would come back (in 24 hours) with 1 Charisma. However, I'd like to see that the final version of the rules doesn't have a loophole in this area.
Maker's Call (level 6 Summoner ability) allows the Summoner to bring his Eidolon to an adjacent space to himself, exactly as if casting dimension door.
Here's the question: nearly every other class or creature that gets a dimension door or teleport SLA can only use it to transport itself (or in this case, only the Eidolon). However, that is not how Maker's Call currently works. Currently, the Summoner could use Maker's Call to bring level/3 Medium-sized creatures along with his Eidolon. Is this intended, and is this too powerful if not? It seems like a pretty hefty advantage.
With +2 natural armor base, +5 through size growths, +16 through levels, the ability to take heavy armor and shields, and up to +10 more natural armor from evolutions, it's way, way easy to make Eidolons into invincible targets. Without even using the natural armor evolution, a level 20 Summoner's Huge Biped Eidolon can have a 55 AC (10 base, +14 from +5 full plate, +7 from +5 heavy shield, +23 natural, +3 dex, -2 size). If you wanted to really trick it out you could add rings of protection, amulets of natural armor, deflecting weapons, the natural armor evolutions, the improved natural armor and dodge feats, etc etc. I bet you could get a 80 AC Eidolon without making too big a dent in your level 20 cash. Nothing can touch that kind of AC.
My recommendation is to either reduce the natural armor bonuses, or drop the ability to wear armor.
I always loved the flavor of the Sha'ir class (Dragon Compendium vol 1), but it's always had some really strange mechanics that just don't seem to jive right. I saw a Sha'ir "Bloodline" for sorcerers shortly after the release of Pathfinder, but I decided to go ahead and do a complete re-write of the class because I felt it was unique enough to warrant it. I present it here in its alpha state for consideration and comment. Please keep all discussion on-topic and constructive. I apologize in advance for the tables; these boards aren't very table-friendly.
The biggest thing I changed was to greatly streamline the spell retrieval process. Before, you had to send your gen after every. single. spell. you wanted to prepare, which was a royal hassle and actually made it virtually impossible to use the domain spells you're supposed to be able to retrieve, thanks to the preparation time limit (which is gone) combined with the extremely long retrieval time for domain spells (which is reduced).
I changed the retrieval skill check to only check once per set of spells (basing the DCs off the most extreme examples -- ie, highest level spell, most metamagic-modified spell, hardest spell to retrieve -- and number of retrieval attempts that day) and basing the time off whether you knew all the spells and whether any of them were divine. This makes the class actually usable at a table.
The other big thing I changed was the addition of a bloodline/domain/arcane school/oracle focus/cavalier order type system, called Patrons. Patrons are powerful genies or elementals that grant special abilities to Sha'irs in exchange for a sliver of their power at all times (ie, technobabble).
BAB: as Wizard
Saves: as Wizard
HD: as Wizard
Skills: Bluff, Craft, Diplomacy, Knowledge: Arcana, Knowledge: Planes, Linguistics, Profession, Sense Motive, Spellcraft
Skill Points: 2 + Int
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: as Wizard
Summon Gen Familiar (Su): Sha'irs rely on a special type of familiar, a gen, to help them in their spellcasting. At 1st level, a Sha'ir summons and bonds with a specific gen familiar, chosen from table S-3. Note that the gen you summon and bond with at 1st level must be chosen from the list of gen available to your Patron (see below). Gen are Tiny Outsiders with the Elemental Endurance, Elemental Travel, and Retrieve Spells abilities (described below), movement speed 20', fly speed 60' (perfect), immunity and vulnerability to a damage type (see table S-3), and elemental traits. Gen advance as a normal familiar; see page 82 of the Pathfinder Core Rulebook.
If a Sha'ir's gen dies or is dismissed, it can be replaced after 24 hours by completing a ritual that takes 12 hours and 100 gold in ritual materials. This new gen can be of any type, but note that using a gen that does not match the Sha'ir's Patron imposes a penalty to its ability to retrieve spells.
Patron: A Sha'ir chooses one Patron, a powerful Outsider or deity who grants a portion of their power to the Sha'ir in exchange for a portion of their power. Each Patron grants the Sha'ir a number of extra class skills, the ability to learn spells from a limited list of Domains (although they do not grant any other abilities of those Domains), and other assorted powers. Patrons must be chosen at 1st level and once chosen cannot be changed.
Spells: A Sha'ir casts arcane spells drawn from the sorcerer/wizard spell list and selected domain spell lists. Sha'irs prepare spells like Wizards do, but instead of preparing spells from a spellbook, they send their gen familiar to 'retrieve' spells for them. Once retrieved, the spell remains prepared by the Sha'ir until cast.
To learn or cast a spell, a Sha'ir must have a Charisma score of at least 10 + the spell's level. The Difficulty Class for a Sha'ir's spell is 10 + the spell's level + the Sha'ir's Charisma modifier. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day (but not spells known) if he has a high Charisma score.
A Sha'ir begins play knowing five 0-level spells and three 1st-level spells of his choice, taken from the sorcerer/wizard list and the domain spell lists granted by his Patron. He learns more spells at each level as shown on table S-2.
In order to prepare his spells for the day, the Sha'ir must have had 8 consecutive hours of rest and must send his gen familiar to the elemental plane of his Patron to retrieve his spells. How long the gen takes to retrieve these spells is determined by what type of spells the Sha'ir sends it to retrieve. If the spells are all spells he knows from the sorcerer/wizard list, the gen returns in 1d4 minutes. If the spells are all spells from the sorcerer/wizard list, but not all of them are known, the gen returns in 3d4 minutes. If at least one of the spells is drawn from one of the domains allowed by his Patron, but is one of the Sha'ir's spells known, the gen returns in 1d4*10 minutes. If at least one of the spells is drawn from one of the domains allowed by his Patron and is not one of the Sha'ir's spells known, the gen returns in 3d4*10 minutes. Always take the worst applicable time. In any case, the gen always returns with either all of the spells it was sent to retrieve or none of them.
To determine if the gen successfully retrieves the spells it was sent for, the Sha'ir makes a Diplomacy check, with a DC set according to table S-4. If the Sha'ir succeeds at this check, the gen returns with all the spells it was sent for and they are considered prepared. If the Sha'ir fails at the check, the gen must be sent to retrieve a new list of spells; this new list must be one step easier to retrieve if possible (in other words, the Sha'ir must remove all unknown domain spells, all domain spells in general, or unknown sorcerer/wizard spells, as appropriate).
At 4th level, and every even-numbered Sha'ir level thereafter, a Sha'ir may choose to learn a new spell in place of one he already knows, just like a Sorcerer.
A Sha'ir may use any metamagic feats he knows to modify spells his gen retrieves. In order to do so, the gen must be sent to retrieve the spell with any metamagic feats applied to it. Because the metamagic is not being applied spontaneously, the Sha'ir does not need to use a full-round action to cast a spell modified by a metamagic feat.
Recognize Genie Works (Ex): At 2nd level, the Sha'ir can identify items or magical effects that have been created by geniekind. The Sha'ir must make a Knowledge: Planes check at DC 20 to recognize an item crafted by genies, or DC 15+spell level to recognize a magical effect created by genies. The Sha'ir gets a bonus equal to half his Sha'ir level to this check.
Elemental Protection (Ex): At 6th level, a Sha'ir gains protection from the elements. He gains resistance to fire, acid, cold, and electricity equal to half his Sha'ir level, DR 3/- against attacks from creatures with the fire, earth, water, or air subtypes, and +2 to saves against spells with the fire, earth, water, or air descriptors. These bonuses are doubled against creatures, spells, and attacks of the type associated with his gen familiar.
Elemental Travel (Sp): At 10th level, the Sha'ir gains the ability to cast plane shift, as the spell, as long as the destination is either the Material Plane or an Elemental plane. At 14th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, the Sha'ir may use this ability an extra time per day.
Create Genie Prison (Ex): At 16th level, you gain the ability to create a genie prison as if you had the Craft Wondrous Item feat. A genie prison is identical in all respects to an iron flask, except that it can only trap genies and only costs 100,000 gp. If you have the Craft Wondrous Item feat, you can create genie prisons at twice the normal speed.
Table S-1: The Sha'ir
1 Patron power, summon gen familiar, cantrips
2 Recognize genie works
4 Patron power
6 Elemental protection
8 Patron power
10 Elemental travel 1/day
12 Patron power
14 Elemental travel 2/day
16 Create genie prison
18 Elemental travel 3/day
20 Patron power
Table S-1b: Sha'ir Spells Per Day
Level 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1.......4 2 - - - - - - - -
2.......5 3 - - - - - - - -
3.......5 3 1 - - - - - - -
4.......5 4 3 - - - - - - -
5.......5 4 3 1 - - - - - -
6.......5 4 4 3 - - - - - -
7.......5 5 4 3 1 - - - - -
8.......5 5 4 3 3 - - - - -
9.......5 5 5 4 3 1 - - - -
10......5 5 5 4 3 3 - - - -
11......5 5 5 5 4 3 1 - - -
12......5 5 5 5 4 3 3 - - -
13......5 5 5 5 5 4 3 1 - -
14......5 5 5 5 5 4 3 3 - -
15......5 5 5 5 5 5 4 3 1 -
16......5 5 5 5 5 5 4 3 3 -
17......5 5 5 5 5 5 5 4 3 1
18......5 5 5 5 5 5 5 4 3 3
19......5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 4 4
20......5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Table S-2: Sha'ir Spells Known
Level 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1.......5 3 - - - - - - - -
2.......6 3 - - - - - - - -
3.......6 4 - - - - - - - -
4.......7 4 2 - - - - - - -
5.......7 5 3 - - - - - - -
6.......8 5 3 2 - - - - - -
7.......8 6 4 3 - - - - - -
8.......9 6 4 3 2 - - - - -
9.......9 7 5 4 3 - - - - -
10......9 7 5 4 3 2 - - - -
11......9 8 6 5 4 3 - - - -
12......9 8 6 5 4 3 2 - - -
13......9 9 7 6 5 4 3 - - -
14......9 9 7 6 5 4 3 2 - -
15......9 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 - -
16......9 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 -
17......9 9 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 -
18......9 9 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
19......9 9 9 9 8 7 6 5 4 3
20......9 9 9 9 8 7 6 5 4 3
Table S-3: Gen Familiars
Flame...fire............fire....cold....Master gains +5' to base land speed
Wind....air.............elec....acid....Master gains +3 bonus to Fly checks
Wave....water.......cold....fire....Master gains +3 bonus to Swim checks
Stone...earth........acid....elec....Master gains +2 Fortitude save
Table S-4: Spell Retrieval DC
Condition | Modifier
Base | 15
Highest spell level* | +spell level*2
Unknown sorcerer/wizard spell** | +2
Domain spell** | +5
Unknown domain spell** | +10
Highest metamagic spell increase*** | +increase
Each previous retrieval in 24 hours | +2
Using a mismatched gen | +5
* Count only the actual level of the spell; do not count any increase to spell level due to metamagic
** Only count the highest modifier
*** Count all spell level increases for each spell and use the highest total
Spell Retrieval Example:
Ustiyad, a 3rd level Sha'ir, sends his gen familiar off to retrieve his spells for the day: web, still magic missile, sleep, color spray, burning hands, and magic missile; magic missile, sleep, color spray, and burning hands are known spells, but web is not. The highest level spell he is attempting to retrieve is a 2nd level spell (web), adding 4 to his DC. Since he doesn't know web, but he's not asking for any domain spells, he adds another 2 to the DC. Finally, one of the spells he's attempting to retrieve is a still magic missile, which is a +1 increase in spell level and thus a +1 to his DC. His gen matches the types allowed by his Patron, so he adds together 15 + 4 + 2 + 1 to get a total retrieval DC of 22. His gen will return in 3d4 minutes, at which time he must make his Diplomacy check. If he fails the check, he can send his gen back to try again, but he must drop the web spell (perhaps choosing another still magic missile to replace it) and the DC changes to 20 (15 + 2 for only 1st level spells +0 all spells are known + 1 for one level of metamagic increase +2 for previous retrieval).
Elemental Endurance (Ex): Gen can survive on the elemental planes like a native. They are immune to environmental damage and negative planar traits on Elemental planes. On the Plane of Water, they can breathe water and gain a swim speed equal to their fly speed. On the Plane of Earth, they gain a burrow speed equal to their land speed and leave no tunnel or sign of passage like an earth elemental.
Elemental Travel (Sp): A gen can plane shift at will to any Elemental plane or from any Elemental plane to the Material plane. This ability transports the gen only, but is otherwise identical to the spell plane shift (caster level 13).
Retrieve Spells (Ex): A gen is empowered to bargain for and deliver spells from the Elemental planes to its Sha'ir. The time required depends upon the spells requested, as given in the Sha'ir description.
Jafaar, Grand Vizier of the Efreeti
Skills: Add Disguise, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth to your list of class skills.
Domain Spells: A Sha'ir who chooses Jafaar as his Patron can learn spells from the list of spells granted by the Evil, Fire, Law, and Trickery Domains.
Granted Powers: Jafaar is a twisted, scheming efreeti malik who grants powers related to deceit, greed, and fire to those who he grants Patronage to.
Consuming Flames (Sp): Starting at 1st level, you can designate any creature or object within 30 feet to be the target of his consuming flames as a standard action. That creature or object must make a Reflex save (DC 10 + half your Sha'ir level + your Charisma modifier) or be set on fire for 1d4 rounds. Unattended objects get no save. This fire deals 1d6 points of fire damage + 1 for every two Sha'ir levels you possess. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 1 + your Charisma modifier.
Pierce the Smog (Su): At 4th level, you can see through smoke, fog, and fire without penalty as long as there is sufficient light for you to see normally.
Smokescreen (Sp): At 8th level, you gain the ability to create a 15' radius cloud of thick black smoke, centered on yourself, as a move action. This smoke provides concealment against creatures within 5 feet and total concealment against creatures farther away. Creatures entering the cloud must succeed at a Fortitude save (DC 10 + half your Sha'ir level + your Charisma modifier) or be sickened for as long as they remain in the cloud and for one round after they leave or the cloud disperses. The cloud lasts a number of rounds equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum 1 round) unless dispersed by a strong wind and can be used once per day per two Sha'ir levels.
Cunning Deceit (Ex): At 12th level, you can add your Intelligence modifier (if positive) to your Bluff, Disguise, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth checks.
Cosmic Power (Su): At 20th level, you take on many of the qualities of an efreet. Your type becomes Outsider (native, fire), you gain immunity to fire, your body emits Heat as an efreet, and you can use alter self as a spell-like ability at will. Unlike a normal Outsider, you can still be revived if killed.
Suliq, the Sand Sea's Sultan
I'm reading this ability and seeing "spend 2 ki points to heal monk level hit points to yourself". Does that seem like an incredibly bad deal to anyone else? For one thing, ki points are few and far between -- half monk level + Wis, so probably no more than 14-ish by level 20. Then you compare the other things ki can do for you (stacking extra attack, etherealness, dimension door, etc), and it really just doesn't seem worth it.
This is just a religion that I've worked up for a character I'm planning on playing in the future. I don't know that anyone at all will find this useful or even interesting, but it costs me nothing to post it up.
Church of the Celestial Apparatus
Worshippers of the Celestial Apparatus believe that everything on the mortal plane is part of a grand plan originating in the Seven Mounting Heavens of Celestia. Or, more accurately, originating from a massive magical-mechanical machine that resides in the interior of Mount Celestia, closely guarded by the best and strongest Archons. This celestial apparatus has no given name, and is variably called "the Apparatus", "the Machine", "Omnimachina", "Father of Invention", and other names. The Apparatus is said to have created the plane of Celestia around itself, building up Mount Celestia from the raw Maelstrom, crystallizing raw Chaos into a shell to contain and protect its mechanisms. Believers state that the garden at the summit of Mount Celestia is the only place where the the Apparatus is accessible to mortal souls. Some worshippers go so far as to claim that the plane of Axis is an offshoot or imperfect copy of the Apparatus, although denizens of that plane either violently object to this interpretation or suggest that the reverse is true, when they deign to respond to it at all.
The central tenet of the faith is to always act in accordance with the Celestial Laws as passed down through the Archons; these laws are supposedly created by the Apparatus. The Celestial Laws as practiced by the Church of the Celestial Apparatus are exlemplified by seven Heavenly Virtues:
No single follower is expected to practice all seven Virtues at all times. Perfection -- the state of exemplifying all seven Virtues -- is a goal that is placed intentionally out of reach as a reminder that it is always possible to become a better person. Indeed, the presence of Patience as a Virtue means that only a genuine desire to better one's self in accordance with the Virtues is required to remain a member in good standing with the Church of the Celestial Apparatus. Even priests are only required to take a sacred vow to exemplify one of the Virtues, although of course they strive to exemplify the others as well. Only a priest who has maintained sacred vows to three different virtues for a period of at least 10 years may become a High Priest of the Church.
There are two sets of formal raiment for priests of the Church. One set is only used once each year for the High Prayer; this consists of a thick white cassock (satin, when available; linen or even wool in deeply rural areas) with intricate multicolored gears embroidered along the trim, an especially tall mitre bearing the holy symbol of the Church, and a short scepter topped with a seven-toothed gear. The second raiment is used in all other times, and consists of a simple white cassock and a white cloth skullcap which may optionally have the holy symbol of the Church embroidered into it. Temples of the Church are stout, unassuming structures with whitewashed walls and many enclosed spaces. The holy text of the Church of the Celestial Apparatus is On the Gears Righteous, a collection of psalms, prayers, and parables about the Apparatus, Mount Celestia, and the seven Heavenly Virtues.
The Church is generally not taken seriously by the followers of the main deities. Those who follow deities of law and good regard them as good people who are merely misguided, while others just consider them kooky cultists. Still, none can question that the members of the Church are a positive influence on society, so it's rare for there to be any open religious confrontations.
The Apparatus's favor is said to manifest through animals associated with order, such as ants or beavers, through dreams of fantastical mechanisms, and through patterns of light on cloudy days or moonless nights. Its displeasure is signified through inexplicible mechanical failures, a sourceless sense of guilt, or the rapid tarnishing of metals and appearance of flaws in crystals and gemstones.
Knowledge System rant:
One of the sillier things about the Knowledge skills is that the DC for determining what the character knows about creatures is mostly dependent on an artificial game construct that has no actual bearing on the world (Challenge Rating). There's some consideration given for how uncommon a monster is in the Skill section (the base DC varies from 5+CR to 15+CR based on whether it's common, standard, or rare), but a high-CR, rare, but quite famous creature, such as a Great Wyrm Red Dragon, is all but impossible to find information on. That goes counter to the common sense that everyone has heard of dragons and should at the very least know the basics about them, and I would have to think that when your world conveniently color-codes dragons by their abilities, it's not hard to get a good idea of what exactly you're facing.
So, what I'm attempting to do here is re-write the Knowledge system as it applies to identifying creatures. The key points of the system are as follows:
The quickest of those key points to determine is the last. Using the SRD for CRs and the Pathfinder Core Rulebook for DC calculations, we get DC 5 for the low end (goblins, kobolds, etc) and DC 42 for the high end (great wyrm gold dragon). So, we want our DCs to range between the rough ranges of 5 and 40, with 5 being for very common, very iconic monsters like goblins, common predator animals, and the like, and DC 40 being reserved for extremely rare, possibly unique, possibly extraplanar, and not-terribly-famous monsters like PF#10's Havero or PF#11's Danse Macabre.
Items number one and two on the list above are inter-related. We'll eliminate the metagame factor by adding in two in-game factors: Rarity and Prominence.
Rarity is rated as follows:
Prominence is rated as follows:
Rarity is easy to define. Rarity measures how many of these creatures there are, and how frequently they are encountered by the mythical average person. One thing to keep in mind is that Rarity says nothing about how much an average person knows about a creature, in and of itself. It simply rates how often an average person could expect to encounter or hear of someone they know encountering the creature. Goblins, for example, are both very numerous and very active in the wilds between towns, so they would get a Rarity rating of "Very Common".
Some other Rarity examples out of the SRD:
Now, to define Prominence. Prominence is a bit trickier; it describes how high the public's awareness of a certain monster is. Even if a monster is rated Very Common, it's quite possible that they're not really "in the public's eye" -- maybe because they like it that way and make an effort to keep themselves mysterious, maybe because they're generally neither violent nor friendly towards people and thus most people may know they exist but know virtually nothing about what they can do, maybe just because they're just not deemed important. There is some cross-over between Rarity and Prominence, in that extremely rare creatures are unlikely to be highly Prominent, or, if they are, the general knowledge of them isn't likely to be highly accurate. One final factor in Prominence is just how many abilities the given creature has; creatures that have many, many abilities will almost always be more mysterious than ones with fewer or no special or magical abilities. Our example goblins from above make no special efforts to hide themselves from public knowledge (though they certainly try to hide from the public's dogs and horses!), are a Very Common critter, and don't have any really special abilities inherent to them as a race. This marks them as a Well-Known creature.
Other Prominence examples:
Alright, so we have both a Rarity rating and a Prominence rating. How do we use these to determine the DC of a given monster, and what does meeting that DC tell us? The base DC of a Knowledge check is 15. To that DC, we add or subtract the number listed next to the creatures Rarity and Prominence ratings.
Goblins are Very Common, Well-Known creatures, giving them a DC of 15-5-5=5. Great Wyrm dragons, on the other hand, are Possibly Unique, Notable creatures, giving them a DC of 15+16-1=30. Trogs are Uncommon, Notorious creatures with a DC of 15-1-3=11; Storm Giants are Very Rare, Obscure creatures, yielding a DC of 15+8+2=25.
So what does that tell us? This depends on how Prominent they are:
There's still DM discretion needed with this system. Failing a check for an Obscure or higher-rated creature by 5 or more should probably yield some mis-information about the creature, with more severe failures yielding more dangerous mis-information. For example, rolling a total of a 10 on a check (and thus failing by 15) to identify a Storm Giant might give the player "knowledge" that Storm Giants are immensely strong but dull and stupid, and that despite their names they are no more resistant to electricity than any other giant. Failing a check on an Obscure or higher-rated creature by rolling a 1 on the check may mean that the creature has been mis-identified completely; if you decide to use this optional rule, give the player information on another creature that is plausibly similar to the one they tried to identify. For example, if the roll of 10 to identify the Storm Giant above was the result of a natural 1 on the die roll, consider describing it as a Cloud Giant instead.
This alternate class feature is being presented for initial feedback. No playtesting has been done for this alternate class feature. Please keep discussions civil and constructive.
There's one powerful archetypal character that D&D has consistently failed to simulate over the years: that of the robe-wearing, non-martial divine servant. There's some sense to this, as being able to wear armor and wield weapons is a very decided benefit to a character in an adventuring party. Yet, at the same time, wizards (and lately, sorcerers) have managed to be more than viable without ever needing armor or weapons. However, there's really not enough of a distinction between this robe-wearer and the Cleric class to warrant an entirely new base class.
What this alternate class feature is intended to do is provide the ability to play a non-martially-inclined (as Clerics and Favored Souls are with their medium BAB, medium armor, shields, and high Fort saves), non-healing-centric (as the Healer class is), non-agnostic (as the Archivist is), non-Knowledge-centric (Cloistered Cleric), Western flavored (as opposed to Shugenja and the like) divine spellcaster. Priests aren't intended to be as common in adventuring parties as Clerics are, but they should be at least viable.
This alternate class feature can only be chosen when you take your first Cleric level. It affects all further Cleric levels and, once the choice is made, cannot be undone.
To turn a Cleric into a Priest, make the following changes:
One extra domain, chosen as normal
In addition, the Priest loses access to the second domain spell slot if they wear any armor or wield any shield.
All other Cleric class features remain the same.
This was actually pretty hard to come up with, mechanically-speaking. Losing all the martial stuff was pretty much mandatory for the concept, but that's a lot of power to give up. The benefit for giving it all up had to be substantial, but at the same time not so substantial as to totally upstage either the base Cleric or the Wizard or Sorcerer.
The extra domain is pretty easy; the source of inspiration there is the Cloistered Cleric from Unearthed Arcana. Cloistered Clerics are similar to the Priest concept, but inherit a focus on the Knowledge domain that really limits their application outside that very specific archetype. The Priest's bonus domain is open-ended vs the Cloistered Cleric's pre-chosen (Knowledge) domain, but the Priest gives up more, too.
The extra domain spell slot is what may cause real problems. The extra slot means Priests cast as many spells per day as Sorcerers, have full access to their entire spell list like Clerics and Druids, and have limited spontaneous casting as Clerics. That may prove to be too powerful. On the other hand, domains aren't as strong as Wizard schools or Sorcerer bloodlines, and the two domain spell slots have incredibly limited spell choices (one of three spells, none of which are chosen directly by the player, per spell level), meaning that the bonus spell slot Priest grants isn't nearly as strong as the extra spell slot Sorcerers get over Wizards.
I actually think that the Priest is probably a little underpowered, but I'm OK with that. If other people agree in that regard, I might consider two bonus domains (not domain spell slots, domains), but I think one is playable.
In the end, I decided to post here to see what other people thought of it.
I'm converting the Purification and Spell (Complete Divine/Spell Compendium) domains for use by a character in a future AP we're planning to run.
The Spell domain is an easy conversion: no spell changes needed. The passive granted ability is weak enough to stay unchanged (it's on par with a bonus feat since it's basically a 3.5 style +2/+2 skill feat). For the level 1 power, I have:
Levinbolt (Sp): As a standard action, you can fire a bolt of pure magical energy from your outstretched hand. You can target any single foe within 30' as a ranged touch attack; if you hit, your target takes 1d4 points of force damage + 1 point for every two cleric levels you possess. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom modifier.
I reduced the die size from 1d6 to 1d4 to compensate for the fact that force is a "superior" damage type compared to fire, etc (being as it hits incorporeal creatures and is very, very rarely resisted). The higher-level power is as follows:
Spell Resistance (Ex): At 8th level, you gain spell resistance equal to 10 + 1 for every cleric level you possess.
I'm not sold on the spell resistance, though. It's easy and obvious, but I think it might be a bit too strong as a domain ability (and it's hard to reduce the strength of the spell resistance without making it totally worthless). This is the other alternative I'm considering:
Counterspell (Su): At 8th level, if you succeed at the Spellcraft check to identify a spell being cast, you can attempt to counterspell that spell as an immediate action. Note that you must still have a valid spell memorized (dispel magic or the spell that is being cast) and you must still expend that spell as normal. If you use this ability, you may not cast a spell until the end of your next turn. You can use this ability once per day at 8th level and an additional one time per day for every four cleric levels beyond 8th.
I've always thought the counterspelling rules in D&D sucked, so I have to admit to a little bias in that regard. Still, I don't think this is unbalanced. Thoughts?
Now, onto Purification. Purification has always been a bit of a strange domain. The only two Greyhawk deities with the domain are about as different as you can get -- Rao, the god of peace, and Wrasti, the demigod of human superiority and amphibians (huh?). The spell list is similarly confused, although I'm keeping it as-is for simplicity's sake. Anyway, Purification seems to cover both literal purification (cleansing from poisons and such -- see dance of the unicorn in the domain spell list) as well as figurative purification (purifying a race ala Wrasti's racial superiority agenda, purifying the soul, etc). Again, I'm keeping the granted ability as it's pretty wimpy. Here's the level 1 ability:
Purifying Touch (Sp): As a standard action, you can touch a creature to grant it a +4 sacred bonus or -4 profane penalty to its saving throws vs poisons, diseases, and curses for 1 minute. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom modifier.
Pretty straightforward. Follows both the literal purification and the figurative purification concepts and allows for some interesting build concepts. +4 might be a bit too much, though +2 seems too weak. Compare to the Protection domain power, which is +1-5 to all saves.
I'm stumped on the higher-level Purification power, though. I'd like to maintain the literal/figurative dual use, but I can't think of anything compelling. Anyone have any ideas?
The wording of the Dwarven trait "Slow and Steady" is:
Slow and Steady wrote:
Dwarves have a base speed of 20 feet, but their speed is never modified by armor or encumbrance.
Obviously that applies to the typical walking speed reduction for wearing medium or heavy armor. However, does it also apply to the reduction to 3x speed for the run action while wearing heavy armor? Technically that's a modification to their speed by wearing armor.
First things first: This is a house rule for my PRPG games, so I didn't want to put it in the actual design forums, but I wasn't sure where else to put it. If this isn't the appropriate spot, my apologies and let me know where to re-post it. Thanks!
Anyway, one of the things I've been stewing over for my own personal set of house rules is how to handle skill specialization in a way that's fun and useful without being overly complicated. At first I just tried letting players take (Int bonus) specializations and adding +2 circumstance bonuses to those specialties, but the +2 quickly became too weak a bonus to be worth the hassle on primary skills and players generally just ended up being specialized in skills they wouldn't put more than a half-dozen ranks into. That doesn't really fit with fun and useful.
However, last night, while reading through the Shadowrun 4th edition rulebook (which actually uses a very similar form of specialization to my original concept, although it's +2 dice instead of +2 to the total of a single roll), I hit on what I think might be a good solution:
This solution is more complex and requires more book-keeping than my previous solution, but it seems on the surface to at least be more fun and useful. Obviously, it would require more guidance as to what a suitable specialization is; you don't want it to be too general, and too specific is bad too. There's also some skills that don't lend themselves to specialization quite as well (Swimming, for example, although I can think of some specializations even there). Still, I think the basic concept at least has promise.
Here's some questions I have:
Quick, what's the Challenge Rating of a Kraken with 20 levels in druid (or cleric, wizard, sorcerer, rogue, bard, or monk)?
If you answered anything other than "CR 20", you're wrong.
Yes, that's right. This CR 12 base creature only adds 8 CR for getting 20 levels in a full spellcasting class. The math, for those who are skeptical:
12 CR base with 20 HD. 20 non-associated class levels (non-associated levels are 1/2 CR until they exceed the monster's hit dice). -2 CR for being a monster with PC class levels (Pathfinder rule). That's 12 + 10 - 2 = 20.
For the record, I was originally planning this NPC as a potential villain for an RPG Superstar entry. I wanted a Kraken Druid or Cleric, but looked at the Kraken's CR and was disappointed because I thought it wouldn't be an effective caster for the encounter level the party would need to be at. Then I saw how many hit die it had, and started doing the math.
Anyhow. My suggestion to fix the NAC mess is to limit NA levels to 1/2 CR only when they're less than the base CR of the creature. In the Kraken's case, that means it could go up to 12 levels in a caster class and be only CR 18 which is fairly reasonable for combining a potent combatant and a 6th-level-spells caster. At CR 20, though, it would only be a level 14 character. That's a very significant power drop from being a level 20 character, and IMO much more accurate.
Using CR as the base avoids one of the main traps with monsters: their hit dice are almost always waaaaaaaaaaay higher than their CR. That's not a problem when all you're concerned about is whacking them with a sharp stick, but when it gets down to the nuts and bolts of designing them....
With no con score, they only get 2 rage points per hit die, which is just woefully inadequate. And that's only if you use the "treat it as a 10 if you have to figure their Con for something" interpretation instead of the "treat it as a 0 if you have to figure their Con for something" interpretation, in which case they'd have 0 rage points no matter how many HD they had.
Can we get a clause somewhere in the Undead type description that lets them use their Charisma modifier in place of their Constitution modifier? That solves the problem of undead hit points, too, so it's a useful addition even if the current rage system ends up getting scrapped.
I just noticed that ACP applies to Ride. This is a BAD idea. What armor you have on has little to no effect on controlling a mount. Look at the list of things you have to make a Ride check for:
Guide with knees
Of those, only 4 (less than half) really could really be argued to be different in armor - stay in saddle, cover, soft fall, and fast mount/dismount. Staying in a saddle, especially a military saddle, is actually quite possibly EASIER in armor than without. Cover could easily be restricted to light armor only; it's hard to imagine a cataphract ducking behind his horse. That leaves soft fall and fast mount/dismount, and those are frankly minor.
Take a 5th level Fighter with Full Plate Mail as an example. He has a 10 Dexterity and has Ride as one of his four skills, meaning he should be DAMNED good at it. However, his Ride check is a -2. That means he cannot hope to control a non-trained mount in battle, has a 20% chance to get his mount to jump or to spur his mount, and most importantly has a less than 50% chance to get his warhorse to fight with him. Even guiding his mount with his knees has a 30% chance to fail.
Note that this is a change over 3.5, as Ride does not have an ACP in the PHB or SRD (nor does Use Rope, but that's removed and gladly so).
There has been some interest expressed in a dragon I pitted my Hook Mountain Massacre party against this week, so I figured I'd share what I have written/schemed up for her. Note that Mytarla is an EL 11 encounter; be very careful using her if your party is less than level 7 average or has few ways to handle a flying monster.
Mytarlacoraxithryl resides in the lower reaches of the Sanos Forest, between the towns of Nybor, Wartle, and Whistledown, although she fits in any forested area that's not heavily travelled. As arrogant as any dragon, and brash as young chromatic dragons tend to be, Mytarla views the forest as "hers" and stalks travelers that happen through her hunting ground, observing them for a minimum of 4 hours from a safe distance. If they appear to be adventurers or merchants, she'll hide in the canopy nearby and demand that the travelers pay a price for passage through "my forest" - either tribute, or the lives of some or all of their companions.
If the travelers ignore her, she will fly from her hiding spot and land directly in their path, letting her frightening presence disrupt mounts, pack animals, and wagon-pullers, forcing the travelers to deal with her.
She refuses to set a price for tribute that she'll accept for passage, responding to any inquiries with a haughty, "Pay me what you will. If you offer too little, I'll take the rest in lives." In truth, the amount she will settle for is based on how obviously wealthy her prey is. Higher level adventurers or wealthy-seeming merchants will need to pay up to 1000 gold per head in gold, goods, or items. A DC 25 diplomacy check to flatter Mytarla will reduce her target tribute amount by half.
If her prey refuses to pay tribute, or pays too little, Mytarla will attack. If they satisfy her target tribute amount, Mytarla will allow them to leave and not bother them again for as long as they remain in her hunting range - but if they come back through later on, she may demand tribute again. Clever PCs may be able to lure her onto the ground by pretending to pay tribute; otherwise, she will start the fight in the air.
The entrance to Mytarla's lair lies in the acid-hollowed shell of a massive, ancient tree. A tunnel, large enough for a Huge-sized creature to fit comfortable, leads down into the forest soil. After a few blind turns, the tunnel dips completely underwater. After swimming several hundred feet through the stagnant water, explorers will come to a split in the path; the left path leads to an air pocket and Mytarla's treasure room, while the right path leads to a very long underwater passage that eventually empties out into her nest, which contains 1d4-1 (min 0) green wyrmlings.
If Mytarla retreated from the PCs, she will head straight for her treasure chamber - both to heal up and, hopefully, to lead the PCs away from her young. She fully expects to be chased and will drink all of the potions contained in her hoard as well as cast mage armor on herself.
Mytarla's hoard is contained in an 80' wide/tall hemispherical chamber. About half of the rear of the chamber is covered in coins and other treasure; the watery passage ends about 15' into the room, allowing Mytarla's darkvision and blindsense to locate intruders as they enter. She will attempt to intimidate the PCs into leaving, but if that fails will open the battle with her breath weapon again. Her treasure chamber is large enough for her to employ aerial tactics again, if that proved successful in the first encounter, although she will probably rely more on Hovering than Flyby Attacks and Wingovers.
If the PCs defeat Mytarla, her hoard contains:
** - Magic Item Compendium relic of Pelor; I converted it to Sarenrae for Pathfinder.
In the description of Malfeshnekor and his area, it's mentioned that he's held in place by a Planar Binding, yet in his Tactics section it mentions that he uses Blink as a pre-combat buff.
These are, as I understand it, incompatible.
Planar Binding does not prevent an outsider from leaving the Binding zone by dimensional travel (and Malfeshnekor has both Blink and Dimension Door available as escape methods) unless it is cast in conjunction with Dimensional Anchor - in which case Malfeshnekor wouldn't be able to use Blink in combat.
So, which is it - can he Blink (in which case he wouldn't still be imprisoned), or is he Anchored? At the moment I'm ruling that he's Anchored, and thus signifigantly easier to kill. I'd like to be sure I havn't missed anything, however.