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far_wanderer's page

RPG Superstar 2013 Star Voter. Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 257 posts (427 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 6 aliases.


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Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Page 46, the Wave Strike ability deals increased damage based on the shaman level of the target, not the character using it.

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My play group has some problems with turns taking too long already, so I typically just say the spell name and, if necessary, as brief as possible a description of the effects. That said, I do usually come up with a general flavor of magic for each of my characters that comes up in less time-sensitive situations. I'm playing a summoner right now and all of his magic manifests as pulling things, creatures, or phenomena through to this plane from the First World. Prior to that I had a wizard whose spells all involved fireworks and moving tattoos. Ages ago I played an oracle who accessed all of his magic through ancestral chants.

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm a heterosexual male. My characters tend to split fairly evenly between male, female, and alien enough sex isn't relevant. That last group tends to default to male because that means one less thing for me to keep track of. Age is similarly variable, with pretty even distribution across the board.
I default to average/slightly above average appearance, and rarely if ever deviate from that. I'm more inclined towards rugged good looks and physical fitness than other types of attractiveness.
Sexual preference for my characters is almost always "none", or at least "not right now". The two most dominant personalities in my gaming group both tend to play charismatic pretty characters who sleep around a lot, so I tend to play against that type to help draw the game direction away from being a soap opera. My characters are at most open to romance but not actively looking for it. When they have a sexual preference at all it is almost always straight, because I'm already in uncomfortable territory and want to keep things simple.

a sampling of my characters:

Littor (Skull and Shackles): An orphaned ratfolk necromancer and devout cultist of Charon. Biologically quite young, but unnaturally mature for his age. If he were cleaned up, he would actually by somewhat cute by ratfolk standards, but he's constantly dirty, wet, and covered in tattered robes. He views sex as a distraction for less enlightened individuals.

N.I.G.E.L. (Eclipse Phase game): An artificial intelligence with no fixed physical form. He is quite interested in learning about human interaction, and would be open to a relationship with just about anyone, but I wouldn't really describe that as a sexual preference.

Michael Notoli (Rise of the Runelords): Michael was an attempt by me to play against type a bit. He was in his late teens (human), classically handsome and quite muscular, and had a crush on a female party member, although nothing ever came of it.

Dash (placeholder name, upcoming replacement character for the same Rise of the Runelords game): Dash is a tall, lanky, half-orc who probably could have been handsome at one point before a long series of scars and other injuries. He also dresses in clothes that are deliberately clashing and unsettling. His sexual preferences are wide open, but he doesn't value sex above any other type of physical pleasure and has no interest in a relationship.

Dawn (homebrew Pathfinder game): Dawn was an early-20s-equivalent aasimar with golden skin and fiery red hair. She was attractive, but in a largely unearthly way that occasionally unsettled people. She was theoretically interested in men at a later point, but wanted to sort out her ancestry first to find out exactly what bloodlines she was in danger of passing on.

Wynneflock (homebrew Pathfinder game): Mid-30's-equivalent tengu merchant, she was actually quite attractive by the standards of her species, but dressed to de-empahsize it and look older because the "grandmother crow" look was good for business. In mindset she was one of the more romantically inclined characters I have played, but it was never relevant because she wasn't interested in males of other species and we never encountered other tengu.

Quinray (Council of Thieves): Late teens, athletic and moderately handsome. Started human, but believed strongly in reincarnation, and went through orc and lizardfolk during the campaign. He was a true romantic, and would not have been interested in sex until he found his soul mate. Due to the aforementioned reincarnation belief, said soul mate could have been any gender or species.

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Speaking from experience with my own necromancer, you'll want to use both options. You need to consider in each case what you want your undead minion to do, and what the base creature is.

Details are under the spoiler::

Bloody skeletons have a huge lead on defense. They have DR, Fast Healing, deathless, and 1 more hit point per HD and +2 to Fort saves thanks to their Charisma (it's only one HP per level over zombies because zombies get Toughness). The only defensive ability fast zombies have is one more point of natural armor at large and greater size.

Offensive power is about even depending on the creature. A fast zombie always gains two slam attacks, while a bloody skeleton gets one claw attack per hand, which will usually be two. Fast zombies have +2 Str and the die type of their attack is one higher, so they will win out a bit unless you are dealing with something with more than two hands.

Fast zombies are just straight up better at movement. They retain their fly speed and add 10 feet to their land speed. Remember though that maneuverability drops to clumsy and they have no skill ranks, so their flight isn't as useful as you might think.

Zombies gain significant bonus HD as their size increases. This is a very important bonus, but make sure it doesn't bump the creature outside of the HD limit you can create

Skeletons get improved initiative, but it's only a +3 bonus over fast zombies due to the +2 Dex on the zombies.


So in conclusion, favor bloody skeletons by default, but consider fast zombie if any of the following are true:
-The base creature lacks hands/already has claw attacks
-The base creature has a non-magical fly speed that you want to retain
-The base creature is particularly large
-You want to prioritize offense

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As an alternative: I played a character with very similar stats a few months ago, and the direction I went was that he tried very hard to be pleasant and charming, but always ended up accidentally threatening or insulting everyone, not just the people he tried to intimidate. This was usually by calling attention to his physical prowess at inappropriate times, but sometimes he was just uncomfortably blunt.
As an example, the party was once foolish enough to let him be the one to make first contact with a little girl we found crying in the attic of a haunted house. His opening line was "Hi there, I'm Michael. My friends and I probably aren't here to kill you." In his head, we weren't there to hurt her, but she might turn out to secretly be an evil ghost (she was) and it was important to cover all the possibilities.
He was smart enough to know that he had a problem, but he still felt that he should try to be polite and friendly and never noticed his slip-ups until it was too late.

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Once again, I was the Hunter in this game. On the one hand, yes my tiger was absolutely OP. But on the other hand, it was because I took one of the best animal companions and almost all of my equipment was dedicated to making it better. Being a Hunter didn't actually add much. Animal Focus was really useful, and definitely my favorite ability of the class, but if I'd been a druid instead I could have cast animal growth with one more level of spellcasting. As I stated in the previous playtest, teamwork feats felt very disappointing for this build, as they all benefit only the ranged combatant in a melee/ranged team. And Precise Companion was not relevant at any point.

Some feedback on the other classes:

The warpriest was awesome. On the rounds when he full attacked, he actually out-damaged my tiger, it just happened much less often. But even with most combats going for several rounds with some buffing time in advance he never used sacred armor because it was just one ability too many to activate.

The skald suffered most from our favoring Dex-based combat to what I feel is an unusual degree. I think my animal companion and I were the only ones who accepted the ragesong all the time, and for me it was purely for defensive reasons. For my animal companion it was a definite boost over inspire competence, however.

The arcanist worked perfectly. He had slightly less power than a wizard, but much more versatility. His exploits seemed like an adequate and balanced replacement for school powers or a bloodline, both in combat and for utility.

The slayer played a thrown-weapon-sniper build that would have been much better in a game where he could sneak ahead and snipe enemies to draw them to us. It just wasn't a build that could keep up in full-party combat. The specific adventure also handicapped him, as fully half of the encounters negated his ability to remain hidden within sneak attack range. I felt like his problems were less the fault of the class and more that his build didn't synergize with the rest of the party. Slayer remains my favorite class.

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

First, in direct answer to your question, detect evil picks up a character with active evil intent. Smite Evil has no such clause. So no Smiting unless you want to actually change their alignments or the rules.

Second, be very hesitant about ever imposing alignment changes on your PCs, especially without telling them in advance. It's very subjective, very contentious, and it's very difficult to pull off without seeming like you are just trying to make your players feel guilty. If you do it, it needs to be done considering intent and motivations, not just actions. The method that I have found works best is "Hey, [player], your character seems to be leaning towards [alignment] lately, have you noticed that?" at which point they will often either change their alignment themselves because they hadn't noticed, or give you insight into their character that explains their actions. If not, then I give them an explanation of why, in the moral system of my game, what they are doing fits a different alignment better, and warn them that if they keep acting this way I will change their alignment.

Third, legal and moral authority are not the same thing, and so the legal system is not inherently good-aligned. If you want opposing it to be an inherently evil act, then you have to do the hard work of making it good aligned. That means fair trials, good treatment of prisoners, non-lethal damage apprehending them, etc.

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Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Cheapy wrote:
What aspects of the spell list are you looking for feedback on?

Its not really something I can crowd-source. Basing it off druid just does not feel right, despite the fact that it is a reasonable fit for the theme. I am still mulling it over, weighing options.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

The spell list is actually my favorite thing about the Shaman, and I would strongly recommend against changing it.

Druid is a class that has a lot of baggage - special abilities that you have to take that aren't necessarily related to each other. Having the Druid spell list available on an additional class that doesn't have that baggage fills a very large niche in my character design options.

Star Voter 2013

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Slayer is my favorite class. Not just in the playtest - overall. Here's why: thematically, I love Rangers. Competent, skilled warrior is my ideal character archetype. But I HATE conditional bonuses, and the Ranger is full of them. Slayer now gives me everything I wanted from the Ranger, but instead of the conditional bonuses, I get much weaker bonuses that I can use on whatever I want, whenever I want. This is perfect for me, and I love everything about the class and don't want it to change. Actually, I take that back, upon looking at the class again just now, I want it have Knowledge: Nature as a class skill. It just seems really weird to have all of the other wilderness based skills and abilities but not that.

If I were going to make the class weaker, I would drop Sneak Attack, as it is the ability I'm least attached too. It would still be my favorite class.

If I were going to refine the class a bit, I would make Slayer's Advance into a Slayer Talent, as it clearly feels like one and it seems weird to get this one specific talent that doesn't suit my playstyle at a specific (late) level with no other options.

If I were going to make the class better, I would add one level of Fighter Armor Training to the Slayer Talent list, as I really like that ability and it would be nice to move at full speed in medium armor.

Star Voter 2013

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One weird thing that I just noticed about the Hunter:
Hunters use the Druid spell list. The Druid spell list does not include Beast Shape, because Druids get Wild Shape. Hunters don't get Wild Shape. This means that a Hunter can turn into a spider (Vermin Shape IS on the Druid spell list) but not an animal.

Star Voter 2013

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(side note: the Warpriest was actually in heavy armor - he spent one of his surplus feats on Fleet.)
I was the Hunter in this game. Aside from the aforementioned awful luck I was fairly happy with the class. I've posted some thoughts in the new Hunter thread here but at this level I only had one teamwork feat anyway so it didn't really matter. I wasn't high enough level for my animal companion to have a strength bonus, so it wasn't very useful. The intended purpose of using it as a tank due to a high AC (Stegosaurus) was foiled by awful luck. I was largely irrelevant as I spend most of my time healing critical hit damage off of my animal companion and only ever actually made it to melee combat once.

So basically, my experience was mediocre but for expected reasons and circumstances outside the control of class design. Hunter works as intended except for the problems with teamwork feats that I went into in the other thread.

The two major problems I noticed have already been fixed by the revised playtest rules. Specifically, I often wanted a different Animal Focus than my animal companion, and the weird weapon and armor proficiencies shoehorned me into limited build options.

Star Voter 2013

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Synthesist isn't overpowered, although if you do dump physical stats completely it can be a bit cheesy (that would be one of those things to disallow/watch out for). It's banned because the rules for it don't always work out perfectly and require some GM judgement calls, and organized play wants to avoid that.

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I really like the Shaman, but there's something about it that bugs me: you have a list of spirits to choose from, one of which can change every day, and then in each of those spirits there are five hexes, of which you will eventually get three, plus two that can change every day. That's a whole lot of options that take up a lot of space, both in the book and in my memory if I want to play one. And the end result isn't actually a whole lot of variability. Solution: make a larger list of hexes, but make it one list independent of spirits. The shaman is already linked thematically to communing with a bunch of different spirits, so there's no reason to require a thematic link. Then the decision each day about spirits is much simpler and you don't run into the "only two of these five things suit my character" problem.

Star Voter 2013

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I'm currently building a Hunter for an upcoming playtest game, and I've noticed something, but before I get into that long digression let me just say that the revisions make the class a lot more fun. The removal of a bunch of the finicky restrictions (proficiencies and the animal companion's teamwork feats) may not do much as far as a power upgrade goes, but they're much more fun to work with. The changes to Animal Focus are a power boost, and I really like them.

Now then. The core remaining problem of the Hunter class isn't actually the class itself, it's that it depends a lot on teamwork feats. And quite frankly, most teamwork feats are not very good, especially for the style of combat the Hunter is supposed to encourage (animal companion runs in, Hunter stays back and shoots). They provide a bonus that is marginally better than the equivalent non-teamwork feat (Coordinated Shot compared to Weapon Focus, for example) but have specific conditions that must be maintained. More importantly, they don't do anything for one of the two characters who has to take them, so you're not likely to see anyone else in the party joining in.

One concept that I've developed involves the Hunter going into melee with the animal companion, and using Paired Opportunist and Outflank/Seize the Moment to become a critical-hit-based death blender, with Lookout to increase the odds of getting into position faster and at high levels adding Feint Partner and Improved Feint Partner for even more attacks of opportunity. Those are all feats that provide good bonuses and/or special abilities, and they provide their benefit to both characters who had to take them. We need more teamwork feats like that, because when I look at other combat strategies I see:
Animal Companion fights while Hunter casts spells: Still Lookout. Maybe Stealth Synergy. Druid is clearly superior, but that's not really a problem because that's the niche Druids fill.
Animal Companion and Hunter fight together in melee, but without relying on critical hits or Combat Reflexes: Outflank, Precise Strike, and Escape Route are all decent feats. None of them feel like wasted feats and all of them provide bonuses to both characters. This is what I would consider to be the minimum power level. If you make it all the way to 15th level Coordinated Charge is real good.
Animal Companion fights while Hunter shoots: Worse bonuses, weaker special abilities, and worst of all none of these feats provide a bonus to both of the characters that had to take them. The bonus teamwork feats are at this point just mediocre conditional bonus feats for me, because the fact that my animal companion gets them for free just satisfies one of the several conditions, and does nothing to make the animal companion itself any better. If I wanted to play this style I would just play a Ranger, and that is a problem because this is the combat style the Hunter is theoretically supposed to support.
Hunter shoots to make the Animal Companion fight better: Nothing. Lookout again, I guess, since I have to pick a teamwork feat. This is the type of Hunter I really want to play.

So to sum up: attack-of-opportunity/critical hit flanking melee partners feels like the class is strong and doing exactly what I want it to. Any other combat strategy, including the one the Hunter is theoretically designed for and the slightly different one I want to play, is seriously lacking in good teamwork feat support.

Star Voter 2013

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In Pathfinder, you award experience for passing an obstacle, regardless of method. This is usually by killing a monster, but sometimes it's by disarming a trap (occasionally by triggering it and surviving) or successfully negotiating with someone.
Keeping that in mind, I would award full XP after each encounter, because the PCs have still succeeded at the encounter. If the monster/villain in question has particularly easy retreat conditions, maybe award XP at one or two CRs lower than the actual challenge, but don't go beyond that because all of the danger is still there.
If that seems weird, then think of it this way: if the party fights a dragon one day, and at -1HP a contingent teleport whisks it away to a secret base where minions can heal it and it can come back fully rested the next day, that is mechanically identical to fighting two different dragons on two consecutive days.
The one exception to this is if you have a monster that the PCs need to hunt down and corner to defeat for good, and in that case the entire chase is the encounter, and said encounter is probably of higher CR than the monster itself (if nothing else, the +1 for advantageous terrain probably applies at some point).

Star Voter 2013

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Scaleclaw wrote:
I'm a bit confused on the difference between craft and profession as well. So what would be the difference of taking say Profession: weaponsmith to Craft Weapons

The mechanical difference between Craft and Profession (other than which classes get them as class skills and which ability score they use) is that Craft can be used to convert raw materials into a tangible thing, and Profession has a sentence about being able to answer questions about your profession. Both of them let you earn money at the same rate, and both of them cover being able to perform the basic functions of your job, use relevant tools, and solve common problems.

So in your example, the difference between someone with only Craft: weapons and someone with only Profession: weaponsmith is that the second guy is incapable of actually making a sword, and so the GM should probably tell his player to Craft: weapons instead unless he's some bizarre fringe case like an experienced manager who runs a specialized business very well but doesn't actually understand the manufacturing process.

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First, keep in mind that you may be dealing with the good kind of meta-gaming: the party assumes that they are being super-paranoid at all doors, but when they know out of character that the coast is clear they stop wasting everyone's time with the whole routine.

As to actual solutions, a technique I've been trying recently for checks that I don't want to give second chances at is that a failed check doesn't just mean you don't succeed, it means there's a reason you don't succeed. Some examples:

Rogue: "I listen at the door"
GM: "A few termites have gotten into the door, and their chewing obscures whatever faint sounds you might otherwise be able to see."

Barbarian: "I lift the gate open"
GM: "It starts to budge, but the loose gravel under your feet shifts and you are unable to find enough traction."

This also has the beneficial side effect of not periodically making all characters look like incompetent fools due to a string of bad dice.

Star Voter 2013

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Count me as another person in favor of a Dinosaurs and/or Prehistoric Creatures of Golarion book.

Star Voter 2013

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I suspect that it has a lot to do with the fact that the spells defined as curses are all significant impairments but still leave the character able to do things, whereas flesh to stone, baleful polymorph, and feeblemind all effectively remove a character's ability to act. So a "curse" spell could be used as a threat or punishment while still allowing the target to do something (the classic "you will be covered in boils until you learn courtesy" type of fable), but the other spells in question are essentially kill spells that are slightly easier to undo.

Star Voter 2013

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I would allow a Handy Haversack to function as a masterwork backpack, provided it was in an anti-magic field or the extra-dimensional space was otherwise unavailable.
Otherwise, you've got the same problem as a masterwork weapon and a magic weapon: both are providing a bonus, but they don't stack. In this case, because the masterwork backpack distributes weight evenly, and the Handy Haversack distributes weight to another dimension.

As to the broader question about the player - you've got to have a talk with him. Explain that such persistent nit-picking of the rules will make everyone else (especially you, the GM, who has to spend a similar amount of effort trying to stay ahead of him) have less fun. Explain how role-playing games are cooperative and the goal is to have as much fun for everyone as possible. Work with him to find ways he can mercilessly exploit the rules without breaking the game for everyone. Twinking for carrying capacity might actually be one of those ways.

Star Voter 2013

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Normally when I get asked this question it's a very close call between prestidigitation and Ring of Sustenance, but since those have already been mentioned I'll bring up my third option: magnificent mansion. I would absolutely love to just have my house available whenever and wherever I wanted it.

Star Voter 2013

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I had an Alchemist character once who used it to stretch out the limited air supply of a portable hole as long as possible.

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It isn't nebulous or a paradox. It's a general rule with a specific exception. Consider the following sentence: "I cannot consume dairy products (general rule), but I can drink goat's milk (specific exception)." From an ideal grammatical stance, there should be a 'most' in there, but the sentence still works.

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eggplantman wrote:

Tiger animal companions do not necessarily get all the advantages of tigers. Don't assume they have rake and pounce (I'll have to check).

Same for wild shaping into a tiger. Do not assume they get all the advantages, though at later levels, the wild shape improves and they obviously will.

I checked. Animal Companion and Wild Shape both add the relevant abilities at 7th and 8th level, respectively.

Do remember that if the druid is casting a summon spell, it's a 1 round casting time, which means he can't act that turn and damage might disrupt the spellcasting.

Star Voter 2013

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Traveler's Any-Tool. I can't imagine any of my characters not having at least one of these.

Star Voter 2013

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Add in a level of Oracle with the wasting curse. It makes you immune to being sickened.

As for a portable ward - you could say that you were guarding the archway that led to a sacred garden. The garden was defiled, but your archway was not. So now you carry it with you (via shrink Item and permanency) until you can find another worthy place for it to go.

Star Voter 2013

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I'm currently playing a human cavalier with a horse in a dungeon-heavy game. As others have said, the key is to build your character as a melee combatant first, and then also carry a lance for those occasions when you're out on open ground - like traveling to the next dungeon.

Talk to your player and make sure you're both on the same page for this, but from the description you gave (charging in with a lance, then switching to a sword) he's already there.

The part that is actually concerning is your mention of extra-planar travel. While a Cavalier may be perfectly willing to leave his horse at a dungeon entrance (and an INT 3 animal companion-equivalent in the herd makes the party horses MUCH safer), that is not often true of going to other planes. And figuring out a way to bring the horse along makes planar travel a lot more difficult. Any pre-existing gates will need to be horse accessible, and unless you want to be lenient and allow a horse to "hold hands" you'll need a second plane shift (with no guarantee of arriving in the same location) for every PC-controlled trip.

Star Voter 2013

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The table of aging penalties lists them as three separate penalties that stack, as opposed to one increasing penalty, so I've always assumed that the weaker age resistance spells do remove the penalty from their relative category.

Star Voter 2013

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Attacks of Opportunity are a side-effect of the fact that the rules are an abstraction: while the players are politely taking turns and attacking only once every six seconds, the characters are assumed to be continually wailing on each other by whatever means possible. Attacks of Opportunity happen when someone is distracted by other activities, and thus more of their opponent's attacks get through their defenses.

With that understanding in mind, I would say that you do definitely know what areas are threatened. A creature could theoretically take steps to conceal its full reach, but barring extraordinary circumstances it will usually be obvious.

Star Voter 2013

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Let me just take a moment to address the point-buy = min-max argument. Point-buy does not encourage OR discourage min-maxing in any way. All it does is give the player a choice of whether or not they will min-max, as opposed to rolling stats which either prevents or mandates it on any given character.

If your play group likes to min-max, then rolling stats will give you a random level of min-maxing that is probably lower than what you would get otherwise. If your group doesn't like to min-max, then rolling stats will get a much higher rate of min-maxed characters, and by extension unhappy players. This why I, and everyone I play with, prefers point-buy.

Star Voter 2013

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My personal interpretation is that if you are invisible and trying to remain undetected, you do not provide flanking. If you are just invisible but still fighting, you do provide flanking, but in that case your opponent is aware that there is an invisible person in your square just as if you had made an attack on them.

Star Voter 2013

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I'd recommend Witch instead. You've got almost all of the useful spells for what you want (although they are lacking most of the physical pit and wall type spells), plus several useful hexes. Agony, Slumber, and Ice Tomb all directly incapacitate opponents, and Evil Eye, Misfortune, and Cackle make your other effects much more likely to succeed.

As to spells, a few other good ones are:
peacebond, qualm, web, bestow curse, deep slumber, loathsome veil, black tentacles, feeblemind, hold monster, cloak of dreams, flesh to stone, ice crystal teleport, irresistible dance, maze, and power word stun

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I'm quite blessed with me players, as I tend to give them significant mechanical freedom for creative purposes and they respond by not abusing the privilege.
This applies to Wild Shape as: my players can use the stats of any animal, at any size (for example - a large-sized wolverine) provided they can come up with an animal that makes sense for them to be able to turn into that would have those approximate stats. And "Dire" is a valid explanation. I have never had a problem with this being abused. The one limit I do place is that my group only has one copy of each Bestiary, and I get priority on their use. This means that they need to figure out their favored combat forms in advance and write them down.

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People are mentioning kits and tools a lot, so I'm going to repost what I said in the last thread:

far_wanderer wrote:

But the thing I want to see the most is both more "kits" (climber's kit, artisan's tools, etc.) and a breakdown of what is in them. The Arms and Equipment guide for Star Wars d20 had a few sidebars to this effect, and they were my favorite part of that book. It's really nice to know things like whether or not you need a whetstone if you already have an artisan's tools (weaponsmithing). And in my experience, it makes the PCs much more likely to improvise and come up with creative solutions.

Here are two examples of the kind of thing I'm talking about:

Spoiler:

Survival Kit (Masterwork provides +2 to survival checks) A survival kit provides the necessary tools for day-to-day existence in a temperate wilderness. It typically contains some form of fire-starter, a single set of camp dishes (fork, spoon, plate, bowl), refillable containers for a day's supply of water, very basic maps showing major landmarks, and a small utility knife. Masterwork versions contain higher quality gear and often add a guide to identifying flora and fauna.

Notekeeper's Kit (Masterwork provide +2 to skill or ability checks to remember information) A notekeeper's kit contains equipment to record useful information. A typical kit contains some form of journal or scrolls with enough space to contain a month's notes, a container and paper for up to ten detailed maps, and writing implements for the same. A masterwork kit usually adds an indexing system and a small ruler for more accurate maps, and is also alchemically waterproofed.

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I definitely second the requests for both better treasure generation and an index of items by slot. I'd also really like to see a few standardized equipment packages for GM and player reference. Stuff like "woodland travel package: 1 bedroll, 1 tent, 1 walking stick (quarterstaff), 3 waterskins..." so that we can easily generate a basic equipment set for NPCs or new players.

But the thing I want to see the most is both more "kits" (climber's kit, artisan's tools, etc.) and a breakdown of what is in them. The Arms and Equipment guide for Star Wars d20 had a few sidebars to this effect, and they were my favorite part of that book. It's really nice to know things like whether or not you need a whetstone if you already have an artisan's tools (weaponsmithing). And in my experience, it makes the PCs much more likely to improvise and come up with creative solutions.

Here are two examples of the kind of thing I'm talking about:

Spoiler:

Survival Kit (Masterwork provides +2 to survival checks) A survival kit provides the necessary tools for day-to-day existence in a temperate wilderness. It typically contains some form of fire-starter, a single set of camp dishes (fork, spoon, plate, bowl), refillable containers for a day's supply of water, very basic maps showing major landmarks, and a small utility knife. Masterwork versions contain higher quality gear and often add a guide to identifying flora and fauna.

Notekeeper's Kit (Masterwork provide +2 to skill or ability checks to remember information) A notekeeper's kit contains equipment to record useful information. A typical kit contains some form of journal or scrolls with enough space to contain a month's notes, a container and paper for up to ten detailed maps, and writing implements for the same. A masterwork kit usually adds an indexing system and a small ruler for more accurate maps, and is also alchemically waterproofed.

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FuelDrop wrote:

have i missed anything blatently obvious here?

The fact that it now takes two standard actions on consecutive turns to "cast". But yeah, alchemical allocation is definitely one of the best utility spells for this and many other reasons.

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The one time I've put cursed items in my game turned out hilariously bad for the PCs:
I had a party with a sorcerer who recently picked up analyze dweomer, so I figured I'd give him a treat and put some cursed items in the next pile of loot they found. For reasons unfathomable to me, on that one occasion, and only that one occasion, the party Alchemist ended up doing the identifying (and failed to notice the curses). Most of the items were sold without use, but a (Dancing) Boots of Teleportation made it into the Alchemist's equipment. Several sessions go by and she somehow manages to never get attacked (the trigger condition for the boots).
The party ends up fighting a powerful fire-based spellcaster with the spell hostile juxtaposition. The battle is going poorly, until the party Barbarian hits upon an inventive plan: Bull Rush the enemy through a Cubic Gate to the elemental plane of water. Except they had forgotten about the previously demonstrated hostile juxtaposition. So the first attack on the Alchemist, the one that triggers uncontrollable dancing, ends up being a Bull Rush into the elemental plane of water.
Fortunately the Barbarian followed and was able to get both of them back through the Cubic Gate (albeit to a different plane) before either of them drowned. They did have an interesting side quest wandering the outer planes looking for a friendly outsider who could cast remove curse though.

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jasonfahy wrote:
The companion's point is to get around the wizard's will save, I assumed. The companion waives/fails the save so the spell takes effect, and nobody else gets one. In the area of effect = affected automatically.

Huh. That's a much more severe interpretation of silence than I had been using, but upon further research you are correct. I have a deaf Oracle who just got a lot more terrifying...

Back on the original topic, in that case look into learning the somatic-component-only spells mislead (to move away from the animal companion while it follows your illusion) and/or pilfering hand (to steal your opponent's holy symbol).

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Two things:
1 - Succeed on the Will save. As a wizard, you already have a good Will save, so it shouldn't be that hard.
2 - Why is he casting silence on his animal companion instead of you? That seems to add an extra level of unnecessary complexity to the matter.

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I agree with KrispyXIV - the concept is sound, but the specific example of Orcus might be a little too well-known. This is also a situation where if the PCs don't immediately catch on, knowledge checks are your friend. Start with checks to identify the Demon Lords (and if the results allow it, let them fail one) - that will remind them that this is not common knowledge. If they still don't catch on, a knowledge: local check can tell them that this is not a normal activity in the greater area.

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Daroob made some excellent points about challenging your players while still allowing them to have fun. With that in mind, here are a few hints on how to challenge your players without crushing them utterly, and on how to push them to expand their skill sets while still allowing them play the characters they want to.
1 - Include decent ranged weapons in their loot. Thrown weapons and composite bows tend to work well for two-handed fighters. What you're looking for is something about 1-2 "+1"s below the party's main weapons - right in that spot where it's not worth selling right away but still good enough to be useful. Make sure to include at least one encounter where the ranged weapons come up BEFORE the PC's get a chance to sell them.
2 - Take the excellent advice given above about terrain and apply it to monsters that they have already defeated previously. Nothing spurs a party to adapt faster than taking three times as long to defeat an enemy they had previously stopped being scared of.
3 - Foreshadow the difficult fights. At this point they should be at least vaguely aware of the fact that some encounters are way more difficult for them. So give them warning that the next villain is a flying spellcaster, and hopefully they'll take steps to be ready. (Addendum - while I was typing this, Mathmuse gave an excellent example of how to do exactly this.)
4 - Don't beat them at their own game. What you want is for them to broaden their horizons, not continue to further specialize. That means that when they DO corner something in a flat-out brawl, they should be able to win spectacularly and have fun because of it.

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The bells that it rings for me are all 3.5 bells, I don't think it made it into Pathfinder.

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A friend is borrowing my Rise of the Runelords 4 right now, so I can't double-check this, but I believe the Ecology of Dragons chapter actually addresses this point in specific. From what I can remember, dragons are actually partially composed of pure arcane magic. This is what lets them fly, and also provides a significant portion of their dietary needs.

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It may not be an actual physical wall, but there's also the Wardstone barrier around the Worldwound.

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James Jacobs wrote:
The Jenivere is indeed a blockade runner, but that wasn't something that we really had room to delve into in the adventure, so we just glossed over it. It's easy enough to skip Pezzack if you don't want to deal with that.

Awesome! No need to skip over anything - that's the way I was planning on running it anyway if there wasn't an actual explanation. Thanks for the response.

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I'm about to start running a Serpent's Skull game, and one of my PCs pointed out that Pezzack, one of the listed ports of origin, is described in the Inner Sea World Guide with "Strict naval blockades and a years-long siege have cut off Pezzack from the rest of the world."

So, did this blockade get dealt with in an adventure that I haven't heard of? Or is the Jenivere actually a blockade runner?

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I am not in favor of just adding more classes in general. HOWEVER, there are a few specific holes that I want to see filled, either by archetypes or new base classes:
1 - Spontaneous casting off of the Druid spell list.
2 - Grit mechanics available for all weapons.
3 - A way to play a generic Ranger without focusing on specific enemies and terrains.

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I usually have a stack of books on either side of me at the table, and roll the dice in between them. That way the dice usually stay hidden, but every once in a while one will roll out and be visible. I find that keeps the players from being suspicious while still providing the benefits of hidden rolls.

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The way I run such situations (where combat is clearly expected but then one person starts it) is to have everyone roll initiative normally, then whoever started combat gets to go first for that turn only.

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Page 5 - "Blast Lock" says "A diminutive lock usually has AC 7, and
larger locks have higher ACs". Should probably read "lower ACs", as larger objects gain a lower size bonus to AC.

Page 7 - "Deft Shootist Deed" has its effect templated like a deed, but none of the other Deed feats do.

Page 13 - The penalty to an ability score from the "Hidden Master" ability does not list a duration or method to remove the penalty, making it effectively permanent.

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