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"
Barbarian: "I lift the gate open"
This also has the beneficial side effect of not periodically making all characters look like incompetent fools due to a string of bad dice.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
People are mentioning kits and tools a lot, so I'm going to repost what I said in the last thread:
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:
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.
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.
The one time I've put cursed items in my game turned out hilariously bad for the PCs:
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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:
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.
Page 5 - "Blast Lock" says "A diminutive lock usually has AC 7, and
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.
Important clarification question: does "siding with the Hobgoblins over a party member" mean speaking up and having an in-character debate, or does it mean inter-party combat with the potential of one character dying or leaving the party?
In the first case, DO IT! You clearly have doubts about the ethics of the situation, so bring them up. It will add some depth and realism to the characters. There is great potential for some good role-playing, and the worst case scenario just puts you down into the second case:
In the second case, my rule-of-thumb is: "Party Cohesion trumps realism, but only up to the point where it damages your ability to feel invested in your character". In other words, if allowing the Hobgoblins to be killed won't irrevocably damage your ability to identify with your character, then don't worry about it. It's better to avoid the in- and out-of-character hurt feelings that can result from player-vs-player combat and/or someone losing a character. But do bring up the conflict out-of-character with the player of the Cavalier, which will hopefully help the two of you to avoid such conflicts in the future.
The thing I absolutely hate the most about the writing process is trying to figure out a title. I hate almost every title of every story I've ever written. I can never seem to make them work.
I definitely agree with that - the title is the part I'm least proud of in my story. I put it in as a placeholder and never figured out something better before the deadline.
Point 1- you shouldn't factor in bull's strength because as an enchancement bonus it doesn't stack with the commonly available Belt of Giant Strength. But that's okay because:
So the equivalent Fighter ends up at -1 damage per attack compared to the Magus but is 4000gp richer and isn't expending spell slots every round. The Fighter needs Dex 15 for Two Weapon Fighting, the Magus needs Int 14 by that level to continue to be able to cast all his spells. The Fighter needed to spend a class feature it gets every 2 levels, the Magus neded to spend a class feature it gets every three.
I have a few clarifications/suggestions:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Truth be told, I am not 100% pleased by it myself. Looking into other options. Thoughts?
What about removing the spell combat clause? Just make a True Magus automatically suceed at all defensive casting checks. And if that's still not good enough, give them a bonus or autosuccess on the check to avoid disruption from a readied attack too.
It's actually significantly weaker than either of those options. Hypnotic pattern causes the fascinated condition. The description of fascinated (p567) says that any potential threat allows a new save, and any obvious threat automatically breaks the effect.
However, you also described hold person incorrectly. It allows the target to take a full-round action to attempt a new save, but it doesn't offer a free save attempt if they get attacked.
I suggest removing all the references to the defender not applying size bonuses to their CMB/CMD, and replace them with an equivalent bonus to the attack based on the size difference. Generally speaking, it's simpler to add a temporary modifier than to temporarily remove a permanent modifier. Also, the way you have it worded right now gives a Huge creature climbing a Colossal creature more of an advantage than a Medium creature climbing a Huge creature.
CLIMB THE GIANT: To begin a Climb the Giant maneuver, you must make a CMB check which provokes an attack of opportunity as normal. Your target must be at least two size categories larger than you, and you gain a circumstance bonus equal to twice the total difference in size categories to your CMB and CMD against the target for the duration of the maneuver.
If you succeed, you enter the target's space and are now clinging. Each round you must make a Climb or CMB check against the target's CMD as a move action to remain attached. If you succeed, you may take the remainder of you actions normally, and if you make an attack against the target you ignore its Dex bonus to AC. You may also choose to stop clinging and slide to the ground in an adjacent square of your choice. If you fail, you are flung off to a random adjacent square and take damage as if you had fallen a distance equal to the twice target's reach. If you fail the check by less than 5 you may make an Acrobatics check to reduce the damage as normal.
Clinging: You are clinging to a creature much larger than yourself. You must use at least one hand to maintain the hold. You suffer any penalties that would normally affect you while climbing, but they do not apply against the creature you are clinging to. This counts as Vigorous Motion for the purposes of spellcasting. You may share the space of your target, and if an effect targets only a portion of that space it has a 50% chance to affect you.
SHAKE: If another creature is clinging to you, you may attempt to shake it off as a move action. This adds +5 to the DC for it to remain clinging to you on its next turn and to the concentration DC to cast spells due to motion. This effect stacks with itself if you take more than one action before the clinging creature's next turn. Additionally, if the creature fails to maintain its hold, you may choose which square it is flung off into.
Improved Climb the Giant: You do not provoke attacks of opportunity when performing a Climb the Giant maneuver. In addition, you receive a +2 bonus to your CMB while performing such a maneuver. If you succeed on the check to remain clinging by more than 5, you hold on with your legs and have both hands free.
Greater Climb the Giant: You receive a +2 bonus on checks made using the Climb the Giant maneuver. Your apply the size-based circumstance bonus to CMB and CMD while using this maneuver to your AC as well. In addition, you may ready an action to initiate a Climb the Giant maneuver if your target attacks you or something within your reach.
Promotions, Edicts, and Taxes are all set by the rulers of the kingdom.
Building modifiers to Unrest are a one-time thing (page 58, last sentence before the Academy description). So if you build a castle, your unrest is reduced by four, but if it later gets raised by some other effect the castle doesn't reduce it again.
I won't tolerate such carp.
Now that's the most entertaining typo I've seen all day.
Back on-topic: step one is always to talk to the players ahead of time and see if they think there will be a problem. That particular alignment spread may have more potential pitfalls than most, but that doesn't mean your party will fall into any of them.
I still use alignments in my games, but I always make clear my unusual interpretation of them:
It could be that subdomains are listed under Cleric options? Not divine magic/domain options? After all, you wouldn't expect a cleric to be able to use Druid options (even if the trade off was for abilities the Cleric had).
While that is a valid point, the same is true of normal Domains. To the point where all the other classes that give access to domains have to talk about your "effective Cleric level".
Page 141: The Verdant bloodline expresses two things through omission that could use official errata to forestall arguments. The implication is that the Photosynthesis ability does not replace your need to drink, and the Massmorph ability allows you to use plant growth and diminish plants at will.