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Machine Soldier

notabot's page

FullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 744 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 3 Pathfinder Society characters.


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Neo2151 wrote:
And for everyone who thinks real wolves are a pushover... Clearly you've never seen The Grey. ;)

I have a "wolf park" near my home, its has a nearly wild enclosure for them and it has a full pack with all the normal dynamics.

One of them alone is really no more dangerous than a medium dog gone feral. As a pack? Yeah, I'm not going near that when they are hungry. They more are willing to get hurt when in a pack, if it brings down a big meal. Hell their pecking order fights can result in pretty heavy bloodshed.

If hungry, and they are required to eat fairly regularly, a wolf is not really going to worry about a hit from a single MM.

In PF a wolf is fully functional until its at 0hp, and since the PF wolf has 2hd, it will heal a MM hit in 2-3 days. Which is less time than a bad bruise or laceration.

The HP system in this game is fairly abstract, but against most things the MM is no different than a really hard punch. A trained boxer can shrug it off, but the average person is going to be really hurt.

Give them a cure wand and its not your problem if nobody has UMD. A wand should last pretty long. If you have an arcane caster an infernal healing wand will work as well. In combat healing on a regular basis is bad, so there is nothing wrong with waiting for the infernal to work.

You probably want to run a cleric in this campaign. I'm 2 sessions in and my players have had to clear 3 diseases and 8 total ability score damage points due to poison. And that was just level 1-2. And yes, you need to deal with swarms.

Also, don't forget to tell the other bard player that he can take the campaign trait for trapfinding instead of being stuck with archaeologist.

Gauss wrote:
The combats I run usually last a minimum of 5+ rounds but I also try to play intelligent creatures...intelligently. Soften up the PCs first before getting into it with them. Once the PCs actually start to land a few blows it is often over from that point in a couple rounds.

I have really resourceful players that usually have 1-2 people that are prepared to negate most common delaying tactics that creatures have. Combine that with a dedicated support character that delivers fully buffed melee brutes for full attack actions regularly and all but the toughest of brute type enemies fall in a single round.

And while I do allow for players to use most source material as long as its paizo (if its legal in PFS Its allowed, if its banned I'll look at it and probably allow it as well). The PCs still get hurt badly, use up resources, and even die (which is a temporary problem once they get going, reach breath of life fixes lots of problems).

Its not really rocket tag either, rocket tag is more "I go first and didn't miss, you die instead of me". First round is setup and buffs. Second round is initial assaults (unless its a short range ambush, then that happens round 1). Round 3 is full attacks and clean up. Occasionally combats get to round 4-5 if the enemy is running out the clock using hit and run, but the players know how to stop that tactic cold.

And yes, MM is mostly used to finish off enemies in the clean up round.

Zedth wrote:
andreww wrote:
Also 18 damage per round at level 9 is about the opposite of being a beast for damage. It is about what you might expect from a level 1 barbarian with a two handed sword.

Taken out of context. I was speaking specifically about sorcerers, their ability to spam, and using it as filler between other spells.

For a level 1 spell, which sorcerers have plenty of at lvl 9 or 10, there is no better choice than MM for damage output. Period.

Yes Grease is great, yes there are other great choices too. But none that have reliable damage at medium range. It beats using a crossbow and every other damaging 1st level spell.

Barbarians miss, even at level 9. MM does not. When considering the damage output of the party, having some steady damage on the side shouldn't be discounted. It can mean the difference between BigBad going down in round 4 or 5.

Wait, BBEG lasts 4 rounds? What tables are you playing at ;)

My combats, even epic ones, are over in 3 at the most. 5d4+5 isn't enough at level 9 to affect the outcome unless we get into one of those the enemy is at 1-15 HP, somebody finish it before he runs away or pops another "kill the entire party" effect.

If you are wanting do damage as a sorcerer you don't even want to consider using level 1 slots, combats dont' last long enough to bother with those. Level one spells? Sure, why not, but you meta magic those suckers so they can actually do something.

I feel really sorry for people that super optimize the wrong things in APs. Heck in Mummies Mask book one

Pretty much only the rival NPCs group can be affected by Color Spray and Sleep due to being contructs/vernmin/undead and some random SR thrown in for good measure

Shattered star is has

a truly disgusting amount of constructs and high SR/immune to magic monsters

I personally have been running the APs for midlevel optimizers, they dont' go full munchin, but they leverage the mechanics to be as favorable as possible and don't run screaming away from "duh take this" level stuff like some anti optimizers do. I have tons of pc kills just running the encounters as is (and by raising the monster HP to max due to running for a large party). None of them take sleep or color spray (unless they run a build that makes it scale better, heavens oracle iirc), and they don't even consider MM till at least level 7. Besides, a super optimized low level caster is still better off using grease to almost auto trip the bad guys letting the other players get to hit much easier.

Honestly I think sleep just has a nostalgia factor from when it was a standard action. Or going back a few editions of D&D when monsters didn't often gain class levels or full HD and just gained some HP on their HD (like 1HD+1 being "upgraded" to 1HD+4) Full round certainly drops it out of my list of must takes, and if I want to play sleep and slice I'll just go with witch.

I kind of laugh at the people who think that sleep is effective in this game. At level 1 you can face creatures that are already laughing at it. The guys even at level 1 that are problematic can have 5 HD, even at level 1. CR3 monsters and NPCs can have 5 HD quite easily. Another thing that sucks about sleep is its a full round cast and half the time even against mooks you waste a portion of it. Got a 2HD(which is CR1/2) and 3 HD (which is CR1) tolal encounter 2? Guess what, you sleep one of them, you still have to worry about it waking up (damage or being woken up). Still somewhat effective but nothing earth shattering. CR 2 encounters are pretty much the expected normal non trivial fight at level 1, which is when sleep is supposed to be most effective. At level 4, which i hear so often being used in sleep discussions, sleep is completely useless as even the minion level monsters have enough HD that you will be lucky to get even one.

As for color spray, it allows a save and requires you to be in squish range of the enemy. Not a good combination in my experience, especially at low levels. Some builds this works for, but quite often it doesn't. Against that CR3 boss? Its a save or stun for 1 round. Might as well just be flinging daze at it.

As for the SR issue that somebody brought up earlier not coming up at low levels: Several of the APs introduce SR monsters right at the start. Sure its low, but so is the ability of the players to overcome it.

I'm no fan-boy of magic missile either, but its reliable damage once you don't have better things to spend your slots on. At lower levels you are better off buffing the martials and doing some light control/summons (like grease and SM1). However the potential for dazing or toppling magic missiles and other meta magic (both feat and rod based) increases my opinion of MM as you gain enough levels and wealth Just don't use it the first few levels because damage dealing those levels are for the BDF types (unless you go for full evoker of course, even then you probably won't be using MM as your primary spell). Personally I think its not a bad wand to have as a backup, but 15 gold (or 7.5 if you make it) per 1d4+1 is a little steep (actually its close to using cartridges once you account for misses/misfires and base cost of the gun). Hmmm I guess get an improved familiar have it UMD it as a ready action against foes that cast spells. You can't say the same for many other of the lvl one spells, though I personally prioritize mage armor and infernal healing for wands in PFS.

My group got done with the AP 3 weeks ago, the last book is really strong, but you will need to adjust the final showdown to your parties composition. The final BBEG only lasted 3 rounds and she only manage to get one effective spell off (still killed a PC). Honestly though the continuing the campaign stuff looks amazing, so if you find the final underwhelming I encourage creative GMs to pick up the mythic book and go for it.

While damage has value, in many encounters damage is one of the least important aspects compared to just shutting down enemies. Alchemists have tricks for that too, like tanglefoot bomb (tonight the party alchemist learned the value of such nasty effects the fun way, by nailing a CR=APL+1 encounter to the floor. But in general the wizard/arcanist/full caster is going be better at controlling effects. Damage is largely arbitrary when you are talking casters,though you can specialize in blasts if you really want to and be quite good at it, it actually makes for a weaker overall caster if you are going for straight damage.

Oh, did you not know that wizards can heal? Summon spells and infernal healing. Also the wizard support has superior ranges and can do some pretty good damage if it wants to. Dazing fireballs with bonus damage per dice intensified to 15d6 is pretty decent.

setup hex + slumber hex is pretty powerful, but it doesn't work on plenty of enemies. You have to know what you are fighting, the correct SoD hex available, and have to have the enemy fail some saves. Its balanced esp since its not particularly hard for enemies to get out of trouble as long as it isn't solo monster encounters.

In general I find alchemist to be a powerful class, but its options aren't on the same tier as wizards, they give up a bit too much to be skill and damage characters. Hell, a wizard giving up some options to be amazing at damage still makes for a formidable character at its normal role of caster support/control. I play both an prefer the alchemist, but I don't hold any illusions on which one is ultimately more powerful.

A adventure path actually takes teleport security seriously:

Reign of winter book 4 has a citadel that makes use of the teleportation trap. Instead of going where you want to, you teleport into a secured dungeon cell.

Vrog Skyreaver wrote:

Have you seen the thundercaller? at level 7, I can drop 2 soundbursts a round, that deal 3d8 each.

most full casters will lose in init to a gunslinger, who will then shoot the heck outta them.

Once an alchemist gets fast bombs, they're walking all over a wizard.

and a witch can either have hexes (which are they're own brand of OP), or the ability to grapple at 10+ feet, using their primary ability score (int).

Out of curiousity what initiative are your gunslingers at? The casters I DM for tend to start the game with +8 and go up from there. I have a divination wizard that I'm DMing Mummies Mask for that is going to have crazy high initiative.

Gunslingers have range issues, if they want to use longer ranges for their touch attacks they are going to get hurt by grit use. Their ranged attacks are also trivial for a caster to deal with (tons of hard counters to ranged combat).

Alchemists have short range on their bombs, they can't even fight with them at the ranges a mage will engage at.

Witches are terrible grapplers. Their BAB doesn't scale well and their gimmick is a terrible use of the class. Yes hexes are really powerful but its just a save or suck or save or die that is limited on individual targets. Fail to make that slumber stick? Tough luck. Fail to coup de grace the slumbered target because target was woken up by an ally? Tough luck. Also the range on them barring some scar hex abuse is often pretty short, also known as charge range for many builds. Witches are a great class but the reason cited don't make them any more OP than established casters.

As for the Bard, meh, they have better things to do than be a primary save or suck spellcaster. Its a waste of the class if you go full caster monkey IMHO. Its also not anything special, a full caster can do similar things with a quickened spell (either the feat or the rod). Sure the bard can do that particular trick at a rather low level, but going further they fall behind full casters.

Don't cherry pick specific build sweet spots if you are comparing classes. Heck by this sort of logic barbarians are OP because they deal 2d6+12 damage at first level and can have over 20 HP (12 from HD, 6 from tribal scars, 4+ from constitution).

Kudaku wrote:

In the scenario outlined earlier I assumed national circles, not cross-country ones. However, even if you had international teleportation circles --> teleportation circles can be dismissed at will. If one is in danger of being captured by an invading enemy, simply dismiss it.

That said, it sounds like a very interesting campaign setting.

It worked out pretty well, but I had to end it because how can you top a showdown with an enemy operative trying to gain control of a clockwork colossus factory culminating in a giant robot vs giant robot fight in the middle of a city? Every "missed" cannon shot leveled a slum tenement. If the PCs failed hundreds of mostly complete clockwork constructs would have fallen into enemy hands.

As for dismissing the circles, yeah, problem was the casters who made them were not on site to monitor them (or long dead). They were important court officials and had better things to do. You can do a lot of damage with a few minutes of free access to a teleportation circle.

Those circles were also internal national ones, but they are still a security risk. Heck the road that rome build for internal trade and military logistics ended up being used as invasion routes.

An international circle network is just suicidal IMHO. You can't disable it from the receiving end. If you do use them that way you need to have some sort of embassy on the sending end so you can control access and disable it in the face of undesired access.

Teleportation gates are a problem for rulers: any trade route is a potential invasion route.

I had a campaign world that had an empire extensively using gates for military purposes. The gates were built inside of an inward facing fortress to defeat any invaders with control of the far end attempting to come through. In addition they were outfitted with self destruct devices that was to be used in case a gate was about to fall. The gate hubs were surrounded by the largest garrisons of the empire for both defensive purposes and to stage them for rapid deployment. The technology was deemed to dangerous for mere trade, though it was used for military logistics. It allowed quick reinforcements and one of the clockwork factories for the war effort had its own hub so it could move the newly produced war-machines quickly.

Trade for this empire was based on the canal networks, and transportation of VIPs was done mostly via airship (state agents could make use of the teleportation network). Peasants made due with land transport, assuming they were given leave to travel. Adventurers were either state agents or permitted and licensed foreigners. Everybody who didn't fit and attempting to travel were considered brigands and barbarians. Magic users from the population were identified through state examinations and sent to learn at the imperial college where they became state agents (or were exiled/executed/imprisoned depending on the level of perceived threat). Unsanctioned magic use was routed out by inquisitors.

Why such harsh social structure? The campaign "mongol hordes" made use of unrestricted magic taken to its fullest potential. Yeah, instead of horsemen from the steppes think of armies of clockwork constructs and zombie hordes constantly invading and probing for the slightest weakness. A massive wall was constructed to counter the trump play of overland invasions and the teleportation network could rapidly deploy forces to counter a teleportation based deep raid. Due to limited numbers of teleportation capable casters the main goal of the evil hordes was to get unrestricted access to the network long enough to break entire clusters of nodes so they could get more freedom of attack.

Mathius wrote:
TPing mules is not that different the casting raise dead or regeneration for someone. The point is they meant as spells for hire. They might balk at transporting catapults into besieged castle but why would they mind a day trip so some other city?

Raise dead and regeneration isn't an everyday request. And yes its reasonable to restrict access to those spells for role-playing reasons despite the tears of entitled PCs.

Ughbash wrote:
beej67 wrote:
thejeff wrote:

I just have to say that 2 miles/hour is extremely low sailing speed estimate. That seems to be about a worst case scenario (low or unfavorable winds) for ancient Roman or Greek ships. Much of Golarion runs closer to Renaissance tech and should be significantly faster.

And able to sail closer to the wind, which will help as much as raw speed.

Edit: That's also assuming there are no magical enhancements to the sailing. Weather control anyone?

Everything you said is true as well, but the core rules say 2 mph for boats, or 48 miles per day.

Ultimate combat which has hte lastest vehicle rules says the max speed for a boat is 180' but round?

So if a roudn is 6 seconds (unless I am misremebering from AD&D 1.0) that is 30 feet per second.

30 Feet per second is 20 MPH... So the boat would be 10x faster then what you said.

The average speed of a merchant ship is going to be slow. A cog or caravel is not built for speed, and optimal conditions aren't all that common. Comparing that to the maximum speed possible, perhaps the full rowing power of a military galley, isn't going to produce a reasonable conclusion.

The current speed of a racing sail boat is higher than 50 knots, but those ships aren't built for cargo and use modern technology.

Mathius wrote:

According the rules for settlements there are plenty casters that can cast these spells. Every large town should have access to purchasable 5th level casting. To me that speaks of at least a few casters on each side of the arcane/divine line.

How many settlements are there in the inner sea with more then 2k residents?

There is a big disconnect between being able to cast spells and willing to be teleport mules.

I remember reading some Greyhawk novels, White plume mountain and decent into the depths of the earth. In it the main character has what is effectively just a +1 sword (might have the keen enchantment, he said it was enchanted to cut better, but even then it was affected by the DR of a cambion) that he pulled from the dead hand of his former master who had fallen in battle. It had a cool hilt, backstory, and the character treated it as a prized tool of his trade. When it was lost to a rust monster the owner was devastated, and not just from being weaponless in the middle of an underdark expedition.

He soon gets a replacement sword, a X+1 holy sword. He doesn't like it because it was decorated for a dandy paladin and was an intelligent weapon with partially incompatible alignment. It talked to much, had an over appreciation of protocol, didn't appreciate the simple yet brutal fighting style of the main character, and had an inflated self worth. He got it rehilted with his old sword's skull pommel and ego slapped it into submission.

Weapons have histories. Some weapons were just mass produced yet high quality tools of the trade for soldiers (elite enough to justify a +1 even), other were owned by individuals of renown and have complex backstory in spite of low bonuses. Sting from the Hobbit was a modest weapon (they did after all let the "burglar" use it), yet its implied that it had a long backstory.

Aelryinth wrote:

A teleport circle completely obviates the per jump problem, however, since the number of jumps is unlimited. You just need to have a line of people and pack animals toting the goods back and forth in an endless line of goodies going back and forth.

As I noted before, from each of these 'hub' points, you can then disperse the goods by traditional means...or by shorter distance teleports for high value/urgent items. How much would a sheik in the desert be willing to pay for fresh fish?


After the markets normalize, if the teleportation really is as cheap as mundane shipping, the same price. Besides, fishing is pretty much the only source of food for many desert countries (the ones that aren't inland, and even then fishing in rivers/aquaculture in those regions has a long history).

One other thing I forgot to bring up. The opportunity cost of a caster participating in bulk cargo shipping. A real world example: Bangladesh is one of the least productive countries that participates in global trade in a per man hour basis. They have very low production for a variety of historical, political, economic, and sociological reasons. Yet they are gaining tons of orders for their clothing production. Why is this so when they aren't even good at that? Because they are more productive at that than other things. Why don't more productive countries just dominate the textile industry? Only so much labor to go around, and its better to make Bangladesh do it when your own workers can engage in even more profitable enterprises.

In a RPG the reason why casters don't do bulk shipping is because they have better things to do with their time, and you have tons of commoners and experts that can do shipping better than they can do other things (and they CAN'T do what the casters can do). Maximizing the labor pool's ability to do work is better than spending your most valuable assets on low tier economic activity.

I think that the biggest issue of the magical shipping industry is how many casters of sufficient level is there actually a supply of that would be willing to do such repetitive work for so long. Sure it pays really well, but how much gold does a person need to acquire for their service? IIRC the average commoner earns a few silver a day, a teleporting sorcerer earns thousands in a day. Even the tax rates of 1960s (83 percent plus 15 percent more for super earners) UK would still allow casters to become fabulously wealthy in short order.

Not many people really like doing repetitive work on a long term basis, once the sorcerer acquired a nice nest egg they would probably retire early only taking missions when they felt like it. High level casters don't grow on trees, and they have sufficient resources to do what they want instead of working for somebody on a daily basis.

A typical trading cog makes dozens of stops along the way picking up and dropping off cargo and passengers. Opportunities that a teleporting network can't make use of is the passenger trade,low priority mail, and low value bulk cargo (you really want to ship building materials and livestock with teleport?). Teleporting is best on hub A to hub B shipping. But then you want to disperse the goods to various lesser areas beyond. Shipping from London to New York is one thing, but what about all the local shipping? The cost for a teleport is ONE jump. The cost for the boat is as many stops as it can make on its route. That churn rate on the boat can make it realize larger profits than a one cargo teleport can.

Vrog Skyreaver wrote:
lantzkev wrote:
arcanist is not the most op by any stretch
QFT. they would have to get behind the alchemist, gunslinger, oracle, certain bards, and witch to truly be OP.

Alchemist, gunslinger, and bards aren't even in reaching distance of wizards, clerics, and druids.

Arcanists are right in the top tiers with witches, wizards, sorcerers, oracles, clerics and druids. Full casters are just better period. Putting a full martial in that list is laughable. Sorry, gunslingers are one trick ponies which are easily countered, and I'm just not even coming close to understanding why you think any bard archetype is OP. Some builds can be really really good, but nothing OP. Witch is one of the weaker full casters, so I assume its because of the hexes, which aren't that big a deal.

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The entire point of most encounters is to deplete resources from the PCs. A typical scry and die routine is going to use up a large chunk of resources. First there is the scouting spell, depending on what you have ready this could be several spells. Like a commune to know the location of X, followed by a more specific scry effect once you know the location. Then you have the pre encounter buffing, most likely 2+ spells per available caster (not including spells that are effectively all day spells). Then you have the teleport, which could be several spells, first a teleport to get you to the general area, followed by a ethereal jaunt/dimensional door/passwall effect to get you to the encounter zone. Then the real spell slinging happens as you bushwhack the enemy, or the find out the enemy was prepared after all and ambushes you. You need to have spells remaining as an exit strategy in any case, spells that you can't use unless its a dustoff maneuver.

If you are keeping track a high level party can't do this very many times a day. Sure, they can do the 15 minute adventuring day, but that is effectively true at any level (and thus its the GMs job to give a narrative reason why you would have more than one fight a day).

Sure, a high level party executing their strategy well will end encounters fast and not take any damage ect. This is also true at any level. PCs getting hurt is not the only measure of a good encounter. As long as there is either a chance of failure or the PCs use up some sort of resource (which can be anything: time, hp, spells, consumables, reputation, ect), its perfectly valid encounter.

The water room was surprisingly dangerous for my party. They hadn't collected the few cure potions that were in the dungeon and they had taken a fair amount of minor damage earlier. Most PCs after using up the last of the healing were at about 3/5th health +/- 2 hp. So when the trap sprung the paladin would have gone down to the burst if it wasn't for the racial resistance to electricity, and the fighter would have gone down if it weren't for the made save. Even then the angry box 1 round KOed the fighter leaving him unconscious in the water (which is really bad). Half of the party got locked out in the hallway, so it was rather rough and had the potential for 1-3 PC deaths (out of 5). IMHO it was perfectly scaled trap/encounter for a "boss" room in a level 1 dungeon.

If they had faced the room earlier than it was, the party would have not been as challenged, since none of the damage taken would have been as meaningful. The vermin and minor traps however had softened the party up and given them a false sense of security in terms of expected challenge.

I rate chapter 1 book 1 at a solid 8/10. Solidly challenging for 5 veteren players (15 point build), not a meat grinder. Nothing really memorable other than the water room, and the toysoldiers (which is funny because the same person mobbed by the soldiers this time got hit by the dolls in CoT and the doll in Reign of Winter).

Only thing is going forward at level 2 my party is much more powerful due to builds starting to come on line. They purchased a healing stick and the paladin is pretty much never going to fail a save going forward. Combined with the wizard filling up his scroll purchases and the alchemist getting his discoveries... IDK if the other 2 dungeons are going to be enough challenge.

MaxXimenez wrote:
I had my biweekly PFS game today. One paladin showed up and insisted on stabilizing all enemies not killed outright, even during combat.

This isn't particularly unusual. My druids and clerics often do this. Cleric one is a follower of Calistria, he doesn't like killing his opponents because its crueler to be saved by your opponent. The cleric of Gorum only kills in combat. Knocked out enemies that had the fortitude to survive meeting him deserve a chance to engage in battle at another time. The druid just doesn't like to kill if he or his badger isn't going to eat it. Don't waste meat and all that.

My local area has one guy who only plays paladins. As such we see him and a couple of randoms every week. We don't get as many wizards as most wizard types try other classes rather than deal with the no crafting railroads that PFS is. They are a pain to navigate the low levels with and most of the higher level power is highly constrained by PFS rules and mission structure.

Kobolds get a racial effect on their CR. Lets you give them more levels for the same CR. Translation: 10d6 lighting bolts cast by 10th level adepts at lower CR than it normally is.

Same deal with warrior kobold archers. Nasty little guys with full BAB and just enough feats to make them into low level killing machines.

In general 1/4 CR NPCs allows for a lot of levels and if abused can make kobolds into party level 1-3 killing machines. Nobody exects the CR2 enemy to ignore sleep because it has 5HD? A CR2 that has a BAB of 5 and a racial bonus to dex AND 3 feats? At CR 2 that is a "reasonable" encounter for a first level party to encounter.

GâtFromKI wrote:
notabot wrote:
As long as the CR vs APL rule are being followed its more like 3-5 instead of the usual 1-3. One giant battle type things actually favor the casters even more as the powerful control or aoe spells don't have much waste involved (like using a fireball to fry 2 mooks). The big fight actually encourages the 15 minute adventuring day and makes casters stronger.

If the BBEG got 50 minion under his command, I don't think his optimal strategy is to divide them into 50 group of 1 minion "because otherwise, it will favor the casters". Actually, I don't think his optimal strategy involve "wait while the PCs use wands of cure light wound on the rogue".

Well the problem of mass assaults against PCs that include casters is the same as mass assaults across no mans land. You don't send human wave assaults against ranged in artillery. You probe, feint, attrition, outflank, then you send in the knockout blow.

Also with how the CR system works, you can't really throw all resources at the PC without breaking the system and creating an unfun unwinnable situation. If the BBEG has the resources of a nation behind him throwing all of that in one combat might work, but its against the guidelines for balanced pathfinder. Sending in multiple waves balances around CR=APL+ 0 to 4 is fine however (you still are supposed to be allowing small breaks because otherwise its not a separate encounter, its all the same and that blows your CR budget). Even then you have to keep in mind that the game is balanced around only so many encounters per day.

To illustrate the problem with 50 v 1 or 1v1 50 times: An encounter with 50 minions requires that the minions each be much lower than the party in terms of CR. This means they are dead to low level control spells like cloud kill and die to aeo effects instead of just being injured. 1v1 50 times means the CR budget allows the encounters to have solos that are as high as 4 CR above APL, which means you actually use up more resources per body, thogh a solo vs the party means they can be destroyed by number of actions per round. Due to action economy if you have 50 mooks to use and follow the CR rules you want between 2-8 per fight, average 5ish (lets you have minions and a leader/brute type). This way you don't lose the action economy fight and each threat is actually threatening. 10 encounters is about the limit for an adventuring day too. Bam, optimal use of CR budget AND it follows the guidelines for encounter building. It also makes good use of the strengths of classes with limited per day resources and ones that are only limited by wealth=healing (a problem that solves itself due to WBL appropriate drops and access to magic marts).

If you are just trying to kill the party however, sure, go head and just use the rocks fall everybody dies method, if you are ignoring the guidelines you might as well.

Marthkus wrote:
GâtFromKI wrote:
Marthkus wrote:
If you are talking about attrition gorilla warfare tactics

In an attrition war, the casters could use some lame wands instead of actual spells. But the BBEG want to kill the party, not to be some minor inconvenience. So no, I'm not talking about attrition war, but about a big fight: the BBEG takes all his minions, lieutenant, etc with him and they ambush the PCs, in the end of the day only one group survives.

Those fights tend to be quicker than 216 rounds. Maybe 10-20 at most.

As long as the CR vs APL rule are being followed its more like 3-5 instead of the usual 1-3. One giant battle type things actually favor the casters even more as the powerful control or aoe spells don't have much waste involved (like using a fireball to fry 2 mooks). The big fight actually encourages the 15 minute adventuring day and makes casters stronger.

What favors rogues and other mundanes is lots of small encounters where its not efficient to use up limited resources. A party with a fighter and rogue can go all day assuming they have a healing stick or two. Since they are gaining wealth through the encounters faster than they use up healing resources, it can just keep going assuming a magic mart or occasional healing item drops are available.

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The difference between knowledge local and diplomacy is the difference between "I already know this, lets get started" and "I don't this, but I can ask around" One takes MUCH more time and possibly money, and requires talking locals, and the fact you are asking around gives away information to possible 3rd parties.

On top of that knowledge local can help identify weaknesses and powers of humanoids. Many players just meta knowledge that sort of thing like "orcs have darkvision" but they really shouldn't.

Knowledge local won't however get you out of trouble or get you in trouble like diplomacy can. So a well built social character should have both.

IDK, for somebody who is into rogues it seems there is a lack of proper appreciation for something so basic.

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This thread is pointless because there is no usable parameters, the goal posts keep moving, and there is no real definition of "eclipse" other than some vacuous statements. On top of that the real discussion is supposed to happen in an ambiguous "future" thread. There has been no statements made in favor of the rogue that hold any water even under the shifting goalposts anyways.

The rogue is a crap class and people who play them play them because of the name and fluff of the class and not the mechanics of them. There are other classes that do everything that the rogue does + more, but since they are named other things and have different fluff, people play the mechanically inferior choice. Really nothing more to it than that.

Bard is a tier 3 character, thief is tier 5 by most estimates, and IMHO should be a high 6 with the other NPC non casters. Yes I would lump them in with the experts/warriors/aristocrats. At least the aristocrats and warriors get decent weapon and armor profs. Sadly the adept actually rates higher than the rogue. Not a good place to be.

Rogues do crap for dpr, they aren't the master of skills, they don't have unique abilities anymore, and their tricks very often don't work or require so many inefficient actions/build choices that its just not worth the opportunity cost to play one.

Now if you are the sort of person who doesn't like mechanics, numbers, being credit to team, and in general being effective: Go ahead and play a rogue, its the right class for you. But if you feel that way you might as well pick an NPC class because they are even more optimized for that style of gameplay.

What the rogue currently has that makes it "special" is trap finding and a generous assortment of skills.

Problem is that trapfinding isn't unique to the rogue anymore, isn't really required (due to how traps are handled in PF), and traps aren't even all that dangerous (most being a chance to take some damage or a save vs some poorly scaled inconvenient effect like poison or spell), heal/cleanse and move on type stuff.

Their skills can be handled by ANY class with proper ability scores, traits, and skill ranks. Even a barbarian can be the party face if traited for it (and be a master of intimidation if he wants to be).

The damage aspect (sneak attack) is laughable since the rogue can't reliably deliver it, it scales poorly, and the class is among the squishiest in the game. That and the 3/4 BAB is very hard to make up for compared to others with the same sort of BAB (clerics/bards/summoners/druids/alchemists all have native buffing ability) Sneak attack is also not exclusive to the rogue now doesn't help it either.

Bards can do all of the skill things that a rogue can, can buff the party, can cast spells, and build for solid reliable damage. Once they get some levels behind them they have such amazing action economy that its quite obvious that the bard is better.

Hell in the most current adventure path Paizo even made trapfinding a campaign trait. Yes, that means that the iconic rogue ability to find and disable traps is worth about the same as half of a feat.

Remy Balster wrote:
Scavion wrote:
Remy Balster wrote:
They only suck if your games revolve entirely around combat.

Considering the 4 encounters a day baseline for making casters not run rampantly powerful, I'd say yeah, combat tends to take the most time in most games.

The only thing I can think of that takes as much time as your average combat is Kingdom Management.

Four encounters per day... or four combats per day? Which are you talking about?

If you don't have at least 4 encounters where casters have to expend resources you tend to have a campaign structure where the casters blow all their power in one go then the group rests till they can do it again.

Combat is time consuming, since PF is heavily combat focused, you will spend at least a plurality of your time in combat rounds. This is at least my experience in 3.x/PF play (my 2nd ed gaming had more RP, but that was because I played in RP heavier groups in instant death settings for murder hobos: Ravenloft and Planescape).

As for rogues being more powerful if you don't' have combat: A NPC expert is just as good as a skill monkey, if you are breaking out that argument you are essentially saying that the rogue's power level is best compared to an NPC class, not a great place to be. Hell an aristocrat is arguably as good in combat as rogues (better weapons and armor) and has a respectable amount of skills and better inherent social position.

The same level of system mastery required to bring rogues up to even monk levels of suck applied to any other class would in fact cause that other class to be better than anything the rogue can do.

Its a bad class and nothing currently saves it. Everything it does can be done better by an archetype in a better class,or isn't actually needed and its niche can be ignored.

Rogues suck and its best use is playing one as a self imposed nerf (like if you are a high system mastery player with a group of low mastery players).

Being amazing at not taking damage from reflex saves isn't a big deal. Reflex 9/10 means not taking full damage from a fireball ect. all of the rogues saves are based around this. Fort and will saves tend to be more life and death than reflex saves. Fail a fort, you could lose 1d6 con each round ect. Fail a will, and you will attack the party, be controlled long term (for future betrayals), or be locked out of combat by the multitude of mental based shutdown spells/effects.

The ninja, while not being a powerhouse by any means, is probably a better choice most of the time if you restricted the choices to just those two classes. Not a good place to be in terms of power levels.

Well considering the number of aberrations, incorporeal, and large beatstick monsters in the AP, I can't recommend it.

It will work fine against the odd humanoid and random trash undead, but IMHO its too niche to be viable in any AP short of KM.

Honestly I recommend building a good will save over anything else. Since fighters have bad will I wouldn't even play one at all in this campaign.

I forgot add, the AC at the levels you are talking doesn't matter. The brutes and even mooks are probably at least +20 to hit, the bosses more like +25-30 range. You would have to sink some serious resources to make a difference. Save your resources and invest in miss chance and DR.

As for the fighter dropping stuff in one round... A good fighter can do this to anything short of a boss. If they can't (barring rolling lots of 1s) they are not a good fighter and aren't fulfilling their class role. You NEED that dpr to be able to keep fights manageable when things like CR9 outsiders are spammed in summons at 1d4+1 ect... You need to have min dpr to be able drop the hard to kill mooks quick before they overwhelm the party.

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I noticed you are talking about AC40... That is normal AC, the giants touch AC is likely laughable. Spell casters have powerful touch spells at this level.

As for the rest of it, you have the spell casters providing things they excel at (control, overcoming the the impossible, ect), the bard is contributing all of the fighters damage that would normally miss without the buffs. The fighter for your group is nothing more than the war head to a guided missile. Your missile would be useless without a guidance system, propulsion, and counter measures to protect it.

Liam Warner wrote:
notabot wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
In fairness, a fighter can fire like a billion arrows in six seconds. There ain't many classes that don't bend the laws of reality. ;D

A fighter can fire 4 arrows from base end BAB, 1 more from rapid shot, 1 more from many shot, another from haste effects. I might have missed some more ways to get more, but its not many. A Zen archer has a few more at top end, but whatever. Lets look at the video of the guy IRL that put 11 arrows into the air before the first one hit.

No I've heard stated that IRL the best people can get is around 5-6th level, some numbers cranked on skill checks ect to "prove this" Now if a 6th level expert can unleash with reasonable accuracy 11 arrows before the first on hits the ground (and most of them fired before the 6 second round was over) Then I don't see anything reality breaking with what top end monk or fighter can do in regards to archery.

I vaguely recall it being said somewhere that attacks where 3 or 4 to one for attacks. That is in earlier dnd a fighter/wizard/what have you actually made more attacks a round but do to.combat dodging/footing/etc only one in 3/4 actually had a chance of hitting and was rolled for. As part of that against a creature below CR 1 PCs got a number of attacks equal to their level. So a 10th level fighter swarmed by CR 1/4 creatures could make 10 attacks that round instead of his normal amount. Could explain putting 11 arrows in the air vs a stationary target where no ones trying to cut your head off. Bab +6/+1 vs a stationary target in a safe situation is actually +6/+6/+6/+6/+1/+1/+1/+1 or the like.

On attacks like archery where you actually count ammo it doesn't translate. Also the edition where you had multiple attacks that didn't "count" was the editions where 1 combat round was 1 minute and 1 "turn" was 10 minutes.

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
In fairness, a fighter can fire like a billion arrows in six seconds. There ain't many classes that don't bend the laws of reality. ;D

A fighter can fire 4 arrows from base end BAB, 1 more from rapid shot, 1 more from many shot, another from haste effects. I might have missed some more ways to get more, but its not many. A Zen archer has a few more at top end, but whatever. Lets look at the video of the guy IRL that put 11 arrows into the air before the first one hit.

No I've heard stated that IRL the best people can get is around 5-6th level, some numbers cranked on skill checks ect to "prove this" Now if a 6th level expert can unleash with reasonable accuracy 11 arrows before the first on hits the ground (and most of them fired before the 6 second round was over) Then I don't see anything reality breaking with what top end monk or fighter can do in regards to archery.

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I don't know what damage builds you guys are running to out damage a damage focused fighter, but I would have to see the numbers to believe it. Perhaps you are playing with fighters that don't know how to spec for damage? Or are you expecting a single target specialist to deal the damage damage that a blaster does to a group? I mean 90 damage (maximized, intensified fireball) x7 targets is always going to beat 200 damage (which is on the low side if casters are tossing around spells doing that much) to one target.

I usually make most encounters somewhat easy starting out. It strongly discourages nova/rest cycles. You just used 4 spells and your arcane pool to turn that goblin shaman into a fine red mist... Grats.

Making encounters solvable without nova style play is the key to preventing novas. When you make encounters too hard, or hard enough that not going all out actually uses more resources (as in having to remove negative levels and the death condition), you encourage the 15 minute adventuring day.

When it comes time for a boss fight, or a mini boss fight, sure, let them go all out. But since they had to use some minor stuff getting there they might have some holes in their "optimal" battle preparations. Follow up a tough boss fight with a relatively easier angry pet/spouse/minion attack. "You killed my X, now you must die!" encounters are surprisingly effective even if the fight is easy on paper, the PCs are at their weakest. Its a good way of reminding them that Nova style play has a cost.

Ricard the Daring wrote:

Deaths happen, and new characters can be made, but having a character that you've been playing for weeks, months, maybe years, die because of a single bad roll just feels wrong.

Personally I find having a long lived character in a setting where you can't really die because of GM friendliness to be unremarkable. Having a character live through a meat grinder campaign on the other hand...

Personally I run a pretty lethal campaign, death is possible at every session. But I run it fair, I don't break outside of the CR system, I don't give NPC/monsters wealth outside of the guidelines (and when I do I up their CR as appropriate). But I also don't hold back on save or dies, massive damage packets, permanent (as much as you can when you can heal anything with magic) disabilities ect. The players who manage to get their characters to end of campaign without dying at least 1 can be counted on one hand. Death isn't permanent. Heck with Breath of Life being thrown around its barely an in combat issue. Its about as effective as daze is at level 1.

So no level on it yet? Solutions are level based after all, need a base line to work with. Most basic is travel domain for base 10 feet extra movement.

Honestly the party looks about right for that level. Not particularly crazy or anything. The problem really lies in that APs are built with 15 point buy low optimization in mind. Look at the 15 point buy pregens and look at the steaming pile of poor build decisions and you will understand why your party which knows about good options for the most part is blowing through the AP.

Rise, while revamped, isn't exactly the most dangerous or powerful AP either. If you want challenging combats some other APs might be a little better fitting. Heck Reign of Winter the other day the "tank"fighter took 170 damage in one round because he made a miscalculation in how strong 3 enemies were in Rasputin must die (14th level at the time). Combat still only took 2 rounds with the PCs victorious, but it was a hard fight with little margin for error.

Level 11 is 7 good save, 3 bad saves. +5 in ability score bonus, +5 cloak (which is cheap for what it does and a high priority item), +1 traited. That is without use of feats or misc bonuses. Add in feats and other bonuses and you can get there.

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If you want to have fun don't be a heal bot. A battle cleric or oracle is a good enough healer for all levels. Besides, healing isn't a normal combat action, and if it is your party is playing mechanically poorly. Combat is for combat, out of combat is for healing wounds.

Any class that can UMD a CLW wand is a good enough healer at 4th level. What your party is looking for is a healb*!@@ from the sounds of it, and since you are the new guy you get to be it. While I'm the last person to say you should "play how you want" without regards to the party, in this case you should give them exactly what they need and not necessarily what they want. If they are struggling enough that they think they need a healer then you should roll up a bard. They get CLW access and make the party better. Or you can be an evangelist cleric, you lose the ability to ditch spells for cures,and get diminished access to channels, but you gain bardic performance and keep full progression on the cleric spell list. For the evangelist you even build for a primary combat role, since your class is inherently awesome at spells and bardic support no reason why you can't also be good in combat. Be so awesome that you shame them into wanting to play good builds instead of ones that beg for a dedicated healer.

The best healing is preventative. Give support that they need which is killing the enemy faster and providing proactive support rather than reactive healing (which doesn't even come close to keeping up, its a downward spiral to death).

Castles are tactically defensive and strategically offensive. They were built to control a territory and be a base for military operations in the surrounding area: a safe place to rest or retreat to to stock up on supplies. They were often built as part of offensive campaigns, such as the castles the crusaders built, or the many castles the English Kings built to control territory in France and their often hostile subject peoples (The Kings of England were foreigners, Norse then Franco-Norman, controlling Anglo-Saxon/Welch subjects). The razing of castles was to deny the enemy a safe place to plan offensive raids or campaigns. Leaving a castle untaken invited a counter offensive.

The most important part of a castle is being something that can be sallied from, which is to say a small army being able to strike enemies outside the walls quickly, and then retreat quickly back into. In sieges since the gate was difficult to reach it was quite possible to have the defenders make raids against the siege camp and retreat before the besiegers were able to respond.

So my response to the question asked, is it needs to be defensible, meaning the approach is guarded by the strongest defenses, and it needs to be able to allow quick in and out movements (so no super inconvenient placement). The terrain dictates the possible approaches, those areas are also the ones the enemy will be occupying in a siege. The actual facing on a strategic scale matters not at all, its about the tactical side of things. If the way into a castle on the Rhine is from the north, then the door is going to be there even if the enemy lives in the south. Besides, in a medieval society enemies and allies are fluid, add in unexpected invasions of barbaric peoples and any choice based on "our enemies are south of us" is quickly rendered obsolete.

Gunslingers are full BAB classes with a wide variety of weapon proficiency. Nothing says great like taking a level in a class that makes you take your armor off and use your fists (without progression, its just a slap compared to other options), and lose out on full BAB.

Don't take a level in monk. Stick with your base class.

MagusJanus wrote:

I have a question for those who have actually played with gunslingers and are posting on this thread about the problems...

If guns were changed to target normal AC instead of touch AC, making them effectively like every other weapon in the game, would their power level become balanced enough to use?

I apologize if this has been addressed earlier; it probably has, but I don't remember it coming up in the discussion. If it has, please direct me there.

If gunslingers were to target normal AC the class would become crap instead of "mostly crap if you don't do specific things with your build no options allowed, and even then you are only competent as a generic optimized martial is" that you have now.

Gunslingers are competent at their one thing, anything done to nerf this would drop them down to being useless.

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I don't really get the whole debate when it comes to the mechanical aspects. Cover, concealment, miscellaneous penalties all add up for ranged combat. Sure you get touch AC for first increment... but that is so short and it costs grit to extend it. A good full BAB is hitting on 2+ most if not all CR appropriate encounters anyways, is it really that big a deal when the Gunslinger does it? Perhaps you guys are playing with fighters who use sword and board TWF or tower shield and fight defensively or something. Heck the 3/4 BAB guys hit 2/3 of the time.

At the levels you are fighting at 100-200 ft touch attacks, your fighting in many monster's charge range (some fast flying monsters out there). Its single target damage at that, so as long as there are multiple monsters in combat its not an issue at all.

In a 4 member party you are supposed to have a main attack character, a crowd controller, a buffer, and somebody to be the skills and face. All party members should be able to contribute legitimate damage if called upon, but if you are meant to be main damage, you need to put down a LOT of damage. A Gunslinger is meant to do damage, and nothing else. His damage is on par with paladins, fighters, barbarians, and rangers if built for this role. It only over shadows other classes if there are too many people trying to be main damage and one person not building their character as competently. A main damage character should be able to 1-2 round mooks and 2-3 round bosses. This is taking misses and not getting full attacks into account.

When I see threads like this I wonder if people are even playing the same game. At all levels of the game encounters last 2-3 rounds if there isn't major environmental effects in play. The monsters are built that way, the PC baseline abilities are built that way (even the crappy pregens). Anything longer brings in the possibility of character deaths, looking at the damage by CR for monsters its pretty evident this is the case.

Human: Aristorcrat, Cleric, Paladin, Fighter, that order. Rulers, their holy men, their martials. NPC class due to how human society is depicted, outlier is oracle, depending on god or fame can be top or bottom of society.
Dwarf: Cleric, Fighter. Same as above but less focus on non combatant power, or rulers are more likely to be PC classed.
Halfling: Bard, Rogue, Sorcerer. Halflings are often depicted as tricksters and scoundrels, and aren't especially known for their martial focus or religious ferver.
Gnome: Expert, Arcane casters. Lets face it, gnomes are so obsessive most would rather just be really good at whatever pursuit they chose and not be bothered with combat as much. Exception is the pursuit of arcane magic of any type.
Elf: Wizard, Ranger, Fighter. Arcane magic is the lifeblood of elvish society, as is their close ties with nature. They have a strong tradition of martial pursuits so those who wish to go for pure fighter are appreciated.
Half Elf: No society of their own, depends on society raised in.
Half Orc: If raised in Human society: fighter, barbarian, rogue. Nobody expects these guys to be be anything other than dumb muscle due to their background. They get typecast as these types of people even if they are more suited in other classes. Kind of outcasts either way. If raised in Orc society: Barbarian, Fighter, Warrior, Divine caster of some type: Orcs have a more martial society, with those types of classes being the top and divine casters being respected/feared after that. Half orcs are treated like leaders or pariahs but rarely an average member.

Other races: considering that most classes are effectively planet of hats people, whatever those races are best described as...

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Well the second wight starts out prone in the middle of combat, has a low AC, and not so many HP to survive a single round against a party that has competent damage dealers.

Master summoner is banned mostly from time considerations. Having spammed summons means a huge bog down in time, esp when you are dealing with time slotted PFS events.

The gun archetypes are because they wanted guns to be exclusive.

Synthisist because they were probably responding to all the butt hurt players out there, and that most people couldn't legally build one to save their life.

IIRC they banned vivisecionist not because of power concerns, 3/4 BAB sneak attack class that doesn't suck for once gets banned not from power, but from the fluff not being heroic.

And all you who think a synth is so much better than martial characters at dealing damage don't know how to make them to the same level of optimization. The scary part of a synth isn't that it is a melee god or anything, its that it is still a 6 level caster while being good at combat. which points out the action economy problems with the class compared to the base version which can pump out nearly the same amount of hurt without giving up spell casting every round.

When it comes to pure cheese I would take a cleric over a synth any day. 3/4 BAB character that can easily spam summons as a standard action and can take an archetype that lets them inspire courage like a bard. Being a divine character like that lets them heal massively to keep their summons up under pressure and lets them have a fuller array of defensive/offensive buff spells. And a cleric isn't a bad combatant if you know how to build them.

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