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Pathfinder Society Member. 851 posts (852 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 5 Pathfinder Society characters.


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advice on how to play your 'wrong' character.

Let's say that you started out life as a paladin, heading off to battle the Worldwound. Sometime in the last 5 years, you fell, hard. Presumably when you wake up in the looney bin, you're not fallen anymore, right?

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How about ending at level 6? Think about it: every time you go down a level (in the dungeon), you go up a level in XP?

There's no reason that you need 20 ranks of something to make it worthwhile. Just make the table have really thick rows.

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Hey Lyric, you can change your song from 'seven color' to 'decoy'!

The decoy ring is unaffected by any of this craziness. 12,000gp for 2 rounds of unbreakable invisibility _whenever I darn well please_, _plus_ illusionary duplicates.

My slayer/rogue gives obeisance to the Demigod of Retconjuration, and promptly disappears (and sprays illusionary duplicates of himself everywhere).

Lorewalker, nice find. A summoner could take the Lookout feat, imbue it into a ring of tactical precision, and then hand it to an eidolon with the Bodyguard feat for an extra +1 AC.

That's not too shabby. Move and stab from a melee eidolon during the surprise round (or a 'pounce' if the surprise is in melee) might well be worth 11,000gp.

One of the common things you do in Pathfinder is the old standby 'roll Perception to see if you're surprised'. Now, an eidolon has this little gem of a power

Pathfinder Unchained wrote:
Link (Ex): A summoner and his eidolon share a mental link that allows for communication across any distance (as long as they are on the same plane). This communication is a free action, allowing the summoner to give orders to his eidolon at any time.

If one of the pair makes the check, is the other one surprised? Is a summoner making a Perception check 'take two and keep highest', or not?

I'm really digging the design of the Sandpoint Devil (carnivorous devil horse that breathes fire), and there's a mini for it and everything.

If I played an unchained summoner in PFS, could I choose the hooves evolution from Ultimate Magic for my eidolon?

So, let's say I'm playing your bog-standard 'burger truck' demon eidolon. By 12th level, I've got 5 attacks (the maximum): a tail with a stinger, some wing buffets, and the claws Lamashtu gave me. Great.

Now, at 19th (!) level, I'll have 7 attacks maximum, and let's say I mostly want to preserve my burger truck allure (so, no tentacles, no extra arms if I can help it, etc.). What options do I have?

As far as I can tell, the best option would be a gore attack and a bite attack (costing 3 evolution points). And the nice part is there are a number of creatures that already do this gore-and-bite routine: a bunch of dragons, gargoyles, and even some types of demons. So that sort of combat is well-established.


When I think about what sorts of appendages I'd like to wiggle at people in order to hurt them (uh, for physical hit point damage, at least), if I had a choice, I'd rather not use my actual head. I'd much prefer, say, to use my legs instead. For one thing, they're longer. For another, if I happen to be 12 feet tall during a moment of duress, I'd much rather step on some do-gooder halfling than bend down and bite him. Somewhat undignified, I might say.

Question 1: Could I (an unchained eidolon) take the hooves evolution from Ultimate Magic? Could I take other evolutions from pre-Unchained books (other than the APG)? Could my summoner learn spells that are summoner spells but don't appear on the unchained summoner list in Pathfinder Unchained (such as the best one, lesser infernal healing)?

Question 2: Can a bipedal eidolon (with only one limbs [legs] evolution) take the claws evolution on their feet? Every other biped (in the hardcover bestiaries at least) with 'feet claws' have them listed as 'talons'. If you can take 'feet claws', would they just be talons instead of claws?

So a single head can hold a gore attack and a bite attack.

Question 3: Can other combinations of 'one appendage two attacks' work as well? Even though there are no creatures in bestiaries that do this, would tail slap-and-sting work? Or claws-and-slam?

Yeah, so, I guess I'm not often inspired to make a Pathfinder character out of a video game character, but this character was so weird, I had to give it a try.

So there's this game Sadame for the 3DS, and it's basically a hack-and-slash through Sengoku-era Japan, only all the historical figures are either demons, undead, or have mecha-suits. And there's 4 classes: samurai, monk, ninja, and 'rogue'.

The rogue is weird. She wields ranged weapons (bows, crossbows, guns) and a polearm, and she's got a ton of buff spells to boot. In theory she's based on Izumo no Okuni, who supposedly founded the art of kabuki. Nice job if you can get it! I'm thinking more of a 'polearm bard' myself. How's this for a build

Female elf bard/fighter

Levels and Feats

1/Ftr 1: Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (elven branched spear)
2/Brd 1: --
3/Ftr 2: Two-Weapon Fighting, Spear Dancing Style
4/Brd 2: --
5/Ftr 3: Elven Battle Training
6/Ftr 4: Elven Battle Style
7/Ftr 5: Weapon Style Mastery
8/Brd 3: --
9/Brd 4: Elven Battle Focus (+Int to damage: neat!)
10/Ftr 6: Spear Dancing Spiral (useless!)
11/Ftr 7: Elven Battle Torrent
12/Ftr 8 Spear Dancing Reach

And of course there's a giant bag of feats I want to stuff in there: Combat Expertise, maybe Weapon Trick (polearm), etc. So many feats, so few slots.

So, 2/3 a fighter, 1/3 a bard (typical for a slash-em-up), with two kinda complementary fighting styles. 2nd level spells, a little bardic music, and probably a lot more skill points than your average fighter.

What do you think? Any advice? Would you take the 'kabuki rogue' in a different direction?

I was poking through all the combat style feats recently, and there's a big chunk of unarmed styles, and a few styles that focus on other stuff (mostly from the Melee Tactics Toolbox).

I realize this is like 'the one true feat chain' for natural attack eidolons, but is there a style chain for 'appendages'?

Like, 'if you hit an opponent with attacks from 3 or more different limbs/appendages in a round, X happens'. Anything like that at all? Aside from lots of damage, I mean.

heh heh. sounds good to me. Open sexuality is one of those sins that's only sinful if you think it is.

Say a worshiper of Calistria seduces a married cleric of Erastil. Well, the cleric probably loses his powers, and now his marriage is on the rocks. Now let's say the same Calistrian seduces a married cleric of Arshea. Nothing happens! Well, if the Arshean is Lawful, that might be a Chaotic act (breaking marriage vows, if strictly monogamous, which would be weird for an Arshean, but Lawful Arshean clerics are already weird), but it's not an Evil one.

Pretty cool, huh? One ethos sees the act as sinful, the other does not. Isn't polytheism fun?

I'm surprised there isn't a 'Rasputin-like' sect somewhere in Golarion, where the clerics or other religious do weird or gross things in exchange for spiritual enlightenment. See Kapalika for a possible example. Maybe that's one way to play a Neutral cleric of Rovagug.

Anyway, one angle for a 'House of Welcome' to be less Calistrian and more Arshean is to check out the movie The Sessions. Makes it less about the exchange of money and more about the act, yeah?

Let's say I want to play a summoner whose eidolon acts as a bodyguard

a) Any way to give that eidolon the Arcane Strike feat? Gloves of arcane striking would certainly be handy (and also the feat itself is a nice boost for an eidolon to using a swift).
b) Are benevolent bracers of armor worth it, or should the eidolon just stick to mage armor? Is there a way to 'enchant' mage armor with an added effect?
c) A bit of a side question: any way other than a feat, evolution points, lesser bracers of archery, or a 10,000gp white pyramidal ioun stone to give an eidolon a ranged weapon proficiency?

Oh lookie, a half-orc slayer2/unchained rogue X

How does it work?

1 Slayer 1: Improved Initiative
2 URogue 1: sneak attack +1d6
3 Slayer 2: Power Attack, Ranger Combat Style: two-handed style: Cleave
4 URogue 2: rogue combat trick: Surprise Follow-Through

aside from my crap will save, this is a great beginning. I have a natural attack too, and unless I'm standing still for some reason, I tend to want to try and Cleave bad guys instead of trying to bite them. Mooks trying to gang up in tight quarters happens pretty frequently. better still: if I can flank the first cleave target, then I can maybe sneak attack both

5 URogue 3: more sneak attack, that finesse thing so I have a backup if I take Strength damage, and Step Up

wanna mess with a flanker or other 5-foot shenanigans? Step Up is the way to go! Beautifully versatile, can help set up Cleaves

7 URogue 5: Press to the Wall

Now try and find a situation where there are two bad guys adjacent, and one of them isn't threatened by anybody else but is standing in front of a pillar or wall. Can't be that hard. Plus there's no 'roll to feint' garbage to get your flank bonus either. You can just flank with trees all day long.

9 URogue 7: Vital Strike
11 URogue 9: All-Consuming Swing

So I blew all my cool tricks to get lots of bonus feats early, and now I can't really afford going in to Cleaving Smash. Plus, +11 BaB on a mostly rogue is a mostly no-go. I'll take this instead.

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I don't know the math vs. not the math. Here's my thing on why 'noticing the sun' matters, and why I think in the rules a gelatinous cube falls prone.


A traveler on a grassy plain, sunny day. A half-orc rogue, using a potion of fly, a pair of greater sniper's goggles, and a longbow, wants to sneak attack the traveler. How to do so with the tools at hand?

You can't use Stealth, because there's no cover. You can't really surprise the traveler, because let's say he's wary of strangers. The rogue does not have a source of invisibility.

Sub-scenario 1

The traveler looks up at the sun and is instantly blinded. The sun is very hard to miss. The rogue knows this, and flies between the traveler and the sun, and so is always invisible to the traveler. Sure, the rogue's shadow passes across the traveler's eyes, but the traveler is still blind if the rogue is far enough away. Thus, the rogue is a death machine.

Sub-scenario 2

The traveler looks up at the sun and fails to notice it, because of goofy rules involving distance and Perception. Because the traveler cannot see the sun, the only source of light, the traveler is thus sightless. The half-orc gets to within 60 ft. of the traveler and sneak attacks at will.

Either the sun isn't obvious and is therefore not there to protect the traveler, or the sun would blind you if you looked at it (which then provides a source of invisibility for the rogue). Except that 'blinding yourself by looking at the sun' is not listed as a hazard anywhere in the Pathfinder rules.

QED: A gelatinous cube falls prone.

lesse, you've got

a) a cleric of Asmodeus
b) an inquisitor of Zon-Kuthon
c) an antipaladin
d) a hellknight armiger
e) a dhampir necromancer
f) a tiefling rogue

that seems like a good crew of heroic rebels to me!

It's not like 'good' guys have to answer the call to 'liberate' Kintargo. I think bad guys beating up other bad guys works just as well (kinda more realistic when you see how nasty recent civil wars have been)

I don't really know much about Hell's Rebels. Would it be a major re-write to either feature evil vs. evil through the whole campaign? (Or, enough of the campaign to root out the 'real' rebels and go back to being official bad guys after book 3?)

Mark Seifter wrote:
Matrix Dragon wrote:
It makes sense to me. If you go unconscious or get dazed while flying you are technically still in control of the spell, you just aren't telling to to keep you in the air. It says that it takes concentration to fly after all. Seriously, do you expect a 3rd level spell to have a protective safety cushion against every possible downside or counter?

The main thing is that there is a Fly check required each round with a requisite action to take that check. Nothing in the fly spell indicates that you can ignore Fly checks (indeed, if you could, it should be perfect maneuverability and/or there's no reason to give a bonus on them for the magic making it easy). Of the conditions mentioned here (dazed, stunned, and paralyzed), dazed and stunned clearly prevent all actions and thus prevent the action to make the Fly check. As Entryhazard points out, only paralysis was really in contention, since it could theoretically be a purely mental action. However, paralysis gives you 0 Dexterity, so you can't make Dex-based skill checks, of which the Fly check to stay aloft is one.

All that being said, I'm not convinced that making Fly a new Dex-based skill and making maneuverabilities basically not matter if you have ranks (compared to 3.5) works better than either the old system or an even-more streamlined version (when the clumsy dragon has 20 ranks and is more maneuverable than the hummingbird, I scratch my head a bit), but given how the Fly skill works, the fact that action denial makes you fall follows.

Hmm. Here's a question

1. Let there be a character with maximum ranks in Fly and the trait Wisdom in the Flesh, targeting Fly. Fly (for them) is now a Wisdom-based skill.
2. Let that character be paralyzed mid-flight.

Does the character fall down?

I don't know if this is for PFS for not. If it isn't, go cram Deceitful and Cunning Caster in there. If it is...wait for Ultimate Intrigue :(

@Nohwear That paragraph in the ubran hunter archetype is really strange

a) I don't know if this matters, but swans and camels are vicious bastard animals. I don't really understand how an urban hunter can make one of those look non-threatening. Maybe hairstyling? The right mouthwash?

So, a bystander watches someone's pet swan bite someone's head off.

b) an urban hunter can 'calm' the bystander with a Handle Animal check? they're not an animal, how does that work? the hunter rubs menthol on the bystander's tummy?
c) what does it mean to 'calm' someone, anyway? Like, does the swan have maximum ranks in Intimidate and the Dreadful Carnage feat and the hunter needs to keep everyone calm?
d) What about that hunter's tiefling witch/barbarian buddy cackling and evil eyeing all those bar mooks? How would you calm someone who saw that?

@Kevin yeah, I saw that thread. a) the banhammer (and the thread) predate the recent 'all spells are shiny' FAQ, and b) I figure I'd actually put forth the concise argument that was asked for.

I've never done this before (advocating a PFS legality issue), and there might be a format or template I'm missing here, but here goes anyway.

We now know (thanks to a recent FAQ) which spells are noticed by onlookers, and which aren't (answer: all are noticed, even without noticeable components).

I have always wanted to pull off the 'these aren't the droids you're looking for' scene from Star Wars, but under the recent FAQ, I basically can't (with a few exceptions).

Here are all of the PFS-legal exceptions I can think of

1. A rakshasa bloodline sorcerer could pass off a charm person as an innocuous spell, but only if innocuous spellcasting was seen as otherwise harmless.
2. A 9th-level sandman bard.
3. A (presumably non-sandman) bard using the Spellsong feat.
4. Someone casting a spell with only somatic components (deaf oracles say hi) and the feat Secret Signs.
5. A Dawnflower Dissident, although to get charm person with this build you'd need to be a separatist cleric with the Charm domain (and thus to qualify for the prestige class you'll need another way to cadge scimitar proficiency), or a juju oracle (of Sarenrae...weird)

So there's five different ways where casting spells in front of onlookers without their knowledge is already legal in PFS. If the goal is to prevent covert casting, that catbag has sailed.

So let's talk Cunning Caster for a minute. It's a way to cast spells covertly, only it requires a successful Bluff against everybody in the room, and there are big penalties for using components of any kind. And let's also say that it's pretty obvious which character would be an optimized user of Cunning Caster: the mesmerist.

So here's a list of optimizations that a mesmerist gets to using Cunning Caster

a) Cha-based spellcasting, which gives a bonus on Bluff checks (and opposed Cha checks while using charm person)
b) a built-in bonus to Bluff checks
c) hypnotic stare, which gives a penalty to a target's Will saving throw (and possibly also Perception checks)
d) psychic spellcasting, which forgoes verbal and somatic components completely.

Suffice to say, they'd be good at it. So here's my arguments.

1. There are already a bunch of ways to covert cast. Cunning Caster doesn't stop those ways that are already out there.

2. Mesmerists do not have any other good options for covert spellcasting. All the other options (even Secret Signs) rely on classes or abilities that aren't the mesmerist. And don't forget: there's language in the hypnotic stare feature that prevents the stare's target from being aware the stare is happening. Why is that language even there, if there are no built-in class features or legal feats that can take advantage of that? What are they supposed to do: ~look into my eyes, yes, that's it, aren't my eyes very pretty?~

3. It's still two rolls. Let's say you're a barbarian, and you want to smash a bad guy's face with a hammer. So, roll to hit. Say you're a wizard, and there's something about the shape of that column finial that seems familiar. So, roll a knowledge check. Almost all of the things PCs want to do to affect their environment are one roll to do (or fail). There is a reason why using feint to sneak attack is such a bad idea. So you feint? Fine, you still have to roll to hit, with a 3/4 BaB class against a giant with a monster natural armor bonus anyway. Same with casting defensively: you don't do it unless you have to. Nobody likes those odds. I'd say the only saving grace of phantasmal killer is that the effect of its target failing the two saving throws is so powerful: they die. No other spell with two rolls would possibly be worth it.

4. I got one more: telempathic projection, charm person's psychic kid brother. How is this spell even usable unless you can cast it on the sly? Even with the no-save ability, unless you covert cast you're going to instantly bring your target to a hostile attitude if they see you casting. What's a +5 bonus going to do when you've effectively just flipped the table?

So, I'm all done. Maybe Cunning Caster will be made legal, or maybe we just get to wait for Ultimate Intrigue. Or maybe we get to wait for Ultimate Intrigue to find an updated version of Cunning Caster that's also PFS-banned. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

For completeness sake, I'll also note that the feats Cunning Caster and Subtle Devices from Heroes of the Streets can give a caster a skill check to pass in order to cast covertly.

Sadly, those feats aren't currently PFS-legal, whereas the others are

the list for covert casting any spell (not just elixir of love), as it stands today

a) the rakshasa bloodline (for sorcerers)
b) the sandman archetype (for bards)
c) the Spellsong feat (for non-sandman bards)
d) the Secret Signs feat (for deaf oracles)
e) the Dawnflower Dissident prestige class (for, wow, separatist clerics of Sarenrae with the Charm domain or juju oracles who worship Sarenrae)
f) the feats Secret Caster and Subtle Devices (for practically anybody)

try playing a rogue? sure, you can still kill the whatever, but to do it really well, you have to move around, get into a flanking position, worry about flanking from somewhere else...

I find it's pretty exciting. Then again, I don't get to play very often.

FLite wrote:
More amusingly, you can ask your GM if your eidolon can use you as a masterwork tool prop ("surely you wish to aid the hero of the crimson tower" gestures at summoner)

I do like that one the best, although the eidolon I have in mind is going to have a hard time referring to its summoner as anything other than 'medicine chest', 'healer's kit', or 'utility belt'.

Let's say you're playing a summoner who's really really shy, and an eidolon who isn't (and who has taken ranks in social skills).

Now let's say you get a chronicle sheet that gives you a bonus to a social skill based on some in-game interactions during the scenario (+2 to Diplomacy vs. Aspis Consortium tengu, +2 to Intimidate vs. Ulfen humans living in Sargava, whatever).

The summoner has no interest or ability in using social skills on any NPCs, much less bluffing left-handed one-eyed genies from Nidal. Can the eidolon gain the benefit of the chronicle instead?

Uh, I switched my PFS Strength-based slayer/rogue to a slayer/urogue. Pretty easy decision, actually. Does it matter to me that I've got an option I'll 'never' use?

I dunno, how many times in my career am I going to take Strength damage from poison, or from a shadow, or get hit with a ray of enfeeblement? I like the idea of just busting my kerambit out of my hairdo and just going to town with that. Sure, it's not greataxe damage, but it's still competitive.

Uh, hey, @mdt, I quoted Ultimate Equipment right there. It says you can use two materials when making an item, but only the prevalent material applies.

So, what does 'prevalent' mean?

If the darkwood is more prevalent, does that mean that if I add cold iron to the stabby part of the spear, it won't cut into a demon?

If the cold iron is more prevalent, does that mean that if I take a weight of iron, and another weight of cold iron (of equal volume), and put them on a scale, that the cold iron will weigh more?

(An aside, does a darkwood spear have the special properties of a wooden stake?)

Now consider an urgrosh. It is perfectly legal to make the axe head of an urgrosh out of cold iron, and probably legal to make the spear haft (and, I guess, the point) out of darkwood. It weighs 6 lbs, and you can chop up demons into kindling with the axe head.

Now take this perfectly legal urgrosh, chop the axe head off and glue it onto the other end, and you sorta have a halberd if you squint. Which material is more prevalent?

hmm, I wonder a little about the effect the feat is intended to have: you cast a spell (or use a magic item) and nobody notices. Great if you want to maintain invisibility using a ring of invisibility, that's for sure!


A character can walk around invisible, or magically disguised, or just using Stealth. You're effectively hiding your identity. Effects like Spellsong and Secret Caster exist, which make the same thing happen: nobody knows where the spell came from.

I think that an invisible or disguised caster (or just someone who wanted to be sneaky) would definitely want this feat, because it fits in with everything they're already trying to do: that is, to crack an encounter without using combat.

There's a spell I'd like to cast in a social situation: telempathic projection. If my target or my target's friends saw the casting or noticed the spellcasting, I'd probably be attacked, on the presumption that the spell could be charm person or fireball. How exactly can I use this spell in a social situation if I'm not sneaky about it?

Cunning Caster and Subtle Devices should be legal for PFS, or spells that aren't applicable in combat should be removed from the additional resources.


Ultimate Equipment wrote:
Weapons and armor can be crafted using materials that have innate special properties. If you make a suit of armor or a weapon out of more than one special material, you get the benefit of only the most prevalent material. However, you can build a double weapon with each head made of a different special material.

A spear: 2 gp.

A cold iron spear: 4 gp.
A darkwood-hafted spear: 362 gp.
Tip it with cold iron: 362 * 2 = 724 gp (or possibly you don't double the masterwork component, so 300 + (62 * 2) = 424 gp)

A spear weighs 6 lbs. A darkwood spear weighs 3 lbs. A cold iron spear can be used to hurt a demon when you stab it with the pointy end.

If you stick a cold iron point onto a darkwood spear shaft, and you stab a demon with it, do you pierce the demon's damage reduction? If you do, does the spear suddenly gain 3 lbs of weight?

Okay, so far so good. Consensus holds that I can bluff the guards into not noticing the casting, and then I can get away with various spells that aren't totally obvious.

One more question before busting out the kitsune mesmerist with a snake familiar: would psychic spells, without metamagic, still incur Bluff penalties for using thought and emotion components?

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Trying to wrap my head around this new feat and the recent FAQ on spells and casting. Here's the reference material.

Heroes of the Streets wrote:

Cunning Caster: When casting a spell, you can attempt a Bluff check (opposed by observers' Perception checks) to conceal your actions from onlookers. If the spell requires material components, you take a –4 penalty on the Bluff check.

If the spell requires somatic components, you take a –4 penalty on the Bluff check. If the spell requires verbal components, you take a –4 penalty on the Bluff check. If the spell requires a focus or divine focus, you take a –4 penalty on the Bluff check. If the spell produces an obvious effect (such as a summoned creature or visible spell effect), you take a –4 penalty on the Bluff check, and even if your check is successful, observers still see the spell effect (though they fail to notice that you are responsible for it). All Bluff check penalties are cumulative.

Core Rulebook FAQ wrote:
Although this isn’t directly stated in the Core Rulebook, many elements of the game system work assuming that all spells have their own manifestations, regardless of whether or not they also produce an obvious visual effect, like fireball. You can see some examples to give you ideas of how to describe a spell’s manifestation in various pieces of art from Pathfinder products, but ultimately, the choice is up to your group, or perhaps even to the aesthetics of an individual spellcaster, to decide the exact details. Whatever the case, these manifestations are obviously magic of some kind, even to the uninitiated; this prevents spellcasters that use spell-like abilities, psychic magic, and the like from running completely amok against non-spellcasters in a non-combat situation. Special abilities exist (and more are likely to appear in Ultimate Intrigue) that specifically facilitate a spellcaster using chicanery to misdirect people from those manifestations and allow them to go unnoticed, but they will always provide an onlooker some sort of chance to detect the ruse.

Let's say a gestalt mesmerist/druid is trying to get to the naval port at, uh, Os Misely with a couple of wanted protocol androids. He casts a psychic suggestion at a couple of, uh, dormtroopers. He's using Cunning Caster to conceal his spellcasting.

Question #1: According to the FAQ, every spell has an obvious effect (twinkly CGI lights or some such). Does this mean that every use of Cunning Caster starts out with -4 on the Bluff check?

Let's say the dormtroopers are fooled into not knowing where the suggestion came from. However, any troopers that aren't suggested get wise to the fact that somebody cast a spell (because it's obvious). So, either you have to convince all the guards that one of them is a shapeshifting traitor (perhaps you could suggest it to one of them), or if that fails the troopers all pull out their claster rifles and you get to have a thrilling flame blade battle in the parking lot of a hive of scum and villainy.

Question #2: Do I have that right? #2b: Can anyone think of a case where Cunning Caster could be put to any use?

that feat is cra-mazing. Pretty sure that Merciless Butchery got ruined in the ACG errata thanks to some min-maxing on, uh, a few forumites' part to get the level requirements down to level 9. What's the minimum level for this foolishness? 6 from Greater Grapple, yeah?


I was specifically thinking of giving Bodyguard and In Harm's Way to an unchained demon eidolon, and use the combo to

a) protect its summoner from nasty spells
b) protect itself from those same nasty spells with energy resistance and spell resistance

I'm not entirely sure if this question has been asked before. If it has, my apologies.

Advanced Player's Guide wrote:
Bodyguard: When an adjacent ally is attacked, you may use an attack of opportunity to attempt the aid another action to improve your ally's AC. You may not use the aid another action to improve your ally's attack roll with this attack.
Advanced Player's Guide wrote:
In Harm's Way: While using the aid another action to improve an adjacent ally's AC, you can intercept a successful attack against that ally as an immediate action, taking full damage from that attack and any associated effects (bleed, poison, etc.). A creature cannot benefit from this feat more than once per attack.
Core Rulebook wrote:
Attacks: Some spell descriptions refer to attacking. All offensive combat actions, even those that don't damage opponents, are considered attacks. Attempts to channel energy count as attacks if it would harm any creatures in the area. All spells that opponents resist with saving throws, that deal damage, or that otherwise harm or hamper subjects are attacks. Spells that summon monsters or other allies are not attacks because the spells themselves don't harm anyone.

Question #1: Can a character with the Bodyguard feat spend an attack of opportunity even when it won't make a difference? That is, can you activate Bodyguard in response to a magic missile or fireball?

Question #2: If a character with In Harm's Way and spell resistance steps in to guard against a scorching ray that targets an ally, would spell resistance be checked?

eh, I actually consider this for my PFS character. Part of the reason is, well, I don't want to carry more stuff than I can remember.

a) carrying a greataxe, presumably can stow it on my back like in WoW
b) a shortbow w/arrows slung over one shoulder, same
c) a cold iron spiked gauntlet on one hand
d) a spring-loaded wrist sheath with a dart in it on the other arm (cloaked in a goofy wizard's sleeve, counts as a concealed weapon enemies don't know about, if I had the Underhanded rogue talent, which I don't)
e) a silver light hammer on one hip
f) a sap on the other hip
g) a bronze (who knows? maybe there's a DR/bronze monster out there) kerambit tied into a slipknot in my hair (an actual concealed weapon, which I can't draw fast enough to count for Underhanded, even though I'm still too ugly to make use of that talent (remember, it's minimum: 0!))
h) two bandoleers with eight pockets each (daggers, potions, and vials only), because I pretend that my character can only count up to eight
i) one belt pouch with a set of thieves' tools in it
j) another belt pouch with a healer's kit in it
k) wearing light armor, with a barbed vest on top of it (which I keep forgetting to use)
l) all the miscellaneous goop (rope, food, blanket) in the backpack
m) oh! and my weapon of last resort, the toothy alternate racial trait!

how's that for a well-equipped half-orc?

find something that trades out wild shape, you don't want it. Looks like the only archetype you can pull off that loses wild shape, isn't race-specific, and doesn't do weird things with nature bond is Nature Fang. Go be one of those.

What do you want? The Swamp domain!

Ultimate Magic wrote:
Natural Healing (Su): You can channel energy (as a cleric of your druid level) a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier, but only to heal animals, plants, and vermin. You may reduce the number of dice healed to cure ability damage (your choice) to all affected creatures, curing 1 point of ability damage for each d6 that the channel energy is reduced. You can take other feats to add to this ability, such as Extra Channel, but not feats that alter this ability, such as Elemental Channel and Alignment Channel.

Go fool around in the Underdark, or on an elemental plane, or really anywhere that doesn't have sunlight: you're all set.

So yeah, go rock out with some kind of swamp thing assassin-type dealy. Sounds good.

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Mark Seifter wrote:

FAQ Friday returns!

FAQ wrote:

What exactly do I identify when I’m using Spellcraft to identify a spell? Is it the components, since spell-like abilities, for instance, don’t have any? If I can only identify components, would that mean that I can’t take an attack of opportunity against someone using a spell-like ability (or spell with no verbal, somatic, or material components) or ready an action to shoot an arrow to disrupt a spell-like ability? If there’s something else, how do I know what it is?

Although this isn’t directly stated in the Core Rulebook, many elements of the game system work assuming that all spells have their own manifestations, regardless of whether or not they also produce an obvious visual effect, like fireball. You can see some examples to give you ideas of how to describe a spell’s manifestation in various pieces of art from Pathfinder products, but ultimately, the choice is up to your group, or perhaps even to the aesthetics of an individual spellcaster, to decide the exact details. Whatever the case, these manifestations are obviously magic of some kind, even to the uninitiated; this prevents spellcasters that use spell-like abilities, psychic magic, and the like from running completely amok against non-spellcasters in a non-combat situation. Special abilities exist (and more are likely to appear in Ultimate Intrigue) that specifically facilitate a spellcaster using chicanery to misdirect people from those manifestations and allow them to go unnoticed, but they will always provide an onlooker some sort of chance to detect the ruse.
Didja miss it?

Neat! Thank you!

yeah, I'm think if there actually is a paladin, a monk with a vow of chastity, or an Erastilite I might just make the summoner ditch the eidolon and go to town with fiendish wolves and see how that goes.

and yeah, I'd never hit on other PCs if I didn't know their players wouldn't find it funny. same goes for NPCs and the GM.

right, so, I've had this idea in my head for a CN summoner whose eidolon is a chaotic evil 'succubus-in-training'. Surprisingly, this is (for now) PFS legal. Now, in PFS (and also all other games I would consider playing in), you have to play nice. So no obvious psychopathy, PK-ing, or what have you. That's fine.

This character (or, uh, this character's eidolon) would be more interested in tempting PCs and NPCs into doing things that they think are wrong, but are not necessarily evil acts. E.g., offering consensual relations to standard-code-of-conduct paladins, monks (or others) with a vow of chastity, or married worshippers of Erastil. Basically tempting others to indulge in sin (which aside from all the horror movie nonsense, is really a demon's raison d'être).

Keep in mind that an eidolon (unchained or otherwise) has no business carting around something like a scroll of suggestion, a wand of unnatural lust, or eyes of charming. This is for RP-only.

In D&D alignment-parlance, is this evil (and thus is a no-no for PFS), or merely chaotic? Regardless of that, if the party was made up of real-life grown-ups (and you know, you know them well enough), would it be a bad idea to bring this concept to the table anyway?

Ultimate Combat wrote:
Felling Smash: If you use the attack action to make a single melee attack at your highest base attack bonus while using Power Attack and you hit an opponent, you can spend a swift action to attempt a trip combat maneuver against that opponent.

I don't have the text of Dirty Fighting (from the Dirty Tactics Toolbox), but I gather the gist is twofold:

a) you can dispense with most of the obnoxious prerequisites from Felling Smash
b) that you can avoid the attack of opportunity from using a maneuver if you are flanking your target.

The trip attempt from Felling Smash is a swift action. If you don't meet the conditions from Dirty Fighting, do you suffer the attack of opportunity?

Familiar Folio wrote:
Master’s Guise (Sp): At 11th level, a decoy can transform into a perfect likeness of its master, as the alter self spell. It can hold this form for up to 1 minute per caster level; upon changing back, the decoy must remain in its natural form for an equal amount of time before transforming again. This ability replaces spell resistance.
Advanced Race Guide wrote:
Change Shape (Su): A kitsune can assume the appearance of a specific single human form of the same sex. The kitsune always takes this specific form when she uses this ability. A kitsune in human form cannot use her bite attack, but gains a +10 racial bonus on Disguise checks made to appear human. Changing shape is a standard action. This ability otherwise functions as alter self, except that the kitsune does not adjust her ability scores.
Advanced Race Guide wrote:
Realistic Likeness: You can precisely mimic the physical features of any individual you have encountered. When you use your racial change shape ability, you can attempt to take the form of an individual, granting you a +10 circumstance bonus on Disguise checks made to fool others with your impersonation.

Can a kitsune wizard of at least 11th level with the Realistic Likeness feat and a decoy familiar cause their familiar to adopt the likeness of any humanoid (per alter self) the master has encountered?

hmm, now that I think about it, I think a kitsune with Realistic Likeness, Fox Shape, and a fox familiar with the decoy archetype (which would allow it to alter itself to any likeness the master can) sounds like a winner.

1. Go to a dinner party.
2. Instruct your familiar to look like you. (via master's guise)
3. Give your familiar a fearsome guise trick to reinforce the illusion.
4. Have your familiar mingle with the dinner guests while you go off and do crazy adventurey things. Or alter yourself to look like a different guest and talk to yourself, I guess.

actually, I have two feat trees for consideration, both going 1-11. any advice would be appreciated.

elf mesmerist (shoots bad guys)
1 Point-Blank Shot
3 Precise Shot
5 Reckless Aim
7 Intense Pain
9 Vital Strike
11 Elven Accuracy

I guess you could go Faerie's Strike here with a high Wisdom

kitsune mesmerist (has foxy powers)
1 Realistic Likeness
3 Empath
5 Fox Shape
7 Iron Will
9 Familiar Bond (fox)
11 Improved Familiar Bond (fox)

No idea if a mesmerist with a familiar is a good idea. Might be a cute target for a fearsome guise trick. I keep trying to jam Voice of the Sibyl in there somwhere, but it doesn't stick.

Nocte ex Mortis wrote:

Nope. Guess what? It's a swift action every turn to keep the Chakras going, so go you on your DR 3/- or your 2d8 non-typed single-target breath weapon, pick one?

Chakras are freaking terrible.

You are correct. The chakra system is indeed incredibly timid. The design decision apparently was 'anyone occult can do it', which necessitated all the checks against it.

I think space could certainly have been saved by just making a cool occult unchained monk archetype that used/manipulated chakras. Instead, we have to create special builds to get to the same result.

I started this thread because it didn't seem like there was a lot on the Advice forum re: optimizing a chakra-user. That's allowed, right?

Markov Spiked Chain wrote:

Why do you need Psychic sensitivity?

There are two basic challenges with Chakras:
- Getting enough Ki.
- Surviving crazy high DC Fort and Will saves (DC 38.)

I'd been toying with something like:
Cleric(Irori, Law Domain) 1/Ninja 2/Cleric X

With Cha as high as possible.

By the time you can open your last Chakra (14), let's say you've got a 24 Cha for 10 channels a day.
Cleric 12 is 6d6,+2d6 for Phylactery of Positive Channeling is 8 Ki points times 10 channels is 80 ki, plus ~8 to start with plus 5 from the Chakra feats.

For Saves:
+8 from Cleric 12.
+7 Cha
+3 Wis/Con (ish)
+5 Cloak
+2 Luck
+1 Competence

~ +26, still needs some work to hit a 38 reliably. I don't know where other good sources of saves are? One level of Paladin, Warpriest, and Druid would get another +6, but lose a die of channel/10 Ki. So +32.

From my reading of the saves, if you miss the Fort save, your Chakras are still open. So all you're really worried about is making the Will save to open the last Chakra. So Touch of Law the round before you open it will guarantee a 38. After that, you use Chakra Adept to skip the Will save. If you fail the Fort (~one in sixteen rounds with double-rolls) you take some damage but keep on chakra-ing.


How do you turn your channel energy into replenishing all your ki?

Chakras. Aren't they great?

1. Spend your swift action every round.
2. Spend a ki point every round.
3. Succeed at both a Fort and a Will save every round or become screwed.
4. Do all that, and you get some pretty wacky powers: DR, flight, true seeing, fiery breath, mass manipulation of d20s, etc.

So. A challenge?

Say hello to Iroran Paladin

1. You get good Fort and Will saves, plus divine grace
2. You get a ki pool
3. You get a stack of powers that key off of Cha, and the chakra saves are boosted by your Cha (not sure if that stacks with divine grace).
4. At high levels you get aura of perfection, which if you manage to use it and have your crown chakra open, gives you 3 d20s to make good with.

Here's a feat list

1 Psychic Sensitivity
3 ???
5 Chakra Initiate
7 ???
9 Chakra Adept
11 ???

Psychic Sensitivity is kind of a feat tax, so you might want to roll human. On the other hand, you're going to need sky-high saving throws, so halfling or half-orc might make a better choice.

So there's 3 feats free (possibly 4). Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Extra Ki? Or something else? Maybe roll half-elf and grab an eldritch heritage?

EDIT: You can't actually take Chakra Initiate until you get a ki pool, which doesn't happen until 4th level. woops!

Gorbacz wrote:
Byakko wrote:

Btw, another question that is becoming a common theme in this thread:

How precise does an attack need to be in order to qualify for Sneak Attack damage?

While a fireball may seem to be a rather imprecise attack, I submit that a giant's hammer is similarly imprecise against a tiny sized creature - the hammer's striking area is much larger than the target in this case. Yet I have yet to see anyone rule that this situation disqualifies Sneak Attack.

That's Rogues for you - they can hit precisely a pixie's left kidney with a Huge hammer without making it messy. That's how awesome they are. You don't come close. You don't compare. Talk to the hand, talk to the hand. example of this isn't a hammer, it's a snag net.

You can probably deal sneak attack damage with a snag net. You can deal sneak attack damage to a swarm (usually using magic). We don't have a definition of a 'precisable' weapon, which means the line is perhaps arbitrarily drawn at weapons->yes, spells->no.

anyway, I've no idea what Crimeo and alexd are talking about...

Castilonium wrote:
The only gods with Trickery that are within a step of lawful good are Erecura, Khepri, and Chaldira. And Erecura's the wife of an archdevil. None of these deities have explicit paladin codes.

I think a paladin of Erecura could make for great roleplaying, but I admit it gets complicated.

I think of those 3, Chaldira would appreciate best a paladin/mesmerist. So, there's a race settled. Hmm...

yeah, so, uh...

a) I don't know if divine grace and towering ego stack. I suspect they don't.
b) lay on hands: here is some divine healing from my deity. praise be! touch treatment: same thing?

So, a couple of questions

1. Say you have 12 levels to work with. What's your favorite cutoff, or would you go 6 and 6?
2. Any deities sponsor paladins where a) the deity has access to the Trickery domain, and b) the paladin code allows for lies and tricks.
3. Any good effects for paladins that trigger off Will saves that mesmerists can influence?

bbangerter wrote:
Crimeo wrote:

I think it should be fairly clear that it means "reach it with the damage/attack" not your fingers, in the case of ranged sneak attack. Otherwise, like... all ranged sneak attacks would be impossible, even with bows, and the text would be pointless.

Though even if you did want it to be actual literal reach, you could simply aim the fireball (or whatever spell that might actually work instead) 25 feet in front of you so that the 20 foot radius comes back and just barely covers your opponent but not you, while you're standing adjacent to it.

Fun fact by the way: aura of the unremarkable specifically only targets non-allies, so even this hypothetical hurdle is jumped without the slightest inconvenience by that one! Best. Spell. Ever. hehehe :P

While alexd1976 does so in jest, it is this particular type of intentionally reading the rules in a twisted and convoluted fashion that got us to "fireballs can do SA" in the first place.

As for aura of the unremarkable, SA does the same type of damage as the source. SA shocking grasp does electricity damage, SA piercing weapon does piercing damage. What kind of damage does aura of the unremarkable do? Even with the convoluted reading of applying SA to AoE, this spell does nothing for SA. Even with the valid ruling of SA on Surprise Spells, this spell does nothing for SA.

I'm with you. Why is aura of the unremarkable being brought up exactly? phantasmal killer is a much better spell for this purpose.

Vanykrye wrote:

I've started skipping some posts, because I saw something that should end the argument.

Everyone agrees that if you can't crit then you also can't sneak attack, correct? We're past the point where I would have to go find the multiple texts for that?

Now read this:

Spells and Critical Hits: A spell that requires an attack roll can score a critical hit. A spell attack that requires no attack roll cannot score a critical hit. If a spell causes ability damage or drain (see Special Abilities), the damage or drain is doubled on a critical hit.

So...if it can't crit, it cannot apply sneak attack damage. In order for a spell to crit, it has to have an attack roll. Only exception is the arcane trickster.

Case closed?

I do not agree. A monster ability (or type or subtype) that protects against critical hits is not the same as one that protects against precision damage.

d20pfsrd has a nice workup on what that means, here, in the sidebar.

You can sneak attack swarms (with a swarmbane clasp and some tricks, like Surprise Follow-Through or the skirmisher ability) and aeons, but neither of those kinds of creatures is subject to critical hits.

Hey, Advice Forum! How do I make an alias for myself that isn't a PFS character? I have to go around calling myself 'Facetiously Twisted Ohako' now.

Hi folks.

Thanks to all of you for reading and responding to my question. My aim is not to be inflammatory or obstreperous, but to explore boundary conditions within the game using logic and/or rules citations. If I have offended anyone with my question or my initial responses, then let me apologize.

Many people have said that there is no way a fireball spell may be used to deal sneak attack damage. Okay, how's this for a scenario?

CRB wrote:

fireball: A fireball spell generates a searing explosion of flame that detonates with a low roar and deals 1d6 points of fire damage per caster level (maximum 10d6) to every creature within the area. Unattended objects also take this damage. The explosion creates almost no pressure.

You point your finger and determine the range (distance and height) at which the fireball is to burst. A glowing, pea-sized bead streaks from the pointing digit and, unless it impacts upon a material body or solid barrier prior to attaining the prescribed range, blossoms into the fireball at that point. An early impact results in an early detonation. If you attempt to send the bead through a narrow passage, such as through an arrow slit, you must “hit” the opening with a ranged touch attack, or else the bead strikes the barrier and detonates prematurely.

The fireball sets fire to combustibles and damages objects in the area. It can melt metals with low melting points, such as lead, gold, copper, silver, and bronze. If the damage caused to an interposing barrier shatters or breaks through it, the fireball may continue beyond the barrier if the area permits; otherwise it stops at the barrier just as any other spell effect does.

A wizard can attempt to send the bead of a fireball through a narrow passage, such as an arrow slit (I'm assuming the arrow slit is not adjacent to the caster, lobbing deadly things out of an arrow slit you're next to is kind of their thing). So, here is a different narrow passage: a storm giant's nostril.

1. Could a wizard attempt to send the bead of a fireball up a giant's nose by rolling to hit the narrow passage of that giant's nostril?
2. Assuming the wizard hit that gap (with an attack roll, perhaps against the giant's touch AC), and assuming that the wizard had some levels of rogue, would a giant's nasal cavity count as enough of a 'vital spot' of the giant to allow the caster their sneak attack damage?

...and now we have a new fantasy tavern name...

So let's be done with fireballs for a minute. Consensus seems to indicate that because a fireball hits a whole area, and because sneak attack (and painful stare) rely on precision damage, it's usually pretty hard to be precise with a fireball. Never mind that (under the right conditions) a rogue could deal sneak attack damage with a snag net.

I'd like to ask again about ear-piercing scream.

a) it's an attack
b) it deals damage
c) it targets a specific creature, rather than a general area
d) it doesn't require an attack roll
e) it does not have the 'cannot target a specific part of a creature' clause that magic missile has

3. Assuming normal conditions are met (the target is denied Dex to AC or is flanked), can ear-piercing scream (and other spells like it) serve to deal sneak attack damage?

Well, let's try to address some of these questions in order.

ShieldLawrence wrote:
Sneak Attack requires an attack roll

Please tell me where it says this.

ShieldLawrence wrote:
To score a "hit" against an opponent, you must roll an attack roll and beat their AC.

Eh, I'm not exactly sure that a hit is as narrowly defined as that. I'll concede the point for now.

CampinCarl9127 wrote:
If the fireball is already striking all spots, including all possible vital spots, how would you add extra precision damage to it? The damage for striking all possible vitals so how would you make it strike more vitally?

This is the difference between a wizard and a rogue. A wizard learns how to shoot fire from his eyes, while a rogue learns how to make their attacks count in combat. How would a wizard learn to strike vital spots with a fireball? Train as a rogue!

Gisher wrote:
Fireball is an area of effect spell. It doesn't have a target.

Fair point. A fireball doesn't target a specific creature. It just targets a square. Although, there is a clause in fireball that lets a caster target a hole or arrow slit with the magical bead. You could make a case that a ranged touch attack roll (against, say, the eye holes in a great helm) would then allow sneak attack. Still, fireball doesn't seem like the best example spell, because it behaves so much like those naughty splash weapons.

So, let me change my target as well.

Ultimate Magic wrote:
ear-piercing scream: You unleash a powerful scream, inaudible to all but a single target. The target is dazed for 1 round and takes 1d6 points of sonic damage per two caster levels (maximum 5d6). A successful save negates the daze effect and halves the damage.

Let's see

a) ear-piercing scream targets a specific creature.
b) it's certainly an attack, and a range is called out (so it's a ranged attack, I guess)
c) a vital spot happens to be called out in the spell's name: the ear.

So, our prospective rogue needs to target a creature who

a) is denied their Dex to AC (or who is flanked by the rogue)
b) is within 30 feet of the rogue
c) is not concealed
d) has visible, unobstructed ears

Under those conditions, ear-piercing scream seems like a valid way to attach sneak attack damage to a spell without taking 10 levels of arcane trickster. How's that?

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