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princeimrahil's page

353 posts (577 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 4 aliases.


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I think Belkar actually has a pretty high strength score, especially for a halfling. I tried building a Belkar clone once, and I pretty much came to the conclusion that he dumped all of his mental scores in favor of his physical ones.

I think his top favored enemies are goblins and humans, based on his skill at fighting both. He seems to have a harder time with other foes, including undead (though he gets better against them, so that might be his third choice).

You may find this useful.

Ilja wrote:

If one wants to make the barbarian build more optimized for a comparision like this, thus making it more in line with Imrahil's build, do this:

** spoiler omitted **

That would mean an out-of-combat Spell Sunder at a +23 CMB if I'm correct (I'm bad at CMB/CMD, but it should be +7 BAB +6 STR + 7 Strength Surge, right?) meaning it can supress most spell effects in the game and on average remove any spell effect with a caster level of 6 or less, and can sunder up to 14 times per day (assuming no other raging).

Comparing the skills after I recalculated the barbs ones (and correct me if I missed anything). These are skills for each character while in armor (though the armor penalty is 1 for them both, though climb/jump isn't affected for the barb):

** spoiler omitted **...

Not to be too picky, but would you mind doing a full stat-up? It's just a lot easier for me to read/compare that way.

Ilja wrote:

But barbarians CAN be better at social interaction. With Intimidating Prowess (a quite common feat) and Rage, their Intimidate skill will be higher with equal skill point/feat investment. A barbarian can have a higher strength than a fighter have, even if they start with equal stats.
So, at say 5th level, half-orcs with stats of 15/14/14/10/13/10 (20 pb buy with 1 extra point in str), and both with Intimidating Prowess and maxed ranks, the fighter has +14 Intimidate and the barbarian can rage to get +16 Intimidate. If using it to change the attitude of someone she'll need to spend most of her rage per day, but it's something the fighter can't even do. And with Intimidating Glare, she can force two saves in a single round and make the target shakened for many rounds; continuously doing this when the old duration is about to run out will keep the target shakened, opening up for other characters' intimidation/diplomacy better.

The thing is, we're getting into Schroedinger's Barbarian territory here. All of these options require the investment of limited resources (skill points, feats, ability scores). We can't really evaluate them outside of specific builds, because in order to set up this neat intimidate trick, you need to devote rage powers, skill points, and feats into it - all of which will detract from the barbarian's offensive output. My point remains the same: the fighter can still be a competitive warrior and have out of combat utility as well as other martials (possibly excepting rangers) - other martials will noticeably outshine them in combat only when *they* neglect their own versatility.

And of course, since the fighter gains 2-3 skill points per level and the barbarian gains 4-5 skill points per level, the fighter cannot max out all social skills even if she wants to, while the barbarian can and might still have skill points over.

I'm amazed at how often people keep coming back to "barbarians get more skill points." Yes, we all recognize this, it's an obvious fact. However, the point is that a fighter doesn't necessarily have to max out every skill - they can use feats like skill focus to give them such a huge boost that they can be competitive (at times, even BETTER) than barbarians without maxing every skill. Fighters don't have to be the BEST at every skill to be useful in "utility" areas, they just have to be reasonably competent at them (and my build provides an example of a fighter who can do exactly that).

A barbarian that simply maxes out social skills, without taking any traits or feats to help out, is going to fall behind a fighter who spends a trait and takes skill focus - those bonuses add up in a huge way, and you can see this in the builds that have already been posted.


Neither the barbarian nor the fighter are very good socially, but while neither can be "good cop" very well, the barbarian is better than the fighter at being "bad cop" at least.

Only when the fighter wishes it to be so. They, too, can take intimidating prowess, and they can also take skill focus: intimidate. If they took both of those feats (chump change to them, really), they can be just as good if not better than a barbarian at intimidating.


There are very good utility powers, Spell Sunder being the primary example and one of the absolutely most game-changing powers in the game. I mean, no other class can get to destroy demiplanes at will.

Oh, there's a Wall of Force blocking the way? GROG SMASH
Oh, the rogue was out scouting and was hit by a dominate person and is now attacking the party? GROG SMASH
Oh, the artifact is protected by several layers of Symbol Spells? GROG FULL-ATTACK SMASH WHILE CLOSING EYES!!! GROG HAVE BLIND-FIGHT!!!

Other very notable utility rage powers include Scent, Intimidating Glare, and Strength Surge. They are all very good, hard to match for a fighter, and Strength Surge mixes very well together with Spell Sunder.

1) Rage powers are inherently combat powers, because they are measured in rounds.

2) Several of the examples you cite above are potentially (or directly) combat encounters, e.g. the rogue *attacking the party,* intimidating glare is specifically a combat power, you need so many rounds to use scent that using it outside of combat would burn up a substantial number of your rounds for the day, etc...
3) Almost all of that "utility" is based on one very specific build. Not everyone wants to play a spell-sundering barbarian (partly because not everyone likes superstition that much).

And look, it IS a pretty baller ability, and definitely a game-changer, but I think you're drastically overestimating how useful it is in non-combat applications (though again, we're just going to have to agree to disagree here, because short of going through an AP step by step, there's no good way to measure this).


You do know that every class except the fighter and monk can choose class abilities that aid in social interaction, and the monk has two more skill points per level and Sense Motive as a class skill?

Claiming all classes are "exactly as customizable" because all have skills - and ignoring both the amount of skills and all non-skill abilities - is a really bad argument.

What class abilities are you talking about, specifically? I don't see any on the barbarian list, nor do I find any on the paladin list. Rangers get wild empathy, I guess, but that's extremely limited in application (and not exactly "social"). Rogues get some, I'll give you that, and the casters get oodles, but try and stay on point: we're talking about the MARTIAL classes, not all classes.

Put your money where your mouth is - show me a martial build with, say, a Paladin, that has substantially more out of combat versatility than a fighter while also being a competitive warrior.


Also, with 16 rounds of rage, that should last through most of the average AP adventuring day - the barb can no doubt rage in every fight that's even somewhat a threat to the party.

Also, note that you simply state that superstition isn't that big of a benefit - now if you don't consider it that big of a benefit, for the purpose of this comparision it could have just as easily been an additional 7 skill points instead, which makes quite a difference.

I think you're stretching a bit on the rounds of rage issue. Any good DM in a regular game is going to keep pushing you instead of letting you rest after going nova in each encounter, and the APS... well, like I said, the only way to measure that is to go through one and that's a bit too tedious for me, so we'll have to agree to disagree there.

And sure, the barbarian can pick up 7 extra skill points instead, but... that doesn't make the fighter any *less* useful out of combat. The barb has pretty much hit all of his class skills already. I suppose he could pump a few more into some of his athletic skills, but that's not going to make him meaningfully more utilitarian.

So... yeah, I remain pretty convinced of my position (big surprise, I know). I would, however, like to see what you could come up with in terms of a 7th level paladin.

Kiinyan wrote:

{quote=princeimrahil] Human Fighter 7

Str 18 (20)
Dex 14
Con 14
Int 13 (+1 at level 4) = 14
Wis 12
Cha 8

I can't quite trace where this stat array is coming from.

16 str (10 points) +2 racial
Dex 14 (5 points)
Con 14 (5 points)
Int 13 (3 points)
Wis 12 (2 points)
Cha 8 (-2 points)
still puts you 3 over the limit. If you dropped starting str to 15 and didn't bump the int it would work I think.

Ah, yeah - it looks like I goofed the math - but I think you're right, I can drop Str to 15 at start and put that extra ability point into it.


That being said, I do appreciate the versatility of the fighter presented. I do cringe at the skill focuses, because simply there are better feats that can be bought than getting +3 to skills.

I see "better" as being relative - fighters get tons of feats, so the "cost" of picking up something like skill focus is lower than for other classes. Also, after spending those two feats, I won't need to spend any more on skill boosters, especially since skill focus scales up (granting an extra +3 at 10 ranks). I think that, in particular, is what makes it pay off - if you're thinking in the long-term, it's spending one feat to get a +6 bonus, which is really pretty great.

And yes, there are other good combat feats - but I wanted to make a fighter who was pretty good at other things. He doesn't need those two extra feats to be able to do his job - he can still bring the pain in a way that's comparable to barbarians. I will be less optimized for combat *by definition* because the only way to be *optimized* for combat is to put all of your resources into it. But not being *optimized* doesn't necessarily mean being useless (and I think we both agree here).

But I appreciate your honest appraisal of this. I think many players might well still prefer playing barbarians or other martials, and that's fine, but I hope I've shown how fighters can still do things other than fight.


Also I don't know how you are calculating skill points
SP 38: (2+int(2))*7 +7(human)=28+7=35

You're also shorting yourself one feat.

Levels 7 x2 = 14

Int = +7
Favored Class = +7
Human = +7

That's 35. Originally, when I got the abilities wrong, I put the 4th level "bump" into Int, which translated into a few extra skills points (though even now I see that it should have been 4, bringing me up to 39, instead of 3, but whatever).

And, wow - I did somehow miss a feat. I guess it just wasn't a good night for me and math. There's a lot of great ones to choose from - improved iron will being a particularly attractive one, I think.

Flavor wise I also appreciate that the barbarian presented has more options than I hit it every round through his spell sunder, and also will later on have significantly more damage output simply through pounce saving him a round.

Yeah, I think looking into the "future" of their builds would show some interesting things. The barb's going to be getting those full attacks, which is really nice, and as the fighter's armor training improves, he can switch out to adamantine full plate (to pick up a nice little slice of DR) and he can begin exploring some of the deadlier feat chains (like the crit line, which will give him some nasty debuffs). I think one difference, though, is that the fighter is going to pull way ahead of the barbarian in certain skills (diplomacy and perception) in a few levels, when the extra skill focus bonuses come in. So while the barbarian's edge in smashing things is going to probably increase vis-a-vis the fighter, the fighter's out-of-combat utility is going to improve over the barbarian's. A pretty reasonable comparison, I think.

Thanks for taking the time to compare builds. Makes for a much more productive discussion, I think.

Kiinyan wrote:

My attempt at a level 7 barbarian using the 14, 14, 14, 14, 12, 8 array :

I admit, he's not the talker everybody is saying about barbarians, but he certainly has out of combat utility that doesn't cost him half of his feats.
** spoiler omitted **
He certainly isn't as tanky, but his damage output is far superior, he contributes greatly out of combat with sense motive, the physical skills, intimidate, Know(nature) and it didn't cost him his favored class point to have more skills/level. He didn't use any feats on getting/improving his class skills. In addition, his saves are phenomenally better than the fighter. His HP is admittedly lower but normally I wouldn't use this array, and he'd have a 16 con so I could use raging vitality.

EDIT: Needed to fix the stats, and I shorted myself a feat

His damage output is better because I built a sword-and-board fighter (I've been playing two-handers for a while, so I'm a bit bored with them). For a better comparison, I did a quick tweak to make him into a two-hander (and to actually include traits - my group usually doesn't use them, so I always forget to add them. Also I forgot to include the extra stat point at level 4).

Rhodes, the Scholarly Two-Hander:

Human Fighter 7

Str 18 (20)
Dex 14
Con 14
Int 13 (+1 at level 4) = 14
Wis 12
Cha 8

HP: 74
AC: 24
Fort: +8 Ref: +5 Will: +6

Skills (38): Acrobatics 5/+7, Climb 5/+13, Knowledge: Dungeoneering 3/+8, Knowledge: Engineering 1/+6, Survival 5/+9, Perception 5/+12, Diplomacy 7/+12, Intimidate 5/+7, Swim 2/+10

Feats (8): Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, Toughness, Power Attack, Furious Focus, Skill Focus: Perception, Skill Focus: Diplomacy, Iron Will

Traits: Extremely Fashionable, Eyes and Ears of the City

Relevant Abilities: Weapon Training 1, Armor Training 2

WBL 23,500

+1 Mithral Full Plate 10,650
+1 Two-handed Weapon 2,000
Amulet of Natural Armor +1 2,000
Ring of Protection +1 2,000
Belt of Giant Str +2 4,000
Cloak of Resistance +1 1,000
Fancy Duds: 150

Attacks: +15/+10 (+15/+8 w/ Power Attack)
Damage: 2d6+11 (2d6+17 w/ Power Attack)

Comparing these two, we see the following:

1) IF the barbarian is raging, he somewhat outperforms the fighter in damage and attack bonuses. When he isn't raging, he somewhat underperforms against the fighter. This is pretty much what we expect of these two classes - rage is a limited use ability, so it delivers a little more bang for the buck.
2) Saves are comparable when not raging. Barb's are substantially better while raging, but Superstition does carry a bit of a catch in the "you have to make saves against friendly spells too." I know some people think it's still a good tradeoff, and I can see their reasoning, but I'm not as sold on it (I'm more of a team player guy).
3) Skills are very comparable. Both classes outperform the other in a few skills, and are very close to each other in a few other. They also have the same breadth/type of skills: the barbarian has a couple of social skills, some knowledge, and some athletics, and so do does the fighter (though the barbarian's knowledge is more specialized whereas the fighter's is more broad). If we pushed a few skill points around here or there, they'd probably be virtually identical.
4) Even two-handing, the fighter has a better AC than the barbarian (and the barbarian's will only get worse when he rages). The barbarian does have some DR to help offset this, though.
5) The barbarian actually has LESS hp than the fighter - and while I appreciate your point that normally you would pump his Con higher (I would too, personally) - those ability points have to come from SOMEWHERE, which means that he's going to be sacrificing some offensive combat ability or some of his skills... making him not outshine the fighter in either of those areas.

So personally, I think this build comparison illustrates my point - one certainly can build a fighter that has as much out of combat utility as other martials (with the possible exception of rangers) without making him useless in combat.

Does the barbarian pack a little more punch? In the short term, probably, but there other circumstances where I think the fighter proves his worth (e.g. when the barbarian cannot rage due to fatigue or having run out of rounds).

And of course, this is only a snapshot at level 7. Comparison at different levels might show us a different picture, but I think this is a good place to do it, since once you break into the double-digits you're just going to be letting the spellcasters handle all of the utility problems anyway.

Nicos wrote:


1)usually my fighters do not dump int and mostly use my favord class bonus for skill or CMD. So?, the otehr classes still have more out of combat utility with much less reaources, and the fighter still does not fighter better.

Let's try and stay specific to our original point - whether or not fighters are particularly worse off than other martials at doing "non-combat stuff." I submit that they aren't. Now, wizards and clerics etc. are certainly going to be best at "utility," but they're superior to ALL the martial classes in that regard - so let's stick to the original point.

At this point, simply repeating your point view isn't particularly productive - *show* me why your perspective is right (i.e. give me a build).


2) CLimb and swim? come one. yeah, I spend skill poits in climb and swim, they are useful from time to time. But they are far from useful as other skill, much less as others things. Still, a barbarian clibm and swim equally good as the fighter, and have 2 other skills for whatever else he want to be. And stil he fight at leas as good as the fighter.

What else is a barbarian going to do? Their class skill list is not that great. They can't be any better at social interaction than a fighter, nor are they going to be any better at scouting. Once again: show me a build.

3) Rage power are better than most feat, hands down. There are good fighter only feats (pin donw, for example) still, they are few. And no feat really compare with the beast totem and the superstitions rage powers chains (excetp dazin assault, but barbarian can have that too).

Like I said, we'll have to agree to disagree, but let me also remind you again: we're talking about whether or not a fighter can do things other than fight as well as other martial classes. Those rage powers that you mentioned to me are not "utility" powers - they're all combat powers.

4) Fighter are highly customizable IN COMBAT, maybe the thing I most like about the class. Why the have to be so non-customizable out of combat?

They are exactly as customizable as any other pathfinder class - they can take any skills they want.


5) About halfling, you are wrong. Still cha is a dump stat for ahflings fighters. you can of course, rise that stat and be good at diplomacy but the advantage of a high CHA would neve be that high as for paladins. Paladins in combat abilities is tied to cha, a fighter with a high cha sffers in his combat prowess.

So, in order to achieve paladin levels of diplomacy you have to sacrifice the only feature of the class (it combat prowess).

Let's do a little math. The average Paladin is going to rock what, a 16 Charisma? And diplomacy is a class skill, so he's getting +6 on top of his skill ranks.

Let's say we build a halfing fighter who still "dumps" Cha to 8, but then gets that +2 racial bonus, putting him at ten. So no modifiers either way. He takes Extremely Fashionable (or any of several other traits), and now he's got diplomacy as a class skill (and a +1 bonus once he has a little extra cash for nice duds). He spends one feat: skill focus: diplomacy, and now he has an extra +3 bonus (that will become a +6 bonus when he puts 10 ranks into the skill). So at the cost of one feat and a trait, and while STILL dumping CHA, a halfling fighter can actually be SLIGHTLY BETTER at diplomacy than a standard paladin (who will get ranks +6, whereas this short fighter will get ranks +7).

Like I said, if you actually sit down and try building a more versatile fighter, you'll find that it can be done. You just have to use some creativity.


6)I do not dump int and cha for fithters (not both, and not to 7), the same way you should not suppose people just dump int and cha for barbarians.

I make that assumption because usually the response to people making balanced fighter builds is saying that they're not "optimal" and they will fall behind other martial classes. However, they fall behind other OPTIMIZED martial classes, which themselves usually aren't very good at things other than fighting, so... yeah, it all comes back to how you build your character.

I know you're busy with stuff, but I look forward to seeing your barbarian build when you've got time.

CWheezy wrote:

Something I was thinking about:

Wizards get spell specialization, and every level they get to change it to a different spell if they wish. Why can't martial classes, especially fighters do the same thing with all their weapon focus/spec/dazzling display, etc?

I use this as a houserule in my game, it is pretty nice for fighters to actually use the loot they find instead of immediately selling and enchanting the same sword they have had forever.

There is feat re-training...

Nicos wrote:


1) terrible logc. 4 skills are not particulary impreive, 2 skills ARE certainly awful.

If you dump int and don't use favored class bonuses, then yeah, you are at a disadvantage. But you don't have to do those things. It's only terrible if you CHOOSE to limit yourself.


2) paladins do have sinergy with charisma makeing them good at social aspect of the game. And they have a lot of utility, and they still can hit hard.

And fighters have synergy with strength, making them good at the athletic (e.g. swimming and climbing) aspect of the game. Paladins have about the same utility as a fighter, because the vast majority of their powers are related to combat and, like the fighter, they get 2 skill pts/level.

Barbarians, they gain rage powers at te same rate fighters gains combat feats, a bad trade for fighters when you realize that rage powers tend to be just better than most combat feats.

There are some very good rage powers, but there are also some very good feats. This point we will have to just agree to disagree on, because I'm not interested in doing an exhaustive comparison of rage powers vs. feats.

So, woudl it be bad for fithers to have a couple of more skills? why people oppose to this?

I don't think it would destroy the game, but I don't see the need for a change. Fighters can do just fine if you sit down and use a little creativity (which, you know, is the cornerstone of the entire game). I also like that fighters are both very straightforward (i.e. pretty easy for a new player to pick up and use) and highly customizable. I don't think it's broken, so I don't think it needs to be fixed.

3) Halfing gains charisma not int. My ponts is that a barbarian can be of any race and still have more skill points than a human fighter that spend his favored class bonust skills. And then the barbarian have a great edge in hit points.

My mistake about halflings - though, if they get a boost to int, by you earlier logic about Paladins, that makes them "good at the social aspect of the game," so I think my point about them still stands.

As for the barbarian - yes, you ARE correct that the class gets more skill points than a fighter. That is an undisputed fact. The point I am making is that it's easy for a fighter to make up the difference because his feats give him a lot of leeway.

And the barbarian will ALWAYS have an edge in hit points - I hardly see how that's relevant. We're not talking about whether one class is "better" than another, we're talking about whether or not fighters can do a good job at fighting and still contribute out of combat, which they can.

4) Does not optimized fighters dump int and cha to the ground? how they have more skill points.

It depends on the fighter. Some fighters might well do that, but there are several fighter builds that make use of feats that require good int/charisma. It might be that you only build fighters like that, but that's a problem with your level of system mastery, not with the system.

For the record, with 20 PB my favorites tat distribution for fighters and barbarians is 16,14,14,14,12,8. So yeah, I try to make my mundane charcters actually good at mundane things.

I'd like to see you post a 7th level build for a barbarian with those stats. I'll go ahead and do one for a 7th level fighter, and we'll see how they measure up in terms of skills and combat effectiveness.

Rhodes, the Well-Rounded Fighter:

Human Fighter 7

Str 18
Dex 14
Con 14
Int 13
Wis 12
Cha 8

HP: 74
AC: 25
Fort: +7 Ref: +4 Will: +3
DR 2/-

Skills (35): Acrobatics 5/+6, Climb 5/+11, Knowledge: Dungeoneering 3/+7, Survival 5/+9, Perception 5/+12, Diplomacy 5/+10, Intimidate 5/+7, Swim 2/+8
Feats (8): Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, Toughness, Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, Cosmopolitan (Perception, Diplomacy) Skill Focus: Perception, Skill Focus: Diplomacy
Languages Known: 4

Relevant Abilities: Weapon Training, Armor Training

Combat Gear (there's a bit of cash leftover, but this seems like a decent approximation of how I would probably build it):

+1 Adamantine Breast Plate
Heavy Shield +2
+1 Weapon
Amulet of Natural Armor +1
Ring of Protection +1

Attacks: +14/+9
Damage: 1d8+8

So here's a guy who is pretty good at talking to people, very competent in athletic areas, very good at spotting danger, and more than competent at surviving in the wild - heck, he can even contribute some knowledge about aberrations and oozes in a pinch. His per-strike damage isn't out of this world, but thanks to his tripping build, he can severely hamper enemies and keep them from getting at his allies (which is what he's supposed to be doing anyway). He's got a respectable AC and some DR, to boot, plus a solid number of hit points - he's not going to be taken down easily.

And the thing of its, he's probably going to be just as good, if not better than a barbarian of the same level (though I'll wait to see your build). He's going to have the same hit points as a barbarian using your "preferred" stat array until the barbarian rages (in which case, the barbarian is only going to pick up 14 more hp, so pretty comparable). His DR is actually going to be slightly better, his AC will definitely be better, and he'll have more tactical options in combat thanks to his feats.

A barbarian with your stat array will probably have an attack bonus that's equal to (possibly less than) Rhodey here, even while raging (+7 BAB +5 Str and +1 weapon). He'll probably be two-handing it, so he'll bring a little more pain (2d6+8 vs. 1d8+8) when Power Attack isn't factored in - which is a bit tricky to figure, since his attack bonus isn't that stellar.

And in terms of out-of-combat utility, he's going to probably be about as good (in some cases better) than your barbarian in those skills.

So like I said, I'll wait to see what kind of build you come up with, but it looks to me like using a little creativity can actually create a fighter that is just as good as contributing in and out of combat as a barbarian.


And I do thing the devs made amistake in this case, I will call it not just bad but terrible.

They do not really care about balance, at least not for fighters, rogues and monks.

I think the problem is with a lack of player creativity, not any design feature.

Nicos wrote:

There are several weakness here.

1) 4 skill per level does not make any clas REALLY good in skills.

I'm not sure what your point is here - that having 2 more points than the fighter doesn't make them appreciably better? Okay then, we agree!


2) fighter are good at fighting, the sames at almost every other calss. Without going to far, paladins and barbarians. Why they can be good outside combat too. Fighters are not particulary better at figthing that the other classes.

The item that is specifically cited as being the case of fighters "not being good outside of combat" is their low number of skill points.

Paladins get exactly the same number of skill points, while also being more MAD than fighters are - why are they not considered so be "not good outside of combat?" Because they can HEAL? That's pretty much a combat ability (although many players choose to use it after combat, it's only real relevance is in terms of hitting other things and getting hit back). They get some spells, too, but they aren't utility spells, they're buff spells - everything that Paladins do revolves around combat.

Barbarians? Okay, they get two extra skill points. But ALL of their rage powers revolve around combat (we can tell this, because rage is measured in ROUNDS). They also don't have the surfeit of feats that fighters do (which allow fighters to spend some of their feats on skill-boosters).

Let me be clear: fighters will never be as BROAD in their skill sets as other classes. But they can pick up a few skills and be pretty competent (if not the ZOMG UBER BEST) at them.


3) What about other races? are they doomed to be dumb?

From the builds I see most people post... yeah, apparently.

But more seriously - halflings and elves get an int bonus, which is practically the same thing as getting +1 skill/level. Half-orcs can choose to put that extra +2 into int if they want.

And... I thought we were talking about classes, not races. Is your point that some races are better at picking up more skills than others? In which case: yes, I agree. Shall we get back to talking about fighters?


4) Using yout favored lcass bonus in skill make you weaker in combat. Now the human barbarian with int 13 is better at skill an also plain superior in hit points.

Are there that many human barbarians that put a 13 into int? I was under the impression that most optimized barb builds used int as a dump stat. I mean, I GUESS a barbarian could choose to do that, if he was built for the sole purpose of saying, "Nuh-UH! Barbarians can still have MORE skill points!" But at that point, he'd be hurting his own optimization, wouldn't he?

And you know how the fighter compensates for using his favored class bonus for skills instead of hp? A feat: Toughness. BOOM. He uses his main class feature (a bazillion feats) to allow him to pick up other options that aren't immediately apparent.

Gosh, it's almost like the devs INTENDED for the fighter to use his plethora of feats to allow him to branch out as a character...

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kaisc006 wrote:

The skill thing is overstated. Be a human, put your favored class bonus into skills, and have an int of 13 (which opens up that combat expertise line, anyway). Boom! You've got five skill points/level.

And an inferior character. What would a fighter need combat expertise for? Combat maneuvers? A monk can do that better. AC? Heck a rogue with a one level fighter dip could beat you out for AC and still have tons of skills and abilities. Further proving that the fighter is a dip class.

Combat maneuvers, yes - which he can specialize in at low levels, and then then start trading out once they start becoming impractical, since he has the ability to trade out feats every four levels. He specializes in, say, tripping for early to mid levels, and then around level 8 starts trading those trip feats out for crit feats. Gosh, it's almost like the devs had PLANNED for this kind of build...


Plus the fighter doesn't even have acrobatics as a class skill and the main benefit of armor training is using acrobatics in heavier armor...

Skill focus: acrobatics. Boom. 1 feat (of which fighters get TONS), and you're actually BETTER off than someone who has it as a trained skill, since they won't get an EXTRA +3 at 10 ranks.

And I would say the main benefit of armor training is being able to wear adamantine armor instead of mithral armor, so as to pick up some DR without sacrificing mobility.

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The skill thing is overstated. Be a human, put your favored class bonus into skills, and have an int of 13 (which opens up that combat expertise line, anyway). Boom! You've got five skill points/level. That's plenty. Now, you won't be the BEST at any of them, but you'll be passable, especially if you take advantage of your tremendous number of feats and pick up some of the skill-boosters (which scale up at 10th level, so they keep paying off; a fighter with skill focus in a non-class skill could eventually become just as good as a character who has it as a class skill without any further investment, assuming we're not talking about prime stats here).

Fighters are capable of being REALLY good at fighting; we shouldn't expect them to be REALLY good at other things (though we can expect them to be decent at some of them).

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As with all things in this game, the real question should be:

"Does doing this make the story more interesting/exciting?"

If the GM plans well for it, then I think it can easily do that, and even if he doesn't, a clever player can still make it fun. I remember a paladin player fumbling and dropping his sword whilst fighting skeletons in a crypt. Rather than ducking to grab his blade (and soaking up some AoOs while he was at it), he elected to pick up the heavy stone slab that rested atop a nearby sarcophagus and started wailing on the skeletons with that. It was pretty awesome, and he could have done exactly the same thing if he had been disarmed/sundered.

I'm also not sure that this is really that huge of a problem. At low levels, it's pretty easy to "wing it" with a backup weapon since your gear isn't all tricked out. At higher levels, it's inconvenient, but not a game-changer, since it's pretty easy to stow a spare +1 mithral sword or whatever). Your attack bonus/damage is going to take a hit, but it's not going to put you out of the fight - so it ends up being just like a strong debuff.

If it happened all the time though, then yeah, I suppose it would get kind f annoying.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Vod Canockers wrote:
BraveEarth wrote:
Shifty wrote:
RJGrady wrote:

Why doesn't the bear get an additional +2 AC at 4th level? I honestly don't know.

Because we bearly get respect in this grizzly conspiracy in polar contrast to our feline companions.
Well best bear with it, and if they ever reveal the conspiracy I would say that's a Kodiak moment.
Paizo's opinion of bear companions is there in black and white, so stop pandaring to the crowd.
This is getting ursinine.

Someone should put a stop to this before they get a Boo Boo. Maybe we can ask a wise old Yogi for guidance?

Corragh Bearson wrote:
I guess the solution here is to either just not play a bear shaman / druid with a bear companion or commit a technical rules violation and re-skin a different animal.

Or just, you know, lean how to have fun roleplaying a build that isn't optimized

Seeing as my bear shaman is already level 5 and I don't want to start him over I'm going to go with the latter. It just sucks I'll have to clear it with every dm I play with before I sit down at the table during PFS play. Thanks to Paizo for creating a totally unnecessary and stupid real life hassle.

"Real life hassle" seems like a bit of a stretch when you're talking about one particular class option in an rpg that has what - almost twenty full classes? Inconvenient for PFS, sure, but really easy to fix in home games.

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Set wrote:

How about that scene in Dark World where Heimdall is all like, 'Hey, do you hear an invisible ship floating by?' and runs out and climbs stuff and leaps on the invisible space ship and *stabs it to death?*

Hot dayum. I want that dude as the first line of defense for my magical city!

My buddy and I actually had a big laugh about that scene, because immediately after he notices the invisible ship, the giant UN-invisible ship shows up, and I was like, "Way to miss the obvious one, big guy." (Yes, I know, it goes invisible later, but I don't think they established that the "mother ship" had stealth capabilities by that point in the film).

We were like, "Man, Heimdall just is really never successful at any of his jobs," so for the rest of the movie, every time Heimdall was on screen, we'd mutter, "You had ONE job! ONE JOB!"

I enjoyed the film more than the first one - Natalie Portman actually got to play a fun, interesting character for a change. And Kat Dennings is PURE GOLD.

And I'd just to be on record as having said, immediately upon seeing Loki *die* - "Well OBVIOUSLY he's not dead."

One thing you can do is to drop the skill focus in acrobatics and take skill focus diplomacy instead. That gives a nice, scaling bonus (kicks up to +6 at tenth level) and will allow you to sacrifice some points in Charisma in favor of another state.

I'm playing a cleric in a pbp game right now who spread out her ability scores pretty widely, but she's still got some killer skill bonuses because she invested in skill-boosting feats. Your character will be just as much a leader, but he'll be someone who learned how to lead, instead of having it come naturally to him (which kind of fits the "enlisted man" background, actually).

Give it up, Lemmy - it's Chinatown.

I was playing around, and I came up with this. I just threw it together kind of quick, so I didn't pay attention to the order in which I selected feats/abilities (other than sticking to the minimum level reqs). So obviously there's some tweaking that would need to be done.

D'artagnan the Barbarian:

[Insert Race Here] Barbarian (Urban Barbarian/Invulnerable Rager)

Stats (before racial adjustments):

Str 15 Dex 14 Con 11 Int 8 Wis 14 Cha 12

Archetype Abilities:
Controlled Rage
Crowd Control
Extreme Endurance


1 - Combat Reflexes
2 - Raging Leaper
3 - Improved Unarmed Strike
4 - Strength Surge
5 - Panther Style
6 - No Escape
7 - Panther Claw
8 - Bestial Leaper
9 - Panther Parry
10 - Knockdown
11 - Vital Strike
12 - Knockback
13 - Improved Vital Strike
14 - Boasting Taunt
15 - Greater Vital Strike
16 - Quick Reflexes
17 - Power Attack
18 - Mighty Swing
19 - Improved Critical
20 - Whatever

Invulnerable Rager isn't strictly necessary to achieve the concept (and may not be desirable if you're wedded to uncanny dodge) but I think the DR achieves two things:

1) Helps offset the lower HP
2) Simulates the "dodginess" of a swashbuckler - he's twisting, ducking, diving, and rolling so that he's only glanced or nicked by blows that would normally have struck him squarely.

I initially thought about using Crane Wing, but Panther Claw attracted me because it gives D'artagnan a chance to compensate for his smaller number of attacks by weaving in and out of the enemy position. Once he gets Knockback/Knockdown, he can use those retaliatory strikes to push/trip enemies as he passes by, nicely simulating the "crowd control" elements of a Swashbuckler who discombobulates his foes with his deft movements. This works well in conjunction with Crowd Control, which gives D'artagnan a nice bonus against those big groups of mooks.

Strength Surge is there to help ensure that key maneuvers are successfully pulled off, and Bestial Leaper helps mitigate the loss of damage from not getting full attacks, since it can be used with the Vital Strike line to jump up in someone's face and then fall back. And since this doesn't require Crane Style, you can actually wield your main weapon two-handed if you want/need to.

In terms of skills, he can easily sink his favored class bonus into more skill points, giving him 5 per level. Urban Barbarian adds Diplomacy and Knowledge: Local/Nobility (among others) to his list, giving him some more social grace.

If you're not going all the way to level 20, a first-level dip into monk might be worth it to pick up a bonus feat and improved unarmed strike for free (plus better unarmed damage and some nice save bonuses).

Like I said, it needs some fine-tuning, but I'm rather pleased with how this turned out. He won't have the same punching power as a fighter, but he should still be able to hold his own while jumping all over the battlefield and doing cool tricks. I think I might play a character like this myself the next time I get a chance.

This seems like the key line:

"They also enjoy the full benefit of any bonuses or modifiers you applied to the attack from other magical items, feats, and class or racial features."

Looks like it would work mechanically to me.

That said, I don't know that this would really add a whole lot of punch. Even with greater vital strike, you're looking at what - a total of 4d8 in a 30' radius? That still has to hit things? That doesn't seem any better than just casting fireball.

I'm out of the loop. What was the problem build in question?

I think using an Urban Barbarian/Invulnerable Ranger build with a one-handed weapon can actually pretty much accomplish this.

The barbarian class grants 4 skill points/level, which, combined with a favored class bonus and the human racial bonus, should be plenty (the high barbarian HD lets you get away with not spending favored class bonuses on HP). You can then pursue the Vital Strike Line of feats to pair with Bestial Leaper so you can achieve a highly mobile style of combat that still packs on a fair amount of damage. Rage powers like Swift Foot and No Escape contribute to the "bouncing over the battlefield" type of fighting, and there are a host of other rage powers that make it easier to pull off combat maneuvers (or achieve them in unexpected ways) which fits the "manipulating the environment" elements of the archetype.

Pretty cool guy, I have to say, but on the other hand, I must also confess: I tried reading Patriot Games and had to stop after the first fifty pages or so. Jack Ryan seemed too close to being a Gary Stu character for my tastes.

Lots of excellent suggestions so far - thanks to everyone for chiming in. As a follow-up question, how would you guys rank these in terms of both complexity and ease of access (i.e. cost/pdf availability?)

Anzyr wrote:
How many minions are going to be able to penetrate the Invulnerable Rager's DR?

L2 - DR/1

L4 - DR/2
L6 - DR/3
L8 - DR/4
L10 - DR/5
L12 - DR/6
L14 - DR/7
L16 - DR/8
L18 - DR/9
L20 - DR/10

...pretty much all of them. It's better than regular Barbarian DR, but I'm pretty sure any enemy wielding a heavy mace can manage to reliably deal more than 2 points of damage in a round (if we're talking about encounters for a 4th level party).

And as far as a 20th level party... I mean, is there even anything IN the bestiary that's CR 11 or greater that doesn't do more than 10 damage in a single swipe?

Ravingdork wrote:

I'm trying to start a discussion on "Why do GMs so often seem to dislike players using the much vaunted 'rule of cool?'" while others in the thread seem intent on debating "Why is the player trying to break the game?"

I'd say, RD, that GMs who game with players that share your... unique way of interpreting the rules... are the ones who are less trusting when it comes to "clever" character designs.

Those who have a different relationship with their players are far less suspicious (but then again, most of them, like Ciretose, sit down and talk out the individual characters with each player beforehand, so these situations probably rarely, if ever come up in any case).

GM Hills wrote:

Zaketta, your skills seem to be at second level. Is that correct or am I somehow miscounting something?

Ah, no, I think you're right. Maybe we got started at second level or something. I can't rightly recall. I'll go back and re-calc everything to make sure it adds up right.

I'd like to run a one-shot (maybe leading into some ongoing adventures) along the lines of Aliens/Predator (or even maybe something a little more "tech-heavy"). Basically, I'm looking for a system that supports a "squad" of soldiers/elite operatives. Ideally it would support a variety of gunplay (pistols, carbines, machine guns, etc) and not be TOO complicated (I'd like to avoid having to use a precise map with minis if at all possible).

Anyone have any good suggestions for systems that I might look into?

If you are having fun, there's nothing wrong with it.

If you think you might also have fun trying something different, go for it.

Glorfinmad, Elven barbarian.

/just kidding.

Is the Contingency Spell not available? Like, how about a Contingency Displacement/Stoneskin? That should keep you covered.

Xenophon's Anabasis could give you some neat ideas. Caesar's De Bello Gallico might also be good.

Tacticslion wrote:

I left it there because, on an iPad, that took a hecka-lotta work to do. I didn't want to lost it all.

And I waited a day before responding, assuming you would have revised by then. You didn't, so I responded to the parts that I felt needed responding to (others beat me to some points).

And, more importantly: why did you feel that deleting it later would somehow justify calling someone ignorant? "Hey, I insulted you earlier on the internet, but now I've deleted the post/posted a follow-up, so we're good, right?"

Perhaps, if you think the quality of your post might be suspect, you could save it in the body of an email or a word document and revise it *before* putting it on the web.

If your point was that comics aren't "bad" things, then you made it poorly by suggesting the easily offended stay away from it. If that was not your point, please restate it in a different way because it came off that way.

Nope, my point was that if I belong to group A, and topic B upsets me, and I am an adult with a sense of personal responsibility, I will avoid reading material that routinely includes topic B instead of expecting the writers of said reading material to avoid offending me.

However, you seem adamant on fighting over this. If you like, I will respond to some of your points.

Maybe I got a little peeved because you called me ignorant? And I see you've moved on to calling me self-righteous too (the "high-horse" comment) and a jerk, to boot. Yes, you're clearly taking the moral high ground here with all of that name-calling.


You seem to have a strange concept of the internet. Generally if something is interesting, it's taken and displayed all over the the place, not just at its origin location. If DC wanted people to know about their contest (which is the only reasonable thing to presume, since it is public and they want a good selection of artists) they would be exceedingly foolish to presume this wouldn't go beyond their website.

So I suppose this is more akin to: a nun opening up her newspaper and reading an article about a request, complete with sign descriptions and picture thereof.

So where did DC post this other than their website?


1) Find it yourself. It's beyond the scope of this conversation.
2) No. I'm not claiming this. I am claiming it's tacky because, as you pointed out for part one, we don't have the information backing this stuff up one way or the other.
3) It's a given that art can affect people's brains. If this wasn't true, people wouldn't imitate famous stars of music or television. People wouldn't dress up and go to conventions.
- a) a request for art is valid to discuss because, surprise, surprise, art will be developed, and thus it will be created.
- b) if they did consider it, they still pulled it off in a tacky fashion... to my tastes. They also didn't seem to think about it enough to give context.

1) The burden of proof lies with the person making the claim. If you say to me, "scientists have discovered that the moon is made of green cheese," I'm not required to go and find the evidence to prove *your* point. Also, *you* brought it up in the first place. Back when you thought you were being clever, I bet you thought it was germane. Now that I'm calling you on it, you're declaring it out of bounds. Funny how that works.

2) Okay, so just to be clear, you're saying it's tacky? Because in the original post you made, you called it "sexist, cruel, and inane." Which is it? Because there's a big difference between calling something tacky, and calling it sexist, cruel, and inane. "Tacky" just means in poor taste. The other terms have much stronger meanings, and include moral condemnation. Then again, maybe you're just changing your claims when people point out how weak your argument is.
3) No, it's *not* a given that art can affect people's brains. You're making a scientific claim about biology/chemistry here. I want you to back that up with some actual evidence, not merely your "we just know it" excuses. That's how a rational debate proceeds. Otherwise I can just do this:

"We just know that art DOES NOT affect people's brains." See? In the absence of a credible source, both of our claims hold the same weight! If you don't cite sources, debates turn into "Is too!" "Is not!"


Your assertion that, "it's her character" is false, as I've never seen her attempt suicide.

But you said you haven't read DC comics in years. Perhaps she has attempted some form of physical self-harm since then. Have you done the research to back up your assumption that this is out of character for her?

Or wait, I'll just use your trick: "We just know that Harley Quinn would harm herself physically." Dang, that is handy - saves me from having to do any research or know what I'm talking about!


False equivocation. I read the "poem" - it wasn't a poem, it was a request for potentially triggery material in what is not normally a triggery character. Further, I wasn't asking for someone to explain it to me, I was asking if I had the right emotional reaction or not.

Wait - a character in an emotionally and physically abusive and self-destructive relationship ISN'T "normally a triggery character?" Explain the logic underlying that conclusion, please.

Regarding the second point there: Are you saying that you were asking if you had the right emotional reaction, but not for an explanation *why?* In that case, you can stop reading after this next word: "No."

Just kidding. Your personal emotional reaction is simply that: a feeling that you got that is based entirely on your own subjective take on what you saw. I don't see how anyone else could tell you that your personal feelings were "right" or "wrong" any more than someone could say you were "right" or "wrong" for liking vanilla ice cream more than chocolate.

Nor was my original post directed at your "emotional reaction" at all. It was a response to Deathquaker's post, which resulted in you calling me ignorant and making some fairly weak arguments regarding my post. I have since responded to that post, and that appears to have deeply wounded your sense of pride.

Your claim seems to be that an artist should never be held responsible for their work. That's just silly.

Straw man arguments tend to be. What I specifically said was:

"No artist (with the possible exception of those receiving public money) should concern themselves with how people *might* react to any given work. This is just a little too close to suggesting that Danish cartoonists were irresponsible when they drew images of Mohammed, and were at least partly to blame for the ensuing violence."

My point here (since you seem to have missed it) is that it's silly to expect artists to be held responsible for the actions of any/everyone who ever views their work, because doing so would mean that Danish cartoonists are responsible for religious zealots killing people, and most of us would consider that a poor line of reasoning.

Similarly, a company should be held responsible for its policies, how it presents those policies, and what it does with them.

You've said that you're not asking for censorship. What then, do you mean by "holding a company responsible?" Should DC be subject to a fine because you (or some other person or group of people) found some of its art/policies offensive? Please be specific and clarify what exactly you are calling for here.


It's certainly not a legal thing, but it is something that DC should be aware of, as a corporation.

Being a corporation that acquires money from consumers (not a bad thing) means you need to be image-conscious in the eyes of the consumers you get money from. Otherwise, they will stop giving you money, and likely tell others to stop giving you money (or at least tell others that they've stopped giving you their money), which may cost you more customers.

Curiously, that's what we're seeing happen in this thread.

DC is a corporation. Thus it needs to be image conscious.

Has DC committed a sin? None that I can see. Have they made a bit of a blunder? Yeah, probably. Will the weather it and go on? Likely.

While many wouldn't accept it, I'd be totally fine if they either went, "Hey, guys, we know about the week, and that's why we did this: we wanted to <insert reason here>." OR went, "Look, we're sorry that we were unaware of the week. Our apology to those who were offended." (depending on which was true; if they are simply lying... ugh, bad DC, bad). Heck, I'd even kind of rather DC (if it's true) say, "Eh, we don't care."

They are unlikely to do any of those. I'm just saying that either would be better than ignoring the situation, at least, as I've oft repeated here, to me.

Let's be honest here: you started this thread with some strong claims about the moral quality of what DC had done ("sexist" and "cruel"). Now you seem to be backtracking and saying that, "No, of course it wasn't wrong, it was just bad business." In which case one is compelled to ask: why do you care so much about DC's bottom line? You haven't read any of their comics in years.


Que the emotional reaction. Que me coming here, to a hopefully more reasonable forum to talk through things. Que people getting on high horses on all sides (me included). Welp. Not necessarily more reasonable, just more varied, I guess.

If you avoid calling people ignorant, they might be a little less snarky when they reply. Just a tip.

Tacticslion wrote:
So... comics are a vice, and should be treated as such? Should they, then, be generally kept in low-key areas with their covers, well, covered, so the easily offended or triggerable aren't? That doesn't seem like it would help comics' image too much.

That's... actually kind of the opposite of what I was saying. I'm saying that if you are the sort of person for whom the mention of suicide is likely to provoke a strong negative psychological reaction, it would be wise to avoid reading material that seems likely to mention suicide. Basically, you know, take some responsibility for yourself.


This is less akin to a nun walking into a strip club and more akin to a nun walking past a really large sign going "HEY! WE WANT YOU TO COME HERE AND TAKE OFF YOUR CLOTHES! NEKKID!! YEAH!!!" and clucking her head in shame. This is publicly advertised.

Except we're talking about the internet - you don't have to navigate "through" the DC website to look up an article on Barbara Gordon or the Flash or whatever. It's completely avoidable. So your version of the analogy only holds true if the nun goes thirty miles out of her way to swing through the red light district on the way home for no discernible reason.


This... is both true and false.

True because it's impossible for an artist to know you, and know what you've been through. True because they can't just avoid creating. True because they can't be held responsible for what they don't know.

But false because, as an artist, you are choosing what to show the world. Art is inspirational to people, for good or ill. It inspires emotions, thoughts, and ideas. Exposure to it causes discussion and increased awareness... often for the good, but not always. This is true of all creative media.

Smut and pornography have been shown to cause your brain activity to lower while watching them. Mozart's music has been shown to cause your brain activity to increase while listening to it.

These are genuine, valid, psychological phenomena that occur.

Even if it's not as a direct an impact as the above two, art does cause the mind to shift. Thus, what is presented by an artist to the world is well worth considering before being published, whatever that art or medium actually is.

This isn't saying that an artist should be censored. It is saying that an artist should consider the impact that they'll make before doing something. If they don't it's not assigning "blame" but it is assigning "fault". Is that a fine distinction? Certainly. But one worth making.

1) Please point me to the data regarding brain activity and Mozart.

2) So what? Are you saying that comics are pornography? If not, show me the data that says that viewing a comic character in a suicidal pose has some kind of negative effect on someone's psychology.
3) You seem to be saying, "some art can have some kind of general, ambiguous effect on people's brains, therefore people should think before they create it." Is that accurate? If so, then:
a) This isn't art we're discussing. It's a request for art.
b) How do you know they didn't "consider" things before they posted? I mean, if all you are doing is asking that they think first - how does that actually matter as a call to action? "You should think before you post something offensive." "Okay, I thought about it, and I'm going to do it anyway." "Oh, well in that case, I'm satisfied." You need to make a substantive claim here. You seem to want to avoid calling for censorship, but you also want to impose some kind of penalty for people making public things that you find objectionable. You can't have it both ways.


You make a very good point here. I think part of this, at least for me, is that she's never been physically abusive toward herself (caveat: that I've seen). Seeing her purposefully attempt to physically harm herself is somewhat jarring and very different from my view of her character.

In fact, I don't recall her every purposefully trying to hurt herself. Certainly she puts herself in bad situations emotionally, but it just seems off.

I disagree - it seems like an extremely reasonable direction to take the character, given her psychosis. And, after all, comics characters do not need to be ever-static and unchanging - Batman was killing people back in the old days, after all.


In this case, however, from the context I have, it's a woman who's emotionally hurt making a "comical" attempt at suicide, which would, in theory, really work.

And that's part of it: the lack of context. I think a lot of the rejection may well evaporate if the proper context was given.

As others have pointed out, this really isn't much of a claim. We have plenty of context: the entire history of the character. What more do you need? What would be an example of what you're looking for? Do they need to spell out the entire plot for you? They're probably not going to do that... since, you know, they want to actually make the story and have people buy it to read for themselves. Perhaps you could wait until the actual comic is finished, buy it, and then read and judge for yourself?


If they're looking for talented artists, there are a very large number of other ways of going about it. Saying, "They're just looking for talented artists." makes me think, "Well why didn't they come up with almost any contest other than this?" To me, it's not that this is an art contest. It's that it's an art contest in (to my sensibilities) bad taste. It might not ultimately turn out that way. But it looks like it.

I'm not saying they don't have their reasons. I'm not saying their reasons are bad. I'm saying that not knowing their reasons makes them look bad.

Are you similarly upset that Microsoft has not explained its business model to you? Do you happen to know how Marvel recruits its artists and why they haven chosen that approach? If not, why are you not equally mad at them for committing the same "sins" as DC?

I don't think you've really provided an adequate explanation of what you mean by "context" or why/what exactly about this thing really bugs you and/or what exactly you want done about it.

It's also silly to compare this to T.S. Eliot. This isn't poetry. It's a contest. A public, open-called art context.

You were comparing it to Mozart (and porn, I guess) earlier. Make up your mind - are we talking about art, or smut? High culture Ar" with a capital "A" or general creative expression? My point is relevant because the student in the anecdote was doing what you seemed to be doing - grappling with something you didn't understand, and asking for someone else to explain it to you. Though I assume the student had actually read the poem in question, first.

If I, as a random person, made an art contest where the goal was to create a self-destructive (but ostensibly pretty) female attempting suicide, I'd be justifiably called out on it.

Why and on what grounds? You're using circular reasoning here: the contest must be bad, because it's getting "called out." Things get "called out" because they are bad.


I'm not upset over art.

Obviously, because no art has been produced. Yet for some reason you keep referring to Mozart and other "artists."

I'm disquieted and squicked out over the presentation of a contest's rules. It's not a "guilty until proven innocent" for me. It's a "that looks highly disturbing. Is it really?"

You had an emotional reaction to it and that's fine. Many other people did, too. What you (and they) might have to consider is that your reaction is based in *your* experience and tastes, and not particularly in the subject of the conversation. I mean, I have an aversion to broccoli, but that doesn't mean it tastes bad. It means that I simply don't like it.

I have had no particular beef with DC. I didn't like their decisions, sure. Ignoring their previous decisions and how they've handled character, however, is just foolish. Doing so is the exact same mechanism at work in... well... self-destructive and abusive relationships. It's hardly the same scope or scale, but simply going "they've made bad choices in the past, but certainly this one isn't that; I can trust them" isn't a healthy attitude. It is Harley's however.

You don't have to "trust them," though. You have absolutely no stake in this, since, as you mentioned, *you don't read DC anymore.* You don't have to worry about being offended by the comic when it eventually comes out, because you're not going to buy it anyway.

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DeathQuaker wrote:

My problem, as I have tried to repeat over and over and over, is that when DC posted its contest solicitation, they described the situation out of context. Which leads to concerns and wondering and outrage and all kinds of confusion about what they did, why they did it, and whether it was in a responsible or irresponsible manner. Especially when you look at issues like timing (the week before suicide prevention week).

I think the SP Week charge is pretty weak. Maybe this makes me a terrible person, but I had no idea there even was a Suicide Prevention Week in the first place - and had I known it existed, I almost certainly would not have known when it was, any more than I know the date for International Women's Day or Earth Day. The causes may well be extremely valid, but they are not really on the radar for a great many people, so it seems rather unfair to expect everyone to be aware of them.

I think it is in fact important to have triggery material in pop culture, but that it is depicted respectfully, showing its full consequences, and provides a context which inspires good dialogue about the situation.

There's no real rubric for determining these things, though, is there? I mean, lots of people are having a good dialogue about suicide and its portrayal right now, inspired by a request for artwork (note, it's not actually even artwork itself) that most consider in bad taste.

I might also snark a bit and suggest that the easily trigger-able are probably best advised to avoid reading comic books featuring extreme violence and the criminally insane - one might, after all, cock a skeptical eyebrow at a nun ranting about how offended she was by the attire of the ladies when she walked into a local strip club.

The only way I do think suicide is might be different goes along the lines of/adds to what Snorter said -- there is an effect commonly known as copycat suicide -- when someone with deep mental health issues sees someone they know or admire or follow commit suicide, they are more likely to decide to commit suicide themselves. For example, suicide rates notably went up after the deaths of celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Kurt Cobain. So there is a great responsibility that if you are going to depict a suicide, you do have to take extra care to depict it in a way that does not inspire copycats.

I disagree. No artist (with the possible exception of those receiving public money) should concern themselves with how people *might* react to any given work. This is just a little too close to suggesting that Danish cartoonists were irresponsible when they drew images of Mohammed, and were at least partly to blame for the ensuing violence. The problem with "copycat suicides" is not that famous people killed themselves, or that suicide was shown in popular culture - the problem is that those individuals are *already deeply damaged psychologically* and have not received the help they need. Comic artists are not responsible for their well-being - their family and friends are.

Harley is a disturbed young woman with an obsession with a man with whom she has a deeply unhealthy relationship with.

This description of her character is precisely why I was so surprised at all of the outrage over this. HQ is someone caught in a cycle of self-harm, while simultaneously projecting a carefree, "ditzy" attitude about her life of crime. The essence of her character is a stark, uncomfortable contrast between "peppiness" and abuse. The ad for the artwork seemed appropriate *for this character* for those reasons. For other characters, on the other hand (Poison Ivy, Catwoman, whoever) it would certainly have been mystifyingly off-target. But this is tailor-made for HQ and her unique role in the comics (though I should add the caveat that I haven't been following the most recent versions of the character, so I may be mistaken about her in her most current iterations).

I personally think this is largely inspired by people being generally unhappy for DC's editorial decisions of late, and jumping on this as another opportunity to crucify them. Consider: one of the main charges is the "lack of explanation of context" for this contest. Why should they have to provide any context beyond the fact that they were looking for talented artists? Why should they have to explain their intended aesthetic effect for art that *hasn't even been drawn yet*? TS Eliot famously refused to answer a student who requested that he explain one of his poems - on the grounds that there would be no point in even writing the poem in the first place if he had to sit down and spell everything out for everyone. It is the work of the reader(or viewer, etc.) to grapple with the meaning of art... preferably once it has been actually finished.

And again, let us note how bizarre the situation is: people are upset over comic art that has not actually been drawn, and for which no explicit purpose (other than wanting to recruit an artist) was provided. This whole contest has served as a blank screen (or strip?) on which people who have beef with DC can project (or draw) all of their anger and assumptions about DC's editorial intentions. And the assumption, of course, is that DC would choose art/artist with the intent to sexualize/make light of suicide. Of course, they were never given an opportunity to demonstrate otherwise. They have been judged guilty before they could even make a decision for good or bad.

We are witnessing a fascinating phenomenon, ladies and gentlemen. We have reached a point wherein the pop culture psyche is so sensitive to perceived slights that art can be condemned even before it has been started, before an artist has even been appointed to undertake it. Now THAT'S something to talk about.

InsaneFox wrote:
Destroyed is a separate condition that occurs when an item hits ZERO hit points.

No it's not - it's not a condition at all.

Xaratherus wrote:
I wouldn't allow a sleeping Barbarian to keep his rage active. I think that might be a key point here: "Broken" is a condition that's specifically defined; "sleeping" is not. So "sleeping" is open to GM interpretation, and to me, it implies a lack of mental activity - and I consider most 'active' abilities (extraordinary or otherwise) to require a higher level of mental activity than sleep allows.

"Destroyed" is not a condition that is specifically defined, either. Is it similarly open to GM interpretation?

Xaratherus wrote:
@princeimrahil: Not to belabor a point, but you say you would do it because it 'makes sense'. I disagree. What 'makes sense' to me is that the ability grants a pretty clear benefit - immunity to the 'broken' condition, which is a specific condition.

Obviously you think it "makes sense" - everyone thinks their own opinion makes sense, which is why we have arguments. I was using the phrase "makes sense" (as many, indeed, probably *most* people would) to mean "logically follows a consistent pattern." It "makes sense" that if something cannot be broken, it cannot be destroyed. I understand your specific position, but you're talking about a kind of "sense" based on legalese and focusing on the strict definitions of conditions as laid out in the RAW. I'm talking about a "sense" based in verisimilitude.

I'm curious, though: what do you think about the argument that I presented above about rage/unconsciousness/sleep? Do you think that a barbarian should not fall out of rage while he's asleep? I ask because the specific style of argument (x rule is contingent upon y condition, and z effect does not specifically spell out y condition, merely something related to it) seems very similar to the one you're making here.

What you're granting it is complete immunity to damage and to being destroyed.

At the cost of keeping a point in reserve - which is anything but game-breaking or earth-shattering. Do your games see that much sundering of the PCs magical weapons - especially those PCs whose entire class revolves around that weapon? Again, it "makes sense" that a class that relies on its weapon for all of its cool abilities and flavor would have an ability that keeps that weapon from going kablooey - though at a small, but not insignificant cost. This does not, however, prevent the Magus from being disarmed, or having his weapon stolen, etc. It's hardly a catch-all protection.


To throw out another example: There's an optional rule in the game for 'massive damage' - essentially, if a single attack deals 50% or more of your total health, you have to roll a Fort save or you immediately die. Constructs are immune to 'massive damage'. That doesn't mean they can't be killed, or that they're immune to a blow that does 50% or more damage - it just means that they can't be killed in that particular fashion. To equate your argument to this new case, you'd be granting the construct immunity from blows that deal 50% or more damage, and potentially even immortality, simply because they're immune to a particular condition that might otherwise impair them.

1) It's optional because it might not be to everyone's tastes - presumably for some of the reasons you outline above.

2) No one would look at a construct and say, "Because they cannot be harmed by a special effect that only harms non-constructs SOME of the time, they are clearly immune to all harmful effects." Someone might very reasonably conclude, however, that an ability called "Unbreakable" which keeps a weapon (that is essential to the functioning of the class in question) from being broken also keeps it from being destroyed.
3) Strictly speaking, constructs CAN'T be killed. They are not alive to begin with, and they are immune to death effects and other conditions which harm living creatures.
4) The comparison is poor, inasmuch as the weapon is an object, but a construct is a creature. The idea that a creature simply cannot be slain is completely alien to the entire concept of the game (and in fact, defeats the purpose of giving a creature hit points in the first place). Even the tarrasque, the infamously "unkillable creature" isn't actually unkillable - it merely comes back after it's been killed, without fail. The idea that there are objects that cannot be broken, however, fully fits within the genres and conventions of the game.
5) The comparison is poor, because constructs are ALWAYS immune to massive damage, at all times, without any cost. Blackblades are only protected so long as they keep one point in their arcane pool. Similarly, a wizard with the Shield spell active is immune to magic missiles... but only as long as the spell is active. It is perfectly reasonable to assume that a weapon that is integral to a class could be protected through one of that class's abilities, especially if that ability requires the use of a precious, limited resource that fuels all of the other class abilities.

Of course, the construct comparison is just a side issue, and it's probably not worthwhile to belabor the point there. Instead, I will merely note that, if I ever play with you as a GM, I will never cast sleep on any raging barbarians, since they will probably still wake up furious and resume pounding on my PC.

If it were my game, I'd rule that the thing can't be broken/destroyed... because that's what makes sense.

And I'll tell you why: I once ended up in an argument with someone over whether being subject to the sleep spell caused his barbarian to fall out of rage. His argument: "Sleep" does not give you the "unconscious" condition. Barbarians fall out of rage if they become "unconscious." Since being asleep is not the same as being unconscious, he should wake up still raging. yeah, I try to go with common sense instead of legal-style loopholes.

*I hope I'm not violating any rules with this thread. I seem to recall someone posting a similar thread a while back, in which they listed the books they were trying to sell off. If I am in error, I'm sure the mods will notify me post-haste, and in which case - sorry!*

I need some extra cash to get through the month, and I have a bunch of the early APs on my shelves that aren't likely to ever see action. Would anyone be willing to take these off my hands at a discount price? I was thinking $40 for a set of six (plus whatever shipping, of course) but I'd be willing to go lower for anyone willing to take several sets at once.

Basically, I've got Pathfinder volumes 7-36, which include the following in their entirety:

Curse of the Crimson Throne
Second Darkness
Council of Thieves
Legacy of Fire

I hate to part with them, but I'd like for someone get the use out of them, and some extra cash would really help me out this month.

Brian E. Harris wrote:

Diane Keaton wasn't in this movie.

Whitney Fordman was Lana's quarterback boyfriend when Smallville debuted.

The black guy from the show was Pete Ross (white in the comics, black in Smallville, white in Man of Steel).

And her name is *Lois*, not *Louis.*

...though apparently they applied rule 63 and made Jimmy Olsen into Jenny Olsen, so maybe Lois will BECOME Louis in the next movie?

BigNorseWolf wrote:
PsychoticWarrior wrote:

After *screaming* at Joanna that she ruined their game then storming out like a big crybaby dramaqueen - yes Cass had to apologize to Joanna and *ask* (there was no begging I don't know where you got that idea) Lodge to come back. Ooooo poor little munchkin finally had to own up to his assholishness.

Which is great, but note that he's the only one that does this.

The DM doesn't have to say he's sorry for not being able to scale encounters and targeting only one player at the table.

Joana doesn't have to say she's sorry for not listening to people with years of experience doing this who might have some insight to offer.

Troublesome strumpet doesn't have to apologize for chaotic "neutral" acts.

The bard doesn't have to apologize for... you know i think he's about the only one that didn't do anything really wrong. he apparently made a thematically focused bard and played him well for a bard. its not like he made him like a fighter and charged into melee every round to die.

Here's what you don't seem to understand - it's a point I made in my original post that you ignored, so let me reiterate it here: The "sins" of the gm, the sorc, and Joanna are all "in-game" mistakes - Joanna (arguably) builds a character that doesn't perform her role properly. The sorc messes around on the alignment scale. The gm has poor encounter design. Cass, on the other hand, is a JERK. The things he has to apologize for are things that he does as a PERSON, not a player. He's extremely rude, condescending, and antagonistic.

Perhaps you think that playing the game "poorly" (by whatever odd definition you derive for that) is as worthy of an apology as being repeatedly rude and shouting angrily at another player at the table. I think most of us would strongly disagree with that - it is, after all, just a game (or in this case, a fictional depiction of a hypothetical game).

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Not at all. Our usual DM is a pile of fluff. Sorry Troy.

I see - you're just enraged that there's a fictional depiction of "mean ol' gm?" In that case, I suggest not taking your entertainment so seriously. You're apt to get into a fit of apoplexy.


I'm really skeptical of tales of people do things like this out of sheer awesome or allegedly good tactics without providing specifics.

So... what, I'm a liar, then? I'm making stuff up to win an internet argument? You seem to have some trust/antagonism issues.

Fighter 2/Rogue 3. High dex/cha/int, low con/str (each had a -1 penalty). Kingdoms of Kalamar campaign setting. He made judicious use of fighting defensively and combat expertise, and used ranged weapons when necessary. Believe it or not, smart tactics and good teamwork will let you get away with not having a so-called "optimized build." But then, I'm probably playing the game wrong, just like Joanna, right?


I'm really tickled by your claim that "Talking your way past problems doesn't work very well in D&D." That may be true in YOUR games, but not in all games... unless you're implying there's a right way and a wrong way to play the game?

<i>It might work what, what time in 4?</i>

It'll work (nearly) every time when it's appropriate and the players make sound choices about how to go about it. I've run encounters that I fully expected to be fights, but my players approached the situation with some clever thinking and used the desires/dispositions of enemies to negotiate truces or compromises.

Like Cass, you're assuming that D&D is primarily (perhaps even exclusively) a tactics game. And while it certainly can be played that way, it doesn't have to be - as Joanna, the gm, and I are trying to point out.

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I sense that BNW is working out some issues with his own GM by means of this movie...

I haven't seen it in a while, so I don't remember much very well. I DO remember that the GM's regular players were condescending jerks toward the new player's build and character. The GM may have been a bad GM, but the other players (especially the one playing the monk PC) were being rude and unwelcoming to someone trying to get into the hobby (and implicitly accused her of "badwrongfun" when they started talking about her build).

[quote}Bikinimail aside, The munchkin is right about the role of the fighter. A 9th level fighter with 45 hit points should be in for a world of hurt. Talking your way past problems doesn't work very well in D&D, and at 9th level a charisma bonus is going to be pretty irrelevant compared to your ranks. The fighter she made SHOULD be spending more time horizontal than the bard but...

True story about hit points and levels of characters - I was playing 3.0 back in the day with a "hardcore" DM who insisted we roll both our ability scores, and our hitpoints. My fighter/rogue lasted all the way to level 5 with 12 hit points. Trust me, it can be done. And Joanna's character is only about 20 hp behind the curve - it's really not that bad.

I'm really tickled by your claim that "Talking your way past problems doesn't work very well in D&D." That may be true in YOUR games, but not in all games... unless you're implying there's a right way and a wrong way to play the game?

TOZ wrote:
Apparently, this isn't the first time he has killed Zod.

Wow - pretty weaksauce list there.


1) Smallville: "A super-punch from Clark caused Titan to fall on his own Wolverine-esque, possibly copyright-infringing bone claw, killing him in the process."

So... completely accidental/unintentional? Yeah, VERY different from snapping a dude's neck deliberately.

2) John Byrne's take: Let me introduce you to my little friend called "context," so we can understand Superman's execution of Zod here a little better:

a) Zod had literally killed an entire planet full of people.
b) Superman took a great deal of time before "passing sentence" on Zod before coming to the conclusion that for the crime of global genocide, he needed to be executed, and that since there was no legitimate authority left on that planet, he would have to carry out that judgement himself.

3) After killing Zod, Superman was so wracked with guilt that he HAD A PSYCHOTIC BREAK AND TEMPORARILY ABANDONED HIS IDENTITY AS SUPERMAN.

So... yeah, once again, very different from blithely destroying the only other Kyrptonian left in the universe, looking pouty for a few seconds, and then going off to start an exciting career in journalism with a smirk on his face.

4) Doomsday - I'm actually inclined to give you this one, but then again, as I recall from the comics (and it's BEEN a while for me), this was a no-holds-barred street fight where Superman LITERALLY had to throw everything he had at the monster to keep his attention off of innocent civilians (and his vulnerable Justice League allies). This came across as an unintentional death to me (a product of Superman not having ever encountered a foe where he had to unleash that kind of power before). But like I said, I don't remember it very well - all I can remember is that both of them threw simultaneous punches at the very end and killed each other at exactly the same time.

5) Haven't seen this episode of the Reeves series, so I can't comment, though I will say that this happened relatively early in the character's history - perhaps before he was fully defined (much like Batman's initial killing/use of guns).

6) Superman II

a) The villains are not explicitly shown to be killed, and in fact, the original Donner version makes it clear that they do NOT die.
b) This movie was actually criticized for the same reasons I and others and criticizing Man of Steel - it has several scenes where Clark acts like a jerk and a bully (e.g. the amnesia kiss, beating up the bully at the diner).
c) One thing Superman II got totally right, though? It showed us what Superman's main concern would be in a fight against Kryptonians in the middle of a heavily-populated city.

Listen, it's not really about the killing per se - though obviously that's troubling. It's his ATTITUDE about it. If Superman has to take a life, then it should be an action that he finds devastating emotionally. This film makes it look like a minor inconvenience, and that's a big problem (that, plus the general lack of regard for the citizens of Metropolis and a few other things).

Cori, I find your mention of Batman a bit odd - you found his abandonment of Ra's Al-Ghul MORE out of character than what the Man of Steel does? I find that strange, since Batman has killed tons of people in his history.

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Benchmark it around the cost of a regeneration spell and call it a day. It's a cool idea.

Cori Marie wrote:
I'm wondering if you pull your 'goofy guy' Clark Kent from just the 70s movies. Because Clark in the comics is almost NEVER shown as a goofy guy. Most often he is depicted as shy and unassuming, someone who hides in plain sight. Also, Clark is not used as a disguise. Clark is the real person. If you want a secret identity that is a disguise, you're looking for Mr. Wayne.

I didn't say "nerdy" I said "fun and goofy." Reeve's Clark was nerdy, but various incarnations of Superman have shown him to have an almost child-like naivete about him (the Justice League Christmas episode is a fine example). He's a small-town boy in the biggest city there is, so he naturally comes off as a bit different.

*Clark Kent* (i.e. affected persona) IS a disguise used to distance the way people perceive him from characteristics widely recognized in Superman. Clark Kent (note the absence of asterisks) refers to an authentic identity that composes a major part of who Superman is (though he is equally Kal-El of Krypton).


Personally, I'm the biggest Superman fan I know (and even more so, probably the biggest Kara fan you will ever meet), and I absolutely loved the movie. Were there some things that were out of character? Yes. But I see them building on those things in the sequel.

I've seen that excuse and I don't buy it. The first movie/book in a series needs to stand on its own merits, in my humble opinion, and for that matter, up until this is dealt with in the inevitable sequel, all of these criticisms are valid. It's demonstrably true that the Man of Steel seems to show little regard for human life, etc. - that's a consequence of how the movie was filmed and scripted. We may well see him being tortured by his decisions in the next movie, but until that next movie appears, the Man of Steel is quite clearly someone who doesn't have his priorities right.

DeathQuaker wrote:

Tied with the strong themes of family through the film, it's why I felt the movie was very uplifting and heartwarming, in spite of the explodyfest at the very end of the movie (which I just kind of handwave away as requisite for a superhero movie--also, the buildings were shown to be evacuated, so they were breaking empty buildings). The people who call it cold and grim absolutely puzzle me because of this; I felt "warm" the whole time and left the theater smiling.

I think the following factors made it "cold" - to me, at least (spoiled for spoilers):


1) Obviously, he kills Zod at the end. We can debate the nature of the moral choice ad infinitum, but it is decidedly a dark moment in the film. That there is little time/attention given to Superman's regret about it (indeed, he's back to making flippant remarks to the army in a scene a few minutes later) adds to this sense of darkness.

2) Superman's childhood is depicted as rather traumatic, with little joy. He is picked on in a fairly brutal way, and appears to have no real friends outside of Pete Ross (who only warms to him after Clark saves his life). Even when he DOES perform good actions, he is reprimanded by his father for it, giving him a sense of shame about who he is. On top of that, he goes through an agonizing process of coping with his biology (e.g. the classroom scene, and his mother's comments about how hard it was for him to even BREATHE as a child).

3) Superman is adversarial with/alienated from nearly everyone in this movie, even when he's being altruistic. He has pretty deep conflicts with Pa Kent, eventually manifesting in an angry exchange shortly before his dad's death. His relationship with Jor-El is little better - "Ghost Dad" serves mainly to tell him what to do and provide exposition, lacking the fondness and longing you would expect between father and son. He trashes a guy's truck because the guy threw beer at him. He wrecks army satellites and acts flippant when the army gets mad about it. He keeps everyone at a distance, having no apparent friends even when he becomes an adult (he appears not to have kept in touch with Pete Ross).

4) While there are a few scenes of him protecting others (e.g. the school bus, the oil rig) he doesn't seem to be very HAPPY about it (which contrasted with my memory of Christopher Reeve's ever-smiling - smirking, even - Superman, who has to confess to Jor-El "how good it felt" to help others). Later on, he seems to have little regard for anyone other than people close to him (Lois and his mom) - there's a moment where he intercedes to protect some soldiers, but he doesn't seem to give a second thought to the damage being done to Smallville's main drag, nor to the potential casualties there or in Metropolis; he keeps blithely knocking Zod through occupied buildings, and doesn't even seem to notice people are at risk until Zod makes a deliberate point of trying to kill them). Contrast this with the (admittedly imperfect) Superman II - the fight between Superman and Zod and Co. is structured around how tough it is to fight three Kryptonians foes AND keep people safe. The villains even realize this "weakness" and start to exploit it.

5) This was a biggie for me - he LETS HIS DAD DIE. A lot of people have been saying "but he was showing trust," etc. but that simply doesn't work for me. Superman doesn't want to see ANYONE die, and he certainly doesn't want to let his father die for no reason (or rather, the completely ridiculous reason of "omg! I have to risk my life to get the family dog!" Nobody who works on a farm would do that, underscoring how contrived the situation was).

seekerofshadowlight wrote:
well, No you saw clark the whole time. He was not superman until much later. The whole movie was really clark, finding himself and his place.

Clark Kent and *Clark Kent* are not the same thing. I'm talking about *Clark Kent* - the fun, goofy guy that Superman uses as a disguise. We didn't get any of that - and I doubt we will in the subsequent movies, either, which is really quite a shame. He's a lot of fun.

I wasn't particularly a fan (though the action was pretty great, and I liked Zod's hench-woman a lot). The overall thematics and tone seemed a bit inconsistent, and I really disliked some of the character work, especially Pa Kent and Superman's "finishing move" at the end.

But those things have been talked about a lot already, so I'll pass over them. Something else that I really missed in this movie was *Clark Kent.* I felt like we were just seeing Superman the whole time (even when he wasn't in costume), and that's only part of the character.

On action, the movie delivered, but on heart, it was lacking.

Pretend that your paladin is Superman, and all the heavy lifting is done for you (and I'm talking about the REAL Superman, not this "new 52" crap).

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