They're beginning the playtest as alternate classes. Jason has already admitted the possibility that, like the gunslinger before them, they won't survive the playtest that way. That's the great thing about a playtest, though: we get to find out what works and what doesn't before publication. If they are being hampered by being alternate classes, some or all of them could end up as stand-alone base classes.
Theoretically, if one of the hybrids had all the necessary class abilities to be replaced by a parent class's archetype, it could use it, leading to the possibility of being able to simultaneously use archetypes from multiple classes without multiclassing. In reality, I'd guess this isn't likely to come up. Archetypes rarely replace the core class abilities of a class, and these hybrids are likely to have little other than core class abilities in common with their parent classes.
During the playtest it was changed to a stand-alone base class, and was published that way. It's nothing like the fighter. With rogues and ninjas, cavaliers and samurai, and paladins and anti-paladins there's a clear correlation of framework. Gunslingers and fighters just both have full BAB.
Last chance on Unseelie Court! I start cutting tables with too few players Saturday night at midnight, and freeze sign-ups Sunday night at midnight! If you haven't signed up yet, get to it!
Yeah, I don't disagree. I kind of like Brilliant Energy for a magus using the Ghost Blade magus arcana, but for some reason I thought a magus using the property in this way effectively got to count it as a +1 equivalent enhancement bonus. Going back and reading everything again now, it seems this isn't the case. At +1 equivalent bonus, Brilliant Energy's awesome, though. (:
It's possible (and likely in fact) that the designer of the Ghost Blade arcana just didn't realize Brilliant Energy was so over-costed, as the prerequisite for Ghost Blade is nine levels of magus, by which point your arcane pool can only be used to add +3 equivalent bonuses. That Brilliant Energy property isn't even usable when you gain the power.
Not to mention this thread brought to light (for me at least) how awkward it is that Ghost Blade expands your list of options to include both Ghost Touch and Brilliant Energy. I see what they were going for... Having Brilliant Energy is sort of like being incorporeal, so it's tacitly related. It is kind of a nonbo, though.
It's not that it bypasses material matter and hits their "life force." It's that it bypasses inorganic matter and strikes only living flesh. Natural armour is part of a creature's living body, thus it isn't bypassed.
At the risk of spoiling anything, there's a good reason why Paizo can't recommend people play the meta-plot scenarios leading up to this. The best they could do is put a big "this is hard, we promise" warning on it, but really that should be on the GM/organizer.
Redcap's Corner is proud to present the second annual Unseelie Court, a roleplaying event focusing on Pathfinder Society and spanning nearly a full week, from October 15th to 20th. For Pathfinder Society, we're running several of the multi-table convention-only specials, as well as all the new scenarios for season five, and several sanctioned modules! We're also running select Shadowrun and Dungeons & Dragons events. Check out the comprehensive schedule on our Warhorn.
Sorry for all the spoiler conversation:
Well, I rolled out all the dice for my spellstrike shocking grasp against Krune, which was intensified and empowered and which crit, and it would have dealt nearly double my full hit points in damage, the majority of which came from the shocking grasp, which--if I'm not mistaken--would have been redirected back at me because of Krune's active spell turning. It would have been my fault, but I'm pretty sure I would have been very, very dead. And if I hadn't killed myself, I'm told Krune's first move was to use horrid wilting and then trap most of us in the other room with a wall of stone. I believe the damage from that horrid wilting (and I definitely would have failed my save) was enough to kill me also, though now that I'm doing the math our GM would have had to have rolled pretty high above average for that to be true. I was playing up with a single-classed d8 HD character with 14 Con. That gives me, what, 67 total HP? I think I had taken a little bit of damage from one of the summoned creatures also.
I have three issues that need more or less immediate reconciliation. I've looked around a little bit, but haven't found answers. My apologies in advance if these answers already exist elsewhere and I missed them.
1) The guide references a document for seasons 0-4 that spells out secondary success conditions. However, no such document exists at the given link. My store has older scenarios scheduled for tomorrow and Wednesday of this week (as well as more or less every Tuesday and Wednesday thereafter) and currently there's no official way to for players to earn their second prestige point. Help!
2) When reporting scenarios there are now four success condition boxes that can be checkmarked. I looked through the guide and found no references to these, and I don't have time to read through any of the new scenarios for context clues before tomorrow. Are these various success conditions that will be spelled out in the scenario above and beyond those tied to prestige? Do any of them need to be checkmarked for older scenarios? Help!
3) There seems to be a bug in the reporting system with respect to GM faction. The "GM Faction" dropdown is supposed to represent the faction of the character to whom the GM applied credit for that scenario. Instead, at any time after the box is auto-filled when the GM character information is entered, it changes to show the faction listed on the GM's paizo.com profile. This makes it impossible to go back and fix mistakes where either the GM accidentally reported the wrong faction on his or her sheet or had the wrong faction listed on his or her characters's profile. It also has the side effect of allowing anyone reporting a game to change the faction displayed on any other GM's paizo.com profile. This is less important in the immediate sense, but I thought it should be addressed.
In the meantime, how are we supposed to run PFS? My store runs PFS games every Tuesday and Wednesday, and at present I'm not sure how to have GMs award prestige for games as impending as tomorrow, let alone how I should report them.
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
It was never explained to us what he was actually doing and we may have jumped to some incorrect conclusions, but we did have to fight some summoned monsters before he appeared. We took them out very quickly and then telekinetically charged our paladin at the gem in the next room because we believed it was part of the ritual being used to awaken Krune, at which point Krune appeared and we took him out in less than a round. We had also deactivated all of the runes in the hallway beforehand which lowered his hit points significantly from what I understand. Without having read the scenario myself, I honestly believe our GM was very, very well prepared to give us a challenge. It just came down to initiative, and he lost it.
I played this game with my magus 8, a wizard 10, a wizard 11, a paladin 11, and a zen archer 11. We were all pretty optimized, but mind you we played it on hard mode with only five players and I was playing up. We were also playing with a local venture-lieutenant as GM who was very, very prepared and had a good strategy worked out in advance for Krune.
We took the runelord down in the first round before he even got a turn.
...And then we did the math to figure out how the round would have proceeded if he hadn't gone down, and I absolutely would have died, as would the zen archer have, but that's not the point. (: I took down a runelord without lifting a finger.
THE SEELIE COURT
The Seelie Court is the second mini-convention we've run in-store at Redcap's Corner, and the first (last October's Unseelie Court) was a resounding success! This time around we're focusing on the multi-part scenarios offered in seasons 1, 2, and 3, with a sprinkling of other recent scenarios to keep options open. Slots are filling up, but there's still plenty of room! Below is a list of everything we're running and when we're running it. I hope to see everyone there!
Slot 1 = Friday, May 17th @ 7PM
I have them applied to three different characters, and I'm still getting the error on one of them. I've tried deleting the session with the error and re-reporting it, and it fixes that error but adds the error to one of the other sessions. It's like it always wants the error on the second most recent character. It's bizarre.
Just so I'm clear, tier 1 to 2 sanctioned modules can be GMed infinitely for 1st level credit too? Or is it only for playing? I ask because I've now GMed We Be Goblins three times, and was under the impression I could GM it multiple times for credit. I don't care if I can't, and I'll happily tear up the chronicle sheets for the second and third characters if they were applied in error. I'm just confused because the reporting system keeps yelling at me for one of the three (but only one, not two) times I GMed it, saying I've already received credit.
Parking is pretty great actually. It's street parking, but most of it is free (and freely available) on the weekends and after 4:30 during the week, plus ALL of it is free on Sundays, and even if you find a meter spot on Friday or Saturday you get half an hour for each quarter.
It's not bad at all!
Spots are filling up, and I think we have fewer than five spots left for Friday night's Year of the Shadow Lodge. Those of you who haven't signed up yet, I encourage you to do so soon! If all of our tables in a given slot reach the point where there are four or more people signed up for them, I'll start adding additional tables to those slots (with the exception of Friday night which is hard-capped).
Vic Wertz wrote:
We are completely fine with distributors doing that. (I do know that sometimes, lead times just don't allow that, though.) If it happens regularly, you might want to just make sure your distributor knows the actual number of days it takes for you to get your deliveries, and ships accordingly.
We're a one-day ship for ACD, Alliance, Southern, and GTS and all of our reps know that. The trouble is that distributors won't release product to stores to arrive before the street date unless the manufacturer gives them express permission. Wizards of the Coast maintains an early release list that they share with distributors (granting those distributors the ability to ship some products to specific stores early), Privateer Press allows distributors to ship products to arrive the day before release, GW basically handles its own distribution but always gets product to us a day or two before the street date, etc., etc.
The point is, our distributors definitely believe they're not authorized to get us Paizo products before the street date, not even by one day, which means we lose out on a ton of sales because consumers don't (and shouldn't have to) know our shipping schedules. I understand that you're fine with it (and frankly I'm overjoyed to hear it), but each distributor needs to be given express permission from you folks at Paizo, or else we're going to continue not having your products available until late afternoon or evening on the day of release.
Vic Wertz wrote:
Frankly, this experience taught me exactly why it makes sense for WizKids to be exclusive with Alliance: if stuff were going from China to WizKids to multiple distributors—which is exactly what it did before they went exclusive—the same problem would exist. By cutting out that extra step, WizKids, Alliance, and the retailers all get to have decent margins.
This is interesting news, and not at all what several of our reps at other distributors believed for whatever reason. Thanks for bringing it to light! I can see how WizKids putting fulfillment in your hands for other distributors would drive up the price and make it hard for anyone to break even, though I'm not sure how them being exclusive with Alliance helps anyone's bottom line but Alliance's. Sending the product to other distributors by way of Paizo puts a big strain on the mark-up, but just doing it themselves shouldn't add any cost at all. Doing huge freight shipments to four or five distributors as opposed to doing a huge freight shipment just to Alliance doesn't seem like any sort of difference at all.
From a retailer's perspective, Alliance's recent push toward picking up manufacturer exclusives seems mostly like a desperate grab to force retail customers to continue to order from them, since they're otherwise losing a lot of ground to the distributors who focus on customer service.
Thanks for all the insight, though!
Thanks for responding so promptly and being so proactive, Lisa! As always, thanks for all your hard work! I spoke with Alliance earlier today, and they seem to think they may actually be able to get a restock at some point, which is interesting because my other distributors still seem to think they aren't able to stock it. Perhaps their buyers just don't want to stock it because the discount is so much worse for them than it is for Alliance. Either way, Alliance has no time frame on a restock, but believes it's happening, and claims that stores who got cut hard on the first shipment will have priority on the second shipment.
Hello there, Paizo folks! I would have emailed you about this, but I didn't know who to email or where to find your email address. I'm a retailer who proudly stocks your products, but this week I've been under a lot of stress and I have to admit that most of it has been Pathfinder-related. As such, I wanted to voice my concerns--not because I need to vent or want to smear your company's name (just the opposite, in fact)--but because I know that most game manufacturers don't have much experience as retailers and it isn't always obvious for manufacturers what things are going to affect retailers negatively, or how to avoid those pitfalls. I'm writing this because I think I'd want to know these things if I were in your place.
This past Thursday, UPS arrived around 4PM to bring me Ultimate Equipment, Paths of Prestige, Skull & Shackles part 6, Shattered Star part 1, the new module, and the book on Varisia. 4PM's not all that late, I realize, but for an events-oriented store such as my own, the sweet spot for sales is from about 4PM to 7PM, making it nearly impossible to check in product until quite late in the evening, which means we effectively got all the new Paizo product a day late. If we had received it even an hour earlier, it would have been a different story, but there's nothing I can do to affect how early UPS arrives. I'm at the end of a route, so it gets here when it gets here. And to be perfectly honest, every time a new Pathfinder hardcover releases, we get half a dozen calls about it from 12PM to 2PM, which result in half a dozen ginger statements to the tune of "I'm terribly sorry we don't have it yet, but I promise we'll have it as soon as UPS arrives. When, you ask? Sometime before 7, probably!" This makes us look unprofessional, and honestly loses us quite a few sales. And this happens every single time a core book releases.
I completely understand not wanting to open the floodgates for early shipment, but could you please, please, please authorize distributors to ship products to arrive the day before their street date? I know it's possible, because a significant number of major manufacturers with high-profile street dates do it (Privateer Press, etc.). Some stores will inevitably sell product a day or an evening early, but I just can't see how a few unauthorized (and also unpublicized) early sales could possibly be a bigger problem than other stores literally not being able to sell the product when customers expect to be able to buy it (the publicized street date).
For Heroes & Monsters, I stocked up well in advance, and I think I planned pretty well because I currently have only five boosters sitting on my shelf from my original order. I'm pretty good at gauging demand for a product. Well, I preordered what I believed to be the appropriate amount of the new set too, but I'm already sold out for what I can only assume is forever, because despite the earliness of my order, I was only shipped two bricks. Two bricks. And ZERO huge bricks or Rune Giants. That's a tiny fraction of my original order. I was all set to personally buy a case too, but I had to forgo buying any so that my customers would have first crack at it. WizKids, as I'm sure you know, is exclusive with Alliance, but despite that fact Heroes & Monsters was available from other distributors (at a crappy wholesale rate, but available nonetheless), and I was told that that was because you guys had required it as part of your contract with WizKids. So, disheartened at having my order cut so dramatically by Alliance, I called up other distributors to see if I could get more product at a crappy discount, only to be told that WizKids decided only to print enough product this time around to fulfill their obligations to Alliance, Paizo, and their own direct orders. In essence, WizKids said "sure, other distributors can buy it from us, but shucks, we just don't have any to sell to them." And seeing as I got such a tiny percentage of my order, I can only assume they tried so hard to cut out other distributors that they didn't print enough for Alliance this time around either.
Ideally I'm wrong about this, and WizKids has a reprint lined up for once, but I'd be very surprised, as it honestly sounds like the shortage was intentional, which is a real shame. As it stands, my customers weren't able to get huge minis from us for this set, and only 16 regular boosters made it into circulation through us. And if it were our fault, it would be one thing, but we did everything in our power to secure a large number of boosters early, and the set was available on our shelves for a grand total of two days. It didn't even make it to the weekend.
Anyway, thank you as always for putting out the products that you do and being the company that you are, and I hope this information is useful feedback to you in one way or another. I know that street dates are important and I'm sure WizKids wasn't botching distribution of your property with your blessing, but I thought you should know how these things have the potential to affect retailers for the worse. I look forward to your future releases!
You mentioned synthesists earlier. It's a moot point, I suspect, as they're no longer PFS legal, but what exactly was the problem with them? They seem to me to be strictly a downgrade in power-level from a vanilla summoner. They have half as many actions and half as many bodies. I understand disallowing them from the Society as they create loads of awkward roleplaying weirdness, but I didn't for a second think power level was part of the issue.
Does anyone know of a Paizo-published module, adventure path, or Pathfinder Society scenario that features at least one NPC using one or more archetypes? I have a specific (but largely uninteresting) reason for asking, but I just found it weird that I hadn't personally come across any NPCs yet that took advantage of what seems such an integral part of Pathfinder.
I apologize for being snippy, but you're repeatedly bringing up an irrelevant point that I've long since accepted as likely and which is currently the topic of some debate in a completely different four-plus-page thread in the same forum section as this one. Of course I want my posts responded to, and I'll quite happily engage in polite discourse, but when I keep saying "sure, I accept what you're saying as correct" and you keep responding with "no, you don't understand, I'm really, really right on this one," I hope you can see why it looks like you're intentionally picking a fight, and arguing just to argue.
A difference of opinion is what I'm having with blackbloodtroll. With you, I'm having an opinion in common repeatedly reiterated with increasing aggressiveness.
I don't know why you're so determined to have this argument over again. Haven't you had enough of it from the other thread? I've conceded over and again that I'm happy to accept that interpretation, and it's irrelevant for the purposes of this thread anyway. If it's really so important to you that I indulge in willful ignorance of the other interpretation, then sure! There's no other way you could possibly read the speed property. It's clear as crystal. It's so clear it doesn't even need a FAQ entry that effectively says "this is obviously too good, so it just fails to work without further clarification."
It's not a spell storing weapon. It's a vessel for the spell storing property to be applied to natural weapons. Let's say for a second that the magus could use her arcane pool to add spell storing as a property to her weapon (like she can with keen, frost, etc.). Those benefits last for 1 minute, right? So, what happens when the magus bestows her weapon with spell storing and stores shocking grasp in it, and then fails to hit and deal damage to any enemy for more than a minute? The weapon loses the spell storing quality, which causes the shocking grasp to be wasted. The amulet acts in exactly the same way. It doesn't have the weapon properties, it bestows them on natural weapons.
This is RAW as far as I can tell (unless natural attacks don't count as individual weapons).
I dare you to explain what happens when an AoMF with multiple stored spells is passed on to a creature with less natural attacks than the previous wearer of the Amulet.
Challenge accepted. It honestly seems pretty obvious to me.
I'm wearing a spell storing amulet of mighty fists. I store bestow curse in my bite. I store blindness/deafness in my left claws. I store hold person in my right claws. I then remove the amulet and hand it to my buddy who only has a tail slap. When I remove the amulet, each of my natural weapons loses the spell storing quality which means I wasted my bestow curse, blindness/deafness, and hold person spells, each of which is now no longer stored in my non-spell storing natural weapons. My buddy puts on the amulet and now his tail slap has spell storing but no spells stored in it. If he wishes he can now choose to store a spell in his tail.
Nothing is stored in the amulet, it's merely a vessel for bestowing a particular weapon property or enhancement bonus (or combination thereof) to natural attacks and unarmed strikes. It bestows spell storing, but it does not itself store spells.
It seems there are two conditions for having the free two-weapon fighting:
A) You must be raging.
The rules of the game say that conditional feats are lost when the condition isn't met. It doesn't say anything in the rage power's description about gaining TWF for the entire round when you make an unarmed strike. It says you have it WHEN you make an unarmed strike. So, RAW it seems to provide you the benefits of the feat for the unarmed strike but not for the primary weapon attack, leaving you with -4 (your following off-hand attack is with a light weapon but you don't have the feat) / -2 (you're making an attack with a light off-hand weapon and you have the feat) on your attacks. I'm 100% with you that the rules didn't mean for this to happen, but it does seem to be what's happening.
I understand that argument and I'm willing to accept it, but you must realize that isn't the only reading available. Although haste is the prerequisite spell for the weapon property, the weapon property explicitly states that the weapon itself is what's granting the extra attack with that weapon. I'll happily read that the way you'd like me to, but it is by no means cut and dry.
In the case of spell storing, you must realize that though it effects multiple attacks, the Amulet is only a single item, thus it can only store one spell.
RAW the amulet doesn't hold the spell. It grants spell storing to each of the natural weapons. I don't think that's even debatable by the wording.
The power does not say that you gain the effects of the feat when using only unarmed strike attacks. This means that at least one of the attacks used while two weapon fighting must be an unarmed strike, but not all.
Actually, I see what he's saying. I was arguing the same thing as you, but technically the two attacks are not made at the same time, and as soon as you're making the attack with the manufactured weapon, you're no longer making an unarmed strike, and thus you no longer have two-weapon fighting, so you'll be making that attack without the feat (at -8 or whathaveyou). Weird.
I'm willing to accept that all unarmed strikes count as a single weapon, and I'm willing to accept that the reason speed doesn't affect multiple natural attacks is because it doesn't stack with itself. Neither are explicit in the rules, but I'm happy to accept those rulings as fact. Regardless, a creature with a spell storing amulet of mighty fists and multiple natural attacks should seem to be able to store multiple spells, right?
The rules don't seem cut and dry on this one. To be fair, that rage power DOES do something if you assume that the barbarian is wielding a single weapon and using her unarmed strikes as her off-hand weapon. It just doesn't do what it reads like it does unless unarmed strikes can be multiple weapons. I guess I'll leave this one up to GM interpretation since the rules aren't clear.
Let's assume for a second, though, that all unarmed strikes do count collectively as a single weapon. What if I also have a natural attack? Is my natural attack one weapon, while my unarmed strikes are a separate weapon? What if I have two natural attacks and also use unarmed strikes? Am I up to three weapons?
I've been catching up on the other thread, and I can see using haste justifications to augment SKR's ruling on speed (though that justification is by no means cut and dry either) rather than the "your body is a single weapon" justification, but if that's the case the ruling certainly doesn't apply for spell storing with regard to natural weapons. You can absolutely wield two spell storing weapons simultaneously RAW, right?
There is a ruling in the FAQ that an Amulet of Mighty Fists with the Speed property doesn't grant an extra attack with every single natural wespon for creatures with multiple natural attacks. There's no rules justification. It just says it would be too powerful.
And I don't disagree. I also understand that unarmed strikes aren't natural attacks, but presumably this ruling extends to unarmed strikes where attacks are explicitly made with two different parts of the body (a'la two-weapon fighting). Is the intended reading of this ruling then that different natural or unarmed attacks don't count as different weapons? Wouldn't that prevent use of unarmed strikes as part of two-weapon fighting? Or is flurry of blows already the only legal use of multiple unarmed strikes as two-weapon fighting? I don't know because I never really play TWF characters. Anyway, I need to know because there's another property I want to put on an Amulet that still cares whether or not my fists are separate weapon from one another: spell storing.
I'm not trying to munchkin anything, and I don't care what the answer is because I'm not trying to use the ability to cast multiple spells per turn. I just want to make sure I understand my character. It seems to me that enhancement bonuses are intentionally way more expensive on an amulet because it assumes you're applying the benefits to a variety of different attacks, which implies that they're separate weapons. It would be nice to be able to load different spells into different fists, so I had choices when attacking an enemy and could attack them two rounds in a row without having to reload.
Hex Strike is an interesting feat from Ultimate Combat, but I found myself a little fuzzy on its possibilities upon reading. I have the following questions about the feat:
1) It's not possible to use a swift action on an opponent's turn. Does that mean when delivering unarmed strikes as attacks of opportunity, this feat doesn't grant its benefit? Or is it reasonable to assume that you could then expend the swift action at the beginning of your turn to hex the target?
2) Presumably the use of an unarmed strike to deliver a combat maneuver (such as disarm or trip) should still be compatible with this feat, correct?
3) The feat states that you "deliver the effects of the chosen hex," which is a fairly stark contrast in wording to "cast the hex" or "use the hex." There's a reading of that wording that implies that they get no save against the effect. The effects are simply delivered, seemingly outside of the usual way (which would include a save). This is likely not the correct interpretation, but I wondered if anyone had thoughts about it.
4) And finally, my playgroup has always used a rule (which may or may not be a house rule) that allows you to trade any action for a lesser action as a logical extension of the ability to trade your standard action for a move action. This allows you to trade a standard or move action for a swift action (allowing you a potential three swift actions per turn as long as you're not doing anything else). Regardless of whether or not that's a house rule, let's assume it's somehow possible to take two swift actions in a turn. If you take the Hex Strike feat twice, choose two different hexes, and then make an unarmed strike, am I reading it correctly that each of the two feats will trigger upon success of your attack, allowing you to deliver the effects of both hexes with the expenditure of one swift action per hex (so, two swift actions in this example)? So, if your BAB is crappy (which it is because you're a witch) and it isn't worth making a full attack, but you began your turn next to an opponent, given the possible house rule listed above, could you punch the opponent and then use two swift actions to activate two hexes? Also, can anyone confirm whether or not the action trade-down is a real rule, and if so, can anyone cite where I could find it?
Pg.142 under Orc Weapon Expertise feat
Disrupter: Add +3 to opponents' concentration checks to cast a spell within your threatened area.
I'm quite sure this was intended to add +3 to the DC of opponents' concentration checks, but as it is now it's a really, really bad ability to choose, funny as it is to think of an orc so fierce he actually calms enemy spellcasters he threatens.
On a related note what about str checks to break the bonds while tied up?
Redcap's Corner is pleased to announce a new ongoing Pathfinder campaign at our store in West Philadelphia.
Faced with changes to the Pathfinder Society campaign that left us short of content for our player base, we undertook to generate an ongoing in-store campaign. We're well underway, and we run our first sessions this coming Wednesday, December 1st 2010.
Sessions will run every Wednesday at 6pm, and players of any level of experience are encouraged to drop in - players can play as often or infrequently as interest and availability allow.
For more info on the campaign, check out our wiki at obsidianportal.com/campaign/redcaps-corner-pathfinder for maps, regional history, character creation guidelines, and more; we're updating and expanding the wiki every day.
We're very excited about the new game, and hope you'll catch our excitement.
Hope to see you soon as a new recruit to the Mithral Guard!
Hi, this is Gil from Redcap's Corner.
A few things, first we are back to Wednesdays at 6pm for our regular Pathfinder night, so that's correct on the store info.
And, due to recent changes to the the play structure of PFS, we've stepped up to supplement our Wednesday offerings with an ongoing organised-play style Pathfinder set in a world of our own creation.
We will be offering sessions on a weekly basis, and players can drop when they like, similar to PFS.
Info on the world can be found Obsidian Portal at
We encourage anyone with interest to drop by the store and check it out!
I ran a magus at 2nd level and then at 3rd level through two Pathfinder Society mods (using Pathfinder Society character building rules) last night and thought I'd share my playtest data and thoughts. WARNING: this is long, but I think it's worth the read. My suggestions are at the end, so skip ahead to that section if you're not interested in the analysis and discussion, etc.
CHARACTER AT LEVEL 3
Hit Points: 27
Feats: Combat Casting, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (scimitar)
Melee: +1 Scimitar +9 (+4 Str/+2 BAB/+1 trait/+1 enhancement/+1 Weapon Focus) 1d6+5 (+4 Str/+1 enhancement) 18-20/x2; if using Spellstrike with shocking grasp attack bonus increased by +3 against those wearing metal armour and damage output increased by +3d6 electricity, if using Power Attack attack bonus decreased by -1 and damage output increased by +2, and if using Spell Combat attack bonus decreased by -4
Concentration for casting defensively: +11 (+3 caster level/+2 Int/+2 trait/+4 Combat Casting)
Skills: Knowledge (arcane) +8, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +8, Knowledge (planes) +8, Spellcraft +8, Use Magic Device +4
Spells: all cantrips (DC 12), burning hands (DC 13), colour spray (DC 13), expeditious retreat, hydraulic push, magic missile, obscuring mist, shield, shocking grasp, true strike; 0: 4/day; 1: 4/day
Equipment: Backpack, Spell Component Pouch, Spellbook, Masterwork Chain Shirt, +1 Scimitar
Most of the fights in both mods were pretty standard brawls and I found myself doing a lot of just hitting things and saving my spellstrike for boss fights. I was rolling pretty well, but I often found that I didn't really need to be, as I was hitting pretty hard regardless. Many of the fights were triggered while I was still reasonably far from the action, so a frequent tactic was to take a move action and then cast shocking grasp and hold the charge, only to charge and use Spellstrike and Power Attack on the following round for a total bonus of +10 (hits most things) and a damage output of 4d6+7 or 8d6+14 on a crit (pretty excellent). I was reasonably consistently hitting and without shocking grasp I was still outputting 10 to 12 damage, which is respectable I feel.
I found that my low AC didn't leave me survivable enough to stay knee-deep in melee unless I was sure I was going to kill my opponent, so I rarely managed to use Spell Combat, but I did once or twice to good effect (though I rolled really luckily). In the last encounter of the Frozen Fingers of Midnight, I...
rolled my minimum concentration to cast defensively (8 on the die, for a 17 total) and rolled an 18 on the die (22 total) confirming with a natural 20 to deal 41 damage to the last standing zombie who only had 2 hit points left anyway!
There were two encounters in the Beggar's Pearl in which I was completely useless.
Spoiler:I also spent an entire fight in the Frozen Fingers of Midnight unconscious, but that was due to my own stupidity, not any deficiency of the build or class (unless you consider my character's Wisdom of 7 to be the cause).
The derro who could cast darkness effectively shut me out of combat, since my perception modifier was -2 so I could never, ever find him in the middle of a dark arena. And then the derro cleric with the fear aura just kept me panicked the whole time anyway since my Will saves are so bad.
I went the route of great Strength at the expense of Intelligence and the outcome was I never felt comfortable preparing any spell that allowed a save. Odds of success with a 13 DC just weren't good enough. This left me preparing shocking grasp and shield all day long, but only being able to use shocking grasp two to three times per day and without having the benefit of it being a touch attack. It was still usually going to hit, granted, but a fighter or barbarian gets its bonuses to damage every turn, and whereas the magus did a fair bit more damage when it got to use its shiny toys, it just couldn't do it enough. I did actually miss a hit using Spellstrike once too. It was a bad feeling.
Had I gone the route of high intelligence, I might have had an extra spell per day and been able to use colour spray or burning hands but I wouldn't have been able to hit anything in melee, so I'd be a wizard with fewer options and a stunted spellcasting progression. What I'm getting at is a class that can either be a bad but slightly tougher wizard or a bad fighter with spells it doesn't have any business using is not going to be fun to play. It needs to be a good version of one of those classes that goes about solving problems differently. Since being a good wizard with melee capabilities seems problematic to balance, I strongly suggest making the class a good fighter that uses spells to supplement damage rather than feats or rages. The class is on the right track, and I think Spellstrike and Spell Combat are great mechanics with a lot of promise. I just think the frame of the class is wrong somehow.
Spell Shield as a Magus Arcana is also really bad. I never used it once. The notion of having immediate access to a shield bonus is cool, but since shield and mithral bucklers seem like such obvious tools for this class, it's rarely ever going to be relevant. And that's not to mention that the class doesn't have enough spells to ever make it a good idea to use this. I'll always take an extra hit (which probably would still hit even if I used the ability) to make sure I can get an extra 3d6 damage out of my decision. Unfortunately, there wasn't much else I could choose at 3rd-level for arcanas, and certainly nothing that seemed better. The options are Still Magic (fine but boring), Silent Magic (fine but boring), Maneuver Mastery (which is cool but not for my build), Familiar (which is cool for flavour reasons and a good choice but doesn't really add anything to combat), Concentrate (okay, this one is actually probably better, especially for people who haven't yet taken Combat Casting... I just felt my concentration was good enough already), and Arcane Accuracy (suffers all the same problems that Spell Shield does).
Lastly for analysis, Combat Casting seems like a feat tax. I know it seems like giving it for free would fight one of the downsides of Spell Combat, but maybe the downside to Spell Combat should just change. With or without it, this class always wants to take Combat Casting. Always. That -2 to concentration isn't the reason, I assure you.
2) It should have more daily access to 1st-level spells, and maybe even other spell levels as it continues to level. What I'd recommend? Each day choose one touch spell in your spellbook and you get an extra number of castings of that spell for that day equal to your Intelligence modifier (or maybe Int + 1). This is another incentive to keep Intelligence reasonably high if you're focusing on Spellstrike with no-save spells, but it also allows you to prepare other more interesting spells if you want, without feeling like you need to prepare all shocking grasps. This is especially cool, because right now I feel like Spell Combat is mostly just a vehicle for Spellstrike, but if I had the option to prepare colour spray it would be awesome to use it against the three dudes in front of me, and then hit the one who made his save, rather than just always defaulting to spellstriking as a full-round action. I like that this also scales with level, allowing you to use it with shocking grasp now, but a 3rd or 4th-level spell instead later.
3) It could stand to be able to spontaneously convert prepared slots of the appropriate level into the spell chosen each day too. Say, I'm 4th-level, have a 16 Int, and choose shocking grasp, I would get three extra preparations of the spell and if I wanted I could convert any 1st-level spell slot into it, but not my 2nd-level slots.
4) It's likely going to be really fragile at low levels, and I'd strongly recommend giving it medium and heavy armour proficiencies right away, but still not forgiving ASF for medium and heavy armour until 7th and 13th-level as current. It might be worth the risk of occasionally messing up some spells to be a little more survivable at low levels, and it would at least open up the option of a mithral breastplate before 7th-level.
5) Spell Shield and Arcane Accuracy need to be worth what you're sacrificing, and I promise you right now they're not. I think both should grant a bonus equal to spell-level sacrificed + 2. A 6th-level spell has almost certainly got to be worth at least a +8 to AC or hit. I don't know. At the very least the shield bonus should be changed to something that stacks with shield. Deflection bonus, perhaps?
6) There should be a magus arcana choose-able at 3rd-level that allows you, once per day as a swift action, to ignore armour, shield, and natural armour bonuses on all attacks this round. Once per day isn't game-breaking (especially since you can't choose it more than once), but this is a meaningful effect that will give the magus some utility against high AC fights.
7) Grant Combat Casting as a bonus feat and change the -2 to concentration on Spell Combat to -2 to AC until the beginning of your next turn, or something. Other big splashy maneuvers such as cleaving or charging give you the -2 penalty to AC, so I could definitely see it applying. And it's a really meaningful downside for this class at low-levels.
8) There should be a touch spell cantrip on the class spell list. Touch of Fatigue comes to mind. They should get to play with their toys, even if they're not doing much with them. I'd have been 200% happier with my playtests last night had I been able to Spellstrike fatigue instead of just hit when I wasn't using shocking grasp.
9) I also think calcific touch, ghoul touch, vampiric touch, and instant armour are great spell suggestions.
When using the eldritch glaive invocation, it specifies that you get iterative eldritch blast melee attacks, but it definitely doesn't mention anything about iterative regular eldritch blast attacks. The problem you're going to run into with house-ruling the class is that, whereas at high-levels the lack of iterative attacks is underpowered, I think you'll quickly find that the addition of iterative attacks will be overpowered. 27d6/round as ranged touch attacks with good range so you never even have to move to get into position? Actually, that sounds like a lot, but I guess average damage would only be around 100 or so, so maybe it's not that bad.
I'm a big time travel nerd and flipped through a copy at PaizoCon (didn't buy one yet), flipping immediately to the "time travel" page only to see that they (presumably) accidentally used the same heading for the first two sections on that page. Whoops! Not a big deal, though!
It could also be that this was a genius play on their part, sending the first section back through time for a full rewrite immediately following in the section below! Who knows?
I'm looking into this right now and I will have an answer for you soon.
Thanks! I really appreciate it. I'm a big Paizo fan, and I don't mean to start trouble. I've just been really bummed with the way this has all gone down.
I will say that playing a witch is a lot of fun! It's a great class with a powerful list of spells. If I could get my Advanced Player's Guide wish, a lot of their hexes would be changed to swift actions, because they do have a tendency to require a lot of set-up time if you want to be best utilizing both hexes and spells. By the time I've nerfed some dude's saves with Evil Eye, and bestowed a curse upon him, he's pretty much dead anyway, which can be frustrating. They excel in really hard fights, however, tipping the scales in favour of the PCs when the odds are against them.
Right now, I'm running a 6th-level witch with Misfortune, Evil Eye, Cackle, and Flight. I recommend it! Alternatively, a witch with Fortune and Healing hexes sounds like a lot of fun too. Cackle's a must-have either way!