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Duchess Weneschia

spectrevk's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 457 posts (458 including aliases). 2 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 8 Pathfinder Society characters.



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I wouldn't jump straight to a movie. Start with a mini-series adaptation of Rise of the Runelords, maybe on Syfy, or as a Youtube/Netflix series. Get non-gamer people interested.


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So, with the recent release of a certain 5th edition, I've been thinking a lot lately about my preferred game system for swords and sorcery. D&D was the first RPG I'd ever heard of, and while my entry to the game was delayed by my mom's belief in the corrupting influence of AD&D, I started playing in college and have basically never stopped (though I did spread out into Shadowrun, M&M, etc.) I remember a time when I thought the Forgotten Realms were awesome, but now, the thought of playing a game set there is just...meh.

Golarion, on the other hand, feels almost like a real place. A place that I'm engaged with. A place that doesn't feel crowded with NPC heroes to solve the world's problems, yet which still has a distinctive character, no matter where you go. And...a place where I can imagine someone like myself living. To keep it short, I'm a dusky gentleman of exotic background, and while I didn't think much about Paizo's decision to be more ethnically inclusive with their setting (particularly with the iconics), it hit me when I was flipping through the 5e book and I found myself staring at page after page of rather generic, vaguely-european humans, elves, dwarves, and halflings. I'd always kind of thought of it as a genre convention when I was younger, and it's not as though I play a lot of non-white characters in PFS, but I think there's something subconsciously attractive about knowing that people like yourself have a place in the fantasy world you're playing in.

It also makes Golarion look a lot more interesting, as the architecture often reflects a variety of different influences. It feels more like a world, while Faerun seems more like a single region (the Sword Coast) beset by the same threats (Orcs, Drow, Undead) for eternity. I like a lot of the rule changes in 5e (rogues seem much more attractive mechanically, for example, and the emphasis on character background is nice), but I just can't see myself playing it, perhaps because I just can't see myself in the Forgotten Realms anymore.

Thanks a lot, Paizo. You've spoiled me.


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Tinkergoth wrote:
Subparhiggins wrote:
StarMartyr365 wrote:

I really didn't care much for the brawler until I read this. Now I can't wait to roll one up. I think I'm going to make a Varisian with a bunch of really crappy tattoos and a unfathomable accent who is legendary for his ability to get the stuffing kicked out of him and yet still end the match by landing a one punch knock out that breaks his opponent's skull.

SM

So Brad Pitt's Irish traveler character from Snatch?
Bonus points if he makes terribly one sided deals with people and sweetens them by giving the suckers a dog.

Ya like Goblin dags?


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Insain Dragoon wrote:
She just happens to have a psychological need to fight and possibly kill, no biggie! At least she has positive channels for her needs in Golarian.

A desire to improve oneself through conflict is, at worst, a Neutral trait, not an evil one. Her backstory contains no violence against innocents, and in fact all of her fights appear to be sanctioned matches, against opponents who agreed to the terms of the fight. She's not just "good" from a moral perspective, but an ethical one as well.


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I don't mind seeing Aasimars and Tieflings go, but would it be so bad to get the elemental-blooded races into PFS standard play?


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planex wrote:
I play as my party's defender and I've found that if the GM ignores me and attacks my fellow party members, then I become mostly useless. I'm wondering if there's a feat or action I can take that will force the enemy to attack me. Any suggestions?

"Tanking" in Pathfinder doesn't work like "Tanking" in a traditional MMO. Instead, it works more like "Tanking" during teamfights in a MOBA such as DOTA2 or League of Legends. You can't just sit back and wait for stuff to attack you. You have to give them no other choice.

- Use your positioning, and that of your party, to force enemies to get through you before they can reach your party's squishier members.

- When possible, be the one to "initiate" contact with the enemy, so that you can control where and when the fight begins.

- Make tactical use of feats and combat manuevers to control the battlefield. Reach weapons, attacks of opportunities, feats like Stand Still, and Trip Attacks are all useful tools to protect your party and control where the enemy can go.


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Nargemn wrote:

James Jacobs has stated this was a mistake and miscommunication between early Golarion worldbuilders. With Inner Sea Gods, they hoped to fix some of the issues with the division in the Sarenrae faith. She is supposed to be the absolute kindest of the good gods, but new sourcebooks won't wholly fix this (though even in Inner Sea Combat, I believe, her ban from Taldor seems to either be retconned or recently fixed, as what is described as her largest cathedral is sitting there). Hopefully we might someday see an AP devoted to this issue, or even a module (Which James Jacobs has hinted at).

Also, she's neutral good :)

Ah, that does explain a lot. I'm still a bit confused as to how the kindest of the good gods, and a Neutral Good former angel, has the center of her worship in one of the largest slave states in Golarion (one assumes that Qadira has about as many slaves as Cheliax, if not more). Even if we assume that followers don't hew to the exact dictates of their deity in all matters, we're talking about a society-wide institution that is directly opposed to the definition of "Good" as far as the Alignment rules go. I mean, if we're giving Sarenrae a pass for her followers practicing slavery, why not Asmodeus?

Come to think of it, that'd be a great slogan for Chelaxian evangelists: "Why not Asmodeus?"


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I found this on Reddit the other day, but it's starting to make the rounds elsewhere: http://imgur.com/gallery/6yxLL

Haven't we all been in this party at some point? I usually hate the inflexible Paladin, but it looks like they really managed to make it work for them.


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I really, really hate Wil Wheaton. And watching other people play board games is incredibly boring. So no, I won't be giving them any money.


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Sometime last year, I decided to try out an experiment: I would run a Pathfinder game for my mother. How this came about is a bit of a long story...suffice it to say that she had been tagging along to some of my games previously and expressed some curiosity about what was going on.

The game started out with two college friends of mine (let's call them Tom and Carl), and Carl's wife (let's call her Wendy) joining my mom (we'll call her Jen) playing through The Dragon's Demand. I wanted the new players to get into the sense of freedom you get with tabletop gaming, so I didn't make any real class suggestions based on their aptitude; instead, we just asked what kind of characters they wanted. So we ended up with:

Tom, the Musketeer Gunslinger
Carl, the Witch
Wendy, the Bard
Jen, the Druid
Bob, Jen's animal companion (a wolf)

Spoiler:

Almost immediately, Tom bailed on us, so for the early parts of the adventure they were a party of 3, with no frontline (aside from Bob) and no one capable of finding or disabling traps. As you might recall, Hunclay's house is full of traps, as is the Kobold lair. Jen was loathe to put Bob in danger, despite him having better stats than most of the party at the early levels. They managed to survive, disabling Hunclay's traps via the time-honored tradition of having Carl's Witch walk into them face-first. Jen and Wendy seemed happy to meet up every week, but were also rather distracted, and would often miss important game information. Jen, in particular, would then complain loudly when this led her into trouble, or quibble about the rules when they weren't going her way. If you've never been rules-lawyered by your own mother, I highly recommend it; there's no experience like it.

Around this time they realized that Hunclay's mansion was probably not the first place they should go, so instead they pursued the Kobold lair, where they were doing just fine until the entire party fell into a pit trap. Well, the entire party except for Bob, who managed to make his reflex save. At this point a new player, also experienced, joined the party.

This was Mike, the Ranger/Barbarian.

Mike kindly fished them out of the pit and acted as their tank for the duration of the game. He would often tease Jen about her wolf, jokingly encouraging her to send him into danger.

With Mike around, I found that I didn't need to prompt them as often with tactical advice, which was nice. If you're wondering why I was doing this in the first place rather than just watching them die repeatedly...I don't think that's an effective way to encourage new players. They should, at the very least, understand *why* they're failing in combat. By trying to teach Jen how to effectively make decisions about healing, I hoped to get her more engaged in the game. Wendy, being a Bard, was still having trouble though, as her chosen spell list was often ineffective in battle, and much of her Bard's class abilities were only useful outside of combat.

Wendy was actually the source of most of their successful Knowledge checks (thanks to Bardic Knowledge and that trait that lets you take 10 once per day), but due to a mild language barrier she wasn't very engaged with the plot of the game and was mostly rolling at Carl's prompting.

Jen's ignorance of genre conventions made for some great roleplaying though, as her elven Druid turned out to be quite the mercenary, suggesting that the group squeeze the baroness for more money, keep more of the loot from Hunclay's estate, and even trying to press-gang the villagers they rescued from the Kobold cave (who were in pretty bad shape) into helping the group clear out the rest of the Kobolds. Her lack of attention to details also led to some funny moments, such as when she insisted on going to Tula's tomb as soon as she heard that there was treasure there, then reacted with shock when they were inside and she realized that they were inside of a tomb (and being attacked by undead).

Tula's Tomb was the group's first real combat test, as the Wraith gave them a lot of trouble. Few of them had offensive spells, and only Mike had an attack bonus high enough to make good use of their magical weapons. Why Carl and Mike, who knew better, went into a tomb without Holy Water is a question I still ask myself.

The end came soon therafter, when the group entered the Monastery. They recognized the arrow slits and decided not to use the front entrance, instead choosing to hop the fence (easy as pie when you have a flying Witch and some rope) and explore the grounds. They were immediately spotted by the Alchemist in the bell tower, and noticing an indoor courtyard with a bucket of berries, they smashed the window and went inside to claim them. The Dragon's press-ganged Druid shows up and gives them all of the exposition they need, and they begin exploring the monastery, knowing that their enemies are aware of their presence.

Well, as they make their way through the hallways, they check out the Assembly hall, and while they find nothing, Mike decides to listen at the stairwell. Well, a giant-ass Man/Bat aberration is going to make some noise on the floor above you, so naturally he hears and decides to investigate. The rest of the group, who hadn't been paying attention, decide to follow, and the combat that followed was painful for everyone involved.

Everyone beat the creature in initiative except for Mike, who was right in front of the damn thing. Starting with Carl, they all decide to run past Mike (through the creature's threatened area) so that they won't be bunched up in the stairway. Carl goes down immediately from an AoO, but encourages Jen and Wendy to follow suit, reasoning that he set off the creature's only AoO.

As you may know, the creature in question has Combat Reflexes and a Dex of 18. While he didn't one-shot Wendy and Jen, they certainly got hurt, and Mike went down to a full-attack before he ever got a chance to do damage. Jen and Wendy managed to partially revive Carl, who got off two Maximized Lightning Bolts, with Bob the wolf bravely sacrificing himself to protect Carl. Carl died not too long after that, as did Wendy, who was actually critted. Jen came close to killing the creature with damage over time (using a Flaming Sphere) but in the end she died as well.

So what did I learn?
1. Bard and Druid are pretty terrible classes for new players. They have hybrid roles and a lot of possibilities, and if you don't have a firm grasp of the rules you won't be able to make effective use out of them. Ditto for most spellcasting classes, though I suspect that Sorcerer/Oracle might be an exception.

2. While running for experienced players may have trained you out of "railroading" players, you may want to reconsider doing so when the alternative is watching a poorly-optimized 5th level party take on a CR 8. Having said that, I am confident that experienced players would have reduced that CR 8 to a fine paste within 3-4 rounds.

3. Pathfinder needs large-print character sheets. The inability to read her own character sheet made the game much more troublesome for Jen, and contributed to a lack of engagement as she was constantly having to rely on other players to read her spell list and update her sheet.

4. The difficulty curve of the Dragon's Demand takes a serious turn around 4th-5th level. DR is one thing, but Incorporeal Undead vs a party with no Ghost Touch is rough times. Poor Mike needed a ton of restoration after the tombs.

5. You may think that you're doing new players a favor by not trying to influence their build decisions, but this game has a learning curve, and it's better for them to play something that you know will be fun for them, rather than something that they think will sound cool. Fighters/Rangers/Paladins are all fun, they hit often, and are very survivable.

In the end, the group decided that they'd rather try new characters in a new campaign (The Mummy's Mask) than make new characters and push through Dragon's Demand. That's no knock on the module; I honestly think it's a great intro to the game, and one of the best adventures I've seen from Paizo.


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HangarFlying wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
spectrevk wrote:
Can you explain, then, in what universe the errata'd Crane Wing is "as attractive" as its alternatives?

We were shooting to make it on par with some of the other style feats in Ultimate Combat. Whether or not we were successful I think is the point of this thread. Its pretty clear most folks here feel we fell short of the mark.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

Just because those people are whiny, loud, and vocal about it doesn't make the change wrong. They're not pissed that the new Crane Wing is actually now on par with other feats in UC, they're pissed that the new Crane Wing isn't the old Crane Wing.

I'm kind of wondering why this isn't being "removed" for being a personal attack, but I suppose that only matters if you're on the wrong side of the argument.

Regardless, the new Crane Style feat is not "on par" with the other feats in UC; it's now objectively inferior to the other defensive styles (Snake/Turtle).


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Shisumo wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Does that means that if I never buy a new errataed version of Ultimate Combat, I'm allowed to use the old version of Crane Wing?

As has been noted by a number of people in the numerous threads on the topic - with varying amounts of defiance - you can do that whether you buy the new edition or not, as long as your GM allows it/you're not playing PFS.

gustavo iglesias wrote:
I don't see how you can make an errata to nerf martials, but making an errata to buff them would mean you are forcing people to buy new books

Consider, if you will, the number of people who would insisted, prior to the errata, that you need to know about Crane Wing to make a decent defense-oriented martial character.

There's forcing and then there's forcing.

The only thing that has changed due to this errata is that now, you simply *can't* make a decent defense-oriented martial character. Is that really an improvement?


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

That is a game we play with every option. We endeavor to get things around the same level, all things being equal in terms of cost and expected level of acquisition. We are not aiming to put out feats that are worse and worse, nor do we endeavor to put out spells that are worse and worse. We want them to be just as attractive, or in the case of rules that explore new directions, to be a viable and fun alternative. Like I said, we dont get it right every time, but that is the goal.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

Can you explain, then, in what universe the errata'd Crane Wing is "as attractive" as its alternatives?


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As for creating perpetual flat-footedness, isn't that what improved feint is for?


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awp832 wrote:
because fun is largely subjective. So ppl on the board give advice based on what is effective. if you're in it for fun alone, you don't need to go on msg boards and ask for advice for having fun.

I think the problem here is that people are asking for a specific type of advice ("how do I make this character better?") and they're getting a different kind of advice ("play this other character instead").

It's more challenging to find a way to make an unusual build viable, but it's also very rewarding.


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lemeres wrote:
Rynjin wrote:

Here's another question for you: How successful do you think you're going to be as a 1/2 BaB character with 6 Str doing a melee attack, even a Touch Attack?

At 4th level (when you get it), you'll have a whopping +0 to-hit. How are you planning to get these guys with it in the first place? And without getting your face ripped off in the attempt?

What happens if you succeed is the LEAST of your problems...

This is assuming you don't have high Dex and Weapon Finesse either since you called out using crossbows as not being an option because you're already MAD.

That seems to be a problem with inflation and gishing. I mean, wasn't the point of touch attacks in the first place was to make it possible for a caster to use attack rolls? What has happened?

Nothing happened; touch attacks are still viable for casters...a strength of 6 is the strength of a small child. If you dump a stat that hard, you should be reaping some consequences.


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I vastly prefer Paizo's emphasis on producing adventure content over constant ruleset/power creep ala WoTC.


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According to recent research, the idea that going without a bra causes sagging is actually incorrect. In fact, wearing a bra/bodice may cause Seoni's "girls" to become saggier over time. http://www.livescience.com/28664-bras-make-breasts-sag.html


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Bastards of Golarion sounds like a really awesome grindhouse movie. A group of hard-boiled CN adventurers thirsty for revenge against the evil empire that left them for dead.

"They should have Coup-de-Grace'd us when they had the chance. Now we're coming. And all nine hells are coming with us."


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I have to admit, I wasn't terribly fond of Huerta's work on the Pathfinder comic, but these commissions look great.


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I'm looking at a Sandman Bard for PFS, and I'm a bit confused about Stealspell. The description says:

Quote:
Once the performance is started, the bard can steal a prepared spell or a spell known from another creature with a touch attack as a standard action.

...but it doesn't state whether this is a melee touch attack or a ranged touch attack. Can it be both? Or is it assumed to be melee?


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Strife2002 wrote:

I get the feeling that this issue will really be divided between two groups of people. Those that are RPG-nerds and those that are Comic Book-nerds. Of course there's overlap, but which one are you MORE of. The RPG nerds are buying these comics for the bonus content. The Comic Book nerds are buying these for the comics. The RPG nerds are apparently more vocal because we're on paizo's website, which is populated primarily by us RPG nerds.

I bet if this same discussion were happening on Dynamite's website (if they even have messageboards, I dunno), it may swing the other way.

I am by far more of a comic nerd than I am an RPG nerd. I preferred having the maps, and am strongly considering ending my subscription. My comics were never damaged by the presence of the maps, and the maps added enough value to the comic that I was willing to overlook a serious problem with art quality that, quite frankly, would normally prevent me from buying the comic in the first place.

Huerta has a good sense of motion in his art, but his pencils are too loose and without a good inker the art ends up looking muddled. The new artist has cleaner lines, but has a very poor sense of facial expressions, which is a serious problem when paired with a dialogue-heavy writer like Jim Zub.


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Erik Mona wrote:

They aren't "lost". There was a miscommunication between Paizo and Dynamite, and they went astray for a few issues. We will likely get back to them because we were having fun with them.

I dunno, what do you guys think?

I was really disappointed with the lack of a map and the much shorter "game info" section in the back. I enjoy the story and all, but to be honest, I think the art has been consistently awful and the game material is sort of the "clincher" that keeps me subscribing at this point.


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It's a two-step process:

1. Decide what would be fun to play.

2. Figure out how to optimize it to make it useful.

If Evocation Wizards exist in the game, then they were meant to be played. The party should adjust to having an Evocation Wizard, rather than expecting the Evoker to do the job of an Abjurer or Transmuter. You might not be effective in the traditional Wizard role, but as long as you're effective in *some* role, you're pulling your weight in the party.


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Why would a normal druid be a better Carr than any of the Shaman types? Shamans don't give up any spellcasting.


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As far as I know, a Slam is a regular attack, not a full attack. A creature can move and still deliver a slam attack.


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Is there any way to dual-wield shields? Would you get double the shield bonus? If not, who else would like to see an archetype for this?


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I've been thinking about trying out some archetypes, or at least a less common build lately. One thing that came to mind was a Cad, or some other type of Fighter (Brawler seems most likely) that specializes in either single or dual-wielded daggers.

This is basically a thread for thought experiments. As near as I can tell, the humble Dagger has the following advantages as a weapon:

- It deals both Pierching and Slashing damage
- It can be used as a Thrown weapon without improvising
- It's cheap
- It's a light weapon, so in an off-hand the penalty will be low
- It crits on a 19-20, so with Keen you'd have a 20% chance to crit

It also has some disadvantages:

- Low damage die
- It's a light weapon, so Power Attack is off the table
- There is no mechanical benefit to dual-wielding a pair of light weapons
- All the other Fighters will laugh at you

Now, why be a fighter instead of a Rogue if you want to be a dagger guy?

- Weapon Specialization damage
- Superior CMB/CMD
- Lots of Feats

Looking at the Fighter archetypes, the best synergy that I can see is with the Brawler, who gets a +3(!) bonus to damage with all close combat weapons. They also get some bonuses to CMB for bull rushing and reposition, so I can begin to see a Fighter built around Manuevers and battlefield control, but it still leaves us with the question: why do this with daggers?

The Cad seems like it would fit well with the theme of a Dagger fighter, but I have my doubts about it as an archetype. You're giving up medium and heavy armor, plus tower shields, all for 5 extra class skills and no extra skill points. And a bonus to Dirty Tricks. I love the concept, but it really just seems like a poor-man's Rogue.

Two-Weapon Fighter has some synergy, but why bother with two daggers in that case? Surely longsword/shortsword is a better combo in that case.

Any suggestions?


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You know, after all of this, my original idea for my next PFS character was a Metal Elemental Wizard, but I eventually realized that I just wanted to be a martial artist who could turn into metal. And honestly, if the Metal Elemental wizard wasn't intended for monks to dip into, I have no idea what the hell it's good for.

But that's a whole 'nother thread. Thanks for the help, everyone.


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I've seen some of the other threads on Unarmed Fighter as an archetype versus Monk, and the consensus is generally that the Fighter does more damage...but that's looking at level 20. What about low to mid-level play?

I'm working on a Pathfinder Society character, starting out at level 1. The max it could ever go is 11, since retirement occurs at 12. The main benefit I see with the Unarmed Fighter at low levels is that they get to "cheat" when it comes to one style feat at level 1. Of course, the Master of Many Styles gets to do this repeatedly, and with the later feats in a style chain as well. You could basically complete a full Style tree by 6th level as a MoMS if you focused on it.

Martial Artist has to "play fair" for Style Feats, but by 4th level they can "cheat" and pick up Fighter feats (like Weapon Specialization).

So let's assume for the moment that all three characters have a Strength of 16. Let us also assume that all three will, eventually, be going for Dragon Style.

At first level:

The Martial Artist has +3 to hit once, or +2/+2 on a flurry, doing 1d6+3 with both attacks (average of 14 damage per turn if both attacks hit).

The Master of Many Styles has their first Dragon Style Feat, so the first attack in their flurry does 1d6+4, raising their average to 15 damage per turn if both attacks hit.

The Unarmed Fighter also has their first dragon style feat, but they'll need two-weapon fighting to give them their second attack. They'll have +4 if they attack once, or the same +2/+2 with TWF. Damage will be a mere 1d3+4 for the first strike, and 1d3+3 for the second. Average of 11.

If human, all three of our examples will have an additional feat. The Fighter could pick up Power Attack, which would drop him to +1/+1, and giving him a bit of extra damage on both attacks, raising the average to 14. The Monks don't really have any other damage increasing options that I know of, so we'll leave those be.

At 1st level then, the Master of Many Styles wins, with the most damage at a decent chance to hit.

Now lets look at our fellas at level 5.

The MoMS has, at this point, gotten two feats into his style and has been that way since 2nd level. With Dragon Ferocity, he's getting an extra +1 to his damage rolls. He could also have picked up Power Attack at level 3, giving him +2 damage to each of his attacks, since unarmed monk attacks are never off-hand. His damage has gone up to a d8, so if he hits all three attacks his average is up to 23 damage per turn. How likely is he to get that kind of damage? Well, He'll be at +5/+5, if I'm doing my math right.

The Martial Artist has finally been able to pick up Dragon Style (at 3rd) but won't get Dragon Ferocity until 6th level as a bonus feat. On the bright side, he was able to pick up Power Attack as his bonus feat at 2nd level, and Weapon Specialization at 5th. That leaves us with an average of 25 damage per turn if all attacks hit. On the bright side, Exploit Weakness gives him a +2 to all of his attack rolls if he succeeds at a d20+WIS+Monk Level check versus 10+Target's CR, a roll that is weighted in his favor. He will also be ignoring DR. Plus he had to pick up Weapon Focus, so his attack bonus would be +8/+8.

The Unarmed Fighter, due to problems with prerequisites, was unable to pick up Dragon Ferocity with his 4th level bonus feat, and will have to wait until 6th level. He does, however, get Weapon Specialization at 4th level, and Weapon Training at 5th level, for a total of +3 to damage all the time. Sadly, he has only two attacks still. I believe that leaves his damage per turn at 17 if he uses TWF. His attack bonus is also +8/+8 with TWF, if my math is correct.

The Martial Artist has pulled ahead.

At 10th level let's assume that all 3 have STR 18:

The MoMS could complete the Dragon Style chain by this point, or have two feats into the Boar Style chain and combine boar style's bleed damage with the damage bonuses from the first two feats of Dragon Style. So that'd be...a lot of damage. Dragon Style only adds 1.5 times strength to the first attack, but still that's 58 damage plus 12 points of bleed, for an average of 70 per round if all attacks hit. 11/11/6/6 attack bonuses.

The Martial Artist will have the same attack bonus, but won't be able to combine styles. On the right side, by 10th level he'll have Greater Weapon Specialization. I believe this will leave him around 66 damage per turn if all attacks hit, with a bonus of 13/13/8/8 when he flurries.

The Unarmed Fighter...honestly, I don't know how to help him catch up at this point. 55 damage per turn by my count, since off-hand attacks only add +1 damage from Power Attack. Anyone have a good build here?

So as near as I can tell, the best absolute damage would be the Master of Many Styles, with the Martial Artist probably being the best option overall, due to its ability to ignore DR.


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johnlocke90 wrote:
spectrevk wrote:

I've been having a lot of fun lately playing characters that are intentionally not fully optimized. The first was a Sorcerer who (still, even at level 5) knows nothing about Spellcraft. This led to some funny situations where the party found a magic item and her response was simply "Yep...that's magical." It's fun to break out of the mold just a little bit, and it's not crippling to gameplay at all.

A riskier example is that I recently sat in on a friend's Beginner Box game at my FLGS and played an elven Wizard. I rolled some pretty good stats...and a 6. Now, the obvious choice would be to stick the 6 in strength, but for some reason I thought it'd be funny to put it in Wisdom. So my absent-minded Wizard, who didn't know when to shut up and generally lacked common sense was a blast to roleplay during the game. The other players, who were new to the game, had the opportunity to define themselves in opposition to her ("I'm an elf, but we're not all like *her*...")

Best of all, both characters experienced cool, dramatic moments when they actually succeeded at something. The Sorcerer who doesn't really study magic was one hell of a badass when she started tossing out Elemental Rays and magic missiles at the creatures that the melee characters couldn't hurt due to DR or high AC. And I truly wish I could have gotten a photo of the table's reaction the first time my Wizard hucked a longsword right into the gut of some lizardfolk we were fighting, or rescued the Rogue (who was unconscious and drowning) by casting sleep on her attackers and wading into the water to drag her to the surface.

The last benefit is, I'll admit, merely superstition: I've noticed that when I intentionally forgo maximum optimization, I tend to roll better. Seriously, my best optimized characters will get saddled with terrible rolls, but my flawed protagonists always come through in a clinch.

I think it really depends on the GM. For instance, a low wisdom character can be fun, but if you get into fights...

I'm pretty sure I'm going to be laughing the first time that wizard gets hit with Cause Fear or whatever. The only way it would stop being fun is if the GM was spiteful and just focused on ways to punish the character/player, and in that case I'd just stop playing with them.

No amount of optimization would fix that problem, though. I feel sorry for players/GMs who get caught up in an arms race to see who can break the system harder.


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AbsolutGrndZer0 wrote:
spectrevk wrote:

The Punisher is absolutely a Lawful character. He does not punish people randomly, nor does he ever let people off the hook. He is enforcing a strict code of law. He is the definition of Lawful Neutral.

You seem to be confusing Lawful Good with Lawful Neutral. A Lawful Good character cares about both the law and the sanctity of human life. A Lawful Neutral person only cares about what is "right", regardless of the consequences. That's what "neutral" means. The "goodness" of an action is irrelevant to a Lawful Neutral character. What matters is the letter of the law, not "justice".

No, I am seeing Punisher as someone who breaks the law by being a vigilante.

You want a D&D example?

I forget the name of the developer, but at a convention one of the TSR developers was running a 2nd edition game that took place in Calimshan (Forgotten Realms) Slavery is legal there. A paladin in the adventuring party saw an elven girl who was the slave of a wizard. He confronted the wizard on this, and in the end strongarmed the wizard to free his slave. As he was a paladin of Tyr, the Lawful Neutral God of Law, he was stripped of his Paladinhood. Reason being, like it or not, slavery is legal in Calimshan and by FORCING a wizard to free his slave, he broke the law. He broke the LAWFUL part of his alignment.

You're kind of making my point for me, here. In your example, the Lawful Neutral God defended slavery, because "Good" is meaningless to him. The suffering of the elven girl is irrelevant to Tyr, because he isn't Good. He's Neutral. The Paladin, in this case, was specifically empowered by a God of Law, which means that he was obligated to obey the local law. Had he been a Paladin of a Lawful Good deity, or even a Lawful Neutral one with a different portfolio, the results may have been different.

Regarding the Punisher, you are simply wrong. Nearly all vigilantes/superheroes operate without a formal endorsement from the government, and even those that do operate with a mandate would not cease to do what they do if that mandate expired. Vigilantes like the Punisher and Batman exist because of perceived failures in the operation of law enforcement as regards public safety and maintaining the peace. They are acting on behalf of the civilian population, rather than the government, and they operate within strict guidelines. The Punisher will not shoot someone simply because they cut him off in traffic. Batman does not break a guy's arm for littering.

Chaotic Neutral behavior, in a comic book, would be better exemplified by a character who randomly changes allegiances and cares nothing about the sanctity of human life - a mercenary, such as Deadpool, Deadshot, or Deathstroke the Terminator.

LG: Cares about maintaining order, and the preservation of sapient life. May have to do things he/she doesn't want to (such as letting an enemy escape) in order to either comply with an obligation, or save a life. (Superman, Captain America).

NG: Cares about the preservation of life and happiness. That's it. Would prefer to avoid conflicts with authority, but would be willing to do so in order to safeguard an innocent. (Wonder Woman, Spider-Man)

CG: Actively dislikes authority and/or is independent in the extreme, but is a genuinely good person. Often the alignment of loners. Would gladly break the word to an evil person. (Wolverine, Green Arrow)

LN: Cares about structure/order, and believes that this need outweighs any concerns about the sanctity of life. Would willingly sacrifice one person to save 20. Would use lethal force on an inferior combatant if that combatant's crime was severe enough. (The Punisher, Judge Dredd)

N: There are almost no truly Neutral characters in comics. Even The Watcher, who is supposed to be completely neutral, has broken his neutrality before. I suppose Death, particularly the Marvel Universe version, qualifies.

CN: Doesn't care about loyalty or sapient life; out for themselves. Likely to change allegiances frequently. (Deadpool, The Secret Six)

LE: Honorable, but actively disdainful of the sanctity of human life. Has no qualms about sacrificing others to accomplish a plan. (Dr. Doom, Ra's Al Ghul)

NE: Primarily concerned with personal advancement. Would lie to an ally or break an oath if convenient. Most "hireling" type villains fit in here. (The Rhino, most of The Flash's Rogues Gallery)

CE: Generally reserved for the criminally insane. (The Joker, Norman Osborne)


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I've been having a lot of fun lately playing characters that are intentionally not fully optimized. The first was a Sorcerer who (still, even at level 5) knows nothing about Spellcraft. This led to some funny situations where the party found a magic item and her response was simply "Yep...that's magical." It's fun to break out of the mold just a little bit, and it's not crippling to gameplay at all.

A riskier example is that I recently sat in on a friend's Beginner Box game at my FLGS and played an elven Wizard. I rolled some pretty good stats...and a 6. Now, the obvious choice would be to stick the 6 in strength, but for some reason I thought it'd be funny to put it in Wisdom. So my absent-minded Wizard, who didn't know when to shut up and generally lacked common sense was a blast to roleplay during the game. The other players, who were new to the game, had the opportunity to define themselves in opposition to her ("I'm an elf, but we're not all like *her*...")

Best of all, both characters experienced cool, dramatic moments when they actually succeeded at something. The Sorcerer who doesn't really study magic was one hell of a badass when she started tossing out Elemental Rays and magic missiles at the creatures that the melee characters couldn't hurt due to DR or high AC. And I truly wish I could have gotten a photo of the table's reaction the first time my Wizard hucked a longsword right into the gut of some lizardfolk we were fighting, or rescued the Rogue (who was unconscious and drowning) by casting sleep on her attackers and wading into the water to drag her to the surface.

The last benefit is, I'll admit, merely superstition: I've noticed that when I intentionally forgo maximum optimization, I tend to roll better. Seriously, my best optimized characters will get saddled with terrible rolls, but my flawed protagonists always come through in a clinch.


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The Punisher is absolutely a Lawful character. He does not punish people randomly, nor does he ever let people off the hook. He is enforcing a strict code of law. He is the definition of Lawful Neutral.

You seem to be confusing Lawful Good with Lawful Neutral. A Lawful Good character cares about both the law and the sanctity of human life. A Lawful Neutral person only cares about what is "right", regardless of the consequences. That's what "neutral" means. The "goodness" of an action is irrelevant to a Lawful Neutral character. What matters is the letter of the law, not "justice".


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I'm inclined to agree with the player - he's killing people who attack and/or wrong him. Lawful Neutral is exactly the kind of alignment to do the sorts of things that you are describing. If he starts hurting people who have done nothing to him, then he's dipping into Evil territory, but simply being merciless to one's enemies is well within the bounds of neutrality.


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Most players hate the "you wake up bound and gagged" or "you are captured by X" scenario, and they are not necessarily wrong. It's an overused plot point, it robs the players of agency, and more often than not it turns the game from an interactive experience into "story time".

As an alternative to killing the PCs, capture/escape is great, but unless you've got some actual plot for them to accomplish while imprisoned (i.e. someone they need to meet in prison, or this being a convenient way to get them into the enemy's base), it's generally not worth the headache IMO.


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I like Tyrion as much as the next person, but I think his "goodness" is somewhat exaggerated by many, especially if we're talking about his behavior early on. He's sympathetic because his sister/father treat him so badly (and are much worse than he ever was), but he's still a Lannister.

Actions themselves are not necessarily good or evil; motivation plays a part as well. Littlefinger betrayed Ned Stark for a number of reasons, all of them selfish. Much of what Tyrion does during his time as the Hand is geared towards mitigating the damage that his nephew and sister are doing to the kingdom as a whole. Until he is forced to flee, Tyrion's politicking is mostly about preserving what passes for order and civilization in Westeros, because he knows that his sister and nephew are f*%#ing bonkers, and his father/brother are too disinterested to notice. Most of Tyrion's "chaotic" actions relate to his entertainment during his off-time, but it is worth noting that when Alayaya is tortured to "punish" him, he goes out of his way to make sure that she is compensated, an act which is, in my opinion, quite Lawful. Depending on how charitably you view his actions (one could argue that he fought in defense of an evil regime when he defended King's Landing; one could also argue that he defended innocent people from what surely would have been a massacre by the enemy troops), he could be considered Neutral Good or Lawful Neutral, IMO.

Ned Stark is probably the best high-profile example of Lawful Good that I've seen in years. Of particular note is his insistence on performing his own executions, rather than passing the responsibility to an underling.

Arya is kind of a puzzle, but she's also a small child, and likely does not have a fully-formed alignment yet. Her vindictiveness does not preclude her from being considered Chaotic Good, IMO, as the targets of her ire are all firmly in the "evil" category.

Sansa has been "redeemed" to some extent by the TV series, which portrays her in a much more sympathetic light. Her actions in the first book are still incredibly selfish/cowardly, and she betrays her own family on multiple occasions, which would push me towards labeling her Neural Evil if she were not also a child.

Joffrey is textbook Chaotic Evil.

Cersei is Neutral Evil for much of the series, until the pressures of rule/paranoia push her into Chaotic territory. Her twin, Jaime, likewise starts out NE and though I still haven't forgiven him to the extent most fans have, I will grant that by the time he grants Oathkeeper to Brienne, he is at least Neutral.

Despite his reneging on the marriage contract, Robb is still LG, IMO. The contract was made under duress, and everything he did was in service to his quest to avenge his father. Jon Snow's decision to remain on the Wall and do his duty is likewise evidence of him inheriting his father's alignment (though between you and me, I suspect Ned never really fathered a bastard, and Jon is really his nephew via Lyanna)

I could go on, but you get the idea. There are all, of course, merely opinion. I think Westeros is mostly unique for the large number of Neutral- and Evil-aligned leadership.


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neverminding wrote:
Matthew Trent wrote:


Really? I don't even see a singe point in real world history that is anlalogous to the world struggeling to recover from the death of God and the end of prophecy. ;)

Varisians = Gypsys/Eastern Europeans

Keleshites = Hollywood Arabs/Persians
Mwangi - Sub-Saharan Africans
Ulfen - Nords
Tians - "Asians"
Vudrani - Indians (they even have three spiritual books...)
Osirion - Egypt

And these are the obvious ones.

It's just like the Realms with all of the Earth analogs. Ever check out the Talislanta world books? The game itself was horrible, but the each nation/culture/race was original. I would like to see more of that instead of Golarian's derivative fantasy.

Aren't Garundi also similar to Sub-Saharan Africans? Perhaps Ethiopians?


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"How about an expedition to the Realm of the Mammoth Lords...in my pants?"


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Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:

The ability to keep people dead it the trade of the Red Mantises and it's why they do so well for themselves.

Also, If I were going to murder someone in magic world I'd at least get rid of (ie burn) the body to make the raiseing harder.

if I had the magic to do so I'd trap the soul to keep them dead. Or not kill them and just hide their body in stasisi somewhere.

The question of murder in a world where resurrection exists is covered pretty thoroughly in Steven Brust's Dragaeran series (Taltos, Jhereg, et. al.)

Basically, standard killing is considered a warning. You kill a guy to show that you can get to him, so when he gets rezzed, he knows he has stepped on the wrong toes. Killing someone so they stay dead requires destroying their head or hiding their body long enough that the soul departs the plane. And then there's "Morganti", a class of soul-eating weapon that delivers a complete, unalterable death that bypasses the afterlife entirely. Morganti is not used lightly, not even by the most vicious of people.


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Just how evil are the "Evil" nations in Golarion? My initial assumption wass that the Lawful Evil nations, like Geb and Cheliax, allow visitors and treat them normally (i.e. not enslaving you the moment you cross the border), but now that I think about it, "Lawful Evil" isn't necessarily the same as "Reasonable Evil".

Geb, for example, keeps living humans as a food source. It is implied that they have non-edible living humans as well, but they're a minority. If you wandered into Geb, would they treat you like food, or a guest? Is there such a thing as evil tourism in Golarion? If I was an evil or neutral Wizard, could I arrange to visit a library in Geb to research spells? Would I be able to immigrate? Would that depend on whether or not I intended to become undead in the near future?

Likewise, with Cheliax: obviously worshipping anyone who isn't Asmodeus is grounds for imprisonment/enslavement/execution, but what if you're a non-believer who simply doesn't proselytize? Like, if I was a Cleric of Iomedae who had to pass through Cheliax on my way to somewhere else, or had relatives there I wanted to visit, could I just not wear my holy symbol, not preach my religion, and more or less be okay? Granted, I can see how Iomedae might be pissed at me for doing that, but I could see a Cleric being forgiven for something like that if it was the only way she could visit her ailing mother, or something like that.

I assume there has to be some way to legally visit Cheliax, since they have to trade with other nations, but with Geb...undead don't really need to import fruits and veggies. I suppose the living would still need food though. Perhaps visitors are "on their own" when it comes to dealing with random undead attackers, but the government has no official policy of enslaving visitors? If so, how do the humans in Geb who are designated as a food source end up that way? I mean, humans under those circumstances wouldn't willingly bring more children into the world, so they're either compelling them to do so in some way (Charm Person?) or continually capturing new edible humans. Of the two options, I think the latter seems more likely, if only because I don't think spellcasting undead would want to be stuck with the job of "human animal husbandry".

I know this seems like an odd tangent, but it just struck me as interesting, and I can see some interesting story seeds in there. Framing a campaign with a tourism package to "Golarion's Most Controversial Nation-States" sounds like fun to me. Dealing with being an "illegal immigrant" to a Lawful Evil country would likewise be interesting...I could see a more mercantile nation letting you off with an exorbitant fine, while Cheliax might enslave you (after a trial, of course) and Geb would throw you into "the farm".


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