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Dex-focused gives you 1 stat for AC, Reflex saves, Initiative, ranged attack, melee attack, melee damage (and possibly ranged), and some valuable skills (Acrobatics, Escape Artist, Stealth).
Str-focused gives you 1 stat for melee attack, melee damage, ranged damage (and possibly attack with throwing weapons), some mediocre (but occasionally important) skills (Climb, Swim), carrying capacity, and checks to break things.
What I would have liked to see on the Swashbuckler to make it more mobile:
-Spring Attack as an automatic feature somewhere between levels 4 and 8.
It's kind of frustrating that so few things work with Spring Attack/Shot on the Run for basically NO reason, and Pathfinder hasn't adapted the extra-attack-during-Spring Attack feats from 3.5. Every non-magical character wants to stand around full-attacking unless they have pounce, which isn't easy to come by, or Ride-By-Attack and they're mounted, which has its own issues.
Cutting right to the chase, the Feral Hunter archetype for the new Hunter class in the ACG has caught my eye, and I was wondering if people had formed some opinions and advice on ways to build such a character.
In particular, what order would you take feats in (assuming the standards for a wild shape-focused druid, with some of the caster-druid staples included)?
What would you select for your spells known? Say, at level 2, 5, 10?
What aspects and summons/wildshapes sync up best?
Also, do you feel you lose much by not being able to wildshape into an elemental or plant?
No, not yet.
I'd prefer to wait and see what the "Unchained" stuff looks like, and figure out whether the system can be tweaked with that enough to fix the major issues with the game.
That is, unless Pathfinder wants to adopt the Edge of the Empire dice system, but I doubt that will happen as it would be an enormous departure.
I don't see why Paizo continues to make stuff like this so punitive, ESPECIALLY given that Sniper Goggles exist.
At the very least, the archetype should scale automatically and probably not replace anything (or eat up an extra talent slot at, say, level 10 and be done with it). Gaining +10 feet/2 levels to your SA range isn't all that amazing even before considering how difficult it can be to land ranged sneak attacks.
Human Wizard Conjurer, LN. God wizard.
Half-orc Invulnerable Rager Barbarian/Unarmed Fighter, CN. He is there to absorb a lot of abuse while dishing it out himself.
Human Wizard Conjurer, LN. God wizard...because the game I was playing the first one in stalled at level 6 and I wanted to do more with the character, but THIS game died, too.
I think of it this way: if you take a strong guy, and have him crush a stone in his fist, but he's got a big dopey grin on his face, or looks kind of bored, that may not be intimidating at all. That's why we see so many scenes where the big strong guy does something like that, and then his boss/sidekick/friend/underling speaks on his behalf emphasizing that what the guy could do to the stone, he could do to YOU.
It being tied to charisma demonstrates your ability to do more than perform a demonstration, but to "attack" someone psychologically. That's also why we have several methods in the game for achieving basically the same results, but without the reliance on Cha or communication (Dazzling Display, for instance). Of course you can accomplish the same things with Str, Dex (think of Bruce Lee doing his "Dazzling Display" with nunchuks), Con, Int, or Wis, but then it's typically doing something else, or takes a trait, racial ability, feat, or spell to do so, because you're going about things a different way.
You also need to differentiate between intimidation and fear. They're closely related, but I feel like they aren't necessarily the same thing. Watching someone get eaten by a creature might instill fear in you without ever involving an attempt to shake your resolve (and that's really what Intimidate is...causing someone to be shaken without resorting to actual violence or magic).
The Terminator may have had a racial bonus, or significant circumstance bonuses, or a fear aura (like a dragon), or some other similar ability.
Artemis Moonstar wrote:
I was mostly aiming at one number for each of my tests, just because I couldn't be bothered to recall all 3. So, for the 6th level set, about half of the solutions were 19, and the other half 29, and I'm fairly certain that I could have made them all 19.
For the 7th level set, they were ALL 31.
I've been doing some test runs with this, just rolling dice and seeing if I can hit the right numbers...
I did about 30 rolls of 6 dice for spells modified up to 3rd level (6th level character), and about 15 rolls of 7 dice for spells modified of the 4th level, and I not only haven't failed to achieve one of the prime numbers, but have done so in under 30 seconds for almost every single roll.
From what I recall of what my players wanted to do, they're looking to create a headquarters for an elite military/police force (something akin to S.W.A.T.--part of the city guard, but outside the main chain of command), using their troops to do good works in the city (maybe effecting repairs, or in martial action against significant threats), and possibly also use their kitchen space to serve the homeless as a soup kitchen.
My contention is that most of the rooms therein would be devoted to simply supporting their new order, not a place for the public, nor as a producer of goods, really.
We're still in the discussion phase, though some stuff has been planned out, but it doesn't strike be as making sense to have a combination soup kitchen and mess hall--the soldiers and destitute might not mingle well, and the latter represents a hazard of sorts in the event of emergency mobilization. I can't imagine, say, a police station house opening its kitchen for such a purpose. Plus, it offers a too easy way to gain entry to the inner working of such a force for any ne'er-do-wells.
I'm thinking that it might produce some Influence, MAYBE some Goods, but it'd be kind of low on the latter, and wouldn't be earning gold.
Under the "Buildings" section, I don't see the output for each building listed, so, while those buildings DO have things like kitchens in them, there isn't any indication that I've seen that they should be counted in producing capital. From what I can tell, the buildings listed are there to give a sense of what one would expect in a typical version of that structure.
You wouldn't, for instance, build an academy without a kitchen, bedrooms, lavatory, etc...
My position (as Kolo's GM), is that, while a building can be oriented toward a particular capital-generating task, it doesn't necessarily do so for all included rooms. For instance, if you had a two story building, the bottom floor being a storefront for, say, textiles, and the upstairs your personal quarters, the rooms upstairs would have no bearing on your income from the shop.
So, an idea that I worked with back in 3.5 for a while, was that fighters gained multiple lines of bonus feats that they could switch between where at level 6 feats would branch, and you would select 2 different feats, one for each "column" and could swap between them. Then, at level 12, they would branch again, and at 18 a final time.
So it would look something like this:
6. Bonus feat 1 | Bonus feat 2
So, as an example, at level 6, you could chose Point Blank Shot for A, and Combat Expertise for B, and would then devote your A feats toward archery, and your B feats toward some combat maneuver (let's say Trip).
6. Point Blank Shot | Combat Expertise
Then, at 12, these trees would split again, so you could have two branching focuses for each broader discipline:
12. Manyshot/Dodge | Fury's Fall/Death or Glory
In this case, the fighter could be using one option in the left hand column for full attacks with a bow, or the other option for instances where he needs to be mobile, and could use the first option in the right hand column when he's fighting foes that he can trip, or the second option when fighting larger foes (who he is likely not going to be able to trip).
Then at 18, these would split further, where each existing option would gain 2 more, so Snap Shot would branch twice, Shot on the Run would branch twice, etc...resulting in 8 feats selected at 18 and 20.
The way I handled this was that it took a swift action to change focus. While we were using this idea, the few people who built fighters would use their level 1, 2 and 4 bonus feats, and their standard feats to define the character's primary focus, and to pick up feats that they wanted access to full time, and then would build upon their main role with one tree at 6, while using the second tree to build in an alternative option. One could be focused on offense, while the other is looking toward defense, or it could be melee combat vs. ranged, or two different sorts of combat maneuvers.
We ended up with more varied fighters without dramatically increasing the power level of the fighter: they had more options, and could therefore adapt to more situations, but they weren't bringing much more power to bear at any one time.
It gets a bit complicated when you hit level 12, but it was manageable.
I'd think something along these lines might be the way to go, perhaps including some class features that work this way as well.
First, are we going to see Unchained feats? I hope so, but if not, the fighter needs an ability that allows them to either ignore ability score prerequisites for feats (like Int 13 for Combat Expertise), or have his ability scores count as being higher for the purposes of meeting prerequisites fairly early in the class, although this brings up the issue of making the fight an even stronger dip class.
Fighter needs some abilities that make use of mental stats. Perhaps they could have a choice of tactician, martial artist, leader, where abilities would follow those themes a little, and would use Int, Wis, or Cha, respectively.
I like some stuff like that from the Warblade in the Tome of Battle: Book of 9 Swords from 3.5...using Int as a bonus to things like Reflex saves, touch AC, Initiative, confirming critical hits, etc...
Fighters, more than any other class, should probably be good with teamwork feats. They should have some options that allows them to share feats like that during combat...they're certainly more suited to that than the Inquisitor is, I think.
I like the idea that (I think) Ryjin brought up earlier about allowing the fighter to "prepare feats" the way a wizard prepares spells each day. That sort of covers the notion that fighters are highly versatile combatants, and good in many areas, while not loading them down with all of that power at the same time. I think it has some thematic issues, but those could be solved with the ability to change X number of selections Y times per day, allowing the fighter to adapt in combat, possibly.
Hopefully there will also be rules for Unchained full attack combat to give martial characters a better combination of mobility and effectiveness.
I already give all the 2+Int characters 4+Int in my games, or 3+Int+1 free rank each level in a thematic skill (for example, wizards get Knowledge: Arcana, Clerics and Paladins get K: Religion, etc...).
I'm on the fence as to whether I feel fighters should gain a good Will save, or just better abilities to augment their save. Personally, I'd think they should have a good Reflex, since they're focused in physical training, and should have an expanded Bravery bonus...probably start it at +2 to your choice of fear, compulsion, etc... then increase it by 1 per X levels, adding +1 to another type of save.
I'd like to see some of the stuff from Tome of Battle that was more mundane in nature brought over...stuff from the Diamond Mind, Iron Heart, and White Raven I seem to recall being less supernatural in nature.
Uh, being a touch attack is rarely a "saving grace" for an offensive spell, since most casters tend to try an avoid getting into melee range with their opponents who probably hit a lot harder--trading 1d6/level damage with someone swinging a two-handed weapon, or who is going to full-attack you is almost never a good idea, while ranged touch attacks allow you to maintain some distance. I'd say that, depending on how you want to look at things, and what you value, they're about even once you account for all the pros and cons on both sides.
Snowball is pretty amazing. How many level 1 spells allow you to impose a significant debuff at range without a HD cap? How many 2nd level spells allow you to do that AND deal damage at the same time? Rime Spell on Snowball is a pretty strong 2nd level spell, allowing a ranged touch attack to Entangle for a round, along with the chance of also staggering your target. Restrict a target to either a single attack, or a single move action at half speed, along with penalties to Dex (AC), to-hit, and making spellcasting difficult?
I think you're undervaluing Staggered. Forcing someone to choose between moving or attacking or casting a spell is a pretty good status effect. Disallowing full attacks is as well. Now, sure, if your target has pounce and a full attack, they could still use that if not too far away, but that combo isn't very common, especially at lower levels. And if you add Rime Spell, even that option is removed, since Entangled prevents charging. Staggered amounts to giving your side an extra full attack action, or preventing an attack, or allowing your team to get in better positions.
It's not the BEST debuff, but, again, we're looking at a level 1 spell here. How much do you want? Sleep is good, until you gain a few levels, and may not even be useful against a tough boss at level 1, and there are a lot of creatures that are immune to sleep and/or enchantments. At level 2 you have some better single target control options, but how many are as universally applicable? I wouldn't build a whole character around Snowball, but it's a fantastic spell to use early on, and a decent spell to have in reserve at later levels.
As others have said, what you have here is a combination of it being too easy to get flanking (who is the rogue flanking with? remember that the other character must be threatening, so must be armed--the monk's unarmed strike counts, but the cleric and sorcerer need to have SOME sort of weapon in their hand), and a fairly low damage party in general, so +1d6 is looking like a lot.
When the monk starts getting more attacks per round, or his damage goes up, he may steal the spotlight more often.
For comparison, if you had a barbarian instead of a monk, the rogue would be WAY behind: 2d6 base damage from a greatsword + 3 Power Attack two-handed, +9 (16 starting Str + 2 racial, presumably, +4 rage =22, or a +6 modifier increased by 1/2 when used to deal damage 2-handed), for 2d6+12 damage, a higher attack bonus than the rogue, and no need to flank to get that damage consistently.
A fighter would be a bit behind that, but would more or less catch up in a few levels. Several other characters would also either be doing considerably more damage now, or would be in a few levels.
I'll say that, in my home game, the player running the rogue has been rather frustrated, as whole encounters go by without him having a chance to make a sneak attack. In many of my encounters, the players find themselves in unadvantageous positions, themselves flanked in a narrow corridor or otherwise surrounded by foes, or fighting against an enemy that prohibits easy movement (large and huge creatures), flying enemies, etc... He recently asked to pick up the Scout archetype, which allows for Sneak Attack on a charge, and then whenever you move 10 feet (doesn't have this part yet), and he still hasn't had consistent luck with SA. As you can see, it can be a rather fickle benefit.
So, when building a half-dragon kobold, do you just take your CR 1/4 kobold, then add half-dragon (+2), but which has a minimum CR of 3, and jump it up to 3?
Or, do you take you CR 1/4, and add some NPC class levels (kobolds are at NPC class level -3), say warrior 3, which brings it to CR 1, then add the adjustment for the template, giving you a CR 3 kobold with 2 extra warrior levels?
scary harpy wrote:
How do you mean?
A good idea! Incorporating all of the ideas would make for a rather protracted scene (with my group, probably 3-5 sessions), but that could be worth doing.
I had given the party caster a Ring of Sustenance specifically to make it reasonable for me to pit the players against an ongoing adventuring "day" involving a great deal of attrition. It kind of sucks to run out of spells and not be able to do anything, especially if you're looking at multiple encounters like that, and ESPECIALLY when it's the GM planning things that way, and not foolhardiness on the parts of the players.
So, when the PCs went to blow the floodgate in the sewers, the sorcerer took two hours to rest--kind of sucks having to miss a scene, but it also helped reinforce the scale of the conflict. For the alchemist, I just made sure to drop LOTS of alchemist's fires and acid flasks--not as potent as her bombs, but at level 4 and 5, not so much weaker that she was really hurting.
I think that, if I were to run this again, instead of having the scale you employ there, I'd scale it so the players have to complete about half of the objectives for a successful, if desolate, conclusion to the invasion for the PCs, perhaps assigning each scenario degrees of success in themselves, and offering choices the players can make between options, with some being worth more than others.
For example, Help Set-up Ballistas to work on repelling the kobolds attacking the city walls from outside, or Blow the Floodgate to flush the invaders entering through the sewers, where the first will have a smaller impact on the kobold forces, but will not cause collateral damage, while the second will be devastating to the kobolds, but also have a lot of fallout. So, maybe the siege weapons task is worth 5 points, and the flooding worth 8, if pulled off successfully, but then break them down further by attaching a time frame, or degrees of success with skill checks. Maybe the PCs get sidetracked too much by combat to get the weapons set-up in time to hamper a large portion of the army, or, as had happened when I ran this, the players can destroy the floodgates, causing damage to the sewage system, or find a way to get them open, then reclose them without damaging the gates.
This could be accomplished both through descriptions of advances the players notice, and on point guardsmen or commanders laying out tasks that they are trying to accomplish and giving the PCs a choice of which they wish to tackle.
I think it would be interesting for the players to ultimately fail to repel the invasion, especially since doing so doesn't actually dramatically alter the next portion of the adventure (as I have it written up), but DOES change their motivations. I think I may employ this later when it's time for some of the battles with the undead army--the PCs may be successful in their roles, but ultimately fail to prevent disaster, and have to then beat a hasty retreat, possibly trying to salvage something of the defeat in the process, or need to try and pick up the pieces afterward.
Sounds like a smashing good time. Thanks for the update!
It was! And no problem! Figured I should come back and let folks who contributed know what the results were like. Still have to do that for the big dragon fight I posted about more recently...
Also, my friend, Kolokotroni on the boards, has terrain pieces--cardboard sections that can be connected to form buildings (even with stairs, doorways, and balconies, and interiors), and urban features--which we used for this to great effect. Kobolds that were above the party were actually on rooftops or balconies, characters could move indoors to ascend stairs, and everyone got a good sense of the visual aspect of confrontations on city streets and open market squares.
Unfortunately, he wouldn't let me go all the way toward providing immersion by setting things on fire... =(
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Thanks for the link to mass combat--the kobold invasion has occurred already, but I'll definitely read up on this for the next big-scale battle I have planned (going to be a while), and it'll be useful when I try to assemble my campaign into publishable form.
It's been a while, but was flipping back through old threads and realized that I hadn't come back here with the follow-up.
Ended up using a variant on this, where the players, in talking with some of the ranking members of the city guard, realized that the kobolds were invading, in large part, through the sewers, and that if they broke the floodgate that flushes the system, they could take out many of the kobolds. Basically the way the sewer system works is: there is a large cistern that fills from a diverted portion of the major river that flows by the city, and when it reaches a certain volume it pushes open a floodgate that allows it to drain off a bit, flooding the sewer system under the city, which, in turn, cleans out that system. All of the runoff is filtered through gelatinous cubes, which consume materials and pollutants, before flushing out into the sea in a relatively clean state.
After a good deal of fighting already (some to defend civilians attempting to flee from kobolds, aiding guardsmen, and rescuing people from a burning building), they had that strategy session and headed into the sewers to deal with the floodgate. The alchemist and rogue worked together to form and place a substance that would cause the dam to open, with the hope of being able to get it closed again, since simply breaking it would cause some long-lasting problems for the city.
That worked well.
To add to the encounters, I had kobolds attacking from rooftops and balconies, masses of base kobolds (I think the biggest fight features 24 kobolds attacking at once!), fire occasionally bursting from buildings, and some structures collapsing during encounters--the biggest swarm got half destroyed when the players noticed a building starting to sag and positioned themselves so that the kobolds would be between themselves and the dwelling when it came down. During another fight, one player (the monk) leaped into a burning building to save some people, and jumped out the other side. When the fight concluded, and he still hadn't reappeared, one character rushed in to find him, while another tried and realized it would be her death sentence, and two more were occupied with getting one of the PCs out of his full plate.
The climax of the whole thing was when the players fought a kobold synthesist summoner whose eidolon had the form of a dragon (2 claws and a bite attack--with reach, wings, a breath weapon, and a tail attack), along with some support on the ground. When he was almost dead, he tried to flee by flying away, but the party sorcerer tagged him with a Magic Missile that dropped him below 0, which then lead to his plummeting from the sky and dying when he crashed.
I think over the course of the battle, the players defeated upwards of 100 kobolds, and the players had a great time. I really appreciated the input from everyone!
Now we just need to put that together into a full stat block and figuring out a CR...
Not all that necessary on a bow when you can purchase or craft cold iron, adamantine, or silver arrows for fairly cheap, although a higher straight enhancement bonus is good for attack and damage.
Atragon, you shouldn't underestimate the value of to-hit.
It should be a small creature.
Give it a slam attack that is counted as oversized x2 (so deals damage as a large creature).
The slam is treated as adamantine.
Give it a special ability that when it hits, it gets a free special Sunder attempt that reduces AC from armor, shields, or natural armor, or an ability to ignore some amount of DR?
On crit, allow Fort save or lose a limb?
The slam does extra damage if used underwater (sonic? fire? untyped?).
Give it a lot of HD, Improved or Greater Vital Strike.
It should have some sort of ambush ability, maybe the Grab ability on its claws, and a high swim speed. Darkvision and innate True Seeing perhaps?
Some impressive DR/-- or DR/adamantine.
So here's what I'm considering going forward:
7. Strength Surge, Combat Reflexes
How does that look given the alterations in my previous post?
DR would be:
The PCs (level 6) departed from the city in which they had met and performed acts of valor in pursuit of a kobold army, thinking they may be led by a dragon. Eventually, they reached the dragon, but were joined on the way by a team of dwarves who had been told of the players' intentions and set out to aid them. Together, they defeated the dragon.
The leader of the dwarven band is Prince Qhildir, son of the king of the neighboring dwarven kingdon, leader of an elite combat squad. He's a paladin, and is a member of a religious sub-sect devoted to repelling evil, generally, and undead specifically, that one of my PCs also belongs to. He also is wearing the armor made from the father of the dragon they all just killed, and wielding the weapon that slayed him hundreds of years ago.
Several of the members of the dwarven strike force perished in the confrontation with the dragon and his kobold minions.
What I'd like is an adventure that does the following:
-gives the players a chance (and some reasons) to grow attached to the prince, to get to know him, and form a bond
-gives the players a chance to explore some of the dwarven kingdom
-involves some social encounters, and some combat encounters that the prince will join them for
The ultimate goal are for the players to spend some time (a couple of weeks to a month) living and adventuring with the dwarves, and to develop an affinity for them, so that, later, when some problems begin to arise in the dwarven capital, the players will have a genuine interest in wishing to aid their friend.
This can include meeting some interesting NPCs, getting into some tough scrapes (combat, traps, environmental hazards, weather, political intrigue) with the prince and a number of dwarven NPCs (the latter won't be traveling with them).
The dwarven kingdom of Ferrumgaard lies within and around a maintain range to the north of the land the PCs have adventured within. The two kingdoms are on friendly terms after declaring a truce to a war between them waged a few hundred years ago. Dwarves have established settlements of various sizes in the high plains and foothills before the mountains, consisting mostly of low stone buildings with multiple basement levels, while the region's major cities are carved out within the mountains themselves.
There is a trade center at the head of a river that eventually runs by the capital of the southern kingdom, and the major trading port city the players are familiar with. The place exists as a market to sell and trade the goods the dwarves fashion (jewelry, metal- and stonecraft, including both mithral and adamantine items, all of both mundane and magical varieties) and to purchase wares of the varieties that they do not produce (wood, cloth, fur, parchment, etc...). Dwarven farmers also use this as a place to distribute their crops and meats. The entrance lies two days from a small seaport.
Traveling to the seat of the king involves going by foot, or something between a mine cart and a locomotive, from the market city to the capital. Both cities are multi-leveled.
The kingdom is lawfully inclined, and just on the good sign of neutral. The king is a lawful neutral cleric and the society is based largely upon merit, but has a touch of socialism--there are no beggars or homeless, but there are definite gradients in wealth and influence.
On the other side of the mountains are nigh-endless frozen plains...a dangerous place, but somewhere that some dwarves have settled in small numbers. Somewhat to the west, there is a small trollish nation that has largely remained aloof from the goings-on of the dwarves, but has started to expand recently. There may be any number of savage races in or around the mountains (mostly either high up among the peaks, or off to the west) away from the major settlements of the area. Drow may exist somewhere underground nearby.
I'd appreciate any suggestions you may have. Thanks in advance!
Agreed that I would have preferred that, I think. Although, it wasn't JUST the DM on this...the whole group had this attitude of, "you don't question the GM during the game; what he says goes." The only other time I played with that group was in the aforementioned Mutants & Masterminds game (different GM). You can see how well THAT went.
In a 1-shot game of 3.5 I rolled up an archery-focused ranger. In our first fight, we take on a few dire boars, and one charges me and knocks me down to under half HP. On my turn, figuring offense was my only way out of this, I say that I take a 5 foot step back, only to be told that I provoke an attack of opportunity. Having played 3.5 for a while at that point (and being kind of a rules lawyer), I point out that the entire POINT of the 5 foot step is to allow characters to move without provoking an AoO, but the DM wasn't having it, and everyone was clearly irritated by my holding the game up. So, I said I'd use the withdraw action. Nope, AoO. Ask if I can pull out and drink a potion without provoking. Nope. So I take my shot with the bow, provoke an AoO, and drop to negatives before I loose the arrow.
Spent the rest of the fight looking up the rules regarding AoOs and 5 foot steps, and the withdrawal action, only to be told that at THIS table, no one stops play to reference stuff in the books. Being a rules lawyer is disruptive. Last time I played with that DM.
Another game, another DM...we were somewhere around level 7 or 8, one player had gone home early, but left his character sheet with us so we could keep him active as we adventured. We're investigating some evil disturbances and such, and go to check out a dilapidated cathedral. We walk up to the doors, open them, and are treated to the sight of a cleric or wizard (can't recall which) holding a scroll, which he uses immediately. CIRCLE OF DEATH! Miraculously, everyone made the save (they all needed to roll 14+ at BEST, besides my paladin)...except for the character of the player who had left. He died.
Same DM and game: chasing an enemy through the woods and finally catch up to her in a clearing and start fighting it out with the ogre mage and her two ogre kids, when halfway through the fight, a cloud giant walks in to support their side. No Spot or Listen checks to notice the HUGE lumbering giant crashing through the woods.
Ditto: Traveling to meet someone that had requested our presence, and arrive at a clearing with a shack at the far end. As we approach, a red dragon leaps up into the air from behind the structure, flies over to us, and lets loose a maximized breath weapon. My paladin had the highest saves and the most HP in the group, and I failed and died. The only reason half of the other characters didn't join him is that we pointed out that the DM was using the wrong template for the breath weapon cone descending upon us, and everyone else managed to be just outside of it. The DM backpedaled a bit and offered me a chance of being revived by my deity, but I shook my head and left.
Last one, different game and DM, this time Mutants & Masterminds: I was playing a hero with the Unlucky fault (or whatever they're called) and had had several mishaps over the first couple of games, all mostly narrative, and then things started going VERY poorly for me, like getting beamed in the head by a basketball for as much damage as our heaviest hitter could do, and then narratively having my arm broken by a rival, just because.
Well, apparently everyone else had misplaced their character sheet in the intervening 9 months or so since we last played and either remade their characters completely, or tried to recreate them (invariably including some alterations), so I made a couple of small changes, swapping Lesser Celestial Totem for Knockback, figuring that the party had lost much of its healing support, and knowing that it could be useful to use my unarmed strike to push someone into the range of the bardiche I had swapped my greatsword for, as per your suggestion. I had enough coin to get a +1 Furious version.
I'd considered superstitious, but my friend pointed out that his character (a witch) and mine were fairly close, and that a lot of that bond had formed via his supporting me in combat with some buffs and healing--notably, Enlarge Person is tough to work around with Superstition unless I start every fight holding off on rage, which went against the grain of the character, as did developing an animus to magic at this stage of things.
Knockback worked WONDERFULLY! Among other things, we ended up fighting a dragon who kept getting adjacent to me, to try and deny me my reach (and better weapon), so my first attack was to try and bull rush-hit the dragon away and then either attack, or 5 foot step back and attack, with my good weapon. This worked a few times, including once where I managed to kick the dragon back into flanking position for the rogue with TWF so she could get all of her attacks on him.
I also was extra glad I hadn't gone with Superstitious, since one of the party members changed his character to a wizard with a fair amount of support (some battlefield control, but also Enlarge and Haste). I'm going to talk to him about possibly picking up something like Baleful/Benign Transposition or Greater Slide or some such as well.
Now, I have to amend my future plan for this guy...thinking I'll take Combat Reflexes at level 7, but not sure which rage power to pick up then--leaning toward a choice between Guarded Stance, Strength Surge (going to try to get an item to enable rage cycling), Surprise Accuracy (ditto), or possibly picking up Lesser Celestial Totem again.
On the decision between Strength Surge and Surprise Accuracy, the latter can be used for either an attack that I want to hit (such as an iterative) or on CMB for an important Knockback, but I have to use it before seeing the die roll, so it may be irrelevant, and isn't a very large bonus, while Surge provides a big bonus to Knockback (or whatever other CMB/CMD comes up), and can be used after rolling (I think), but is more limited in scope.
Guarded Stance would be to slightly offset the penalties I take to AC (-2 rage, -2 reckless abandon right now, -2 charging sometimes, -2 large sized), but it may not be enough to be worth it. Right now my AC is 21 before raging at level 6, so not great, but I'd like to stop getting hit by mooks and iterative attacks ALL the time. Gobs of HP and some pretty good DR help (A LOT), but getting missed would be nice, too. Will talk to wizard about picking up Blur possibly.
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Falling down a slope: http://youtu.be/Hn-4JziqcEI
How about looking at it from this perspective? Is there a rule for catching yourself at a ledge (a right angle)? That would necessarily be easier than either A) catching yourself on a vertical surface, or B) at a sloped ledge (greater than a 90 degree angel relative to you).
How can you catch yourself on a slope if you aren't on a slope? Why would you assume that falling with a slope within reach (as in the Create Pit example) be so much easier than catching yourself against a wall? Easier, sure, but 25 points easier? That makes no sense.
Closing your eyes to "defeat" Mirror Image isn't a purely positive solution: you end up with a 50% miss chance, and are doing nothing to erode the difficulty in hitting the target with Mirror Image up, and open yourself to everything that comes with the Blinded condition, unless you're only closing your eyes while you're making your attack rolls, which some GMs would not permit.
Your supposition about the rules of the game and how they govern the universe only works if you disregard the facts that spells often change these rules, and that there IS a design intent behind things, and a nod toward balance. There aren't many spells out there that allow a character to negate their effects through a very easy skill check, and even fewer that allow a character to semi-negate a failed save that the spell calls for with an easy skill check.
Why don't you start a thread to FAQ this to put the argument to rest?
Also, as has been said (several times by Kolo, in particular), single monster encounters are awful.
I've run several over the years, with mixed results, and have been a player in many more, often with AWFUL results.
There are basically 3 ways a single monster encounter can go:
Which of those do you think comes up more often? (Hint: it's not #3).
If APs are giving too many of these sorts of encounters, either do as Kolo suggested and double whatever you're pitting against the players, or take 5 minutes and assemble a small group of slightly weaker foes to support the big guy. You can just pull stuff out of the bestiary, if it makes sense, or the NPC Codex, or do a search on the d20pfsrd website (I do this sometimes--search for dwarf or kobold, for example, and you'll get entries for classed versions of these creatures from modules and adventures that have been posted to the site, giving you a variety to choose from).
Recently, I had the players in my game square off against a fairly tough dragon, but instead of trying to build the thing to stand up to the punishment of the whole team, I made it tough, then added in 2 kobold casters, and a swarm of weaker kobold warriors. That helped to divide the players' attention a bit, and bought the dragon some time. Truthfully, I think I could have added more of the warriors to the fight. As it was, once the kobolds were all taken care of, the dragon took a beating, even when flying out of reach of most of the characters, because everyone could bring their resources to bear on a single target who could do only so much.
If you want an example of a single monster that worked well (I thought) against a full party: back in 3.5 I designed a void mind (template) minotaur (I don't recall whether he was large or huge sized) with a reach weapon, a good attack bonus, Combat Reflexes, a big Dex, and the Knockback feat/ability, and placed him atop a fairly small platform in front of the only path leading off of it (except down). The PCs had to get past him, and he was designed to prevent them from doing just that--anyone approaching him provoked an AoO, and he'd hit them fairly hard, then get a free Bull Rush against them, knocking them back. A few of them got knocked back far enough to get sent over the edge, dropping some distance (depending on where they were knocked off) to the stairs winding around the pillar. One players spent half the fight Feather Falling thanks to his ring. The minotaur had good saves, SR, and I think probably DR. Players had to use ranged attacks, try to tumble through his reach, try to exhaust his AoOs fo the round, or hope their AC would get them a miss.
Those sorts of encounters are rare, and while this guy wasn't overwhelming them with damage, he was hitting them hard, and was himself very difficult to harm. Parts of the encounter were frustrating for the players, and it could have very easily gone sideways and killed a few, and prevented the rest from moving on.
I've used the Create Pit spell with some regularity in the games where I got to play a wizard, and I'll say that while I like the spell, it has been a mixed blessing. Kolokotroni can attest to that!
Sure, the spell takes one or more creatures out of the fight for some number of rounds, but the spell cannot be Dismissed, and it is fairly difficult to attack anything that has fallen into the hole, so what often occurs is that a creature or two gets taken out of the fight while the party mops up the rest of the monsters in the encounter... And then waits for several rounds doing nothing, because they don't want to risk falling into the pit themselves, and cannot move up to the edge, attack, and move off the slope during their turn.
There have been several encounters where the players were more annoyed with me for casting Create Pit than the GM was, because the spell left everyone standing around bored, waiting for the monster(s) to come back up, or it prevented one of the melees from getting TO the monsters on the far side of the pit, or ruined charge lanes.
Now, this wasn't too much of a hardship for my wizard, since he had the Teleportation subschool and could walk up to the edge, fire a crossbow quarrel or a spell down into the pit at the monster, and then swift action teleport 5 or 10 feet back so he wasn't at risk of falling in himself.
Of course, what often happened when everything else was finished in an encounter except for the stuff down the pit, was the party would array themselves around the pit and ready actions to attack as soon as the creature(s) rise to the surface.
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
That would be against slipping into the pit when you're standing on the sloped surface around it. If you fail your Reflex and fall into the pit, you would be rolling Climb vs. DC 45. And even in the case of slipping into the pit, I'd say you'd be rolling against the same DC--the Climb check of 10 + slope's DC is to catch yourself from sliding down the slope, not from falling off the end of it, and allowing a Climb check in that circumstance would negate the Reflex save that the spell calls for. I wouldn't allow someone to do that. Catching yourself falling into the pit? Sure, but I'd like to see someone make that DC 45 check at a level where Create Pit is still relevant.
I have a very different build for my half-orc barbarian, but one of the feats I use the most is Furious Focus. If you're carrying a great sword, seems a good fit for your character.
I appreciate the suggestion, but...eh. Like I said earlier, I'm not missing all that frequently, and I have Reckless abandon essentially doing the same thing as Furious Focus, except that it will apply to iterative attacks when I get them.
If I were concerned about hitting, I'd sooner take Weapon Focus on this character, since Furious Focus won't help with later attacks, and I'm not too thrilled with Weapon Focus, either.
Well CAGM isn't happening for quite a while, but it's on my list of things I'm intending to pick up, as is Combat Reflexes, although when I pick up the feat is up in the air (and open to suggestion).
What reach weapon would you suggest swapping to? I don't need a spiked gauntlet, since I have Improved Unarmed Strike, and can make a headbutt or kick adjacent enemies, and without having to release the grip on my reach weapon, though the gauntlet deals better base damage.
My intent was to bump Dex at the level closest to my acquiring Combat Reflexes--if I decide to pick the feat up at 7 or 9, I'd use level 8 to increase Dex; if I grab the feat at 11 or 13, I'd bump Dex at 12.
For some of the party, contributing more proactively is something that they do--the witch uses Hexes a lot, and a little CC/nuking magic, but he also recognizes that the most damage he can do at this stage of the game is accomplished by helping me do my job, so if I'm in danger of going down, and he's nearby, he'll heal me, and he recognizes Enlarge Person as being his best damage spell right now. As for some of the others, well, it's a matter of mentality for them--one of the paladins really just wants to be a speed bump, and he likes playing supporting roles, and he, along with the cleric and a couple of the others are MMO veterans, so they see their roles through that lens, where cleric=healer and a healer's job is to keep the main DPS/tank up (that's me). I'd prefer to see more CC tossed around, but I don't know how much I'll be seeing. Plus, the spell lists for these classes aren't very effective at taking an enemy out of the fight at this level--most are single target save-or-suck spells, or rather weak, usually single target damage spells, which rarely end up meaning more than a swing of my sword. I don't know if the GM has very good luck when rolling saves, or fudges his rolls (I think it's some of both), but players have found that save-based spells with zero effect on a pass are often a waste.
I think you really want to cleave, and finishing cleave to stop getting bogged down by mooks, or go for the fiend totem rage powers - you may not care if mooks pound on you if they're taking damage. When one falls, you take their spot, and the extra gore attack will help that along (even at -5).
Cleave has definitely been something that I've been considering. It's just a matter of what I'd like to give up for it/when I take it.
Argus The Slayer wrote:
Hey if you are having fun and the character hasn't died yet, I'd say you are doing it right. If your DM will work with your preferences on magic weapon upgrades, don't overlook Weapon Focus: +1 to attack will help those iterative attacks hit starting at level 6. Since you have already gone into combat styles, I'd suggest looking at Dragon Ferocity for those times when you need to seriously boost your damage output.
Dragon Style is an interesting consideration--I wouldn't be making Unarmed Strikes very often, I think (although if I swap to a reach weapon, I could use that for threatening and attacking adjacent squares), and the charging and saves benefits from Dragon Style are excellent for someone who wants to get to the front lines ASAP.
I don't think I'd spend a feat on Weapon Focus on a character so feat-starved as a barbarian. When I get to my iterative attacks, if I find that I'm missing too frequently, then it might be a consideration.
Argus The Slayer wrote:
Thanks for replying. A few things...
1. That part of this character is already established: he's level 5 already, about halfway to level 6, so the Stalwart stuff isn't changing.
With Improved Stalwart down the line, I could have a DR 16/-- at level 11. Without Stalwart, I'd be looking at DR 8/--. That's a big deal, especially on a character with a terrible AC.
I also have to ask: did you read much of my original post? I mention that I have Invulnerable Rager, am considering at least one Improved DR, and possibly 2 or 3, and I think I mentioned that one of my goals for the character is to be tough as hell. Yes, I can bump DPR a bit, but I am definitely the party tank most of the time, deal more damage than anyone else, and can soak more as well. There have been fights where, if I had swapped the DR for an extra +4 damage, say, I would have been dead.
My only damage concerns are that I have nothing that allows me to deal with multiple enemies at a time (like Cleave), which has hurt a bit when fighting groups of weaker foes, and that I won't get Pounce down the road...if we ever get there. Other than that, I'm fairly happy with him right now. It's fun to play Marburg from the Ebola clan--he revels in combat, in testing his mettle, and in laying waste to his opponents. He's perfectly happy to take a hit from someone, then laugh in their face as they realize that their weapon barely scratched him before swinging away with his own attack to show 'em how it's done.
Actually stalwart pays back pretty well for barbarian, especially with invulnerable rager and flesh wounds. Guarded life can also add to that if I remember right.
Ooh! I thought the nodachi was exotic, but I see that it is in fact NOT. Sent an e-mail to my GM to see if I can swap my greatsword for that. Kind of iffy whether it gets a pass or not, but thanks for the suggestion.
There's a rules issue, and a logic issue. Glitterdust negates the mechanics of invisibility (concealment, and what goes along with that, and the stealth bonus), but it wouldn't negate the other piece of invisibility that no one ever mentions: being unidentifiable.
It negates the concealment, because that target is no longer concealed--you can see where its arms and legs and head are, and what they're doing, so you can attack and defend properly--but it wouldn't allow you to discern that that human shaped outline is Jim and not Martin if the two have roughly the same height and build. Right?
In the games I've run and played, low Wis has come up in different ways...
Noticing that allips drain Wis and represent insanity, and that one of the monsters in 3.5 (can't recall which) gained Cha and lost Wis to represent their going crazy, I had my players begin to act nuts as their Wis was drained by the allips they fought. For some, that meant being incapable of censoring themselves, muttering, sometimes talking too loudly (even yelling), or speaking in stream-of-consciousness.
In another case, a friend of mine has, to me, always exemplified high-Int/low-Wis, and in my games, he is banned from playing characters with a positive Wis modifier, since he just can't do it! He comes up with some interesting, complex, and sometimes ingenious ideas or plans, but most of the time they are OBVIOUSLY terrible ideas. At other times this manifests in an inability to be patient or think things through, and the impulsiveness can often get him in trouble, such as by just flinging open doors that may be trapped, charging into combat WAY ahead of the party, or quickly agreeing to, and signing a contract with a devil, or fey prince.
Finally, I've seen it played out as being inattentive, not picking up on stimuli, or social cues, being guilty of making a faux pas at exactly the wrong time or place.
An existing character.
Why do you say that? Crane Style has no language requiring a free hand; you're probably thinking of Crane Wing/Riposte. I've got Crane Style for the interaction between an improved fight defensively mechanic and Stalwart, which translates to -2 attack, +4 DR/--. It has SOME in-character justification in that I trained a little with the monk that had been in the party, and saw the effectiveness of some of his techniques.
I rolled 18, 18, 15, 14, 13, 13 for a barbarian a while back and have been enjoying playing a barbarian with good saves, skills, and Dex while still maintaining the core stats of Str and Con. Bumping everything to 18 would be pretty good...better AC, more attacks of opportunity, better Reflex and Will saves, a ton of skills (Acrobatics, Climb, Intimidate, Knowledge: Nature, Perception, Survival, and probably pick up a trait to get another useful skill or two as class skills). I always enjoy the surprised look on someone's face when they realize that my barbarian is erudite and well-spoken...when he wants to be. Could make use of some of those off-kilter rage powers that rely on dump stats...
That said, I'd probably roll a paladin or a monk with all 18s, or a martially inclined caster of some sort.
Here's what I have so far:
level 5 half-orc Invulnerable Rager barbarian 4/Unarmed fighter 1
I rolled the stats. Yes, they are pretty ridiculous, and if I hadn't already decided that I wanted to play a barbarian, I would have put them toward something more MAD.
Feats: Power Attack, Endurance (racial trait), Die Hard, Improved Unarmed Strike, Crane Style, Stalwart
Rage Powers: Reckless Abandon, Lesser Celestial Totem
I know Beast Totem is amazing, but I wasn't too keen on the claws, and at the time we had 1 healing focused cleric, a defendery/healing paladin, a witch with the healing hex, and a bard, all of whom were happy to heal me mid-combat, and with the beating I had been taking for the first few levels, it seemed worthwhile to get that extra healing.
The goals for this character are to be tough as hell, nigh-unkillable, and to hit things hard.
I'd been considering the following:
Other feats I'm considering: Raging Vitality (doesn't seem a necessity with Die Hard and potentially Ferocious Tenacity), Raging Brutality, Cleave, Cornugon Smash, Extra Rage Power.
Other powers I'm considering: more Increased DR, Auspicious Mark, Celestial Totem (having Invisibility Purge for free is nice, but only if the light isn't up all the time), Clear Mind, Eater of Magic, Guarded Life, Knockback, Knockdown, Renewed Vigor (convinced GM a while back to allow this to work as a swift action), Unexpected Strike.
That said, I'm open to suggestions for powers and feats going forward. I'm a little worried about taking Superstitious since, up to this point, I've been receiving a fair amount of in-combat healing and buffing (we also had a sorcerer in the party), although after the long break we've had (several months), I'm not sure if everyone we had before will be returning, so it may not matter.
I know that Ferocious Tenacity is kind of iffy, but in one of the last fights he had, he nearly died twice to a dragon, despite having DR 6/-- AND the paladin's smite evil ability reducing incoming damage by 1/2. Plus, I like the idea of just not dying.
Fighting below 0 HP isn't too much of a hardship otherwise, since I have an item that allows me to ignore the Staggered condition for 5 rounds/day.
Any suggestions, particularly input on what to do regarding feats and rage powers for the next few levels, would be appreciated. Thanks.
For covered pit traps, I allow Disable Device to:
For something like your dead fall example, finding a way to reinforce the weak support is EXACTLY what DD should do in that situation--the trap is designed such that a little force will knock out the brace and drop the weight, but a skillful technician can wedge something in place to prevent the brace from moving, supplement it, prevent the weight from dropping, or change the weight's trajectory making their passage safe.
Think about magical traps: obviously DD is supposed to be able to handle those, but how? It's no more obvious than dealing with the above mechanical traps, yet it's doable. So I've had instances where the trap is made up off hard to detect arcane marking that, if erased or altered in specific ways will prevent the magic from coalescing (doing this incorrectly will trigger the spell), others where a pass phrase can be discerned, and still others where the magical trap is actually "hooked up" to some magical item (for instance, a pressure plate that descends upon a wand of spell X, triggering the wand with specially wrought arcane runes), and can be disabled by removing, breaking, or otherwise altering that item or its connection to the trap. At other times, it means knowing just how to set the trap off in a way to not harm yourself, so that it may be bypassed after it has expended its energy.