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Practical Optimization / Make the Numbers fit your Roleplaying


Advice

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Introduction: After some conversation on another thread, I realized a lot of people have some misconceptions about what it means to optimize a character.

More concerning is that a number of players seem to think that you're supposed to "play the numbers" instead of "play the character" if you're to be a good roleplayer. I openly declare that I do not adhere to this concept, and I don't advise it to anyone else, because it is at its core exceptionally meta-gamey ("Dude, why would the princess talk to you, you have like an 8 charisma") and likewise offers very few options for how you play or tell a story about your characters ("So how do I have to act if I have a 11 Charisma?"). To me, this is the antithesis of roleplaying, more-so than "I kick in the door, roll to attack" because it's metagaming that tries to call itself role-playing.

Instead, I adhere to the idea that the system is designed to fit your roleplaying, not so your roleplaying must fit the system. With 3.x right up to Pathfinder, our game has slowly been evolving to a more robust and rich system which can give us an almost unlimited variety of options and ways to describe our characters in vivid detail through the games mechanics. Where a character who grew up living off the land can do so, while still being capable in the action portions of the game. This is a wonderful, wonderful thing for roleplayers. With Pathfinder, the options are even more broad thanks to the revised skill system, allowing us to make richer - more detailed - characters without handicapping them in other areas.

Practical Optimization
The goal of practical optimization is to make sure that your character is solid in game terms, functions well in-game, and is built for survival and success. If you want to make a summoner and thus take Augment Summoning then you have optimized a portion of your character to better be represented in game terms. In this case, we wanted him to be a great summoner and we took a mechanical option to do that.

Some mistake optimization for the idea that you must optimize only your combat statistics, as though combat was the only portion of the game. Likewise, some seem to think that to optimize for combat, often just for damage out put. This is often a bad idea, since "glass cannons" tend to die or be rendered obsolete quickly. Likewise, it might be alright to optimize just your combat statistics if that's what you desire and can rely on your friends for other activities, but it can leave you with little to do during much of the game (and you could be using your skills to aid the other players as well).

Optimization implies that we want to get what we can from the mechanics in the most efficient way possible. Mechanics aren't roleplaying, they're just one of the tools we use to enjoy the game and describe our characters and stories in the game world. So, optimization doesn't always mean "I need an 18" but it does mean being efficient.

Why Optimize?
D&D and Pathfinder games by their very theme are supposed to be dangerous adventures full of challenges. Adventuring is a dangerous job and those who lack the grit and will to do it often end up as the story of the adventurers who never returned. Likewise, D&D is a team game, and ultimately we don't want to be a drag on our team; we want to help, not hinder. If you're a resource sink, constantly getting dropped/dominated/invalidated, or have to rely on your friends to do the job you were meaning to do, then it usually doesn't feel very nice for the would-be hero and his companions.

By optimizing a character's mechanics, you can improve the likelihood of them lasting through the campaign, and be more useful to your teammates. Good optimizers can often take odd character concepts (such bard who fights with a greatsword) and make it work without hindering you in the game-play portion. In short, optimizers make the system work for their idea of how they want to roleplay.

An Example of Practical Optimization
For our example of practical optimization, we're going to use Mr. Sigfried. Sigfried has made an appearance in two threads now, and has gotten some very positive feedback. Sigfried is a fighter who's going to be a dashing handsome sort of hero who can woo the fair maiden, talk his way out of trouble, and tell when someone's pulling his leg. Sigfried also has to protect his other three friends (the wizard, the rogue, and the cleric) so he's gotta be a tough hombre who can hold his own in a fight and not keel over in a stiff wind.

The hypothetical GM has issued our party 15 point buy to generate the bare-bones of our characters. Now, we know that for Sigfried to have success, he doesn't need to be a one-trick pony. A character that's amazing 10% of the time, but poor 90% of the time, is not built for success. No, he's built for success in his chosen environment.

We purchase with our points a 14 Strength, 14 Dexterity, 14 Constitution, a 12 Intelligence, a 12 Wisdom, and a 7 charisma. Since Sigfried is human, we toss the +2 into Intelligence, 'cause we want to have some skill points to flesh out Sigfried, and it comes with the added bonus of allowing us to pickup a few combat feats like Combat Expertise or Improved Disarm (if desired).

Sigfried is a good 15 pb fighter.


  • His 14 strength can eventually reach 30 (+5 from levels, +6 from items, +5 inherent) which will keep his offensive options strong and it's high enough to squeeze an extra +1 damage when wielding a 2 handed weapon, and high enough to carry a solid amount of equipment.
  • His 14 dexterity will keep his ranged offensive options open, and will provide a nice +2 bonus on his reflex saves. Finally, it'll add an extra +2 armor class for Sigfried and allow him to wear a lighter armor, allowing him to carry more equipment with his strength, and finally it's a fairly decent initiative modifier.
  • His 14 constitution grants him an extra 2 hit points per level, and it further buffs his already naturally good fortitude saves. He'll need this on the front-lines.
  • His 14 intelligence broadens his feat opportunities, and gives him more skill points to round out his persona with. The extra skill points can be used to make him a great athlete, learn new languages, and all kinds of things.
  • His 12 wisdom provides a much desired +1 bonus to his Will saves which are hurting as a fighter. It also gives him a mild bonus to several useful skills, including Perception, Sense Motive, and Survival.
  • His 7 charisma is his primary weakness. Charisma doesn't do much for Sigfried. The only thing it does for him is provide a small bonus to a few social skills, and perhaps a bit of extra padding against certain poisons and spells. Sigfried's charisma is a bit low because we just don't need it as much as we need the other scores and we're working on a budget (we don't start out amazing at everything).

Since Sigfried is our character, we decided he's spent a lot of time in combat training but all that didn't give him much time to socialize, and so he doesn't know how to relate well to others, and can be a bit blunt. By 2nd level, he'll have kicked those bad habits.

So let's see Sigfried from level 1-5. He's been optimized and a little equipment included (very basic stuff), and he's been using his extra skill points to represent what he's learning as he explores the world.

Sigfried:
1st Level Human Fighter (15 pb)
Init +2, Senses Perception +2
AC 18, touch 12, flat-footed 16 (+6 armor, +2 dex)
Hp 12 (1d10+2)
Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +3
Speed 20ft
Melee Longspear +3 (1d8+3, reach) or Bladed Gauntlet +3 (1d4+2)
Ranged Sling +3 (1d4+2)
Str 14, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 7
BAB +1, CMB +3, CMD 15
Feats - Iron Will, Power Attack, Cleave
Skills (6pts) - Climb +6, Handle Animal +2, Knowledge (Dungeoneering) +6, Ride +6, Survival +5, Swim +6; Modifiers -4 check penalty
Overview: Our fighter (let's call him Sigfried) here at 1st level is a strong and capable fighter who's got a lot going for him as fighter. He's got good saves, he has a balanced combat routine, benefits from a high strength score, gets a solid AC on a budget, has 15 gp left to spend on additional adventuring equipment (possibly including a wooden shield). He's spent most of his time learning how to fight (he is a fighter after-all).

2nd Level Human Fighter (15 pb)
Init +2, Senses Perception +2
AC 18, touch 12, flat-footed 16 (+6 armor, +2 dex)
Hp 19 (2d10+4)
Fort +5, Ref +2, Will +3; Bravery +1
Speed 20ft
Melee Glaive +4 (1d10+3, reach) or Bladed Gauntlet +4 (1d4+2)
Ranged Sling +4 (1d4+2)
Str 14, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 7
BAB +2, CMB +3, CMD 16
Feats - Iron Will, Power Attack, Cleave, Point Blank Shot
Skills (6pts) - Climb +6, Handle Animal +3, Knowledge (Dungeoneering) +6, Ride +6, Survival +5, Swim +6, Diplomacy +0, Bluff +0, Sense Motive +2; Modifiers -3 armor check penalty
Overview: At 2nd level, Sigfried has already reached an above average ability to tell when people are lying, and likewise is no worse at social interaction than the average person. He has upgraded his chainmail to masterwork chainmail to reduce his check penalties, and also upgraded his longspear to a glaive for an average of a +1 damage increase.

3rd Level Human Fighter (15 pb)
Init +2, Senses Perception +2
AC 19, touch 12, flat-footed 17 (+7 armor, +2 dex)
Hp 27 (3d10+6)
Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +4; Bravery +1
Speed 20 ft
Melee Mwk Glaive +6 (1d10+3, reach) or Bladed Gauntlet +5 (1d4+2)
Ranged Sling +5 (1d4+2)
Str 14, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 7
BAB +3, CMB +4, CMD 17
Feats - Iron Will, Power Attack, Cleave, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot
Skills (6pts) - Climb +7, Handle Animal +4, Knowledge (Dungeoneering) +6, Ride +6, Survival +5, Swim +6, Diplomacy +1, Bluff +1, Sense Motive +3, Linguistics +3; Modifiers -3 armor check penalty
Overview: At 3rd level, Sigfried has upgraded his armor to masterwork banded mail and a masterwork glaive. He grabs a couple potions of magic weapon and enlarge person in case of emergencies. Meanwhile he learns a new language, and his social skills are the equivalent of someone with a 12 charisma.

4th Level Human Fighter (15 pb)
Init +2, Senses Perception +2
AC 19, touch 12, flat-footed 17 (+7 armor, +2 dex)
Hp 34 (4d10+8)
Fort +6, Ref +3, Will +4; Bravery +1
Speed 20 ft
Melee Mwk Glaive +8 (1d10+4, reach) or Bladed Gauntlet +7 (1d4+3)
Ranged Mwk Composite Longbow (+3) +7 (1d8+3) or +4/+4 (1d8+3)
Str 16 (15), Dex 14, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 7
BAB +4, CMB +7, CMD 19
Feats - Iron Will, Power Attack, Cleave, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot
Skills (6pts) - Climb +8, Handle Animal +5, Knowledge (Dungeoneering) +6, Ride +6, Survival +5, Swim +7, Diplomacy +2, Bluff +2, Sense Motive +4, Linguistics +3; Modifiers -3 armor check penalty
Overview: At 4th level, Sigfried has increased his strength score at this level, and has upgraded his armor to masterwork banded mail and a masterwork glaive. He grabs a composite bow and a +1 strength magic item (1,000 gp). He takes Rapid Shot to be a competent archer as well. Meanwhile he's reached charisma 14 in terms of social skills, and he's very skilled in sensing motives. He uses his +5 handle animal skill to train oxen (purchased for 15 gp anywhere) to be his war mount and attack animals. He now has animal minions. Finally, his power attack now adds a +6 damage for a -2 penalty.

5th Level Human Fighter (15 pb)
Init +2, Senses Perception +2
AC 20, touch 13, flat-footed 18 (+7 armor, +2 dex, +1 deflection)
Hp 42 (5d10+10)
Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +5; Bravery +1
Speed 20 ft
Melee +1 Glaive +10 (1d10+7, reach) or Bladed Gauntlet +8 (1d4+3)
Ranged Mwk Composite Longbow (+3) +8 (1d8+3) or +6/+6 (1d8+3)
Str 16 (15), Dex 14, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 7
BAB +5, CMB +8, CMD 20
Feats - Iron Will, Power Attack, Cleave, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Combat Reflexes
Skills (6pts) - Climb +10, Handle Animal +5, Knowledge (Dungeoneering) +6, Ride +6, Survival +5 Diplomacy +4, Bluff +4, Sense Motive +6, Linguistics +3, Stealth +3, Swim +9; Modifiers -3 armor check penalty
Overview: At 5th level, Sigfried is doin' a good job as a fighter. He can deal solid damage, and his feat selection allows him to comfortably support both short range and ranged damage. Combat Reflexes allows him to use his glaive to greater effect, and weapon training gives him additional attack and damage. He carries a few oils of magic weapon (or purchased scrolls of such for his allies) to grant his other weapons enhancement bonuses in case of DR enemies. He also purchased a ring of protection and a cloak of resistance. Meanwhile, he's got a +4 bonus to social skills and a +6 bonus to Sense Motive. He also placed one rank into Stealth.

Summary: We can see that the Fighter's diplomacy and bluff modifiers are always equal to his level -1, which effectively gives him the social graces of someone with no ranks but a +2 charisma every level. Diplomacy and most Bluff DCs don't scale much (Bluff DCs only increase if the NPC has the appropriate ranks, abilities, and are of adequately high levels). He can also take 10 and automatically sense when someone is dominated.

We've given up no combat utility or ability, and we're dropping an extra rank into some skills now and then to round out our fighter. After we've got a decent mix of skills, we can catch up/max our favorite skills by dropping more than one rank in them per level.

In short, our Fighter is built for combat while also retaining usefulness outside of combat. He is socially adept. This doesn't include a wide girth of equipment such as masterwork tools, minor +competence bonus items, or continual buffs or similar, since I thought it better to keep it simple. At 7th level, he will take Leadership and acquire a cohort 2 levels lower than himself (at the maximum cohort level) even with his charisma penalty (so the penalty is meaningless). By 20th level, he should easily be able to hit the cap of 25 leadership via some cheap magic items and leadership modifiers).

We can see that Sigfried is a competent fighter while also succeeding at our goal of making him a dashing hero who can be a capable leader, a good talker, and generally a very deep and rounded character.

*: The most important thing is Sigfried does in-game what we wanted him to do out of game. We have made the system fit Sigfried. Success!

For my next post, I would like a volunteer. Post a character you think would be fun (stats aren't needed) and let's try to represent that character in the game mechanics.


I volunteer.

I'd like to see a bright, beautiful, willful young elf noblewoman who has rejected her assigned role as prize presented to the first youth whose family her own finds useful for alliance, and instead tries to parley the skills she's acquired via her station into the role of self-sacrificing knight errant, interested in righting wrongs and living a life of service to the highest good.

[I'm not sufficiently familiar with 3.5/3.75 mechanics to determine if the above is a genuine challenge, nor did I wish to add so many conditions that it would limit your creativity, Ashiel. Hope this is acceptable.]

Cheliax

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I submit as a character a scholar who is more interested in being in a tomb than in a library, and is more likely to punch out a villain than to discuss archeology with him. Might be vague, but do what you like with it.

Also, inb4 "LOL 8 CHA MEANS YOU CAN'T USE DIPLO"


Ashiel wrote:


Sigfried is a fighter who's going to be a dashing handsome sort of hero who can woo the fair maiden....

We purchase with our points a 14 Strength, 14 Dexterity, 14 Constitution, a 12 Intelligence, a 12 Wisdom, and a 7 charisma.

A Charisma of 7 will not get you this. A 7 charisma is going to get you a character that is very unskilled in social situations or is ugly, or a mix of both.


I want to applaud your intentions at reconciling descriptions and optimization. Personally, I may not be great at it myself, but I don't have anything against optimizing if done within reason. In fact, I encourage my players to optimize their PCs - at least it means that I don't have to hold back as a DM.

Since you asked for a challenge of converting a character into optimized statistics - sure I am game:

Maldraex is a young man of average height and weight. He grew up in a family of rich farmers. Although not as rich as to allow for a life of true luxury, the family spoiled him and Maldraex consequently never had to engage in serious work. The young man is talented, but lazy and has a tendency not to finish the things he has started. When he was old enough, the family scrambled together enough money to send him to off to get an education. He persevered at first and got through the initial stages, but his laziness eventually got the better of him and he did not finish the highest stage expected of him. Realizing too late how much his family has sacrificed for him and how he has failed the generosity of the people he loves, he decided in his shame that he cannot return home to face them. Instead, Maldraex set out into the world on his own. He seeks to escape the burden of his own action... or inaction and salvage his tainted pride.

Deliberately no information on class/race/etc., so as to also make it optimized but fitting with the description above (it's also why I left out physical details).


Ashiel wrote:
More concerning is that a number of players seem to think that you're supposed to "play the numbers" instead of "play the character" if you're to be a good roleplayer. I openly declare that I do not adhere to this concept, and I don't advise it to anyone else, because it is at its core exceptionally meta-gamey ("Dude, why would the princess talk to you, you have like an 8 charisma") and likewise offers very few options for how you play or tell a story about your characters ("So how do I have to act if I have a 11 Charisma?").

I disagree with your entire premise.

If you have an 8 charisma, that won't stop the princess from talking to you. But, I'm sure she may not be happy with it (more likely to roll low on diplomacy and therefore degrade her attitude toward you) or might just take everything you say the wrong way (hence the minus to the social-skill rolls).

So, no, having a low charisma won't "tell me what to do" with my character, but it sure as hell will help the DM decide how others react to him.


Roman wrote:
Edited to say: It seems I have been ninjaed and am not the first to post in the thread.

[Removes shuriken, casts healing spell and offers apology.]

Though I was first, I'm perfectly content that you apply your creativity to one of the other submissions, Ashiel, if you feel one would better illustrate your points.


Jaelithe wrote:
Roman wrote:
Edited to say: It seems I have been ninjaed and am not the first to post in the thread.

[Removes shuriken, casts healing spell and offers apology.]

Though I was first, I'm perfectly content that you apply your creativity to one of the other submissions, Ashiel, if you feel one would better illustrate your points.

[Thanks for the healing, Jaelithe! You must be an optimized ninja cleric build! ;) ]

I didn't mean it that way and didn't want to suggest that the submission should get some sort of priority. I just just added the edit because I initially wrote 'Let me be the first to reply to this thread' - I could just as well have deleted that phrase instead of adding on a clarifying phrase at the end. Sometimes what you see written is really what is meant - no hidden meanings or insinuations. ;)


Roman wrote:
I didn't mean it that way ....

No worries or inferences over here. I was just havin' fun with the ninja metaphor. :)

It's actually astounding that I volunteered in the first place. Many other veterans will tell you that they've learned from hard experience never to volunteer. :)


Enevhar Aldarion wrote:
Ashiel wrote:


Sigfried is a fighter who's going to be a dashing handsome sort of hero who can woo the fair maiden....

We purchase with our points a 14 Strength, 14 Dexterity, 14 Constitution, a 12 Intelligence, a 12 Wisdom, and a 7 charisma.

A Charisma of 7 will not get you this. A 7 charisma is going to get you a character that is very unskilled in social situations or is ugly, or a mix of both.
Frozen Forever wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
More concerning is that a number of players seem to think that you're supposed to "play the numbers" instead of "play the character" if you're to be a good roleplayer. I openly declare that I do not adhere to this concept, and I don't advise it to anyone else, because it is at its core exceptionally meta-gamey ("Dude, why would the princess talk to you, you have like an 8 charisma") and likewise offers very few options for how you play or tell a story about your characters ("So how do I have to act if I have a 11 Charisma?").

I disagree with your entire premise.

If you have an 8 charisma, that won't stop the princess from talking to you. But, I'm sure she may not be happy with it (more likely to roll low on diplomacy and therefore degrade her attitude toward you) or might just take everything you say the wrong way (hence the minus to the social-skill rolls).

So, no, having a low charisma won't "tell me what to do" with my character, but it sure as hell will help the DM decide how others react to him.

Well, each ability score represents a strange and sometimes inconsistent amalgation of real life traits. Charisma is one of the most inconsistent ones of the lot, representing physical looks (which in themselves can be inconsistent, as they include beauty, 'dangerousness', cuteness, etc.), as well as social skills (as diverse as leadership and likeableness), the force of personality and so on. In real life, some of these traits are not only unrelated, but outright contradictory with one another. As such, a particular Charisma score can be explained by the player in many ways.

Note: Charisma is not the only highly inconsistent set of attributes. Consider, for example, Wisdom that includes traits as diverse as willpower, hearing ability and maturity...


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Man, talk about calling it:

Mergy wrote:
Also, inb4 "LOL 8 CHA MEANS YOU CAN'T USE DIPLO"

and then 3 minutes later:

Enevhar Aldarion wrote:


A Charisma of 7 will not get you this. A 7 charisma is going to get you a character that is very unskilled in social situations or is ugly, or a mix of both.


15 point buy

Vincent:

level 1 fighter
S8 D16 C13 I12 W12 Ch14
Hp: 11
Fort+3 Ref+3 Will+1
AC:16 [studded leather,dex]
Base Att +1 CMB +0 CMD 13
Feats
Point blank shot, rapid reload, rapid shot,

[Xbow mastery 2nd/ weapon focus 3rd/ weapon specialization 4th, 5th/6th Archery feats Leadship at 7th cohort and followers]

Skills +1 favored class
Diplomacy +3
Climb +2
Bluff +3
C. bowyer +5
K. engineer +5
Sense motive +1
Perception +1

Victim of a muscle wasting disease as a child. Caused permanent muscle damage [low strength]. Vincent trained as an archer where he was asked to join officers school.

Mr, Fishy is giving him a 20 point buy and writing this guy as an NPC. Up his Wis and Con and this guys awesome.


Hats off to a wonderful thread and exactly the kind of Optimizing I like. If this grows I would be happy to join you in this venture Ashiel.

As to the point of CHA being so low on Siegfried my first gut look says to cut back on Wisdom and then bring it up with an ability score increase but give the 15 point buy this isn't a bad spread. As Ashiel points out, by 2nd level Siegfried is now at a net +0 for Diplomacy. If he takes the 4th level stat increase to CHA he should have a net +3. Personally I would forgo Iron Will in favor of Skill Focus or possibly Persuasive. Mathmatcally you are not shooting for party face. In the party dynamic you are aiming for a reliable Aid Another roll to grant your party face that extra +2. At lower levels Iron Will isn't as needed to make up the difference on the low save. On the personal side the numbers say to shoot for hitting a DC of 11, this is for the ladies that are already impressed by his warrior reputation/skills (friendly) and have fairly together personalities (CHA 12). Total check +10 with a range of DC 11 to 14 (CHA 18). With a little magic and help from his friend (the party face) he could start going after the Indifferent without to great a chance at backlash. And all doable by mid-levels without damaging his primary job of smashing things in the face.


Dire Mongoose wrote:

Man, talk about calling it:

Mergy wrote:
Also, inb4 "LOL 8 CHA MEANS YOU CAN'T USE DIPLO"

and then 3 minutes later:

Enevhar Aldarion wrote:


A Charisma of 7 will not get you this. A 7 charisma is going to get you a character that is very unskilled in social situations or is ugly, or a mix of both.

Indeed

Frozen Forever wrote:
So, no, having a low charisma won't "tell me what to do" with my character, but it sure as hell will help the DM decide how others react to him.

Why not let Sig's player speak, then roll the dice, and then finally judge the outcome from there? Who knows, your premise may be right, and more often than not, Sig might fall on his face. Then again, he might surprise you with some great Diplomacy rolls. Let the system do it's work.


Enevhar Aldarion wrote:
A Charisma of 7 will not get you this. A 7 charisma is going to get you a character that is very unskilled in social situations or is ugly, or a mix of both.
Frozen Forever wrote:

I disagree with your entire premise.

If you have an 8 charisma, that won't stop the princess from talking to you. But, I'm sure she may not be happy with it (more likely to roll low on diplomacy and therefore degrade her attitude toward you) or might just take everything you say the wrong way (hence the minus to the social-skill rolls).
So, no, having a low charisma won't "tell me what to do" with my character, but it sure as hell will help the DM decide how others react to him.

I addressed both of these in the previous post. By 2nd level Sigfried is no less capable of social interaction than your average person. By 3rd level, he is above average. By 5th level, he is as good as someone with an 18 charisma. Read the posts and bring up something real if you wish to debunk it. If you want to debunk it, show something besides opinion.

According to the PRD, charisma can represent personality, animal magnetism, leadership qualities, and appearance. Sigfried is handsome, as noted, and he will eventually become the dashing guy who woos the girl, as noted in the OP. His low charisma is because he doesn't relate well to people (personality glitch), but he overcomes this early after he begins our story (2nd level).

Jaelithe wrote:

I volunteer.

I'd like to see a bright, beautiful, willful young elf noblewoman who has rejected her assigned role as prize presented to the first youth whose family her own finds useful for alliance, and instead tries to parley the skills she's acquired via her station into the role of self-sacrificing knight errant, interested in righting wrongs and living a life of service to the highest good.

[I'm not sufficiently familiar with 3.5/3.75 mechanics to determine if the above is a genuine challenge, nor did I wish to add so many conditions that it would limit your creativity, Ashiel. Hope this is acceptable.]

Alright. Since you were the first, let's tackle your elf noblewoman first, aye? Like with Sigfried, we'll use 15 PB, and I'll adhere to your concept while making a mechanically viable character.

In your honor, we shall call her Jaelithe. ^_^

From her backstory we can see she's an elven noble, and it sounds like a strong willed idealist. She sounds to me like she could make a great Paladin, so let's try that. They're often considered to be very multi-ability dependent so it'd be a great challenge. Paladin would also work well because we can see by the Aristocrat NPC class that most nobility are likely trained with weapons and armor, so figuring out where she got her basic training would be easy to keep consistent with the story.

Jaelithe with 15 PB.

  • We give her a 14 strength because it's beneficial to her and she developed good muscle learning to fight with swords and bows. This will help her in combat, as well as carrying her equipment.
  • We give her a 12 dexteirty which is boosted to 14 due to her elven heritage. She's graceful, poised, and all those fencing lessons didn't hurt. This will help her archery and reflex saves, and allow her to benefit from lighter armors (which are cheaper and weigh less). Also Initiative.
  • We give her a 14 constitution which is dropped to 12 due to her elven heritage. She's not able to take a hit like Sigfried but she's grown pretty tough over the years. She's tough for an elf, and she'll be able to shrug off most light hits. As a Paladin, her fortitude saves will be ok, especially when combined with Divine Grace.
  • We give her an 8 intelligence which is boosted to 10 due to her elven heritage. She's a smart but she's a wild spirit and tends to be a bit more down to earth for most elves. We didn't want a penalty here or else she'd lack skills, and skills are needed for our concept.
  • We give her a 10 in wisdom which is normal for a person. Her dedication and force of will ensure her Will saves are good, and her elven nature buffs her Perception skills for us by default.
  • We give her a 14 in charisma because she's strong willed and has a fierce heart. She's naturally gifted with relating to people (which is why she wants to go help them). As a Paladin, her charisma will allow her to cast all her paladin spells, boost her saving throws, and even fight evil where she meets it. This will be her primary ability.

    Jaelinthe the Maiden-Knight:

    1st Level Elven Paladin (15pb)
    Init +2, Perception +2
    AC 18, touch 12, flat-footed 16 (+6 armor, +2 dex)
    Hp 11 (1d10+1)
    Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +2
    Speed 20ft
    Melee Longspear +3 (1d8+3, reach) or Longsword +3 (1d8+2)
    Ranged Sling +3 (1d4+2) or Dagger +3 (1d4+2)
    Str 14, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 14
    BAB +1, CMB +3, CMD 15
    Feats - Point Blank Shot
    Skills (3pts) - Diplomacy +6, Knowledge (Nobility) +6, Ride +6; Modifiers -4 check penalty
    Overview: At 1st level, Jaelinthe has just recently fled from her home, not wanting to be some bargaining chip of her parents. She wants to lead her own life and use her skills to aid the common man, whereas they would waste away with her as the complacent wife of a nobleman. Jaelinthe goes to her teacher and informs him of her plan. As she was like his own daughter, her teacher spared her some of the equipment that wouldn't be missed and she fled her home on her warhorse in the night. For risk of being discovered she sent the warhorse away and now sets out on her own, with nothing more than her heart to guide her.

    Mechanically, Jaelinthe can support the front-lines like a fighter, and her skills can be useful for negotiating. She was trained in speaking, politics, and horse-riding. She's not as formally trained as a fighter, but she's got good marksmanship (Point Blank Shot).

    2nd Level Elven Paladin (15pb)
    Init +2, Perception +2
    AC 20, touch 12, flat-footed 18 (+6 armor, +2 dex, +2 shield)
    Hp 17 (2d10+2)
    Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +5
    Speed 20ft
    Melee Lance +4 (1d8+3, reach) or Longsword +4 (1d8+2) or Spiked Gauntlet +4 (1d4+2)
    Ranged Composite Longbow +4 (1d8+2) or Dagger +4 (1d4+2)
    Str 14, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 14
    BAB +2, CMB +4, CMD 16
    Feats - Point Blank Shot
    Abilities - Detect Evil, Aura of Good, Smite Evil 1/day, Divine Grace, Lay on Hands
    Skills (6pts) - Diplomacy +6, Handle Animal +6, Knowledge (Nobility) +6, Ride +6, Heal +4, Sense Motive +4; Modifiers -4 check penalty
    Overview: At 2nd level, Jaelithe has joined up with a group of like-minded do-gooders and earned a bit of coin. With it she purchased a common horse and trained him herself with her Animal Handling. She traded in her longspear for a lance and purchased a wooden shield to use when riding on horseback. She's taken the time to learn from a healer she met, and now has a gift for healing. She learned to smell a rat too, with her Sense Motive.

    3rd Level Elven Paladin (15pb)
    Init +2, Perception +2
    AC 20, touch 12, flat-footed 18 (+6 armor, +2 dex, +2 shield)
    Hp 24 (3d10+3)
    Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +5
    Speed 20ft
    Melee Mwk Lance +6 (1d8+3, reach) or Mwk Longsword +6 (1d8+2) or Spiked Gauntlet +5 (1d4+2)
    Ranged Mwk Composite Longbow +6 (1d8+2) or Dagger +5 (1d4+2)
    Str 14, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 14
    BAB +3, CMB +5, CMD 17
    Feats - Point Blank Shot, Mounted Combat
    Abilities - Detect Evil, Aura of Good, Smite Evil 1/day, Divine Grace, Lay on Hands, Aura of Courage, Divine Health, Mercy: Fatigue
    Skills (9pts) - Diplomacy +6, Handle Animal +6, Knowledge (Nobility) +6, Ride +7, Heal +5, Sense Motive +4, Disguise +3; Modifiers -4 check penalty
    Overview: At 3rd level, Jaelinthe's family has set to finding her. They put a bounty on her to bring her home alive, and so she's dropped her surname and has learned to make some convincing disguises so common people don't recognize her passing through the street. She's learned how to fight bravely from atop her mount or off. Meanwhile, her unbridled spirit has been manifesting in beautiful new ways in her presence and touch. She can now take 10 and heal most common illnesses, poisons, and double the health regeneration of her allies.

    4th Level Elven Paladin (15pb)
    Init +2, Perception +2
    AC 20, touch 12, flat-footed 18 (+6 armor, +2 dex, +2 shield)
    Hp 30 (4d10+4)
    Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +7
    Speed 20ft
    Melee Mwk Lance +7 (1d8+3, reach) or Mwk Longsword +7 (1d8+2) or Spiked Gauntlet +6 (1d4+2)
    Ranged Mwk Composite Longbow +7 (1d8+2) or Dagger +6 (1d4+2)
    Str 14, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 16 (15)
    BAB +4, CMB +6, CMD 18
    Feats - Point Blank Shot, Mounted Combat
    Abilities - Detect Evil, Aura of Good, Smite Evil 2/day, Divine Grace, Lay on Hands, Aura of Courage, Divine Health, Mercy: Fatigue, Channel Energy
    Skills (12pts) - Diplomacy +8, Handle Animal +7, Knowledge (Nobility) +6, Ride +8, Heal +5, Sense Motive +4, Disguise +4, Knowledge (Religion) +4; Modifiers -4 check penalty
    Overview: At 4th level, Jaelinthe has acquired a circlet of charisma +1 (1,000 gp) and her charisma has increased this level, granting her a +1 to all saving throws and improving her paladin abilities. Having become more devout in her cause she has turned to faith as well as conviction and has become a religious authority. She continues improving her riding and people just can't seem to say no to her. She also awakens the ability to weave divine magic through her force of will, which she typically uses for magic weapon.

    5th Level Elven Paladin (15pb)
    Init +2, Perception +2
    AC 25, touch 12, flat-footed 23 (+10 armor, +2 dex, +3 shield)
    Hp 36 (5d10+5)
    Fort +9, Ref +7, Will +8
    Speed 20ft
    Melee Mwk Lance +8 (1d8+3, reach) or Mwk Longsword +8 (1d8+2) or Spiked Gauntlet +7 (1d4+2)
    Ranged Mwk Composite Longbow +8 (1d8+2) or Dagger +7 (1d4+2)
    Str 14, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 16 (15)
    BAB +5, CMB +7, CMD 19
    Feats - Point Blank Shot, Mounted Combat, Power Attack
    Abilities - Detect Evil, Aura of Good, Smite Evil 2/day, Divine Grace, Lay on Hands, Aura of Courage, Divine Health, Mercy: Fatigue, Channel Energy, Divine Bond
    Skills (15pts) - Diplomacy +10, Handle Animal +7, Knowledge (Nobility) +6, Ride +10, Heal +5, Sense Motive +5, Disguise +3, Knowledge (Religion) +4; Modifiers -4 check penalty
    Overview: At 5th level, Jaelinthe's connection to her horse has grown so strong that he has become a celestial warhorse as her Paladin bond, and she has taken the Power Attack feat which immediately begins a -2 hit/+6 damage, which combos well with her lance on a mounted charge (+0 hit/+12 damage). She has purchased a masterwork cloak (+2 stealth) of Resistance +1(1,050 gp), a masterwork saddle (+2 ride), and has armed herself with a +1 full-plate and a +1 heavy spiked shield (which she draws as part of a move action after her initial charge). She's boosted her Ride and Diplomacy and Sense Motive. She uses magic weapon to grant her weapons a +1 enhancement bonus when she's using them, which saves her some money on equipment for a while.

    Summary: We can see that Jaelinthe is a fairly versatile Paladin. She's a capable combatant in both melee and at range, her smite evil is formidable and she enjoys a lot of self healing thanks to lay on hands as a swift action (offsetting her slightly lower hit points). Her saving throws are exceptionally good, and she can function as an off-healer/medic. She's well rounded and can either pursue riding with spirited charge, melee with cleave or combat reflexes, or take rapid shot and improve her archery (which is very strong with Smite Evil).

    Hope you enjoy it, Jaelinthe.


  • Christ, you're making me a fan of 15 Point-buy.

    Andoran

    This.. just happens to be exactly how I "optimize" my characters. I try my best to avoid straying from the concept too far, whilst still allowing them to be helpful.

    Good work.

    Story about the cha thing: One character I made had an 8 cha and I described it as "He is so painfully normal that you kinda forget he's there, so he doesn't leave as much of an impression." It was a secret-agent style character concept for a monk (who sacrificed a feat to use a short sword as a monk weapon).


    Ashiel wrote:

    I addressed both of these in the previous post. By 2nd level Sigfried is no less capable of social interaction than your average person. By 3rd level, he is above average. By 5th level, he is as good as someone with an 18 charisma. Read the posts and bring up something real if you wish to debunk it. If you want to debunk it, show something besides opinion.

    A 5th level character with an 18 Charisma and no ranks, with ranks a 5th level non-class skill +9[+12 class skill].

    Mr. Fishy posted a character take a look. It's a quick post so Mr. Fishy didn't do a full level progression.


    Ash, I gotta say, I appreciate your general stance on a few of the threads I've been reading lately. This is a conversation that is long overdue. I have a DM buddy that spews venom at me because i consistently make powerful characters, but they always grow out of a cool background and concept first. I don't see why some people see optimizing and concept/flavor as two opposing things.

    Just a friendly word of encouragement.


    Dorje Sylas wrote:

    Hats off to a wonderful thread and exactly the kind of Optimizing I like. If this grows I would be happy to join you in this venture Ashiel.

    As to the point of CHA being so low on Siegfried my first gut look says to cut back on Wisdom and then bring it up with an ability score increase but give the 15 point buy this isn't a bad spread. As Ashiel points out, by 2nd level Siegfried is now at a net +0 for Diplomacy. If he takes the 4th level stat increase to CHA he should have a net +3. Personally I would forgo Iron Will in favor of Skill Focus or possibly Persuasive. Mathmatcally you are not shooting for party face. In the party dynamic you are aiming for a reliable Aid Another roll to grant your party face that extra +2. At lower levels Iron Will isn't as needed to make up the difference on the low save. On the personal side the numbers say to shoot for hitting a DC of 11, this is for the ladies that are already impressed by his warrior reputation/skills (friendly) and have fairly together personalities (CHA 12). Total check +10 with a range of DC 11 to 14 (CHA 18). With a little magic and help from his friend (the party face) he could start going after the Indifferent without to great a chance at backlash. And all doable by mid-levels without damaging his primary job of smashing things in the face.

    Thank you Dorje. ^-^

    You alterations show he's definitely not set in stone, and I'm so glad someone understands that you don't have to be the absolute best at something to be good at it. Sure, he could have a +12 diplomacy by 5th level if he had 5 ranks, 18 charisma, and skill focus, but that's like you're trying to rival the party's bard or something. It would cost far too much and would be very inefficient and honestly overkill in most cases, or useful only in very specific circumstances.

    Loaba wrote:
    Christ, you're making me a fan of 15 Point-buy.

    Awesome. ^-^

    That's the most awesome response ever. ^.^
    I usually GM games with 25 point buy, but I figure 15 is the standard. Besides, you can take anything here and slap a few more points on it and it just goes up from there.

    Thank you. ^_^

    Stabbity Doom wrote:

    This.. just happens to be exactly how I "optimize" my characters. I try my best to avoid straying from the concept too far, whilst still allowing them to be helpful.

    Good work.

    Story about the cha thing: One character I made had an 8 cha and I described it as "He is so painfully normal that you kinda forget he's there, so he doesn't leave as much of an impression." It was a secret-agent style character concept for a monk (who sacrificed a feat to use a short sword as a monk weapon).

    Thank you. That's one of the best explanations for a low-charisma I've ever heard, and makes total sense. I have a friend who was just like that for a very long time. We'd go places and people ('cept me) often didn't really notice him (which is amazing 'cause he's 300+ lbs, and the strongest guy I know). Your monk sounds cool (secret agent man).

    Mr Fishy wrote:

    A 5th level character with an 18 Charisma and no ranks, with ranks a 5th level non-class skill +9[+12 class skill].

    Mr. Fishy posted a character take a look. It's a quick post so Mr. Fishy didn't do a full level progression.

    Awesome Mr. Fishy. Vincent looks good, and he seems quite optimized for how you envisioned him. He'd be great in a group that already has a dedicated tank, since he seems to be built more as a sharpshooter, which can be loads of fun. You might want to try a masterwork backpack (50 gp, check the d20pfsrd.com) which would help your carrying load (8 strength is really hard for carrying armor and equipment, and fighters usually get great benefits for wearing good armor), and maybe look for some feats or traits to help carry your crossbow & bolts.

    As to the 5th level / 18 charisma thing, see my response to Dorje. =)


    Eben TheQuiet wrote:

    Ash, I gotta say, I appreciate your general stance on a few of the threads I've been reading lately. This is a conversation that is long overdue. I have a DM buddy that spews venom at me because i consistently make powerful characters, but they always grow out of a cool background and concept first. I don't see why some people see optimizing and concept/flavor as two opposing things.

    Just a friendly word of encouragement.

    Thank you Eben. ^_^

    I'm the primary GM in every group I'm involved with at the moment and I try really hard not to give players a hard time, and really encourage them to make interesting characters. Sometimes they come to me saying "So I want to make a guy who specializes in throwing weapons, can you help me?" or something similar, and I help them work it out in the mechanics.

    The rules are there for you, not to be against you. ^_^
    They're definitely not opposed. Often times, optimization is wonderful for capturing the feel of your character while avoiding pitfalls.

    Glad you're enjoying the thread. =D

    EDIT: That is, a hard time over their characters. The actual games tend to be pretty hard (they hate the word "kobold" :P), but that's to be expected, right?


    I'd have a lot less loathing of the 7 dumpstat were it usually used in this fashion (for a character with lots of 14s and 12s) rather than the more typical (paying for the single 18 of a SAD character type). The 7 charisma fighter you describe with a fair number of ranks in the usual social skills would be described as someone with no inherent facility for such skills--i.e., not a natural, but who nevertheless through training and experience can operate competently but not exceptionally in this area. Charisma is really the stat that this works the best with though, it's a lot harder to make a similar case in system for wisdom or intelligence dumpstats.


    EWHM wrote:
    Charisma is really the stat that this works the best with though, it's a lot harder to make a similar case in system for wisdom or intelligence dumpstats.

    I find that decent WIS goes a long way towards covering for a poor INT stat. You're not really sure why something is a good or bad idea, but you have a feeling...


    Ashiel wrote:


    Awesome Mr. Fishy. Vincent looks good, and he seems quite optimized for how you envisioned him. He'd be great in a group that already has a dedicated tank, since he seems to be built more as a sharpshooter, which can be loads of fun. You might want to try a masterwork backpack (50 gp, check the d20pfsrd.com) which would help your carrying load (8 strength is really hard for carrying armor and equipment, and fighters usually get great benefits for wearing good armor), and maybe look for some feats or traits to help carry your crossbow & bolts.

    As to the 5th level / 18 charisma thing, see my response to Dorje. =)

    Mule cords APG

    Mr. Fishy's point is that you should try to play the stats as the character not write them out with skills. Vincent has a reason and a direction. The build follows the stats not beats them into working to make a point.

    Siegfried has a low charisma but is described as handsome and dashing. A 7 Charisma is not what one calls handsome and dashing anymore that Vincent is a expert climber or a trained wrestler [defensive maneuvers] he is what he is a sharp shooter and an officer intraining.

    That the point Mr. Fishy is making. Yes you can put skill ranks into diplomacy to improve Siegfrieds social skills. That doesn't make him charming any more that ranks in climb make Vincent stronger. Mr. Fishy never said you were wrong Mr. Fishy sees the stats as the bones of the character and class, skills and feats as muscles, skin, and clothes.

    Play as you will. Mr. Fishy doesn't believe in playing wrong. That's for munchkins and rule lawyers.


    EWHM wrote:
    I'd have a lot less loathing of the 7 dumpstat were it usually used in this fashion (for a character with lots of 14s and 12s) rather than the more typical (paying for the single 18 of a SAD character type). The 7 charisma fighter you describe with a fair number of ranks in the usual social skills would be described as someone with no inherent facility for such skills--i.e., not a natural, but who nevertheless through training and experience can operate competently but not exceptionally in this area. Charisma is really the stat that this works the best with though, it's a lot harder to make a similar case in system for wisdom or intelligence dumpstats.

    Very true. And thank you. ^-^

    Dumping stats into the gutter to get that 18 is something that usually isn't very optimal due to the scaling cost of point buy (an 18 costs a whopping 17 points, which means it's not even legal without dropping a 7, and then you end up looking like this: 18, 10, 12, 10, 10, 7. Or you could pull 18, 14, 14, 7, 7, 7, which isn't bad on paper but it really doesn't do you any justice in the game. Sure, you've got an extra +2/+3 to damage, but you're useless outside of your specific combat niche and you're very likely to get completely hosed the moment that 1st level human adept who prepared Sleep today gets his turn. :P

    And you're right, dumping Intelligence is usually a bad move if you're trying to build for survival and problems. My combats tend to be very dynamic at times. In one of my recent games, a 3rd level party was getting railed by 4 kobolds and a pit trap (I posted something about it a few weeks ago). Stuff like Climbing, Jumping, Swimming, and so forth can be very useful out of combat. Perception means you don't get railed in the surprise round as often, and so forth.

    Wisdom hurts for saves, but you can overcome the hindrances to your skills in pretty much the same way as Charisma. Just even having a -1 to your Will save is asking for trouble many of the times ("Ack, blinded by vampire-dust!").

    Sorry, I'm musing tangentally. Please excuse me. ^.^


    Love the work. I'm from the camp that I come up with a story as I'm building a character.

    Example: I was just building a char for an upcoming Serpent's Skull game and I started off with an idea (gnome alchemist bomber) and started to optimize. By the end of the creation process, I had a solid concept (Alchemical merchant from Cheliax heading to the Expanse for the next new thing!).

    I agree that optimization and roleplay are not antithetical. I believe there was a poster on the WotC boards who went by TempestStormwind who wrote up a logical fallacy based on that idea. I loved it.


    Mr.Fishy wrote:


    Mr. Fishy's point is that you should try to play the stats as the character not write them out with skills. Vincent has a reason and a direction. The build follows the stats not beats them into working to make a point.

    Siegfried has a low charisma but is described as handsome and dashing. A 7 Charisma is not what one calls handsome and dashing anymore that Vincent is a expert climber or a trained wrestler [defensive maneuvers] he is what he is a sharp shooter and an officer intraining.

    I believe I've already addressed this. Charisma can mean many different things, with any combination of 4 given examples. You can have someone who's amazingly beautiful who's a completely bore and doesn't make sense when she talks (let's say a supermodel with Cha 7).

    You're telling me what Cha 7 means, but if you're going to do that, then I'd like to see some citation on it. You're telling me it means something specific, and it might to you Mr. Fishy, but it doesn't - unless you can show me where it says a Cha 7 character has to be a certain something. I've checked the description of the ability. It doesn't.

    Likewise, the ability scores are not the character. They are tools to represent that character. I could stat characters from Lord of the Rings out, but I'm not going to say "This combination of strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom, and charisma is specifically Aragorn".

    Quote:
    That the point Mr. Fishy is making. Yes you can put skill ranks into diplomacy to improve Siegfrieds social skills. That doesn't make him charming any more that ranks in climb make Vincent stronger. Mr. Fishy never said you were wrong Mr. Fishy sees the stats as the bones of the character and class, skills and feats as muscles, skin, and clothes.

    At 5th level, Sigfried decides to flirt with the cute barmaid. He rolls DC 15 + her charisma (probably +1) to get her to go from indifferent to friendly. He's just as charming as if he had an 18 charisma. On a roll of 12 he succeeds and she really likes him, on a roll of 8 or higher she isn't interested. If he botches it, he accidentally made her angry with him. Likewise, he could just take 10 if he had a circumstance bonus (perhaps a +2 for gifting her with a rose) and succeed.

    We can see he is just as charming as a 18 charisma character. I can demonstrate my case easily enough. Please, if you wish to continue, bring me something concrete.

    Quote:
    Play as you will. Mr. Fishy doesn't believe in playing wrong. That's for munchkins and rule lawyers.

    As to you Mr. Fishy. May the oceans be full of tasty treats. ^_^


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Saedar wrote:

    Love the work. I'm from the camp that I come up with a story as I'm building a character.

    Example: I was just building a char for an upcoming Serpent's Skull game and I started off with an idea (gnome alchemist bomber) and started to optimize. By the end of the creation process, I had a solid concept (Alchemical merchant from Cheliax heading to the Expanse for the next new thing!).

    I agree that optimization and roleplay are not antithetical. I believe there was a poster on the WotC boards who went by TempestStormwind who wrote up a logical fallacy based on that idea. I loved it.

    Tempest Stormwind was one of my personal heroes back on the WotC boards. I never saw a single post by that man that I didn't like, and I only wish I could have found another message board he posted on. Every post he made was brilliant, to the point, and highly accurate. They made you think, consider, and often re-evaluate your views on the subject. He used logic, reasoning, and evidence, instead of baseless opinions or emotional, learned, or baseless statements.

    I only wish I could find a board he posted on today. I always enjoyed reading his posts.

    Also, thank you. ^_^


    Eben, I wasn't quite in the same boat as you but I realized early on in 3.0 that I tended to gravitate toward highly optimized arguably over-powered/unbalanced characters. To counter that by the time 3.5 was out I began to deliberately chose character concepts and combat styles that were mechanically weak and then turn my inner munchkin lose on them. This typically resulted in characters on par with everyone else and satisfied my optimizer itch. Not to shocking Bard was common component. Now I seem to be sliding toward styles that incorporate combat maneuvers in some way. :D. Fortunately most of my normal group is also fairly mathematically minded and at least two regular DMs (aside from me) are also unapologetic power-players. (Giant + 3.5 Burtal Throw = Lesson in trying to out power game the GM).

    Thought I'd bold that part as a takeaway lesson for people new to game and of the power player bent. Optimize a Dwarf Archer Barbarian and see how many people object.


    Sigfried could also be modeled as someone with some degree of Aspie-ness. He doesn't have any natural ability at all (-2) for social interactions, but he dutifully studies and applies his Dale Carnegie and Ben Franklin.

    BTW, the 'College Trained' fighter option would suit this guy pretty well. Getting a few extra class skills and more skill points in general is a good trade for a single feat.


    Dorje Sylas wrote:
    Thought I'd bold that part as a takeaway lesson for people new to game and of the power player bent. Optimize a Dwarf Archer Barbarian and see how many people object.

    Heheh, I did that once. I used an energy bow (often called Tashron's Bow; the same kind Hank uses in the D&D cartoon). One of its features is it grants Deadly Aim to the wielder, shoots force-damage arrows, and adjusts itself to the strength of its wielder. It was great on her because every time her strength changed her bow adjusted accordingly (really cuts down on mid-combat bookkeeping).

    So she was pretty awesome in melee and at ranged combat. ^_^


    EWHM wrote:

    Sigfried could also be modeled as someone with some degree of Aspie-ness. He doesn't have any natural ability at all (-2) for social interactions, but he dutifully studies and applies his Dale Carnegie and Ben Franklin.

    BTW, the 'College Trained' fighter option would suit this guy pretty well. Getting a few extra class skills and more skill points in general is a good trade for a single feat.

    So true. These same ability scores could represent a huge variety of starting blocks for people. They by no means mean only one thing, which is the beauty of D&D/Pathfinder.

    Out of curiosity, what's the College Trained fighter? It sounds very interesting. Is it from the APG?


    Ashiel wrote:
    Hope you enjoy it, Jaelinthe.

    Other than the fact that you changed her name from Jaelithe to Jaelinthe mid-post, I do, indeed, enjoy it. ;)

    It's interesting to watch experienced gamers employ 3.5/3.75 to good effect. I've been out of the loop for the best part of a dozen years, with a handful of exceptions, and such impromptu tutorials are quite helpful to my understanding of how to construct both a playable character and a believable NPC for the contemporary game.

    Thanks again for giving my suggestion your attention.


    Ashiel wrote:
    EWHM wrote:

    Sigfried could also be modeled as someone with some degree of Aspie-ness. He doesn't have any natural ability at all (-2) for social interactions, but he dutifully studies and applies his Dale Carnegie and Ben Franklin.

    BTW, the 'College Trained' fighter option would suit this guy pretty well. Getting a few extra class skills and more skill points in general is a good trade for a single feat.

    So true. These same ability scores could represent a huge variety of starting blocks for people. They by no means mean only one thing, which is the beauty of D&D/Pathfinder.

    Out of curiosity, what's the College Trained fighter? It sounds very interesting. Is it from the APG?

    pathfinder campaign setting guide for the inner sea. a 3.5. splatbook that came before pathfinder was still being developed.


    Okay - here it is...

    I have a rather strange lad, knows a thing or two about the mystical arts. He's no weakling mind you, strong and hale as any man from his village. He has a wanderlust about him, can't wait to see world and all that's in it.

    Oh yeah, he NEVER thinks things through and ALWAYS fires from the hip.


    Jaelithe wrote:

    Other than the fact that you changed her name from Jaelithe to Jaelinthe mid-post, I do, indeed, enjoy it. ;)

    It's interesting to watch experienced gamers employ 3.5/3.75 to good effect. I've been out of the loop for the best part of a dozen years, with a handful of exceptions, and such impromptu tutorials are quite helpful to my understanding of how to construct both a playable character and a believable NPC for the contemporary game.

    Thanks again for giving my suggestion your attention.

    Oops! Sorry, it was probably a typo mid-way, and I did a lot of copy/pasting and then editing to save time. ^_^;;

    I'm glad you enjoyed it, and found it helpful.
    Now to try and tackle the next character concept on the list. =D

    Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
    pathfinder campaign setting guide for the inner sea. a 3.5. splatbook that came before pathfinder was still being developed.

    Thank you very much Shuriken. ^-^


    Charisma 7 super model example? Please name an example.

    Srd wrote:

    Dexterity measures agility, reflexes, and balance.

    Charisma measures a character's personality, personal magnetism, ability to lead, and appearance.

    The SRD says "and" not "or". So that would be a combination of all right?

    So Siegfried is Handsome[appearance]and dashing [personal magetism?] and his personality and leadership ability is lacking?

    Ok so if Mr. Fishy makes a character with a 7 dex and give him ranks in acrobatics and call him acrobatic does his character becomes more agile better balanced?

    Mr. Fishy isn't telling you what Charisma is the SRD seems to have an opinion though.


    Mr.Fishy wrote:

    Charisma 7 super model example? Please name an example.

    Srd wrote:

    Dexterity measures agility, reflexes, and balance.

    Charisma measures a character's personality, personal magnetism, ability to lead, and appearance.

    The SRD says "and" not "or". So that would be a combination of all right?

    So Siegfried is Handsome[appearance]and dashing [personal magetism?] and his personality and leadership ability is lacking?

    Ok so if Mr. Fishy makes a character with a 7 dex and give him ranks in acrobatics and call him acrobatic does his character becomes more agile better balanced?

    Mr. Fishy isn't telling you what Charisma is the SRD seems to have an opinion though.

    Ron Jeremy, known in the bidness as The Hedgehog.


    Ron Jeremy? Mr. Fishy thinks you should check the bottle your pills came in.

    7 Charisma maybe. Model?

    For what Creepy Uncle Quarterly. Posing in front the Uncle Creepy Kidnap Van.

    Mr. Fishy is going to have Sharkdreams thanks.


    Mr.Fishy wrote:

    Ron Jeremy? Mr. Fishy thinks you should check the bottle your pills came in.

    7 Charisma maybe. Model?

    For what Creepy Uncle Quarterly. Posing in front the Uncle Creepy Kidnap Van.

    Mr. Fishy is going to have Sharkdreams thanks.

    Ron Jeremy is a classic example of someone who is ugly as sin, yet has CHA to spare. If I didn't think you'd go all Godwin on me, I'd cite a certain, charismatic, Fascist too.

    CHA has a lot of factors, of which, physical beauty is only one.

    Edit: just to put the shoe on the other foot; you've seen the insanely hot chica loca at the bar, yes? Ever notice how she knows how hot she is? Yeah, that's kind of turn-off, huh?


    heres an npc concept i had in mind, will you help me stat it out Ashiel? i know it's a little cliche. as well as a borderline mary sue. but it's nice to have a premade npc for when i do start running a campaign.

    Young mistress Umbriere Nox Astrum Lunas is an extremely sickly young girl whom was concieved in a library one inspiring midnight during the winter on a friday the 13th with an unusual planetary alignment. she is suffering from an unnamed perpetual illness. her excellency is the wealthy yet sickly daughter of a noble librarian who fell in love with her assistant. said librarian was the cousin of the local baron. she has read a great variety of books pertaining to various subjects due to a combination of her perpetual illness and excess of time. she was homeschooled in the fine arts of dance, social ettiquette, mathematics, and calligraphy by the finest of tutors. in her time spent reading, she discovered that she has an affinity for illusion and enchantment related magics. she has knowledge on several subjects, is a graceful dancer and a beatufil calligrapher. she has a soothing voice that assists her in her negotiative skills alongside an elegant mastery of deception. in moments of stress or in the middle of a tangent, she breaks out into coughing fits. she has a knack for understanding things as well as for noticing disturbances in her enviroment. able to see the finest of details and understand the most abstract of concepts. though her illness leaves her light sensitive and she has a habit of eating strange mismatched combinations of entrees that do not mesh well together. she also developed a fair amount of gynmastic prowess in her early teenage years. she is rather pale from her lack of sunlight, with beautiful well maintained black hair and gorgeous crimson eyes.


    Ashiel wrote:
    Enevhar Aldarion wrote:
    A Charisma of 7 will not get you this. A 7 charisma is going to get you a character that is very unskilled in social situations or is ugly, or a mix of both.
    Frozen Forever wrote:

    I disagree with your entire premise.

    If you have an 8 charisma, that won't stop the princess from talking to you. But, I'm sure she may not be happy with it (more likely to roll low on diplomacy and therefore degrade her attitude toward you) or might just take everything you say the wrong way (hence the minus to the social-skill rolls).
    So, no, having a low charisma won't "tell me what to do" with my character, but it sure as hell will help the DM decide how others react to him.

    I addressed both of these in the previous post. By 2nd level Sigfried is no less capable of social interaction than your average person. By 3rd level, he is above average. By 5th level, he is as good as someone with an 18 charisma. Read the posts and bring up something real if you wish to debunk it. If you want to debunk it, show something besides opinion.

    According to the PRD, charisma can represent personality, animal magnetism, leadership qualities, and appearance. Sigfried is handsome, as noted, and he will eventually become the dashing guy who woos the girl, as noted in the OP. His low charisma is because he doesn't relate well to people (personality glitch), but he overcomes this early after he begins our story (2nd level).

    I guess we'll chalk this up to a reading comprehension fail on my part. Yeah, if someone puts a bunch of ranks in something, they've practiced, and are better at it. But not better than the guy who has the natural talent (an already high ability score) who ALSO puts ranks in it (practices).

    loaba wrote:


    Frozen Forever wrote:
    So, no, having a low charisma won't "tell me what to do" with my character, but it sure as hell will help the DM decide how others react to him.
    Why not let Sig's player speak, then roll the dice, and then finally judge the outcome from there? Who knows, your premise may be right, and more often than not, Sig might fall on his face. Then again, he might surprise you with some great Diplomacy rolls. Let the system do it's work.

    I'll chalk THAT up to me not expressing myself correctly: this is exactly what I was trying to say. The dice speak. If you have poor modifiers to those dice, you'll roll poorly.


    So she has a 7 because she doesn't like you and Ron has "charisma to spare" because you like porn? Your examples are shaky at best. If Ron has a great personality and is less pretty then maybe he has a 10 and ranks. The Hot Trollop that doesn't like you she could have a 13 and max ranks in intimidate.

    Mr. Fishy is having trouble following you. Godwin? Ohhh. You mean that guy that started that war. He did not have a 7. He had a good Charisma and ranks in bluff and diplomacy and sense motive and the leadership feat and skill focus.

    Ron has a pet snake and a mustache. DIFFERENCE huge!

    Andoran

    I think the point is that the difference between a +4 modifier from an 18 cha and 0 ranks and a +4 from a 7 cha and 3 ranks (plus class skill bonus) is effectively nil. A person's "prettiness" therefor is only somewhat tied to charisma, as they can easily work around this and make themselves look better through their skill. Sure, someone may physically be ugly as sin when you take a still of them around to people, but take two such people (with equal "still photo" ratings) and meet them in real life and its entirely possible that their apparent beauty will be completely different because of how they hold themselves and act.


    Mr.Fishy wrote:
    Mr. Fishy is having trouble following you. Godwin? Ohhh. You mean that guy that started that war. He did not have a 7. He had a good Charisma and ranks in bluff and diplomacy and sense motive and the leadership feat and skill focus.

    So, just how high is Mr. War-Starter-Guy's CHA? And, I mean, I'm not saying you're a swishy kinda fish, or anything like that (it'd be okay if you were, don't get me wrong), just how handsome would you say he was?


    loaba wrote:
    And, I mean, I'm not saying you're a swishy kinda fish, or anything like that....

    "Fire in the hole!" :)

    Shadow Lodge

    Quote:
    Play as you will. Mr. Fishy doesn't believe in playing wrong. That's for munchkins and rule lawyers.

    Its kind of rude to, in something as subjective as how to role play, say that someone else is doing something wrong.

    The system is linear. That -3 to charismia based skills IS in fact made up by 3 ranks in that charisma based skill.

    Deadlands for example has a more realistic variant. Your Mien (charismia) would be a d4 as opposed to a d12. You can put as many ranks into it as you want, but 5d4 is only going to get you so far unless you get reaaaaaly lucky.

    Is it cheap to make up for a bad stat with skills? I think don't think so. Is it realistic. I don't think so. Is it how the rules work? In pathfinder Yes. I don't think its the players fault if one stat does so much less than the other stats gets dumped. Its not the players fault if charismia doesn't do anything for a fighter so that if they have an idea for a charismatic fighter they mechanically have to go about it in an unorthodox way.

    Its not doing it wrong, its 1 suspension of disbelief amoung a thousand others, and hardly the most egregious one.


    Roman wrote:

    Maldraex is a young man of average height and weight. He grew up in a family of rich farmers. Although not as rich as to allow for a life of true luxury, the family spoiled him and Maldraex consequently never had to engage in serious work. The young man is talented, but lazy and has a tendency not to finish the things he has started. When he was old enough, the family scrambled together enough money to send him to off to get an education. He persevered at first and got through the initial stages, but his laziness eventually got the better of him and he did not finish the highest stage expected of him. Realizing too late how much his family has sacrificed for him and how he has failed the generosity of the people he loves, he decided in his shame that he cannot return home to face them. Instead, Maldraex set out into the world on his own. He seeks to escape the burden of his own action... or inaction and salvage his tainted pride.

    Deliberately no information on class/race/etc., so as to also make it optimized but fitting with the description above (it's also why I left out physical details).

    Nice. I think we can work with this. Let's make him a human since he likes switching specializations a lot, and we can make him a pretty good bard I think. He sounds like a lazy fellow who awoke to the realities of life and has never really specialized in one thing.

    Maldrex 15 Point Buy

  • We'll give him a 12 strength. We was lazy but after setting out on his journey to redeem himself he's put on a little more muscle than the average fellow. He's not amazingly strong, but he had to carry his own stuff when he left his home. A 12 strength will give us a solid carrying capacity (armor is heavy, even light armor).
  • We'll give him a 14 dexterity. He's lazy but his hand-eye coordination is pretty good. He used to slingshot tomatoes behind the barn or shooting darts, and his hand-eye coordination is really good. This will help with our skills exceptionally well.
  • We'll give him a 14 constitution because he's pretty healthy, and always got to take it easy, eat well, and he comes from good farming stock. We'll need this for his HP and Fort saves.
  • We'll give him a 10 Int. He's got a solid head on his shoulders but his laziness means he doesn't apply it and he's slow to pay attention to learn stuff. We don't want a penalty, but we don't need a bonus since bards get good skill points.
  • We'll give him a 10 here as well. Simply average.
  • We'll give him a 13 here and apply his +2 for being a human. He's a jovial fellow and he's not bad a socializing. He probably spent most of his time kickin' it with his friends and the making buddies at the university. Relating to people comes naturally to him. This is his primary stat and we're good for spells, and his skills.

    Maldrex:

    1st Level Human Bard
    Init +2, Perception +4
    AC 14, touch 12, flat-footed 12 (+2 armor, +2 dex)
    Hp 10 (1d8+2)
    Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +2
    Melee Longspear +1 (1d8+1, x3) or Bladed Gauntlet +1 (1d4+1)
    Ranged Sling +2 (1d4+1) or Dart +2 (1d4+1)
    Spells (Bard 1, DC 12+Level)
    1st (2/day) - Disguise Self, Silent Image
    Cantrips - Light, Prestidigitation, Mending, Mage Hand
    Str 12, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 15
    Base Atk +0, CMB +1, CMD 13
    Feats - Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot
    Abilities - Bardic knowledge, bardic performance, cantrips, countersong, distraction, fascinate, inspire courage +1
    Skills - Appraise +4, Bluff +6, Diplomacy +6, Linguistics +4, Perception +4, Perform (Oratory) +6, Stealth +6, Use Magic Device +6
    Overview: At 1st level, Malrdrex has recently wandered away from his school, having failed. He's learned a little of everything but never graduated. He never learned music but he's good at giving rousing speeches. He studied a little magic but flunked out and just practices what he liked of it. He studied some martial skill but quit the training 'cause it was too hard or exhausting which is why he has simple weapon proficiency and some martial weapon proficiencies. He has Use Magic Device to represent his trying to learn several different types of magic but never learning the basics. Stealth was for sneaking off to parties.

    2nd Level Human Bard
    Init +2, Perception +4
    AC 14, touch 12, flat-footed 12 (+2 armor, +2 dex)
    Hp 16 (2d8+4)
    Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +3
    Melee Longspear +2 (1d8+1, x3) or Bladed Gauntlet +2 (1d4+1)
    Ranged Sling +3 (1d4+1) or Dart +3 (1d4+1) or Shortbow +4 (1d6+1,x3)
    Spells (Bard 1, DC 12+Level)
    1st (3/day) - Disguise Self, Silent Image, Cure Light Wounds
    Cantrips - Light, Prestidigitation, Mending, Mage Hand, Detect Magic
    Str 12, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 15
    Base Atk +1, CMB +2, CMD 14
    Feats - Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot
    Abilities - Bardic knowledge, bardic performance, cantrips, countersong, distraction, fascinate, inspire courage +1, versatile performance, well-versed
    Skills - Appraise +5, Bluff +7, Diplomacy +7, Linguistics +4, Perception +4, Perform (Oratory) +7, Stealth +7, Use Magic Device +7, Sense Motive +4, Slight of Hand +6

    Overview: At 2nd level, still rather aimless, Maldrex has discovered some new magic and figured out some more tricks, found an adventuring party and is currently seeking adventure to repay his parents and make them proud. However, for once in his life he actually feels like this is what he wants to do and desires it. He picks up some fighting skill and purchases a composite shortbow to add to his arsenal. Meanwhile he learns some new skills and improves a few old favorites he feels comfortable with.

    3rd Level Human Bard
    Init +2, Perception +6
    AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 14 (+3 armor, +2 dex)
    Hp 23 (3d8+6)
    Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +3
    Melee Longspear +3 (1d8+1, x3) or Bladed Gauntlet +3 (1d4+1)
    Ranged Sling +4 (1d4+1) or Dart +4 (1d4+1) or Mwk Shortbow +5 (1d6+1,x3)
    Spells (Bard 1, DC 12+Level)
    1st (4/day) - Disguise Self, Silent Image, Cure Light Wounds, Undetectable Alignment
    Cantrips - Light, Prestidigitation, Mending, Mage Hand, Detect Magic, Read Magic
    Str 12, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 15
    Base Atk +2, CMB +2, CMD 14
    Feats - Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Precise Shot
    Abilities - Bardic knowledge, bardic performance, cantrips, countersong, distraction, fascinate, inspire courage +1, versatile performance, well-versed, inspire competence +2
    Skills - Appraise +5, Bluff +8, Diplomacy +8, Linguistics +4, Perception +6, Perform (Oratory) +7, Stealth +8, Use Magic Device +8, Sense Motive +4, Slight of Hand +6, Knowledge (Arcana) +5, Knowledge (Religion) +5
    Overview: At 3rd level, Maldrex grabs some masterwork studded leather, a masterwork buckler, and learns to give his friends great encouragement. He continues as an amazing speaker, and also begins picking up a wide assortment of knowledge in different fields as his interests wax and wane. He's gotten pretty good at shooting that shortbow too, and now he's a dead-eye shot with Precise Shot.

    4th Level Human Bard
    Init +2, Perception +6
    AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 14 (+3 armor, +2 dex)
    Hp 29 (4d8+8)
    Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +4
    Melee Longspear +4 (1d8+1, x3) or Bladed Gauntlet +4 (1d4+1)
    Ranged Sling +5 (1d4+1) or Dart +5 (1d4+1) or Mwk Shortbow +6 (1d6+1,x3)
    Spells (Bard 1, DC 12+Level)
    -2nd (2/day) - Mirror Image, Heroism
    -1st (4/day) - Disguise Self, Silent Image, Cure Light Wounds, Undetectable Alignment
    -Cantrips - Light, Prestidigitation, Mending, Mage Hand, Detect Magic, Read Magic
    Str 12, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 16
    Base Atk +3, CMB +2, CMD 14
    Feats - Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Precise Shot
    Abilities - Bardic knowledge, bardic performance, cantrips, countersong, distraction, fascinate, inspire courage +1, versatile performance, well-versed, inspire competence +2
    Skills - Appraise +5, Bluff +9, Diplomacy +10, Linguistics +4, Perception +6, Perform (Oratory) +10, Stealth +9, Use Magic Device +10, Sense Motive +4, Slight of Hand +6, Knowledge (Arcana) +6, Knowledge (Religion) +6, Knowledge (Dungeoneering) +6, Knowledge (Nature) +6

    Overview: At 4th level, Maldrex has really come into his own. What was once his greatest weakness - his inability to focus - has become his greatest strength as he adventures with his friends. He's acquired a deeper sense of pride with himself and his greater confidence shows in his increased charisma. He's found a few skills he loves working with and practices them without meaning to, while he's becoming something of a walking pile of random trivia. He's even popped up and shown the party's rogues some new magic tricks he's figured out. Maldrex has a wicked good Use Magic Device, is likely the party face, and has a number of useful spells and features he can use. He's purchased a wand of cure light wounds to heal his friends with when their cleric has run herself out of magic.

    5th Level Human Bard
    Init +6, Perception +6
    AC 17, touch 12, flat-footed 15 (+4 armor, +2 dex)
    Hp 36 (5d8+10)
    Fort +4, Ref +7, Will +5
    Melee Longspear +4 (1d8+1, x3) or Bladed Gauntlet +4 (1d4+1)
    Ranged Sling +5 (1d4+1) or Dart +5 (1d4+1) or Mwk Shortbow +6 (1d6+1,x3)
    Spells (Bard 1, DC 12+Level)
    -2nd (3/day) - Mirror Image, Heroism, Blur
    -1st (4/day) - Disguise Self, Silent Image, Cure Light Wounds, Undetectable Alignment
    -Cantrips - Light, Prestidigitation, Mending, Mage Hand, Detect Magic, Read Magic
    Str 12, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 16
    Base Atk +3, CMB +2, CMD 14
    Feats - Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Precise Shot, Improved Initiative
    Abilities - Bardic knowledge, bardic performance, cantrips, countersong, distraction, fascinate, inspire courage +2, versatile performance, well-versed, inspire competence +2, lore master 1/day
    Skills - Appraise +5, Bluff +11, Diplomacy +11, Linguistics +4, Perception +6, Perform (Oratory) +11, Stealth +11, Use Magic Device +11, Sense Motive +4, Slight of Hand +6, Knowledge (Arcana) +6, Knowledge (Religion) +6, Knowledge (Dungeoneering) +6, Knowledge (Nature) +6, Knowledge (History) +6

    Overview: At 5th level, Maldrex has become something of a local hero and he doesn't mind telling a great tale with his impressive skills. He's purchased a masterwork cloak (+2 stealth) of resistance +1 (1,050 gp) and upgraded his armor to a mithril chain shirt (1,100gp), and he's got a golf-bag of wands, potions, and other odd nick-knacks like feather tokens. He's an incredible archer and quick on his feet, and he's gone from a screw up to the glue that holds his party together.

    Summary: We can see that Maldrex not only is fairly indecisive about his skills (he drops a rank into a new skill almost every level) but his laziness and mannerisms have been displayed through both his background and his character build. He's a little of everything, and now he'd probably make his parents very proud.

    I hope you like it Roman.


  • loaba wrote:
    Mr.Fishy wrote:
    Mr. Fishy is having trouble following you. Godwin? Ohhh. You mean that guy that started that war. He did not have a 7. He had a good Charisma and ranks in bluff and diplomacy and sense motive and the leadership feat and skill focus.
    So, just how high is Mr. War-Starter-Guy's CHA? And, I mean, I'm not saying you're a swishy kinda fish, or anything like that (it'd be okay if you were, don't get me wrong), just how handsome would you say he was?

    Not to derail my own thread, but one of history's most charismatic figures would have to be Adolf Hitler. He wasn't incredibly brilliant, especially tactically, but my god the man could draw an entire nation under his banner with his words alone. He had an incredible charisma, and amazingly strong will and personal magnetism.

    He's also, for the most part, considered very unattractive by a lot of people. But if there was a human in our world who sported a 20 charisma baseline, and perhaps a rank in bluff and diplomacy as class skills, he would probably be a good candidate.

    Anyway, just a consideration. Seriously, this "all or nothing" business is the reason I find it very meta-gamey. It limits creativity with characters because it requires them to conform to some sort of unwritten mold that somebody decrees out of a sense of opinion, instead of actually looking at what they can do.

    Loaba wrote:

    Okay - here it is...

    I have a rather strange lad, knows a thing or two about the mystical arts. He's no weakling mind you, strong and hale as any man from his village. He has a wanderlust about him, can't wait to see world and all that's in it.

    Oh yeah, he NEVER thinks things through and ALWAYS fires from the hip.

    I'll make this one my next post. I really do hope you guys are enjoying them. ^-^


    Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
    heres an npc concept i had in mind, will you help me stat it out Ashiel? i know it's a little cliche. as well as a borderline mary sue. but it's nice to have a premade npc for when i do start running a campaign.

    Why yes I will. I'll try to put her in my next post with Loaba's.

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