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Some Questions After First Run Through


Beginner Box


Last night I ran most of the way through the Beginner Box Adventure in the GM Book. Played it with only three PC's...Cleric, Fighter, Rogue. After playing, I have a few probably basic questions I was hoping the experts could clarify?

1. With the Cleric being able to channel energy, I would think it to be almost impossible to ever have a PC die, or even become very badly injured. Am I missing something with regard to how many times it can be used. I believe it was 6 times it can be used, but for this adventure and given the fact that it heals in 30ft radius...it seems like the PC's were always above 80% of HP.

2. In the Rogue pregen character sheet they show the melee attack bonus to be +3, but that doesn't jive with the formula using STR. If I look at the Rogue weapon Rapier it shows attack bonus as +3. Is this because they are assuming the weapon finesse feat is just "turned on at all times", making the bonus based off of DEX even for melee weapons?

3. Again getting back to the whole healing dilemma, if the cleric can either use "Heal" skill or channel energy, isnt it beneficial to just heal between every encounter. It just seems like healing is almost an unlimited benefit making the characters sort of always healed up prior to an encounter.

4. In our game, the fighter pregen indicated he had a longsword and a shortbow. However, is it true he could have taken Longsword and Shortsword and then had two attacks each time? Why would he ever choose bow over two melee attacks?

5. I am confused about the difference between "Detect Magic", "Spellcraft", and "Knowledge Arcana". They seem to this noob to basically do the same thing?

6. The Stealth & Sneak Attack mechanism for Rogues is not making all that much sense to me yet. What does the Rogue need to do to be stealth and how is that related to sneak attack?

7. So Cleric can in one turn channel energy and then attack an adjacent enemy right?

8. Am I to believe that feats like "Weapon Focus" should just always be assumed "on" for that player? Why would you ever not use it? I guess maybe if you wanted to use another feat, say "Power Attack" you would then no longer get the bonus from "Weapon Focus" right?

Thanks for all of the help guys / gals!


1. Two words: critical hits (also cumulative damage and bad rolls on the channeling dice... etc.)

2. Not sure what you mean here -- if a rogue has the weapon finesse feat, it applies to "a light weapon, elven curve blade, rapier, whip, or spiked chain" (of your size category). If this isn't what you're asking, could you clarify?

3. The heal skill doesn't restore hit points -- but yes, generally getting your party as close to full as possible is good to do between encounters.

4. He could, but the penalties for fighting with two weapons are pretty stiff -- check out the Two Weapon Fighting feat for some details on that.

More later... I've got to run to a meeting.

Shadow Lodge

1) Channel Energy can be used 3 + Charisma Modifier per day. And having the PC's up on HP isn't a bad thing. You're trying to throw a challenge and an adventure at them, you're not trying to kill them! Remember, being a DM doesn't mean it's you vs the players, it means that you're the one who gets to weave the story in a way that both you and the players are all having a good time. :)

2) Once you get the weapon finesse feat, it does not have to be activated. In fact, most feats do not have to be activated to be used. It is always in effect. All finessable weapons used by that rogue will use his Dexterity Modifier to attack (but not to damage!)

3) The Heal Skill works differently than magic. I recommend reading up on the rules for it. Here they are.

4) That is true. The long bow allows him to attack at range. You can't hit with a melee attack from 20 feet away. Nor can you hit with a melee attack 200 feet away. Also, some monsters fly, and you can't melee what you can't reach. The bow allows him to do that. Also, if you want two weapon fighting, here are the rules.

5) Detect magic is a spell that has to be activated (takes one standard action). It also allows you to identify the properties of a magic item, via the spellcraft skill. Spellcraft lets you identify a spell being cast, identify the properties of a magic item (with the detect magic spell), or anything else that has to do with identifying magic or spells. Knowledge arcana grants you knowledge about anything arcana - but not about spells being cast at this moment nor about magical items. It does let you know about magical creatures, such as constructs, and a high enough roll will tell you what the creatures strengths and weaknesses are, so you can better combat it. Here are the rules for spellcraft, Knowledge skill, and Detect Magic

6) The stealth skill allows the rogue to move about undetected. The roll will be opposed to an opponents perception check. If the rogue is able to sneak up to an opponent without being detected (ie, the opponents perception check is lower than the rogue's stealth check), then the opponent is considered flat-footed for the rogue's attack.

If the opponent is flat-footed, the rogue gains his sneak attack damage if his attack hits. There are other ways to gain sneak attack damage other than sneaking up, such as flanking with an ally (you and an ally are on opposite sides of the opponent), or any time the opponent losses his Dex modifier for any reason (such as being tied up).

Rules for Stealth and Sneak Attack.

7) No. Channel Energy requires a standard action to use. Attacking is also a standard action. You only get one standard action in a round. You cannot channel and then attack in the same round. Fortunately, channel energy does not provoke an attack of opportunity, so the cleric can use it right next to an opponent without fear. Here are the rules for what you can do in one turn, including a standard action.

8) All feats are assumed to be working together at the same time, unless otherwise specifically noted in the feat. Weapon Focus is always active and can be used at the same time as power attack (which requires the player to state that he's using power attack before the attack roll).


Ok, let me see if I can help. Part of the issue is that you're playing the beginner's box which has a simplified ruleset and I will be answering based on the complete ruleset. This is why what I say may not seem familiar to you based on your play-through. I'm also not familiar with BB, so I don't know exactly what is different.

1 - Clerics can use this 3 + CHA mod times a day and it heals 1d6 + 1d6 per 2 cleric levels. This seems rather powerful at low levels, sure, but in general Clerics tend towards high WIS, not CHA, and at higher levels the player HP far surpasses the average.

For example, a typical 6th level fighter will have 50ish hit points while the cleric channel will only give 3d6 (average 10.5) hp back.

2 - Weapon Finesse feat means you use DEX instead of STR bonus for any light one-handed melee weapon (and a few other weapons marked as 'finesse-able'). So it sounds like the pre-gen takes that into account.

3 - The heal skill doesn't give back hit points unless used during a long rest (6+ hours of uninterrupted sleep), and even then it is only 1 hp per level more than normal sleep. The only way to heal between fights is through magical means such as channel energy (limited to 3 + CHA bonus times a day) or spells like Cure Light Wounds and the associated spells.

It is generally expected that players will carry the means to heal themselves up to ~90% of max between fights unless pressed for time or resources.

4 - Two Weapon Fighting has a penalty and requires a full round attack. During a standard action, you can only make a single attack with one weapon. During a full round action (in which you give up both the standard and move actions), you can attack with two weapons at a penalty depending on the types of weapons and your feats.

With a long and short sword and no Two Weapon Fighting feats, the Fighter could make 2 attacks at -4 to each attack (feat makes it -2). Also long swords don't do ranged attacks quite so well as a bow, so it is helpful to have one.

5 - Detect magic is a spell you cast which lets you see actual auras of glowing power around magical stuff (spell description touches on various caveats).

Spellcraft is a skill that can also be generally thought of as Knowledge: Spells; you use it to recognize a spell being cast as Magic Missile or fireball, etc, as well as to interpret auras seen by detect magic, identify magical items and what they do, making magical items, learning new spells from a scroll, etc.

Knowledge: Arcana is a knowledge skill that means you've read some books. You use it to figure out what could be done with a certain magical rune, or to recall what kind of dragon is immune to acid, or to recall which Ancient Mage King of Kalooth liked to use Illusions, etc. This is book learning and is just like the other Knowledge skills except that it focuses on magic stuff. It is also used to recognize and determine the abilities of magical creatures (dragons, constructs, magical beasts).

Spellcraft and K:A have overlap, it is true. They can both be used to understand auras from Detect Magic. The difference is that Spellcraft can figure out the magic (fire burst vs agile, vs +1 enchantment), K:A just knows the different auras (evocation vs conjuration). Spellcraft is about doing/figuring out something and K:A is about knowing something.

6 - Stealth is complicated. Basically, you can make a stealth check to become hidden only if no one can see you. The number you roll becomes the DC for perception checks to be seen by anyone else (so long as you stay hard to see). The moment you come into plain view though, you become visible again. You can't use stealth to hide behind a lamp post and then walk across the street sneaky-like and stab a guy in his face.

Sneak attacks can be done against people who are 'flat-footed' against you, which means they are not expecting it. If they don't know you're waiting around the corner from them and then you step out and knife them, you do sneak attack damage. If they hear you giggling in glee about how you're going to stab them, you don't get sneak attack.

NOTE: There are other ways to get sneak attack, but this is the one that gets you it from stealth.

7 - Channeling positive energy is a standard action. So is stabbing someone. You can only do one standard action per turn. Thus no, the cleric cannot channel and then stab on his turn.

8 - Always assume a feat is active unless it says something like "the player may..." or "if the player does..." Things like finesse and focus are like that; as are others that provide straight skill bonuses or change an ability like fighting defensively to provide a higher bonus.

You seem to assume feats are like powers you turn on and off. They are passive modifiers. Once you get weapon focus, you get a +1 on every attack. If you take skill focus (bluff), you have a permanent bonus to bluff skills.

Now, as for Power Attack, that is an optional ability. The feat specifically says that the player may choose to take a to-hit penalty for a damage bonus.

Hope this helps. It is a very intricate system that can take years to really internalize. Even then, you'll find yourself reading and rereading the finer points and particular wording of that spell or this skill or that rule or this feat. Some people (like myself) enjoy that aspect of a complex system.


OK, when you say that feats are passive bonuses, that makes it much clearer. So another question about time. I understand the 6 seconds idea, but things like, once per day, or must rest for an our to prepare spells....well not so much. Scenarios like the one we played seem to occur in one day. However, if we decided to just say let's rest here, an say its been 8 hours...I dont understand? So if I was about to start an adventure with 4 others I would have to sit out an hour of game time to prepare spells?

Shadow Lodge

nd23rin wrote:
OK, when you say that feats are passive bonuses, that makes it much clearer. So another question about time. I understand the 6 seconds idea, but things like, once per day, or must rest for an our to prepare spells....well not so much. Scenarios like the one we played seem to occur in one day. However, if we decided to just say let's rest here, an say its been 8 hours...I dont understand? So if I was about to start an adventure with 4 others I would have to sit out an hour of game time to prepare spells?

1 round = 6 seconds.

Some spells last a few rounds, others a few hours, others all day or beyond.

To prepare spells, a wizard or cleric must spend an hour studying or praying or what have you. Remember, that's your character that has to spend that amount of time - not you the player. And if the other players aren't willing to have their characters wait for your character to prepare spells, they'll soon find themselves in a situation which requires magic to solve and no magic with which to use! In real life, it takes about two seconds to say, "My character is preparing spells, and the party is waiting." No real life wait time at all. :)

While the scenario seems to occur in just a single day (sometimes they don't!), the overall campaign can take a long time, both in game and in real life. A single campaign might stretch multiple gaming sessions (I've been in campaigns that have last years in real life, meeting for a 4-6 hour gaming session once a week), and the characters can be adventuring for months or years.

So if your characters need to stop and rest (make sure they rest in a place that won't be interrupted by creatures looking for an easy meal), all they have to do is say that's what they want to do. If a particular scenario only lasts a single day, then they won't be able to stop and rest, which means they have to be more frugal with their spells.

Shadow Lodge

nd23rin,

If you think of it like a video game RPG, when your characters stop and rest or sleep for a night, you the player are not physically waiting 8 hours for your video game character to sleep. Pathfinder is no different. :)

Taldor RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

nd23rin wrote:
OK, when you say that feats are passive bonuses, that makes it much clearer. So another question about time. I understand the 6 seconds idea, but things like, once per day, or must rest for an our to prepare spells....well not so much. Scenarios like the one we played seem to occur in one day. However, if we decided to just say let's rest here, an say its been 8 hours...I dont understand? So if I was about to start an adventure with 4 others I would have to sit out an hour of game time to prepare spells?

You the players don't have to sit out for an hour - it takes the wizard character an hour of studying (for example) to get spells ready for the day - within the imaginary world of the game. Often this doesn't matter and can be assumed to have happened in the morning. It can matter if the PCs are attacked by bandits during the study time, for example. Underground exploration type adventures can often be completed within one game day by the PCs. Wilderness journey type adventures can take weeks of in-game time.

Theoretically you can "just rest 8 hours," however, there are often factors making this difficult. Sometimes the quest you're on has a time limit. Sometimes there are bad guys patrolling the area and there is no safe place to spend 8 hours. Think about what it would be like for your characters to actually attempt to sleep where they are at.

You are correct in your assumption that the price you pay for "always on" feats like Weapon Finesse or Weapon Focus is that you didn't select something else as your feat.

Most GMs have "once per day" effects either renew at midnight, dawn, or after 24 hours have elapsed. Any of those make sense and I'm not sure there is an official rule on which it is. Most GMs have their own idea of it and stick with it.

Remember that if the cleric channels near living enemies that those enemies are healed too. There is a feat to get around this called Selective Channeling. This may be something left out of the Beginner Box.


"Remember that if the cleric channels near living enemies that those enemies are healed too."

But not if they are undead right? Don't they have to be same type as the others otherwise it would actually hurt them?

I get the idea that your party doesn't have to physically wait 8 hours for them to rest, but if its just the act of saying "OK we rest here" and then a second later all spells are refreshed....that doesn't sound right to me.

If you are in a corridor of a cave why not just rest there. How would you know the goblins were actively patrolling that area?

So, in between encounters the cleric can just say "I am preparing new spells" and thats it? He can then do it again after the next encounter?


You can rest whenever the party wants to rest but the GM can also attack the camp whenever the GM wants to attack the camp, heh.

The game has the concept of a 'long rest'. This means sleep and rest, such as overnight. Characters need 6 hours of sleep and wizards/clerics need 1 hour to fill out the spell list for the day. These spells are set until the next day. No matter how many times you rest for 8 hours, you can only cast your "spells per day" number once per day.

Example of what you cannot do: Get up at dawn, memorize spells, go out and blow things up, sleep 8 hours, get up at 1 pm, memorize more spells, blow more things up, sleep 8 hours, get up at 10 pm, memorize more spells, etc.

Some GMs will play where the party gets a few fights a day, so spell casters can use a lot of their power in each fight. Other times, the GM might have a lot of fights throughout a day, so by the end the casters are out of spells and everyone is low on HP. If you try to rest, the GM might have the party attacked or an earthquake hit or psychic assault from nightmares, etc. It definitely creates a different feel to the game to be in a stressful "don't sleep or the evil mind creatures will eat us" adventure (stressful and fun!)


On channel positive energy - since it heals living enemies as well as living friends, you don't want to be doing it during combat. But the game pretty much assumes that PCs can and will heal up to full hp in between combats, via channel positive energy, cure light wounds spells (750gp for 50 of them in a wand!), etc. If the party is completely out of healing magic they would often be wise to retreat back to town, rest up, and return in a day or two at full hp - two days would let them return at full hp AND with full healing spells & channelings replenished.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Selective Channeling is in the BB, Two-Weapon fighting (and Attacks of Opportunity) are not. i.e. according to BB you wouldn't be able to attack with a short sword and long sword in the same round, penalties or not.


Mr. Gerbik wrote:
Selective Channeling is in the BB...

Thanks for the tip; I just started playing a Cleric in a Core PF game and don't know much about it; this sounds like something I need to check up on! :D


I don't believe there is two-weapon fighting in the BB. And yes, even if you incorporated it (1) there are stiff penalties on the attack rolls and (2) you would need to use a standard action + move action to get out more than one attack in a round.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
S'mon wrote:
I just started playing a Cleric in a Core PF game and don't know much about it; this sounds like something I need to check up on! :D

Have fun! The silliest thing I did in my first public game (and around my 4th tabletop RPG game ever, a Society game, playing a cleric for the first time) was select cure light wounds for one of my spells. With spontaneous casting this is a waste of a slot (not called spontaneous casting in the BB, but it's there, I just missed it somehow. live and learn). But everyone was super-cool and I had a blast.


Mr. Gerbik wrote:
S'mon wrote:
I just started playing a Cleric in a Core PF game and don't know much about it; this sounds like something I need to check up on! :D
Have fun! The silliest thing I did in my first public game (and around my 4th tabletop RPG game ever, a Society game, playing a cleric for the first time) was select cure light wounds for one of my spells. With spontaneous casting this is a waste of a slot (not called spontaneous casting in the BB, but it's there, I just missed it somehow. live and learn). But everyone was super-cool and I had a blast.

Sadly, that feat needs CHA 13 and I have CHA 12! :C

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