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Under the sea


Advice


well, my party broke a cardinal rule i have and we got onto a boat set to cross the ocean. We had no choice in the matter if we wanted to continue the campaign but the experience is horrible. We started out made up of a cleric (healing/fire domain), a wizard (evocation), a cleric (me) who multiclassed fighter with power and i forget the other domain. i originally was meant to be a tank before we got a full build fighter. i didnt make a fighter cause i always am one and it gets boring to be the same thing all the time. we also had a rogue and a fighter. since the opening of the sea voyage: the fighter has died 2 times (once he got saved by a dm ruling), the rogue has died 2 times (was resurected after the first time by plot mcguffin), and i died 1 time after being grabbled and eaten by some eel thing for a long time.

The real trouble we're having is we're stuck in the middle of the ocean, with dwindeling supplies, in shark infested waters, with wrecks below us, and a ancient temple with some ancient magics presumably stoping the wind. everything has been underwater combat. noone has swim speeds, and the only reason we've done anything at all is thanks to the clerics use of walk on water (for escapes from the bottom) and breath water. the wizard can't do much because he's picked a lot of spells that just arent working out under water mainly fire and electric element ones, and the fighter (who has made another fighter) refuses to use his armor underwater even thought we can breath and wont drown for the time being.

so, i was looking for some insight into the following:

1) what are some nice wizard spells one can bring to the table when dealing with underwater factors? i'm thinking of bringing in a magus because i'm interested in the class, maybe a tiefling.

2) any good strategies we can utilize for while we're under there? we're lvl 7 currently, we'll be leveling up within the next 1-2 levels. noone is multiclassed anymore. it would appear the rogue is making a ninja now.

help is appreciated

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I might be wrong but I think the surface of the water breaks line of effect for fire effects. It can be flavored as super hot air bubbles when cast from the water.

IMO, this seems like bad design. Plenty of opportunities for a GM to utilize a sea temple or pirate base for a supply cache. (If your GM is using plot revives and open to new characters, I don't see why not) Also, enemies should be able to fly; I don't get why every encounter is under water.

Use a harpoon or trident.


Note that the magus uses its own spell list, not the wizard spell list.

Useful non-magus spells
Touch of the sea would give all of you a swim speed and some other boosts to swimming and could be found/made as a potion.
You could always summon various underwater creatures.

Useful magus spells
Animal aspect (otter) gives you personally a swim speed and increased time underwater.
Water breathing is a must.
Any of the polymorph spells (Alter Self, Beast Shape, Monstrous Physique, or Undead Anatomy) can give you a swim speed if you pick the right form.

Qadira

If you're creating new characters and you're allowed to uses races from the Advanced Race Guide then an Undine with the alternate Amphibious racial trait or the Aquatic Ancestry Feat not only has a swim speed, but can freely breathe underwater too. Lots of other underwater-related stuff in their race section too.

There are also Gillmen and Merfolk in the uncommon races section (Gillmen also appear in The Inner Sea World Guide).

The Air Bubble spell from Ultimate Combat is a nice 1st level way to breathe underwater for a short while (long enough for a fight at least), and both clerics and wizards get it on their spell list (so the team clerics could prepare it anyway). Touch of the Sea, as Bearded Ben mentions, is another nice 1st level spell if you're in a watery environment, and if the granted swim speed isn't enough for you then you can add in the 2nd level Slipstream to boost it a little more.

Obviously you'll all want to be using piercing weapons, as they're the only type which don't suffer big penalties for being underwater. Grappling works really well too, if you happen to have a character who's good at it. As with all combat maneuvers, Enlarge Person is your friend if you want to endulge in underwater (or any sort of, for that matter...) grappling.

If you don't have a swim speed (due to spells or racial traits usually), and you're not fighting above an oceanic trench or anything, then it can be better to actually wear heavy armour, as sinking to the bottom grants you 'firm footing' which means you can make your piercing attacks without penalties and without needing to make the Swim check you'd otherwise require. As underwater combat is 3D, you may want to use a piercing reach weapon to try to avoid the bad guys swimming out of range as easily.

Silver Crusade

Am I the only one that is thinking Druid? Seems perfectly suited.


Most spells work fine underwater. Electricity should work just as normal, there are no specific underwater clause for that (remember, real-life physics and Pathfinder doesn't mix). Even fire can be used underwater with a caster level check, so there's nothing that says your evoker can't contribute.

With access to cleric magic you already have a lot of spells that help with underwater combat/exploration, so it's just a matter of preparing those. Most have already been mentioned here.

Freedom of Movement is another, VERY helpful spell underwater, as it removes most of the penalties for fighting there - your fighter would love this.

If your fighter doesn't want to use heavy armor you could find him a suit with no armor check penalty (ex. mithril chain shirt) as a "better than nothing" solution. If that's not an option, the wizard could give him some Mage Armor to help a little with his tanking power.


ohyeah21 wrote:

well, my party broke a cardinal rule i have and we got onto a boat set to cross the ocean. We had no choice in the matter if we wanted to continue the campaign but the experience is horrible. We started out made up of a cleric (healing/fire domain), a wizard (evocation), a cleric (me) who multiclassed fighter with power and i forget the other domain. i originally was meant to be a tank before we got a full build fighter. i didnt make a fighter cause i always am one and it gets boring to be the same thing all the time. we also had a rogue and a fighter. since the opening of the sea voyage: the fighter has died 2 times (once he got saved by a dm ruling), the rogue has died 2 times (was resurected after the first time by plot mcguffin), and i died 1 time after being grabbled and eaten by some eel thing for a long time.

The real trouble we're having is we're stuck in the middle of the ocean, with dwindeling supplies, in shark infested waters, with wrecks below us, and a ancient temple with some ancient magics presumably stoping the wind. everything has been underwater combat. noone has swim speeds, and the only reason we've done anything at all is thanks to the clerics use of walk on water (for escapes from the bottom) and breath water. the wizard can't do much because he's picked a lot of spells that just arent working out under water mainly fire and electric element ones, and the fighter (who has made another fighter) refuses to use his armor underwater even thought we can breath and wont drown for the time being.

so, i was looking for some insight into the following:

1) what are some nice wizard spells one can bring to the table when dealing with underwater factors? i'm thinking of bringing in a magus because i'm interested in the class, maybe a tiefling.

2) any good strategies we can utilize for while we're under there? we're lvl 7 currently, we'll be leveling up within the next 1-2 levels. noone is multiclassed anymore. it would appear the rogue is making a ninja now.

help is...

If it looks like you are going to be doing a lot of underwater adventuring, the definitive sourcebook for it would be Cerulean Seas which does a better job than Paizo typically does in pretty much every way in their handling of the setting.

1) Cerulean seas does a good job of describing how spells work underwater as well as what the equivalents are. Regarding fire and electricity, they may actually work out pretty well, so long as you switch fire to creating a boiling steam-like effect, and remember that many underwater creatures use electricity (electric eels for example.)

A few excerpts from Cerulean Seas on spell effects underwater that may help you as a GM

Invisibility Effects wrote:

In the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook, invisibility spells cause a bubble-like effect underwater, rendering the invisible creature partially visible. Aquatic races have since compensated for this effect. Invisibility works normally when cast

underwater, causing the subject to be visually undetectable by normal means. However, when a subject becomes invisible underwater and then moves to the surface, he appears as a watery shape, much like if invisibility was cast above the water and the subject went below. In essence, invisibility specifically refers to the medium it is cast in. While outside of that medium, the subject is granted concealment (20% miss chance). In any case, invisibility is somewhat less effective in an underwater environment, because a good percentage of creatures can detect you without using sight.
Etherealness, Freedom of Movement and Incorporeal Effects wrote:
While subject to these effects, creatures are immune to the effects of pressure and drag. In addition they maintain zero buoyancy, regardless of their load. As soon as the effect wears off, so does the immunity.
Cold Energy Effects wrote:
At depths of fewer than 300 feet, spells that create extreme cold also form potentially damaging ice crystals. Below 300 feet, the pressure is too great to form ice from water.
Fire Energy Effects wrote:
Instead of fire as an energy type, it is replaced by Steam. Steam appears as a billowing white cloud that creates a curtain of steam bubbles above it. Hot water has a shimmering diffraction effect on water that is as obscuring as smoke is on land. Steam-based spells cannot catch flammable objects on fire like fire-based spells can, though most aquatic objects could not be considered flammable in any case.
Electricity Energy Effects wrote:
Electricity is a common element under the ocean, though it assumes a much different form than it does on land. On land, electricity is known for its bright crackling arcs of lightning. While these are not unheard of in an undersea setting, the fact is that the oceans rarely get hit with lightning. The surface water of the sea does not typically heat up enough to cause the positive charge needed for lightning to occur. When it does occur, it is almost always near shore. After lightning hits the water, it disperses in a great and terrible electrical sphere that is as deadly as it is undetectable. The picture this paints of underwater electricity is more commonly exemplified by the electric eel. Instead of flashy and sweeping arcs, electricity is known for its invisible spheres of damage. The lightning bolt of the sea, electrical surge, is actually a small sphere of electricity that travels towards the target, rather than a continuous arc. Aside from a trail of dead plankton and the occasional bubble of steam, this effect is relatively quiet and undetectable compared to its drylander equivalent.
Leviatation wrote:
This spell essentially takes over the buoyancy of a creature or object, superseding any forces natural buoyancy exerts. Creatures can swim and fight normally while under the effects of this spell while below the water. They can float up, sink down, or remain level all at the given rate of the spell. However, once above the water, levitation works as written.
Other Flying Effects wrote:
Under the water, effects that let you fly give you 0 buoyancy regardless of load. One-quarter of the fly speed conferred by magic can be applied to the subject’s base swim speed with a successful Fly check, DC 15. Subjects cannot add this speed in areas with a current moving faster than 30 feet, or when they are disoriented.

You may want to continue dealing with things as they've been going for a bit, but you might also want to consider letting the wizard adapt to the underwater environment to take advantage of some of these alternate rules for effect as he becomes accustomed to fighting in the new environment.

2)
And a few things on Aquatic Combat

Quote:
Combat works essentially the same under the water as it does on land, with a few notable exceptions. While all land moving maneuvers such as a five-foot step and attacks of opportunity apply to swimming, other maneuvers have slightly different effects. The most notable change is that the prone condition is obsolete underwater. This condition has been replaced by the “disoriented” condition. When an effect would normally elicit a prone position, the effect causes the character to be disoriented instead.
Disoriented (condition) wrote:

The character has lost track of which way is up and therefore cannot account for buoyancy and is terribly off-balance. In addition to not being able to sacrifice swim speed to battle the effects of buoyancy or water currents, the character gains a -4 penalty on melee attack rolls and cannot use any ranged weapon. A spinning and flopping disoriented defender gains a +4 bonus to Armor Class against ranged attacks, but takes a -4 penalty to AC against melee attacks. Righting oneself is a move-equivalent action that provokes an attack of opportunity.

A character can, as a free action, choose to flop around so erratically that he causes himself to become disoriented. This would be a good way to avoid ranged attacks, as the target becomes harder to hit as its movement becomes chaotic and unpredictable.

Prone Effects wrote:

Any effect that renders a creature

prone, instead renders a creature disoriented.
Adjacent Squares wrote:

Underwater combat happens in three dimensions. Therefore, there are many more places from which one can be attacked. On land, there are usually 8 adjacent squares; right, left, front, back, and the four diagonals. In the sea, there are potentially 26 adjacent squares; the normal eight plus a plane of nine squares both above and below each Medium or Small-sized individual. This also means that an individual threatens all of these squares because they are considered adjacent squares. Swimming creatures can make a 5-foot step into any adjacent square as well, including strait up.

It makes perfect sense for a combatant to back itself against a rock, move to the surface, or swim to the bottom in an effort to eliminate some of these potential openings for attack.

Unfortunately, if these squares aren’t completely occupied by something else, they are considered adjacent. Creatures at the surface of the water could be potentially attacked from the plane above, but only by creatures that can fly or move on the surface of the water.


You should read up on underwater combat in the Corebook. There is nothing about electricity spells not working but there is a mention of fire:

Quote:
Fire: Nonmagical fire (including alchemist's fire) does not burn underwater. Spells or spell-like effects with the fire descriptor are ineffective underwater unless the caster makes a caster level check (DC 20 + spell level). If the check succeeds, the spell creates a bubble of steam instead of its usual fiery effect, but otherwise the spell works as described. A supernatural fire effect is ineffective underwater unless its description states otherwise. The surface of a body of water blocks line of effect for any fire spell. If the caster has made the caster level check to make the fire spell usable underwater, the surface still blocks the spell's line of effect.

And casting may be an issue:

Quote:
Spellcasting Underwater: Casting spells while submerged can be difficult for those who cannot breathe underwater. A creature that cannot breathe water must make a concentration check (DC 15 + spell level) to cast a spell underwater (this is in addition to the caster level check to successfully cast a fire spell underwater). Creatures that can breathe water are unaffected and can cast spells normally. Some spells might function differently underwater, subject to GM discretion.

The wizard should consider the Elemental Spell feat from the APG. This can help a little bit. Since he's leveling, he should also consider choosing 2 spells that will not be affected by being cast underwater. I know that's common sense but sometimes when people get caught up in things they forget the smallest of details.


yeah, the thing is we are all worried that the majority of time we wont end up being at sea. this is just a section of the campaign where we're traveling to a new land based location and he's tormenting us lol.

I decided i'd take a magus, who's primary weapon is a rapier. this will allow me to bring some wizard spells to the party and deal some damage which is a problem we've been having. apparently after conversing with our wizard he only has like 3 lvl 2 spells or something (invisibility, a scorching ray, and flaming sphere) everything else is in 1st and 3rd level spells. the DM is being a stickler for the electric ones. wherever the spell originates from basically is the epicenter for a half dmg, but double sized AOE attack. it's really hurt the wizards artillery and i hope me giving him the chance to expand the spell book with what I've picked will assist. the fighter is going to finally begin using his armor. the weird thing is that the cleric (both the still living and my old one) were prepping these spells. the DM just was giving us tough encounter. the exploration was easy. its the surviving in a harsher environment vs better adapted enemies that was getting us.

I think we may have a better chance at surviving now because at first our rogue, fighter, and our wizard (everyone but wizard is dead) really were new to the classes. and i think they now have a better understanding of how to effectively play. hopefully our comp works a little more neatly now.

thanks for the tips though.

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