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New player, a handful of questions.


Advice


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I have a human arcanist I am currently working on more as a demo to try out things for our first campaign (our first meeting, we are actually all mostly new and my girlfriend is GM'ing, so we are going to go through putting our sheets together as best we can). Earlier today we purchased the hardcover Core Rulebook and I've been skimming through it for answers I had to things I just couldn't put together in my head (sometimes how these sentences are structured, I can't figure it out?) But I have a bunch of pages, chapters, sections bookmarked to go back to where I need to. I am aware the arcanist is an advanced class.

UH, NOW MY QUESTIONS:

➥ My first and biggest confusion is over class skills. And whatever the arcanist has in their class skills (a mix of wizard/sorcerer ones, got it) is automatically checked off in the skills list, yes? So does that mean it just automatically learned? (Not regarding the skill ranks earned per level. It doesn't need to be trained or anything? And if there is a rank put into it, that's mostly just adding the +3 bonus and giving it more of a chance to succeed when it comes to skill-based checks.

➥ I read somewhere that there is a formula for determining how many skills (rank?) points is determined for a first level and I think an arcanist was at 16. Is this true or what does it start at? ("Humans gain an additional skill rank at 1st level and one additional rank whenever they gain a level" / arcanist: skill ranks per level: 2 + INT modifier. So at first level, would I be assigning 2 + INT modifier + racial (+1; or is that per level gained after?)IN SUMMATION: How many skill rank point things do I start out with on the first level, and how do I find this out? Is it the same ranks per level formula?

➥ I also just found out that ranks do not stack +3 bonuses, they are an additional bonus number toward skill-based rolls/checks. Whatever question I had for that seemed to be the only thing I found clarified (sorta) in the core rulebook. Huh-freakin'-zah.

➥ If someone can find me a completed character sheet on an arcanist or wizard (can't seem to find one) to send my way, I need a reference to something. (I have all information about him, he's a character I've had for a while and I wanted to incorporate him as a chaotic evil arcanist stuck with a rag-tag team of new kids on the block.)


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spiteteeth wrote:


➥ My first and biggest confusion is over class skills. And whatever the arcanist has in their class skills (a mix of wizard/sorcerer ones, got it) is automatically checked off in the skills list, yes? So does that mean it just automatically learned? (Not regarding the skill ranks earned per level. It doesn't need to be trained or anything? And if there is a rank put into it, that's mostly just adding the +3 bonus and giving it more of a chance to succeed when it comes to skill-based checks.

The only thing a class skill does is give you a +3 bonus on the skill check if you have at least 1 rank in the skill.

Any class can put a skill rank into any skill. Any class can use any skill - the only exception are Trained skills. For Trained skills, you must have at least 1 rank in that skill to use it.

Quote:
➥ I read somewhere that there is a formula for determining how many skills (rank?) points is determined for a first level and I think an arcanist was at 16. Is this true or what does it start at? ("Humans gain an additional skill rank at 1st level and one additional rank whenever they gain a level" / arcanist: skill ranks per level: 2 + INT modifier. So at first level, would I be assigning 2 + INT modifier + racial (+1; and that per level) or... this weird formula I can't find?) IN SUMMATION: Do I start with (2 + INT mod + racial +1) skill rank points to distribute wherever I want, or do I start out with more/less that?

For all classes, you use what is listed. So if it says you get 2 + Int modifier per level, you get2 + Int mod for that level. Add any other bonus ranks you might get to that, like the +1 for being a human.

So, for example, a 1st level human arcanist with a 16 intelligence (+3 modifier) would receive 2 skill ranks (for his arcanist level) + 3 skill ranks (from his intelligence) + 1 skill rank (from being human) = 6 skill ranks at first level. Assuming his intelligence doesn't change, gaining a second level of arcanist would give him 6 more skill ranks, and so on.


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Jeraa wrote:

The only thing a class skill does is give you a +3 bonus on the skill check if you have at least 1 rank in the skill.

Any class can put a skill rank into any skill. Any class can use any skill - the only exception are Trained skills. For Trained skills, you must have at least 1 rank in that skill to use it.

Okay, so only check the box if it is a CLASS skill (I'm dumb, I wasn't looking at the character sheet right). Rank points can be added to ANY skill despite the class... but it HAS to be a class skill in order for the +3 bonus to be added when there is at least one rank on it?

Jerra wrote:
For all classes, you use what is listed. So if it says you get 2 + Int modifier per level, you get2 + Int mod for that level. Add any other bonus ranks you might get to that, like the +1 for being a human.

Makes sense. I think it wasn't being read right in my head.

My arcanist has an INT of 13, so his modifier is +1. So, 2 + 1(INT mod) + 1(racial mod) = 4 skill ranks each level (yes, if his INT score doesn't change). Simple as that? I think I got it then.

P.S. Thank you for replying so quickly.


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spiteteeth wrote:
Jeraa wrote:

The only thing a class skill does is give you a +3 bonus on the skill check if you have at least 1 rank in the skill.

Any class can put a skill rank into any skill. Any class can use any skill - the only exception are Trained skills. For Trained skills, you must have at least 1 rank in that skill to use it.

Okay, so only check the box if it is a CLASS skill (I'm dumb, I wasn't looking at the character sheet right). Rank points can be added to ANY skill despite the class... but it HAS to be a class skill in order for the +3 bonus to be added when there is at least one rank on it?

Jerra wrote:
For all classes, you use what is listed. So if it says you get 2 + Int modifier per level, you get2 + Int mod for that level. Add any other bonus ranks you might get to that, like the +1 for being a human.

Makes sense. I think it wasn't being read right in my head.

My arcanist has an INT of 13, so his modifier is +1. So, 2 + 1(INT mod) + 1(racial mod) = 4 skill ranks each level (yes, if his INT score doesn't change). Simple as that? I think I got it then.

P.S. Thank you for replying so quickly.

Correct on both questions.


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Jeraa wrote:
Correct on both questions.

Thank you so much then! I need all the information on the trivializing stuff I can get. One last thing! No matter how many ranks there are on a class skill, the +3 bonus doesn't stack (this much I know). But does the amount of ranks in that skill (class or not) as an additional bonus to the roll in a skill check?

Like, for a class roll... a roll of 6 +(number of ranks) +3(bonus)? Or just 6 +3(rank bonus)?

(Sorry for all the questions, I am always paranoid about stuff like this.)

Are class skills automatically trained or just, there needs to be a rank in that anyway for it to be used? I may be re-asking the same question, but this is just to clarify.

The Exchange

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Yes: the number of ranks you have is a bonus to your skill roll.

So - a class skill in which you have ranks has a bonus of [NUMBER OF RANKS] + [ATTRIBUTE MODIFIER] + 3.

A skill in which you have ranks (that is not on the class skill list) has a bonus of [NUMBER OF RANKS] + [ATTRIBUTE MODIFIER].

Some skills can't be used untrained at all. But if the skill doesn't say 'Trained only', you can attempt it by rolling a d20 plus the attribute modifier it uses (as if it were an attribute check).

Certain races get racial bonuses to certain skills - these bonuses apply to all three situations (class skill, non-class skill, and untrained.)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

BTW, you said your INT was 13... for an arcanist. Really? Did you use rolled stats? 15-point buy? That seems very low for a dedicated spellcaster.

Also, you may have just chosen one of the most complex spellcasting classes in the game. Welcome to Pathfinder!


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Lincoln Hills wrote:

Yes: the number of ranks you have is a bonus to your skill roll.

So - a class skill in which you have ranks has a bonus of [NUMBER OF RANKS] + [ATTRIBUTE MODIFIER] + 3.

A skill in which you have ranks (that is not on the class skill list) has a bonus of [NUMBER OF RANKS] + [ATTRIBUTE MODIFIER].

Some skills can't be used untrained at all. But if the skill doesn't say 'Trained only', you can attempt it by rolling a d20 plus the attribute modifier it uses (as if it were an attribute check).

Certain races get racial bonuses to certain skills - these bonuses apply to all three situations (class skill, non-class skill, and untrained.)

Yes, this clarified it for me! Thank you.

One more thing to clarify, because I am just dumb as all hell. Any skill, class or not, is it ONLY trained if there is a skill rank dropped on it?


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Wheldrake wrote:

BTW, you said your INT was 13... for an arcanist. Really? Did you use rolled stats? 15-point buy? That seems very low for a dedicated spellcaster.

Also, you may have just chosen one of the most complex spellcasting classes in the game. Welcome to Pathfinder!

It was just a first roll, but I am pretty much going to do that over. This was us just testing how things worked. He isn't cemented at 13 INT, and I may not even keep him as an arcanist (just move him to a wizard), because I know it's an advanced class.

PATHFINDER IS HARD.

The Exchange

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Right: 'trained' indicates ranks (any number of ranks) in the skill.


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As an added importance to the whole skills debacle, the skill ranks you receive for your class levels are retroactive. Let me give you an example of this:

If you hit 4th level with your example Arcanist character, and bump your Intelligence to 14 with the free applicable point you gain for 4th level, you will gain an extra skill point for every character level you possess to use on skills of your choice, due to having an increased Intelligence modifier.

Inversely, if you are hit with an Intelligence drain effect (which permanently lowers your affected ability score and all that it applies to until it's fixed through magic), you lose a skill point (or more, depending on how much drain is applied) for every character level you possess based on how much Intelligence you're drained.


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Lincoln Hills wrote:
Right: 'trained' indicates ranks (any number of ranks) in the skill.

Alright! So long story short, all skills (and class skills) are all untrained until at least one rank is put into it. The only thing with class skills is that it gives a +3 bonus once a rank is dropped into it (and therefore trained if *Trained Only).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It is very complex, yes.

That said, welcome to the game!

We're glad you're here!

Please make yourself at home, and enjoy! :D

I wanted to mention a potentially complex topic that you hadn't pulled up yet, in hopes of explaining it before it became a problem.

I don't know what your copy of the Core book says for hit points, but here's how it goes:

You pretend you've rolled maximum on your hit dice for hit points at first level. Thereafter, you either actually roll the dice, or come up with some other "fair" method for advancement (the most common one I've seen is presume half your dice roll, so 3.5 for a d6, 4.5 for a d8, 5.5 for a d10, and 6.5 for a d12.

The idea of "?.5" hit points is an abstraction - the way it works in-play is (using a d6 arcanist as an example) at 1st level you get 6+[your constitution modifier] hit points. At 2nd level, you gain +3 more hit points. At 3rd level, you'd gain +4 hit points. At 4th level, you'd gain +3 hit points. At 5th level, +4 hit points. And so on.

An even more specific example, let's create an arcanist with 12 Con (bad idea, but whatever, let's do it), and show his hit points at each level, with the "average" rule.

His hit points at each level wrote:


1st Level: 7 hp (6 <automatic maximum hit dice roll> + 1 <constitution modifier>)
2nd Level: 11 hp (+3 <average dice roll> +1 <constitution modifier>)
3rd Level: 16 hp (+4 <average dice roll> +1 <constitution modifier>)
4th Level: 20 hp (+3 <average dice roll> +1 <constitution modifier>)
5th Level: 25 hp (+4 <average dice roll> +1 <constitution modifier>)

... and so on.

If you used the "roll" method (largely unpopular these days, from what I've seen), it would instead look something like this:

His hit points at each level wrote:


1st Level: 7 hp (6 <automatic maximum hit dice value> + 1 <constitution modifier>)
2nd Level: 8 hp (+1d6 ⇒ 1 <dice roll> +1 <constitution modifier>)
3rd Level: 10 hp (+1d6 ⇒ 2 <dice roll> +1 <constitution modifier>)
4th Level: 16 hp (+1d6 ⇒ 6 <dice roll> +1 <constitution modifier>)
5th Level: 21 hp (+1d6 ⇒ 5 <dice roll> +1 <constitution modifier>)

... and so on.

Please feel free to ask any more clarifying questions. We'll (as a whole) generally be glad to answer them!

Be aware, there are some questions without easy answers, and a lot of us here have strong personalities and even stronger opinions - you may ask something innocent and get an argument between two (or more!) other people about the "right" way to interpret something. That's not because you did something wrong, but rather it's the way of things in any strongly passionate nerd community as we are here.

I'm looking forward to seeing you around these boards! :D


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Also, here's a sample caster I made some time ago. It's a Sorcerer that specializes in Blasting (it's not a final draft, obviously, since I made a guide that can accomplish this concept so much better, and it includes being an Arcanist). While it doesn't include spells known or spells per day and all the basic minutiae, it should give you a starting point as to how you would flesh out your character's overall progression.

In regards to his skills, I actually technically did them wrong. The character in question is a Sorcerer, which gets 2 Skill Points per level plus his Intelligence, which is 13 (providing a +1 modifier, so an extra point per level). He's also Human, which grants an extra skill point per level. Unfortunately, he was also a bit of a boner and decided to skip the Favored Class Bonus of taking a skill point per level and instead worked towards the Human Racial Favored Class Bonus, which is an extra Spell Known that is one level less than the highest he can cast, which puts him at 4 Skill points per level (whereas I only skilled out three skills worth of ranks).

He invests all of his ranks into Spellcraft, Use Magic Device, and Perception (hence why I simply put (MAX) at the end of the skills, indicating that he spent all of the ranks he possibly can into those skills, as the number of ranks in a skill cannot exceed your character level, or hit dice).

Spellcraft and Use Magic Device are Trained-Only skills. That is, if he has ranks into those skills, he can use those skills. If he didn't have ranks into those skills, he couldn't use those skills. But thankfully, he does, so anytime something would call for a Spellcraft or Use Magic Device skill check, the character in question can use those skills to accomplish a task that requires it. They are also Class Skills for the Sorcerer, meaning if I put ranks into those skills, I receive a +3 bonus for any check involving those skills.

Perception is an Untrained skill, which means any character can use that skill, regardless of if they are trained (which means they put skill ranks into that skill) or not, any such time a skill check associated with that skill is required. However, it's not a Class Skill, resulting in me not receiving a +3 bonus on checks involving that skill.

Now, if I decided to put my extra ranks into Acrobatics, that is a skill that is altered by my Armor Check Penalty. If I have certain equipment (usually armor and shields) that apply an Armor Check Penalty, the number listed in accordance to what is accrued from any armor or shields I may be wearing, applies to that skill.

**EDIT**

So, the formula for determining the general final modifier of a check is equal to:

Skill Ranks + Ability Modifier + 3 (only if Class Skill) - Armor Check Penalty (if skill is Dexterity or Strength-based, and if you possess any)

For the character in question, assuming 1st level, you should have:

Use Magic Device @ 1 + 5 + 3 = +9
Spellcraft @ 1 + 1 + 3 = +5
Perception @ 1 + 1 = +2
Acrobatics @ 1 + 0 - 0 = +1


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Wheldrake wrote:

BTW, you said your INT was 13... for an arcanist. Really? Did you use rolled stats? 15-point buy? That seems very low for a dedicated spellcaster.

Also, you may have just chosen one of the most complex spellcasting classes in the game. Welcome to Pathfinder!

spiteteeth wrote:

It was just a first roll, but I am pretty much going to do that over. This was us just testing how things worked. He isn't cemented at 13 INT, and I may not even keep him as an arcanist (just move him to a wizard), because I know it's an advanced class.

PATHFINDER IS HARD.

Because of really lousy internet connection, I was ninja'd by Darksol above linking to his sorcerer, buuu~uuut...

... I recommend that you build a sorcerer for your first go at magic in Pathfinder.

The reason? There are a lot of moving parts in the Pathfinder game (as you're learning), and a sorcerer is (in my opinion) a bit easier to start with than a wizard (as you don't have to juggle your spell-selection each day - you can simply learn what you can do and keep that).

I like the power that comes from versatility of wizards more, and imagine that you too will feel the same once you get to know the system, but I think sorcerer is a better "entry" class.

Do feel free to ignore this suggestion - it's not something I feel so strongly about that I would push you for it, if you didn't feel like doing so - but I make it in order to help yourself and your girl friend learn the basics of the game, so that you can then turn your attention to more complex classes like the arcanist or wizard!

Either way: enjoy!


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Tacticslion wrote:

... I recommend that you build a sorcerer for your first go at magic in Pathfinder.

The reason? There are a lot of moving parts in the Pathfinder game (as you're learning), and a sorcerer is (in my opinion) a bit easier to start with than a wizard (as you don't have to juggle your spell-selection each day - you can simply learn what you can do and keep that).

I'm definitely not going to ignore this, and I'm gonna switch him to a sorcerer because of that "spell per day" thing, yeah. I need an easy entry class to get used to the game so I totally get this.

Some new questions (after looking at more stuff, ugh)!

1. What is point buying (vs. rolling)?
2. Are there just standard/static ability scores I can set them to get started or is that out-right cheating (or does it matter??? literally our first campaign, we're all new, we just wanna jump in)?
3. As a sorcerer and only having one knowledge class skill, still a good idea to focus ranking on knowledge or any other place? That, with either class, I'm still trying to figure out.
4. TIPS, TIPS, TIPS. ARMOR, WEAPONS, TIPS.


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Quote:
1. What is point buying (vs. rolling)?

Point buy is an alternate method for determining ability scores. It is something the Game Master may decide to allow for all players when you are making characters. You are given a certain number of points, and you spend those points to buy your ability scores instead of rolling randomly for them.

Quote:
2. Are there just standard/static ability scores I can set them to get started or is that out-right cheating (or does it matter??? literally our first campaign, we're all new, we just wanna jump in)?

As long as everyone is using the same method for determining ability scores, it isn't cheating. As far as I know, there are no static ability score arrays in Pathfinder. One method from Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 (which Pathfinder is based on) was the Elite array - your ability scores were 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8. You could arrange them however you wanted.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Woot!

More questions!

Huzzah~!

Jeraa ninja'd me, but I'm talky so I'll say it here, too.
EDIT: Hey! Jeraa! No fair! You edited some of that information after-the-fact! ;P~

1) Point Buy v. Rolling

- 1a) Point Buy: you start with an arbitrary amount of "points" that you use to "purchase" certain ability scores; the higher the value of the score, the more "expensive" it is to increase that score by 1 point. It's a complex process that (hypothetically, but not intrinsically) ensures a relatively balanced spread of power among all those involved. Different "point values" lead to different relative power levels involved. I'm... not going to explain them here (see static scores, below).

- 1b) Rolling: you roll a certain number of dice (generally 4d6) and then ignore the lowest roll, adding the highest three dice together to get an ability score. Generally, you roll six sets of these to generate six numbers - one for each score, and then assign each number to a score you want. For example, if I roll 4d6, 1d6 ⇒ 5, 1d6 ⇒ 1, 1d6 ⇒ 6, 1d6 ⇒ 2, I'll ignore the "1" I rolled and add the 5, 6, and 2 to get 5+6+2=13. I may now assign a "13" to any score (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma) that I want (though usually you wait until you get six similar scores and assign them all at the same time). A common rule is that if the "value" of your rolls is below a certain threshold (either by adding the modifiers, or converting them into Point-buy and checking the relative value) you get to re-roll because your character stats suck and it wouldn't be that fun. Different eras of gaming and different preferences lead to different styles in rolling.

2) There are a few "standards" you can use for static numbers to plug and go, but the most common is, as I recall, 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8 - assign as desired to the ability scores. This is the equivalent of a 15 point buy, or "standard fantasy" for your characters. There is nothing wrong with this. I like to make things a little more powerful than this, but everyone has different preferences.

3) Darksol's general advice on skills (the ones he would have selected) are actually really solid for a generic sorcerer, acrobatics aside (unless you happen to have acrobatics as a class skill). Other options include Knowledge (arcana) and Survival to represent someone who either "knows weird things" or "can survive on their own" (respectively). Another skill alternative is grabbing whatever skill your chosen bloodline suggests, but that's more for flavor than anything else.

4) Haramaki armor (1 gold), armored kilt (10 gold), and a spear of some kind (I don't remember how much these are; they're cheap, though) and dagger (1 gold). This is a silly (and not super-optimized) quick and cheap set up that nets you +2 to your AC, no penalties, and some mild combat damage ability at early levels (though you'll probably want to avoid melee, when possible). Check for crossbow and bolts, if you want ranged combat. Spells... that's a whole 'nother post. There are a lot. We could min-max the heck outta you, but it'd probably be easier and more fun if you give us the concept, and we suggest methods of making that happen.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
spiteteeth wrote:
(I have all information about him, he's a character I've had for a while and I wanted to incorporate him as a chaotic evil arcanist stuck with a rag-tag team of new kids on the block.)

I did want to comment on this, as it's a trap many people fall into on accident when starting new in the game.

Whatever alignment you play, that's fine, however, no matter what, don't have your character betray the rest of the team.

Seriously, I cannot stress this enough - you cannot have a character who will betray the rest of the players, unless it's a twist the rest of the players are actively "on board" with for the game that you play that with them.

The reason? Once a player is burned in that way, they tend to lose all trust. That is no bueno for anyone.

I go into more detail (and a long-winded talky post) here if you're curious, but the gist is what I've already covered - make sure that you do what's best for the group of players (not the group of characters, but the players) and then come up with why it was chaotic evil.

That said, if planned, it can make a memorable campaign experience. It doesn't even have to be clarified who will betray the group, just that, at some point, there is a more or less super-loyal member of the group that will likely betray them for unknown reasons.

That said, especially as this is your first foray, I strongly recommend against any betrayal, even in-character. Hurt feelings are an all-too-real possibility, even and especially on accident, even between friends.


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spiteteeth wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:

... I recommend that you build a sorcerer for your first go at magic in Pathfinder.

The reason? There are a lot of moving parts in the Pathfinder game (as you're learning), and a sorcerer is (in my opinion) a bit easier to start with than a wizard (as you don't have to juggle your spell-selection each day - you can simply learn what you can do and keep that).

I'm definitely not going to ignore this, and I'm gonna switch him to a sorcerer because of that "spell per day" thing, yeah. I need an easy entry class to get used to the game so I totally get this.

Some new questions (after looking at more stuff, ugh)!

1. What is point buying (vs. rolling)?
2. Are there just standard/static ability scores I can set them to get started or is that out-right cheating (or does it matter??? literally our first campaign, we're all new, we just wanna jump in)?
3. As a sorcerer and only having one knowledge class skill, still a good idea to focus ranking on knowledge or any other place? That, with either class, I'm still trying to figure out.
4. TIPS, TIPS, TIPS. ARMOR, WEAPONS, TIPS.

Sorcerers have easier spells, but they do lack in the Skills department, since they're Charisma-based and not Intelligence-based, and only have 2 + Intelligence for skill ranks. There is an archetype that helps this, but since it's everybody's first go-around, I think I'd rather let the characters' experiences speak for itself and you guys just stick with Core Only aspects.

1. Point Buying means the GM gives each player a certain number of "points" that they allocate to their characters (each attribute starts at 10, and can increased to as high as 18, or as low as 7, before racial benefits are applied).

The most common amount of points granted is 20 Point Buy, though some GMs limit it to 15 or 10 Point Buy (Adventure Paths usually recommend 15 Point Buy), and some increase it to 25 Point Buy (or even more) for a higher-powered game.

The benefit between Point Buy V.S. Rolling attributes is you don't have random character power levels (such as a Fighter who is basically a melee god versus a Rogue who can barely lift a finger to the challenges the party is facing due to bad rolls), and as such the GM can more easily prepare battles to accommodate a given power level, whereas having to accommodate power levels of different calibers can be taxing. It also makes it so that the players are on a more equal footing (though if a player doesn't mind the disadvantage, he may most certainly accept it, but there are better ways of disadvantaging yourself than that).

2. There are "Attribute Arrays," where the GM gives 6 sets of numbers that the players can assign to each ability score of their choice. This functions very similar to Point Buy (as a GM uses Point Buy to create a specific combination of numbers), except it discourages min-maxing (which means you're milking your character's very best attributes, even at the cost of expanding glaring weaknesses). For starting our Arrays are more simple to employ (especially for new players), and still gives all of the balancing mechanics of Point Buy, so I'd say the GM should be more comfortable with that than trying to force players to understand Point Buy. Jeraa already gave a very common Attribute Array, so I'd suggest that to the GM to enforce unto the PCs.

3. This depends on what direction you wish for your character to take, as well as the party combination. (Are the other players playing a Fighter? Cleric? Rogue? Ranger? Each class has different class skills and skill ranks per level, and it's important you understand what each character has before you invest your ranks.) The best thing is to coordinate what skills (especially Knowledges) that you, as characters, want to focus on, so that you aren't pointlessly overlapping each other. Same goes for stuff like Disable Device, Spellcraft, and other such skills. These are "party skills," that is, as long as one (or perhaps more, depending on the skill) party member has ranks in that skill, you should be covered, since any result they receive can be parroted to (or reflect upon) the party. Make a Knowledge Check and realize X creature is immune to acid? As a free action, your character can say "Don't use Acid, it's ineffective!"

Other skills, such as Acrobatics, Perception, or other skills that rely solely on what you, as a character, can accomplish, and whose results don't apply or reflect upon the party as a whole (or rather, they do, but not directly or collectively), are skills that characters should invest in individually, regardless of whether other characters invest in it or not. If you're trying to get away from an enemy, an ally's Acrobatics skill won't help you tumble to safety (as only the character who invested in the Acrobatics skill can benefit from his investment). Similarly, an ally's Perception skill, while it can provide benefits to the party, has no limits as to how many checks you as a party can make. If both the Wizard and the Fighter can make Perception checks, they each make a check if they fulfill the conditions, and maybe the Wizard can see something the Fighter didn't, and as such, point it out to the rest of the party. In another instance, maybe the inverse happens (either because the Wizard rolls bad, or because the Fighter decides to put further investment into Perception).

4. The biggest thing with a Full Spellcaster is to identify what you, as a spellcaster, should specialize in. Being a Sorcerer, you can't be as generalist as a Wizard very much could due to being limited to Spells Known (though things like the Human Favored Class Bonus very much helps), but that's okay. Sorcerers are much simpler to play in that regard, and the shortcomings you do possess can be shored up with magic items like scrolls or special wondrous items (Mnemonic Vest, Ring of Spell Knowledge I-IV, and so on), so it's not completely hopeless.

In relation to help what you, as a Sorcerer, can accomplish, I'd suggest Treantmonk's Wizard Guide in terms of determining what you can do with spells, and what sort of spell-style you should focus on (look at the "Get a Job" section from the left-side table of contents for information on that). From there, pick spells from the Spells section (starts at level 0, Sorcerers and Wizards have the same spell list, so don't worry about taking spells that you somehow may not have) that best accomplish what spell-style you've chosen.

For example, if I wanted to specialize in Battlefield Control spells, I'd consider spells like Daze, Grease, and Color Spray, spells that let me either mess with or "divide and conquer" enemies so that my party members can deal with the present situation better.

That isn't to say that you shouldn't branch out into other fields (even ones that the guide doesn't recommend; sometimes the situation just calls for it), but being a Sorcerer with a limited Spells Known selection (even with things like the Human Favored Class Bonus, Arcane Bloodline, and Magic Items helping you out), you can't just switch up whatever spells you want on-the-fly like a Wizard can, so attempting to be a generalist when your class just isn't built for that is like a kid reaching for the cookie jar on top of the fridge. You're reaching too high for something that you want, so just settle for the fig newtons on the table counter. They're still cookies, and they're still pretty good and delicious. Certainly better than the dirt and ants on the ground you're standing on...


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Tacticslion wrote:
spiteteeth wrote:
(I have all information about him, he's a character I've had for a while and I wanted to incorporate him as a chaotic evil arcanist stuck with a rag-tag team of new kids on the block.)

I did want to comment on this, as it's a trap many people fall into on accident when starting new in the game.

Whatever alignment you play, that's fine, however, no matter what, don't have your character betray the rest of the team.

Seriously, I cannot stress this enough - you cannot have a character who will betray the rest of the players, unless it's a twist the rest of the players are actively "on board" with for the game that you play that with them.

The reason? Once a player is burned in that way, they tend to lose all trust. That is no bueno for anyone.

I go into more detail (and a long-winded talky post) here if you're curious, but the gist is what I've already covered - make sure that you do what's best for the group of players (not the group of characters, but the players) and then come up with why it was chaotic evil.

That said, if planned, it can make a memorable campaign experience. It doesn't even have to be clarified who will betray the group, just that, at some point, there is a more or less super-loyal member of the group that will likely betray them for unknown reasons.

That said, especially as this is your first foray, I strongly recommend against any betrayal, even in-character. Hurt feelings are an all-too-real possibility, even and especially on accident, even between friends.

I'm giving extra credence to this, as it's a matter of respect to not only others, but to yourself as a person in relation to those said others.

Having an Evil character (or any character in general) betray the other party members can really set somebody off, whether you are aware of it or not (and I mean a PC, not an NPC that the GM whipped up), because you need to understand why you're together, both as players and as party members; because you're a team. A synergistic unit, a coalition of people who work together to accomplish goals, become stronger, and if you survive, someday tell the stories of your grand adventures to those who are around to listen. This is the expectation that the other players have (as that's how the game is originally written to function as), and breaking that expectation can not only change how they view the game, but how they view you, as a person (and as such, how you, as a person, mean to other people).

I mean sure, it's a game, but to some people this is more than that; it's a passion, a time-honored tradition that they value either due to its content, or due to the people that they participate with. Granted, you're all playing this for the first time, and maybe your expectations of the game vary compared to others who have played preceding versions of this game, but the fact of the matter is that there's an agreement between the parties involved (yes, the GM is a part of that agreement, don't let them fool you or tell you otherwise, even with Rule 0), and being a player who makes a character that disrupts or destroys the assumptions of that agreement can really set people off.

Some people may express their anger and dissatisfaction of your actions through outrage and argument, others may keep it bottled in until they let it explode into something volatile and unhealthy (or simply get up and leave, and you're left wondering why that is, since they give no explanation for the course of action they took). In short, people handle situations like character betrayal (and other disruptive acts, such as constantly arguing with the GM) differently, and the circumstances of that situation plays a big difference in the matter (such as being aware of such an event ever taking place).

So, before you go deciding party-wide decisions (yes, your character betraying the party is a party-wide decision, whether the party members themselves are in on it or not), it's important to discuss whether the players in question are on-board with the idea or not (either because they think it will be fun, or because they have some long-settled vengeance in some previous game that they want payback for).

As Tacticslion said before, if the players are on-board with the idea that they're going to be betrayed at some point (but simply don't know when), and think it would be interesting to play out, then that's fine for you, as both a player and a character, to do, because that's basically making editations to the gaming contract that all parties involved in said contract are agreeing to.

But, if the players express dissatisfaction or do not agree to the terms you impose upon the given social contract of the game, then trying to force it onto your fellow players will result in hurt feelings, and possibly a removal from (or disbanding of) the table, which can extend well beyond this game depending on how the situation accrues. At the end of the day, nobody wants that, and presumably not even yourself.

With that being said, I'm not saying you can't be Evil and still participate in a party of Good characters (well, unless the party in question has a Paladin, since they have explicit clauses in regards to their class features). What I will suggest, is that you don't be Stupid Evil. Stupid Evil means that you simply do something, regardless of how mindless and selfish it is, simply because you have the word Evil written on your Alignment box. For example, you don't just go killing your party members (even in the heat of battle, when it's easiest to do so), just because you have an Evil alignment. That's Stupid Evil, and doesn't do much for you in the long run, because even if you kill your minions, what good does that do for accomplishing the ideals set by your character?

Look at other, smart Evil creatures for a moment, like a Balor. Ignore their stats, but understand their ideals and goals. Even if they're not exactly intelligent, understand that minions are important to the fruition of their goals (whatever that may be to your character). Minions are useful, they do things for you that you yourself either can't do by yourself (though you're still stronger than any given minion), or that you don't want to do (by) yourself. Consider your party members to be your unwitting minions that you use to accomplish your goals. Maybe your goal is to send the entire world into darkness. What better way to accomplish that than to use your party members to save a town, collect its riches to help further your cause, and then create Shadows to turn that town into an infestation of darkness right as your party leaves, your party being none the wiser as to who or what caused it?

In short, Smart Evil characters are manipulative of the forces of Good without being detected as to their true motives. Eventually, a foolish Good character will become trusting of that Evil character, and regard him a friend, when in actuality, that Evil character is simply using that Good character for his own means, and when that Good character is no longer useful to him, the Evil character makes an example of that which ceases its usefulness.

And sometimes, Evil characters are considered Evil for things that they have done, and not things that they are doing now. It's okay to play an Evil character who is working on his path to redemption. (If anything, it's certainly more preferable to the above situation for PC compatibility.) Maybe he killed a friend due to something petty (such as cheating with your character's spouse, or stealing valuables without your knowledge), or because he had some mental issues that others don't wish to acknowledge. Maybe he broke the laws of the land because that's all that he knew how to do, and now he's trying to atone and become better than that which he's known all his life. To become different than the scourge he's known to be, since he eventually came to the realization that the way he's been living just sucks, and wants it to become better.

Evil characters such as that can make the transition to Good with enough dedication and hard work in the name of Good, and as such, would perhaps be better grounds for your "Evil" character to thrive on.


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Tacticslion wrote:

I did want to comment on this, as it's a trap many people fall into on accident when starting new in the game.

Whatever alignment you play, that's fine, however, no matter what, don't have your character betray the rest of the team.

Seriously, I cannot stress this enough - you cannot have a character who will betray the rest of the players, unless it's a twist the rest of the players are actively "on board" with for the game that you play that with them.

(...)

That said, especially as this is your first foray, I strongly recommend against any betrayal, even in-character. Hurt feelings are an all-too-real possibility, even and especially on accident, even between friends.

All this I considered, but I had him planned to at least make some arc to a better, less-evil side. He has a backstory making him volatile but he wouldn't betray the group he is with. Even if my group is made up of my own friends, I wouldn't wanna be a dick.


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*gives a thumbs up emoji (except writing it out in words*

:)


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