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I'm on the anti-bloat bandwagon, and have abandoned PF for 5E, which I find a wholly superior rules system. I'm saddened by this, as I have a lot more affection and respect for Paizo as a company than Wizards. I also really miss the quality of the Paizo AP's (their strength IMO) - Wizards' efforts have been improving with each AP, but they're still far short of the quality of most Paizo offerings.

So how does the bloat lessen my enjoyment of the game?

1) The other characters are often stupid and/or bizarre. I confess to liking a fairly standard Tolkeneqsue flavor to my role-playing. I enjoy a few flavorful steps outside those bounds when they are appropriate to a setting and really add something (ie Dark Sun). When I end up in a group with a ratfolk gunslinger, a kitsune occultist and an oread skald, I'm pretty much ready to pack it in. I understand that gonzo over-the-top fantasy really appeal to some, but I'd rather pass. Also, I've noticed a tendency for people using the latest/greatest races/classes to build to have much less of a personality, being all crunch and no fluff. Nothing says this has to be true of course - you can have a boring halfling thief or a grippli witch with an interesting and well-developed personality, but it is a trend I've noticed (or perhaps most discussions on forums focus on crunch and just leave off the personality aspects as irrelevant to the topic at hand).

2) The AP's being produced are now less usable. The last AP I subscribed for was Mummy's Mask, and I found it frustrating to even read through with the magic items from many varied books and monsters from sources I had no interest in buying (ToHC etc). Yeah, I can work around anything as a GM, but the more work it requires the more likely I am to reach a point where I'd rather just convert to 5E.

3. With each new chunk of rules released, there comes a chance of power creep and unfortunate (from a non-munchkin's POV) rules interactions. Paizo seems to have done a reasonable job of combating power creep, but it is there (although I've stopped buying books prior to the hybid classes and Unchained so I may be out of touch).

In the end, I understand that there are people who live for variety, and are super keen to roll out their najali investigator in an attempt to relieve their boredom with the standard races and classes. I personally view PF as having reached a golden age with the Core + APG books, and have been increasingly less happy with it with each subsequent release (the Advanced Race Guide is a particular thorn in my side).

The question is, are there more people who think like the former, or more people like me? Despite my unhappiness with the direction Paizo is taking PF, I really wish them well and hope they have a profitable and happy future. The last stats I saw noted that there were 12k 5E games (or chars forget which) running on Roll20 vs 8k PF games, which I find alarming for the future of PF. Anecdotally, I also notice much slimmer pickings for PF groups on the Roll20 LFG forums. On the other hand, I've heard second hand reports that Paizo's tables were much better attended than Wizards at GenCon. Not sure what to think.

MendedWall12 wrote:

All that I've read across various threads makes me sad. Sad because it really makes me want to go and buy the 5e Player's Guide, DMG, and Bestiary, and I'm afraid when I do that I'll give up on Pathfinder altogether, and there goes about 6+ years of investment.

Still debating, but at this point I'm seriously leaning towards switching my home campaign to 5e ruleset.

I figure rules come and go, but good fluff leaves a lasting impression. I look at my Pathfinder books and AP's, and find them a great resource of maps, campaign and encounter ideas (more so the AP's than the actual rule books, another reason I'm not real big on straight rule book purchases).

What does make me sad is supporting Wizards over Paizo. Paizo is a great company, and I admire what they have done in building their brand. They also have a great policy on allowing most of the crunch to be on the web, and I love the fact that subscribing to the AP's give you PDF's and online maps as well.

On the other hand, I'm pretty much done with the hot mess that is the Pathfinder rule set. If I had to play Pathfinder, I'd want to stick with Core + APG only. But it seems like every group formed these days features bizarre races, all new classes or weird archtypes, and it pushes the genre in a direction that doesn't appeal to me.

So I find myself reluctantly supporting Wizards, despite the fact that I view them as a much less fan-friendly company. Now, I have nothing against Mike Mearls and individuals at Wizards (I'm sure they are great people, just like all the folk at Paizo), but Wizards is decidedly less of a fan oriented company than Paizo. For instance, having to buy the maps for an AP for $20+ directly from the artists, no official PDF's, no SRD to make searches quick and easy etc.

I've switched to 5E as well. I'm a pretty crunchy guy, and was on the fence about 5E. Some of the playtest packets left me kinda shaking my head, others seemed good.

When 5E was released, I put the RotRL campaign I was GM'ing locally for 5 fairly newish players on hold (one of them had just had a child, so timing was good for a break as well). I then spent 2 months running the excellent LMoP campaign from the Starter Set. They wiped in the final dungeon due to a couple of really bad decisions, but afterwards I asked for input since I was still on the fence, mainly because using 5E rules meant I'd have to convert RotRL, since the Hoard of the Dragon Queen AP looked like crap. All 4 remaining players strongly preferred 5E - there wasn't any hint of wanting to go back to Pathfinder rules. Only (mild) complaint was the lack of an alchemist, or method of simulating one (in retrospect, I think warlock could be re-fluffed to be close enough).

A year and a bit later, and we've been running 5E exclusively. I'll play Pathfinder online if I see a good campaign on Roll20 (GM > story >>> rules IMO), but the fiddly bits and trying to calculate stacking/non-stacking buffs leave me exasperated, as do the bizarre landscape of classes and races in vogue nowadays.

I do really miss Paizo's APs though - everything Wizards has released so far has fallen far short of the adventure standards set by Paizo. I really, really wish Paizo would decide to do an AP for 5E, but I can understand if that notion gets met with a giant raspberry given Wizards past behavior.

General Chaos wrote:

That link didn't work.

Make sure you change the Sharing on the Google Doc to "Anybody with link" mode.

Sorry about that - I checked and the sharing was "Anybody with link can view", but I noticed the link is different, so perhaps I changed it after I copied the previous link? Profuse apologies, hopefully this new link works: k0jI/edit?usp=sharing

Bah! A pox on Google docs, that doesn't even work for me, despite being the link provided when I "Copy shareable link". I'll just cut and paste the text below if that is ok.

NB: Seems to be a space in the link after HZ and before k, but it doesn't show up when I edit.

Chapter 1

Trap Find: DC 15, Disable: DC 20
Monsters 2 Pugwampis (hp: 6, 8) (stats in Bestiary at end of this doc)
Note: the pugwampis don’t want to kill each other, so will not use Thunderwave unless the other pugwampi is killed or out of range.
Treasure silver dagger, 3 garnets worth 25gp each, scroll of comprehend languages, potion of healing which has dried to a red dust in the bottom of a vial (liquid added to vial reconstitutes)
Extra 200xp for opening box

p 11
Reward is 100gp, 250gp if Natalya is brought back alive (DC15 persuasion check to get up to 50gp in advance)
DC 10 Int check to know of Zograthy by anyone with a background local to Magnimar

p 12 5sp for a card reading, 10gp for a dose of Pesh (DC 15 Persuasion to lower price)
chance to notice addiction: DC 15 Perception or DC 10 Medicine check (if trained)
bribe 25gp (DC 15 Persuasion -> 20gp, DC 20 -> 10gp), xp reward: 200

p 13

Lead 2

If PC’s’ decide to go out drinking to gather information about the disappearances, have them make a diplomacy check. They can gain a bonus by spending more gold in taverns and tipping people in order to up their chances. For 10gp extra, they get a +2, 25gp extra will get them a +5.
DC 10 -> pickup is scheduled for that night at the Puffy Pelican
DC 12 -> someone has been asking around about newly arrived strangers, a strange man with a pointy, well-groomed beard and horrible hair cut
DC 15 -> rumors of a Nidalese slaver ship are likely false, as the harbor and coast are closely watched with lots of fishing vessels and merchant ships moving about
DC 20 -> one of the elder crones of the Varisians has put out a warning from a prophecy about ‘dwarves, children of the dark, with eyes like moons and skin like the depths of the sea’
DC 22 -> most of the smuggled goods come in via the sewers or via wagons from the swamps to the south, if people are being kidnapped, likely they’d have to go out that way as well
DC 25 -> something seemed suspicious about the strange man asking about strangers, almost like he wanted people to realize there was something going down at the Pelican

Puffy Pelican encounter

Accompanied by three thugs (use CR½ Cultists from LMoP)
Plutivarch Deemis
Medium human, neutral evil

Armor Class 15
Hit Points 22 (5d8)
Speed 30 ft.

Str 9(-1) Dex 14(+2) Con 10(+0) Int 12(+1) Wis 10(+0) Chr 15(+2)
Saving Throws Con +2, Chr +4
Skills Arcana +3, Intimidation +4
Senses passive Perception 10
Languages Common
Challenge 1 (200 xp) (based on evil mage from LMoP, but sorcerer)

Quicken Once per day can cast a spell as a bonus action
Spellcasting (Charisma, save DC: 12, +4 to hit with attacks)
At will: light, mage hand, shocking grasp
1st Level (4 slots): color spray, shield
2nd Level (3 slots): hold person, misty step
Quarterstaff. Melee Weapon Attack: +1 to hit, Hit: 1d8-1 bludgeoning damage

Treasure potion of healing (2), potion of invisibility, purse with 10gp, 13sp, ornate silver bracelet with 3 jade dragons embedded on it (50gp), 3 sets of manacles, 50’ silk rope.
Reward if turned over to guards: 50gp if alive, 25gp dead (extra 50 xp)

Encounter will begin with Plutivarch invisble in a corner of the bar, the 3 cultists hiding upstairs and outside the back door of the Puffy Pelican. Inside, there is table in the middle with a lit lantern on it, beside which rests a folded up paper (note), a ½ empty bottle of wine and a pewter mug.

p 17
Fenster the Blight
Medium human, chaotic neutral

Armor Class 14
Hit Points 27 (5d8+5)
Speed 30 ft.

Str 12(+0) Dex 14(+2) Con 13(+1) Int 10(+0) Wis 5(-3) Chr 6(-2)
Saving Throws Str +3, Con +4
Skills Perception -1, Intimidation +0
Senses passive Perception 7
Languages Common
Challenge 1 (200 xp) (based on Sildar Hallwinter from LMoP)

Unbearable Stench: anyone within 5’ of Fenster must make a DC8 con check each round or have disadvantage on any attack rolls made that round
Multiattack: Fenster makes two melee attacks
Dagger Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, Hit: 1d4+2 piercing damage
Canny Dodger: Can roll 1d6 and add to AC against first attack to hit him each round

Treasure Inside the chest is a pearl worth 50gp and a fancy light crossbow with ivory inlays (worth 100gp).

p 19

Terisha is accompanied by two Varisian Thugs (hp: 14, 21) (stats in Bestiary)
Terisha Skiloni
Medium humanoid (human), chaotic neutral

Armor Class 14
Hit Points 33 (6d8+6)
Speed 30 ft.

Str 10(+0) Dex 15(+2) Con 12(+1) Int 12(+1) Wis 13(+1) Chr 8(-1)
Skills Deception +1, Insight +3, Perception +5, Persuasion +1, Stealth +6
Senses passive Perception 13
Languages Common, Varisian
Challenge 1 (200 xp) (based on Spy from Monster Manual)

Cunning Action Each turn, Terisha can use a bonus action to Dash, Disengage or Hide.
Sneak Attack (1/turn) Extra 2d6 damage as per rogue ability.
Multiattack Terisha makes two melee attacks
Shortsword Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, Hit: 1d6+2 piercing damage
Hand Crossbow Ranged Attack: +4 to hit, Hit: 1d6+2 piercing damage, range: 30/120
Whip Melee Attack: +4 to hit, 10’ reach, Hit: 1d4+2 slashing damage

Treasure potion of lesser restoration, smokestick, purse with 4pp and 12gp.

A1. Guard Chamber - 3 Varisian Thugs (hp: 12, 19, 22)

p 20 Plank (DC 10 acrobatics check) Filth Fever (DC 10 Con save)

p 21

A3. 3 Sewer Goblins (hp: 10, 7, 9)
A4. 2 Sewer Goblins (hp: 8, 9)
Heave Crossbow Ranged Attack: +2 to hit (with disadvantage), Hit: 1d10+2 piercing damage

p 22
Goblin Snake
Small aberration, chaotic evil

Armor Class 14
Hit Points 13 (2d8+4)
Speed 30 ft, swim 20 ft, burrow 5 ft

Str 11(+0) Dex 15(+2) Con 14(+1) Int 9(-1) Wis 12(+1) Chr 10(+0)
Skills Deception +4, Perception +3, Stealth +8
Senses Darkvision 60’, scent, passive Perception 13
Languages Common, Goblin
Challenge 1 (200 xp)

Goblin Breath (Recharge 5-6) any creature within 5’ must make a DC 10 Con save or else be poisoned for 1d6 rounds.
Ambusher The goblin snake has advantage on attack rolls versus any creature it has surprised.
Surprise Attack If the goblin snake surprises a creature and hits it during the first round of combat, it does an extra 2d6 damage from the attack.
Bite Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, Hit: 1d4+2 piercing damage

p 23

2 Sewer Goblins (hp: 6, 7)
Natalya Vancaskerkin (see NPC’s)
Treasure burlap sack with 33gp, 86sp, 192cp, a brass comb worth 2gp, assorted buttons made of carved ivory worth 15gp, and the faded handbill. Natalya has the Shard of Pride, a mithril short sword (worth 100gp), a scroll of mirror image, 3 dose of dust of sneezing and choking (can be hurled up to 20’, all those within 5’ of impact must make a DC 10 con check or be incapacitated for 1 round and poisoned for 1d6 rounds), potion of healing, tiara (looks to be made of gold and set with rubies, but is costume jewelry worth 5gp due to it workmanship), fancy suit of studded leather (black, set with grey metal buttons each scultped to look like a miniature skull, with red stiching - worth 100gp).

Shard of Pride: +2 on all skills, able to cast Major Image once/day, advantage on saves vs. illusions


Gremlin, Pugwampi
Tiny Fey, neutral evil

Armor Class 13
Hit Points 10 (2d4+2)
Speed 30 ft.

Str 5(-3) Dex 14(+2) Con 12(+1) Int 10(+0) Wis 11(+0) Chr 6(-2)
Skills Deception +4, Insight +3, Perception +3, Stealth +8
Damage Resistances non-magical weapons that aren’t cold iron
Damage Immunities poison
Senses Darkvision 120’, passive Perception 13
Languages Gnoll, Undercommon
Challenge 1/2 (100 xp)

Unluck Aura all d20 rolls within 20’ have disadvantage (does not affect other gremlins, animals or gnolls)
Magic Resistance The pugwampi has advantage on saves against spells.
Innate Spellcasting (Charisma, save DC: 8)
At will: prestidigitation, mage hand
1/day: thunderwave (15’ cube, 2d8 damage + push 10’, on save ½ dmg only)
Dagger Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, Hit: 1d3+2 piercing damage

Varisian Thug
Medium humanoid (human), neutral evil

Armor Class 12 (studded leather)
Hit Points 16 (3d8+3)
Speed 30 ft.

Str 14(+2) Dex 11(+0) Con 12(+1) Int 9(-1) Wis 9(-1) Chr 10(+0)
Skills Intimidation +2
Senses passive Perception 9
Languages Common, Varision
Challenge 1/2 (100 xp) (based on Redbrand Ruffian from LMoP)

Multiattack The thug makes two melee attacks
Spiked Club Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, Hit: 1d6+2 bludgeoning damage
Light Crossbow Ranged Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, Hit: 1d8 piercing damage


Natalya Vancaskerkin
Medium humanoid (human), chaotic neutral

Armor Class 15
Hit Points 38 (6d8+6)
Speed 30 ft.

Str 10(+0) Dex 16(+3) Con 13(+1) Int 10(+0) Wis 8(-1) Chr 15(+2)
Skills Acrobatics +5, Deception +4, Perception +1, Persuasion +4, Stealth +5
Saving Throws Int +2, Dex +5
Senses passive Perception 11
Languages Common, Varisian
Challenge 2 (450 xp) (based on Nezznar from LMoP)

Cunning Action Each turn, Natalya can use a bonus action to Dash, Disengage or Hide.
Sneak Attack (1/turn) Extra 2d6 damage as per rogue ability.
Spellcasting Charisma based, DC 12, +4 to hit
Cantrips (at will): mage hand, light, shocking grasp
1st-level (3 slots): sleep, charm person, ray of sickness, silent image
2nd-level (2 slots): suggestion, spider climb
Multiattack Natalya makes two melee attacks
Shortsword Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, Hit: 1d6+3 piercing damage
Light Crossbow Ranged Attack: +5 to hit, Hit: 1d8+3 piercing damage, range: 30/120

My 5E group wiped in LMoP, and after a brief debate, they liked the sounds of the Shattered Star AP, but much prefer the 5E rules. So I'm going to try converting it, although I am worried about how much work this will be as it gets to the more complicated volumes.

Anyway, if anyone familiar with the 5E has time to take a look at and comment on my notes for the first part (up to the Natalya fight), I'd appreciate it. k0jI/edit?usp=sharing
(Hopefully that works, haven't shared a Google Doc before...)

Also, I'd love to hear from anyone whose converted or run an AP using 5E rules - general opinions, things to watch for etc.

swest wrote:


Doesn't each player need their own? If so, where do you get them? If not, why not?


- s.west

Each player can copy enough information from the Hero's Handbook (or the premade character pamphlet thingies) to their character sheet such that they would have all the info they need to run their character. A wizard or cleric might also want to make spell cards detailing individual spells, but they can just grab the Hero's book when they want to cast a spell. One copy of the book should be fine.

This is a bit of a "make sure I'm not being a dick" check...

My group for Shattered Star is very dysfunctional - first three chars were barbarian, sword and board fighter and zen archer. I rolled up a halfing archaeologist to try and fill some gaps, and we've been muddling along ok so far.

We're almost L6, and I talked to the DM about taking Leadership at L7. My idea is to get a cleric of Desna as an apprentice archaeologist, and 6 first level academics (alchemist, wizard, lore oracle etc) to serve as 'research assistants' back at my Heidmarch manor home base. They will basically save us half off on common 1st-level potions/scrolls and what not. As I level up I'm gonna turn away any additional followers, but we'll rule my 1st-level dudes can gain a level if I would normally receive a higher-level follower.

For my apprentice, I want him to accompany us, but basically hang back and stay out of combat. Perhaps cast an occasional buff spell on me. In between combats he will channel, which should save us a lot of $$$ on healing wands. I don't want him to be a presence in combat because I don't want to bog the game down and end up taking 2x as many turns as others. I'll build him primarily as a long term buffer, crafter and knowledge helper.

My conundrum is how to treat my apprentice loot-wise. I know that as a cohort I don't have to technically pay him, but I'd think common decency should dictate that I provide them with some money/items. I'm considering offering the party two alternatives:

1) they give him a half-share of any monetary treasure we find (so we divide things 4.5 ways), and he casts spells as needed for their benefit, in addition to channeling and knowledge checks etc. He'll also craft items at cost when time permits (but crafting for me is first priority).

2) he gets nothing from party. I'll pay him some out of my own pocket. However, if they want any spells cast by him or items crafted, he is free to gouge them or charge them as an NPC would (albeit at a discount - perhaps making a Belt of Strength +2 for 3000gp instead of 2000gp for instance). Perhaps spells would be cast at 1/2 (or less) the cost of an NPC, and if they save his life or toss him a hand-me-down magic item he'd of course remember and reciprocate. If we find items he'd like that we are going to sell, he will be forced to pay what we could sell them for (I'd likely refund him my share of that money).

Any money he makes will be kept separate from my char's funds of course, and used to buy/craft items for him.

Does this sound reasonable? I believe in my char doing anything possible to help the party free of charge, but then my bard is getting a share of the loot. If the party doesn't want to cut my cohort in (a reasonable opinion for them to have), then I don't feel they should expect the same sort of consideration from him that they would get from me. I just wanted to see how others feel and make sure I'm not being a dick (I remember the giant thread on charging party members for crafting).

Tyrantherus wrote:

Right now, the party consists of a Human Invulnerable Rager, a Human Pistolero, a Human Winter Witch, an Oread Tower Shield Specialist Fighter, and me, a Human Grenadier Alchemist. Currently, since I have been playing "pure casters" the last few campaigns, they want me to play as something else.

So, they want you to play as something other than a full caster, but they (aside from the witch) all go and roll as martials with no utility outside of hitting things with a pointy/sharp stick (and rolling the occasional Knowledge:nature or Survival check)? Bah!

I'm just curious, do they all usually play casters too and are switching it up by rolling martials? Why do they seem to care what you play, but not care about overall group utility and covering all your bases? I can understand the eye rolling at the dude who *always* plays a halfling rogue or whatever, but there should be lots of variety for creating personalities and play styles among the plethora of Pathfinder casting classes.

Me, I'd say screw it and play what you want to play, trying to cover the huge gaps in your group makeup (AoE, not much healing with just a witch, no real party 'face') - perhaps an oracle of flame or heavens? Then I'd tell 'em that the next campaign, if they make sure the caster/utility roles are covered, I'll happily play a martial or whatever. But I tend to be overly concerned about party makeup, not competing for magic items, having unique roles/strengths and what not.

I have a MT in a WotR campaign, and with the early-entry methods available, it now comes down to:
losses: 1 level of casting in prime class, plus all non-spell abilities and improvements (ie channeling improvements, domain powers bumps), weaker HP (d6 with no FCB possible), possibly weaker saves (at least compared to cleric), likely stat splitting issues (ie needing wis and int).
gains: spells from 2nd class at CL-3, plus all the usual L1 'dip' benefits.

For instance, I'm a cleric3/wizard1/MT3 at the moment, with the spells of a 6th-level cleric and a 4th-level wizard (albeit casting at L6 in both due to Magical Knack). Eventually, at L14 I'll be casting as a L13 cleric, L11 wizard - which seems well worth the sacrifice of channeling and the clerical domain power bumps at L8. One annoyance is no free spells gained on the wizard side - I have to buy all my spells or find them in spellbooks (haven't found one since L3 so far). I also had to take Arcane Bond as my familiar would have been stuck at L1 forever.

So far, it's felt a little weak but versatile, but I'm in a large party and concentrating on buffing/healing since we also have a sorcerer and I didn't want to step on their toes. Also, the retarded Mythic rules (IMO) may be skewing my perception a bit.

I'm just not sure what to do once I hit L15 - likely resume cleric I guess, or perhaps sniff around for another prestige class (Loremaster?). Wish MT could continue on to L20.

In my second group I'm playing an archaeologist bard, because rest of group consists of fighter, barbarian and zen archer (eyeroll). If my trusty bard bites it (rolled 1, 2, 1 and 4 for hp so far) his replacement may well be a 2nd MT (sigh). Hate to get typecast (the MT guy) but for versatility it seems hard to beat...

Alex Bradbury wrote:

Hey guys!

I'm new to the PF system. Many moons ago I played AD&D 2e and so have some similar RPG experience.

My question. Are there any YouTube channel recommendations that provide beginner information? Creating a character, combat examples, spellcasting examples, etc. to get my up to speed quickly and to also reference while I read the book?


Not a channel, but I frequently link this video of one of the Paizo designers GM'ing a group of (newish I think) players through the Beginner's Box adventure. I'd do the little solo adventure in your beginner box, then read the adventure in the GM book and then watch that video with the adventure and player character sheets in front of you, pausing frequently to make sure you understand what they are doing.

I think the video gives a good example of pacing and GM'ing 'style'. I'm not sure he followed every rule exactly according to canon, which is also a good lesson...

Thanks for all the excellent advice guys.

avr wrote:

Leadership tends to result in stealing the focus of the game which isn't nice to do.

I hear ya - if I take a cohort, it's going to be something that will kind of hang out in the background, buff and provide backup. Likely a cleric of Desna, perhaps an Evangelist to buff us all. I'd likely spend most of his/her feats on magic item creation, and perhaps extra channeling. Probably not even bother attacking most combat rounds.

Matthew Morris wrote:
Tangleshot arrows never get old for medium sized opponents.

I'll add those to my shopping list when I pick up a shortbow. Last session I used my only tanglefoot bag to glue a golem to the ground while the barbarian beat it to death with his ranseur. I was surprised at how effective a tanglefoot bag was (first time using).

Matthew Morris wrote:
A bard cohort is also a good use of leadership. His performance stacks with yours :-)

If I take a cohort, it'll likely be an Evangelist for precisely this reason. That way the entire group gets a bit of a buff, as well as reduced healing costs.

Ascalaphus wrote:
Maybe you could trick one of the other players into using Leadership to get a cleric cohort?

I really worry about bogging the game down. I'm pretty good about keeping track of details/buffs and knowing ahead of time what I'm going to do on the next turn, so I think I could play a cohort without slowing down the game much. I think it'd be a bit of a stretch for some of the others.

Ascalaphus wrote:
Are you using Bracer of Falcon's Aim yet?

Wow - comparing those to Lesser Bracers of Archery shows up some real flaws in the games magic item pricing. So far, I have a Ring of Feather Falling and a Wand of Lesser Restoration, and that's it besides potions and scrolls. I'll add those to the top of my shopping list, but so far the DM has not allowed us to buy magic items in Magnimar. Another reason a cohort with magic item creation feats might be a plus, assuming the DM is ok with it.

I'm playing through Shattered Star (no spoilers please) with a particularly dysfunctional group. They are S&B fighter, standard barbarian and zen archer, so in order to cover as many gaps as possible I created a Fate's Favored halfling archaeologist. It's going ok so far and I'm enjoying playing him, but I'm coming to a crossroads and could use some advice.

Currently: L5, Stats (rolled): 10/18/13/12/9/18, Traits: Fate's Favored, Exchange Agent, Vagabond Child (disable device as class skill). Feats: Lingering Performance, Point Blank Shot, Deadly Aim, Precise Shot (via Combat Trick rogue talent at L4).

So far I've been using a light xbow, but I'm approaching L8 with iteratives, which means I'll either need to take Rapid Reload or switch to a shortbow.

My current dilemmas are:
1) switch to shortbow or take Rapid Reload to keep xbow viable?
2) which feat to take next - L7 contenders are Leadership, Arcane Strike or Rapid Shot (assuming I don't go Rapid Reload route).
3) any classes worth dipping in the near future? Ranger? Inquisitor? Oracle with Lore Keeper?

(L8 rogue talent will be Trap Spotter, so no help on archery side there.)

I have an issue with Arcane Strike in that activating my Luck requires a swift action, such that Arcane Strike would only be available for 2/3 of the rounds in a key combat. Still worth it? So far, I'm pretty solid at hitting but do very little damage. I just hit 5th level and picked up Deadly Aim so that should help a bit, along with a luck bump to +3/+3.

Leadership would help our group a lot: I imagine taking on a 5th-level dwarven cleric of Desna (I'm a devout follower) as an assistant, which would help us a ton with healing and such. (Still not as good a solution as letting one of current group members die off and rolling a more useful class...) The L1 followers seem kinda useless - I imagine them as research assistants back at Heidmarch Manor :P. Perhaps a bunch of priests, wizards and alchemists scribing scrolls and brewing potions. This is clearly the best group wise, but again I'm taking a hit because of the retarded class selection of my fellow players.

Anything I'm overlooking? So far we're going along ok, but I'm kinda worried about being mostly martials as we advance in levels, and our healing bills are getting kinda steep (we chew through wands of CLW like candy - got chided by the priest at the Temple of Abadar last session).

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My player's have just been rebuffed from Thistletop (near wipe on the bridge as all of them hustled over it at once), but so far I've made a few changes and additions.

One of the largest is that I've had Balor captured by Nualia and gang. This got him out of the picture, lent some urgency and I found it more acceptable than him taking off to Magnimar to beg for troops. Instead, I had Mayor Deverin rush to Magnimar to beg for troops, along with Shaylelu (whose knowledge of goblin activity was vital to convincing Mayor and Usher's Council that this was not a minor matter for Sandpoint to handle on it's own).

Long background story:

I had decided that the Sheriff and the Mayor and gang had known of vague rumours of old smugglers' tunnels under Sandpoint, so after the goblin raid I had the Sheriff and a pair of guards going around searching the various businesses in town, checking for any illicit tunnels. The glassworks and lumber mill were left for the 2nd day (cause Scarnetti and Longjiku are PITA's), so I had the Sheriff show up at the glassworks on the morning of the 26th, which is the same morning that the player's were deciphering the note found by an alarmed Bethana. He and his guards got into it with the goblins, and were killing some when Tsuto came up from the basement with a battered Ameiko, as well as Orik and Barathmuz who were sent to lent some muscle and adult supervision for Tsuto. Tsuto demanded the Sheriff surrender as he held a knife to Ameiko's throat, and Balor reluctantly did so, along with the one surviving guard (second had been killed by goblins). Orik and the bugbear headed back to Thistletop with the Sheriff and guard captive, and Tsuto was supposed to follow shortly after, along with his captive sister (he refused to let Orik take her without him). I had Tsuto waiting for a shipment from an alchemist of a special magical flask to allow him to transfer some of the Waters of Lamashtu from the Catacombs of Wrath to Thistletop for use in the ceremony, so after clearing out the glassworks the player's were able to intercept the local toughs delivering the secret shipment from Kanker (via Pillbug) and got a few more clues via a note etc.

Some of this was just to switch things up a bit, and some was involving a long backstory/sidequest I'm developing involving Kanker (the ghast alchemist at the bottom of the Pit) for my player of a gnome alchemist.

Going forward, I'm thinking of switching things up with the return to Sandpoint for the Scribbler's Lair. As written in the book, it just seems too serendipitous that the secret to Runeforge lies in the hands of some crazy dude back under Sandpoint.

Instead, I'll have the players finding hints and clues in the library at Jorgenfist, and drop suggestions that things would go much faster with the assistance of an expert in Thassilonian history/language to assist (our party's only speaker of Thassilonian and knowledge/history monkey is the alchemist). Hopefully they teleport back to Sandpoint to pick up Brodert Quink, who will now be a captive of the Scribbler down below. I'm playing Quink as obsessed with Thassilon, and sneaking down into the catacombs despite the Mayor forbidding him from doing so (he goes the long way around from the beach after Ameiko and the Mayor hire a mason to brick up the entrance to the smugglers' tunnels under the glassworks). After exploring the main catacombs, I'll have Quink either hire a gang of local Scarzni to clear the rubble from the downstairs, or else purchase scrolls of move earth/dig in Magnimar to do it himself. This leads to the sinkhole and his capture by the Scribbler, who will keep Quink alive for interrogating about the world above (being a speaker of Thassilonian). Once they rescue Quink and return to Jorgenfist, they will eventually be able to discover the riddle to allow entrance to Runeforge.

I'm hoping to join a new Shattered Star campaign this Friday, and am trying to decide on a character. The group currently consists of a fighter, barbarian and a life oracle.

I'd like a character who can provide some history/knowledge skills, utility and serve as a competent trap-finder/disabler. There may be a 5th player who I'm hoping will be an arcane caster (if not, I may go witch, wizard or sage instead).

Without giving me any spoilers on SS AP, does anyone have any thoughts on archaeologist vs. crypt-breaker?

For an archaeologist, I'm leaning towards a halfling with the Fate's Favored trait, and will concentrate on archery feats (after Lingering Performance at L1). I may try to sneak in a level (or two) of Ranger(trapper) to make disable device a class skill, and give me prof with a longbow and a favored enemy.

For the crypt-breaker, I see him as a human from Ustalav, again going with mostly archery feats to augment the normal bomber build. (Want to stay away from melee since we have two front-liners already - don't like stepping on other's role-playing niches).

I'm leaning towards the archaeologist since he can fill in as an ersatz healer/arcanist if either the oracle or (hopeful) arcane caster can't make a session.

Naturalist wrote:
Can anyone give me an idea what level that story arc starts at? Will I be able to go from the box to the RotR path?

The BB adventure takes place in a set of caves near the town of Sandpoint, which is the setting for the start of the RotR AP. The AP is meant to begin with 1st level characters, and after the BB the chars will likely be almost 2nd level, so the XP shouldn't be too much of a problem. The amount of treasure given out in the BB adventure *can* be a problem - it is quite a bit more than normal.

If you haven't GM'd much, you may want to take a look at this video of Jason Bulhman GM'ing a group through the BB adventure. It can give you some guidance of pacing, making rulings and such. I'd watch it after you've read through the BB contents and adventure.

There is also a free PDF from Paizo that talks about transitioning from the BB to the full rule set.


Serolf wrote:

@Ackbladder : have you the White Dwarf magazine numbers ? Thanx

Sorry for the very late reply Serolf. They ran from issue #59 to #63, according to!topic/

I wish I knew how to buy a PDF of these - if you find any sources, let me know!

Markon wrote:

I can't even believe this discussion is happening.... The rules don't explicitly state it because the people who made the game expect this stuff to be read with some common sense.

I should have made clear that I was just playing Devil's Advocate as far as interpreting rules, and hoping to learn which 'rules of thumb' cover this type of situation. I did do a few searches and didn't see anything that seemed to cover it explicitly.

In fact, this came about because I was reading the section with my DM last night because he wasn't sure that a MT would keep his spontaneous casting for all levels of cleric spells (as opposed to say, only those he could cast as a cleric before becoming a MT). We laughed, he said 'yeah - that not's happening', and I agreed and we carried on. Common sense applied. I'd rule the same way if I were a DM, and I was not expecting or arguing for this to work as a player - I just wanted to make sure he agreed that spontaneous casting could be applied to cleric spells gained via MT levels.

But this thread has brought up a few points I've enjoyed seeing discussed, perhaps because I'm a bit of a d20/Pathfinder noob and I haven't sat in on dozens of these discussions before.

One poster asserted that any where it says "spells" you are assuming it to apply to only that class's spells, which I (personally) think is a pretty big leap and possibly causes as many problems as it solves. Another poster pointed out the implications of that wrt to the Oracle's Deaf curse, which highlights the point. A similar point would be the Draconic/Orc bloodline powers affecting non-sorcerer spells, which I think most people would agree is RAI and desirable (leading to the common 1-level dip in cross-blooded sorcerer for blaster wizards).

So far my take away from this is that there is no over-riding principle that can be applied here, apart from common sense, and that class features that refer to spells should sometimes mean "spells gained from that class" and other times mean "all spells of a certain nature".

19 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

Let's say we have a wizard/cleric/mystic theurge, rejoicing in the resurrection of this much-maligned PrC brought about by the early entry allowed by SLAs.

I was reading the bit on spontaneous casting, and no where does it say that the prepared spell to be lost must be a cleric spell. According to the rules, would it be possible for said character to 'lose' a wizard spell in order to spontaneously cast a heal?

From Spontaneous Casting:

A good cleric (or a neutral cleric of a good deity) can channel stored spell energy into healing spells that she did not prepare ahead of time. The cleric can “lose” any prepared spell that is not an orison or domain spell in order to cast any cure spell of the same spell level or lower (a cure spell is any spell with “cure” in its name).

Just curious.

For added amusement, I imagine the MT could do this is in armor without worrying about the Arcane Spell Failure %?

Wow - you guys are really villain centered. Sometimes I'll go that way, but other campaigns I envision as a series of episodes, where the locations are almost as important. A lot of it depends on the PC's, and what motivations their characters have, or what is likely to appeal to or drive them. For instance, if the motivation is establishing or protecting a kingdom, then perhaps the villains are not as central (although still important, I concede).

Currently, I'm cobbling together a basic campaign for some new players (they played a bit of 2ED back in the day, new to Pathfinder and D20). I thought the various AP's might be targeted at a bit more seasoned player, so I'm making a shorter and simpler campaign based on some of my favorite materials.

I'm basically customizing and adding 'glue' and a bit of a backstory, with a minor villain, to tie the flow from Sinister Secret of Souston (nee Saltmarsh) -> Forge of Fury -> Red Hand of Doom. Of course, the players could take the clues from the smuggling operation in Souston and decide to head directly to Vraath Keep, instead of investigating the dwarves supplying arms from Kundrakar (the Forge of Fury), and if so I'll deal with it. But in this case, I wanted to use some published materials to provide the 'bulk' of the campaign skeleton, and just fill out stuff to glue them together and provide an overall story without being too railroady.

Of course, once the players create characters I'll be customizing and adapting parts. If needed, I'll cut out and replace entire sections if I think it would be a stretch, or require coercing characters to go along with the storyline.

A different campaign in my own world that I'm working on in the background doesn't really involve any pre-written materials. I will likely snag a map of a keep or temple here or there to deliver a higher quality look and save time, but it's mostly home grown.

In this campaign, it's all about history and backstory, with several over-arching themes or plots. It centers around 4 keys that are the secret to an ancient, world changing construct that 'sealed' the world off from the planes, and prevents teleporting and planar summons (and everything else that bugs me about high-level play :)

The 4 keys are slowly being rediscovered after having been lost for 800 years in a kind of 'Dark Age', and will be sought after by various power groups and villains. Some might want to disable the lost construct, and re-enable summons and what not (ie certain members of the Mage's Council). Others may want to remove the ability to disable the Seal, such as a group of druids who are happy with the status quo. Other's are not sure what they want done, but if someone is gonna have the keys to a legendary artifact, it's gonna be them.

Currently, I'm mulling over the various groups and coming up with a short list of major players/villains, but it's not limited to 5 or anything, and may change as the player's progress depending on their interests and actions.

So, for this campaign I'm starting with a lot of lore and background, and villains come much later.

I'm putting together a mini-campaign for my triumphant return to RPG's, and one of my personal quirks is I hate non-interesting (ie +1/+2) magic items. I'm trying to make most items have something to make them interesting, and not something to dump once you get the next item up the ladder.

Campaign Arc/Background:

It's based on some of my favorite materials from various editions, and culminates in the Red Hand of Doom.

Several lower level adventures lead PC's to kill and recover the journal of a goblin leader who is in charge of garnering weapons for the goblin Horde. His journal indicates that the attack will hit Elsir Vale, as well as several other facts: he has contracted to procure many higher quality arms from a group of dwarves in Durgeddin's Deep (Forge of Fury), lots of low quality arms from orcs in The Five King's Mountains, his boss is a wyrmlord at a place called Vraath keep which no one has heard of. Hopefully the PC's will investigate and learn the tale of Glitterhame and the dwarf smith Durgeddin. If they do follow it up, I'm modifying it heavily, to have more duergar and orcs/fire elementals mining/smelting steel in the 2nd level in place of other stuff, and the duergar scaled up to have more slaves for mass producing master work weapons in the forges. I plan on having Durgeddin's ghost with his hammer on the 3rd (semi-secret) level. I'd like that hammer to be something unique - his personal weapon.

For my campaign outlined above, I'd like the players to find the personal weapon of a legendary dwarven smith, but they'll be only 5th level or so.

I'd like it to be something that remains useful, but not overpowering at 5th level. I'm thinking he had a weapon called a Hammer of Grudges. It's a +1 weapon (initially I was thinking of making it adamantite, but perhaps that's too good and it should be fire-forged steel instead). I'd like it so that a user can perform a ceremony on any Oathday (Sunday), where they can place the hammer on an anvil (any will do, as long as it's used to make weapons), and recite a long list of grievances against a specific race or group, and appeal to some nebulous dwarven ancestors to imbue the hammer with the Bane property against that group. This would remain (but only for whoever performed the ceremony), until a new ceremony is successfully performed to change it.

Thinking about the ceremony, I'd like it to go something like this:
1) cost about 2000gp in special materials (incense, fancy scrolls with mithril and gemstone inks which list the character's, his race's or society in general's grievances with the target group, which are burned in the forge)
2) character needs to make a Wisdom check of 20 to be successful, failure results in no Bane and a wasted 2000gp in materials
3) many ways to gain bonuses on that Wisdom check:
- being a dwarf, +4
- target being a group that dwarves have racial emnity for, +4
- having someone make a knowledge(local) check to list specific instances of the group causing 'harm' (from the char's and dwarves' perspective) - perhaps +6 for a DC 20, +4 for DC 15 or +2 for a simple DC 10
- perhaps a knowledge(history) or knowledge(planes) as appropriate to the group check to come up with more general, but less immediate, grievances - perhaps +2 for a DC 20, or +1 for a DC 15 (not as valuable as an immediate local example of a grievance)
- immediate, personal examples at DM's discretion ("Dem rotten no-good orcs killed my uncle and his family" might be +4, char's own parents might be +8 or something)
4) perhaps let dwarven clerics have option to take 10 on the check (since they are used to appealing to dwarven gods/spirits)

The idea being to require a significant investment, and near certain success to a group which has harmed the character or his family, but less certain against a race or group which is not 'evil' or generally behaving obnoxiously. The character can help his/her chances by doing some research and coming up with examples which would justify punishment in the eyes of a group of dwarven spirits (note that others can help by making the checks, then recording the deeds on scrolls to be burnt etc).

Basically, it's a +1 Bane hammer that can be changed as needed, albeit at some cost and inconvenience. I came up with the 2000gp figure based on adding Bane to +1 hammer normally costing 6000gp. I wanted to make it enough that the character wouldn't be changing weekly, but low enough that it made the item worth the hassel.

My concerns: Is ceremony too nebulous or badly explained? Is 2000gp too much, too little? Is adamantite too good, or should I stick to fire-forged steel or mithral? Is the DC 20 Wisdom check about right, or should it be higher/lower? If they fail I figure they can gather more grievances and try again next week, albeit at a cost of another 2000gp.

If the group cleric has it be a goblin bane weapon (for instance), and the group barbarian somehow pulls off a ceremony to be a dragon bane weapon, should I let both stand, or only the last one? ie the cleric carries it for fighting normally, but tosses it to the barbarian when a dragon is spotted. This seems kinda cheesy and meta-gamish to me.

The player's haven't rolled up chars yet, so I don't know who will be in the group. Will I regret having a char with a +1 Goblin Bane hammer running amok in RHoD, or Dragon Bane for that matter? I figure they could just buy one for 8000gp so it's not totally off the charts for power. A martial character would likely rather have a big 2h weapon (and I'll be leaving a +1 Frost 2h sword in the first keep), so I'm hoping this acts as a way for the cleric or other secondary melee char to have some fun caving in goblin heads, without ruining all the boss fights.

Sorry if all this is kinda basic, but I haven't DM'd or played since the 2E days.

TL;DR - I'd like a +1 hammer than can be a Bane weapon and be changed at some cost/hardship. Too powerful? Cool or cheesy?

I'm currently planning a campaign for a group of new players, and I think I'm gonna have them sit down and each roll (in front of each other one at a time) 4 sets of 4d6 drop lowest. I'll record the sets for each player in my little campaign book. They'll then get to choose any one set and assign to scores as they see fit. This should be about equiv to 25pt buy, but with higher 'low scores', which I like - I think MAD classes get kind of a raw deal in point buys.

The thing is, if they die or get bored and want to reroll as a different character, they'll have to use one of the remaining three sets and so on. Gives a bit more drama to dying or retiring a character, as opposed to some new dude showing up in shiny new tailor made WBL gear (I'll likely also do 75% WBL for replacement chars, and gear chosen by DM, not player). I haven't actually tried this before, so we'll see how it goes.

Wiggz wrote:

The question is who adds more to the group and why?


Mechanically, is saying that fighters will do more damage to average encounters, and be more agile in full plate, but that paladins will destroy evil boss fights several times a day, plus provide some useful healing support, a fair way to summarize the differences?

Also, Aura of Justice seems like a giant "we win" button (but my experience is very limited).

So, I guess I'd prefer paladins, except for the impact they can have on the rest of the characters. A group with a paladin has a lot less options regarding conning, scamming, stealing, interrogating and unlawful behaviour. For example, breaking into the baron's keep who is suspected of being corrupt but without any real evidence. [Which reminds me, the constant "detect evil" scanning can also make life irritating for the DM].

I don't subscribe to the "chivalrous knight in shining armor" paladin trope (I prefer gritty determined paladins), but a deep and abiding respect for law, and an unwillingness to "look the other way" can be a real drag for other characters, and I wouldn't try to play one in a lot of groups where I felt this would impact others' enjoyment, or lead to a higher amount of inter-party conflict than I prefer to see.

Has this been a problem for others? Do people still find excuses for their paladin to "leave the room" when it's time to find out what the surviving cultist knows? I know torture shouldn't be sanctioned by most characters, but it seems that a paladin might draw the line a lot earlier (ie scary threats, sleep deprivation).

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Buri wrote:
Damn straight. Each and every item you craft costs gold. Each and every swing does not cost gold. This is fact. If you can't acknowledge this, then I have nothing more to say to you.

I purposely stayed away from the 'reduction ad absurdum' case of paying per sword swing, hp healed, fireball cast etc. Let's assume our happy party goes off adventuring, and drags themselves back to the inn battered and bruised. Your character has 8 points of con dmg, a nasty curse, 38 hp of dmg and (soon) a hangover.

A restoration spell will use 100gp in diamond dust, and according to s.html, the friendly local cleric of Abadar (or anyone else) will want (caster level)*(spell level)*10+100gp to cast it, or say, (10*4*10+100) for a 10th level cleric. So, that's 400gp for effort plus 100gp for mats, assuming you do it at his/her convenience.

If I was in said group, and our oracle had access to restoration, I'd expect him to cast it for the 100gp in mats only, when it was convenient (ie according to group triage and his personal plans). Would you also expect this, or would you be comfortable with the oracle charging 20%x400+100, or 180gp for his time, effort and mats?

I'm arguing that crafters who expect to pay only 100g in the above scenario (I have a gut feeling this includes most if not all Pathfinder players), but then demand materials cost + 10% profit for crafting an item are greedy hypocrits.

Of course someone should pay the materials cost of any items crafted, as well as pay for the cost of aquiring any spells needed that the crafter might not have. But some crafters seem to think a profit is also reasonable in this case. Why not a profit for the poor oracle then? The only difference is the amount of time taken. The crafter had to burn a feat? The oracle had to burn a spell slot learning restoration as well. Both are sunk costs freely chosen by the player.

Is it because the crafted item is eating into your weird, artificial 25% WBL cap? What happens when that cap is reached btw, you suddenly find yourself surrounded by pugwampis and unable to craft anything? I don't understand the WBL limits on crafting, to be honest. I guess NPC wizards have a very short, NFL-like career as magic item crafters.

Or is it the time taken? Of course I'd expect to wait until a crafter finished his own items, or even paying customers, ahead of mine, just as I'd expect to wait if the oracle had to cast all his 4th-level spells on more important (to him - 8 con is pretty important to me) causes.

666bender wrote:

i will gain:
extra action each round (will it work with wild shape? )

This is the Fleury of Maneouvers bonus? I thought it'd quickly be rendered nearly useless as it's stuck at a CMB of 1 + str mods (says monk level, not character BAB). I guess blinding casters for 1 round for free might still be a decent bonus.

Also, how do you get +3 to all saves? A monk has +2 to all saves, but a druid is either +1/+0/+1 or +0/+1/+0, which seems to me like a net gain of +1/+2/+1 or +2/+1/+2 depending on druid level, unless I'm missing something (which is quite likely).

Thanks for the advice guys!

XMorsX wrote:
I do not see why you do not take the standard spell focus (evocation), spell specialization and greater spell focus (evocation) as you intend to be a primary blaster. Maybe couple them with Elemental Spell for the fire resistant enemies.

Ouch - a lot of feats, but if that's what it takes to blast stuff then I guess I'll need to rework some feats. I can drop Fire God's Blessing (mostly wanted it to be cheeky and take an orc-only feat that sounded cool, because I could :), and perhaps the Extra Revelation (Molten Skin).

XMorsX wrote:
Form of Flame is a nice revelation if you can cast when you use it. I guess that as a sorcerer you already have Eschew Materials, so you can probably cast when transformed. Maybe you need in addition the Deaf curse though in order to make your spells silent. Dual-Cursed is an excellent archetype anyway, both Fortune and Misfortune are great revelations. The Blackened curse does not need to progress too, so the Deaf curse wil give you nice bonuses. Put one point in Linguistics on order to be able to read lips and you are set.

I looked at going Dual Cursed, but it knocks out Fireball from my list of mystery spells, which seemed totally unacceptable due to my character concept. Too bad, as the Deaf curse does seems nice. Also, Blackened progressing gives me scorching ray, flaming sphere and delayed blast fireball, which seem like nice blasts to add to an Oracle.

Sangalor wrote:
Why crossblooded anyway? What do you expect that one sorc level to help you?

It gives me +2 on all dice of damage for fire spells. I thought that a fireball at L8 doing 9d6+18 would be much better than one at 9d6 flat. It also gives access to a whole new category of spell-trigger items without having to bump UMD, darkvision, eschew mats, 3 more cantrips (mage ones at that). I know a level of spells/day and spells/known is a huge price, but I felt that such a large buff to all the fire spells would be worth it for a blaster char. I've read a few guides for blaster wizards, and thought a 1-level dip of crossblooded sorc was SOP.

I agree that a witch can make a great character too. It'd have less HP, no armor and have to memorize spells instead of being a dynamic caster, so a different feel I think. Depending on what the rest of the group had I might be inclined to go with that, or a standard wizard, over this hybrid. I hate stepping on people's toes and crowding a niche, character wise (ie 2nd gnome or dwarf in a group, 2nd int-based arcane caster). I'm mostly trying to work this up as an abstract exercise, to see if I understand Pathfinder char build strats, and your advice has made me realize that I have a few more things to grok. For instance, I thought my +4 will save at L8 (to pick a mid level point) would be ok, compared to the wizard's +6 + wisdom mod, or a fighter's notorious +2 + wisdom. Perhaps I can't get away with dumping wisdom. Again, thanks for the advice!

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I think it comes down to two separate issues:

1) the unspoken code of treating group members like family, and not making a 'profit' off of them, which only seems smart since one day the fighter may be deciding who to charge, the troll beating on the cleric or the ogre stomping on the wizard. For those of you claiming a 10% surcharge is fine, I'm assuming you are also fine with paying your cleric for restorations and remove curses *after* the adventure is over? With a decent 'friends and family' discount of course? After all, he could be out memorizing different spells in those slots, or casting spells for profit at the local temple. Which leads me to...

2) the game has introduced a way of monetizing a nebulous, often hand-waved concept of 'downtime' for magical crafters, while all other characters get nothing, except for the pathetic 'profession check in gp per week' (so 700gp/week vs 20-30gp/week). I don't run the stock crafting rules in my campaign (for this and other reasons - I hate them), but if I did, I'd feel compelled to add ways for all the other characters to 'monetize their downtime'. You can handwave it, but saying that the rogue is forging documents and made 550gp this week, or the fighter has taken on a task acting as a bodyguard for the mayor during an important diplomatic event, for which he gets 1000gp, the cleric made 200gp casting spells for locals, but received a request to come to Magnimar for a stretch where he could likely earn much more etc. The problem is professions don't scale at all with character level, whereas crafting has this goofy artificial limit (given enough 'downtime') of 25% of WBL, which does scale. Your 15th level wizard just made a Staff of Obvious Compensation earning 50k during these last 4 months, while Joe's 15th level fighter made 400 horseshoes for 80gp total, in stiff competition with the L2 exp down the street.

NB: I haven't read UC so if that introduces other methods of making scalable money during downtimes I regard that as an improvement.

I'm applying for some campaigns on, and sometimes it'd be helpful to have a possible character ready at short notice. While some things may need to change depending on DM's char gen rules, I decided to put together a possible PC with a 20pt buy as a potential char. Wanting something that is fairly flexible, but fun to play, I decided on a gnome oracle of flame.

Here is my current build thoughts - any and all advice welcome. I also have a few specific questions:

1) with wis 8 and crossblooded, I'm looking at -3 on Will saves. On the other hand, at L2, I have +4 to Will from classes. Is -3 too much? Should I drop dex in order to raise Wisdom to 10?

2) what feat at L1? I'm tempted to go Toughness or Improved Init. I don't think the other revelations are all that great to be worth going for extra revelation - correct? Any other options I should consider.

3) I only get 1 L1 spell as a crossblooded sorc, castable 4/day. I would love to get something with no somatic components so I can cast in a breastplate, but more important is to pick something that will remain useful as I level. Any ideas? Burning Disarm (2d4+4 dmg)? Grease?

4) Idea would be to blast with fire, or summon/buff and heal when fighting monsters resistant to fire. Is lack of Spell Focus/Spell Pen feats a deal breaker? I'd obviously not choose this character for an AP like WotR or LoF, but I should be ok for a Kingmaker or JR campaign, I'd hope.

Ibn Fazuul - gnome oracle of flame - NG

S8 D14 C14 I14 W8 Ch18

Racial traits: Keen Senses, Academician (knowledge:planes), Pyromaniac, Gift of Tongues, Low Light Vision

Background traits: Magical Knack (oracle), campaign trait?
Skills: perception (max), knowledge:planes (max), heal, spellcraft (max), knowledge:arcana (max), perform (storytelling), sense motive, diplomacy, use magic device

L1: oracle 1 - revelation (Cinder Dance), curse (Blackened), feat:?
L2: crossblooded sorcerer (gold dragon/orc)
L3: oracle 2 - feat: Fire God's Blessing
L4: oracle 3 - revelation (Burning Magic)
L5: oracle 4 - feat: Glorious Heat (caster is L5 due to magical knack?)
L6: oracle 5 -
L7: oracle 6 - feat: extra revelation (Molten Skin)
L8: oracle 7 - revelation (Wings of Flame)
L9: oracle 8 - feat: Quicken Spell
L10: oracle 9 -
L11: oracle 10 - feat: Selective Spell
L12: oracle 11 - revelation (Firestorm)

I'm slowly trying to get back into RPG's after a long absence. What is the best way to acquire a critical mass of miniatures quickly and at a reasonable price?

My first inclination was to buy a case of Heroes & Monsters, but it's not available from Paizo (and was at the upper end of what I wanted to spend to get started anyway). They do have a brick, but I'm not guaranteed as wide a variety with 4 bricks as opposed to a case, correct? Any other sources for sealed cases? I need a place that can ship to Canada reasonably, or else a brick and mortar store that has one in SW Ontario.

I do have the Pathfinder Beginner Box, so I have a few paper pawns. I also have my beloved Warhammer Quest boxed set with a fair number of minis, plus a couple of dozen (mostly characters) lead mini's from my old 2E days.

Any other sources I'm overlooking for a decent quantity of the basics? ie skeletons, zombies, orcs, goblins, humans, ogres and trolls and whatnot. I don't mind painting the singles and smaller groups, but would rather not sit down painting all the goblins, skeletons and such.

Also, has anyone made a portable chest with pull out trays for miniatures? I'm thinking of making something the size of a large tool box that I can load up with trays with miniature compartments for travelling, and then a larger piece of furniture to hold the trays back at my lair here. If anyone has done the same and has any suggestions I'd love to hear em.

Since there's been two replies recently, I'm jumping on my chance to add something here without being tarred and feathered as a necromancer.

First of all, thanks to Jr. Annalist (and his various E6 predecessors) for all the work on this.

I've been thinking about this for a campaign I'm putting together myself, and I'm wondering if any of you have thoughts on a scheme I'm currently contemplating. I'm going to have it to go to E6 normally, then begin awarding post-E6 feats, but after 5 feats (or levels) let them gain 7th level, and then after another 10 feats (or levels) gain 8th level. So, my 7th and 8th levels are very rare, and are in effect capstone 'epic' levels reserved for truly rare and powerful people.

I haven't played a lot of Pathfinder, which is why I'm inviting feedback, in case I'm not aware of some major issues. For me, going from E6 to E8 seems to have a few big issues:

1) access to 4th level spells. I'll have to go through and see how many problematic ones there are (Black Tentacles seems to stand out...), but I don't find them to be as game changing as 5th level spells in general, and having the players get access to a handful of powerful spells seems ok to me (I'll likely make the Expanded Arcana type feats not be applicable to L4 spells).

2) 3/4 BAB classes getting a 2nd iterative attack. I'm ok with this, since it will come so much later than for full BAB classes. I think this strikes a good balance between 3/4 BAB's supposing to be capable martials vs not overshadowing the full BAB classes.

I'm not worried about crafting rules, since in my campaign I won't use the Book based crafting at all, and instead use something more like the rules detailed in the (much loved by me) long ago White Dwarf articles where you have to 'research' any item to learn how to craft it, and assemble weird materials etc. This goes even for scrolls and potions, where you'll have to learn an ink or potion recipe, with materials that get more exotic as the spell or potion level gets higher. With this system, I'm fine even with powerful items such as a Staff of Power, which would be a legendary item requiring a lifetime of dedicated research and toil by a mage and his various apprentices (ie not gonna be crafted by some PC).

Anything else I'm overlooking? Does 5 and 10 seem like reasonable splits? I'd want it to be such that L8 is eventually possible, but a distant goal, much like becoming a L18 arch-mage in old AD&D.

I'm in a similar boat (coming back after a 20 year absence and feeling like Encino Man), and I've been reading a lot to fill in the gaps and come up to speed.

Of the AP's I've read (RotRL, CotCT, CC and Skull and Shackles), I think RotRL would be the most noob friendly. I personally didn't like the premise of Crypt of the Everflame, and Master of the Fallen Fortress lacked any kind of real back story or plot, IMO. I do like Hollow's Last Hope, and am currently intending to use that as a kick off to a mini-campaign I'm cobbling together from Pathfinder and older 3.0/3.5 material (Forge of Fury and Red Hand of Doom - really like those modules).

Does anyone have opinions on The Dragon's Demand or Tales of the Margreve for a beginner's campaign? Both seem to go from L1 -> L7 or so, which seems like a nice balance between one-off modules and a full-blooded AP. The reviews seems good on both, I'm just not sure how well suited they are to a rusty DM and newer players.

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Ravingdork wrote:

If it is a low level game that is unlikely to see high levels, I will generally play a martial character, since they tend to perform better than sorcerers and wizards at such levels and are unlikely to leave me with nothing to contribute with but a crossbow after the first encounter (which just isn't fun for me). However, if it starts in the mid- to high-levels, then I will most likely play a spellcaster, as they are far more versatile and allow me to really let loose with my creative, world-altering thinking.

I haven't actually played much Pathfinder yet (long time D&D player but I've been on a hiatus due to lack of local groups I'd care to play with), but I think there are a few issues at play here.

First is the feeling you're "cheating the system" of suffering through the perilous low levels of being a caster in order to bask in the glory of high-level power. This doesn't seem nearly as big an issue with Pathfinder as it was in old AD&D, but I can still understand it irking some players, especially the dude who suffered through the lower levels as a sorcerer, only to have you come waltzing in a L9 with a freshly rolled wizard ready to start competing with him for loot, spells and glory.

As to your, cast 'sleep' then x-bow for rest of adventure - it seems to me that Pathfinder has provided quite a bit of relief to that scenario. Three 1st level spells plus an arcane bond, plus cantrips etc. When I play wizards, I enjoy husbanding my power like Gandalf, trying to use the minimum needed and let the martials handle the chaff, pulling out the big guns (ie my spells) for boss fights. As a DM (currently planning out a campaign), I also tend to kind of front load magical items to give the casters more to do - ie wands of useful spells, scrolls with fun spells if they are a sorcerer. Maybe you just need a better mindset to enjoy playing casters at low level.

Second is an issue of party balance and not 'stepping on toes'. If I'm rolling up a character, I tend to go last since I try to help fill in holes and I'm confident of my ability to create an enjoyable personality of most roles/races. This doesn't just extend to class/role. If we already have a dwarf, I'd rather not play a second one and impinge on the first character's dwarven role. Humans being an obvious exception (I find I enjoy groups most when it's mostly human with one or two demi-humans for flavor). If you jumped on being the barbarian at 1st level, and others chose, say, life oracle, bard and alchemist to make a somewhat balanced party, then you got bored and switched to wizard/witch, it'd leave a bit of an odd group with no brute and lots of competition over caster items (with armor and weapons getting sold).

Finally is the issue of their being no consequence to character death. If you get bored of a character and replace him/her, and the new character comes in with WBL gear, it will likely be much better tailored and chosen for his role. This likely puts them in a *better* position than the PC's, who will have a motley collection of drops and junk that they have accumulated over the levels. For my next campaign, I'm combating this in a couple of ways. First, they'll each roll 4 sets of stats on 4d6 keep 3 and take whichever they wish. A replacement char (either due to death or retirement from boredom) will get whichever they wish set from the remaining 3 sets etc. They'll also get NPC WBL not PC WBL with items chosen by me (the DM), not hand picked items by the player. That will leave them underpowered, but with the dead PC's items split among the surviving players perhaps they'll donate some gear to the newb, or else they'll catch up in time.

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Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:

Coolest Intelligent magic item you've seen/made?

In game preferably, but in-game items based off of other fiction are more than welcome. Also, post/link stats if you have them.

My favorite was Ruffles, the intelligent rope of climbing. It couldn't speak or communicate telepathically, but could not and shake it's 'head' (end of rope). Ruffles was a giant coward, terrified of edged weapons and often had to be talked or coerced into climbing up into unknown or dark places. He was also quite lazy and would basically hang out in a backpack for most of the day, occasioanally popping his head out to see what's going on (and fleeing back inside at the first sign of an edged weapon wielded by someone he didn't recognize).

Eventually we came upon a rope of entanglement, which Ruffles was apparently attracted to, and he entwined with it and became a more powerful intelligent rope of entanglement and climbing (but still quite cowardly).

This was in our long running Undermountain campaign, so not sure if the DM made it up or if it was an Ed Greenwood/TSR invention.

Mason Whitlark wrote:
Are these games still occurring regularly?

I'd love to know as well. I haven't played in years, but would like to try some PFS play.

[NB: I haven't played any of this, or indeed any Pathfinder yet, but am reading the adventures as it's a good source of ideas and an enjoyable storyline. I acknowledge I may have missed things which a more thorough knowledge of the rules, actual play or the more detailed prep a DM does would reveal. If so, my bad...]

The crime seems to be breaking into a (thinly protected) University curio collection and stealing an ugly statue that is not known to be magical, but kept merely as an example of a curio from a different culture (plus some vandalism afterwards). I could imagine that, with her suspicions that The Beast would make a terrible professional burglar and so something more must be up, Judge Deramid could use Secret Society friends to influence to the University to drop the charges. This might also give the Judge more reason to ask the PC's to head out to the Schloss to ask the weirdo Count what's up with his flesh golem being sent to steal knick-knacks.

This all brings up kind of a bigger issue for me. A not known to be very valuable curio (not known to be magical? With detect magic being an at will cantrip, you'd think some sort of caster would have been scanning the curios for kicks and giggles at some point in the last decade. Or is it assumed to be magical and just not mentioned by the Professor?), stored in a University room with 3 large (albeit stuck) windows and a door protected by a mighty Alarm spell, and the best plan the Whispering Way can come up to put their hands on it is to 1) raise the castle (filled with horrors) of the high-level alchemist Count, 2) take control of his giant thug sentient flesh golem and 3) have it bash down the doors and toss the statue out the window to a waiting creature? Seems kinda like the Rube Goldberg method of getting their hands on a statue.

Instead, how about
- bribe one of the many (likely broke) students to pinch it (then kill him/her)
- give a drunk student 2 potions of gaseous form and dare him/her to grab it as a prank
- make a replica and get a professional thief to slip in and make the switch
- about 1000 other simple ways to grab the statue

If I was a player and (after talking to the Count in the aftermath) found out that the WW went thru all this to steal an ugly, lightly guarded statue (which we all assume is very valuable to them and about to bring about some nasty evil doom on Golarian etc), I'd come to the conclusion that we'd missed the real plot. Was it all a diversion? What was the real target of the Cult? Or that the WW are a pack of clowns who come up with outrageous schemes to accomplish tasks that could be handled in much simpler manners. Can we use that against them in the future?

Unless I'm missing something, I'd be inclined (as DM) to add some ulterior motive for the WW to want to ruin and capture the Count. Perhaps they needed a bizarre alchemical elixir created, and so they forced him to do so before stealing the statue. Perhaps the Count and AA go way back and have a bit of bad blood, so making the Count's life difficult is a nice bonus to using this ridiculous method of stealing the statue (but why leave him alive?).

Or do DM's just shrug and say "we clearly needed a Frankenstein trope for this adventure, so the thin premise will do"?