Vinroot the Drunken Treant

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RPG Superstar 7 Season Dedicated Voter. 368 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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As long as the witch trick is on the table, I think it's right to point out that the winter hag adds simulacrum as a coven SLA (no cost - make all the coven members you need). That's probably as cheesy (maybe less than) the coven trick for ~infinite caster level to start with, so make of that what you will.

I've added a reminder on my calendar to resurrect this thread 1 year from today. Because of reasons.

Meh, it might be a design choice that is valid at certain tables, but it is certainly not as interesting as the builds who can get it done by themselves.

I could see a witch/hex-crafter magus/accursed sorcerer/accursed arcanist doing well in this challenge by exploiting the trick in the highest caster level thread. But that's really only interesting in how absurd it is

I was using the term 'stand alone' to refer to a concept that does not require outside influence to be successful.

Leadership is a feat that requires GM adjudication. Some will let you build cohorts, some will present you with a set of NPC applicants, and some will let you approach only the NPCs present in the campaign. Table variation hampers the concept, as the rules don't spell out how things come to be.

The wish spell is another thing that can be a problem. There are several clearly defined abilities of the spell which could be used by a stand-alone build. Creative uses of the spell which are not in the description, however, would fall outside the concept of 'stand-alone' build.

Animal companions, familiars, eidolons, etc are fine, because these are things with a clear progression that is completely within the player's ability to define.

Does that make sense?

The Noble Scion thing is a specific rule that trumps the more general Leadership rules.

The issue I see is that the trick presupposes that you get to build your own cohorts, rather than having to... you know... recruit them from available NPCs. I don't know about you, but my campaigns don't usually see an excess of level 20 half base class half noble scions. YMMV.

I think an assumption of the thread is that a build needs to stand alone with no reliance on GM or circumstance (not counting circumstance bonuses, of course)

If you get the fancy to build a counterspelling (Arcane) sorcerer for a duel, you can use heightened cantrips to counter high level spells. I get a kick out of the idea of countering limited wish with a heightened prestidigitation.

(I think it can be done to Wish too, with the right set up... I can't recall if the idea leaned on mythic or not)

It would be the same turn as casting, as the rules provide no framework for distance increasing the time for spells to hit a target.

In the majority of circumstances, I agree with Jeraa... You probably won't get 2 mile ranges out of your spell. That said, I always get a kick out of the highest caster level thread

Incidentally, there's also no reason to expect that information transfer speed is limited by the speed of light in the Pathfinder rule set.

Avadriel wrote:
Could you give an example of what you mean? I would have assumed that transfering a curse from one cursed sword to a mace or vice versa would have very little affect, since either way, you end up with one cursed item, is there something I am missing? its not like you could transfer a curse from a ring to a sword or some other such exploit.

Admittedly it wont come up often, but sometimes there might be significant lore attached to say, the cursed dagger of doom, which means everyone second guesses picking up a dagger out of habit. On the other hand, anybody might be tempted to pick up the unsuspecting mace with a hidden aura (which now carries the dagger's curse). It's not the strongest example, but it might come up eventually as a new thing opened up by that spell. (Rycaut's example is good too!)


Avadriel wrote:
not all that many people masterwork spares, at least in the groups I play with

This could be subject to change if people are saving the cost of their +5 weapon by carrying a spare -- it does depend on the availability of weight saving mechanics like bags of holding, carts/donkeys, or handy haversacks. I usually suspect those are available, though I admit things would be different if those aren't base assumptions.


Avadriel wrote:
I think this is less of an issue, unless you are typically finding weapons with the combination of enchants that perfectly matches your preferences but on the wrong weapon type (sadistic gm)

I thought the spell presupposed a bit of sadistic GMing (giving good enchantments on an item you cant use effectively) - did I misinterpret? Why would you use this spell if not to put better enchantments on an item you want to use?


Avadriel wrote:
To some extent this is true, but while crafting a magic weapon has always been half price to buying them, this is still more expensive because at the very least, you are spending 300 more of a masterwork weapon, or 150 more for a masterwork armor, and if special materials were involved the amount that using the spell costs you is even higher, though in this regard, I should probably add a caveat of requiring 2000 gold gems as an additional material component if the targeted item is made of cold iron.

The only sure price difference is half of the masterwork cost (youd usually recoup half of it by selling the original item). That cost is (in my opinion) very low for the schedule reduction you achieve.

Regardless, the comparison is close, showing that the proposed houserule isn't too far out of the realm of the possible.

And yeah, the cold iron thing would give players a way to generate cash (not that any GM would let that happen, so that in itself isn't a problem with the houserule)


Avadriel wrote:
I assume you are talking about version 1 for the high risk? since a will save is much more likely to cause a failure than the caster level check, but in any case in both versions of the spell, the will save or caster level check only applies if you try to overwrite a cursed or intelligent item, so the risk can be avoided merely by not trying to overwrite cursed or intelligent items.

For both options actually, though one is easier to buff high enough to make failure moot. As it stands, the thought only applies to intelligent/cursed items... That said, I find risks in magic to be interesting, so I'd likely make the penalty apply to every attempt.

For one, transferring curses can make an unexpected trap item.

I wouldn't expect anyone to ever overwrite a magic item they have on hand - this spell encourages folks to carry masterwork copies of their main gear in case they find a better enchantment than what they already have.

Not that that's a problem necessarily... I would, however, encourage you to require the caster to have Craft Magic Arms/Armor, or this spell will provide a means to bypass one significant opportunity cost (feat expense) already built into the game.

With that modification, the spell effectively sells the item and crafts the new item with the gold you would have gained (nearly) instantaneously without the need for spellcraft checks. This is still great for dungeon crawling, as the major block there has always been time.

The risk (wasting the item) is significant, which means nobody will ever use the spell on (very) expensive items unless they can guarantee success. I'd actually attempt to dial back the risk to make it more palatable -- so more people might actually accept the risk and get burned -- maybe you get targeted by a random spellblight if you fail, or you get cursed, or something.


Meh, Mr Seifter will probably have better ideas.

And to ease my discomfort in discussing something in this thread without asking a question... I'll ask a question:

Are you satisfied/dissatisfied with the current reaction of the customer base with regard to the recent release of Pathfinder Unchained? It must be pretty interesting to see the reaction from the other side of the curtain, if you will. (Possibly difficult to answer from a Public Affairs view-point -- sorry)

I can't help but think some people really got their hopes up and are venting their disappointment, but from what I've heard it sounds like a pretty decent product.

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Do you see the inconsistency in that?

Well, it technically has been addressed. Perhaps not up to your standards, but there has been at least a little discussion into why the phrasing is in question.

Frankly, I don't think its supposed to work that way either. However, the phrasing is qualitatively looser than similar phrasing used to describe what are presumably similar abilities.

People came in at the beginning with general-level dismissals of the idea... giving them again now isn't particularly moving.

Not high enough a tier? Though the point stands, as Big Blue was talking about high level play

The thread's been dead a while, but that (LazarX's) point has been addressed earlier by the fact that the path ability is passive (no mp expense), whereas the proposed interpretation/modification takes 1 or more mp.

I don't think Big Blue's option will end up causing problems. Have fun!

Or they could possibly use a weapon as an improvised thrown weapon, so long as they accept the (worse) improvised weapon stats. Using the throwing enchantment allows the use of the better weapon stat, and further allows proficiency to matter.

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What saving throw is required to resist Delayed Blast Threadlock? Because clearly, this thread optimized heavily on that save.

Edit- Evidently, it's a dirty rollplayer

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Mark Seifter wrote:
It's a messageboard so deviations are kind of normal, I guess, which makes it a...standard deviation.

I laughed.

I have no problem with the assertion that barbarians are better damage dealers than fighters so long as they are able to rage/otherwise use those powers. That has some fairly well versed evidence supporting it. I actually fully support that view actually: in the majority of circumstances, a raging barbarian *should* outperform the fighter in DPR. That's sort of that class' schtick.

My issue was more with the idea that witch hunter was so broadly applicable that it is unnecessary to consider barbarian DPR without it. Not providing that is not representative... It is also a weakness in the argument to not compare a fully equipped character (that takes more effort, but *would* make the concept more solid)

I might have gotten a little too pedantic in response to what I thought were weak bases for arguments. Any leaning on specific settings or individual testing is extremely weak evidence. Induction on bestiary sets might be indicative, but can not possibly be offered as conclusive evidence to someone who induces differently.

My pedantry obscured the fact that I actually agree with the conclusion.

And yeah, witch hunter is great. Maybe a little too applicable, but a GM can adapt encounters if a power makes a group more powerful than the APL suggests.

Given the clear intent, I'd wager that the performance does not revert the animal to its base statistics.

As a basis, the quotes you give never directly state that the animals revert (though that is generally assumed to counter flooding natural habitat with super animals.)

There might have been dev support for reversion, though my phone-google fu is weak.

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The relevance of that post is that it offers an implication that your induction on the set of creatures (i.e. That the relative number of high CR caster to martial statblocks is reflected in actual population of high level creatures) is based on a questionable premise (that Paizo meant for such a reflection at all)

That inductive logic is a major premise in the argument, and I question it's validity in a slightly different manner than it has previously been questioned.

You might have noticed I can get a little pedantic... But all caps and infantilizing arguments? Really? It is easy to get frustrated, I understand that. I really am not trying to be belittling or condescending or anything. If I come off that way, let me know so I can phrase things better in the future.

I disagree fundamentally with the concept that an argument fundamentally based on induction (at least not the mathematical kind) can ever be easily proved.


I believe that the crux of Darkheyr's issue is that monster population is entirely based on setting. It appears as though Darkheyr believes your induction leads to a setting that unnecessarily favors the witch hunter power. Instead, he/she constructed a model in which a good number of level appropriate encounters (against core race NPC/PC classes) may not be affected by witch hunter.

In your frustration with what you took to be pedantry or petulance (justifiably, perhaps), you did make some fairly broad statements which could be seen as exaggeration , especially by someone who usually plays with that sort of model.

Does that make sense?

Admittedly it's also bad form to be pedantic without advancing arguments (as might have been done here - I omitted this correction as I remembered reading that very correction earlier on these boards... Different thread though . I could have noted that sort of infraction too, to be more fair)

I don't think exaggeration is equivalent to lying, so let me backtrack if you think I'm questioning your integrity here. I merely question the form with which you've presented your argument and a basic assumption for your arguments.

I posted ~2 hours ago what I thought was the crux of the issue and a reasonable method of settling the question.

I then gave what I believed to be at least a plausible explanation for the number of caster types compared to martial types.

Were these points petulant? I didn't think so at the time, but I certainly can't be a good judge of my own ideas.


Edit - I don't *think* I'm using misattribution with the use of the word "all" instead of "most."

In your clarifying post, you fairly clearly indicated that the opposing view held the concept 'Only martials allowed '

Rynjin wrote:
Most people actually use the options provided so every game above level 6 or 7 isn't a bunch of Animals, Oozes, and humanoids (but no Gnomes, or half of the non-Core races) with the Ninja/Rogue, Fighter, Slayer, Cavalier/Samurai, Gunslingeer, and Swashbuckler classes (but no archetypes) as the sole foes.

Maybe I got something really out of context?

The exaggeration bit of the argument (I believe) stems from the insistence that the majority of enemies will have sufficient caster abilities to qualify for the specific barbarian ability... To suppose that all creatures satisfy the positive condition is hyperbole just as much as the assertion that all creatures do not satisfy the positive condition.

I actually found a few additional points of order with regard to the assertion:

Rynjin wrote:
Most people actually use the options provided so every game isn't a bunch of weaksauce Fighters in every encounter.

The use of the phrase 'most people' (do the thing I suggest-paraphrase), is a fallacy that the audience ought to identify and realize is a weak basis for the following point.

'Isnt a bunch of weak sauce Fighters' unnecessarily introduces escalating language to an otherwise civil discussion. Your opinion on the worth of fighters has been spelled out without this additional clarification

This assertion furthermore makes it appear as though your opposition holds the stance that the alternative to your stated assumption is only the polar opposite. That is a mis-attribution.

I'm all for good, solid argumentation. If your point is superior (typically. As seen on these boards, you are arguing from the superior position), then you ought not abase your argument with lesser methods - it makes people doubt your argument's validity.

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@Rynjin. Perhaps the preponderance of casters (or caster-lites) in bestiaries is indicative of the (objective?) fact that casters -are- harder to stat up in any way that even remotely approaches a concept of balance (as demonstrated via NPC stat blocks, anyway).

This leaves the creation of martial only opponents in the hopefully competent hands of the GM, while easing some of the heavier burden.

An assumption on my part, as I don't work for Paizo.

Edit: in reply to a post mentioning the difficulty of creating wizards and the relative ease of creating clerics/oracles/sorcerers/etc...

To respondent: I was speaking more toward the idea that it is a lot easier to artificially inflate encounter CR with a particularly synergistic set of spells.

If you have a set of high level caster (sort of caster) to compare against, you are less likely to accidentally create something far beyond the expected encounter difficulty.

That said, using the pregenerated stat blocks directly also allows for far less GM work than actually creating casters.

I'd further argue that feat selections are likely less onerous to generate (though that is gut feeling without -as of yet- supporting evidence). These are also less likely to be a source of imbalance (if not possibly resulting in a lower difficulty than desired - see this thread for evidence)

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The supposition that one will face opponents that are predominately caster/non-caster, or armed/unarmed is entirely setting based. The core rules were published with the expectation that they could be applied to settings beyond Golarion, so listing (convincing) anecdotes concerning adventures in Golarion only provides evidence for a specific subset of instances.

Theoretically, both sides of the argument are based on an infinite representation of their specific idea: you could have (infinitely diverse) adventures with only caster or non-caster opponents, or only armed or unarmed opponents.

That said, having the stats up for how the barbarian deals with a specific subset of opponents is at the least not fully representative of the demonstrated barbarian's performance. It probably wouldn't take a lot of effort* to do the statistics for the remainder of the total set of opponents.

If the barbarian is still triumphant in that comparison with the fighter, that proves the point more strongly.

If the fighter comes out on top in that comparison, then maybe that's the niche a fighter fills that the barbarian doesn't fill as well (probably could still be filled better by others)

It might take a little more effort to properly equip both characters for their level, taking presumably near optimal items. This would be a good thing to do in order to eliminate potential arguments against fairness in equipment (this would require acknowledgment from both parties on what constitutes near optimal equipment -- hard to obtain over internet)

* I might do it if I weren't constrained to a phone for the next few days. This post is already a bit long for a phone post

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I just got the Ranged Tactics Toolbox, and saw the Seeking Spell Metamagic Feat (Link)

I immediately thought of this thread.

-- Now the Death Star Witch + Bat Swarm doesn't even need to *see* the targeted opponent (though it may be assumed that a curved line of effect must exist between caster/opponent).

Skald might work if bard isn't martial enough. There might be some synergistic rage powers too, though I haven't the time to check at the moment.

I provided a slightly less ridiculous method for the generation of 1000s of witches that both parties could exploit to the same extent...

In reality (in my interpretation, at least), the duel is between 2 level 20 witches. However, one witch sends 4 of her most powerful simulacra out to fight the opponent witch (without outside interference)

Both witches could generate simulacra at the same rate by producing a winter hag and a self-clone --> this coven produces 1 free simulacrum per round.

Better rates are obtained by producing a new winter hag after every 2 witches and splitting off into new covens.

- Finding the ridiculous creatures (Unique Eldritch Horrors? Probably hard to find) would probably be more time consuming than getting enough witches to guarantee a possession.


I'm not arguing that its not obnoxious -- it is -- but it's probably just as accurate to presume that both level 20 witch simulacra would have difficulty possessing equivalently stupidly powerful entities, so that the only appreciable power difference is a single level 20 PC. When you have a really obnoxious CR, one additional level 20 character is significantly less of a factor than the random chance in the dice.

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Coriat wrote:
Okay, but only if the lead witch intends to use her immense caster level to fight crime!


I think I made my leaning on the pro/anti crime thing clear with

I wrote:
I'd shamelessly slaughter the bats that failed their second save for being too weak


As far as I can tell, the minimum level for assured success is 12 - a few well positioned level 6 simulacrum clerics with magic domain (variant channel) and quick channel will give a blanket +3 to caster level checks, which will ensure success for the level 6 simulacrum bat witch swarm.

Level 12 is also where sorcerers and arcanists (accursed bloodline) would get access to the simulacrum spell to produce the winter hag and self-copy for the 3 member coven initiation fee -- though they could grab scrolls earlier.

I realize level 10 simulacrums (of level 20 PC classes) are much more hardy in battle -- But it is not always assured that a GM will allow you to generate a caster stat block on the fly - especially for high level casters. (I personally wouldn't have an issue with someone making a simulacrum of a PC class of an equivalently leveled character, but would raise an eyebrow at a level 10 character getting a (effective 10) simulacrum of a level 20 character - I recognize this is not a problem to some people)

It probably doesn't matter, though, if a GM is already going to allow the !?!?! CL that we're aiming for.

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As long as we are going full on with the coven SLAs, we could consider all witch simulacrums to be subject to Baleful Polymorph (bat), as a more permanent transformation to diminuitive than beast shape. I'd shamelessly slaughter the bats that failed their second save for being too weak

Then you don't need to be high level either.

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I'm not disagreeing with the absurdity here, but I think the situation could presuppose that the 4 witch team gets to bring along help if the higher level witch gets to bring along help.

Down that path lies madness! So carry on... Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.

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Summon Spirit:
Summon Spirit (Sp): The witch calls forth the ghost of a humanoid creature with no more than 18 Hit Dice. The ghost has its own personality and desires, but is willing to bargain with the witch, as if she had cast greater planar ally. To seal an agreement with the witch, the ghost requires life energy equal to 1 temporary negative level (this is in addition to the standard payment for the ghost's service). This negative level persists as long as the ghost remains in the service of the witch; the witch can end the agreement as a standard action, immediately removing the negative level.

Planar Ally Description

The only interaction I see is a cost reduction in the negotiation, and a significant increase in the length of the negotiated task. I guess it makes it closer to a permanent 18 HD - can be class levels - companion (So essentially a nigh permanent cohort for 1800 GP every CL minutes? You could get a bunch with several uses, but each additional one adds a temporary negative level (as effectively permanent as the ghost).


In addition to Frostbite, options include:
Demiplanes - Huge volume
Greater Dispel Magic - yikes. Essentially targeted Mage's Disjunction on creatures
Holy Word - CL independent function on successful save
Icy Prison - works even on save
Finger of Death - works even on save
Reach Slay Living - works even on save
Wail of the Banshee - doesn't work at all on save
Others probably.

I think Frostbite (maybe tagged with Elemental Spell) will work on most everything but undead and constructs.

Thantopic Finger of Death/Slay Living will probably deal with undead, and Icy Prison will probably deal with constructs (that aren't outright immune to magic anyway) -- Id like lower level options, if available

I especially like the idea of spawning a ~ 16 mile radius quasi-sphere of ice around my opponent with Icy Prison. (A million inches is a lot - I'm lowballing this thread at merely a million CL). That sphere would last a million minutes -> 694 days. It would have hardness 0 and 3000000 hp. And would require a STR check of 1000015 to break. I imagine somebody might be able to target sections of the sphere to tunnel out more quickly than the spell otherwise suggests.

What other spells are affected by absurd CL?
I'm looking for thing beyond the obvious time/range boost.
I suppose any class SP and SU abilities could also be considered (as one could just dip Witch/Sorcerer/Magus/Arcanist to qualify)

(N.B. I don't think any of this will fly with a sane GM, but there is some humor in observing the absurd)

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You could, perhaps, consider them as a massive overload of level 10 witch self-simulacrums from a level 20 witch with a winter hag in her coven.

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Note also that the winter hag adds simulacrum to the coven list as a spell like ability... So it wouldn't cost a bunch either.

Yes, so long as it is an active magic effect with a duration. If, for some reason, it were an instantaneous curse (with lasting effect), you would not be able to remove it. That's about the only magic thing I can think of that wouldn't be transferred.

I suppose it would also need to be the highest level effect on your friend, as it doesn't give you the option of choosing the target effect. So it might take a few tries, and may not be easily done in a pinch (if there are other, higher level buffs)

Trickster: Transfer Magic:
Your mythic nature allows you to take magic from others as easily as you could take their gold. By expending one use of mythic power as a standard action, you can make a melee touch attack to transfer an active magical effect from a target creature to you. If you succeed, the highest-level effect on the target transfers to you (determine randomly if the target has multiple effects with the same level), ending the effect for the target and continuing it on you with the remaining duration as if you were the original target. You may end the effect on yourself as a standard action; this doesn't cause it to revert to the original target. If the transferred magic can't affect you (for example, if it doesn't affect creatures of your type), it ends immediately as if dispelled. You can't use this ability to transfer continuous bonuses from magic items, such as an armor bonus from bracers of armor..

You have the right of it. The 'remaining duration' is permanent (until dispelled, anyway)

Rhedyn, point of clarification: Do you mean that you would require the Master Craftsman feat, the item creation feats, and relevant skill ranks? Note, that's what I've mentioned I prefer, but so far I don't think anyone else has gotten on board with that.


As a summary of what I remember as optional house rules, we have:
-- quotes for easy separation, not because of actual quoting people...

Option A wrote:
Remove Crafting feats altogether. Make all magic item crafting tie into a appropriate craft skill. Require some minimum number of ranks in order to access a particular facet of crafting
Option B wrote:
Make all magic item crafting tie into a specific craft skill, and require some minimum number of ranks. Allow crafting feats and spellcraft to supersede the base rule that you need ranks in the appropriate skill
Option C wrote:
Allow ranks in a craft skill to qualify all players for crafting feats. Only allow appropriate skills as a basis for crafting
Option D wrote:
Allow casters to use Spellcraft as the appropriate skill in Option C
Option E wrote:
Allow everyone to use Spellcraft as the appropriate skill in Option C
Option F wrote:
Require Master Craftsman to unlock the ability to key crafting feats off of appropriate skills - optionally re-balance skill bonus from the feat
Option G wrote:
As option F, but limited to Magical Arms and Armor and Wondrous Items
Option H wrote:
As option F, but allow a singular craft/profession skill to apply as an appropriate skill (as spellcraft)


I probably missed a few, and I might need to reword some of these to satisfy some nuances that aren't fully represented.

I hope that this might help frame some of the discussion.

I am currently a proponent of Option F.

As I indicated, I wasnt really all that offended, so it's all good on my end. I'm sure I've used some suboptimal phrasing here that was offensive somehow, so I'll offer an apology to anyone I offended.

(As an aside, there is a time and a place for citing definitions. For instance, when there is reasonable suspicion that there is genuine misunderstanding of the word, or you are trying to use a seldom used definition to show why a certain rule isn't clear enough in its plain English form. I suspect, at the time, you did not believe I was unaware of the usual definition of the words you cited -- though the possibility exists)

I think lack of sleep can excuse a lot of bite... In the future, I hope you remember this occurrence so that your low-sleep state doesn't detract from what are otherwise usually very good posts.


So, what do people think of the comparison with Nature Magic and the (Faerie/Winter/Grasping) Strike feats?

You could be a ranger/druid (caster) and automatically qualify for the strike feats (crafting feats) -- you'd need vital strike too, though that is more so that the feat applies to something.

It's a little closer to the idea - these are not class features, but are clearly associated with a subset of classes. In this case, it is a feat tax between the outside classes and full access to a particular thing.

This is another indicator of a feat tax requirement to bridge class divides.

On the other hand, you have divine protection, which allows a subset of divine based classes to poach a Paladin's class feature without a feat tax. It has some pretty class heavy fluff reasoning, and other classes would need to multiclass to gain access.

This is evidence against the idea of a feat tax, as the suggested corrections for Master Craftsman nearly universally require significant skill investment, and possibly the addition of feats. (Possibly as onerous an investment as a level multiclass, depending on build requirement)


I think that everyone should at least be constrained to taking the crafting feats, at a minimum. A really good houserule ought to be applicable across most games, and a system based only on craft skills is too easily abusable during downtime. Additionally, if the solution will (nearly) always help casters, but only helps non-casters if they plan to pursue a crafting character - it has a second drawback in widening the often discussed power gap between non casters and casters.

By making at least the craft feats necessary, casters can't use the system for a gain that wasn't previously accessible.

I would still be more comfortable with the feat tax, due to the various other feats I've mentioned. I believe the benefit of the tax could be reworded to at least make it useful.

I also believe that a meaningful rebalancing of non-casters and casters should not rely on non-casters gaining things that casters could do all along. I'd honestly prefer a wholly different approach, so that at the end of the process the casters don't get to look smugly down on the non-casters who needed their features just to be relevant.

But that is a very difficult subject, which may well be rendered moot with the upcoming Pathfinder Unchained.


-- Edit: Bob Bob Bob, your suggestion is essentially what I'm trying to convince Ashiel of at the moment as a slightly more robust houserule.

While I prefer the tax, I recognize many people won't like it at all.

Maybe a little worse for Small characters?

FAQ wrote:
If the size increases by one step, look up the original damage on the chart and increase the damage by two steps. If the initial size is Small or lower (or is treated as Small or lower) or the initial damage is 1d6 or less, instead increase the damage by one step.

Maybe there's a nuance Im missing.

EDIT:: (Probably buried in the progression, in all likelihood).

Im betting that 'initial' applies progressively as you advance up the chart, and not to the initial base size.

EDIT 2:: and confirmed later!

Ashiel, in the quoted post

Ashiel wrote:
For those that aren't GOD. They'd at least have their Craft skill. And they wouldn't be paying both testicles, an arm, three legs, and their favorite mule for "teh rolepway".

Bolded the part that might have been offensive to master_marshmallow. It infantilizes the opponent's argument (in this case its also my argument, but that's neither here nor there). Its also one of the less insulting things you've posted in reply to my arguments, all of which I have done my utmost to ignore and respond to the actual matter at hand.

But, for your edification:

Ashiel wrote:

Fairness noun

1. the state, condition, or quality of being fair, or free from bias or injustice; evenhandedness:
I have to admit, in all fairness, that she would only be paid for part of the work.

Citing dictionaries implies that the opponent is not intelligent enough to understand simple English. This is actually a personal insult... not directed to my arguments, but to me. I disregarded it, because it makes no difference to me what you think of my intelligence.


Ashiel wrote:
Adept Woodwright wrote:

Go ahead and call the suggestions delusional. Some people just might have fun pretending to be something that they aren't. As long as they get next to no mechanical benefit from it, I have very few concerns about whatever fluff people want to claim.
Perhaps I stuttered. Let me try again. If your concept is "Have a character that's delusional" rather than have a character that actually does something, then good for you.

Saying that something I noted was delusional was fine, as it was theoretical. Reiterating it when I said that it was included within the playstyle that I follow is an attack on the way I play the game . This is also more aggressive than necessary and could possibly be seen as insulting.


Ashiel wrote:
Except as usual it looks like you're ignoring the cost of investment

Saying that I am ignoring something is fine. Phrasing it this way is hostile, and brings nothing more to your argument than saying that I am generally ignorant. Possibly insulting.


Ashiel wrote:
Because sacrificing entire character levels for something that sucks is so much better. How does one be an academic if one is not capable of parsing observed stimulus? :|

The question here uses the one personal fact I have revealed about myself on this thread to insinuate that I am not only bad at forming arguments but that I am bad at the thing I do in real life. That is personally insulting. I revealed that fact in the hopes that you would try to frame your arguments in a more convincing deductive or inductive sense. I was disappointed.


I let all those things go, because I couldn't care less what someone on the internet thinks of me or my arguments. I care about the content of arguments and counter-arguments. Bringing the (minor) issues up had no bearing on the argument at hand, so I was trying to just let them slide in the hopes that eventually whatever had upset you managed to work itself out. I pointed out at least twice that I was trying to be cordial despite some baiting posts, in the hopes that it might grant you the moment of circumspection necessary to stop being so blatantly hostile. Unfortunately, the matter culminated with master_marshmallow.

Looking back through this thread, there are a total of three people who have questioned your role-playing ability (at least, that you've responded to or had in your posts). The first was kamenhero25, who was lambasted hard and fast, and has not returned to the thread since (possibly why Aelryinth hasn't seen the need to bring up that issue) He also publically retracted the main thing that you had issues with, though it could have been more apologetic.

Another was master-marshmallow, who it appears stepped in on my behalf because I was blatantly ignoring all of the insults you had put my way, in order to point out that you probably ought to tone it down. He could have phrased things differently, admittedly, to make his commentary less escalatory.

The final and most prolific detractor of your roleplaying ability has been your own posting, done in sarcasm. This is one of the reasons I recommended that it stop early on in the thread, because it tends to make the argument seem more divisive than it actually is.

Ashiel wrote:
Let's get this strait. You're trying to sell me on the idea that I, an Int-based caster (who is probably a wizard w/ bonus feats to boot), who is already maxing Spellcraft, will avoid taking a single feat (Craft Wondrous Items) which would allow me access to 100% of wondrous items using a skill I've already maxed out, and instead invest the minimum ranks in lots of different skills to try to go without it?

Yes, that is exactly what I am doing. If a caster would otherwise take crafting, but can save that feat by investing in some skills, then the caster has benefitted from the proposed crafting system (not a bad thing, necessarily... but if he does it enough, then he has potentially negated the proposed fix).

There's also the option of having several Headbands of Int+2 keyed to skills where you'll regularly want to overcome DCs -- that would be a GP investment though, and available to all players. Not sure if that would be a great feature of the changed game mechanic either.

What I'm trying to get at here is that you should look at all of the outcomes of your decisions, and see if the decision actually does precisely what you want it to do. Maybe you believe that a caster investing skills to avoid spending feats is working exactly as intended (though such a system favors Int-based classes significantly, maybe that's not a bad thing to you)

Ashiel wrote:
For those that aren't GOD. They'd at least have their Craft skill. And they wouldn't be paying both testicles, an arm, three legs, and their favorite mule for "teh rolepway".

I may be a purist too, but phrasing like this might be what master_marshmallow was referring to. I've tried pretty hard not to rise to baiting messages so far, and to be at least cordial.


For the fairness bit, Ill just reiterate a thing I said to Wierdo earlier

I wrote:
Admittedly, I could have phrased my point against 'fairness' better: I cringe whenever the word 'fair' is used in a debate, because it doesn't really mean anything until you back it up, and all it does is evoke emotional responses from the audience. An argument (read - in my opinion) ought to be strong enough without going for that sort of tactic. Ashiel later made some good points, which I think I have been pretty cordial about responding to.


Ashiel wrote:
Because sacrificing entire character levels for something that sucks is so much better. How does one be an academic if one is not capable of parsing observed stimulus? :|

So, Ill put a semi-optimizer hat on for a second and try to make you see what I'm seeing here. You can take a level dip in any full caster class and gain 1 real CL (you lose your last level ability and a BAB, likely). You could have the Magical Knack trait (I assume everyone gets 2 to start) to count as +3 CL (up to 4). You could then join a magic crafting guild, and earn enough Fame (35) that you are eventually esoterically trained (Esoteric Training from Inner Sea Magic) which gets you another +3 effective CL bump (up to 8 CL)

You'd qualify for crafting feats with the exception of Rods and Staves with a 1 level dip and minimum additional expense. You'd also get some small pool of level 1 spells (and level 2 spells from esoteric training). (which may be good for overcoming the loss of BAB/end ability) You could focus only on spellcraft as your skill tied to crafting.

This is a thing that already exists in the rules, and I do not see it as too onerous if you want to be really great at crafting while being a character type that is usually subpar at crafting.

Because it exists in the rules, it should influence the debate on what is needed to balance the thing in question. Its certainly not ideal for all builds, but I never claimed that it was.


Ashiel wrote:
As for feat tax, it's irrelevant to me whether or not you think it's a bad thing or not, especially without an explanation as to why that is.

Upthread, I compared the general situation concerning Master Craftsman with Eldritch Heritage. Essentially

Take Skill Enhancer (Master Craftsman or Skill Focus) -> open up the ability to adopt another class' feature
Take that ability (Craft Feat or Eldritch Heritage) -> gain a portion (not the entirety) of the class feature you were after.

I mentioned it as an indicator that sometimes the ability to nab a feature from another class is hidden behind a feat tax. Because Master Craftsman exists, I presume that developers have balanced the game at least in part around the concept that non-casters need a feat tax to access crafting (That it is not balanced is pretty given, but we've both been offering solutions to make it better)

Ah, thank you Avh! So there was a FAQ.

Then the ranks vs points distinction is meaningless. I think Wierdo's suggested bump up to +4 on the bonus would work fine instead.

Covent, I am not a fan, as it is better (at 18th level + - when you get 6) than the combination of all crafting feats with the exception of weapons/armor:

Craft(Jewelry): Magic rings, necklaces, Ioun stones, and trinkets such as pearls of power and beads of karma.
Craft(Staff): Staves and wands.
Craft(Alchemy): Elixirs, potions, and alchemical items such as marvelous pigments.
Craft(Clothing): Magic cloaks, tabards and clothing.
Craft(Books): Magic books, scrolls, and writing.
Craft (Cloth): Magic containers and items composed almost entirely of cloth that are not clothing.

Id like it better if you changed it to count for one crafting feat and allowed it to count for more if you take it multiple times... or somehow limited it so that one feat wouldn't eventually become better than several other feats (even if there is some minimal skill investment to pass DCs).

Wierdo wrote:

But you're Ok with “balance”? What do you see as the difference between fairness and class balance?

Note: I'm also an academic and I see no problem with Ashiel's argument. While it's emotionally argued, it's based on a rational assessment of the relative worth of the crafting options for the two groups compared to the desired relative worth (ie “similar.”)

Usually, balance to me is determined by whether or not an ability is so great that its a no-brainer choice or if it is bad enough that there's no good condition for taking it.

In the context here, I assume that classes have been balanced already with the caster/non-caster divide (regardless of the wizard supremacy at high level while martials eke out a living), and would prefer not getting rid of it without at least some meaningful debate.

Having deliberately made a build with Master Craftsman in the past (albeit using Mythic, so power wasn't an issue really), I was walking into this question with less hostility toward the conceit of the feat than most other posters here.

Admittedly, I could have phrased my point against 'fairness' better: I cringe whenever the word 'fair' is used in a debate, because it doesn't really mean anything until you back it up, and all it does is evoke emotional responses from the audience. An argument (read - in my opinion) ought to be strong enough without going for that sort of tactic. Ashiel later made some good points, which I think I have been pretty cordial about responding to.

Magic item Creation wrote:
Note that all items have prerequisites in their descriptions. These prerequisites must be met for the item to be created. Most of the time, they take the form of spells that must be known by the item's creator (although access through another magic item or spellcaster is allowed). The DC to create a magic item increases by 5 for each prerequisite the caster does not meet. The only exception to this is the requisite item creation feat, which is mandatory. In addition, you cannot create potions, spell-trigger, or spell-completion magic items without meeting its prerequisites.
Creating Magic Weapons wrote:
Creating a magic weapon has a special prerequisite: The creator's caster level must be at least three times the enhancement bonus of the weapon. If an item has both an enhancement bonus and a special ability, the higher of the two caster level requirements must be met. A magic weapon must have at least a 1 enhancement bonus to have any melee or ranged special weapon abilities.

So, just semantically, the pre-requisite that you listed is not inside an item description and thus does not automatically qualify for the blanket exception policy without some sort of debate. Should it? Maybe so.

The next bit tells us that this thing is a special prerequisite, which could indicate (at least, could be debated - as it has been in the past) that it is a special exception to things that usually apply to pre-requisites.

Finally, there is the phrase 'must be met', which is pretty specific. Usually things that are specific override general rules -- again, something that could be debated because this might be a misuse of plain English in a rules context.

Coriat. They wouldn't need to just choose one. They would have a +2 on their skill of choice, but then it would be free pickings from there.


Aratrok, its at least open for debate whether the 3xEnhancement CL is a mandatory requirement, as a very basic search brought up a few threads that questioned it. Was there a FAQ that I missed?

Is my bar really insultingly low? If the idea is to maintain the flavor of tying crafting to skills, and a second desire is to maintain the need for a feat tax to access what is otherwise another set of classes' abilities, then it seems pretty good to me.

I suppose another option if you really hate the feat tax is to just let all players use craft skills to qualify for crafting feats. That get's Ashiel's main point and gets rid of my concern to boot. I just think the feat tax is actually a good thing

So, I thought the way a dialogue works is that a group proposes something, the idea gets hashed out a bit, then a second party proposes something new or a modification to the first idea. Then that idea is hashed out, and the process continues until a sufficient number of parties is satisfied. I am more than willing to be swayed to your side if you can provide compelling arguments against the points I make that are not either emotionally based or attacks on my character.

I've given my arguments why I think Ashiel's homebrew is not the perfect fix, and have offered my own. Ashiel gave a brief summary (slightly erroneous, but that's fine), and that's really it as far as counter to mine.

I think the idea that non-casters should be given free reign over something historically reserved for casters is not something to be done hastily. YMMV

Ashiel wrote:
Except as usual it looks like you're ignoring the cost of investment. A real caster, especially an Int caster (because the only Int casters we have right now use Spellcraft to learn their spells) are going to have a good Spellcraft. Being able to drop a feat to get the equivalent of a ton of different Craft skills, with lower DCs, keyed to their key stat means that most Int casters won't bother with Craft in the first place and use the traditional method.

I haven't done the math before, so lets go ahead. Int based casters are probably getting 2+Int = ballpark 12-15 ranks per level at the end of their career, but lets really lowball with 8 for their midlevel range.

They could have Spellcraft, Know Arcana, Diplomacy, Bluff, Fly and Perception Maxed (you might not even want to max all of these), with 2 sets of ranks left over to distribute among craft skills and knowledge skills. They wouldn't need to max those, however, just bring them to whatever minimum amount was needed to get a thing going (weapons and armor might need to go higher, because caster levels cant be ignored) As you get higher levels, this gets easier and easier for the int-caster, as they have more sets of skill ranks to distribute among skills that do not need to be maxed.

Sure, they might be able to save a lot of skills by taking feats, but the int-caster has so many skill points it is absurd to assume that they wont try to save their feats if that is a good move in their build. You end up potentially negating the benefit you were trying to bestow on non-casters - because of this, I don't see it as the best fix. This is not a personal issue with you.


I think I should make something clear: I am an academic. I personally cant accept conclusions that end up being based on emotional concepts like fairness. I didn't say you were wrong to use it for your discussion, just that it wont go very far in convincing me.


Go ahead and call the suggestions delusional. Some people just might have fun pretending to be something that they aren't. As long as they get next to no mechanical benefit from it, I have very few concerns about whatever fluff people want to claim.


Ashiel wrote:
You become mechanically poor at this one thing, though it's of slight benefit because you couldn't do it at all before.

So youre claiming that a character who took Master Craftsman (craft weapons), Craft Arms/Armor, and invested heavily in the craft weapons skill isn't mechanically great at crafting magic weapons? That probably isn't what you mean, but that is what I read there.


Ashiel wrote:
This is insulting. This isn't an option. If your "option" to be a class that doesn't cast spells who wants to craft worthwhile items is "devote 3-5 levels to a class that very likely is the antithesis to your concept and/or build and/or role" it's not an option at all. It's just showing how absurd it is.

Its an option that exists and may fit some build concepts better than the idea of Master Craftsman, especially if you find the feat distasteful.


Ashiel wrote:
I think your suggestion still has most of the major problems with Master Craftsman (extra feat expenditure, wasted levels, requiring additional ranks in a skill even after the feats), reduces the uselessness factor of the item creation feat gained (which is good), but also creates silliness where you're using Craft Weaponsmithing to create elixirs of love and flying carpets.

I think you'll find that I suggested having to take all the relevant skills too, though you'd probably have problems with that as well.

I think the feat tax isn't a bad thing.

Aratrok, the point was that an Int-based caster could use that houserule even more effectively than the non-caster for whom it was meant for.

If the idea behind a rule-change is to save the non-caster 1-2 (2 in this case) feats in order to bring them more in line with the abilities of casters, we should not accept a fix that gives a subset of casters the ability to save 1-2 (2 in this case) feats... as you'll wind up with nearly the same imbalance as before.

I think I would be fully satisfied if Master Craftsman were phrased thusly

Suggested Wording wrote:

Prerequisites: 5 ranks in any Craft or Profession skill.

Benefit: Choose one Craft or Profession skill in which you possess at least 5 ranks. Add 2 to the effective number of ranks in that skill. Ranks in your chosen skill count as your caster level for the purposes of qualifying for the Craft Magic Arms and Armor and Craft Wondrous Item feats. You can create magic items using these feats, using your ranks in an appropriate skill as your total caster level. You must use that skill for the check to create the item. The DC to create the item still increases for any necessary spell requirements (see the magic item creation rules in Magic Items). You cannot use this feat to create any spell-trigger or spell-activation item.

Normal: Only spellcasters can qualify for the Craft Magic Arms and Armor and Craft Wondrous Item feats.

Thoughts? Note the phrasing in the first two lines -- which means that this crafter could craft a higher bonus sword or armor (the things that you cant actually ignore caster level on) 2 levels earlier than normal.

I don't think I was accusatory with that, but I suppose not all things are clear in internet discussion. That was a response to

Ashiel wrote:
A player should not have to sacrifice for flavor. If they are expending resources they should get something that is a fair return. It's not fair that because they want to roleplay that they have to be gimped due to bad mechanics that punish them for doing so.

I condensed the idea of player (1st sentence) and the want to roleplay (3rd sentence) into a commonly used word. I meant nothing remotely offensive, if anyone draws that conclusion from what I wrote above

If magic item crafting were as simple as only needing the appropriate skills, Int-based casters would still have the advantage: now, instead of putting their gross abundance of skill points in knowledge skills and maxing other skills that are little used, they can spread out a basis of skill points in all of the item crafting skills they want. That would save them two feats (assuming that this was limited to Arms/Armor and Wondrous). Suddenly, we're essentially back where we started -- at least when comparing non-casters and int-based casters(though Wis/Cha based casters aren't as fortunate, I suppose)


Roleplayers don't need to sacrifice, they have the option of not taking the feat (I listed several ways they could go about it, though you seem to have thought it so poorly thought out that you summarily ignored it)

I seldom try to base my arguments on what is fair an what is not fair, as people have differing opinions on what that means.

I offered my own suggestion for homebrew, what do you think?


Ashiel wrote:
It has been weighed, measured, and found wanting.

Fancy one-liner. Maybe your next one can be even more needlessly dismissive.

I am being completely serious. I see reasons why a player might want this feat above others that are totally separate from the question of power.

The following section went on to describe a reason that actually involved increasing his own powers. That was a little inconsistent of me, so I'll lay out a plainer argument.

It is not necessary for a player's feat/class choices to reflect the roles that they want to assume. However, some people prefer to match role play with feats when possible (sometimes to the detriment of power). If someone wants to be both a martial and a great crafter, they have several options. They can:
Claim it in role play with no/limited benefit
Take ranks in the skill, gaining mundane crafting ability (role play may supplement this, though with limited mechanical benefit)
Take ranks in the skill and supplement with master craftsman and crafting feat (you have become mechanically great at this one thing, at the expense of other abilities)
Take ranks in spellcraft, the crafting feat, and multiclass (opens up more options where caster level isn't a hard requirement)

Saying that you should never do something in this game because it does not significantly raise the strength of the party/character is a judgement based on the concept of optimization -- which I thought we were trying to avoid.

I would prefer to analyze master craftsman, compare it to a pool of available and similar feats, and make suggestions that better satisfy a concept of balance. I have raised a few concerns that I hope have made some people at least consider why Master Craftsman shouldn't be as mind-blowing as the crafting feats themselves.


Weirdo, I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that the developers consider all facets of the various classes and their interactions with skills/feats/abilities while designing new material. While access to crafting feats is prolific, it is a consequence of having a caster level, which is a class feature of those classes which have spell casting.

While it is not a perfect comparison, it still stands. A non-caster who takes master craftsman has gained the ability to qualify as a caster for a particular thing. That is taking a class feature from a different class - and should at least be considered when discussing balance.

I think the feat would be much better if it was a two feat investment that let a non-caster use all of the skills tied to the chosen crafting feat. That way the master blacksmith concept exists, and the master tinkerer can exist on the other side. That would be a feat tax (skill-enhancer) that opens the door for magic items, and allows you to poach the entirety of a crafting feat with enough skill investment.

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