gonna have to make a stabilize check on this thread:
Given the fact that I've been interested in this question since I realized that there were technological rules for the Golarian setting, and then you went and had to poke the bear by asking about kevlar and such, I started flexing my imagination a bit, trying to envision what a magical/modern setting might look like. For now, these are the basics of what I've jotted down as guidelines, when using modern combat rules in a pathfinder homebrew game.
This is a lot of text, so it may need a thread of its own, but I also think it was pertinent to the discussion so I included it here.
A) i wanted to clarify and finalize some ideas I've got for you
A) Modern Body Armor and Armor Penetration rules (homebrew - also, rules for getting shot by firearms)
Firstly, modern armors are divided into light, medium, and heavy types for the purposes of armor proficiencies and for comparative examples.
Due to the remarkable velocities of modern firearms, taking a hit - even a hit that your armor protects you from - can be traumatic or painful. When calculating damage penetration, each individual bullet is counted separately. The remaining damage determines what secondary effects are applied based on how severe the attack:
When calculating Fort Saves for single shots, bursts and auto-fire, begin with the highest damage, and add +2 to the Fort DC for each additional bullet that did damage during a burst (lethal or nonlethal). There are three separate types of hits that occur when people wearing armor (or not, in which case treat as though DR = 0) are struck by bullets from modern firearms:
1) Negated - if a bullet doesn't penetrate the DR of the armor, no further effects occur.
2) Partial - If a Bullet does damage enough to bypass the DR but not double the DR, you take the remaining damage of the shot as nonlethal damage. In addition, the wearer must make a Fort Save of DC 10 (+1 for each pt of damage above the DR); If failed, the wearer is staggered for one round (not cumulative with other partial penetrations)
3) Penetrated* - If it bypasses the armor or does double the DR rating of the armor (due to critical hits, or high base damage) all damage is lethal as normal. Fort Save vs DC 10 (+1 per pt of damage above the DR): if the save is failed, the victim is staggered for one round, plus one round for every 5 pts by which the save was failed. If failed by 10 or more, the target is also knocked prone.
Additionally, unless otherwise noted by the GM, modern firearms do not use Touch AC in their short range (or any) increment against modern ablative armor (aka, kevlar or better). If GM is using called shot rules/piecemeal armor rules, apply armor location DR separately per usual, as well as whatever other effects may occur - in some such cases the GM may waive the normal "Fort Save vs modern firearms" rules.
Basic Kevlar vest: AC 3 (chest), DR 5/+1, max dex +5, skill: -1, Weight: 5 lbs, ASF: -10%, Mv:30ft
Combat Vest: AC 5 (chest only), DR 8/+1, Max Dex: +3, skill: -3, Wt: 15 lbs, ASF:-20%, Mv.25ft
Full Combat armor: AC 6 (chest, legs, arms, helmet), DR 8/+1, Max Dex +2, skill: -4, Wt: 25 lbs, ASF:-30%, Mv:20ft
Demolition Kit: AC 9 (full body, with faceplate/bp plexiglass visors),
Heavy Combat Armor (aka batman armor, little giggle): AC 8 (full body, open faced), DR 12/+3, Max Dex: +3, Skill: -3, wt: 35 lbs. ASF: -30% MV: 20 ***special: While requiring heavy armor proficiency (modern), the light-weight and well-balanced cut of this armor allows for enhanced felixbility - as such, the armor functions as medium armor for all other purposes. Some models provide various enhancements, such as spiked gauntlets, elemental resistances, and concealed weapon slots.
Modern firearms are much more reliable than medieval ones: Misfire scores are followed by a number in parentheses, which is the number of misfires such a weapon requires before gaining the "broken" condition, and likewise the number of times a broken weapon can misfire before exploding/being destroyed. In most cases, this will not be followed by an explosive radius: this indicates that the misfire will only affect the user. GMs may opt to allow well-made firearms to increase this misfire number (+1 per "enhancement")
Semi-automatic and Automatic weapons reduce the iterative attack penalties of secondary attacks by 2, and tertiary attacks by 4 (and so forth) unless otherwise noted. Those with the Rapid Fire feat may instead take the normal iterative penalties, but fire two bullets for each iterative attack at a -2 penalty. (roll separately for each attack). Burst/auto fire weapons may be fired in this same manner, with the additional burst/auto fire penalty (atop the -2 for rapid firing).
Finally, note that in some cases there are significantly differing statistics and rules than that of the normal "advanced firearms" rules - the reasoning behind this is that most modern rifle rounds are much more devastating, often tumbling in flight adn/or ricocheting or shattering upon impact, thereby ensuring grievous injuries. Unless your PC is named Rambo or Chuck Norris, in which case your AC is infinity anyway.
.22 snub-nose revolver: dmg: d6, crit: x4, range:10, Misfire: 1(8), Capacity: 6 (revolver)
9mm semi-automatic: dmg: d6, Crit: x4, range:20, Misfire: 1(6),
9mm machine pistol/smg: Dmg d6, Crit x4, Range:20, misfire: 1(4),
.40 cal SMG (generic) - QP (Quality/Penetration +1), Dmg d8, crit 19/x3, range:30, misfire 1(5), Cap: 30/60(mini-drum), Burst (3)-1, Auto: (6)-2, FA (DC+6 30b/10 or 60b/20)
P90 (caseless 5.7x28mm) - QP: +3, Dmg d8, Crit 19/x3, range:50, misfire: 1(8), Cap 50, Burst (3)-0, Auto: (5) -1, FA (DC+10, 50b/16)
AK-47: QP: +1, dmg d12, Crit x4, Range:80, Misfire 1(5), Cap 30, Burst(3)-2, Auto(5)-4, FA (DC+5 30b/10)
H&K g11 (4.7x33mm caseless): QP +3, dmg d12, crit X3, Range:100/50, Misfire: 1(10), Burst(3)-0, Auto(5)-2, FA (DC+8, 45/15) Special: G11s don't fire in single-shot mode: In actuality, every pull of the trigger rattles off a full 3 round burst so quickly that the third bullet leaves the barrel before the recoil of the first is felt. Treat all "single shots" as bursts. The range increment decreases by half when the gun is fired on Auto or full auto mode, as it's design decreases bullet velocity by almost half when not firing in burst mode.
(special modern firearms rules, and other notes)
When fired in full auto mode, A weapon is fired as a full round action (spray, counts as an AOE, with a Reflex DC equal to the [user's attack score total + weapon DC] rating of the weapon. Targets in the area of effect (designated as a 5 foot square, or up to a number of adjacent squares equal to 1/2 of the shooter's BAB (in a line, burst or combination thereof), decided by the shooter, and any squares in a line from the weapon to the target area are likewise affected (and beyond, for any bullets that miss, up to 1 range category further). For every 5 points the reflex save is failed, targets in the area of effect are hit by another bullet.
However, the Reflex DC of this area effect is decreased by 5 for every additional square the shooter designated as a targeted area (example: shooter designates 3 squares as the target of his spraying: the reflex DC is decreased by 15 - i.e, he's shooting it all over the place, Rambo style, and unlikely to hit unless very skilled).
*getting shot at by full auto fire is frightening for any intelligent combatant, and may cause pinning (see below)
Characters with the Automatic Firearm Training feat may perform Full Auto fire as a standard action, instead of as a full-round action, and their auto-fire results are limited to 1/2 of the bullets fired, instead of 1/3.
The GM may rule that either a natural save roll of 1 or a reflex failed by 10 or greater indicates that a single bullet has critically hit: confirm as though firing the bullet on autofire (with all such penalties). Example: Bob gets shot at by an AK-47 (who targets only Bob's square), and makes a reflex save vs the attacker's Full Auto DC of 18. Bob rolls a reflex save of 1 (totaling 7, including his save bonus). He would take 3 hits (at d12 damage). In addition to getting hit, one of the hits may be a critical: Assailant rolls a critical confirmation roll as though firing a normal, single bullet, applying the base range penalty for full auto fire.
If a target is in the open when fired at by auto fire, and within base movement distance of cover, the shooter may make an intimidate roll: If the target fails, they *must* move to cover in their next turn if they are able, and count as shaken in the same way noted previously (I.E., move to a new location safely, or there's a break in the auto-fire.)
If the target's in the open, and NOT within range of cover, the GM may force the target to fall to the ground if a successful intimidate check is made. They may continue to belly-crawl until they get to cover (or can return fire and pin the shooters down).
Targets that are well-armored or otherwise impervious to much of the damage (wearing medium or heavy ablative armor, for example) may not be intimidated by pinning fire. The GM may rule that if the armored target has been hit by one or more of said bullets and received no damage, they may elect to ignore the pinning fire rules (until they are actually damaged in any way by such fire, at which time they may get pinned as normal).
You could flourish a little - say make the cheaper ones used by police forces do 3/ or 6/ resist, but if a bullet hits, the wearer is staggered.
For example in stead of X/magic as dr, you could rule that assault rifles count as +1 to +3 for penetration purposes, and caseless ammunition weapon ranging from +3 to +5. Basic kevlar vest : dr 5/+1, swat armor dr 7/+2. Demo armor 10/+3. Etc. Bullets can come in hollowpoint (+d6 - d10 damage, -1 armor piercing) or maybe in AP - even normal .22 cals can get sprayed with teflon to give it the +1 armor piercing quality. So for example, a .22 teflon-sprayed bullet might go right through that +1 kevlar vest, but not that +2 swat armor.
You may even simulate different weapon qualities and armor qualities as enchantments: a mp5k might be a +1 smg, while a p90 would be the +3 or +4 gorilla of the SMG world. Better damage, range, penetration.
Likewise, you could give body armor varied enchantments as though they were light medium and heavy armors, instead of damage resistance: Light kevlar would be like ac 2, but a well made vest would be like +3 leather - the modern catch would be that ballistic weaponry can't "touch ac" said armor. Or mix the two: basic kevlar /5 resist, +1 "enchantment" (and therefore +1 ac. Better quality kevlar vest: /7dr, +3 enhancement (3 ac).
Really, sky's the limit here. I did notice in that Technological handbook, a lot of modern/advanced armors had really low max dex values and skill checks. may need to implement all that too.
Well for one, obviously armor becomes less a factor in defense than speed and dexterity, as does magic like mirror images. Heavy armor builds with 12 dex get auto-shot, and suddenly mobs of musket-wielders can be a real threat to that formerly invincible sword/board juggernaut with his 25 ac at level 2. Touch ac: 11 because of his 12 dex.
Gms may have to account for this by allowing better enchantments (+2, +3? 1 or more higher than the enchantment of the bullets?) on armor to ignore the touch ac rules for close range firearms, otherwise that heavy armor will get phased out, which might not be a bad thing.
It may require you to fudge with the rules, as most armor bonuses on critters and the like were intended for a world in which firearms are a rarity. But what would realistically (and I use that world lightly, as it pertains to pathfinder) occur is that the monsters of the world would either adapt or die off. Consider how those ogres and hillgiants would get hunted down by double-hackbut wielding, level 1 squads of guardsmen, blasting away in volleys of twenty bullets from hundreds of yards away.
Would the ogres evolve into grenade tossers? Or would they cower in their caves, unable to invent some means of deliverance from the humans and their strange gadgetry?
Would dragons consider retreat in the face of massive, enchanted cannon volleys? Perhaps consider expending some of their vast wealth to procure armies of their own? After all, humans might pose a threat after all, in such great numbers, when the most feared weapon of all - dragonfire - is rendered obsolete by artillery that might blast holes in its wings at 500 yards. But he still has magic; perhaps he'll have to try a new tactic for culling the villagers...
In terms of humanoid versus humanoid combat, it's not the end of the world: Mages can still use protection from arrows at level 2. It just changes the nature of combat when meleers become the oddity. Warfare in general became a matter of numbers rather than skill, historically: How does a level 10 meleer dodge 60 bullets fired in ranks simultaneously? The gm may decide that no matter what the attack roll, he's just getting hit for d6 bullets, rather than rolling out all 50 shots: d6 x d12 damage, period. Now if you survive that, you have to get to them before they reload... and hope their morale breaks.
Anyway, I've played a few games even in modern settings, and all I can say is, the more modern, the easier it is for your players to die. How do you save against explosive charges under your horse cart's seat? You don't even know it's there until you sit down. How do you swim to shore when your freighter is broadsided by a big old double decker sporting 16 heavy cannon and 40 light, on each side? Reflex saves are fine, but what do you do to dodge a wall of steel and a rain of flying wood?
gm: "Okay, everyone roll d20 reflex saves"
How does a rogue somehow manage to survive that with evasion checks? Does he fly through the air in a matrix-esque pirouette, and land on the bow (which is the only piece left after the volley)?
Ultimately just remember that because huge numbers are possible in that world, do your best not to include them. The surest way to end the PC party is to point 50 guns at them just because that's the most realistic way to envision 18th century warfare. Spread the guns out, make it a common thing, but not exclusive. People still use melee, as magic has equally advanced. Common potions now include the custom level one spell some wizard thought up "minor bulletproofer" which gives 1/magic resist vs projectiles per caster level (max 5/magic), for 1 minute/caster level. If magic hasn't advanced, and armor hasn't advanced too, then those things will go by the wayside, and variety is the spice of life.
yeah - so, apologize for the lack of clarity on my part. Not telling him to take a monk, just saying that without expanding his horizons/limitations, or having taken a different class, there's no way to *reliably* shut down casters. He's already removed some of the very best arrows in the quiver.
WITHIN the limits, all I can say is, boost those saves, an take a racial trait like a half-orc's warded skin or a dwarf's magic resistance to boost up the spell resistance. Ultimately without the ability to go outside of the bounds of your own class (thus the reason everyone keeps mentioning umd and the like) you're gonna suffer. Low end <mundanes, high end <casters.
Another thing to keep in mind is that early on your studied combat's only giving you +1's and +2's, but later on you're getting large, flat bonuses to both that will raise your attack bonus and damage (damage not mitigated by offhand attacks) to fighter-level numbers.
If you were to take dualwielding of any kind, you could really benefit from those flat bonuses. But the feat deficit's always a sore point, and this also prohibits the use of your elixirs in combat though, unless you invest in some quickdraw skills and free-action stowing gear. So sure, taking a curveblade works too.
Still, I'm starting to find that using a ranged weapon is particulary deadly, as is single-target high damage attacks in melee.
Consider taking point blank, precise, and focused shot, ranged study, and possibly even vital strike, and taking bow or light crossbow. Take amazing inspiration (investigator talent) and inspired strike (feat, to add inspiration dice to your studied strike). Deadly Aim to round it all out, when you can. Not sure if anyone remembers or knows of any other feats that add 1/2 dex damage to crossbows, but whatever.
at level 6, human, same-ish stats you mentioned. PB shot(level 1), precise shot (1), ranged study (3), focused shot (5). You're gonna have to wait until 7 for deadly aim and 9 for vital strike, unfortunately, unless your GM is handing out other bonus feats.
Your numbers are looking like this: BAB 4, attack bonus with ranged weapon (mw or +1 bow) is +8 (+9 p.b shot) and +11 with studied combat.
You may want to consider taking the concentrated poisons discovery, and master alchemist feat, to sprinkle some pain on your single ranged shot every round. With some preparation, your're gonna swift action poison/move action study or vice versa, then shoot. Rinse repeat: swift action poison an arrow (con damage with a +2 DC for having concentrated it earlier), move action studied combat, standard action studied strike/focused/vital/deadly aim (any or all). Critter takes 20+ dmg. Has 2 hp left? Fails fort save vs poison. Loses d3 con (and thereby 1 hp per level, bringing his hp below 0). It's expensive, but making your own posions in vast batches with master alchemist and your +/lvl craft alchemy bonus, you'll be doing well enough on your alch checks to save a lot of money, particularly on large batches of otherwise cheap and useless poisons like greenblood oil.
You could always do the same in melee, because a swift action apply poison won't proc an AoO, but somehow I feel like melee is sketchy for an investigator - after all your elixirs are treated as spells in potion form, which means if you need to drink one in combat, it will proc an AoO. If you have infusion (to cast them before combat) and accelerated drinker) to drink as a move action instead of a standard, It helps, but you're stuck with that AoO. Anyone know how to avoid that? Other than the 5 foot step...
Doomed Hero wrote:
you: "Say hello to my leetle fren'!"
Cannon: "Hello! How are you everyone? I like peanuts."
You: "Hssst! Bob, Not you! I was talkin' to the deader over there!"
Cannon: "Oh... Right. Does this mean you're gonna burn my *ss again?"
You: *Sigh* Shoulda just picked a damn hand-bombard *grumbles as he gets out his matches*
Sound judgement. It's hard to pull off without a lot of experience of your own to work from (I see myself as int 16 maybe, for example, so how can I possibly be the sharp-minded int 22 investigator without constantly asking the DM if I can make an INT check to just figure everything out?)
You're also not squeamish. Have you watched Better call Saul or Breaking Bad? Think of Mike the security guy. Beat-down old cop. Not really a cuddly - teddy bear type. Doesn't always spout off fantastic advise to his teammates. But he doesn't bat an eye over getting his hands dirty, or taking care of grisly business. But when push comes to shave, he knows the deal. He's world-weary, but also world-wise. When the super-genius mage comes up with a complex, multi-teired domino maze of a plan to fool the crypt-keeper into giving away the location of the key to that impossible lock, you solve the problem by tiredly fishing out your crowbar and breaking the damn thing. When the hot tempered rogue demands vengeance right now for the loss of his companion, you quietly tell him to shut the hell up. After a couple of drinks, you come up with a simple plan to lure the bad guy into a trap. You carry out the plan calmly and without a lot of hassling and coercion. If the others don't go with the plan, it's not your fault. But afterwards, you don't bother mentioning that "if we'd only followed my plan" because hey, it's just how these youngsters are when they get the blood up.
Anyway, high Wisdom is more about making the right decisions, with the least complications. Intelligence is how good your memory is, or your ability to logically deduce the best mathematical odds of success.
lol. Well, whatever. I seem to be getting some hate because I think players who dump stats are munchkins. All these assumptions, though, like it's all about me, or I'm just being a diva - it couldn't instead be that players DO abuse the pts buy mechanic regularly? When 7 int paladins are the standard, for example, you wonder why these religions seem to go out of their way to pick the dumbest people to protect their churches. Players get really creative about their reasons for coming to the table with sub-par stats, and claim it's just for the character, just RP. But why is it that most of the players who do it, do it for *every* character they make. and no, it's not just mental stats - but INT and Wis particularly affect a character's ability to solve problems, talk to npcs, and potentially have other skills than sneaking and killing. I'm not saying that it's ALWAYS the case - but in all my years of gaming, I've noticed a pattern; They're called one-dimensional characters. It's not a sin - like I've said already - to play one now and then. I just think its boring. It also puts a lot more of the weight of creativity on your other party members - also, not always a bad thing, especially when you're a veteran, and you want to give the newer players some face time.
But when a player shows up to my game sessions, and every time they roll a character its a 7 int/ 7 wis , 18 dex 14 cha rogue (a somehow adorably stupid ninja) or yet another dopey brute, I start to think, it's not about the character, it's just about the numbers. I don't need to be in the spotlight as a dm. I just prefer players who have a little more depth to their characters. If you can make me a truly believable character with those same dump stats, I'm all for it. But if you keep doing it? really? Every time? All they want to do is play ignorant, judgement-impaired killers? *sigh*
Anyway, if I'm being unreasonable by requesting some variety from my players, is it not just as unreasonable for them to expect that I'll go through the time and effort to put together a campaign that's more than just a killy-room with lots of mobs and loot? Somehow though, if I bash consistent stat dumpers, that means I'm a passive aggressive diva. Lol.. and that argument was presented so.. passive aggressively.
By the way has it ever occurred to anyone to play a paladin with *gasp* some 14's, instead of those two 16's?
I noticed all your examples are american. You're a racist, dood, I'm 'murican too, and we're not stupid. Lak, if we're at least 20% of the world population, we're all at least 7 int.
*clears throat* right, so we have Bill O'reilly, the Harvard graduate, as living proof that our educational standards are slipping. But I argue this - Just because our nation has a -2 int penalty, we are also mostly rogues, so we have more skill points to make up for it. That's also why we have really good sports teams: stat dumping for the 18 dex/con/str teams! Fo' reaaals maannnnn.
The Human Diversion wrote:
Bingo. I think system mechanics are entirely too forgiving for people with 7 int. Saying that a character can learn 5 instruments, and therefore isn't *that* bad with a 7 int, isn't entirely accurate. By that logic, all you'd need to do to make up for being stupid is play a rogue. Cus, more skill points man. Therefore smarter? No.
There's a reason I won't allow players to dump stats below their natural average (if you play a race with a -2, you can't drop it below 8, for example), and it's because the players are often too intelligent for their own good -- they start to convince themselves of things that aren't true because, basically, they really want it to be true. They say things like "having a wis 13 averages out the 7 int," and try to play the characters like they're normal. Or, that their class skills in Knowledges and putting 2 ranks in 2 or 3 of 'em balances out the penalty for a 6 int, therefore they aren't dumb. I call B.S. Mostly it's just folks trying to squeeze a 17 or 18 out of a 16.
Int 7 wis 13 guy having a conversation with 7 wis, 13 int guy:
7 int: Dude, lak, I got dis sanwish, it tasses real good. Ju'wan some?
7 wis: It looks like tuna, is it tuna? I read once that tuna has a 15% chance of being poisoned if it comes from anywhere in the pacific rim! Get it away from me!
7 int: Huh? Wutsa pasific rim? In't that where the big robots is at? Lookit, 's jus a sanwich, man. It ain't gonna kill ya, I goddit jus a sekkin ago at dat food stand! An, lak, they sell a gazillion of'em, dey ain't got lak a bunch o' people droppin dead, or dey'd close da shop!
7 Wis: I said, get that sandwich away from me, imbecile! Just because you're too stupid to die from food poisoning, doesn't mean those people are selling legitimate goods! I read something recently that says, 75% of food stands get their food from the black market-
7 int: say whut? Ah think you is retarded, where you done read dat bull-
7 wis: I read it on the internet, fool! It's common knowledge! Don't be obstreperous, you nincompoop! I can't take it any more, talking to you is like slapping myself in the face with a sand-paper paddle!
7int: Yous kinda high strung, g'won den, amma et this tuna sanwish, you go read a innanet somewah'.
low int - ignorant, uneducated. But a 6 int is only -2 skill points a level? Kind of forgiving, when you could just rogue it up to make up for it, or assign your favored class bonus to skills. If an animal with 2 int would have a -4, therefore a horse rogue would have half as many skills as a human rogue. Hah. I think I'm going to start giving bigger penalties for players who drop it below 10, like 25% of their skills vanish per tier it's below average. Then it would make sense that animals have practically 0 skills.
yep. If you're looking for pure DPR, Kensai magus, (nevermind bladebound, ...too many complications.) Flambouyant arcana/ arcane deed(precise strike) is all you need to "dip" swashbuckler. Slashing grace *does* allow you to use say.. a katana, as a precise weapon for precise strikes, it explicitly states that in the feat description.
But look at the feat investment now; you get weapon focus for free at level 1 as a kensai, but to qualify for further feats (slashing grace) you need weapon finesse. Then you get your third level arcana (flambouyant arcana gives you derring-do and opportune riposte, using arcane pool instead of pinache, and flambouyant is a prereq for arcane deed - that's your swashbuckler dip, essentially) and as your level 3 bonus feat, you take extra arcana. As an arcana, you take ARcane Deed, which allows you to pick a swashbuckler deed, (Precise strikes, with your magus level counted as your swashbuckler level). Still no slashing grace until 5 >.< unless you are a human, and took it at level 1.
So, If you take a human Magus-kensai, you could have the whole feat chain-but nothing else until later. But hey, if you're looking for pure dps, that's as good as it gets (imo) for dex builds at level 3.
A 16 dex, 16 int magus does dX (insert weapon here) + 3 (dex) + 3 (magus level, precision damage).
Now... Add in spells and spellstrikes, and it only gets more severe. Spells like chill touch (level 1) or elemental touch give an extra d6 damage+status effects, and the repeated uses are all usable with spellstrikes ( so now you're dual wielding your (weapon dmg) +dex/precise strike + d6 elemental. Costs less over time than using shocking grasp.
But then, corrosive touch or shocking grasp, + the intensified metamagic feat, and at level 10 you're hitting for 10d6 shocking grasp + weapon damage, both doubled on a crit (even if your precise strike isn't doubled, its a lotta damage.
I may be overstating this to a lot of you who already understand, just pointing it out for those who don't realize - with essentially 4 feats, magus does a truckton of damage in either short bursts, or over the course of a minute.
Add in all the other good stuff - agile maneuvers, arcana: maneuver mastery, arcane strikes, weapon specialization, cat's grace (level 2 spell, hey), close range (rng touch attacks can be used with spellstrikes, oh my.) and you're talking about a class that wieghs in with the best, at any level (except maybe level 1, but who cares, you'll get in two fights and be onward to greatness).
Then add gear >.< OP begins. with a +2 weapon at level 9, you're wielding a +5 weapon. Yeah, let's ignore all DR with your lowbie. Totally makes up for the lower BAB.
lol. I think the point of this thread was for players to identify problems ahead of time and/or to figure out how to talk their gms off a ledge/off their high horse/back up to the podium. But Weslocke has a point ; a lot of GMs have some of these problems in response to problem players. The two are not unrelated. PRetty much every single GM who has ever GM'd has been guilty of one or more of the faults listed above. I've found that sometimes I overcompensate for difficult encounters, for example, because while 3 of my pcs have decent character builds, one of them is some kind of hardcore maxstat munchkin with the latest hax 2h weapon build. I up the difficulty in a few encounters so that it's not a Monty Haul campaign, and accidentally kill one of my innocents. >.< oh great, now I'm THAT GM. Perhaps, I should have talked to the munchkin before we started, tried to get him to be less of a damage machine/ball hogger. Maybe if I had less experience, I wouldn't even see that problem coming until my innocent player got killed.
Point i'm trying to make, is that it's up to everyone at the table to make things work, Including the GM, the players, and also the people just there for free pizza (i hate those players >.<) Anyway, it's a great list. I lol'd for a few of them (and cringed while remembering, I was guilty of half of those at one time or another).
More often than not It (IT being, the bad gming) was because I was overcompensating for a player who just couldn't handle being on the same level of power with all of the other players. He/she just had to prove how much better they were at the game/at the build/at the acting/at life. Doesn't make ignoring/punishing/killing that player right, but its so tempting sometimes, especially when you just put all that time into planning out a game or building up some of those npcs etc., only to have the game in shambles while you and said player argue over b.s. Not talking about anyone specific, mind you, just saying, 50/50 chance from one game to the next there's someone in the group who shows up with their "all 16+ stats! honestly, i rolled it!" characters, even when you informed them a week in advance that its a 25 point buy (and that's plenty generous, isn't it? This just happens. But just like everyone says; when its a regular, just talk to them. It's not fun for anyone, when it's not fun for everyone (unless everyone in the room hates that one player who keeps ruining games, in which case, they got to go, or you need to hit them with a tax every time they do whatever is p*ing everyone off. like, "damn, Sandy, that's like the third time you showed up with a fudged character. You owe us all a 6 pack of X and a pizza. You don't get to play until its on the table, no joke.")
Sorry for the ledger here - while i mostly gm, magus is my favorite class. So many options. Just wanted to mention, I found combat casting to also be a very good feat to pick up. Too often, I lost a spell because of failed concentration in close combat. Very annoying, especially given your limited spell pool.
There's also the Deadly Agility feat and Double weapon finesse abilities if your GM allows such variant rules: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/path-of-war/feats
Toss a double blade sword in there, and you're doing dex damage with a d8 19-20 crit weapon, noting that deadly agility means your offhand weapons get the full damage bonus from dex.
Of course, now you're looking at 5 feats just to match that str fighter's two handed weapon: two weapon fighting, exotic weapon, weapon finesse, double weapon finesse, deadly agility. Doable? If you're a human with some bonus feats from your class. Equal? Not when the fighter put feats into weapon spec, furious focus, power attack, weapon focus, and +1 feat wherever the heck he likes. Not in damage dealing.
As for versatilty? Absolutely superior. Dex builds often include classes that have 50-150% more skills than a str fighter, skills which will often allow you to manipulate scenarios to your favor. Use magic device? Traps? That duel with the 2h fighter will end quickly when you drop a fear scroll on him, or he's entangled in your acid trap, or heck - if he's also fighting 6 guards who you convinced to help you "apprehend the villain responsible for the death of innocent babies!"
Dex build is totally viable. I would note though that players who min max - taking str6 just becuz "points, man!" - I will nerf as a gm. Min 10 str, or you get dmg penalties anyway (how do you swing that rapier around so fast if you can barely hold it steady? Or punch through chainmail when you can barely carry your backpack?). Also remember, Str fighters tend to take a 12 or 14 dex too, and while less mobile, they're also less vulnerable to combat maneuvers. That dex warrior is gonna feel pretty useless when his weapon gets lopped in half, or he gets crushed into a corner where he can't use his dex for anything. That's not to say that Dex is useless- its good - but 3 or 4 feats to compare with a warrior? unless your gm is allowing for 2 bonus feats per character, the STR fighter outshines him.
This also doesn't take into account what power attack can do for damage boosting, in addition to the lesser hp dexbuilds tend toward. If dual wield Dex monk goes toe to toe with STR/Con two handed warrior in heavy plate, The warrior only needs to hit once or twice, while the monk can do the same and still not put the warrior down.
Also not taking into account a shield/heavy armor str character who puts some feats into being defensive; Dex guy can do what he likes, the tank will just block everything he's dishing out, and shield bash him to death (and at later levels, will retain all his ac, suffering no penalties for doing so).
The only thing Dex build is entirely superior for is mobility. If they're losing an even fight, they can de-commit. Run away, fight another day. But gear can eliminate that, or mitigate that advantage. (boots of constant effect: expeditous retreat, going for as low as 6k gold. Chase, improved overrun/chargethrough. Hit him every time he tries to get up. He better have an awesome acrobatics, because your CMD as a fighter is better than his)
yeah man, I think every dm has hit that speedbump at one time or another, when some player finds a loophole or maxes out and throws your predesigned encounter ashambles. I guess it's only natural - I mean, what player wants to make a character that doesn't shine. Who rolls a PC and says, "hm, how can I make an utterly useless two-handed warrior? I know, I'll give him an 8 strength, 18 charisma, and take all Craft: pottery and Knowledge:Paintings with my skill ranks!" On the other hand, I think it's a good principle to not be afraid of a little constructive confrontation: I have no problem telling a PC that he's F*ing with the game balance, and asking him to help me out. But that comes with its own problems, as there's always one powerplayer (at least) in a group, and they always seem to lose their cool when they're told to put down the dynamite.
Nothing to be done about it now - don't go back on your promises as a GM, some players will never forget it, and question your every future move. But in future games, I'd advise against the whole "Fetch this powerful artifact and Ill pay you S***tons of gold!" motivation, because it's way too easy to start players on the slide into overpowering gear. Better gear = higher cr mobs to compensate = better loot/xp = more OP, = harder mobs/enemies to compensate = ... you get the idea.
This is why i stopped handing out the shinies. I'd rather a low magic campaign, against weaker enemies. That way when they face a really nasty boss, or find a +x weapon, it's worth something. Why are hill giants feared by the villagers? Hell, they're supposed to be terrifying to adventurers, just look at 'em. Sorta loses appeal when your level 6 zen archer with her flaming +3 composite bow and exploding arrows and custom constant effect cl 12 divine power booty shorts aces the whole tribe while she's eating popcorn.
It's not so bad, playing a low magic setting. Talk it out with your players - if they're too munchkin to try a setting like that, then go ahead, fall back on the "make more critters" option. Ultimately, after a few weeks/ games of utterly dominating everything and hitting level 12+ in quicktime, they might get bored and find themselves agreeing with you. Me, whatever