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930 posts. Alias of Zach Klopfleisch.


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Most of the monsters in RotRL are in Bestiary 1 or Bestiary 2, and pretty much all the NPCs are in the RotRL pawn set. So I'd probably go with the B2 box if I wanted to cover as much as possible.

I have no idea what's in Curse of the Crimson Throne, but I'd guess they use the newer bestiaries?

Orson Hightower wrote:


I was wondering if it would be legal in PFS to play a Paladin that worshiped the Godclaw, rather than just one of the five deities incorporated into the Godclaw.


Nope, that's not legal for PFS. Divine casters, including Paladins, must choose a legal deity to worship. So he would have to worship one of the LG or LN deities that the Order of the Godclaw respects, he cannot be a generalist.

johnlocke90 wrote:
Other races have plenty of advantages. Getting +2 to 2 useful stats and -2 to a stat you don't care about is very powerful.

There's also the +1 DC to enchantments and +1/4 to DC of enchantments as a Favored Class Bonus. That's what makes Kitsune the top enchanters.

But whether or not those are the two best races for an enchanter is beside the point. The point is that the game is designed to force you into making tradeoffs as you build and progress your character. FCBs are part of the tradeoff you make when you choose a race. It's a mechanical thing, not a fluff thing, which was the OP's point.

Kaladin_Stormblessed wrote:

- Alternate favored class bonuses. They don't seem to actually be intended to balance out class/race combinations, or at least don't do so remotely effectively in my experience, so why are they tied to race at all? I don't see any particular reason to reward summoners for being half-elves, and while it might in some cases...

Favored class bonuses are pretty much purely mechanical. The game is designed so you have to make tradeoffs when building characters, that keeps things interesting and encourages you to build to a theme.

Say you want to build an enchanter sorcerer, there are two top options: Kitsune and human. If you go Kitsune, your DCs will be over the top and the FCB accentuates that, but you'll be a lot less flexible due to spells known constraints. If you go human, your DCs will be lower, but you'll have more flexibility. So, the mechanics of your class help specialize your play style. (And by play style, I mean, how you use the mechanics of your character, not how you roleplay.) The FCB is meant to work with the mechanics of the race.

Allowing races to take any FCB is not the same as allowing a "Greatsword" to be flavored as a sharpened dragon tooth. It's like allowing a greatsword to pick up the Falchion's crit range and become a 2d6 18-20/x2 martial two hander.

Mindchemist anybody?

Twice your Int to knowledge skills at level 2, and a +4 alchemical bonus to Intelligence from level one. Pick up Amateur Investigator for a bonus to your roll.

Not only that, the better you are at knowledges, the better you are at combat because you use Into to blow your enemies up.

If you're really serious, you could dip another class to get all the knowledge skills as class skills, but class skills aren't a huge difference after a few levels.

Prismatic Spray/Wall/Sphere are the definition of flashy to me. Psychedelic colors so crazy that they can turn you to stone or send you to the Abyss?

Horrid Wilting is probably pretty nasty, like watching someone get hit by nerve gas.

Speaking of gas, Cloudkill: Fog rolls in, and when it rolls out there's nothing but dead bodies in its wake.

Flame Strike: A pillar of fire falling out of the sky to smite someone with a god's wrath sounds impressive to me.

StarchyWarrior wrote:

I have this boss planned for a later point in my new campaign and I need some help with CRing it.

Here's a link to it: https://www.dropbox.com/s/0dr4kxo4takwrny/the%20swine%20king.docx?dl=0

Comparing to the Table: Monster Statistics by CR from the Bestiary section on monster creation, you have:

AC: 22 = Between CR 8 and 9 (Actually 20 since he's blinded = CR 7)
HP: 88 = Roughly CR 7
Attack: +13 = CR 7 (Actually +11 since he's blinded = between CR 5 and 6)
Average Damage: 29 = CR 7 (Note the attack and damage are in the "high" range for the CR, which is appropriate for a melee bruiser type monster. Also, with a BAB of 1, Power Attack doesn't make much difference.)
Ability DCs: N/A
Good Save: 10 = CR 7
Bad Saves: 0,-6 = CR 1/2 at best

He's blind if an enemy isn't marked, and once he hits a marked enemy that removes the mark. That should lower his CR. Most of his raw numbers would put him around CR 7, but since he's blind and can only make one attack per enemy (his rage ability is basically the feat whirlwind attack, and a fighter would easily get that by level 6 or 8 so it shouldn't affect his CR.) I'd probably put him around a CR 5. Being immobile and blind, so that he has a 50% miss chance on everything he swings at really reduces the danger level. But, the problem with that is, he hits hard, so if you're trying to run him as a boss type enemy with a CR of a couple higherthan APL, you have a high risk of one shotting level 2 and poorly built level 3 characters.

But, it really isn't built correctly. a 15d8 abberation should have 157 HP (82.5+75 from Con 20.) Also, a 15 HD aberration should have BAB 11, base Will save of +9, base Fort and Ref saves of +5 before modifiers.

You can certainly create the monster the way you want to. But if you read the Bestiary section on monster creation, you can use the rules as guidelines and get a decent monster.

What's most important, though, is how your party can deal with this guy. Do they have several squishy meleers where one solid roll can kill them, or do they have one or two really sturdy front liners that can shrug off a 30 point hit? Or do they have ranged players who can plink him to death at will? Will they play smart by pounding on him until he lands a hit, then pulling back as a group to heal up, then go back in when it's safe? Or will they be mulish and try to fight it out mano y mano? Do they have a caster who will take advantage of that Will save (if I were a Cleric in your group, I'd cast Command: Drop and have someone ready an action to grab his sword when he drops it. Fight over.)

My Self wrote:

What to kill:

3rd level Evangelist Cleric of Uaransaph
Void (primary) and Air domains
Casts Levitate, then Wind Wall, then shoots lightning bolts and channels negative from the sky. Uses a repeating crossbow if Wind Wall is down. Casts Obscuring Mist and crawls away on the ceiling if things go south.

Evangelists only get one domain, so how can he Levitate and Wind Wall? Also, he only has 1 level 2 slot for domain spells, so how does he cast both Levitate and Wind Wall even if he did have both domains?

Without both Windwall and Levitate, he's either going to be ranged or melee fodder. He can only wear light armor, so he'll have a low AC as well. A party shouldn't have a problem with him. Even channeling, he's only channeling 1d6 since Evangelists have reduced channel dice.



3rd level Wizard
Evocation specialized school
Casts Levitate, has Protection from Arrows up and running, then shoots magic missiles from the sky. Uses a crossbow if out of missiles. Casts Obscuring Mist and Invisibility or Vanish if things go south.

As a 1st through 4th level party with no natural fliers, how do you kill this sort of enemy quickly?

The school ability is 1d4+1 at level 3, not terribly dangerous. Protection from arrows is a danger if nobody has a way to deal with DR/Magic, but that's more of a teachable moment for your players than an impossible obstacle. Levitate and Pro Arrows are almost all of his level 2 spells, Invisibility would be his third (and Vanish would leave him hanging in 3 rounds.) Still, depending on the terrain he's vulnerable to Alchemist's Fires/Acid Flasks, magic weapons (spell or permanent), Arcane Strike, an Enlarged meleer, a net, a darkness or obscuring mist on the players' side, tons of spells... lot of things if your players are prepared.

Against a first level party, especially brand new adventurers? These are likely to be tough tactics to overcome. But anything other than brand new characters should have ways to deal with them.

I'm going to go with the others who have said that, as prepared casters, Shamans don't have a list of "spells known," and that this is a poorly worded ability. It says spells known, but since that's a non sequitur, it pretty obviously means spell list.

Mark Seifter wrote:

Don't want to get too caught up in a tangent, but no, they don't hit that, or else you would see the pregens annihilating PFS scenarios. Valeros, Seelah, et al do about half that. ** spoiler omitted **...

Hmmm, I was remembering numbers I had crunched around the time the NPC Codex came out, I'll have to dig those spreadsheets up and see if I'm misremembering. One thing, I looked at CR = APL, and CR = APL +2 instead of +3.

Kind of digressing away from the general discussion of balance. I think Ssalarn and Jiggy covered most of what I feel about that.

Mark Seifter wrote:
... think that an appropriate baseline for the minimum "viable" damage a character deals before buff spells or ally assistance is "at least 50% of a CR equivalent creature's hit points per round and 25% of a CR+3 creature's hit points per round," a baseline that I have seen thrown around a few times, but one that would lead to one round battles if encounters were being built at the expected CRs. Likely those latter groups also increase the level of the challenge in their games, and the former groups might softball creature tactics or use lower-level encounters when they can.

(Italics mine.)

That's roughly where the PFS pregens Amiri and Valeros are at 1, 4, and 7. Even Harsk hits that at 1 and 4, and he and Seelah are both in there or better when they're against favored enemies or smiting (and Harsk isn't using his crossbow.) Even the NPC codex full BAB NPCs are in that neighborhood, and they have NPC wealth and 15 point buys, don't they? Merisiel, Sajan and Kyra are about half that.

That's basically what happens if you're full BAB, 16+ Str, Power Attack, and at wealth by level guidelines.

Damage output is pretty well balanced, honestly, at least in the core and base classes. Yes there are some niche builds that can blow things out of the water with the correct combination and there are other builds that underperform despite being iconic (sword and shield, I'm looking at you), but for the most part full BABers are killing things in more or less the same number of rounds as each other, and 3/4 BABers are on par with each other but behind full BABers when built for combat. Each class (except Fighter and Barbarian) also naturally excels in some situations, but that difference isn't actually as large as it sounds: They're mainly killing something either about a round faster when it's their schtick, or they're overcoming special defenses better than the other classes.

Skylancer4 wrote:

Did your soul even leave your body at that point?

I think that's really the point and the real difference between Breath of Life and Raise Dead. Raise Dead returns the soul to the body, (hence the option for the soul to not return,) while Breath of Life prevents the soul from leaving the body (hence the 1 round time frame.)

This makes the Gentle Repose case simple: Gentle Repose keeps the body in a state that is suitable for the soul to return to, but doesn't prevent the soul from departing so doesn't have any impact on Breath of Life.

Fendel, CSI: Absalom wrote:
ekibus wrote:
Was thinking about the alchemist but the lack of detect magic is rough...and I really like the investigator but
For the low, low price of five (5) prestige, you can buy the Discerning Vanity. Your wayfinder now casts Detect Magic at will instead of light.

Other options are UMDing a wand of Detect Magic (375gp). Or 2000gp for a Lantern of Auras, which is my favorite because that lets you take 10 on Spellcraft because you don't have to concentrate on the spell.

dragonhunterq wrote:

There are no written rules for how non-light spells that create light interact with darkness, so it quite literally cannot contradict the written rules.

How would you rule it?

The light from a non [light] descriptor spell is a mundane side effect, not magical light. Fire Shield creates light because the flames create light, exactly the same way as a torch creates light. A Daylight spell, on the other hand, is directly creating light, the magic itself is creating the light.

So, you rule it the way the spell says to rule it: It's not light from a [light] descriptor spell, so the light is suppressed and you lower the light level however many steps below ambient that the spell tells you to. Fire Shield is still there, its flames just aren't generating any light due to the darkness magic, the same way a torch or lantern would be suppressed.

Dr Styx wrote:

In the 1001 spells book (yes I know it's not RAW)

Adjust School: Transmutation;
Level: Sor/Wiz 1
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Components: V, S
Range: Touch Target: One unattended suit of armor, set of clothing, jewelry, shield, or weapon
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: None;
Spell Resistance: No
Adjust instantaneously resizes an unattended piece of clothing or jewelry, a suit of armor, a shield or a weapon to f it you perfectly. This spell affects both magical and mundane equipment.

Cool spell, and it makes sense to have it, but 1st level seems low: Masterwork Transformation is level two and as "make this equipment useful for me" is significantly less powerful. If put that down at level 3 or 4 and make it a cleric spell as well as wiz. It's useful for low level characters, but not all that necessary since they won't be running into much in the way of special magic items until later anyway.

Now there are the Iron Lord's Transforming Slivers from Inner Sea Gods: 1000gp single use slotless wondrous item that permanently transforms a weapon one size category. If you're running ROTRL, you'll run into a lot of miss sized loot that would be otherwise useful.

Could also house rule them to work on armor and shields.

A house rule I've seen is using Spellcraft to transfer an enchant from one item to another: Got a +1 spell storing tonfa as loot but the fighter uses pole arms? Have the wizard make a Spellcraft check (and maybe spend some cash on reagents) as if he were creating the item (maybe at a slightly higher DC) and if he succeeds, he moves the enchant to your fighter's masterwork ranseur.

Melkiador wrote:
Yeah, I'm going to ignore the "no save" ruling in my games. It has a very bad feel to it, and doesn't seem to be existent in the regular text. Sounds more like a houserule that accidentally made its way into RAW.

If you don't want the spells to automatically cancel each other out, I would suggest a caster level check rather than a save. Slow is dispelling Haste, so it should work something like Dispell Magic which uses a caster level check instead of a save.

Couple of things to think about before you make your decision, though: Do light and darkness effects get saves or caster level checks in your games to override each other? Why is Haste/Slow different? Should a spell that explicitly says it dispells another specific spell be the same, weaker, or stronger against that specific spell than Dispell Magic?

Renata Maclean wrote:

"When the cavalier makes use of this ability, he must attempt

to subdue his target without killing it; dealing lethal
damage after using this ability, or allowing his allies to
kill the target, is considered a violation of his edicts."

If he uses the ability on the target at any point in the fight, he must from that point forward ensure that neither he nor his allies kill the target, or he loses his abilities.

I'd say it's a bit more nuanced than that. Once he uses Flat of the Blade,

A.) The Samurai/Cavalier cannot attack with the intention to cause lethal damage. (If I were the GM, and the Samurai critted using non lethal, knocking his enemy down beyond his full HP and therefore converting some to lethal or even killing the enemy, I wouldn't make him fall. Combat is dangerous, and the Samurai was "trying to subdue the target without killing it" in good faith, but accidents happen and you can't choose to _not_ confirm a crit.)

B.) His allies can't kill the target. That means they can still do lethal damage, but if they go overboard and kill the target, then the Samurai loses his abilities (even if it's due to an accidental crit.) Also, even if they don't kill the enemy right away, but capture him, the Samurai cannot let his allies coup de gras or otherwise kill the defeated opponent at a later time. (Again, I would be lenient with accidental crits while doing non lethal damage because that's in the spirit of the order. Also, turning the enemy over to authorities where he'll get executed after due process of law _probably_ wouldn't cause the Samurai to fall, but I could see situations where it would.)

So, Samurai cannot attack with lethal damage. Allies _can_ do lethal damage, but cannot be allowed to kill the enemy.

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Don't worry about roleplaying him "as an inquisitor" instead of "as a cleric." The class name doesn't really matter. Just roleplay him as you described him: As far as everyone knows, he's a stern and proper champion of justice for the city. But at night, he's the leader of a murder cult.

Roleplay him with that in mind and you're golden.

The Charm Monster spell on him shouldn't affect his relationship with Norgorber. After all, he's still murdering people and running the cult, Norgorber doesn't particularly care how the victims are chosen or why or what happens to their souls once they die, he's just happy that there's some murderin' going on. Probably, you never know with Norgorber. (But that's a different aspect :P )

Albion, The Eye wrote:

Ok, so I think I am grasping the bare bones now, so I'll return to my first question:

What are the main differences between a STR Magus and a DEX Magus?

EDIT: Or there is simply not even a reason to build a Str based Magus? :D

Dex based magi, especially kensai, are very front loaded: They get high armor class and good damage early. But the feats required take away from their longer term power and kensai give up spell recall which is huge.

Strength based magi develop slower, they're extra squishy at low levels, and the extra feats improve their casting abilities aren't as noticeable early on. They really come into their own in the mid levels, where PFS is finishing up.

The trick with a strength based magus is to remember you're a glass canon: Hang back, let the front liners engage, then move in and blow the bad guy up. Don't try to run in first and try to grab the spotlight. If that's OK with you, then a strength based magus will work. My wife plays a strength based kensai this way, and while the build is sub optimal, she's quite successful as long as she remembers she's a glass canon. (And a two handed power attack with 18+ strength delivering a meta magic'd shocking grasp is a pretty nice canon.)

The biggest downside for kensai is that losing spell recall. That means they have to devote most of their resources to offensive spells. That reduces their flexibility a lot.

BadBird wrote:

The only simple martial dip I would consider would be 1 level of Armored Hulk Barbarian, but you would want an Extra Rage or two and potentially Raging Vitality to do that. On the up-side, free heavy armor and the joys of rage, which include being able to turn a +1 Furious weapon into a +4 by level 8 with Greater Magic Weapon.

Speaking of feats... Hurtful is really great, but it might be pretty frustrating not to be able to use it until your other swift-action business is dealt with. Also, even with the +2 from race you're looking at making Intimidation checks without any major ability score behind them. Intimidating Prowess is great but costs a feat.

Why multiclass when you can simply take the Rage domain? That keeps your other abilities online.

And Inquisitors really, really do not need to multiclass. They do plenty of damage, and multiclassing slows down their Bane, spells, and other abilities.

Also, as a half orc Inquisitor, you get +2 (from race) and +half your level to Intimidate. So when you pick up Cornugon Smash at level 7, you'll have 7 (ranks) +3 (class skill) +3 (half level) +2 (race) -1 (8 Cha) = +14 minimum to intimidate. In PFS you're generally looking at CR 8-10 enemies as a level 7 PC, so the DC is going to be on the order of 10+10ish+1 to 5ish, so 25 to intimidate the hardest guys: Around 50/50 chance in the worst case scenario. And that's assuming no extras like Heroism, cracked Ioun stones, circlets of persuasion, etc. +/- 1, 2 or 3 bonus from Cha really doesn't make much of a difference.

The map folio doesn't help: It's all drawn on a grid paper (1/4" squares) scale or smaller. You'll need to draw your own.

Caryth Derellis wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
Power Attack would be +3, not +2, but yes, total the static damage bonuses and multiply them by x5.
Is the +3 due to the lance being two handed? The lance in this case would be held in one hand, with a shield in the other.

Nefreet linked to a FAQ on that: Lances are special, even when they're being wielded one handed on a mount, they get the benefits as if they were wielded with two hands. (All of the other abilities that I know of that allow you to wield a two handed weapon in one hand explicitly state that you treat the weapon as if it were a one handed weapon.)

Triune wrote:

Um, you can wield a greatsword and kick twice, buddy. Read the monk entry to understand why. You just can't attack with it in the same turn. Also tower shields don't count as weapons. If that's the basis of your argument, go back to the drawing board.

If you're not attacking with it, if you're not gaining any mechanical benefit from holding it, you're not wielding it. That's the core of Aelrynth's argument, you're actually making his point for him: You can hold a greatsword at the same time you're flurrying, but holding it is different than using it. Same logic applies for a shield: You can hold a shield while two weapon fighting, you just don't get mechanical benefit from it because you are expending the effort that would be required to use it on extra attacks instead.

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So, at level 10 you're looking at, what, +2 Katanas?

That makes your attack bonus 7 BAB + 4 Str + 2 Weapon +1 Haste = 14

Assuming Effortless Lace on your offhand, always having Haste from your boots and a flank, you're looking at an attack routine of

+14/+14/+14/+9/+9 (1d8 + 6, 15-20/x2, +5d6)

Looking at the statistics for CR 12 monsters, you'll be facing a median flat footed AC of 25, 23 after the penalty for facing an invisible attacker.

You need to roll a 9 or higher for your first 3 attacks, and a 14 or higher for your iteratives. That gives you a 60% chance to hit with your primary attacks, a 35% chance to hit with your iteratives. Your average damage with sneak attack is 28, your average crit with sneak is 38.5, and since about 30% of your hits will be confirmed crits, your damage is a weighted average: .7*28 + .3*38.5 = 31.15 damage/hit on average.

So, you're looking at hit rates of 60%/60%/60%/35%/35% on a full attack, or .6*31.15*3+.35*31.15*2 = about 78 damage/round.

That CR12 monster has a median of about 161 HP, so knocking off just shy of 50% of his HP in one average full attack as a 3/4 BABer seems quite good to me. Of course, this is ignoring DR restrictions and assuming you'll be invisible and flanking every full round attack.

So the build seems fine, damage-wise. Double Slice is only adding 2 damage/hit on two of your attacks, or about 2.4 damage/round. So something else would certainly be worthwhile there. I'd go with Toughness as well: You've done a lot to shore up your Will saves, but your HP is still low.

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Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:

That is at least why I supported the answer how it stands. No FAQ needed.

Good gaming!

The thing is, this is the perfect candidate for a traditional FAQ. Sure, it doesn't change a rule, but it explains the rule. And the question is certainly asked frequently.

But the explanation is buried 262 posts in to a non stickied thread. That makes it hard for experienced forum goers to find the ruling, and all but impossible for new players who really need the clarification.

Searching for Can I take 10 on climb checks? yields 3,300 results. And until I posted that phrase here, this thread with the actual clarification doesn't even show up until the bottom of the first page, and no post referencing the PDT explanation shows up in the first five pages of results.

FAQing it would make it available to even the newest players in seconds.

Komoda wrote:
Again, again, it sucks. The DEVs have failed to stick to any set of logic and rule more on a whim. I want to be clear, I understand that they have to do it because of how all of us have found so many gaps and inconsistencies in the original rule set. But it still sucks!

I have to disagree with this. While things like TWF with Greatsword and Armor Spikes, or TWF with weapon and armor spikes while keeping a shield bonus appear reasonable based on the writing of the rules, the mechanics of the game may make them invalid. They are corner cases, after all.

The game was designed so that there's a balance between the damage output a PC produces and the incoming damage he takes. THF gives up armor class from the shield, so does TWF, but not as much because of the high Dex requirements from the feats. TWF with a shield trades a feat to keep the AC bonus and forces you to use a 20/x2 weapon as one of your weapons.

TWF with Greatsword and Armor Spikes, or TWF with weapon and armor spikes while keeping your shield bonus nets you extra damage without the tradeoff. That violates the core logic of the game, even if they're consistent with the way the rules were written. (And even if they aren't more powerful than other, legal, options.) That's more a function of the fact that the rules are written to be enjoyable to read than a function of poor logic from the developers' side.

caps wrote:

I'm looking for a ruling that would be relevant to PFS.

My rule of thumb for PFS is to go with the more conservative interpretation of a rule. It doesn't work out that way all the time (though some times when it works out the other way, the option gets banned: See Pageant of the Peacock,) but it makes life a lot less complicated.

Alternatively, accept that there will be table variation if you play for multiple different GMs. Explain your character and ask for a ruling before the game starts, then be ready to play a different character or play differently, based on that ruling. If you have a small group of GMs you play with, like just playing at one game store, this might end up being a blanket yes or no on that character.

Absinthium wrote:

I had read that this particular AP was a 'killer-AP', and so was looking at preemptive advice on whether it needed adjustment. I should also point out that the players involved are all relatively new, with minimal game time.

Regardless of the party makeup, you might end up wanting to tinker with encounters: Some players build better characters, some play them better, some parties work better together and vice versa. That's just part of proactive GMing and doesn't have anything to do with the classes or AP involved. So keep an eye out for that.

I wouldn't make many/any changes to encounters in the first part of Book 1, those are there to ease the players into the adventure and get the ball rolling. They're supposed to be easy. Keep an eye on how things go in the last chapter of book 1, that will give you an idea of how well they can handle the challenges later books will throw at them.

The class balance is fine, you have arcane and divine casters covered and a couple people who can apply HP damage to bad guys. Trapfinding isn't a full-time job and all you need for that is Perception anyway. A bypassed trap is just as good as a disabled trap, after all.

Athose Immortius Aeternia wrote:
What other options? and I'm finding that in the mythic campaign, EVERYTHNG has SR.

The standard Worm that Walks is a Conjurer 13 with Fly, Teleport, Dispel Magic and Plane Shift prepared. Then there's that 390 feet/day of Dimensional Steps.

Even if you're not facing a standard one, just an enemy with the template, they're always a spellcaster. And spellcasters often have options.

Archaeik wrote:
It seems like you understand that RAW is [silly but] clear on this (#1), and it's more of a question about "how would you run it?"

Two things:

A.) Rules aren't written for corner cases. There weren't any x5 or x6 weapons when Icy Burst was written, so the RAW answer is that there is no RAW for weapons with those multipliers. Lack or RAW doesn't translate to "worst possible case."

B.) Do those abilities that increase crit damage actually change the weapon itself? Fighters' Weapon Mastery says "Any attacks made with that weapon automatically confirm all critical threats and have their damage multiplier increased by 1..." That's a function of the attack, not the weapon. Kensai's Weapon Focus works similarily. Those work like Lead Blades: They don't change the fundamental qualities of the weapon, they just change the damage the weapon does, as opposed to Enlarge Person that fundamentally changes the weapon.

So, I would say the answer is #4: Icy Burst damage is based off the base critical multiplier of the weapon, not the modified multiplier of a class feature.

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Claxon wrote:

So long as you're not making an attack with your shield or shield arm and only use two "hands" worth of attacks then you are fine.

So yes, you can wear a shield and get the shield bonus and attack with your longsword and armor spikes.

For what it's worth, armor spikes do not count as being wielded in a hand, but take up a "hands" worth of effort to attack with.

Tl;dr: You should be fine.

I would disagree with that, based on this FAQ:

Armor Spikes: Can I use two-weapon fighting to make an "off-hand" attack with my armor spikes in the same round I use a two-handed weapon? wrote:

Likewise, you couldn't use an armored gauntlet to do so, as you are using both of your hands to wield your two-handed weapon, therefore your off-hand is unavailable to make any attacks.

You can use the same logic to read that as "you are using both of your hands to wield your shield and weapon, therefore your off-hand is unavailable to make any attacks."

Think of is as having two hands worth of stuff you can do. Wielding a shield takes a hand, making an attack with a main hand weapon takes a hand, making an attack with an off hand weapon takes a hand (and armor spikes are treated as an off hand weapon if you're using a main hand weapon), making an attack with a two handed weapon takes both hands. (Some things add an action you can take, such as the helmet that grants a gore attack or the iron beard that explicitly grants an extra attack.)

So, shield, main hand, armor spikes: Pick two.

For PFS, at best expect table variation. There will certainly be some people who won't allow you to TWF and get the shield bonus, while others might well allow it.

I'm not sure that Improved Shield Bash would work, either. The way it's written says flat out no, since you're not making a shield bash. But the spirit might be "yes." Again, table variation, and I'd personally be much more likely to allow it in a home game than a PFS game.

If you only plan on playing this character in your local PFS group, talk to your coordinator/GMs for a ruling. If you're planning on going to cons, traveling, or have a really large PFS presence in your area expect to not be able to do your schtick at every table. For best results, explain what your character does before the game starts to get a ruling right off the bat instead of breaking the flow of the game on the first combat.

Gronk de'Morcaine wrote:

I just don't understand that. All the other niche and low powered options that are built so often even though they are univercially recognized as weak options, but this whole classification of them are practically anathema.

I think that mostly depends on your group/local culture. Several posters here have said that their groups regularly take teamwork feats. On the other hand, I've never seen anyone even consider some of the more common weak feats like Vital Strike.

Weslocke wrote:

All these comparisons of teamwork feats to other feats fail to take into account the fact that, at its base, the game is already slanted heavily in the players favor.

The thing is, I've seen entire groups focus on weird builds that don't work well, or worse, think they're min/maxing but actually weakening their characters because they don't understand how the game works well enough, and end up losing the advantage. E.g. monks that think AC 26 is unhittable running around provoking AoOs from CR10 monsters so they can use Snake Style to do 1d8+3 damage with a counter AoO. Sorcerers who "specialize" in Burning Hands but don't metamagic it and run up within 15' cast a 5d4 fire spell on CR 8 enemies with fire resist when they're level 6.

There's a baseline level of competence your party needs in order to survive. If you don't hit that, all the cool options in the world turn out to not be so fun because you're not able to overcome challenges or not able to contribute as the rest of the group does all the work. If you meet that level of competence, go wild on trying new and different and weird things. If you aren't sure, then you should probably be sticking with the boring standbys. And don't judge your character's competence on how they performed in the first couple levels: As someone on another thread said, a Wizard can be just as effective as any 3/4 BAB character in melee at level 1-2, that doesn't mean it's a survivable strategy even at 5.

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Page-Bound Epiphany is the second spell I mentioned that helps you on knowledge checks.

Kreighton's Perusal is the other one.

Other cool spells are:

Cultural Adaptation from Humans of Golarian, which allows you to speak a language with a native accent.

Sure Casting from the Pathfinder Society Primer, gives your next spell a +5 bonus to overcoming SR.

Aram Zey's Focus from the Pathfinder Society's Field Guide gives you trapfinding and bonuses to disable device for a minute/level.

Twisted Futures from the Gian Slayer's Handbook prevents the target from using "roll twice (or more) and take the better result" abilities.

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One of the biggest issues I have with claims of historical accuracy is that they're almost universally focused on limiting martials. You can't play a Cavalier who charges in our game because stirrups weren't invented yet. You can't use the mechanics of the Ninja class because we're in Europe, even though your character is flavored as a Teutonic spy. Wizard wants to focus on illusions and Shadow Conjuration? Go for it!

I'm trying to remember the names, but there are a couple good ones in the PFS Primer, I think. I just moved and can't find my books to check just now.

One lets you skim through a book as if you had spent an hour reading it.

The cooler one pulls information from all the world's libraries on a specific piece of information into a blank book. You can then spend 1 round/level studying that to get +1/round spent on a knowledge check.

I'd go longspear: If you want to go melee, you really want to go two handed and high Str. (I'd suggest 16 or 17 to start.) And if you go Str focused with a class that only allows you to wear light armor, you're going to be squishy, so going reach is really helpful. (Hint: Trip on the AoO as they approach you. Also, reach allows you to ready an action to attack when they approach you, 5' step, then take the AoO allowing you to get two attacks to their one.) You'll still be squishy, but you might not go unconscious as often.

Alternatively, you could try Elf (or human), max out Dex, keep 13 Str, and finesse an Elven Curved Blade with Power Attack. That'll make you a little less squishy at lower levels before you can depend on Mirror Image and Displacement at higher levels for survival. The tradeoff is that you do less damage.

I don't think you'll be able to get enough bonuses to do effective damage at higher levels by finessing a one hander. Remember: In PFS you can't guarantee that you'll be filling the role you expected to, there might not be that 22 Str Barbarian, or even 18 Str Paladin in the group, you might be it for applying HP damage to eliminate the bad guys.

Damage-wise, I look at the Table: Monster Statistics By CR from the bestiary and shoot for a DPR that will kill an average monster of a CR 2 higher than my level in 4-6 rounds. 5 or 6 if I'm shooting for a secondary damage dealer or 4-5 as a primary damage dealer. Alternatively, you could look at some scenarios that you've already played and see if you can kill the tougher enemies in 4-6 rounds. An example of an encounter from a season 1, 1-7 scenario:

Subtier 1-2: CR 2, AC 13, 22 HP, DR 5/bludgeoning
Subtier 3-4: CR 4, AC 13, 40 HP, DR 5/bludgeoning
Subtier 6-7: CR 8, AC 13, 81 HP, DR 5/bludgeoning

Of course, PFS scenarios are known to be really swingy in difficulty, so take what you see in them with a grain of salt if you only look at a few. On the other hand, they're an actual representation of what you'll be facing instead of a theoretical model, so they can also be a good guide.

(I come up with a 4-6 rounds to kill range based on the theory that a CR = APL+2 encounter should end within 2 to 3 rounds of the sides getting into full attack range and that you'll have either two dedicated damage dealers or 1 dedicated + 2 or so secondary. That's because much more time than that and things get really dangerous for PCs: Even that 7th level paladin might have some worries once he's been bitten 3 or 4 times by a skeleton attacking at +22 for 2d8+26.)

I would also suggest keeping your Cha to 13 or 14, you just need too many physical stats to survive in melee. That means focusing on support and buffing spells instead of those with saves.

Brandy Lion wrote:

My tactical paladin grants a teamwork to all in 30'. I took lookout first (lv 3) then outflank (lv 9)

Are there any better for PFS use (I tend to think the weapon specific ones are not as useful in unknown groups.

Escape Route works wonders. I found that out accidentally on my Inquisitor because I initially didn't have the Dex for Precise Strike or the BAB for Outflank and never really got to take much advantage of Lookout.

I get more use out of that than any other teamwork feat on my Inquisitor. In fact, Escape Route is often the only way anyone gets into a flank to use the others.

Fallen Magi wrote:
Magic Items and Metamagic Spells: With the right item creation feat, you can store a metamagic version of a spell in a scroll, potion, or wand. Level limits for potions and wands apply to the spell's higher spell level (after the application of the metamagic feat). A character doesn't need the metamagic feat to activate an item storing a metamagic version of a spell.

Just to stir the pot: What about creating wands of metamagic'd spells that you can cast at reduced level? If, for some reason, a cookie cutter Magus with Wayang Spell Hunter and Magical Lineage: Shocking Grasp wants to create a wand of Intensified, Empowered Shocking Grasp, it's 2nd level for him but 4th level by the book. So does it cost 15,000 (2nd level) or 30,000 (4th level) to craft? And would he even be able to craft a wand of Quickened, Intensified Shocking Grasp? 4th level for him but 6th level by the book.

kestral287 wrote:
Also, you're off on crits-- you're capped at two, period. You roll once, if it's a crit you roll to confirm. If it's confirmed and in the crit threat range, you crit twice (no need to confirm again).

OK, so with the logic of:

1 = flat out miss = 0 damage
2-5 = Glancing Blow = 13.75 damage
6-10 = 1 hit = 27.5 damage
11-15 = 2 hits = 55 damage
16 - 18 = 3 hits = 82.5 damage
19 - 20 = Roll to confirm
Confirmation roll = 1 - 5 = fails to confirm = 3 hits = 82.5 damage
Confirmation roll = 6-18 = 1 confirmation = 4 hits = 110 damage
Confirmation roll = 19-20 = 2 confirmations = 5 hits = 137.5 damage

Rolling one die:
Average damage = 46.35
Median damage = 55
Standard Deviation = 31.5

Still comparing that to rolling each attack individually:
Average damage = 47.7
Median damage = 55
Standard Deviation = 28

OK, I'm coming around. That's a whole lot better. It's still going to be swingier than rolling multiple attacks: A big chunk of the variability is reduced by reducing the extremes, you're getting a lot fewer 0 damage rounds and no triple crit rounds than my original assumption. It still sucks for a lot of high crit rate attacks, though.

Haste: I bet if you changed it so that it increased your BAB by 6 instead of giving you +1 atk and an extra attack it would start working pretty close to how it does with normal rules.

That being said, I'd still prefer to roll multiple attacks normally. Though I wouldn't be as panicked about rolling them all at once, with certain builds, as my initial reaction was.

Now, why doesn't your math match up to my simulation?

Ahh, found the rules on d20pfsrd.

Missing by 5 or less does half damage, and critical confirmation rolls can be treated as critical threats for the next iterative. I'm also not seeing an auto miss on a 1 or auto hit on a 20.

I'll have to adjust my simulation to take that into account, we'll see if it improves anything. That might take me a little while, though.

It'll still suck for builds that depend on a lot of attacks threatening crits since all of your iteratives are conditional on whether the previous one critted. P(b|a) < P(b)

wraithstrike wrote:

They also tell you how to handle TWF and other cases.

What I don't like is that if you want to attack multiple enemies you have to declare up front, and you use the AC of the highest enemy, and if you use TWF and one of your weapons has a lower attack bonus you use that bonus when determining how many hits you sccore.

The players do seem more likely to lose damage before any math is done.

I will do some math later tonight if nobody else gets to it first to see how it works out, but it will be at around 12 hours from now.

How are crits handled?

I did a little simulation with the following assumptions:

1st attack hits on a 6+ (75% hit rate)
2nd attack hits on an 11+ (50% hit)
3rd attack hits on a 16+ (25% hit)
Crit threat on a 19+, confirm on the same number the attack hits on.

Hit does 27.5 damage, Crit does 55 damage (Greatsword with +20 dmg)

10,000 rounds of 3 attacks independantly rolled
10,000 rounds of 3 attacks using just 1 attack roll and just 1 crit confirmation roll for all three.

But, that assumes if you roll a crit threat in the single roll system, every attack is a crit threat and you just roll one confirmation roll. The results would likely be different if crits are handled differently.

The results, by the way (don't know if they're useful until I find out how the crits work) are:

Rolling each attack individually:
Average damage = 47.7
Median damage = 55
Standard Deviation = 28

Rolling 1 attack and 1 confirmation roll:
Average damage = 47.5
Median damage = 27.5
Standard Deviation = 44

So, yeah, what I initially expected: Same average damage over time, but much more variability. Look at the medians: Half the time you're doing 55 damage with independant rolls, but only 27.5 damage with a single roll. That means you have a lot more complete misses with a single roll, although you also have a lot of really big hits.

But again, there's likely to be some difference in the result based on how crits are rolled.

Theoretical DPR = 47.4:

Simplified DPR = hit*damage+crit*hit*(multiplier-1)*damage

hit = 0.75
damage = 27.5
crit = 0.1
Multiplier = 2

DPR 1st attack = 0.75*27.5+0.75*0.1*1*27.5 = 22.7
DPR 2nd attack = 0.5*27.5+0.5*0.1*1*27.5 = 15.8
DPR 3rd attack = 0.25*27.5+0.25*0.1*1*27.5 = 8.9
Full attack = 47.4

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Probability of rolling at least one crit threat on a 19-20 weapon in three attacks:

1-0.9^3 = 27.1%

Probability of at least 1 crit threat on a 19-20 range weapon in three attacks with 1 roll:


(Extreme case: Hasted Greater Two Weapon Fighting with Keen Kukris, your probability for rolling a crit threat goes from 92% to 30% per round. This kills crit based builds.)

Probability of rolling at least one higher than natural 1 in three attacks:

1-.05^3 = 99.9875%

Probability of missing all three attacks on a natural 1 when rolling once:


I wouldn't want to play this way just on crit threats and auto misses. But, you've also got the fact that your attacks are no longer independent of each other. Sure, average damage stays the same, but the variability of your damage increases. You're back to level 1-5 where a single bad roll means you've wasted your turn.Your average damage per round stays the same, but combat isn't a monte carlo simulation going through 10,000 iterations to compute an average, it's just a couple rounds where the fewer rolls you make, the more likely extreme events are going to happen.

If you want to speed up combat, take the other suggestions: Pre-roll attacks and damage, write up a cheat sheet with your different possible attack and damage bonuses, get a calculator. Then have your player tell you the results, not make the rolls, on their turn.

Errant Mercenary wrote:

AoE spells that do not offer a save (Evasion? Nope):

Ice Storm (4th)
Raging Rubble (3rd) also Distracts (nausea)
Fire Storm
Stone Call (2nd) and difficult terrain
Several others with a similar write up..keep an eye open!

Not offering a save is a very potent tool in certain situations (GMing), and I was surprised to notice some didnt have such, so including them here!

Burst of Radiance: Evil creatures take 1d4/level, no save. All creatures Ref save or be blinded for 1d4 rounds.

I've run into a lot of people spamming this, and all in all it's a good teaching tool: They start out thinking it's a damage spell with a blindness rider, but pretty soon they realize it's a blindness spell with a damage rider and the damage is generally inconsequential.

And Command has become one of my favorite spells after playing an Evangelist Cleric. I don't use "Approach" all that much, "Drop" has more or less the same effect without the downside of potentially ending up with the BBEG standing in my face, (AoO to pick something up off the ground,) same for "Fall" but better against hard to hit enemies. But "Halt" is my all time favorite, it's basically a save or die, especially with a Rod of Extend Spell. My PC is 7th level and it's still probably the most common spell he casts.

Sissyl wrote:
A tip.... Gilgamesh is probably not right for 11 year olds...

Good point, I forgot how Gilgamesh bested Enkidu. Same for Duiker's comments.

Actually, the vast majority of my list is probably not all that well targeted for younger kids though I remember reading Tolkien's version of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in, maybe, junior high.

Steve Geddes wrote:
I'd recommend the Belgariad, by David Eddings for the younger group - a whole bunch of class archetypes in that, from memory.

The Elenium by Eddings as well, the knights in that series (The Diamond Throne, the Ruby Knight, The Sapphire Rose) are excellent character examples for Paladins and other martial classes. They both cover the stereotypes without being too sterotypical, and introduce some new types of characters that fit into the role.

The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon. (The Sheepfarmer's Daughter, Divided Allegiance, Oath of Gold.) The rumor I heard was that she wrote those after a GenCon to show people how to properly play a Paladin. You'll need to go online or to a really good used bookstore to find them, though.

For more classical literature (Trying to focus on shorter stuff):
The Song of Roland for martials.

The Legend of Five Rings and The Art of War both give you a perspective on the mind set of warriors in an appropriate time period.

Cyrano de Bergerac is a play and a must-read for Swashbucklers. Any Dumas novel also works, they're all pretty much the same (and much longer than the Cyrano de Bergerac.) :P The Scarlet Pimpernel is another one in this genre, and is credited as influencing the creation of Zorro and Batman, in the Wiki article at least.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is good for Barbarians and other martial classes.

Beowulf. 'Nuff said.

The Chronicles of Narnia More accessible to younger readers? Probably qualifies as proper literature now, though it wasn't when I was a kid.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight The original and Tolkien's version.

Ivanhoe For the more advanced, and dedicated, readers. Not nearly as exciting as a modern writer telling the same story would be.

Bishop Odo, Earl of Kent. The guy riding around with a mace in the Bayeux Tapestry, who inspired the Cleric class. Read up on him on Wiki.

I really don't know what would be good for the 11-14 age range, they might not have the patience and reading comprehension for a lot of the stuff on this list? A lot of this will push the limits of the 16 and 17 year olds if they aren't really into reading, but there should be something that piques just about anyone's interest if they're also interested in fantasy roleplaying.

There aren't many stories about wizards or clerics in classical literature, for some reason. :P

Fundin Strongarm wrote:

I'm getting the impression that a Warpriest is mostly subpar at healing unless I can start at a higher level and rely on wands to provide mostly-out-of-combat healing.

I'm really late to the party here, but I'm running Rise of the Runelords and the party healer is a Warpriest with the healing blessing.

He does the job just fine.

Empowered heals means that he heals more than a Cleric or Oracle would with single target heals, at least while his Fervor lasts. And since in combat healing is primarily for covering those "Oh Crap!" moments, his Fervor lasts the entire adventuring day most of the time. The real downside of a Warpriest is 9th through 12th level where a Cleric or Oracle would have Breath of Life and Raise Dead but a Warpriest doesn't. The same is an issue for the Oradin.

The Oradin healers I've seen have been dedicated healers: You have to put too much investment into Cha for channels and Lay on Hands to get enough Str and Con to be very effective in combat. Sure you can buff yourself with spells, but those take actions, and unless you can pre-cast that means you aren't either attacking or supporting your party. Sure they mix it up and swing their sword, but they do about as much damage as a rogue without flank. They've also got about the same level of condition removal as Warpriests since their Paladin levels slow down their Oracle spell access.

My PFS Inquisitor has the Inquisition domain Conversion Inquisition, and it's worked well for me through 10 levels of play. I primarily use the Dominate Person SLA when we're interrogating prisoners, (after intimidating them to lower their saves, of course.) Who cares how scared of his boss he is when I control his mind? I imagine the Charm Person SLA from Reformation would fill the same role.

Having all three talking skills is good, but Diplomacy really is the work horse of the social skills. That's why I've never been very excited about the Heresy inquisition. Getting to roll twice on that one really important Diplomacy check can be huge, so I think the Reformation Inquisition would be an excellent choice as well as Conversion. Some GMs allow Bluff to effectively work as Diplomacy, so depending on your character and GM, Heresy would be fine too.

My suggestion is to go with the one that best fits your character. Conversion and Reformation will both do what you want to do, and depending on the group, character, and GM, Heresy can as well.

<edit>Posting before coffee has serious side effects :P</edit>

Ryuko wrote:
Thanks a lot everyone. It does seem theres a lot of DM holes patching going on there, but it's not too awful.

Yeah, just talk things through with your player, come to an agreement on how to play it, and stay far away from the forums and you'll have fun! ;P

avr wrote:
There are feats to deal with blocking enemies. Charge Through or Wheeling Charge; I'm not sure whether the former should be taken by the mount or the rider for a mounted combatant.

Charge Through falls in the same category as Trample. It's not clear on whether just the rider or both the rider and mount need it. I think there's a Dev saying something on the forum somewhere, but I don't have a link and I'm not seeing a FAQ. The way I remember it is that that the rider takes the feat, not the mount. Again, best handled as a GM call.

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tonyz wrote:

Read the Ride skill carefully -- there are lots of things people can do. (don't forget about armor check penalties applying to Ride).

A Cavalier on his bonded mount gets to ignore armor check penalties to Ride.

Mounted Combat is a bit of a mess. It's best to talk with your player beforehand and come to an agreement on how things work. Anything you're really unsure about is likely to be just as unclear on the forums. So doing things the way they work for your group is about as good as you're going to get.

Here's my run down of most of the contested or confusing rules:

Charging while mounted. FAQ Basically, all the restrictions that apply when charging on foot apply when charging on a mount: No Charge + Vital Strike. Contention: ALL RESTRICTIONS apply when charging while mounted, and some people contend that it's a move action to use Handle Animal to instruct it to attack instead of a free action to guide the mount, so you can never charge unless you're a cavalier. This shouldn't apply to your PC if he's a cavalier since it's a bonded mount and even Handle Animal commands are free actions if they're trained tricks.

Charging, when does it end? I rule the charge ends when the PC attacks (unless he has Ride by Attack.) So, if he's using a lance and his mount doesn't have reach his mount won't get to attack and the charge stops 10' away. Some people argue that your mount will charge until it hits the enemy and the PC takes his attack on the way in. Feel free to choose which rule to use. Controversy: If you stop when you attack, not when the mount attacks, this makes it an invalid charge so your mount can't charge when you have a reach weapon.

Charge Lanes, what's the "nearest square?" I think the currently mostly accepted RAW is that, when you charge, you HAVE to end up in the square most directly adjacent to your target. I.e. draw a line from the center of your square to the center of your enemy's square and you end up in the last square that line goes through. That means that 90% of the time the target is in your path and you can't move on with Ride By Attack. Even if, say, you're shifted by one square away from a straight line to the enemy. There may be some newer rules interpretations, like in Melee Tactics Toolkit or the new Rules cards that give you more flexibility over that, choosing any square that's adjacent to the enemy and not on the other side. I would suggest you make your own call on this, and let your player know, so that everyone will know whether Ride by Attack will happen very often or not.

Lance damage. Lances are special: You get 1.5 Str to damage and -1/+3 Power Attack damage even when you're holding them in one hand while mounted. Shield + Lance is very effective. Power Attack FAQ. The Two-Handed Weapon rule says "...Apply 1-1/2 times the character's Strength bonus to damage rolls for melee attacks with such a weapon." Every ability that allows you to use a larger weapon in one hand explicitly says "you only get 1 times your Str damage" except the lance which implies that you do get 1.5x Str with the lance. If you want to rule otherwise, let your player know.

Trample Feat Does your mount need the Improved Overrun feat to not draw an AoO? Whose CMB do you use? The rule of thumb I learned was "use the rider's numbers" when doing something mounted. But, again, that's a call you'll want to make if your player picks up this feat.

Ride Checks Just a reminder, but you do not auto fail skill checks on a natural 1. So once your PC has a +4 bonus to Ride, he won't need to make a roll to guide with his knees because he can't fail. But he will need to make a DC 10 Ride check to fight while mounted, or he spends the round trying to control his mount. I'd suggest both of you reading through the Ride and Handle Animal skills carefully. Also, you need to train the "Attack" trick twice if you want your mount to attack anything other than an animal, humanoid or magical beast.

Escape Route and adjacency Do a PC and a mount count as being adjacent? They share the same squares, so if they're adjacent Escape Route means they'll never take an AoO for movement. I don't think the forums have come to a consensus on that, and I'm not seeing a FAQ at first glance. You'll need to make a decision before your player spends resources on it or any similar feats.

I love playing mounted characters, it's a lot of fun. But there are a lot of undefined areas in the mounted combat rules. As long as you and your player are on the same page, which pretty much means you both trust the other not to screw you over, you shouldn't have a problem. But spending 10 minutes to come to an agreement on how this list works will go a long way to making sure everyone has fun. I'm sure there are unclear rules that I missed, so when you run into something that's unclear, I'd suggest you and your player talk it out and come to a ruling then stick with it. Don't worry too much about being right or wrong based on RAW or the forums, because 9 times out of 10 the forums will violently disagree on what RAW is.

Also, Howie23 has a great link to a series on how mounted combat worked in 3.5. It would be worth your time to read through that, if you're up to it.

<edit> Forgot one: Animal Companion archetypes from Animal Archives These, especially the mount related ones like Charger and Racer trade out Share Spells, but Cavalier mounts don't get Share Spells. The author mentioned on the forums somewhere that he meant for the archetypes to be available to Cavaliers and the requirement was an oversight. Your call on whether or not you want to allow them. </edit>

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