Balazar's Eidolon

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Dependency on magical weapons for damage seems fixable by tying damage to proficiency, but it comes with a host of issues:

- Creates a larger damage disparity between classes without inherent proficiency.
- If it's a hybrid system where damage comes from proficiency and potency runes, +X weapons are still essential for non-martial classes.

- There's no way to increase proficiency, so would feats be added or would the scaling become inherent to all classes?
- If we add feats, it's a tax and we also hit the customization bottleneck issue where you choose increasing Proficiency over everything else.
- If we make all classes scale weapon proficiency it devalues the attack bonus that is supposed to set martial classes apart.


Johnico wrote:
Alarox wrote:

Precedence from 1E would lean toward yes, you are considered your own ally.

FAQ: You count as your own ally unless otherwise stated or if doing so would make no sense or be impossible. Thus, “your allies” almost always means the same as “you and your allies.”

I'd be hesitant to use 1e precedence to answer rules questions about the playtest/2e. It's a completely different game, after all.

Absolutely agree that we need to go by 2E > 1E, but in the absence of any 2E definition, for the playtest I would rule toward the previous edition. It seems like there are a few things in 2E that rely on definitions from 1E, like the "line of sight" discussion.


Precedence from 1E would lean toward yes, you are considered your own ally.

FAQ: You count as your own ally unless otherwise stated or if doing so would make no sense or be impossible. Thus, “your allies” almost always means the same as “you and your allies.”


BUMP with more questions. Here's the rest of the rules text:

Quote:
Shadow doubles provide flanking for the ankou’s shadow and his allies, but they do not possess teamwork feats or special abilities that alter the effects of flanking or aiding another. As a swift action, the ankou’s shadow can direct his shadow doubles to use the aid another action, using his own base attack bonus plus his Intelligence modifier for the roll. Although a shadow double appears to duplicate the ankou’s shadow’s gear, this gear is part of its form; a shadow double’s gear cannot be destroyed, dropped, or stolen. A shadow double disappears if it ventures more than 50 feet from the ankou’s shadow or if it leaves his line of sight or effect. A shadow double that is hit by an attack roll or takes any damage is destroyed. The AC of a shadow double is equal to the ankou’s shadow’s touch AC, and it has the same CMD and saving throw bonuses as the ankou’s shadow. Shadow doubles possess evasion if the ankou’s shadow does. Mind-affecting effects targeting a shadow double affect the ankou’s shadow instead, though he isn’t affected twice by effects that target both him and a shadow double.

Emphasis mine.

1.) Does each individual shadow use the Aid Another action, or is it only ever a +2 bonus from a single collective Aid Another action even with 2-4 shadows?

2.) Is the aid another action limited to granting a bonus to AC/attacks, or can it be used on skill checks as well?

Quote:
At 10th level, an ankou’s shadow gains a third shadow double. He can divide his actions between his actual body and his shadow doubles, using them as the origin point for attacks or abilities. For example, an ankou’s shadow making three attacks as a part of a full attack could make his primary attack from his own body and his other two attacks from two of his shadow doubles.

3.) Does this allow the shadows to threaten and make attacks of opportunity on their own? I assume they already threaten before lv10 since they can flank and use aid another, but just couldn't make attacks.


So it's a grey area where we're not sure of the spell level or caster level? Though it seems odd to me if the intent is for the effective caster level to stay 1 and not scale. The DC to dispel would never rise above 12.

Makes me wonder why it's a SLA and not just supernatural. Even the shadow clone ninja trick is supernatural.


@Saethori

1: That's what I figured. It's a very unique ability so I'm trying to figure out the absolute limits of what it can do.

2-4: Makes sense.

5: Could you point me to the rules for SLAs that don't mimic spells? Can't seem to find them.


I have some questions about how the Shadow Double functions. Here's the rules text:

Quote:

Shadow Double (Sp): An ankou’s shadow can take a full-round action to create a single, quasi-real, shadowy duplicate. This shadow double remains in his square, mimicking his movements as a single mirror image, except that it lasts until it is destroyed or he chooses to dismiss it as a swift action. This ability does not stack with the mirror image spell or with similar abilities, such as the copycat ability of the Trickery domain.

Quote:

At 5th level, an ankou’s shadow gains a second shadow double. In addition to using these shadow doubles as mirror images in his square, he can move his doubles as part of his own move action, dividing his movement between himself and his doubles. When outside his square, shadow doubles do not protect the ankou’s shadow as mirror image and are limited in the actions they can take....

1.) Can I use any form of movement for the shadows, or ONLY a move action?

Can I split a run/withdrawal?
Can I split a charge?
Can a shadow 5-foot step?

2.) Can I leave a shadow in my square as I move (dividing the movement as 30/0)?

3.) If so, can I do it only as part of a move action or can I 5-foot step, run, withdrawal, etc. and leave a shadow in my original square?

4.) Can two shadows share the same square without me, and can they mimic each other's movements?

5.) Can this ability be used with the Quicken Spell-Like Ability feat?


Mojorat wrote:

No it is not. In the round you cast a spell the touch parr of the spell of a touch attack spell is a seperate action.

I can move, cast spell, touch attack.
I can cast spell, move, touch attack.
Or cast spell, touch attack, move.

However at no point is the touch attack part of the standard action. If you hold the charge you could defensively touch as a standard action no problem. You just can't do it in the round you cast the spell.

Edit as I missed something. You are correct you do not need ro do the attack action. However you do need a standard action.

Yeah, I'm wrong. The "touch" part is a free action and not part of the standard, so it does require a separate standard action.


Mojorat wrote:
You ignored the part of the rule where it says "fighting defensively as a standard action" its the part before the text you listed.

Casting a spell with the range "touch" and making the attack roll is a standard action.

The rule never says that you need to take the attack action. It just says that if you want to use Fighting Defensively during a standard action you must make an attack. There are many standard actions that make an attack.


Majuba wrote:

You've laid out the argument clearly. You can fight defensively when making a free touch attack with a spell.

Most probably don't, because it turns a nearly guaranteed potent hit into a more chancy proposition, and you don't want to burn your standard action the next turn just to deliver the spell.

I'm actually talking about fighting defensively on the same turn you cast the spell with the free attack roll, not waiting until the next turn to use a standard action.


Fighting Defensively as a Standard Action

Spoiler:
"You can choose to fight defensively when attacking. If you do so, you take a –4 penalty on all attacks in a round to gain a +2 to AC until the start of your next turn."

From what I've read so far, many people believe that any action beyond the "attack action" can't use Fighting Defensively. I'm challenging this. Compare this to Vital Strike and Combat Expertise:

Spoiler:
Vital Strike
"When you use the attack action, you can make one attack at your highest base attack bonus that deals additional damage. Roll the weapon’s damage dice for the attack twice and add the results together before adding bonuses from Strength, weapon abilities (such as flaming), precision-based damage, and other damage bonuses. These extra weapon damage dice are not multiplied on a critical hit, but are added to the total."

Combat Expertise
"Benefit: You can choose to take a –1 penalty on melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks to gain a +1 dodge bonus to your Armor Class. When your base attack bonus reaches +4, and every +4 thereafter, the penalty increases by –1 and the dodge bonus increases by +1. You can only choose to use this feat when you declare that you are making an attack or a full-attack action with a melee weapon. The effects of this feat last until your next turn."

Vital Strike and Combat Expertise specifically designate the attack action unlike the rules for Fighting Defensively: "when attacking" vs "when you use the attack action/when making an attack action". This wording is what prevents Vital Strike from being used along with things such as Cleave. Likewise:

Fighting Defensively as a Full-Round Action

Spoiler:
You can choose to fight defensively when taking a full-attack action. If you do so, you take a –4 penalty on all attacks in a round to gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC for the same round.

It specifically differentiates between a full-round action and a full-attack action. This is the important part. In the section title it says "full-round action". It is clarifying that if you want to use fighting defensively while doing a full-round action, you have to use a full-attack. The rules for using it as a standard action do not do this. They only state that you must attack, not that you must specifically use the attack action.

Keep this errata in mind: "Vital Strike can only be used as part of an attack action, which is a specific kind of standard action." Attacking != Attack Action. There are many actions that lead to an attack, such as Alchemist Bombs, Cleave, and Touch Spells. These WOULD work with Vital Strike and Combat Expertise, except their wording specifically states you must be doing the attack action. The rules for Fighting Defensively as a standard action do not. Hence touch spells, which result in an attack, should work.

If I'm wrong I'd like to hear why. I just want to understand these rules properly.


My Eidolon utilizes the same tactics, and I've gone through the same thing you are now about two months ago. I'll see if I can help...

1.) Nope. Eidolon's grab is considered its own thing with the Universal Monster Rules as a reference, just as Eidolon pounce is considered its own thing even though it shares the same name with something from the Universal Monster Rules.

2.)
A: Yes, but the full-attack can't use the limb that is holding the enemy.
B: Yes.
C: Yes.

3.)
A: Yes, but you need to have the action remaining to do so (move action with Greater Grapple)
B: You just need to succeed on either the standard action grapple check, or move action grapple check.

4.) You need Improved Unarmed Strike

5.) There's a flowchart here. It is what my group and I use pretty much every session to make sure we don't screw up.

There's also this handy guide someone made that explains it all nicely: http://www.dorkistan.com/dorkistan/PFRPG/misc/grapple.htm

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Edit: As an aside, a full-attack isn't as good as rake attacks plus attack action (if your Eidolon has the capacity to get them).

Let's say you can roll 7 attacks on a full-attack. That's seven to roll your attack against an enemy's (usually high) AC.

Conversely, imagine rolling only two times against something's CMD with three attacks off of each?

-> Grapple Check -> Attack action -> 2 additional rakes -> repeat

You have +8 from Grab and the feats, plus +5 from the initial check, so +13 + CMB vs enemy's CMD. Pretty good. Potentially too good, but it's great against anything as long as you can get the initial grapple.


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avari3 wrote:
Pax Morbis wrote:

Twenty buttons really isn't that many to have to be able to press. That is on the low side for the majority of games these days. My old World of Warcraft character easily had over forty action slots filled, and I was on the conservative side for an arena player.

It isn't that much to ask that you occasionally have to press down your pinky to hit a modifier key.

It's 20+ the movement keys and targets. We're talking about 30 actually. What you are describing is exactly why i hated WoW and SwtoR. I prefer paired down and more interactive like DDO or GW2. I was hoping PFO copmbat would revolve more around the 6 second decisions than managing 36 abilities.

I noticed you referenced GW2. The system seems like an expanded version of their system IMO. However, either of us could be right. I'll explain:

At one time in PFO we have 12 potentially actively used skills, then 8 more situational ones. 6 of the first 12 are tied to a daily resource pool. Guild Wars 2 had 10 (plus other skills depending on the profession obviously) skills, but they seemed mostly spammable with short cooldowns besides the elite skill or occasional utility. (I recognize you understand all of this, just putting it out there for comparison and emphasis).

If most of the 20 skills are like those spammable ones in Guild Wars 2... then I agree with your point of view. It shouldn't be spammy and the system will be flawed in that respect. However...

It may be more of wishful thinking, but here's how I imagine the skills on a scale from spammy to situational to long-cooldown:
6 (12) weapons skills are spammy
6 (12) implements are somewhere in between spammy and situational
2 items will range from situational to long-cooldown
2 utilities will be situational
2 situationals will range from situational to long-cooldown
2 boot/glove will range from situational to long-cooldown

Conversely Guild Wars 2 was:
5 (10) weapon skills are spammy
1 healing skill was spammy
3 utilities ranged from spammy to long-cooldown (mostly just situational)
1 elite skill was situational to long-cooldown
X profession specific abilities that ranged from spammy to long-cooldown

So, at least to me, this system sounds like Guild Wars 2 except with more situational abilities to mimic a tabletop character and give you the tools to survive in a sandbox MMO.

Then there was the Elementalist and the Engineer which are exceptions. An Elementalist had 25+ abilities, and my Engineer had about 20+ as well (except no real limitations between switching so it was pretty hectic). I don't think PFO would be as spammy as those could be.

In any case, I don't think we'll actually know how it will turn out until the game is further developed. It would be nice to get some developer responses on this particular topic for clarification though.


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So I have two weapons (sets of specific combat skills), two implements (sets of specific utility/combat skills), two designated utility skills, two situational emergency abilities, a boot and glove action, and two item slots. I. Am. Excited.

What I love about this kind of system is how the player has freedom to customize and experiment far more than a traditional MMO would allow, while simultaneously allowing the developers to create interesting and balanced abilities. Instead of trying to balance based on a number of individual abilities, you have them all grouped with other specific abilities (like weapons) or in a specific category that all builds will have (situationals).

So for example...

Weapons: Sword/Shield + Bow
Implements: Trophy Charm (so I can hold my own Sword/Shield) + Aristocrat's Warhorn (so I can drop to a support role with a Bow if need be)
Situational: Maybe one for dodging so I can avoid AoEs, and another for temporarily tanking damage to support allies or survive long enough to get to safety
Boot and Glove: Maybe a boot ability to increase my speed (to pair with the prior situational or maybe to quickly drop from Sword/Shield offensive backwards to Bow supportive) and a glove to quickly heal myself or an ally to keep us in the fight
Items: A potion of cure wounds to keep me going, and maybe a wondrous item that temporarily stuns a target to combo with other abilities

Theorycrafting should be lots of fun if such a system is to be implemented, as should PvP.


Summoner, although I doubt it will be added even in 2-3 years (if ever). Even so, it's by far my favorite class so far. Just the right mix of spellcasting, utility, and customization.


I like the idea of a continuous world of hexes (for the most part, minus areas that are simply untraversable). Having different "sections" of the world entirely closed off from one another except through portals sounds contradictory to how the rest of the game is being built.

Surely I can't be the only one who favors a continuous world? I like the idea of having a large world that you can walk from one side of to another; one that really does feel like another world rather than a set of large instances with little to no real connection. I don't see why there can't be portals, but I also don't see why we can't have everything connected via hexes or waterways as well.

Edit: I think this is the problem I have with the island-only approach. That is a simulation of another world, whereas most of the game seems to be attempting to put as much in the hands of the players as possible and, rather than simulate, literally do what most games pretend to do.

AvenaOats wrote:

I wonder. Lots of considerations.

It could be not-connected initially so new characters get a chance to grow their own viable settlements possibly? Then add interchange connections? This would work with both eg initial barrier or sealed gate. The buying new characters of established guilds might be a problem but then it might not.

A new area either adds new materials to the economy or more of the previous.

Another consideration is the expense and danger of travel could become much higher eg early sea voyage failure rate?

Finally as alluded to what sort of variations on te rules o the river kingdoms might occur? Pharasma's Favour and otherwise that may affect gameplay a cold land needing furs, a tropical area with strange diseases that our chars immunity is not prepped for?

I'd like rivers and waterways traffic to forge the way forwards along the rivers of te river kingdoms and further out to sea even.

I very much like your train of thought here. I can see such a thing being done (initial separation, then unification for reasons you listed and others).

If portals would be added as well as hex connections, then there would need to be a reason to use physical travel rather than portals. Two things come to mind.

1.) Have only a few portals evenly spaced, such that traveling would still be necessary.

2.) Have portals use a cooldown timer, or require a resource/gold to be used, so physically traveling could be cheaper or simply required.


I would prefer something in between the original Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2. The overall system of Guild Wars seems similar to that of the impression I get so far for Pathfinder Online, and Guild Wars 2 has the aspects to combat that I see as the natural evolution for MMO combat. The three things I want from Guild Wars 2 are pretty simple.

1.) A focus on movement and positioning. Not necessarily twitch, but instead how you would imagine combat as actually being. You don't just sit there and take shots while dealing them out; you actively avoid stepping in AoE and actively try to dodge and block attacks. In addition, having most abilities allowing movement instead of locking you into one place. Its fine to use that as a balance mechanic for certain abilities though.

2.) Abilities being significant.

I should elaborate on this. Here's an example from Guild Wars 2. If you're playing as a Guardian (like a Paladin) with a Hammer, you get these 5 weapon abilities:

#1.) A basic chain attack that ends in a persistent AoE. The AoE damage enemies and grants you and allies a buff that reduces damage taken by 33% while they are in the circle. This basically takes the place of what most games would use 4-6 abilities for; the ones you sit there and spam for your rotation.

#2.) A melee AoE attack. However, it also creates additional effects if used in a persistent AoE circle (like the first ability gives). The additional effect for the first ability is a buff that sends damage back to the attacker when hit. So you use ability #1 and give allies the damage resistance buff, then use #2 and make it so that hitting your allies deals damage back.

#3.) A projectile that travels on the ground hitting multiple enemies and snaring them for 2 seconds.

#4.) A melee swing that sends a single enemy flying backward.

#5.) A Ring of Warding that prevents enemies from crossing over it, either trapping them outside or inside of it.

So each ability here generally has multiple uses and significant effects. The only ability you would "spam" is #1 and maybe #2 when it is off cooldown if you want the extra buff or more damage. Each one (in this case) has a focus on area control. You don't lay out debuffs to simulate area denial. Instead you, quite literally, lock enemies out of an area, and if they manage to get in said area you punish them with AoEs. There's no flimsy abilities. Each one is effective, even if situational.

3.) Instead of everything being a "random chance" have abilities that literally DO that. If you want to make a tank, then give them abilities that literally block attacks rather than buffs that give a chance to do it. Same thing with dodging, and even critical hits to some extent.


I've seen two real systems of stuns.

1.) One where stuns are relatively common but with long cooldowns and powerful effects. Developers usually give the victim resistance or immunity to subsequent stuns.

2.) Stun effects that last for a short period of time and have long cooldowns. No resistance or immunity needed since they're made to be situational tools, not something you spam for a quick kill.

I prefer #2. Make stuns situational tools with longer cooldowns that you use to set-up other abilities.


Nihimon wrote:
@Alarox, I'm actually on the complete other end of the spectrum. I believe the real growth in these kinds of games will be an ever-increasing ability for the game systems to understand what we're doing - and more specifically what our motivations and goals are - and responds in ways that make sense to people. I'm especially hopeful that these kinds of systems (even if they're not in PFO) will make Divination magic meaningful because it will actually be able to reveal other players' true motivations and goals since those players won't be able to accomplish those goals without explicitly defining them.

That certainly is a valid point, and I understand your stance. I actually do agree to a certain extent, but I think a solid middle-ground can be achieved where neither are compromised.

My main concern is that the simple act of doing 'X' will no longer be an organic action and will instead consist of trying to objectify your action to the game. In particular cases such a system really breaks my suspension of disbelief.

I find the capacity of a game to represent something so clearly that you don't have to imagine it, or explain it, and instead simply DO it, to be of extremely high value. It feels like adding more and more complications to certain actions to be a step backwards in progress rather than forward.

I'm no so much as against this particular idea or the systems you are fond of as I am against the tendency to break the game down from a simulation into a series of command prompts (the implementation, not the idea itself).

For example, instead of using keybindings to activiate an ability, and/or going through a window to indicate that you're going to "ambush" this caravan, it should be possible for the game to determine the meaning behind your actions from behind the scenes, and accept that you're ambushing and take the appropriate actions necessary.


Nihimon wrote:
Alarox wrote:

Things I wouldn't like to see:

1.) Anything that gives a noticeable in-game advantage or is a necessity for enjoying the game, or takes away from the core game

#1 Obvious.

Complete agreement, and we pretty much have that in writing from Ryan :)

Alarox wrote:

Things I would like to see/wouldn't mind seeing:

1.) Anything purely cosmetic/flavor
2.) Anything convenience related that doesn't give any real in-game advantage
3.) Exclusive content that is not essential to the game

I actually have a problem with 2, but I'll probably have to suck it up and deal with it. There's something that feels chintzy to me about charging folks real (or in-game) money to increase their bag slots or bank slots. It boils down to wanting them to only charge money for things that actually incur a cost on Goblinworks.

However, when I try to look at it objectively, it might just be my self-interest since I'm quite the pack-rat. I guess I have to admit that there's not much difference (in my cost-based analysis) between selling bank slots or selling minor healing potions. I'll have to give this more thought...

I wouldn't be comfortable with increased bag/bank slots either unless you could gain them in-game at a reasonable rate and if the increases weren't seemingly exponential like in many MMOs. I believe that increased bank and bag slots are an in-game advantage rather than just convenience.

Although, most convenience items have a similar conflict between just convenience and objective in-game advantage.


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Things I would like to see/wouldn't mind seeing:

1.) Anything purely cosmetic/flavor
2.) Anything convenience related that doesn't give any real in-game advantage
3.) Exclusive content that is not essential to the game

#1: Lots of people like it, nobody has a problem with it. I could be willing to buy, but usually I MUCH prefer anything I can get in-game as it feels much more rewarding to wear what I've earned, even if visually inferior.
#2: Mostly things that people would situationally think "that would be useful" and buy on impulse for convenience. The only times they're bad for a game is if they are truly significant items or if the game is eventually designed around being a hassle to where these are almost required. There may be times when I would consider buying.
#3: Example would be a hand crafted dungeon with unique looking loot or titles/achievements associated. I would probably pay for these if they were high enough on quality, weren't a rip-off, and weren't deducting from maintaining/improving the core game

Things I wouldn't like to see:

1.) Anything that gives a noticeable in-game advantage or is a necessity for enjoying the game, or takes away from the core game

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However, if I'm paying a 15$ subscription I'll expect all of #3.


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Urman wrote:
Alarox wrote:

No, because unsanctioned PvP supplies a type of risk that sanctioned PvP does not supply, and it is risk that I believe any sandbox MMO requires.

When you agree to sanctioned PvP it is either because there is little to no risk or because you believe the potential reward is worth the risk. Unsanctioned PvP supplies the risk of randomness. It means that PvP can come to you, not just you to PvP.

There's a whole lot of sanctioned PvP in PFO that isn't consensual. When some company declares a feud against your company, that's sanctioned. You can fight, run, or log off, but it's going to happen even if you don't agree to it. Same with settlements and war. Same with raiding.
Nihimon wrote:
Yeah, "sanctioned" doesn't mean you've agreed to it. It means the game systems have determined there won't be any Reputation or Alignment hits for it.

Oh, in which case nevermind. I don't follow the forums regularly enough to know the exact meaning of the lingo used. It certainly confused me while typing it up, but sometimes the only way to learn is to fail once...

IGNORE EVERYTHING IN THE PREVIOUS POSTS BY ME


I feel as though the more and more built in mechanisms, skill requirements, UI panels, et cetera, the less organic the entire act of doing something becomes. Ambushing a caravan should be as simple as seeing a caravan and attacking it rather than needing to utilize and manage influence and training skills to reap the benefits without penalties.

If I want to ambush a caravan, I should be able to do so through my own actions alone without going through systems in the game for it to tell me that I am.

I do like the idea you present; how accomplishing praisworthy acts of banditry and the like will reward you in such a way. However, I'm always a bit skeptical of the implementations of ideas that involve more systems for the player to navigate through when they cover things that players can already "do". I believe the idea has merit but I believe that such a mechanism should be automatic when you attack a caravan.


Xeen wrote:

Good post Morbis.

Ganking noobs is pointless. I am a heavy PVP advocate in case you didnt notice. Open PVP in player controlled areas to me is the only real way to have it.

You want law and order in your territory? Then you make it happen. This is a sandbox game, there is not need for a system that tries to persuade you away from PVP.

You want to choke the market in an enemy territory? Then you make it happen. There is no need for a system that penalizes you for fighting your enemy. Also, in player areas there is no real need for a system in place that allows you to fight each other... This is a sandbox game, Enemies are at war when they say they are at war, not after some mechanic declares it such.

Want a frienemy? You can do that to. You fight each other during the boring times to keep each other on your toes. But if someone moves in and tries to mess with either one of you, You both gang up on them. No war mechanic, no penalties, just defense of your territories.

High consequences in NPC/Noob territory.
Moderate consequences in NPC non Noob territory.
No consequences in PC territory.

I think this is an important point to make. A well developed sandbox not only gives other players the ability to affect you... it gives you the control over how you are affected. If you don't want players doing certain things, you have the tools to prevent it in the first place. You don't need the game to physically limit others in order to protect yourself and those of a similar view. This works in the game for the same reason that lawful societies function in reality. Those who want peace and order are the majority and they develop the tools to maintain this.

DeciusBrutus wrote:

Nor the converse: Not all griefing is Unsanctioned PvP, nor even non-consensual PvP, nor ever PvP combat.

There is no doubt that PFO would be best off if zero people chose to grief. Since it is a fact about the universe that there exist people who grief, one question is 'How do we minimize the total effectiveness of people who attempt to grief without introducing worse side effects?'

I believe that it is THE question to be answered, in fact. All of these discussions revolve around that very question.


KitNyx wrote:
Alarox wrote:


The real question I have is: what is wrong with unsanctioned PvP? Here's a better way to put this: what is wrong with unsanctioned PvE?
I have a similar question...whats wrong with "sanctioned" gameplay?

There isn't anything wrong with it unless you're trying to accomplish something that requires more than what it supplies. A dynamic and "living" sandbox is one of those things, whether PvE or PvP related. I don't have any problems with sanctioned gameplay, I just think you can't build the kind of sandbox PFO is trying to be unless you have unsanctioned and seemingly unpredictable elements. Because it is a PvP game I believe you therefore need unsanctioned PvP elements as well. Same with PvE. Things like monster hexes are an integral part of the game.


No, because unsanctioned PvP supplies a type of risk that sanctioned PvP does not supply, and it is risk that I believe any sandbox MMO requires.

When you agree to sanctioned PvP it is either because there is little to no risk or because you believe the potential reward is worth the risk. Unsanctioned PvP supplies the risk of randomness. It means that PvP can come to you, not just you to PvP.

Obviously, unsanctioned PvP shouldn't be shoved at you by default, but you should be aware that it is a possibility. You ought to be aware that if you take your caravan through this forest you may get robbed and murdered. You ought to be aware that if another settlement doesn't stand to gain anything from you, and they have the capacity, they might suddenly declare war and attack you without your consent.

If sanctioned PvP were the only form of PvP then the world would become static and feel shallow. If there is little risk then the PvP is relatively meaningless. If there is high risk then nobody but fools or those who believe the odds are heavily in their favor will partake in it. Player interaction would be significantly limited in comparison.

------------

The real question I have is: what is wrong with unsanctioned PvP? Here's a better way to put this: what is wrong with unsanctioned PvE? If you're playing a sandbox then the idea of unsanctioned PvE is NECESSARY. PvE is the player versus the environment; if the environment doesn't affect you by its own accord then it isn't much of a virtual world.

What's the difference between this and unsanctioned PvP? The only difference I can see on a fundamental level is that it is even more dynamic and is generated by players. That is it.

Griefing or the like is unsanctioned PvP, but unsanctioned PvP is not griefing. There isn't anything malicious about unsanctioned PvP. I really don't understand why such a discussion is needed in the first place (not to take anything away from the thread topic or the posters).


Qallz wrote:
FFA PvP in Wilderness and Monster hexes. PvP safety in NPC hexes. At the discretion of each settlement in settlement hexes. Problem solved.

I agree with this except for two things:

1.) Settlements shouldn't have control over PvP being enabled/disabled otherwise every single one will prevent it and, honestly, it seems ridiculous that they could magically prevent someone from fighting without force. They should be able to make laws restricting it, have guards that automatically engage the attacker, and put into place any and all restrictions they deem necessary to prevent people who WILL PvP from gaining access to their settlement. But they shouldn't be able to say "you can't attack us no matter what because we say so".

Unless... you just mean "PvP safety" as in the laws are against it and there are guards instead of "PvP is disabled".

2.) It should depend on the NPC hex in question. The starter ones should be PvP protected obviously. Other NPC hexes are potentially based on faction warfare and should allow the players to be attacked IMO.

Unless, once again, you just mean laws/NPCs protecting players from being attacked instead of disabling PvP.


Shane Gifford wrote:
Alarox wrote:
I agree with everything you said except whether or not its the way it should be.

Yeah, I was just clarifying how it is currently, as least as far as I know it to be. Wanted to make sure we're on the same page for that.

What method do you think is better than the system GW has developed so far? Do you think there are more PvP scenarios which will be bread-and-butter for the game's core concepts, and thus should be sanctioned? Any specific ones in mind?

(Just facilitating discussion on it. Anyone should feel free to answer any or none of these questions.)

KitNyx wrote:
Alarox wrote:
I agree with everything you said except whether or not its the way it should be.

And, there is possibly a world of differece between "how GW has decided it will be" and the more ultimate "the way it should be".

Out of curiosity, how would you prefer it be?

I think the idea behind many of their systems is good. I think making griefing difficult and dangerous with downsides for obvious griefing is good. Mainly though, the thing they've done the best is that it is clearly better to spend your CE murdering days to your own advantage through other means than random player killing. That's all good, but...

They're trying to take the stance of not defining griefing with words, but defining them through reputation loss. I don't think they should do either.

They already have a system where any person who is drawn to griefing will find an outlet for themselves via productive means. It is a clear choice for them. For anyone else you have the GMs ready to listen to things on a case by case basis.

They can't foresee every scenario with reputation, nor can they always determine if player actions are driven by malice or not. If you try, you just limit genuine players and tell them to play a specific way. If they don't comply, they they will be labeled through the same system originally intended to target griefers.

Things like Roleplaying or preemptively defending yourself can easily reduce reputation because GW didn't specifically put systems into place to determine whether or not it is griefing, and they won't because they can't. I don't believe it helps, and I don't think they should keep such a restriction in the game.

The reputation system is designed to punish griefers for engaging in "negative gameplay aspects" but it is not perfect and it is impossible to be. I don't believe reputation should have anything to do with PvP.

I think the idea of reputation should be entirely focused on what other people literally think of you and how reliable you are in your agreements. That aside...

Imagine, if you will, two different kinds of griefers:

1.) Someone who does it out of boredom or because they are truly RPKing
2.) Someone who does it because they are literally sadists who enjoy making others suffer

#1 Is already taken care of by giving them plenty of productive outlets for their PvP desires. And, let's be honest, losing a bit of reputation will never prevent their random desire to kill someone once in a while if they find someone standing there alone and AFK in the middle of a forest.

#2 Will not be affected by reputation loss. They play the game to grief. For them, you can only stop them with a GM or by physically preventing them from fighting. Obviously, GM intervention needed.

So I don't believe you need reputation at all.

However, I can deal with the system they have in place. Although I still think people should realize even anti-griefers who like PvP can have low reputation. Chances are, as a CG player I probably will. Killing bandits as I find them (not like a moron waiting to be robbed before I attack), fighting LE settlements, ambushing ambushers, randomly helping people who are being robbed or attacked, helping friends who are in faction battles with another group, etc. All of which will involve lost reputation at certain points, none of which will be done for a ridiculous reason like griefing.


Shane Gifford wrote:

The idea here is that there are a whole lot of ways players can participate in PvP, and a whole lot more qualifiers which will flag the PvP as 'good gameplay' or 'harmful gameplay' depending on who you're talking to. There are so many possibilities that GW can't deal with every scenario and somehow codes rules for every specific "what if" that we can come up with. So they make a system that blankets every possible action.

Every PvP scenario is regarded as 'harmful gameplay', unless otherwise denoted as sanctioned. However, the system admits that this is unnecessarily restrictive on player actions, which is why it permits you to participate in unsanctioned PvP. What the system does however is give you a warning: "I'm okay with it now; I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume this one unsanctioned action is not actually harmful gameplay. But if you keep doing it I will then assume you're harming other people's experience and mete out punishment as necessary."

So you can go and free slaves; if that action necessitates unsanctioned PvP, you cannot then go and ambush a bunch of bandits. Yes, that's restricting your behavior, and yes, that's what the system is supposed to do. The system doesn't care about your motives, or what you regard as being good or harmful gameplay, and that's the way it should be, in my opinion.

I agree with everything you said except whether or not its the way it should be. Regardless, my point is that many people will not have the intention of griefing, but not comply with the game when it says that it IS griefing.

Personally, I don't like the idea of griefing. However, I do not mind the idea of preemptively defending myself. I do not mind the idea of roleplaying and fighting for more reasons than "I really want that +2 Greatsword you got there, bro". I also don't mind the idea of killing based on alignment and actions. I find it strange that people see that as "negative gameplay" and yet killing indiscriminately based on faction isn't? They're basically the same thing, neither would be done by me for griefing reasons. However, that's not to say that the game won't label me one via low reputation.


Nihimon wrote:

Trying to wrestle with the term "griefer" is futile.

Any character with Low Reputation has engaged in a significant amount of Unsanctioned PvP. To me, it follows as the night the day that such a person should always be considered a Sanctioned target.

In which case, low reputation should easily be a reason for a ban from the game since you assert it is a definitive fact that they are taking part in ban worthy activities.

BUT IF THEY ARE NOT then why do you believe it is the player's duty to literally punish them? You're advocating the idea that if someone does something bad, the same thing should be done to them. An eye for an eye, a grief for a grief?

That ignores the examples I gave before where this doesn't even make any sense in-game, let alone the moral implications.


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KitNyx wrote:

I do not necessarily think griefer and equals negative gameplay as defined by GW. There are obviously other non-universal connotations.

I have to admit I have no idea what a griefer is...nor what griefing is. If I cannot give an example of one by description of observable actions only, I do not think it is quantifiable and ambiguous...therefore I will not use the term, even for my own use.

Hence this:

Alarox wrote:
Note: Fill in "griefer" with "those who take part in and promote negative gameplay aspects as determined by GW".

I'm using the word because reputation is more specifically tied to PvP, and loss of it is tied to the act of griefing, however it may be described. In general I'm using this word in place of that longer and more specific phrase for efficiency and convenience.


Aeioun Plainsweed wrote:
KitNyx wrote:
Agreed. People should assume that everyone with low reputation is participating in negative gameplay.
I disagree with you. If reputation is only a measure of negative gameplay, then GW should ban players instantly when they reach a certain reputation, for example -5000 or -7500. And that just doesn't make sense because they aren't doing that. At least they haven't said that.

Exactly. In addition, if at any point when you are playing you lose reputation for any reason, it would mean you are most certainly a griefer.

Unless you (Kitnyx) are saying that it is a statistical impossibility that someone could have low reputation while not being a grifer due to how often you would need to do things on the line between griefing and not griefing. To which I would argue is more probably that it would seem for any non-griefing character who routinely engages in any sort of PvP.


Nihimon wrote:
Alarox wrote:
Either the system should guarantee I never lose reputation when I'm not griefing, or people should not assume that everyone with low reputation is a griefer.
The practical effect of this demand is that no one can ever judge anyone else as being a griefer, unless they have direct personal experience of the griefing. (Feel free to substitute "meaningless PvPer" for "griefer")

Which is perfectly logical, acceptable, and should be obvious from the beginning. The only way you can ever identify someone as a griefer is if you see them do it and know why they did it. If indentifying when someone is griefing was always so easy and objective then it wouldn't ever be a problem.


Nihimon wrote:
Alarox wrote:
Nihimon wrote:
A player that embraces a Chaotic Evil and Low Reputation play style already suffers no ill effects for killing other players. Why should they be protected by the very systems they ignore?
How does being Chaotic Evil and having low reputation protect them?

In the same way that choosing to play a High Elf protects you from any punishment that takes the form of forcing you to play a High Elf.

What I get out of that comparison is "choosing to be Chaotic Evil and disregarding reputation protects you from being forced to be a Chaotic Evil character who disregards reputation."

Well... why does that matter? If I choose to do X why do I care about being forced to be X since I want to be X? And why is that somehow a major problem that you see as them being "protected"?

It seems you're saying that the very act of not caring about being Lawful Good is the problem, and that in the very act of not caring, you are protected from caring about not being able to be Lawful Good. Am I understanding this?

The problem with that assertion is that they are still unprotected from the downsides that not being Lawful Good with good reputation brings.


KitNyx wrote:
There are ways to minimize and even nullify reputation hits for various actions...in effect either making the behaviour "less negative" or "not negative"...why not utilize them?
KitNyx wrote:
Again, this would only be true if your reputation "sucked"...which would only occur if you spent time partaking in what GW has determined to be negative gameplay.

Either the system should guarantee I never lose reputation when I'm not griefing, or people should not assume that everyone with low reputation is a griefer.

Otherwise, people WILL end up with low reputation when they are not griefers while the entire system assumes they are.

Note: Fill in "griefer" with "those who take part in and promote negative gameplay aspects as determined by GW".


KitNyx wrote:
Alarox wrote:
Ex: I'm CG, you're LN. I spent the last three weeks in the territory of a LE nation whilst freeing slaves and aiding rebellion, then fighting for survival in the wilderness against bandits to get here. My reputation sucks.

Why would this last be true? Reputation is not a social measure, it is a metametric based entirely upon how well/much one plays inside (or outside) the bounds GW has determined as positive gameplay. Do you feel there will not be positive ways to fight evil, freeing slaves, aiding rebellion, surviving in the wild, and/or defending oneself from bandits?

Alarox wrote:
Oh look, you walk down the road that leads a few miles back to the town. I walk up to greet you, and suddenly you pull out a sword and jam it through my skull. You take no reputation penalty as you loot my body, then walk back to the city. This is what you're asking for in a nutshell.
Again, this would only be true if your reputation "sucked"...which would only occur if you spent time partaking in what GW has determined to be negative gameplay. The entire purpose of the reputation system is to carrot the positive gameplay by providing benefits to those who play within the manner determined positive, and the stick by making life difficult for those who do not play as they intend. Assuming, there are positive ways for you to pursue all the interests enumerated up top, why would we want it to work any other way?

If a LE settlement decided that murder was not legal and then I killed those who were Lawful Evil in their territory (as a good character), would I not then lose reputation? If I were wandering through the forests and I spotted someone I know to be part of a CN bandit company, and decided to preemptively attack first, would I not then lose reputation?

If the reputation system can punish me when I'm not griefing, then how will someone's reputation only "suck" when they're a griefer? And if they ARE a griefer, is the GM supposed to intervene?


Aeioun Plainsweed wrote:
Alarox wrote:
Aeioun Plainsweed wrote:

It's this that Nihimons question boils down to for me:

Would there be more or less griefing in the game if high reputation characters could dispose off low reputation characters without reputation or alignment shifts?

I don't know the answer to that question. But I do know that my stand point as it is now, it might change though, is that, allowing high reputation characters to dispose off low reputation characters wouldn't be that meaningful. I'd rather hunt them down using bountyhunters contracts.

Why does everyone assume that all low reputation characters are all worthy of punishment and bounties? Yes, griefing and being a jerk will lower reputation, but so will thinks that are nothing of the sort.
It's not what you think. I want this game to be griefless.

That would be nice, but treating everyone without a high reputation as being on the same level as a griefer isn't going to help with that. The suggestion in question does just this (in addition to using the mentality that griefing justifies more griefing in return).


Aeioun Plainsweed wrote:

It's this that Nihimons question boils down to for me:

Would there be more or less griefing in the game if high reputation characters could dispose off low reputation characters without reputation or alignment shifts?

I don't know the answer to that question. But I do know that my stand point as it is now, it might change though, is that, allowing high reputation characters to dispose off low reputation characters wouldn't be that meaningful. I'd rather hunt them down using bountyhunters contracts.

Why does everyone assume that all low reputation characters are deserving of punishment and bounties? Yes, griefing and being a jerk will lower reputation, but so will things that are nothing of the sort.


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Urman wrote:
Nihimon wrote:
A player that embraces a Chaotic Evil and Low Reputation play style already suffers no ill effects for killing other players. Why should they be protected by the very systems they ignore?

I think that they will suffer ill effects from choosing to be low rep. People might insist that it won't be an impediment, but until the game starts we don't know that for a fact.

When Dancey points approvingly to the example of an EVE character needing to spend one full month to go the equivalent of -7500 rep to +(?) rep, I tend to think that (a) recovering rep will take a while and (b) there will be reasons - read game mechanisms - that make it worthwhile to not stay low rep.

If I recall correctly, a certain reputation level is a requirement for entry into factions and settlements (should they choose to enforce such a rule). In addition, if someone is going to make a deal/contract with you and you have a low reputation they will deem you untrustworthy and choose someone else. These are the downsides.


Nihimon wrote:
A player that embraces a Chaotic Evil and Low Reputation play style already suffers no ill effects for killing other players. Why should they be protected by the very systems they ignore?

How does being Chaotic Evil and having low reputation protect them?

When you choose to be Chaotic Evil and to not care about reputation, you limit yourself by being incapable of reaping the benefits of being Lawful and/or Good and having High Reputation.

When you choose to be Lawful Good and to care about reputation, you limit yourself by being incapable of reaping the benefits of being Chaotic and/or Evil and disregarding reputation.

In both, there are benefits and downsides. However, there are more downsides to being evil. When you choose to be good, you're likely surrounding yourself with other good people and get protection from other good people. When you choose to be evil, you don't get extra protection. In fact, it just means you can't get protection from good characters, and so you have to stick with Neutral or other Evil characters who don't care about you.


Good can be content for the Evil (and the reverse), this faction for that faction, this settlement for that settlement, etc. But reputation is a much different thing than alignment or allegiance for this purpose.

It seems like a combination of an in-game credit score and a way to measure your social stature.

Saying that you want low-reputation characters to be your "content"...

The parallel to this idea is a church bishop being allowed to beat the hell out of a hobo because one has high reputation and another has low reputation. It doesn't make any sense. It's like someone with a good credit score being able to horribly murder someone with a low credit score in the middle of the streets.

It just means you can beat the hell out of Chaotic players at will as a Lawful player and make them your content since Chaotic players will have much lower reputation than a Lawful player. (Reputation seems to be measured by the same things that the Lawful/Chaotic index will often be measured by.)

Ex: I'm CG, you're LN. I spent the last three weeks in the territory of a LE nation whilst freeing slaves and aiding rebellion, then fighting for survival in the wilderness against bandits to get here. My reputation sucks. Oh look, you walk down the road that leads a few miles back to the town. I walk up to greet you, and suddenly you pull out a sword and jam it through my skull. You take no reputation penalty as you loot my body, then walk back to the city. This is what you're asking for in a nutshell.

Actually, that example is somewhat muddled with other variables. Here's a better one.

Ex: I'm NN and you're NN. I just walked into your store to buy a Mighty Steel Greatsword of Fire +2. I'm about to pay and you see my "credit score" (aka reputation) isn't that high. You immediately take that Mighty Steel Greatsword of Fire +2 and rip my eyes out of their sockets, then decapitate me. You take the money I was about to buy that sword with and begin dragging my dead body to the back. Another customer walks in during and screams "By Desna! What are you doing to that poor man?" to which you reply, "Oh, low credit score". The customer sighs in relief and you two proceed to haggle over the greatsword as you clean my blood off the blade.


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Achievements (in this sense) only add to a game by making you believe you're accomplishing something when there is nothing else you would feel proud of accomplishing. Really no point in adding them to a sandbox game like this one where you set your own goals, and they come naturally from interacting with the world and other players.

Themepark MMOs lack almost anything besides, well, themepark content, so this is supplemented by giving you more "things to do" via achievements. There I can see it is justified since an achievement is essentially more themepark content.

The only other use of achievements I've seen has been as a way to gauge what you've accomplished and mark your progress through a story. In Pathfinder Online, just have an in-game journal that automatically records certain events. Or let the player freely write in one.


Actions are intended to represent time.

Case 1: If you five foot step off the edge at the end of your turn, after you used your move and standard action, then you (until your next turn) remain in the air at that point.

Don't forget that all actions between characters in a round take place at the same time in reality.

Case 2: If you five foot step off the edge at the start of your turn, before you use your move and standard action, then you have to also use your move action as it counts as a move.

So you have case 1 where you move 5 feet, and case 2 where you move 5 feet and then fall. Case 1 just takes a five foot step while case 2 takes your five foot step and move action.


Xaratherus wrote:

@Alarox: The recent FAQ on prerequisite language does not back up your argument. The fact is that many PrCs state they require the ability to "cast X level spells", yet the designers have stated that you do not have to be able to cast multiple of that level of spell, but qualify even if you only have one spell of that level.

So no, pluralization does not always automatically indicate anything mechanically - in fact, precedent would indicate that the pluralization is often grammatically appropriate but mechanically irrelevant.

I understand that whole issue, but that has nothing to do with this.

That FAQ doesn't set precedence for this. That FAQ clarifies what they MEAN when they say "ability to cast X level spells". It does not say "when we make something plural, we don't actually mean plural". It means for those specific words, that is what they meant. For that phrase. An exception to a rule does not negate the rule itself; it makes a clear exception.

-----------

Moving on to the main thing:

My argument isn't simply the pluralization in Pathfinder rules in general. It is that every other feat of this type is singular, while this one is specifically plural. It is not a case of a phrase meaning something else, it is this specifically breaks the norm and is plural. There is a clear, distinction in feats of this type. There is no Proficiency (Heavy Crossbows), only (Heavy Crossbow). Singular.

The text of the feat itself declares that you must select one type of firearm when you pick it. However, the Gunslinger archetype clearly says (Muskets) and not (Musket).

Hence, there are TWO different feats.

There is (Musket) if you take it by your choice, and there is (Muskets) if you choose Musket Master. They are different. Does anyone dispute that these both exist? Both are specifically defined, with specific notation. Rapid Reload (Musket) is not Rapid Reload (Muskets).


It works with all types of muskets.

Rapid Reload wrote:


"Choose a type of crossbow (hand, light, heavy) or a single type of one-handed or two-handed firearm that you are proficient with. You can reload such a weapon quickly.

Prerequisites: Weapon Proficiency (crossbow type chosen) or Exotic Weapon Proficiency (firearm).

Benefit: The time required for you to reload your chosen type of weapon is reduced to a free action (for a hand or light crossbow), a move action (for heavy crossbow or one-handed firearm), or a standard action (two-handed firearm). Reloading a crossbow or firearm still provokes attacks of opportunity.

If you have selected this feat for a hand crossbow or light crossbow, you may fire that weapon as many times in a full-attack action as you could attack if you were using a bow.

Normal: A character without this feat needs a move action to reload a hand or light crossbow, a standard action to reload a one-handed firearm, or a full-round action to load a heavy crossbow or a two-handed firearm.

Special: You can gain Rapid Reload multiple times. Each time you take the feat, it applies to a new type of crossbow or a new type of firearm."

There is no such thing as Rapid Reload (Heavy Crossbows); there is only Rapid Reload (Heavy Crossbow). There are, however, Rapid Reload (Musket) and Rapid Reload (Muskets).

It isn't plural for no reason whatsoever. If a feat references a specific "thing" it is always singular.

In addition, take a look at this language:

Gunslinger wrote:
"Starting at 5th level, a gunslinger can select one specific type of firearm (such as an axe musket, blunderbuss, musket, or pistol)."

Specific types. If there are specific types, then there are also general types. Otherwise, there is no such thing as a specific type. In the act of saying "specific type" they are saying that certain firearms can be classified into general ones. This is why the firearms are listed like such, in the format:

Musket; Musket, axe; Musket, double-barreled; Pistol; Pistol, cane; etc.

First, they are muskets or pistols. However, they are also their own specific weapon (axe, double-barreled, etc).

Proficiency with (Musket) means the Musket.
Proficiency with (Muskets) means normal, double-barreled, warhammer, and axe.
Rapid Reload with (Musket) means the Musket.
Rapid Reload with (Muskets) means normal, double-barreled, warhammer, and axe.


Bard-Sader wrote:
Would anyone think it's creepy for a summoner to be in love with his/her eidolon? :p

What's more romantic than sharing a shard of the same soul?


Nox Aeterna wrote:
Alarox wrote:
Eidolons seem to be unique summons in multiple ways, and I think this is another example of that. A Summoner's bond with an Eidolon seems to be much more than with any other summoned creature. It may be ambiguous so as to give players the freedom to develop any kind of backstory they desire, but I get the impression that they are NOT "creatures" until they are summoned by the specific Summoner and are given form by the Summoner.

It is pretty much like you said , this is open.

The best we got on a "free/independent" eidolon is the unfettered one, so one could assume they dont actually "exist" the way they are when the summoner calls them.

Still i put a lot of effort on the backstory of the NPCs i get and can actually think , like cohorts/eidolons/familiars...

I really hate when im forced to make them "dull" and just a meat shield , which means i created an entire life + a plane for my eidolon and the others to live in while away heh :P.

I didn't want mine to be a plain "meat shield" either. Instead...

"An outsider is at least partially composed of the essence (but not necessarily the material) of some plane other than the Material Plane. Some creatures start out as some other type and become outsiders when they attain a higher (or lower) state of spiritual existence."

My Eidolon is basically the soul of an ascended and ancient being which no longer has ties to the material plane. Basically, an ancient soul with no form. At a specific point in my character's story his soul resonated with his Eidolon's and they became linked; from then on he gives his Eidolon form and his Eidolon gives him power. His physical form isn't his actual form, as he is truly form-less, hence the Summoner being able to modify this form at will.


The thing you summon doesn't seem to be the creature itself.

"A summoner begins play with the ability to summon to his side a powerful outsider called an eidolon. The eidolon forms a link with the summoner, who, forever after, summons an aspect of the same creature."

Very confusing. Seems like a case where it is completely up to the DM, but I would say this is DEFINITELY NOT RAI and is super-uber-cheese-sauce.

That being said, I think this is something that can be taken in a lot of cool ways with the help of a DM.


Eidolons seem to be unique summons in multiple ways, and I think this is another example of that. A Summoner's bond with an Eidolon seems to be much more than with any other summoned creature. It may be ambiguous so as to give players the freedom to develop any kind of backstory they desire, but I get the impression that they are NOT "creatures" until they are summoned by the specific Summoner and are given form by the Summoner.


I find that the best trick to working as a team is to not be stupid and/or a jerk. From there, everything else follows naturally. That link is a good guide on how everyone else can deal with the aforementioned...

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