Female Human Magus 2/Wizard 3 | HP 40/40 | AC 21, T 12, FF 19 | F +6, R +3, W +6 | CMB +6, CMD 16 | Spd 30' | Perc +0 | Init +3
I for one am quite pleased that the semi-annual librarians conventions amounted to such a competent group of rabble rousers. We do have a semi-annual librarians convention, don't we? No?! Oh, well. Such is life.
Male Human Oracle 1 | HP 8/8 | AC 16, T 13, FF 13 | F +0, R +3, W +2 | CMB -2, CMD 6 | Spd 30' | Perc +5 | Init -2 | PFS # 88575-11
Mivvy Hetherington wrote:
That set up was intential, I swear.
The Raven Black wrote:
I think the move away from public participation has deeper roots
When you account for both the amount of workforce involved in getting Starfinder off of the ground successfully, as well as the issues they've had with Pathfinder Online. Take into account other, smaller things which people tend to complain about, such as additional resources, and even the contents of this thread, and it tends to paint a picture. It makes sense that the first things that they would cut in order to balance the load would be projects like public playtests and RPG Superstar. While those most definitely provide a benefit, it's less tangible and direct of a benefit than creating new products and product lines.
RPG Superstar isn't just an investment in your own company, it's an investment in the health of the industry. One which may pay off wonderfully, or may not pay off at all, but tends to have decent returns in terms of community good will, at least for the first few rounds. It does however, take a lot of work to do. It makes sense to cut when either time or workforce fall short, so as to free up those resources for elsewhere.
Public Playtests require a lot of time and work invested in order to monitor the playtest and respond to feedback provided by the community, before we even get into moderating the response threads. All to get a relatively small boost in satisfaction for the given product. Certainly desirable when the opportunity is present, but if you don't have the time to dedicate to it, it makes sense to cut this as well and simply edit with past playtest responses in mind.
My theory is that there has been a somewhat gradual move away from public participation for a rather simple reason, Paizo simply does not have the time for it right now, what with other major products needing more attention. These things have been set down one at a time with the full intention of coming back to them when the time was right and they had the ability again. When you view it from this perspective, it's perfectly understandable.
I am hoping these things come back, and there is a slow but steady rebuilding of public participation once Starfinder is in full and regular production.
Who knows though, really. I could be missing the mark entirely.
This is technically multiple parties that I've GM'd for over the last couple of years. If any of them see this, you know what you've done.
Not all of these are necessarily pets, some are just odd adoptions and recruitments.
1. A tribe of grindylows that, when finally put in a situation of relative safety and structure, quickly grew from a meager three dozen to several hundred fiercely loyal and violent "squid-mice-toddlers"
2. A gargoyle wizard with a fear of violence and a love of unusual spells. They gave him a boat and had him follow them around researching new ways to magically equip their ship.
3. An erotophobic succubus who offered her profane bonus in exchange for a job in which the standard fare would not be asked of her. They had her work as a secretary and assistant librarian for the gargoyle.
4. A nymph who's heart tree had been cut down and used as the mast for a ship. They killed the person who had cut down her tree, made her captain of the ship, and recruited her into their armada.
5. A gnome were-elephant
6. A very cowardly, but very intelligent swarm of rats. It saved multiple people's lives, largely by carrying them from harm. But more often than not, they were just unable to convince it to do something dangerous and it caused more chaos than it solved.
7. A berbalang that spied for the party in exchange for not having it's nest hunted down.
8. Two separate goblin tribes that were given careful lessons on how to behave in polite society that they never, ever followed.
9. An entire coven of hags, who proceeded to follow the party and perform great evil around them. Approximately half of the party was aware, and when they realized that said evil was profitable, they worked with the coven to hide it from the rest of the party. More on this to follow.
10. A trio of intelligent ravens, constantly competing for the party's favor. They regularly shore up the defenses for the party's more dangerous magical items, wanting to be the one to have made the best maze of puzzles, traps, and beasts, because the party is offering treats and rewards to the one to do the best job.
11. An Ettin. Horrendously evil, the party decided that her goal of being a witch was too cute to have her killed, and so they took the time to train her themselves.
12. A night hag. She followed the party everywhere and used soul bind on everything the party killed, including entire armies at several points. She's been cutting the party in on the profits whenever the party seems short of cash, but less than half of the party is aware of the source of income, and they are determined to make sure that the other half does not find out.
13. A witchfire. The party necromancer greatly enjoyed talking to an intelligent undead that she did not have to bind, although the entire party did not expect an undead quite this willful.
14. A green hag. The party has been too entertained by her antics to kill her so far, but if they hear many more rumors of her stealing children, they won't keep her around long.
15. An Upasunda. Began travelling with the party on the pretense of being able to find more dangerous things to fight and to hone her martial capabilities. The party is terrified of upsetting her, and tend to designate at least one combat per dungeon to let her fight on her own.
16. A clan of dragonkin (estimated 2000). After interceding in what would have been a very bloody battle, the party was able to get a clan of dragonkin to swear fealty, and occasionally use them as shock troops when going up against other armies.
17. A tribe of Adlet (estimated 200). The party rescued one of their most prominent shaman's and seeress' in the wilderness and followed her instructions to kill a tyrant who had been oppressing the tribe. The tribe has sent a portion of their number to help the party in their quest to repay the debt.
18. A regimented and fully equipped army of 10,000 triaxian barbarians, whose general is a 10 legged bear. This was more of an emergency diplomatic maneuver for the party than anything else. They promised the general more lands to conquer, and a way off of Triaxus so that there would be new lands to conquer, so long as he aided them in a series of battles. His numbers have dwindled greatly in those battles, as his barbarians were not well equipped for what came next, but they are indeed off of Triaxus.
19. Sea Kraits. Nobody is really sure how many. Multiple swarms, kept in barrels and fed regularly. It was funny how much gold they spent feeding them right up until the necromancer made special Host Zombies for them to live in out of dead frost giants, and then it was terrifying.
20. A dire crocodile that they bought from an overly enthusiastic veteranarian.
21. A giant owl purchased from the same veteranarian, who they needed to cast regenerate on to heal fully, but now helps keep their menagerie of mundane animals behaving.
22. Not so much recruiting a ghoul as willfully allowing most of a crew of pirates to become infected with ghoul fever and then making certain that they retained their memories after transitioning into unlife. This was done mostly "for the aesthetic."
23. A large group of sprites functioning as enemy spies were kept as both allies and friends by bribing them with a constant supply of milk and cream. The party even bought dairy goats and cows to keep them happily drunk when moving into areas where they wouldn't be able to shop regularly.
24. Every single cook that they ever met! They bribed, bartered, and cajoled every single one of them until they had the best team of chef's from across the stars working for them, this included a backwoods half-orc, a dragonkin, a hag, and a naiad.
25. A mandragora which had been infused with a child's soul. Although definitely tainted with evil, they gave it it's own room and allowed both it and it's assassin vine pets to live something relatively close to a normal child's life.
26. An entire factory town from the russian country side. They paid everyone 10 times the standard daily wage, along with a daily stipend for family members not working, and even allowed them to unionize, provided they moved their homes and all of the factory equipment into a "company town" in a demiplane, and built tanks and modern firearms for the barbarian army and dragonkin to use in battle and helped teach them how to use them. They have plans to recruit other towns in this way to boost production.
27. Almost any minor fey or household spirit that didn't try to kill them, including a large number of sprites, domovoi and dvorovoi. Yet they constantly profess a profound hatered for fey, although that is likely just because various party members have (knowingly or unknowingly) traded fey the ability to fasten their shoes to their feet, the awareness of turnips and that they exist, the ability to hear music, their life's story, their birth (everyone involved forgot they exist and they lost all heritage based effects), their youth (immediately advance an age category), their hand in marriage (the fey traded it to someone else, the character is now married to a fool), and an NPC in the party traded for an artifact and the party is terrified to find out what the cost is because it hasn't come up yet.
28. The ghost of a cat, which the party helped to reincarnate. After some exceedingly improbably dice rolls it became an ethereal dragon and is now serving as an improved familiar for one of the party members.
29. A megalodon which was never truly tamed, but rather fed often enough that it eventually understood that following the party would lead it to more violent ship battles where it could feed on the bodies of all who fell overboard. The party would regularly chum the water to keep it relatively close, and it occasionally grew impatient and began to chew through the hulls of ships that had begun to sink.
30. So. Many. Undead. They have seriously never gotten tired of making undead, especially if they have weird powers or can be used as vehicles for their other friends and companions.
There are definitely more that I'm forgetting, and this doesn't even touch on the "normal" people and creatures that they've recruited. My players have always kept me on my toes in other situations, but my word do they like to keep an exciting entourage.
I adamantly stick to individual initiative, including the mandate that companion creatures act on separate initiatives.
I also tend to run combats with a dozen or more hostiles in them at a given time.
However, in order to mitigate the minute or two of rolling initiatives at the start of each combat, I've taken to a system of using index cards for initiatives and rolling all of the initiatives for likely combats prior to the session's start. I also have all of my players roll 6 or 7 initiatives before the session ever starts, so that I can simply sort their cards between combats. That way combat starts up faster, I have a visual cue for everyone when the round changes (I flip the deck of cards), and I can set cards aside or turn them easily to mark delay and ready.
Male Human Oracle 1 | HP 8/8 | AC 16, T 13, FF 13 | F +0, R +3, W +2 | CMB -2, CMD 6 | Spd 30' | Perc +5 | Init -2 | PFS # 88575-11
The chronicle sheet serves a couple of purposes. It is your official record of having played the scenario, so that you can track how much gold, experience, and prestige/fame you have.
All items found in the scenario are given to the society at the end of the scenario, and you receive approximately half of their worth at the end, represented by the value of the chronicle sheet. You can then spend this item to buy items that you need, based on their availability. The Roleplaying guild guide has a list of items that are always available (which includes all mundane and alchemical items, +1 armor and weapons, +2 stat belts and headbands, and most special materials that aren't dragonhide). Everything else you will need to be famous enough to buy.
Your fame is equal to the total of all the prestige you have ever earned. You can spend prestige to purchase objects, spellcasting, body recovery, non-combat followers, etc., but this does not reduce your total fame. There is a chart in the Roleplaying Guild Guide which tells you how much fame you need to be able to buy items of a certain cost. It more or less amounts to don't pool all of your gold into a single item, but when in doubt, there is a chart.
2 prestige will buy you any 1 item costing up to 750 gp. So Saya, you could spend yours now to get a masterwork darkwood composite longbow, or a wand of cure light wounds, or a wand of mage armor, or you could save it towards paying for a potential raise dead (in that hopefully unlikely case: 16 Prestige for the raise, 2 for each restoration, and 5 for body recovery)
As for purchasing items. All of the gold we get is what we have on the chronicle sheet. And we all get the same amount (not split up or divided, just handed out to us) In PFS all items are purchased at full price from the society (stingy punks). For in person games, there are specific sheets that we're supposed to track our inventory on, but I tend to use spreadsheets to track encumbrance, purchases over time, and how much of a given resource I still have. Mostly because they let me know when my math is wrong.
I recommend at least skimming the Roleplaying Guild Guide because it's a free download, and it's language is cleaner than mine is.
Half-Orc Bard (duettist) 7 / Cavalier (standard bearer) 2/ Battle Herald 1
This is strongly dependent on having a good set of teammates, but the more martial characters in your party, the stronger it gets.
You take the feats Flagbearer, Combat Reflexes, Bodyguard, Lingering Performance and Amplified Rage.
You then sacrifice a 2nd level spell to gain the bardic masterpiece Battle Song of the People's Revolt.
You take the Battlefield Disciple trait and the Adopted trait to get the helpful trait from halflings, give your familiar the mascot archetype, and take the order of the staff from the cavalier levels
You then buy Rallying, benevolent armor, a benevolent weapon, a ring of tactical precision, A poet's cloak, and a Banner of the ancient kings
Take the Scatter inspiring command
Now, you can have your familiar start your inspire courage on the first round, while you activate inspiring rage and battle song of the people's revolt (not accepting the song yourself, or having your familiar do so) so that at the beginning of the first round you are giving out +3 competence to hit and damage, +2 morale to hit and damage (within 30 feet), +6 morale to Strength and Con, +6 morale vs. fear (within 30 feet.). You also now aid another for +8 to attack or +7 to AC and both versions of aid another carry a +5 bonus to concentration checks, dispel checks, or caster level checks. And if you have to retreat, you can give all of your teammates a 20% miss chance as a move action.
You can also aid another teammates AC as an attack of opportunity. Your familiar can also aid for +3 (+4 if you buy it a ring of tactical precision of its), and can boost your AC once each round, or park on the shoulder of a heavy hitter and help out. Personally, I like having a monkey with a spear so that it can threaten and aid for attack rolls.
Again, in short, that's effectively +5 hit/damage, +6 STR/CON, and the option to Aid for 8 attack OR +7 AC AND +5 concentration, dispel, or caster level check, and all of this is before we even get into the spells you likely know, like haste, heroism, liberating command, moment of greatness, saving finale, gallant inspiration, purging finale, and invisibility sphere. You can turn a party of martials into a tactical strike team capable of obliterating anything in their path.
Spellcasting Mammoth Rider:
Sorcerer (sylvan bloodline) 6/Full BAB Class 1/Eldritch Knight 2/Mammoth Rider 1
Alternately druid (goliath druid) 9/mammoth rider 1
Get a huge mount and then cast buffing spells on it to further increase it's size and damage. This is definitely not the strongest build in the world, but geez is it fun to plug holes with a gargantuan mammoth. I tend to prefer the sorcerer version because share spells lets you cast Alter Self on it and turn it into a human so that it can walk around indoors for a while, so long as you're careful of the duration. Although to be honest, you can get most of this with the spellcaster of your choice, and the Nature Soul, Animal Ally, and Boon Companion feats.
Mounted Flying Spellcaster:
Small race as an eldritch guardian fighter 1/psychic or psychic bloodline sorcerer x
With boon companion, the mauler archetype on your familiar, and carefully sized muleback cords and heavyload belt for tiny creatures, you are a spellcaster in full plate on a flying mount, and just shy of full progression too.
The Camel of Doom:
Inquisitor (Sacred Huntsmaster) 5/ Fighter (Drill sergeant) 2/ Barbarian (pack rager) 2/Cavalier 1
So sacred huntsmaster does not remove domains. And sacred huntsmaster grants an animal companion. You can then take the chivalry inquisition, which grants a cavalier's mount. As animal companion levels always stack, you now have a level 10 companion in 5 levels that shares your teamwork feats. Now we work to get you as many teamwork feats as possible. My favorite combination here is broken wing gambit + paired opportunists + swarm strike + outflank + sieze the moment. If someone attacks either of you, you both take an attack of opportunity back. If that attack threatens to crit, you take another one. If that threatened critical confirms, you take yet another attack of opportunity. So you may hit someone 6 times before their original attack roll is resolved. There are a lot of possibilities here, so go nuts.
[spoiler= Dual wielding archer]
On the note of archers, The Minotaur Double Crossbow. This thing exists in multiple states, depending on which book you are reading it from, but the most important one is the one from Classic Monster's Revisited. This version does not have the line about reloading both bolts as a move action, so Crossbow Mastery reduces the loading of both bolts to two free actions.
The build is Gunslinger (Bolt Ace) 5/Fighter (Weapon Master) 3/Barbarian (urban barbarian) 2
With point blank, precise shot, reckless aim, reckless abandon, rapid shot, rapid reload, clustered shots, deadly aim, weapon and for the worst case scenario, a handful of splitting bolts, you can do an absolutely foolish amount of damage. Just don't expect to do much else.
Arcane Archer/ Deal with it when you're ready:
Magus (Eldritch Archer/Kensai) 8/Arcane Archer 2
With the Favored Prestige Class and Prestigious Spellcaster feat, you can now fire 4th level magus spells at everyone, even AOE spells. My favorite use of this is spending an arcana or a Ring of Spell Knowledge to add Emergency Force Sphere (no save, no SR) to my spell list and bubbling away difficult enemies until the party is buffed enough to deal with them as an immediate action, but really, go nuts. You can pepper people in a dozen different ways now.
More of these will follow, but I'm out of time for the moment. I hope these are enjoyable.
Peculiar you say? I like making peculiar builds. I'll toss a few up.
An unluck generator.
Scrollmaster Wizard 3/Kensai Magus 7 with Kirin Strike.
Fighter (Titan Fighter) 1/Barbarian (Titan Mauler) 2/Druid (Goliath Druid) 7.
Oracle 1/Spellslinger Wizard 1/ Mesmerist 8
Cavalier 4/Eldritch Guardian Fighter 2/Shadow Dancer 3/Full BAB class 1
Oracle 1/Sorcerer 9
Should... Should I post more? Most of the rest are either more complicated or just plain weirder than these.
Male Human Oracle 1 | HP 8/8 | AC 16, T 13, FF 13 | F +0, R +3, W +2 | CMB -2, CMD 6 | Spd 30' | Perc +5 | Init -2 | PFS # 88575-11
That's easily my favorite part about illusions. You can suspect whatever you want, but proving it is always the kicker.
247. The party comes upon a group of people in a village square dancing feverishly. They appear exausted, and some have worn through the soles of their shoes to begin dancing on bloody feet. Someone standing nearby says that they've been like that for weeks. The villager who spoke up suddenly gets a nervous, wild look in their eye, whispers "Please. Gods, no.", and moves to join the dance.
248. A young boy approaches the party in the wilderness, or a backwater town. Eagerly greeting them by name and shaking each of their hands in turn. If the party asks the boy how he knows who the party is, he winks and taps the side of his nose, stating that he is lucky enough to be "in the know."
249. An elderly couple are arguing next to the side of the road where their cart has overturned. They appear to have been taking large numbers of furs and foraged herbs for sale.
250. A fierce woman in studded leather armor is driving wooden nails into a small mound of freshly moved earth in the center of a crossroads. Small seeds are scattered across the entire intersection and the soil is slightly damp with blood
251. A man is selling magical items from a ramshackle booth on the side of the road in the busy part of town. Some of them are rather rare and/or powerful, and he's letting them go rather cheaply, so the party is not the only people buying them. It eventually comes to light that all of these items were taken from the bodies of people killed by the regional assassin's guild, and that people found with them may be blamed for the assassination. As soon as he is finished pawning off his items, he demolishes his stand suddenly, changes his appearance and blends into the crowd.
252. A tengu is sitting and fletching arrows using his own feathers. Nearby is an oread blacksmith making arrowheads out of loose nodules of metal from his own shoulders and arms.
253. A young woman is sitting on a tree stump in the woods humming softly to no particular tune. As the party approaches, her voice shifts. It seems to take on both a low gravelly resonance and high whistling overtone, as she tries, somewhat successfully, to sing wordlessly with both parts of a familiar tune. If the party speaks, the woman jumps, clearly startled by their presence.
238. A race with that requires three parents to reproduce.
181. A young man is carefully whittling smooth strips of bark off of dozens of trees in the area. Whenever a woman passes by, he asks them to model for a moment while he sketches a small feature of their face (eyes, nose, brow, lips). If asked why, he says that he wants to know what his wife is supposed to look like when she's finished.
182. One of the player's reflections has been trying to warn them about something by writing in the fog on the mirror. Unfortunately, they can only do this when nobody can see the mirror, so they have always had to start writing before there was fog. The mirror is finally fogged and covered in dozens of warnings.
183. A man has created a sizeable workforce of animal skeletons and small constructs that he rents out cheaply to work farmland and mills. The people that this has put out of work are protesting near the town hall.
184. A tall, thin man dressed all in pale blue offers to buy a bonafide, genuine smile for someone in the party.
185. A woman drops a package in a crowd. If anyone calls out to her, she runs at a full sprint through the crowd. Anyone inspecting the package hears a small whimper from inside.
M Superb Starling (reflavored thrush) Familiar (protector) | HP 4/4 | AC 17, T 16, FF 15 | F +0, R +4, W +4 | CMB -2, CMD 3 | Spd 10', Fly 40' | Perc +5 | Init +2
Larkspur is a screeching madman... madbird? Desperate to keep himself safe in the folds of Aster's coat, he flails about madly and burrows deeper into her pockets, shrieking.
"I'm dying! Don't let me die! Save me! Keep me away from them! Keep me and my money away from them!"
Actually, no. I was unaware of Ki Channel, amusingly enough. Although the addition of that to the roster makes this all the more horrifying. I shall reevaluate my build.
I suppose I might as well, now.
I was using channel pools from both paladin and cleric along side meditation crystals to grant more ki, while using the Champion of Irori's class ability to turn 2 ki into smite or lay on hands, alongside a ring of ki mastery to instead use only 1 ki. Combined with Ultimate Mercy, this provides free raise dead castings in exchange for 10 ki. combined with the Bracers of Celestial Intervention, this provides a summon monster spell of the spell level equal to the number of smite evil uses (or ki points) spent.
The AC is a combination of stacking crane style, dodge, size bonuses, osyluth guile, smite evil, barkskin from ki, with high dexterity from ki, mage armor, cautious fighter, monk bonuses to AC, and other minor bonuses that follow in that vein.
It is very M.A.D., but I'm enjoying it a great deal.
Oh dear. That's a lot to break down piece by piece, but here goes. Spoilered for brevity.
You use eldritch guardian Fighter to give yourself armor proficiencies and the familiar itself, but also to give it access to combat feats, in case you want to share some down the line. The familiar will need to take the Mauler familiar archetype and you'll need to take Boon Companion in order to have it actually be able to grow. With the right familiar choices, you can get amazing mobility, or flight at level 3 on what is otherwise a very decent and now well armored caster.
Titan Fighter/goliath druid:
Titan Fighter allows you to wield any large two-handed weapon in two-hands, as though it was sized appropriately for you. Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword) allows you to wield a bastard sword in one hand. People typically use this to wield a large bastard sword in two-hands. Now, you can wield a large bastard sword (typically a two-handed weapon) in one hand, or a huge one in two hands. With lead blades or the impact enchantment, and either enlarge person or the giant shape from goliath druid, this becomes equivalent in damage to swinging a colossal bastard sword, at 6d8 damage per blow. However, due to the wording of titan fighter, and the penalties for being different sizes from your weapon, you are taking either a -4 or a -6 penalty with that weapon (there is some table variation, I lean towards the -6). This is overcome pretty easily with a decent strength modifier, wild shape, and the enormous amount of buffs available to a full caster.
It should be pointed out that this still works with the recent size stacking FAQ, as there is the actual weapon size (huge) followed by 1 effective size increase (gargantuan) followed by 1 actual size increase (colossal), which stacks.
Inspired Blade 1/Empiricist Investigator or Magus:
The inspired blade level is there primarily to quick start the build by granting quick access to weapon finesse, weapon focus, and a limited amount of panache. The first level swashbuckler deeds can go a long way when applied with extracts or spells, especially parry and riposte, and both of the other classes that this would move into rely on Intelligence, so this is a clear win.
The Empiricist Investigator was offered up because of the request for out of combat options. It replaces on obscenely large amount of skills with Intelligence, and you can use Traits or the Orator feat to replace even more, making almost the entire skill list Intelligence or Dexterity based. Use that with an Agile and/or Keen Rapier (I am not a fan of fencing grace's errata), and you will have decent damage, and a wide array of out of combat skills. You also can take the infusion discovery to give yourself an absurd amount of out of combat utility to the party as well.
The Magus was offered up because of the request for an arcane caster. It replaces fewer skills, but will still contribute out of combat decently due to high intelligence and the increased number of class skills from swashbuckler. The most popular build is to use a keen rapier to crit more often with spells, which is a little swingy in damage, but hits very hard when it works. There's a lot of flexibility in the archetypes, so long as you're using the rapier that you dipped for. You can easily maintain decent armor class with this concept, and your spell list will give you decent utility as long as you remember to keep a few spell slots open.
Sacred Huntsmaster Inquisitor or Hunter:
Fair warning, be careful with this idea. I've seen it break 200 damage in a round at level 6 when the chain got off, On the enemy's turn!
Do not play this if you cannot play your turns quickly, or if you can not intentionally play bad tactics sometimes so that other people can enjoy themselves. Because you can and will kill things before they finish their own turn in the surprise round. And springing that on an unsuspecting GM is rude.
Both of these ideas work the same way, in that your pet gets all of your teamwork feats for free.
Outflank makes it so that whenever you confirm a critical hit, other creatures with Outflank get an attack of opportunity. We'll use this with something with a decent crit range, like a keen falchion or scimitar. Broken Wing Gambit makes it so that your enemy gets a bonus to hit and damage against you, but whenever they attack you, allies with the feat get an attack of opportunity against them. Paired opportunists means that whenever one of your allies gets an attack of opportunity, you do too. See where I'm going with this? Stack on combat reflexes and a decent enough dexterity, and you are a terrifying reactionary beast.
1. Every time you confirm a critical hit, both you and your companion can take an attack of opportunity before you finish resolving the critical hit
2. Every time a creature attacks you or your companion, both of you attack them before their attack is resolved.
You have the issue, though where attacks of opportunity, interrupt other actions, which means you may interrupt your own damaging actions before you know how much damage you've dealt. Let me demonstrate below.
So let's envision this scenario where both 1 and 2 happen. Your pet Fluffy is adjacent to you.
The creature has now been hit twice by Fluffy, and twice by you, and one of your attacks was a critical hit. Every additional confirmed critical hit provokes an additional attack of opportunity from both you and Fluffy.
We've got a lovely rule preventing multiple AoO's from the same action keeping us from becomeing an infinite AoO monstrosity, at least. Although, aAt higher levels, I've seen people take Sieze the Moment to get an attack of opportunity from threatening the critical hit, and then another one from confirming it, which does not violate that rule. No matter how much I want it to.
This is actually fairly straightforward, for a build that requires beating people to death with magical paper.
Scrollmaster wizard allows you to treat a scroll as a shortsword with a an enhancement bonus equal to 1/2 the level of the highest spell on the scroll. PFS limits you to 6th level spells on scrolls unless you are a high enough level that a character of your level could cast those spells, but that doesn't matter too much. The big issue is that the scroll has a limited number of hit points equal to the highest level of the spell, and every time you deal a blow with it, those hit points are reduced by 1, and they cannot be reduced. The only consistent way around this that I've seen, is Fortifying Stones. Fortifying stones increase the hitpoints of any magical object by 20, and the hitpoints granted by a stone CAN be restored by make whole. At 1000 gp a piece, a few extra fortifying stones to reinforce a 6th level scroll, is still much cheaper than a +3 weapon, and the stones explicitly state that you can attack multiples.
The real magic is when you multiclass into Magus, not only can you use spell strike to cast spells through a scroll rather than from it (hah!), but you can use the arcane pool to enhance the scroll further. The enhancement bonuses from the magus arcane pool stack with enhancement bonuses that already exist on a weapon, which means they stack with our scroll's bonuses. At level 5, when you are wizard 1/magus 4, you can burn an arcane point to make your 6th level scroll, a +5 weapon. At level 5, we can have a +4 keen short sword or a +5 keen short sword as a swift action, ignoring almost all DR using our enhancement bonuses alone. So the loss of BAB from the wizard level wasn't too painful.
Again, you'll need make whole as a regular ability to make this work. I recommend the magus arcana so you don't need to wait for the gold to get the ring for it, just buying scrolls with your saved gold for the first few levels, maybe even using them as backup weapons if you need to.
I'm hesitant to put the full details of the Champion of Irori build up in a public manner. The method I've used is quite terrifying. There is a great guide to them here, though. It covers most of what I'm doing, with the exception of a few notable, and particularly worrisome discoveries, like free raise deads, and summon monster IX.
I could see a tortured crusader/inquisitor working well, particularly given their ability to burn lay on hands for additional smite evil uses. If your planning on being mounted, you might also consider Sohei monk, as they can flurry in light armor and get mounted combat feats as bonus feats.
I've never been overly fond of Arcane Armor Training, but that's mostly because it uses up your swift action, and I tend to use classes that have abilities that use those often.
Here are a couple of character concepts from my big sheet of things I'll never get to play that you might enjoy, based on your criteria.
1. Eldritch Guardian 2/Psychic - Ride your mauler familiar into battle as a gnome/halfling/wayang in full plate
2. Titan Fighter 1/Goliath Druid x - Use Exotic weapon proficiency (bastard sword) and your ability to become large quickly and (eventually) a huge impact bastard sword held in two hands to swing for obscenely large damage dice while still being a full caster. Amusingly, does not heavily rely on strength.
3. Inspired Blade Swashbuckler 1/Empiricist Investigator x. (alternately Inspired Blade Swashbuckler 1/Magus x) - I've seen a fair number of people tossing around concepts for a variant of this one. You get a wide variety of skills based around two or three stats, and can jump quickly into your main shtick. It's basically a magus/investigator, but with toys, though.
4. Sacred Huntsmaster Inquisitor or Hunter - With Outflank, Combat Reflexes, Paired Opportunists, and Broken Wing Gambit. You and your pet become a virtual blender for anything that risks attacking either of you. And that's not accounting for the spells and high skill points of both classes.
5. Scrollmaster Wizard 1/Magus x - I will fully acknowledge how silly this one is, but with a fortifying stone to keep the scroll from breaking, and make whole to keep them intact, you can easily be swinging an effective +6 weapon in PFS for under 2k gp. You will likely want to use a ring of spell knowledge or an arcana to add the make whole spell to the magus list.
6. Champion of Irori - Do not discount the monstrosity that this can become. The last one I put together was slated to break 50 AC by level 12, can smite evil 25+ times per day, and will shortly have access to summon monster IX. And is PFS legal. She is only played with people who have full knowledge of what I am bringing to the table.
Female Half-Orc Bard (duettist) 1 | HP 9/9 | AC 17, T 14, FF 13 | F +1, R +4, W +6 | CMB +2, CMD 14 | Spd 30' | Perc +9 | Init +4 | Bardic Performance (7/7 rounds)
Aster visibly cringes away from the sudden voice at her side, her hands twisting firmly around her spear. She balances on the ball of her foot for the expected blow, one eye closed. After a careful moment when the blow doesn't come, she opened her eye, and sheepishly straightens up. Her eyes scan over Sully's tattoos for a moment, and she hesitantly accepts his handshake.
"S-sorry. I mean, Thanks... I mean... Hello," She stutters in response.
Aster glances about nervously. Larkspur was sitting on the edge of the nearby table and paying absolutely no attention to her. Not that he was likely to hear her in this noisy hall. She grimaces, typically his interruptions keep her from having to talk with new people right away. She allows the air to hang awkwardly for a moment before, desperate to fill the silence, she mumbled "So are you here to gamble too?"
One of two things would happen.
I would become a sprawling landscape. An ever shifting living world as the earth itself took on a consciousness and strove to rewrite itself into a greater form. Great beasts would rise from my soil and the sea to challenge the peoples of the world, seeking to draw out heroes who could best them. Magic would creep out from my face like the slow growth of a beard, throwing all the world into primordial chaos once more as the contracts binding the earth are rewritten. Nations would rise and fall in my wake. All would love me and despair!
Or I would become a mystic theurge. That would be cool too.
M Superb Starling (reflavored thrush) Familiar (protector) | HP 4/4 | AC 17, T 16, FF 15 | F +0, R +4, W +4 | CMB -2, CMD 3 | Spd 10', Fly 40' | Perc +5 | Init +2
Larkspur lighted on Aster's shoulder, chirping shrilly in her ear.
"Oh quit your moaning. We're here to make up for the last time you almost died, remember? Now get in there so I can win me some money!"
Aster swallowed hard and continued into the bar, keeping a respectable distance from other dangerous looking customers as Larkspur directed her towards what he predicted would be a winning table.
Physical Description: Terpeti are heavily built, their bodies covered in white and gray fur. Most terpeti appear to be obscenely overweight to other races, due to the thick layer of fat that covers their body, insulating them from both cold and injury. Their bodies are rounded and stocky while their face is commonly described as resembling that of a rather full-faced, tusked rodent.
Terpeti ears are short and round, and are always black or brown, and always in contrast to the rest of their body fur, and they use their relative position and movement to communicate intention and emotion in language, where other races typically use tone. Their front teeth are particularly sharp shearing teeth, and some of the larger females will sport impressive tusks.
Terpeti typically dress in thick insulating furs and leathers. Those that live among other races will wear something approximating the local style, but almost always in muted colors and fashion, so as not to draw attention.
Society: Most terpeti live in tribes made up of several small family groups. These tribes move nomadically across the tundra, guiding herds of livestock between fields that they had planted for grazing in seasons past.
Terpeti tribes are generally led by a council of elders, carefully guiding the tribe towards the lands most likely to provide enough food to keep them heavy enough to fight back the cold.
Given this nomadic lifestyle, and a diet consisting almost exclusively of meat and root vegetables, which are difficult to produce on the frozen tundra, terpeti place a high cultural importance on the sharing of a meal. Inviting someone to take part in a meal is considered to be equivalent to naming them an honorary member of the tribe, and affords them the same level of protection and respect. A terpeti who does not yet fully trust a stranger will leave food where it can be found easily, or provide a tool that the stranger could use to catch their own food.
Terpeti place great importance on cleanliness and any moment not working is typically spent grooming themselves. This is primarily due to the necessity of keeping their fur clean enough to insulate properly. Filthy, matted fur will let water cling to the skin and will cause a careless terpeti to freeze to death.
Relations: A terpeti’s opinion of other races and cultures is almost always dependent on how that races family groups functions, with more tight knit groups engendering more trust. This leads them to be fairly friendly when trading with dwarves, elves, and halflings, and relatively brash when dealing with gnomes. However, terpeti rarely interact with other races, as they would rather remain isolated than risk conflict. However, in times when food is scarce, some tribes will travel closer to other civilizations in order to trade fur, ivory, and weapons for food for themselves and their livestock.
If a few members of another race find themselves among a terpeti tribe, the terpeti typically treat them with a cautious respect. They will not allow them to join the tribe via communal meal until the newcomers have proven themselves to be particularly useful to the tribe. Even at this point, it may not be recognized by the tribe as a whole until an elder has sat with the newcomer for a meal.
The terpeti belief regarding the importance of sharing a meal frequently causes trouble for those few terpeti who travel outside of the tribe as most other cultures are much more willing to share food with strangers. This has led many unsuspecting terpeti to discover themselves suddenly honorbound family members for what others believed was a simple courtesy.
Alignment and Religion: Terpeti are patient and cautious, always looking towards the next season in order to ensure that everyone has enough to eat. Most terpeti are neutral, seeing all creatures cared for, and no desire or wish fulfilled to the point that it would tip the balance beyond the point of return. They walk a careful path between the impact they make on the landscape surrounding them, and the land’s ability to rebound each year to provide for them once again. Terpeti that worship deities tend to revere those with domains regarding community or nature, although some will revere gods of winter and ice, hoping to receive mercy from the bitter cold.
Adventurers: Rarely will a terpeti leave their home tribe without influence from an elder or from outside the tribe. Their focus on family groups and community leads them to prefer staying closer to home. Most terpeti adventurers are youths who are sent on missions to obtain food from warmer climates, or to rid the tundra of rampaging beasts or monsters. Occasionally, when further breeding would bring a tribe to an unsustainable size, the elders of a tribe will provide a young terpeti with as much food as they can afford to provide, and send them out of the tribe. Many of these youths join other tribes, but many more travel to warmer areas of the world, looking for a ready meal and less harsh of a climate than their homeland.
Terpeti prefer melee combat when possible, believing it to be more honorable to give your opponent a fair chance at taking your own life. Most terpeti youths are fighters or barbarians, although their natural skill with animals and the balance of nature has led many to become druids.
Terpeti Racial Traits (13 RP)
This is the difficulty of basing our builds on poorly worded rules language. While it is fairly easy to decipher the intention of the text most of the time, we are expected to work off of what it actually reads. Which in this case, does not support our case as well as we would hope.
Currently, to our great pain, the mystic theurge is not supported as well as we would hope.
The equipment trick route can be used only with the most permissive of game masters, and I would not recommend it in most games or in PFS play, despite its legality there. It allows for simply too much table variation.
The faith magic discovery gets us around the low level pains, and can work, but also severely restricts our choices.
For a short time, we had relatively open choices about how to make our characters and have them be competent and competitive. Although most of us were not overly fond of the flavor restrictions imposed by race or domain choices, we could at least play the class.
In recent weeks, I've spent some time attempting to create a prestige class that would work as an alternate option to the mystic theurge, which would fill all of the roles that a theurge should fill, that will ideally alleviate these problems. When I'm fully pleased with the balance of it, you should know more. There are many more sample builds to make. The rules must be bent further to know if there are any holes present.
In the meantime, kobold press has a theurge base class for those of you who want to play a wizard/cleric combination.
Spoiler for length:
They discovered their powers mostly through action. Putting themselves in circumstances where they would be used, and having something unusual happen. Eventually they figured out that it was them causing it, and they sought out some other seemingly friendly people who may have known more to try and clue themselves in. There was a little bit that just happened, so that I could clue them in to powers existing at all, but I didn't want them to miss out on it all together. Their powers grew the more they used them, which meant that the players who developed phobias of their powers and refused to use them generally remained behind the "power curve" in terms of what their abilities could do. They didn't seem to care or complain about this at all.
Some of the players, in attempting to learn more about their powers and how far they might stretch, spent time reading in game about real world beliefs that may have related to their abilities. That definitely surprised me, but it was a pleasant surprise. The second session they sent their characters to a library to read, I was able to give them summaries from real books on the subjects to give them the information that they wanted. It definitely aided in the immersion.
Very little was explicitly story driven. The world moved around them, but it was largely open world. I did not correct their actions or guide them in any given direction. If they wanted to hop on a train and flee to Canada, or try to ride out California, I would not have stopped them, and there would have been something there to do. I was definitely aided by real world maps, though. They probably could have dodged the main events of the underlying plot forever, if they were so inclined.
As for morals, I would describe them more as a neutral group. The plantation heir was the most hard line against racism, amusingly, while the Irish mobster thought the plantation heir deserved a turn on the bottom of the social pile, and reminded him of this constantly. The Indian woman in the group was following the rest because she literally knew nobody else in this country and she thought that since she now knew their secrets she could blackmail them into keeping her safe, and the other two women were simply too naive/innocent to believe that anyone could wish them harm at all, although that changed quickly.
Mostly they confronted threats from a place of fear. They talked their way out of anything possible. When that didn't work they fought what the mobster thought they were capable of fighting, which wasn't a great deal. Otherwise they attempted to flee.
Later on in the game it became apparent to them that powers were appearing in the world for a reason. A sort of mock territorial dispute between gods and demigods, using humans as proxy pieces, which was intended not to claim souls or land, but to spur new belief by demonstrating power in the world again. They were building a series of near apocalyptic events, fulfilling various prophecies about themselves, and then intending to show up and do fake battle before settling back down again to enjoy their new followers. Except that one of those participating, and none of the orchestrating gods/demigods knew who yet, had raised the stakes and things had gone much farther than intended. Several minor deities were already dead, some were missing, and as mentioned before, there was an Indonesian water goddess trapped in Lake Michigan.
After they figured that out, having even been approached by a less popular deity and told they would now act on his behalf in the coming war, they mostly acted to figure out who had started up the real war instead of the fake war so that they could remove themselves as pieces from the god's metaphorical gameboards.
I'm spoilering this both for length, and because some of the content can be both racially and religiously sensitive to multiple groups.
Another thing to note reading this, every player was given the option every game to leave the table at any point, and discuss what bothered them after taking a moment to cool off and center, as we handled old politics, racial and social injustices, and violence as they were, without watering them down. We added a fantasy coating to it, but player characters were openly and brutally discriminated against, sometimes in horrific ways. They were warned that this would happen, and still most of them chose to pick some group from the time that was readily discriminated against for their character. I was also encouraged by several players to openly engage their real life phobias at the table, which allowed me to increase the horror aspect of the game a great deal. I can't say that I enjoyed everything that I said and wrote to maintain those atmospheres for that game, but the players certainly enjoyed that level of realism. I think mostly they enjoyed it because we always encouraged walking away when it became too much, and coming back as soon as you were able. I'm not going to write about all of this in detail, but understand that it happened, and may bleed through.
Prior to the games start, I approached each player, got an idea of their character and how they fit into the game world, and then gave them a secret memory. Which implied to them that there was more going on in the world than they originally thought when they first built the character. The idea was that this memory would have been repressed, due to family action, behavior, breeding, or culture. Remember, this was, for the most part, 1836 as it was historically.
The first character was a young woman who had recently been cast out of her very religious catholic family for having an affair with a priest. Her local community had decided that she had seduced him, despite that not being the case, and had cast her out, so she was moving to stay with a relative in New England, which was the reason she was in the hotel above the patent office at all. She was given the ability to both heal wounds, transfer them to other people, and pull people across the line between this life and the next, in both directions. Her secret memory entailed a beloved family dog dying, and returning several days later, covered in soil and partially rotted, to whine outside her window, only to be discovered and put down again by her father the next day. Throughout the course of the game, she only discovered the ability to bring people back, and it mostly worked to the party's detriment, as she had very little control over it. For a great many sessions, they believed it was an environmental effect that was spreading over the area spreading from the Hospital and they could outrun it, only to kill a deer, cook dinner that night, and watch meat slowly regrow on its bones. The unexpected reactivation of her powers is what caused all of the characters to return to a full, unscarred state from being nearly burnt bones following the hotel fire, herself included.
The second character was a second generation Irish immigrant and a member of the Irish mob with one good arm, and one shrunken, disfigured arm. He was working as an enforcer for years prior to the game and was in the hotel with a massive quantity of someone else's money in order to complete the purchase of a large number of firearms the next day. He largely worked for the mob for a consistent source of money to take care of his ailing father. He was the only character in the group built with combat in mind, and had the ability to breathe under water, as well as manipulate any mostly-clear water he was in physical contact with. His secret memory was of an argument between his (deceased) mother and father about how his father had left something behind in the old country, and now she couldn't ever go back, even if he wanted to leave her. It was clear in his memory that he had two normal arms. This slowly led him down a path of realization that his mother was a Selkie, who was driven mad by the loss of her original form, and attempted to make a deal with a nature spirit in the Americas and tried to trade his arm for her stolen skin, which his father had taken in order to convince her to marry him. He developed a real fear of the ocean due to a series of nightmares sent to him by an npc in the game and would roll against will in order to even use his powers. If he failed, he would refuse to use them and look for purely physical solutions.
The third character was a pale skinned Indian woman who had come to the U.S. posing as a British woman following the death of her British husband. She practiced her religious rituals in secret, and hid nearly every symbol of her ancestry, in order to protect her newborn infant (who also died and was resurrected in the fire). Her secret memory revolved around her village in India and the first child of every woman being taken by a creature she later identified in game as an Asura (following original myths, not pathfinder lore). The Asura attempted to take her, leading her to a tiny temple/home, built out of loose foliage and twigs and containing little more than a bed and dresser. She screamed and ran, and by the time she returned with the elders, the creature was gone, but the tiny house remained. She was left alone, but other children continued to disappear. Extra kudos to this player, she did an obscene amount of research in order to make her character as authentic as possible to the location and time period. Even going so far as to hide her character's real race and religion from the other players for months of real time. She spent much of the game paranoid about potential risks to her infant child (who also had powers, but which had not yet manifested). Her powers were centered around the controlling of plant life. She could cause things to grow obscenely quickly, or wilt, given adequate resources. She could even hybridize or create wholly new plants, given time, although she only discovered the first few powers by the games end.
The fourth character was an anxious young woman from a poor background travelling to meet family. She started out with kind of a thin background, which was clearly to allow the character more space to grow in game, which it definitely did. Her secret memory involved listening to an uncle rant for hours about how he had seen his own death in a mirror. He was then dragged off to an asylum, and came back several months later, heavily sedated, before dying in exactly the way that he had predicted. She recalled this happening with three other male relatives in her family, including her own father. This character was a diviner, although several of her first exposures to her power were particularly gruesome, and so she quickly developed a fear of using it and had to be coaxed into it by other characters, despite its usefulness. She could relatively easily see something that was happening elsewhere, but the future was troublesome to interpret. When she looked into the future, she saw two likely outcomes first, and then an event which would most likely pivot it in either direction. I will admit, they occasionally chose neither and attempted to swing it away from both outcomes. It was a grand time having them try and thwart fate, and succeed on occasion, particularly when they burned down the entirety of Chicago in order to stop a man who was able to mind control everyone over approximately the age of 30. (this was judged not by physical age, but by an amount of emotional/spiritual damage taken, as he worked himself into wounds in your mind. So people who had maintained a level of naivety or innocence where harder for him to control, while those who had been traumatized where easier for him to worm his way into. The more he worked himself across the city, the younger the people he was able to control.)
The fifth and final player was a white heir to a southern plantation with an eye on national politics, who had so far refused to disavow his ancestors due to their political ties as he climbed the legal and political ladders, but couldn't come to terms with the moral crimes they were committing. He had one good leg, the other having been crushed under a horse years prior. His secret memory was getting lost in a fog bank while out riding with his brother and coming upon an old black man (who they later identified as a personification of a Loa), wearing sackcloth pants, a rope belt, and a ring of broken keys, but little else, flanked by two large shaggy grey and black mottled hounds. The Loa told him that he would be very important soon, and he would need to pay attention when it happened, and that he was sorry, but this would hurt a great deal. The player then heard his brothers horse, turned and saw no fog, was run into, thrown from his own horse, and crushed. He was left a cripple after this, and could only walk with the assistance of a cane. His power was the limited ability to speed and slow time, as well as short distance teleportation. He got a good handle on slowing time, but the player had an extremely unlucky time with the other abilities, and actually knocked herself unconscious more often than not when she tried teleportation, dropping herself 40 feet off of a ledge more than once.
The players, split between veteran roleplayers and those newly introduced to gaming in general, found it incredibly easy to stay in character, more than in any other game I've ever run. It's the only game where I've ever had players shout at each other that they were being unfair before getting up to go get the other one a drink. They behaved like real people in their situations would, terrified, angry at times, and with a confused determination to pull through. They did not treat it like a game, and they seemed to understand that they could die and be left behind, so they were not afraid to flee and return later with reinforcements or more information. Once they discovered that they had powers at all, they spent weeks in and out of game slowly experimenting with them trying to figure out how to use them safely; and often failing. As they encountered other people with powers, some similar and some very dissimilar to their own, it became clear that these people were otherwise just like everyone else in the world, with the same prejudices and the same fears and desires. The bigger difference is that these people had the power to see their desires through, when they didn't have any strong morals or ethics holding them back. This led to a very rapid backlash against them, an overturning of several underground crime rings, and as already mentioned, one of them attempting to claim the entire city of Chicago by force. This newfound source of power among humans also brought to light a few very old monsters. Mostly this exposed those creatures that were already good at hiding, the rest having been slain long ago as the corners of the world were explored.
There are a plenty of notable stories, including a false Lovecraft style elder god faked by a dream manipulating telepath, the diviner trying to see an impossible future and instead seeing a void in which only she existed and going slightly insane, the life/death character accidentally reviving an entire morgue of superpowered people, some of whom were known to have no control over very dangerous powers, the plantation heir accidentally teleporting into a set of shackles at the bottom of a river, and a seven hundred year plus old man who had been stealing years from other people and storing them in a philosopher's stone of sorts. They also found an an army of children protected from harm (including a very violent explosion) by an Indonesian water goddess who had been trapped in Lake Michigan, a store owner who used dozens clones of himself with a hivemind to carry out insider trading and market manipulation across the east coast, and an alchemist who could force unstable powers in people who would then force them to go on near/actual suicide attacks against his political allies in exchange for their families safety. And, of course, they burned down Chicago, fleeing with the children, to escape a mind-controlling psychic who had been trying to recruit them by force into a war against the aforementioned alchemist, shattering most of the psychic's powerbase.
I'm not sure if that was more or less than you wanted to know, but it was both a long game and not as long as I wanted it to be.
I once ran a GURPS game years ago where each player began the game believing that it would take place in a different setting, and built their characters around the idea of playing in that setting. Less than five minutes into the game, they were all caught in storm which picked them up from their respective settings/realities and deposited all nine characters on a tenth, completely distinct, setting. None of them were built or prepared for this and all of them proceeded to panic and flail. They spent the next 3 years of real time fighting to predict and enter more of these storms hoping to be dropped off in more familiar settings, ignoring most of the plot hooks presented to them, including those about the people who were causing the storms, in favor of desperately hopping settings in the hopes of getting sent home, a la quantum leap. A more rag tag bunch of adventurers I've never seen. Most of the time, they didn't even have a consistent shared language. Some of the most memorable characters I've ever run for came from that campaign.
We also had a psionics game where the players picked up their powers partway through investigating a global conspiracy to commit/cause a mass ritual sacrifice/suicide to usher in the end of the world by sending the psychic essence of every death to a creature who had wrapped a portion of its psychic aura around the planet. Instead of unraveling the mystery, the players figured out how to wrap their aura in a similar way, accepted the incoming levels of insanity, and allowed the sacrifices to go forward, absorbing the power themselves instead. This was followed by a battle between several near-god level creatures with an outer eldritch horror that leveled most of europe.
I was also in a game where everyone was giant crabs. That didn't last long, but it was fun.
Then there was a campaign where the players all died in the U.S. patent office fire of 1836 in the first session, only to awake in a military hospital, naked and surrounded by terrified staff. They then fled, unequipped save for hospital gowns, into the frigid Virginia winter to look for safety first, and explanations second. The premise was that they were superheroes, in a setting where such a thing was unheard of until only a month or so prior, and their characters were all built with the assumption that magic/superpowers/hypercompetence did not exist, and they would have to fix everything the old fashioned way. I also kept their list of powers secret from them, and they had to figure them out through trial and error, slowly working out how far they could go without hurting themselves or those around them. The world was essentially undergoing a "supernatural renaissance", and they were, willingly or unwillingly, going to be a focal point of it. They chose unwillingly and fled from every major plot point, developed phobias of their own powers, and in general behaved like real, traumatized people. It remains one of my favorite campaigns to date.
Personally, mystic theurge was never bad. The early entry just made it meet everyone else's terms. But early entry versions feel too strong in the middle levels when you you were able to coordinate your casting stats. It really just needed some rearranging so that it could enter slightly less painfully and maintain it's versatility without the early level pain.
Early entry is still possible, though. It's just less obvious. Equipment Trick: Sunrod (Like the Sun). I've seen some debate around this, but it seems fairly clear to me that this should grant access. Be warned either way that there is debate regarding it.
I've not forgotten about the requests for me to write a Hunter guide. It was placed on the back burner while I moved and got situated into a new job, but I have gotten some of the ground work laid out and have been doing some heavy theory crafting to ensure that the guide leads towards actual, functional builds.
Note that this doesn't necessarily mean I'll be done soon, but I am definitely working on it, and there are lots of goodies to play with here.
High damage brutes, swift striking AoO experts, tactical casters, mounted archers, cavalier-alikes, petless beasts who summon, and many, many fiddly little rules bits to poke at.
I'm growing more fond of the class the more I look at it.
Good news everyone! My wife just matched into a wonderful new medical school residency! Unfortunately that means we'll be moving and settling into new jobs during PaizoCon and GenCon, but we'll be much better established for a crack at them next year.
It's been a wild ride, and while I know I haven't always been posting for all of it, I have been here voting and lurking about. You've all done terrific jobs, and I am genuinely proud of all of you. This was an amazing experience.
Animate dead can be terrifying if you can ever get your hands on enough onyx to make it worth the effort.
I've seen a large number of arguments that the caster level is only checked at the moment of the cast, so if it dropped afterwards, we wouldn't be losing control of the undead. If we assume that's the case, this becomes downright terrifying, as we can boost our caster level, animate as many undead as possible, and then sally forth with them.
We may not even need the onyx if we can use blood money and a summon slave crystal, although it will take longer. First we'll use summon monster IX to summon a Ghaele Azata and possess it via our summon slave crystal (chosen because it was medium and wouldn't throw off the formation too badly). We'll cast blood money, taking 24 strength damage to the Azata to generate 12,000g worth of material components, followed immediately by animate dead to animate 480 HD of undead. One quick restoration to get rid of the ability damage, and we're back on route to animate some more dead.
By my calculations, assuming we don't use deathwine, or undead mastery, or any animation unique tricks, we can animate 5,737,596 HD of undead, or 8,606,394 HD if we have a one level dip in Juju oracle for the Spirit Vessels revelation. This would take 11,954 castings of animate dead/restoration to reach that cap, or 17,930 castings for the character with the Juju oracle dip.
We could probably get more animated out of each cast if we got our Azata through planar binding, and then let it borrow a +6 strength belt. At this point, I'd be willing to invest in the manual of strength to get it a +5 inherent bonus to strength. That'd get us 17,000g worth of onyx each cast, for 680 HD of undead, bringing us down to just 8,438 and 12,657 casts of animate dead, respectively.
Assuming we burn all of our fourth level and up spell slots on animate dead but one. Saving that last spell slot for planar bindings and emergencies. Also assuming we are are not a mystic theurge, and are not using pearls of power, largely to make the math easier, we should be able to cast animate dead 37 times a day, with the occasional spell leftover. It will take the straight caster 229 days to animate all of the undead, with the caster with a juju oracle dip taking 343 days.
If we do use pearls of power, the number of days saved is drastic. While every pearl of power has a depreciating value, this is only due to affecting a reduced number of days, as the previous pearls of power used have already reduced the number of days necessary. Ten fourth level pearls of power save us 45 days as a straight caster and 67 days if we had the oracle dip. Given the amount of clout we're swinging here. 160k in pearls shouldn't be an issue. Interestingly enough, it takes 56 pearls of power, or 77 for the juju oracle dip build, before the addition of a new pearl of power no longer reduces the time of this process by at least one full day. At that point we're taking 92 and 113 days, respectively, to finish.
This is all, of course, assuming that an Azata would even tolerate a plan to animate 5+ million HD of undead. Among the other, myriad assumptions in this post. This is by no means something to do, but it was fun to think about and math out.
There are probably better ways to do it too. Anthropomorphic animal and awaken can definitely let us take a high strength creature and turn it into something we can use for blood money shenanigans, but I haven't trawled the list recently to see what's worth bipedaling.
Now I'm curious, though. What would you actually do with 8,606,394 HD worth of undead? If you make them into 1 HD zombies, it will be more zombies than the population of New York City.
R Pickard wrote:
Benjamin, can I guess you were thinking of the spiroskek for that encounter? :)
Not exclusively, but most definitely. All of my actual commentary for that monster was taken by the time I was ready to post, so I didn't actually post in the monster's thread, but I immediately had several rather devious encounters spring to mind that one of the groups I run for may have to handle. It's been a long time since a monster has so firmly and so immediately planted itself in my long term repertoire.
Abraham spalding wrote:
Certainly! I'll gather up all of my more mechanical tricks into one location for reducing the actual load of preparing for a game, but those are the easy things to work on.
As for genuine issues running a game, a lot of what I like to talk about is how to avoid the original conflict, or lessen its impact when it occurs. When we did GM 101 and 201 locally, we added a great deal to it and I added a solid half hour about how much the words you choose and the way you phrase your sentences determines what people think of you and your ideas. I've seen a great deal of people who genuinely agreed with each other, at times, including myself, argue pointlessly because they didn't understand the emotional connotations that the other person was applying to the words they were using. When the conversation was paused, and the statement that both people agreed with was restated using synonyms that didn't carry emotional weight for either person, they were able to see each other's respective points of view, and the argument could be resolved.
Granted, being aware of someone's emotional language is neither simple, nor easy, but it is an incredibly useful skill to hone. I had a number of rather pointed examples, but I will have to see if I can find where I wrote them down for you.
I had another list of minor things that I suggested that GMs should do which were specifically designed to create an attitude of trust between the players and the GM. They were all very minor steps, such as removing the GM screen, rolling as far forward as you can without rolling on the map, using more visible dice, announcing the results of the roll, making brief eye contact with every player, gentle smiling, keeping an open stance, and keeping your hands flat when resting. If the players are more trusting of the GM, they will be more at ease, and all aspects of the game can go better.
I put the list together a few years ago after one of my players in a 3.5 game made a comment that I was the competition. I have never in my life viewed myself as an adversarial GM and have always wanted the players to succeed. I felt the need to go out of my way to make that more apparent, but I couldn't just outright say that I intended for them to win. I needed to find a way to make it obvious to him, who was not always the most perceptive, that I was not an enemy. I found that some of them were easier than others, with adjusting body language being the most difficult. Every step had a profoundly visible effect on the party's morale, though. They came to me more readily with questions. There were fewer rules debates, and not just because they accepted my judgement, but because I was prepared to accept their arguments when they were reasonable.
I've not been playing these kinds of games as long as some, although I may have been playing it longer than others. One thing I have noticed is that there are a lot of different attitudes about how different people run games. Some people want to run something hard, while others want to run something easy. Some want to place the players in a world of their own creation and allow them to tell any story they choose, while others may place them along the path to a single story with little opportunity for deviation. Regardless of which variant of Game Master someone may be, there is one seemingly immutable truth. Running games is HARD. Not because knowing the rules is necessarily difficult, or because writing part of a story might be difficult, or because determining what should be allowed or disallowed might be difficult, or because establishing a setting might be difficult, or because acting the role of the NPCs might be difficult, or because designing the statblocks might be difficult. They are difficult, although some of them may be easier for some of us than for others. However, any one and even all of those things can be provided for us these days, with the possible exception of a rudimentary understanding of the rules. No, running games is hard because the GM has to arrive and create spontaneously for and with a group of people who may not like what they have made. The pressure involved in this is the same as with any other method of creation. Writing music, short stories, The players can definitely both increase and lighten this load, often without even realizing that they're doing it. Which brings us right back to the importance of this conversation and this topic.
I'm encouraged by the turn that this thread took towards solutions, because far too often, in other corners of the internet, I've seen it simply dissolve into "Give up", "Stop GMing", "Surrender". It's the same advice given to new artists, new writers, new filmmakers. "Stop creating". Creating was hard enough before they were encouraging everyone to stop. That advice helps nobody. Giving good advice on GMing is hard, though. Running games is something that every person I've ever spoken to does differently. What works for me may not work for everyone, which is why we should discuss not only what I do or you do, but also what all of the other wonderful GMs out there do. This is not a science or a formula, it is an art. As with any art, we only improve when we practice and work at it. To that extent, I have long believed that the most important thing that any GM can get is feedback. If I know what my players wanted, and I know what I gave them, I can refine the game to close the gaps between the two.
That, uh... That post was longer than I expected it to be. I may have rambled a bit as well. I'm a little tired, so I hope it all made sense.
I generally enjoy buying large numbers of animals, but mostly for the extra encumbrance out of combat. I have yet to see the combat animals act as a problem at a table, although I'm not arguing that it's possible that they could. I would rather they not be removed from the list, though. This seems like the sort of issue that can be solved without banning the purchases altogether. One combat pet per player character seems to have been enough restriction locally.
Work has officially started on a hunter guide. I penned a couple of paper pages over the weekend, and built out my basic thought trees. I've got a few basic build routes to work down, as well as a few more complicated builds, but the more I look at this the more I know I'm going to enjoy writing for this class.
Thomas LeBlanc wrote:
Yes. Most people prolly don't feel qualified to put forth their opinions. I know I don't. Maybe some just like the early rounds when they have a chance and once that chance peters out, they vamoose.
I like to keep quiet when I'd just be repeating something that someone else had already said, which left me fairly silent in the last round. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case for this round. I have so much I want to say, and do intend to, but I haven't had the time to sit down and really type it all out yet. After my elimination, I agreed to run several slots at a local PFS con, and preparation is taking a large portion of my time this week. I'll try to post something this afternoon or this evening. What I've had time to read has all been particularly good. Don't worry, you're all doing splendidly and those of us that are still watching, are still impressed.
You guys keep making the rounds more and more difficult to vote in, though. It's becoming a real challenge.
I've added a warning to the Mystic Theurge guide about how it is affected by the new FAQ and am going to cease updating it, regrettably. I'd ask that you not take it down, if you don't mind. There's a lot of value in it still, even if it's not still 100% accurate.
I'm about to start working on another guide and am debating between two in particular as to which one I should work on. I'm wavering between writing a guide for the hunter and a unified guide for natural attackers. There's been a good bit of favor for having both guides done, and I would certainly enjoy writing both. I may do both eventually, so this will likely determine only the order. Does anyone here have any preference?
I have probably learned my lesson and won't reach for writing any more guides on the scale of the mystic theurge guide, though.
N. Jolly wrote:
Yeah, that was my mystic theurge guide that just imploded. This is quite painful, to say the least. At least it can still be used for some home games, right?
Well that FAQ was certainly surprising. It's been a good ride, but I'm probably not going to go back and correct the guide to account for it. At the very least not for a while. Having a years worth of writing pulled out from under my feet is dissuading me from working on it any more at the time being. I may just put a note at the top detailing what happened and leave it as is. There's still a lot of useful information in there, although everything relating to early entry is now suddenly useless. This is quite disappointing.
I was previously debating starting another guide, such as one for Hunters, Brawlers, or another large tome dedicated to natural attacking characters after I finished moving and posting the sample builds. Now I'm not sure if I should hop back on that horse yet or not. I'm doing my best not to be reactionary or coarse, but this FAQ doesn't make much sense to me, I've lost a lot to it, and motivation seems to be in small amounts today.
What do ya'll suppose should be the next course of action here?
Having written over 270 pages of guide on the mystic theurge, and more that were going to be posted shortly, I'm going to need time to digest this ruling. This just invalidated months of work very suddenly. I need to figure out if it's worth fixing the guide, or even leaving it online at all. I should probably be distraught over this, but mostly it just has me confused.
I'll have to think about it after tonight's game.
benjamin wilkins wrote:
Scarcely an hour after I had submitted, our entire neighborhood lost power. Thank goodness submission time had already closed! I felt the need to post this with my phone before conserving power, because the calamities this year have been amusing so far. Whoever mentioned the pugwampi earlier, could you kindly call them off? I'd greatly appreciate it. Thank'ye kindly.
**EDIT** Not time for designs in the dark! Power came back less than ten minutes after I finished posting this. This is starting to get a little surreal.
Ben Parkin wrote:
I'm a technical writer and a tier 2 analyst/technician. Also a Ben!
Considering my job involves writing the documents used to train our teams on proprietary software. That means I'm arguably a writer, an educator, a Ben, and an IT professional. I feel like I'm right on the edge of all of the popular Top 32 categories this year, but only if you squint really hard.
Congratulations to all others to have made it this far, and thank you for the opportunity to have proceeded this far as well. I would be lying if I said I wasn't surprised to be among you now.
My first foray into roleplaying games was almost exactly one decade ago in the basement of a friend's house, where I was made game master of a GURPS game almost by default. I did not manage to sit as a player beyond a single session until I began playing Pathfinder Society just two short years ago. This was also my introduction to the Pathfinder system. In the time since, I've become somewhat attached to the system, running games for the local community with as much frequency as reason allows. If all of our tables make like scheduled, our local Venture Captain and I should hit our fourth stars simultaneously on February 7th of this year, which will be an cherished moment for us both.
I've done a great deal of writing for and about pathfinder since beginning to play it, but the only thing in a state close enough to completion to actually place out where it could be publicly viewed has been my Mystic Theurge Guide.
I am currently working professionally in a combination role as a tier 2 technician and technical document writer for a wide variety of proprietary software in manufacturing support roles. Sadly, that's as much as I am certain that I can say in a public setting.
This is my first time entering RPG superstar. I had not heard of it prior to this year, but I would likely not have had the confidence to enter last year. At my wife's reassurance, I put together what I believed to be a solid item that I was excited about, and entered. I am now here with the rest of you, and I will continue to do my best. Best of luck to all of you. I am sure it will be quite a ride.
It should be a 1-2 repeatable scenario, where it is spoken by somebody laughably simple to defeat. They should then reappear, grumpy and with a grudge, in an extremely lethal 7-11.
With a significant bonus against anyone who previously defeated them.
Sir William wrote:
If they make top 32, I'll take that as a sign that someone at paizo agrees with me and I might be able to look forward to seeing it in an official pdf soon after. That will be all I'll really need.
You. You are a glorious item that fits a very specific niche of creative thought that caught my attention the very first time I saw you. I have voted for you over fifty times since the competition started, and you have deserved every one of those votes. You are also the only [redacted] that I have never voted down. Whoever designed this managed to write something clever and fun, and I really wish I could explain why it tickles me so thoroughly.
You even got a vote over my own item. I hope you appreciate it, you sly [redacted], you.
This is going to be fun. I've always enjoyed the mindset and culture of non-humanoid creatures, particularly how it is affected by their biology. This will give me the option to take years of notes and compile them into something real and concrete. There's a wealth of options for intelligent monsters and their mindsets that we can play with. Their household superstitions, beliefs, and even how they view other intelligent races. Oh, boy. The wheels are really spinning now.