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RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32. RPG Superstar 8 Season Marathon Voter. Organized Play Member. 460 posts (659 including aliases). 8 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 11 Organized Play characters. 6 aliases.


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RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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I typically run under these rules. After a while, there came to be enough of them that my players wanted indexes and a table of contents so they could find the specific rules faster. They change slightly depending on the sort of campaign being run, especially in the character options section, but these are the boilerplate rules.

I've only ever used these in person, so I'm not 100% on how well they would work in a PBP environment, although I don't see any glaring issues. I may start an interest check thread soon to see if anyone would be interested.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Shadowtail24 wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:

-The longbow is mostly a paranoia piece. If I don't have a consistent way of doing something useful at range, I feel worried that I won't be able to contribute enough. It was cheap enough that I didn't fret about picking it up, although it is definitely the last thing I'm going to upgrade when I go to get new equipment or purchase magical equipment.

-Yessir. The bonus HP given to each scroll by the fortifying stones can be restored completely with a single casting of make whole. Which is the only way this build becomes sustainable, because without it, my weapons would break all the time. I'll probably try to make some more make whole scrolls during down time as the game progresses, simply out of fear of days with a great deal of combat.

-I didn't realize that when I first put it together, but you're absolutely right. There's a lot of languages and information focused characters here. It should be fun.

-Thanks! I figured that without a posting history for the character it would be more telling for how I intended to play her than a background alone.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

The man groans slightly when prodded although seems to have a pretty serious injury

Kendra released the Parasol back to Irene. She silently struggles for a moment to regain her composure before speaking. "Thank you for that. I can't imagine what would have happened to Father had they buried him outside of the cemetery."

She pauses a moment, withdraws a handkerchief and dabs at the corners of her eyes. "Please, it's not much further to the plot. Father Grimburrow should be waiting."

No sooner had she spoken than three men come around the bend. The eldest, dressed as a priest, is sallowed, wrinkled, and pale with no hair on his head save for great bushes of eyebrows the same white as the tufts coming out of his ears. His eyes squint so tightly in the light that you can barely see them at all. The two younger men are dressed as nicely as gravediggers typically manage, with minimal dirt on their otherwise washed clothing, and are carrying rather filthy spades.
The priest rasps out. "Was there trouble? I heard shouting."

"Somewhat, Father Grimburrow. Gibs and his friends attempted to confiscate my father's body to bury it outside the city in the hills. Some of my families acquaintances ... pacified them. Please do make sure that they are alive at least. We truly don't want any trouble."

Father Grimburrow takes a look around the unconscious bodies, huffs and starts casting stabilize on them all as he talks
"Local farmhands, every one of 'em. I know their faces. Low of character, especially if they're running with Gibs now. They'll live, anyway." He gestures to the younger gravedigger. "Booker, fetch the sheriff would you? We'll get on with the funeral."

Father Grimburrow leading the way, the funeral procession makes its way to the plot. Father Grimburrow gives a short sermon about the tenuous threads that bind people to mortality, and how good deeds can lead people into heaven after the boneyard. He ends this sermon with several notes about things that Petros did while he has been serving as the village priest which has most assuredly earned him a rather cushioned cloud on which to rest, before shooting Kendra a pained smile and inviting her to say a few words.

Kendra begins to talk about her fathers efforts to fight back the evils of the darkness when her voice cracks, and tears fill her eyes. "Please. I think it would mean more coming from those he worked more closely with. If you could, share your own stories about my father. "

Go ahead and make a diplomacy or perform check with your story.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

My submission is Irene Knapp, the surly librarian.

Background:

Irene was born to a moneylender named Christopher and his wife Martha in Kintargo. She was one of three children to survive infancy, alongside her brothers Roger and Bartholomew. While the Knapps were not nobility, they did live in relative comfort. Her brother Roger apprenticed alongside her father and her brother Bartholomew joined the Order of the Rack, looking to elevate the family name. Irene, uninterested in a political marriage as her family had hoped, sought desperately to become a scholar of note.

Irene Knapp worked in the libraries of Kintargo since her youth, devouring information on every subject she could find. While she would read most books set in front of her with little complaint, history was far and beyond her favorite subject. She quickly became enamored with the histories of Cheliax, and despite her tendency to treat some of the oldest texts with the childish glee some treat legends and fairy tales, she was able to piece together parts of history that had seemingly been lost. However, it was not cleverness that allowed her to piece these together where others could not, but rather naivety causing her to tread where others knew it was not safe. When one of her journals, containing a great deal of notes regarding a rather accurate and unflattering history about the rise of House Thrune, was discovered and reported to the Order of the Rack, she was forced to flee Kintargo with what few texts she could carry.

Unwilling to cross into Nidal for fear of the Kuthonites, she fled across the Menador mountains towards Isger. While fleeing into the Whisperwood to escape a Hellknight patrol led by her own brother, Irene came upon a band of outlaws who, after ensuring that she was not a member of the hellknights herself, informed her that she might find both shelter and work in Tadloton, where the information she carried would be treated with the respect it deserved. Adjusting her goal east, Irene headed to Tadloton, following the woodland roads to avoid patrols.

Personality:

Irene understands the value of information more than most. She was driven from home because of information, and saved because of different information, and so now she knows when and how to allow information to be shared, and when to hide it. She keeps notes regularly in a book that she can erase on a moment’s notice, only transcribing them more permanently when she feels safe doing so. This book has been recently erased.

She tends to be an inquisitive sort, always prodding at other people’s secrets while keeping her own close to the chest. She is generally cautious with who she trusts, especially knowing that she has a poor sense of judgement for people’s intentions; a lesson hard learned.

When pressed, she can be quite imaginative with solutions to problems, but is rather unlikely to notice a fight coming, and may not notice that she needs to help solve a problem until it is pointed out to her. She can ramble on about all manner of literary subjects, but when talking about sensitive topics, she tends to be rather blunt. She doesn’t intend to hurt anyone’s feelings, she just rarely realizes that she’s doing so.

When in battle, she wields two scrolls, one as a weapon, the other as a shield. The first is a scroll of word of recall, the return location of which is no longer known to her. It has written on it “Only for Emergencies”, although she’s now worried enough about not knowing where it goes that she’s not entirely sure what is enough of an emergency. The second is a scroll of Geas/Quest, which appears to have had a note on it that was intentionally blotted out by ink. She is no longer certain if she is the one who blotted it out. She finds every joke about “the pen being mightier than the sword” or “words cutting sharper than steel” hilarious in the context of these weapons. She is incredibly fond of using her arcane mark spell to stamp OVERDUE, OUT OF PRINT, or REMOVE FROM CIRCULATION onto people while attacking and then pretending she doesn't get the joke.

Appearance:

Irene is relatively short, broad shouldered, and wide framed. She carries herself stiffly and has poor posture from years of hauling books in dark and dusty rooms. She has little regard for her professional appearance, having her scholar’s robes draped loosely over her chain shirt, creating uneven and somewhat obvious lumps due to the fabric bunching around the armor. She keeps her black hair cut short, so that it will not intrude into her vision. Her fingers and robes are ink-stained, and occasionally so are her lips from sucking on the end of a quill or pen, and her dull green and gray eyes dart around as she thinks, rarely focusing on what’s in front of her unless it’s a book, or something she has previously read about, which is always cause of excitement.

Stats:

Irene Knapp
Hexcrafter Magus 2 / Scrollmaster Diviner 3
LN Medium humanoid (human)
Init +3; Senses Perception +0
--------------------
Defense
--------------------
AC 21, touch 12, flat-footed 19 (+5 Armor, +2 Dex, +4 Shield)
hp 40 (5d8+15)
Fort +6, Ref +3, Will +6
--------------------
Offense
--------------------
Speed 30 ft. (20 ft. when encumbered)
Melee Scroll of word of recall (+3 shortsword) +12 (1d6+8/19-20) or Scroll of word of recall (+2 reach shortsword) +11 (1d6+7/19-20)
Melee - With Power Attack Scroll of word of recall (+3 shortsword) +11 (1d6+10/19-20) or Scroll of word of recall (+2 reach shortsword) +10 (1d6+9/19-20)
Melee - With Arcane Pool Scroll of word of recall (+4 shortsword) +13 (1d6+9/19-20) or Scroll of word of recall (+3 reach shortsword) +12 (1d6+8/19-20)
Melee - With Power Attack and Arcane Pool Scroll of word of recall (+4 shortsword) +12 (1d6+11/19-20) or Scroll of word of recall (+3 reach shortsword) +11 (1d6+10/19-20)
Ranged Mwk darkwood composite longbow (+4 str) +5 (1d8+4/20x3)
Special Attacks spell combat (–2 attack, +2 concentration), spellstrike
Wizard Spells Prepared (CL 3rd; concentration +5 [+9 defensively]; 20% spell failure)
. . 2nd—detect thoughts, make whole, make whole
. . 1st— monkey fish, silent image, snowball, speechreader’s sight
. . 0 (at will)—detect magic, mending, prestidigitation, read magic
Magus Spells Prepared (CL 4th; concentration +6 [+10 defensively])
. . 1st— chill touch, longarm, shocking grasp
. . 0 (at will)—acid splash, arcane mark, light, mage hand
School Foresight
Opposition Schools Necromancy, Evocation
--------------------
Statistics
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Str 18, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 11, Cha 13
Base Atk +2; CMB +6; CMD 16
Feats Combat Casting, Combat Reflexes, Power Attack, Scribe Scroll, Toughness
Traits magical knack (Magus), pragmatic activator, rough and ready
Drawback Sentimental (-2 to Perception and Reflex vs. traps and to avoid being surprised)
Alternate Racial Traits Wayfarer
Adventuring Skills Climb +8 (-2), Knowledge (dungeoneering, nature, religion) +7, Knowledge (arcana, planes) +8, Knowledge (local) +9, Spellcraft +8, Swim +8 (-2), Use Magic Device +6
Background Skills Knowledge (engineering, nobility) +6, Knowledge (history) +7, Knowledge (history) +8, Linguistics +9, Profession (librarian) +5
Languages Abyssal, Azlanti, Celestial, Common, Draconic, Dwarven, Elvish, Halfling, Infernal, Osiriani, Thassilonian
SQ arcane pool (3 points, +1), forewarned +1, prescience 5/day, scroll blade, scroll shield
Combat Gear 2 alchemist's fire, wand of disguise self (25 charges), wand of enlarge person (50 charges), scroll of bless weapon, scroll of clairaudience/clairvoyance, scroll of command undead, scroll of gentle repose, scroll of grease, scroll of make whole
Other Gear +1 chain shirt, 20 arrows, 20 arrows (cold iron), backpack, 2 bandoliers, bedroll, bell, 10 candles, canvas, 10 pieces of chalk, dagger, erasing book, earplugs, 2 fishhooks, flint and steel, 2 fortifying stones, 2 vials of ink (1 oz.), 2 inkpens, journal, mirror, masterwork darkwood composite longbow (+4), peasant outfit, silk rope (50 ft.), 4 sacks, 2 scholar’s outfits, 3 scroll boxes, scroll case, 2 sewing needles, shortsword, signal whistle, smoked goggles, 2 spell component pouches, string (50 feet), 5 trail rations, 2 empty vials, 32.36 gp
Magus Spellbook All cantrips; 1st- chill touch, enlarge person, expeditious retreat, frostbite, grease, kreighton’s perusal, longarm, magic missile, monkey fish, shield, shocking grasp, snowball, true skill, true strike, vanish
Wizard Spellbook All cantrips; 1st- air bubble, ant haul, crafter’s fortune, disguise self, erase, grease, identify, monkey fish, protection from chaos, protection from evil, protection from good, protection from law, silent image, snowball, speechreader’s sight; 2nd - continual flame, detect thoughts, knock, locate object, make whole, mirror image


Special Abilities:

Arcane Pool (Su): At 1st level, the magus gains a reservoir of mystical arcane energy that he can draw upon to fuel his powers and enhance his weapon. This arcane pool has a number of points equal to 1/2 his magus level (minimum 1) + his Intelligence modifier. The pool refreshes once per day when the magus prepares his spells.

At 1st level, a magus can expend 1 point from his arcane pool as a swift action to grant any weapon he is holding a +1 enhancement bonus for 1 minute. For every four levels beyond 1st, the weapon gains another +1 enhancement bonus, to a maximum of +5 at 17th level. These bonuses can be added to the weapon, stacking with existing weapon enhancement to a maximum of +5. Multiple uses of this ability do not stack with themselves.

At 5th level, these bonuses can be used to add any of the following weapon properties: dancing, flaming, flaming burst, frost, icy burst, keen, shock, shocking burst, speed, or vorpal. Adding these properties consumes an amount of bonus equal to the property's base price modifier (see the Magic Weapon Special Ability Descriptions). These properties are added to any the weapon already has, but duplicates do not stack. If the weapon is not magical, at least a +1 enhancement bonus must be added before any other properties can be added. These bonuses and properties are decided when the arcane pool point is spent and cannot be changed until the next time the magus uses this ability. These bonuses do not function if the weapon is wielded by anyone other than the magus.

A magus can only enhance one weapon in this way at one time. If he uses this ability again, the first use immediately ends.

Forewarned (Su): You can always act in the surprise round even if you fail to make a Perception roll to notice a foe, but you are still considered flat-footed until you take an action. In addition, you receive a bonus on initiative checks equal to 1/2 your wizard level (minimum +1). At 20th level, anytime you roll initiative, assume the roll resulted in a natural 20.

Prescience (Su): At the beginning of your turn, you may, as a free action, roll a single d20. At any point before your next turn, you may use the result of this roll as the result of any d20 roll you are required to make. If you do not use the d20 result before your next turn, it is lost. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Intelligence modifier.

Scroll Blade (Su): A scrollmaster can wield any paper, parchment, or cloth scroll as if it were a melee weapon. In the hands of the wizard, the scroll acts as a short sword with an enhancement bonus equal to 1/2 the level of the highest-level wizard spell on the scroll; a scroll with only a cantrip or 1st-level spell on it counts as a masterwork short sword. The scrollmaster is proficient in this weapon, and feats and abilities that affect short swords (such as Weapon Focus) apply to this weapon. A scrollmaster cannot wield two scrollblades at the same time.

Activating this ability is a free action. A scroll blade only retains its abilities in the hands of the scrollmaster. The scroll blade has hardness 0 and hit points equal to the highest-level wizard spell on the scroll. Each successful hit by the scroll blade reduces its hit points by 1; this damage cannot be repaired, but does not affect casting from the scroll. When its hit points reach 0, the scroll is destroyed.

If a scroll contains a spell with a metamagic feat, this ability uses the original spell level of the spell (a scroll of empowered fireball counts as a 3rd-level spell).

At 3rd level, when using a 4th-level or higher wizard scroll as a scroll blade, the scrollmaster can choose to reduce its enhancement bonus by 1 (minimum +1 enhancement bonus) to treat it as a reach weapon. For example, he could use a scroll of charm monster (a 4th-level wizard spell) as either a +2 short sword or a +1 short sword with reach.

At 5th level, when using a 4th-level or higher wizard scroll as a scroll blade, the scrollmaster can choose to reduce its enhancement bonus (to a minimum of a +1 enhancement bonus) to give any of the following weapon properties: defending, frost, icy burst, keen, ki focus, shock, shocking burst, speed. Adding any of these properties consumes an amount of enhancement bonus equal to the property’s cost (see Table 15–9: Melee Weapon Special Abilities in the Core Rulebook). The scrollmaster must know the prerequisite spell or spells to craft the weapon property in question (for example, he must know haste to be able to give his scroll blade the speed property). This ability replaces the wizard’s arcane bond.

Scroll Shield (Su): A scrollmaster can wield any paper, parchment, or cloth scroll as if it were a light wooden shield. In the hands of the wizard, the scroll grants a +1 shield bonus with an enhancement bonus equal to 1/2 the level of the highest-level wizard spell on the scroll; a scroll with only a cantrip or 1st-level spell counts as a masterwork light shield sword. The scroll shield has no armor check penalty, arcane spell failure chance, or maximum Dexterity bonus. The scrollmaster is considered proficient in this shield. A scrollmaster can use a scrollblade in one hand and a scroll shield in the other hand.

Activating this ability is a free action. A scroll shield only retains its abilities in the hands of the scrollmaster. The scroll shield has hardness 0 and hit points equal to the highest-level wizard spell on the scroll. Each successful attack roll against the wizard reduces the scroll shield’s hit points by 1; this damage cannot be repaired, but does not affect casting from the scroll. When its hit points reach 0, the scroll is destroyed.

At 5th level, when using a 3rd-level or higher wizard scroll as a scroll shield, the scrollmaster can choose to reduce its enhancement bonus (to a minimum of a +1 enhancement bonus) to give it any of the following shield properties: ghost touch, light fortification, moderate fortification. Adding any of these properties consumes an amount of bonus equal to the property’s cost (see Table 15–5: Shield Special Abilities in the Core Rulebook). The scrollmaster must know the prerequisite spell or spells to craft the shield property in question (for example, he must know limited wish to be able to give his scroll shield the fortification property).

If a scroll contains a spell with a metamagic feat, this ability uses the original spell level of the spell (a scroll of empowered fireball counts as a 3rd-level spell).

Ruling stating that you can cast with a light shield, because I saw some people arguing about it while putting this together. Let me know if this is an issue and I can make some adjustments.

Spell Combat (Ex): At 1st level, a magus learns to cast spells and wield his weapons at the same time. This functions much like two-weapon fighting, but the off-hand weapon is a spell that is being cast. To use this ability, the magus must have one hand free (even if the spell being cast does not have somatic components), while wielding a light or one-handed melee weapon in the other hand. As a full-round action, he can make all of his attacks with his melee weapon at a –2 penalty and can also cast any spell from the magus spell list with a casting time of 1 standard action (any attack roll made as part of this spell also takes this penalty). If he casts this spell defensively, he can decide to take an additional penalty on his attack rolls, up to his Intelligence bonus, and add the same amount as a circumstance bonus on his concentration check. If the check fails, the spell is wasted, but the attacks still take the penalty. A magus can choose to cast the spell first or make the weapon attacks first, but if he has more than one attack, he cannot cast the spell between weapon attacks.

Spellstrike (Su): At 2nd level, whenever a magus casts a spell with a range of “touch” from the magus spell list, he can deliver the spell through any weapon he is wielding as part of a melee attack. Instead of the free melee touch attack normally allowed to deliver the spell, a magus can make one free melee attack with his weapon (at his highest base attack bonus) as part of casting this spell. If successful, this melee attack deals its normal damage as well as the effects of the spell. If the magus makes this attack in concert with spell combat, this melee attack takes all the penalties accrued by spell combat melee attacks. This attack uses the weapon's critical range (20, 19–20, or 18–20 and modified by the keen weapon property or similar effects), but the spell effect only deals ×2 damage on a successful critical hit, while the weapon damage uses its own critical modifier.

This was a fun character to make. I'm really glad that it worked out mostly how I expected it to, even if it was a sort of silly concept to start with.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Spoiler:

4d6 ⇒ (6, 1, 2, 4) = 13 : 12
4d6 ⇒ (6, 3, 1, 1) = 11 : 10
4d6 ⇒ (2, 4, 5, 2) = 13 : 11
4d6 ⇒ (3, 5, 6, 3) = 17 : 14
4d6 ⇒ (6, 6, 5, 5) = 22 : 17
4d6 ⇒ (2, 2, 3, 1) = 8 : 7

4d6 ⇒ (5, 3, 3, 1) = 12 : 11
4d6 ⇒ (6, 5, 2, 2) = 15 : 13
4d6 ⇒ (2, 5, 3, 6) = 16 : 14
4d6 ⇒ (1, 4, 6, 4) = 15 : 14
4d6 ⇒ (6, 6, 1, 4) = 17 : 16
4d6 ⇒ (2, 4, 3, 6) = 15 : 13

Point Buy: 20 + 1d6 ⇒ 20 + (1) = 21

I have a thought as to what to do with this. It's seems silly at first glance, but I like it a lot.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

I'm not sure what the DC is. But I'm pretty sure it's something like 11 + your charisma bonus so the both failed anyway.

reflex: 1d20 ⇒ 11
reflex: 1d20 ⇒ 6

Thugs 5 and 4 both fail their saves, and barely clinging to consciousness, attempt to flee. They make it about 60 feet before they white out and collapse into the gravesoil. Thug 3 summarily fleeing and collapsing shortly behind them.

will: 1d20 ⇒ 13
1d100 ⇒ 97

will: 1d20 ⇒ 12
1d100 ⇒ 94
Thug 1 and 2, after seeing your clear use of magic, clearly the very thing they were afraid of, run away in a full panic. Screaming about witches and warlocks and necromancers in the night, despite it being broad daylight.

Combat is now effectively over. Four of them are unconscious and the other two are running away in a blind panic.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Poor roll or not, it has definitely helped.

Thugs 1-4 grow visibly nervous as the sky above them starts to dim. All four gain the Shaken condition, gaining a -2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks.

light level moves down from bright to normal

Thug 5 muscles his way to the front and swings an iron tongued rake at Brucifer.

Rake: 1d20 - 3 ⇒ (16) - 3 = 13 Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7

Which Brucifer ducks under effortlessly.

Trilly and Maeve's turn. In whatever order y'all want.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Thug 4 moves forward to attack Brucifer with a pitchfork.

Pitchfork: 1d20 - 3 ⇒ (2) - 3 = -1 Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4

Thug 2 moves up to reinforce him, swinging a shovel at the side of Brucifer's head.
Shovel: 1d20 - 3 ⇒ (13) - 3 = 10 Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5

Both of their swings go wide and they look at each other with a terrified expression.

Regina's Turn

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Gibs is 10 feet away, and the rest of the group is about 10 feet behind him. So I'll just use the first attack and we'll be okay. It won't matter too much.

Brucifer steps up and lays a stone fist clean into the side of Gib's jaw. Gibs, clearly caught off guard by the force of the blow, goes slack and collapses, unconscious. The rest of those who have drawn weapons seem even more uncertain about this now.

Irene's Turn

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Gibs snorts and steps forward, clearly intent on violence. He calls back to the villagers with him. "Come on, let's get them out of here."

Some of the villagers, even now were clearly just present to try and be intimidating and were not prepared for real violence, but still, about 6 men move forward. They carry an assortment of shovels, pitchforks and splitting mauls.

Rolling Initiative:

Gibs: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (20) + 0 = 20
Thug 1: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (6) + 0 = 6
Thug 2: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (10) + 0 = 10
Thug 3: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (3) + 0 = 3
Thug 4: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (20) + 0 = 20
Thug 5: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (8) + 0 = 8
Thug 6: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (9) + 0 = 9
Maeve: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6
Trilly: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6
Brucifer: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
Irene: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (20) + 0 = 20
Regina: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (9) + 0 = 9

Initiative order= Brucifer, Gibs, Irene, Thug 4, Thug 2, Regina, Thug 5, Trilly, Maeve, Thug 1, Thug 3.

I apparently can't get to Irene's character sheet without logging in anymore. Could y'all fix that please.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Go ahead and roll an intimidate check, Trilly.

Kendra says nothing. She is far too mad to speak civilly. However, she places a hand on the parasol, so that it will not hit the ground should a fight break out.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Kendra nods appreciatively at each of you, opens her mouth to speak. Whatever she was going to say, she thinks better of it and her mouth becomes a grim and silent line. She turns, wipes a tear from each eye, straightens her posture and silently begins walking ahead of the coffin into the field of crypts and low tombstones.

The wrought iron fence which surrounds sprawling graveyard is capped with decorative, but still somewhat functional spikes. The wooden sign hanging over the entrance gate reads "The Restlands". The graveyard itself is larger than some villages, with dozens of mausoleums and crypts, and hundreds, if not thousands of gravestones spreading out in over the hill in front of you. The road into the graveyard forks after a moment and a sign marking the crossroads indicates you are at the intersection of Ancestor's Walk and The Dreamwake. Kendra gestures you gently to turn left onto The Dreamwake.

As your motley procession rounds a bend along the Dreamwake, you see about a dozen people positioned so as to block your path, and they look angry.

One of them steps forward, a man some of you will recognize as Gibs Hephenus, an ex-soldier turned farmer. "That's far enough. We've been talking, and we don't want Lorrimor buried here in the Restlands. You can take him upriver and bury him there if you want, but he ain't goin' to taint our ground here!"

All of Kendra's stoicism swiftly gives way to anger. What are you talking about? I've arranged all of this with Father Grimburrow! They've already dug out the..."

"You don't get it, do you woman? We won't have a necromancer buried in the same place as our kin. I suggest you move him out, while you still can."

The implied threat crushed the last of Kendra's patience. "Necromancy!? Are you really that f*$$ing ignorant!?"

Gib's hand moves to his short sword, but he does not draw it. He takes a single step forward and attempts to gauge reactions, both from you and from his own backup. Everyone else seems hesitant about open combat, as they are mostly armed with farming or fishing implements.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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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.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

This is now a discussion thread, for out of character conversation about the game.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

The weather is brisk and clouds move sluggishly across the sky, blocking the sunlight enough to cast a light just dim enough to match the mood.

Kendra stands stern faced over the coffin containing the body of her father, Professor Lorrimor. Her eyes are red and puffy, but her face betrays no emotion. Her mouth twists as she looks out at you all, but only for a moment.

"You came. None of the other invitees have. I suspect that they are all dead by now. Else some other ill fate has fallen over them so they cannot respond."

She lets the sentence hang in the air for a moment before continuing.

"Not that it's that much of a surprise, with the way things are in town these days."

Quickly changing the subject, she gestures with one hand down the path towards the cemetery.

"Father Grimburrow is waiting with the gravediggers down the way. As no one else has arrived, would you mind terribly acting as pallbearers?"

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This is going to seem counterintuitive at it's face, but hear me out.

Provide a safety line, and a way out. For the player, not the character.

I use the concept of the X-Card whenever I run a true horror game. It's just a simple index card with a black X drawn on one side. There's one placed in plain view within arm's reach of every player. Whenever things get too real for them, and they can't handle the fear or the pressure and the emotions get too high, all they have to do is touch the card, and the game stops, immediately. I will and have stopped mid-sentence because someone reached for the card. After about 10 minutes of not playing, where emotions are calming down and everyone is leveling themselves out, I'll ask them what in particular bothered them, we'll edit that slightly so it's less difficult, and we'll go back to the game.

The goal of this is straightforward, even if the method is not. The players can now feel safe enough to allow themselves to become immersed in real fear. Where typically they as people would allow themselves a small amount of emotional distance between themselves and their characters so that they don't feel as their characters feel, and don't fear what their characters fear, you can now collapse that boundary and begin to get the player to feel that connection more strongly. It will take time. They have to realize that they can slide into that mindset. But I find that it works similarly to how people will watch horror movies, knowing that they can always turn them off. They don't, but knowing that they can is enough a comfort.

However, it is absolutely vital that you never ignore someone reaching for the X-Card. Once you have cut the safety line, and broken their trust in that way, you are unlikely to get it back. They will not immerse themselves like that with you again, and may have a hard time doing so with any GM.

Once you have built this foundation of trust, and they know that you can be relied on in this way, you can press further than you would normally. Allowing you to push not only the character's, but the player's fears and buttons. I have had players willingly tell me their greatest fears and phobias so that we could incorporate them into games in this way, because over time it became a safe way of examining and confronting those fears.

Over time, as my players came to place more trust in the ability to back out of a difficult situation using the card, they used it less and less. They wanted to see how far they could go against that horrible thing, how scary could it really be, knowing that they could stop this scenario with their real, lifelong fear at any moment. That it was entirely within their power to make it stop, but that they could see that fear for the worst thing that it could be, and feel all of the fear that it could have, and still have that way to be safe made them far more willing to be afraid in the first place.

I have some stories about this in more detail, as well as some other tricks that I like to use, but this was the big game changer for horror.

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It's at your leisure.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

The Pathfinder Society. Use dice to be someone else for a few hours. Perform powerful magic, fight great evils, plunder ancient tombs, and explore strange lands as part of both a real and in-game global community. Resurrection expenses not included.

Definitely more fluff than facts. I was trying to communicate the feel of the game more than anything else.

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GM_Solspiral wrote:
Angry Wiggles wrote:

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.

** spoiler omitted **...

That sound was the bar being raised.

I tend to let the party attempt most anything. Sometimes it's extraordinarily difficult, but it's usually possible. I have a few specific players who are so enamored by this that they try and befriend virtually every potential combat that the party encounters, regardless of how evil it is or how much that creature's goals are counter to the party's goals. These players' characters are very persuasive and very good at making gold, so they tend to be able to make it work, at least for a while. A lot of what I listed came back to bite them pretty terribly when they stopped investing time and energy in those people/creatures and they felt neglected or cheated in one way or another.

So I don't know that it's the bar being raised as much as it is just a different style of play. I'm quite fond of it, but it does lend itself to...weirdness...

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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.

Spoiler:

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.

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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.

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A teapot that always produces the non-alcoholic, non-magical beverage that the holder wants to drink most, at the appropriate temperature and seasoned to their exact preference. It never runs empty always seems to look stylish when paired with the rest of another tea set.

A clay jar which creates a few hundred bees at a time, every few hours. There are not enough bees for a swarm, but they may still make a fine distraction, and will certainly pollinate that orchard handily enough.

A pair of books, which always contain the same text, even if the text is magically altered or erased. New text written into either copy appears in real time in the other book.

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I am obliged to say Mystic Theurge.

Beyond that, I have played or played with a horizon walker, mammoth rider, veiled illusionist, diabolist, arcane archer, dragon disciple, arcane trickster, champion of irori, bloatmage, harrower, evangelist, living monolith (both the old and new versions), shadowdancer, stalwart defender, ulfen guard, and winter witch.

Every single one of the characters I saw using a prestige class pulled their weight and more. Prestige classes depend entirely on what you do with them, but most of them can be used to do amazing things in the right hands.

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Since the first game of pathfinder I played four years ago, I have played 66 sessions under 25 GMs. I only played under nine of those GMs more than once, and only under three of them more than five times.

In that same time I have run 158 reported sessions (approximately 10-15 unreported), for 185 tables of credit (reported). My most run scenario is currently The Traitor's Lodge, which I will always be willing to run at the drop of a hat. I have thrown my voice out for that scenario no less than 8 times now, and I would happily do it again.

Amusingly, the further the date moves from my introduction into organized play, the less I sit as a player and the more I sit as a GM. Not that I'm opposed to this, or that it was unsuspected, I tend to enjoy GMing more, and I GM'd exclusively before getting into organized play.

I used a spreadsheet to break down the exact number of players reported for each of my tables as well:
6 tables of 3 players.
16 tables of 4 players.
29 tables of 5 players.
83 tables of 6 players.
24 tables of 7 players.

I'd love to be able to get table size comparisons for other areas. I know ours tend to skew high.

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That's perfectly fair. I'm sure I can find something else I'm pleased with.

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Would you be willing to waive the evil requirement on an undead template?

What I'm Thinking:

I haven't worked out the full details of the character yet, but if allowed, I'd like to play an undead monk/paladin//sorcerer (undead bloodline). They would probably have been animated by their unwillingness to die while the world was remained tortured and corrupt, and so they gave up their place in the afterlife to continue working. I like the concept of a Juju zombie for this purpose. I envision someone that has just repeatedly stitched themselves back together so that they can continue the good fight. Just as passionate in death as they were in life, despite their inability to use their own positive energy abilities to heal themselves.

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-Do you guys also want aliens? Yes, please. The more bizarre and inhuman the closer they will be to my heart.

-How cinematic do you want things to be? I can roll with most anything in this range and enjoy it thoroughly, as long as everyone else is having fun.

-How comical are you okay with things being? Somewhere in the middle is fine with me. Humor is fine, but serious moments are also fine. As long as the intended tone is clear, I will adjust.

-Do you want things to stay mostly light-hearted, or are you okay with things getting darker? I think moving back and forth between light-hearted and darker tones, when appropriate, is a good balance for the game.

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I am most certainly interested. GURPS is always a ball.

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The Buffingest:

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]
Fighter (Mutation Warrior 7)/ Barbarian (savage technologist/elemental kin)
[This one relies on a very specific interpretation of vestigial arm. It's not broken, but talk to your GM anyway]
If you spend your 7th level discover, as well as a feat, on obtaining vestigial arms, and then obtain two-weapon fighting, improved two-weapon fighting, rapid shot and manyshot, you can fire an inordinate of arrows downrange with a reasonable degree of accuracy. Although your accuracy isn't great compared to other archery builds because of twf penalties and the need to keep up two bows, so you probably want the gloves of dueling, a pale green cracked ioun stone, and really anything else you can use to boost your attack rolls.

Double Crossbows:

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.

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Peculiar you say? I like making peculiar builds. I'll toss a few up.

An unluck generator.
The best way to do this is as a witch with the Misfortune Hex, and Summon Evil Monster to call Pugwampi, using a Pugwampi Braid on anything you can't otherwise take down, and having your familiar use wands of ill omen when most important. As all of these say "every time you roll a d20, roll twice and take lowest", they become multiplicative, rather than additive. So with misfortune, a pugwampi, and a pugwampi braid, they are rolling 8 times and taking the lowest roll. That is the point at which you throw your save or suck spells/hexes at them. You can also do this with First Worlder Summoner 5/Shaman 3/Mystic Theurge 2, but the DCs will be much lower, and it's not going to be worth it for this unless you have someone else with the S.O.S. spells backing you up.

Scrollmaster Wizard 3/Kensai Magus 7 with Kirin Strike.
Use Fortifying stones to reinforce your scrolls, and use at least a +6 scroll for a weapon to thoroughly bash your enemies. With arcane pool, you will have a +5 to +7 weapon to work with for a fraction of the cost, depending on what level scroll you buy. The cost savings let you invest heavily in hitting more often with things like boots of haste and ioun stones for accuracy boosters, along with pearls of power. There are better builds, but this one is fun and I have a fondness for it.

Fighter (Titan Fighter) 1/Barbarian (Titan Mauler) 2/Druid (Goliath Druid) 7.
Titan Fighter makes large two handed weapons treated as regular two handed weapons for you, while titan mauler allows you to wield two handed weapons in one hand. We then wield a large impact bastard sword in one hand, a large impact reach weapon in our other hand, and wild shape into a giant. This gives us a huge reach radius and massive damage dice.
Starting with a huge bastard sword, in two hands due to exotic weapon proficiency, this deals 4d8 damage, or 6d8 when we're large. Our large impact reach weapon will do 4d6, or 6d6 when we're large (I prefer a Lucerne Hammer for this). An effortless lace will reduce the penalties on the bastard sword to be equal to that of the reach weapon.
We don't take further penalties for dual wielding as long as we don't wield both while full attacking, so we can feel free to use both with combat reflexes for AoOs, and Vital Strike for damage.
It takes a bit to put together, but there isn't much less complicated than "swing once and crush it". All of this before we even look at the spells you now have access to.

Oracle 1/Spellslinger Wizard 1/ Mesmerist 8
this is another take on that color spray build that has made the rounds so many times. As a gnome with a +3 gun, spell focus and greater spell focus, an 20 Charisma base, your leveling points in Charisma, and a +6 headband, you'll have a DC 26 color spray. And you can spend a swift action to give them a -3 penalty to their save. Now creatures that fail their save with 11 or less HD simply fall unconscious, and your 1d4 round stun can affect any creature up to 13 HD. This is before you even begin to approach the Mesmerist's other disabling tricks. Be warned, this doesn't deal a lot of damage, but it does set you up to tie up/coup de grace, and skip encounters without death quite easily. If you prefer, you can stay in Spellslinger, but most people don't due to the number of Opposition Schools.

Cavalier 4/Eldritch Guardian Fighter 2/Shadow Dancer 3/Full BAB class 1
With the horse master feat, you now have a full progression horse companion, a familiar that has your BAB, base saves, half of your HP, and all of your combat feats, and a shadow that has your BAB, your base saves, and half of your HP. Now you can play tactically and overwhelm them with numbers and/or teamwork feats.
I'm fond of using this with a Half-Orc with Amplified Rage and Sympathetic Rage, and the final level being barbarian, as this gives you a burst of +8 Strength and Constitution. Sohei Monk is also decent, due to skipping prerequisites on mounted combat feats, giving both you and your familiar the ability to perform lanced charges from your horse, theoretically at the same time. Albeit you will almost certainly be more successful than your familiar. The possibilities here are many, this is more of a framework..

Oracle 1/Sorcerer 9
With the freezing spells revelation from the Winter Mystery, the Rime Spell feat, and either the Boreal or the elemental bloodline, you can make a great combination debuffer/blaster. You pick your favorite damaging spells of all elemental types, and as soon as your certain that the enemy can be harmed by cold, you convert those spells to cold damage, and rime spell them. This staggers the enemy and entangles them, along with whatever effects would have affected them normally. Suddenly acid pit becomes a death sentence for anyone with less than a 40 foot move speed who fails their first save, because double move, fast climb can't get them out of the cold damage acid at the bottom, which will continue to stagger and entangle them. Spell Focus for evocation and/or conjuration spells are a must for this, but beyond that, go nuts. Pick spells with variety of shapes and elements, because you can convert them all to something horrifying when it works, and when it doesn't, your still scary.
I definitely recommend Tattooed sorcerer and improved familiar for this. Having a backup wand buddy just makes this nasty.

Should... Should I post more? Most of the rest are either more complicated or just plain weirder than these.

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Eldritch knights can be fun, but many people find them a little underwhelming. Personally, I would recommend that you try out Arcane Trickster. If your GM will allow you to retrain a trait into Magical Knack, this should serve you well.

First, take two levels of Ninja. With the vanishing trick Ninja Trick, and the Charisma based Ki Pool, you should be able to get a decent sized ki pool to guarantee yourself sneak attack damage when you need it.

Buy a Cracked Orange Prism Ioun Stone to give you Mage Hand as a cantrip, and take the Accomplished Sneak Attacker feat to bring your sneak attack total up to 2d6, and you now qualify for Arcane Trickster. Now you can sneak attack with normal attacks, or with the wide variety of damaging spells from shadow evocation and conjuration that your shadow mage specialization has given you.

I would wait to do this until after you could cast Animate Dead, so that the awkward levels can be covered by additional attacks from your minions, and you can use them for flanks to further guarantee sneak attacks.

It sort of feels in theme to me, like you're weakening them so that you can pull them down yourself from the shadows.

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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.

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238. A race with that requires three parents to reproduce.
239. A race that communicates primarily via scent and gesture.
240. A race that reproduces primarily via parthenogenesis.
241. An extreme predator that relies on looking like a helpless child of another species/race to attract prey.
242. A race that reproduces via parasitically infecting other races with a disease, like tapeworms or flukes, but probably larger.
243. A race who has evolved to be somewhat cannibalistic, and sees it as a truly good act of sacrifice to the community.

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232. A race with only one arm.
233. A race with true cylindrical symmetry
234. A race that feeds off of the presence of positive emotions in other intelligent races.
235. A race that photosynthesizes, but is not a plant.
236. Technically two races in physical symbiosis.

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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.

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The Thief of Always (Clive Barker) is a good short read. It was written intended as a children's book, although the only content that truly changed to account for that was the length and some of the vocabulary. Given some of the horror aspects of the book, most people I know who read it debate if it's acceptable for children. I mean, I read it as a child, and look what happened to me.

I'm fond of Gregory Maguire, he rewrites a lot of old fairy tales into slightly more gruesome versions, and is responsible for the book Wicked. My favorite from him is Lost, which is one of his less Fantasy related works, amusingly enough.

You'll almost definitely enjoy most things written by Neil Gaiman or Ursula Vernon. Gaiman wrote Neverwhere, which runs vaguely along the lines of urban fantasy, like Dresden Files does. Albeit with a much more surreal tone. Vernon has a printed book of her webcomic Digger, that I'm told is amazing, and I keep trying to find the time to read.

Despite the controversy that surrounded them, Phillip Pullman's His Dark Material's (The Golden Compass) trilogy was an enjoyable read, even if it did get... wierd... towards the end.

If you're in the mood for it, Ben Thompson writes incredibly hyperbolic accounts of historic battles and people in a comedic style. I've been giving them to my siblings to get them started reading about history. His book Badass Ultimate Deathmatch is one of the better ones in his set, even if it has some of the worse editing for spelling. He also runs a website with free articles in the same fashion that you can read from your phone. Here.

On the off chance you get in a non-fiction mood. My go-to recommendation of the month is Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. It can get dry, but it's an anthropologists approach at determining how international inequality happened over time. I like the premise well enough, even if I can't agree with all of the arguments presented.

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Do you have any particular preferences or will anything do? Because I know that among the folks here on the forums, people swing into just about every genre and style.

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That, uh. That's something.

Eliminating classes that don't fit the bill of what the group will want.

Class: 1d20 ⇒ 12

*edit* That's Oracle.

Race, since these numbers can do with pretty much anything. Rolling with and without featured races, just to see the results.

Race: 1d7 ⇒ 6
Race: 1d23 ⇒ 10

*edit* That's Half-Orc and Dhampir, respectively.

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Rolling because I never try rolling random characters.

I've run RotRL before, all the way through, although that doesn't seem to matter to you much. It was several years ago, and I am good at forgetting when I need to be.

2d6 + 6 ⇒ (6, 6) + 6 = 18
2d6 + 6 ⇒ (1, 5) + 6 = 12
2d6 + 6 ⇒ (1, 5) + 6 = 12
2d6 + 6 ⇒ (3, 5) + 6 = 14
2d6 + 6 ⇒ (5, 6) + 6 = 17
2d6 + 6 ⇒ (5, 3) + 6 = 14

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Osmin wrote:
Angry Wiggles wrote:

Oh dear. That's a lot to break down piece by piece, but here goes. Spoilered for brevity.

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **...

With the Sacred Huntsmaster...suppose a particularly unsavory individual was to take a wolf (free trip attempt on a bite) as his animal companion...one would get another chain of AoOs when the enemy (assuming he was still alive) tried to stand up, yes?

I want to make this build and save it for meat grinders like Bonekeep. Rush to level 5 > start slow progression > enjoy.

You are correct, You would also be able to use the double attacks of opportunity with Greater Trip or Vicious Stomp in that same fashion.

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Firebug wrote:


I could imagine some GM saying that:
Champion of Irori wrote:
"In addition to the normal uses of this ki pool, a champion of Irori may expend 2 ki points to trigger either his lay on hands ability (if he has it) or his smite evil ability."

doesn't actually give you more uses of Smite Evil, the smite is merely triggered.

Where are you getting Still Mind? It seems like you need at least 2 paladin, at least 1 cleric (unless you were counting hospitaler paladin has the cleric), and 3 levels of monk?

I could see that interpretation, and it is open to a little bit of table variation. My other local GM's have all signed off on the interpretation that I'm using, but I would recommend running this by your local GMs before using it elsewhere.

I am using monk in order to get Still Mind. Specifically the Master of Many Styles and Monk of the Sacred Mountain archetypes.

I start out with monk and paladin for the martial ability, and then move into champion of irori for the ki pool stacking. I then return to paladin for the channel pool and mercy, and then dip into cleric for an additional channel pool.

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Firebug wrote:
Angry Wiggles wrote:
I'm hesitant to put the full details of the Champion of Irori build up in a public manner.

I am guessing ki channel and teas of tranferance?

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.

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Oh dear. That's a lot to break down piece by piece, but here goes. Spoilered for brevity.

Armored Pscyhic:

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.
A. A creature walks up to you and rolls an attack roll against you, the following things happen, in order.
B. This provokes an attack of opportunity from Fluffy.
C. Fluffy being allowed an attack of opportunity, provokes an attack of opportunity from you. Your attack precedes Fluffy's attack because it was triggered by Fluffy's attack, We will resolve the attack from B in a moment.
D. You roll your attack of opportunity with your keen falchion and confirm a critical hit! As this has provoked an attack of opportunity (Event E), we will not roll damage at this time.
E. This provokes an attack of opportunity from Fluffy.
F. Fluffy being allowed an attack of opportunity, provokes an attack of opportunity from you. Your attack precedes Fluffy's attack because it was triggered by Fluffy's attack, We will resolve the attack from E in a moment.
G. You roll your attack of opportunity with your keen falchion, hit, and roll damage.
H. Fluffy rolls their attack of opportunity remaining from event E with their natural attack, hits, and rolls damage.
I. You roll damage for your critical hit from event D.
J. Fluffy rolls their attack of opportunity remaining from event B with their natural attack, hits, and rolls damage.
K. The creature that originally attacked resolves its attack roll and rolls damage, if it is still alive.

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.

Scrollmaster Wizard:

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.

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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.

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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.

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Oh, I know exactly what I'll be submitting to this, it may take a moment to put my submission together, though.

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ScorchedOne wrote:

I had a ranger that raged. It was interesting. Wild Stalker archetype. Personally I'd just go Barbarian and be done with it. Go Titan Mauler, grab an epic sized 2H weapon, vital strike tree. "Hi, I swing once at +15, do 6d6+22, and a few times per day can just end my rage by saying 'max that'."

But that's me personally.

** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
I have a titan fighter fighter/barbarian/goliath druid with a large impact greatsword in another game. Swinging a very large weapon like that can be a ball, especially when you play with reach to threaten wide areas and punish those who move around you.
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I'm thinking that I might try an arcanist/oracle/mystic theurge, using the equipment trick (sunrod) to enter, and focusing on control, utility summoning, and healing. It should have something to contribute to each of you in your respective roles, but it will never really fit completely as a dedicated healer, or a blaster caster.

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I could play an arcane trickster. It would be a little while before I could disable magical traps, but I could contribute to both ranged damage and skills.

Alternately, I could play a summoning focused oracle with the seeker archetype to provide some versatile spellcasting, disabling of magical traps, occasional healing, and skills, but with less of a damage focus. This could theoretically be made into a mystic theurge, using equipment trick (sunrod) for early entry, but that's not really important for the character concept at all, so I'll leave that up to the group/GM.

If we want something more damage or control focused. I have a couple of character ideas, both melee and ranged, that I've been toying with. I just need to know what we want.

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I have played 5-12, 5-06, 6-13, 5-13, 5-20, and 5-25 in standard.

I am willing to run the ones that I have played, if recruited, and if I find myself particularly comfortable in the format, I can likely be convinced into GMing more often, as that seems to be my natural state of things as a 5-star. I am new to play by post and I was hoping to get an introduction to pbp as a player before running any games using the format, and this seems like a great way to do that. I've got enough replays currently waiting to cover everything that I have already played without issue, if you would prefer that I play straight through.

In a perfectly balanced party, I prefer to play toolbox support casters, doing damage secondarily, but I'm comfortable filling whatever role the party desires filled. I'm typically good at fulfilling a secondary role as well, when needed.

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