The Gardener

Arcaian's page

***** Pathfinder Society GM. Starfinder Society GM. 726 posts. 4 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 18 Organized Play characters.



Liberty's Edge

Hey guys - I've been brainstorming the best way to represent the various occult classes in PF2, as I'm sure many of us have. Many of them fit neatly into a new role (at least in my opinion), but I'm struggling significantly with the Mesmerist. Their PF1 incarnation is far too casting focused for them to be a Focus caster in PF2, and their spell list in PF1 is pretty perfect for the Occult list in PF2. That leads to an obvious role as a full-casting Occult caster; they don't seem to fit a prepared Occult caster too well (I'm in good agreement with the rest of the board that Witch fits that pretty damn well), but this puts them in the unfortunate position of clashing strongly with the bard - they could go for a more sorc/wiz niche of being very focused on their casting, but I definitely don't think that fits. To me at least, the Mesmerist's key niche is altering the way magic normally works to make up for a less-than-powerful casting ability (i.e. stare + spells, bold stares to effect things that they shouldn't, etc).

Which left me with a few conclusions:
1: Mesmerists shouldn't be shunted over to an exclusively arcane/divine/primal caster
2: Mesmerists shouldn't be 4 spells/level equivalent casters
3: Mesmerists clash too much with bards as 3 spells/level, spontaneous, CHA-based occult casters
4: Mesmerists definitely shouldn't be Focus casters

There aren't many ways to go from there - I considered trying to make them a bard-specific archetype, or a sorcerer one, but they don't fit too well there. Which leaves one option that I'd been reticent to consider - mesmerists as an archetype. Now that I've considered it, I think it might actually work pretty well - an archetype that anyone who casts spells can take that's designed around making enchantment (or similar) spells more subtle + effective, with feats giving you the classic stare + bold stare equivalents. One would have to worry about someone like a wizard or sorcerer taking the archetype and boosting their casting dramatically - but without seeing the final set of sorc/wiz feats, I'd have to imagine they'll be keeping a fair few of their feats that are very much worthwhile for casting.

What do you guys think? Am I missing something? It seems like it would make for a good archetype, and would be an interesting way to port across mesmerist. Bard-mesermists would be the classic, but something like a wizard/sorc mesmerist would be interesting both thematically and mechanically to me as well :)

Liberty's Edge

Hey everyone - I've not looked throuh the Bestiary as heavily as I'd have liked to, so this one may just be me being very used to running PF1. I've done a quick look through the Bestiary, and it seems that the only creatures that are immune to Precision damage but not Critical damage are either swarms - which makes sense, you can still squish a rat but they're so tiny and so many you can't pick out individual weak spots - and Incorporeal creatures. I'm not really seeing the logic behind Incorporeal creatures being vulnerable to critical hits but not precision damage - anyone know what's happening there?

Liberty's Edge

I've been looking at some of the Bardic Masterpieces and Skald Sagas, and I've come across a bit of a strange Saga. Lay of the Scholar King can be found here, and is essentially an ability where you add your CHA mod to INT based skill checks, but take your INT mod as a penalty on CHA based skill checks. My confusion arrives in the cost in Raging Song rounds to activate it. The use cost and use actions are listed as:

Lay of Scholar-King wrote:


Use: 1 raging song round per round.

Action: 1 minute.

Now, the bit I'm not sure on here is whether the minute long activation means you need to spend 10 rounds of raging song to activate the ability, and then a further 1 round of raging song for each round the ability is required to be used for. Almost all performances have a set Use cost when the action time is one minute or more which does not scale per round (for example, Triple Time), or have the per round cost stated as per round of performance, rather than activation - such as Toccata and Fugue of the Dense Macabre. The appropriate section from Bardic Masterpieces on all of this is:

Bardic Masterpieces wrote:


Use: This line specifies how many bardic performance rounds the bard must use to activate the masterpiece.

My interpretation of all this from a Rules as Written perspective is that the cost is a set 10 rounds to activate, and then an additional round for every round you use the ability - but this seems rather expensive, and I suspect this was not the intended rule. Am I missing anything here?

Liberty's Edge

Hey everyone! I've just thought of a build this evening - a gunslinger who rides an animal companion. I know that if the mount moves less than a double move, there is no major penalty to full-attacking with a gun whilst this occurs. I can't see language causing an issue with this for Spring Attack, but I thought I'd check with the boards - you guys are very knowledgeable about the rules. So two questions:

1): If my animal companion takes a full-round action to use Spring Attack, can I use my full-round action to shoot a gun several times?

2): There's nothing against using a two-handed firearm on horseback, hey? :)

Thanks! :)

Liberty's Edge

Hey everyone - I figured I'd ask here. I'm playing a dex-to-damage Investigator, and next level I'll be getting my first main transformation spell - Monstrous Physique I. Looking at previous guides (there's no easy way to sort creatures by type, is there?) I've found a severe lack of small (and for future spell levels, Tiny) monstrous humanoids - it's a great spell for an investigator, but I'd love to have a + DEX form. Have there been some changes in recent years that allow for this? If not, I'd be better off just using a 2nd level extract for Alter Self to a Charu-Ka or similar creature :)

(I use weapons and armour, so I do need it to be Monstrous Physique or Undead Anatomy, but that has issues with CLW and the like)

Liberty's Edge

Hello everyone! I'm currently writing an adventure, and looking at making a little more optimized enemies, given that my players are typically optimized. The rules for adding classes to a monster is to convert them to the heroic array - add +4,+4,+2,+2,+0,-2. The heroic array is 15/14/13/12/10/8, so that means the base stat array for any given monster is 11/11/10/10/10/10.

That means if I wanted to change out the heroic array to a 15 point-buy for the creature (say if I'm making a wizard, more int and less cha and str would be applicable), I can get the base monster's stats, take away the base stat array above, and get the modifiers (presuming they're not over 3HD). In my case, I'm interested in a 6HD race that has 18/17/16/13/15/12 as their stat array.Can't be sure where their 4HD stat increase was. If it was in con, then their racials would be +7/+5/+6/+3/+5/+2 - this seems very odd, but I can't find a fault in the reasoning, though it gets harder the more inherent stat bonuses you add on. Is there an easier way to do this, or am I going about it the right way?

If I then wanted to make a classic STR focused, WIS and CHA dumping barbarian, a valid 15 point buy would be 16+7+1/14+5/10+6/10+3/9+5/7+2 for a 24/19/16/13/14/9 stat array. That seem correct?

Liberty's Edge

I'm looking at writing up an adventure that features a pocket of Azlanti left alive in Deep Tolguth (I really, really love the Vaults of Orv), and I'm just thinking about the Azlanti naming schemes. The Inner Sea World Guide lists many female and male Azlanti names (which is wonderful), but as far as I know, we don't really have much Azlanti information other than this - scattered here and there, but there's not much. We have experience with Thassilonion naming schemes for settlements (Xin-Shalast and the like), but presuming those are different to Azlanti, I don't recall much information on how the Azlanti named their cities.

I'm not an expert at naming and the like, but from some quick searching, I noticed several of the Azlanti names listed are either similar to or directly ancient Hebrew names - I'm thinking about using ancient Hebrew names for any Azlanti cities I'm describing (only one city currently alive, but they'll have some history of the time before Earthfall). Has anyone found a better naming analogue for the Azlanti than ancient Hebrew? Am I missing something obvious?

Liberty's Edge

Hey everyone - I've really been liking the Darklands for a while, and just started reading Darklands Revisited. I've been reading over the Munavri section in quite great detail, and I find it odd that they mention the farms of the Munavri without mentioning what they're farming, so far as I can tell. I'm making the presumption that it's fungi farms, like most of the Darklands, and maybe fish farms too, but they're stated elsewhere to have nutrition needs similar to the ancient Azlanti - not sure if that's implying the nutrients are the actual food.

What do you guys think? :)

Liberty's Edge

Hey everyone - I've got a concept I'm really liking that's a 2 level dip into Paladin followed by the rest of my levels in spiritualist. It won't be the most effective thing in the world, but I really like the RP behind it, and I'm pretty sure that I can make it work with the Fractured Mind archetype. As far as I can tell, this makes the Spiritualist a charisma-based caster (yeah, worse objectively, but eh, who cares), albeit with weird wording.

My issue is that this archetype was written before the Lust emotional focus became available. I know that I won't get any benefit from the Emotional Power part of the archetype, and it will still replace the powers, but I just wont to confirm that by RAW, I can still take the archetype (and trade out the features for no gain, effectively) and keep my Spirit having a Lust focus.

Liberty's Edge 4/5

Hey everyone - I realise this discussion has been had a fair few times, but they all seem to be about 4 years ago. Antagonize fits one of my characters really well, and I was wondering what people's opinions on it are nowadays - it was considered horribly broken on release (as far as I can tell, because it specified melee attack, so archers + ranged and the like were severely weakened), but people still were saying it's ridiculous after that change. So, some questions:

1: Is it still ridiculously broken? I don't plan on abusing it, or using it to stop story-critical moments for the most part, just so I can get people to focus on me rather than my allies, especially when they're in danger (I'd rather the BBEG attack me, no matter my HP, than the squishy rogue with 5 HP left).

2: The 'in danger' clause really is very easily interpreted in many ways. Would most of you say that receiving an AoO would count as sufficient danger to not move in? It sounds like it's meaning major dangers - huge falling damage, walking through fire, and the like.

3: Is the diplomacy version worth it? The character has high intimidate and diplomacy, so should easily be able to make the DC on almost any character, just seems like the only important bit there is the 10% AFC, not sure if that's enough to justify the feat expenditure (Oracle, so not a huge amount of feats to go around).

Thanks! :)

Liberty's Edge

Hey guys!

I've been having great fun playing PFS, currently got a level 5 unchained rogue, but he's ahead of the people that he started playing with - they're all level 1/2/3 still. So for when I'm playing with them, I need a new character! I've been GMing a bit, and applying that credit to a wizard that I've been finding interesting to build, but I also really love the idea of an Eldritch Guardian fighter - I like the consistency of a martial character like a fighter (no need to worry about managing spell slots each combat!) - although I know they're generally weaker - and I really love familairs, animal companions, mounts and eidolons. So I've been looking at building one.

Obviously going classic STR based fighter, and so the Mauler familiar archetype will work well with me - we share feats, so I can even go into Teamwork feats and use those, which are quite new to me! Now I've got some questions - I know some of these have been asked before, but I honestly have no clue if they've been resolved or not, or how I should approach it for PFS play:

Question 1: The archetype states that my fighter levels count as wizard levels for familiar terms, but this doesn't mean that I can take Improved Familiar to get something awesome like an Inevitable Arbitrer, as I have no arcane caster level. I presume this means I'm locked out of the Improved Familiar options. Question is - could I take Improved Familiar and get a familiar that has an arcane caster level requirement?

Question 2: If I share my feats with an animal, does that mean that it has my armour and weapon proficencies? If I picked a Monkey familiar say, and it grew to Medium size from the Mauler archetype, could it wield weapons and could I give it armour?

Question 3: Are the mauler archetype and the improved familiar feat incompatible due to the fact that they both modify the speak with others of their kind ability? This seems less clear cut than a normal conflict due to the difference between feat-archetype conflicts and archetype-archetype conflicts.

Question 4: There seemed to be some dispute as to whether you use a specific spell's rules for the changing from tiny/small to medium (factoring in strength changes and the like) or the normal rules for it. Do we know which one we use?

Question 5: A more general one - I've been looking at a Fox as my familiar, as it has 9 STR to start with, so it should get to some awesome strengths when medium and a mauler, and the + to ref saves is quite nice compared to some other options. This would lock out a lot of the cool possibilities with weapons and teamworks feats presumably, given they would require a spare set of limbs (though one could argue that if I went for CHA 13 and took Evolved Familiar, giving it another set of limps you could still do it). What would you lovely people recommend for an Eldritch Guardian fighter?

Thank you very much for your help already! :D

Liberty's Edge

Hello all! Hope you're all having a good Christmas Eve - and probably Christmas itself by the time a lot of people read this. I've just recently introduced my brother and some of my friends to Pathfinder after playing it myself for around 6 months - I've been GMing a Serpent's Skull campaign for them. My brother has been really enjoying it, and wants to make a PFS character so he can play when I have left after these holidays. He's wanting to make a gunslinger - normally I'd have no issue making it, but Gunslingers are a little tricky, especially in society play.

The character he's envisioned is somewhat of an Old West cowboy type character - he's the quickest draw in the west! It can work pretty well , as far as I can tell. Pistolero archetype is an obvious one, which means he can't take Mysterious Stranger - the other archetype he was interested in. Start with the pistol for free, giving you a pitiful 1d8 damage. He wants it to be a human too, so can get two feats. Rapid Reload (pistol) is an obvious one, as you get the move action reload. As far as I can tell, the next choice is Point-Blank Shot? You'll always be within the required range for it when using your pistol, and then 3rd level go for precise shot to lose the -4 penalty for shooting into a melee. Paper cartridges can be used to make that a free action reload, which is lovely, but pricey.

It's 6gp for a paper cartridge if you have at least 1 rank in craft (alchemy). 1.1 gp (1gp, 1sp) for the normal bullet and black powder, but it's a move action to reload. The paper cartridge also makes it a 1-2 range for the jamming/explosion, compared to a 1 at base. What is advised here? These are very high costs for ammunition compared to what I know - arrows and the like. Is it worth spending 2PP getting a wand of abundant ammunition? It's usable by a fair few classes, so could hope that you can use it often, but then you'd be forcing them to use their first standard in most combats to use it for you. Getting to +19 UMD needed to use it would be nigh on impossible.

As for stat array, with just the normal human +2 we were thinking 10/18/12/12/16/7. Could switch STR and CHA, or also dump STR, but we liked the look of that array quite nicely. 12 CON is a little low compared to classes I've built before, but with a d10 hit die and staying at a range for the most part, it really should be fine. 18 dex allows quite a nice attack bonus, and when 5th level comes around it'll get quite nice damage. Anything you think we should change here?

If he's using a pistol, then he has a hand free? Is it possible to have a pistol in both hands? I don't see an easy way to do it. You need a hand free to reload, so you could use a buckler maybe? Trying to figure out a reason for using a pistol over something like a musket for the most part.

In general, what advice do you guys have for Gunslingers in PFS? Anything I've missed here? Useful tricks? It seems they're pretty bad up until 5th level, except for the touch-AC hitting, then dex to damage makes them crazy useful. Thanks for any advice guys! :)

Liberty's Edge

Hey guys! I'm arcaian, and I'm a relatively new player - started in July, play maybe once every two weeks, with no prior tabletop experience - and I'm playing in PFS. I felt this post was applicable broadly and is about advice, so it more relevant here than in the PFS boards.

My main character is my rogue - he's a level 4 unchained rogue at the moment. Two weapon fighting, and dex focused. He's got a +2 dex belt, so his current stat block is:

Str: 10
Dex: 20
Con: 14
Int: 12
Wis: 10
Cha: 14

He's quite effective in melee combat - my main hand is 1d6+5 as a base, and then I can throw in my +2d6 sneak attack, and debiliating blows, and the like, and get a fair bit of usefullness going. He's human, so he has 11 skill ranks with the FCB into skills. The only area he's really lacking is a ranged option - as a rogue, I do not qualify for using longbows, so I'm currently just using a shortbow. It's not that bad right now - it's a +8 to hit (+5 dex, +3 bab) and so I can hit fairly reliably. It's only 1d6 + 0 damage, however, which isn't nice damage. It's still good if the enemy is flat-footed, or if I'm in sneak, as 3d6 is fairly good damage at level 4. Not crazy optimized, but usable.

So my main query is - I know that an unupgraded short bow is not going to cut it soon. There are always potions of fly, scrolls of fly and the like to get me into melee against a ranged enemy, but that can be expensive, and I don't particularly like expending quite expensive resources like that every time if it can be avoided. So I was wondering (prompted by the forum threads in a similar vein, as you can guess :P) how I could be effective-ish against a flying creature, or a creature that I cannot in other ways reach. The obvious answer for a rogue is sneak attack, but that can be difficult to get consistently. If I win initiative and/or get the surprise round, I get my sneak attack, but that's not a good way to get it normally. If I'm sneaking at the start of the fight, I can get it for about 1 round normally - the penalty after sniping for being spotted is a little bit too intense, as my sneak is currently only at +11 (+5 dex, +3 ranks, + 3 from a class skill), leaving it very unlikely to stay hidden. The other ways I thought of all seem to be melee based - feinting, dirty tricks to blind and the like are all only in melee. There is the option under stealth called 'Create a Diversion to Hide', which seems to be a promising one - I have quite a decent bluff at +9, which should get past many enemies, and I'll continue with full ranks into it, a circlet of persuasion, etc, so that will scale. I can't tell if it's melee or not - there are very few rules for it, as far as I can tell.

Some parts of my progression are pretty set. My first 2 rogue talents were Trapspotting (duh) and the free Weapon Focus. My next 2 will be minor and major magic (for shield), leading to Dispelling Strike. I don't think I'd change that for ranged combat. I'm planning on getting Canny Tumble at 5th level, but that can be changed. I'd love to be able to somewhat consistently sneak-attack a flying enemy, or apply dex to damage with bows (impossible, as far as I know). At 3/4 bab I'm going to be below par just using a shortbow, and whilst it's better than 0 damage, I'd like a way to improve it.

Thanks for your help!
Arcaian