Asmodeus' Advocate's page

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Professor Ludwig von Duckenhowe wrote:
Moving is Over-rated, fill this box. Lift this box. Put box on truck. Take off truck. Empty box into piles A, B, or C. Now it takes you ten years to know which pile contains what. Better not to move at all. Well, the system works for me.

This 2014 april fool's day confession talks in length about what could be done to make moving less inconvenient.

You only need two levels of barbarian for the concept, but with a lowish base CON I can see rage rounds being important to you. Especially so considering that your character would hardly be able to contribute without it. Dipping could be rough in the low levels/low mid levels, even.

Maybe go invulnerable rager for defenses besides AC?

Here is the comprehensive guide to the kensai magus. More advice in that tome than you can shake a stick at.

Vanykrye wrote:

And the worst part is the MRI will tell us exactly what needs to happen, and it's the *only* thing that's going to tell us what needs to happen. There's absolutely no reason to delay this.

If it's a strain/sprain/severe twist/etc, it's just ice, Tylenol, elevation, and compression. No sweat. If it's one of the xCLs, those have to be surgically repaired. They don't heal on their own if they've been torn/ruptured/otherwise mangled.

That sucks. Anything I can do from here?

I had a handful of extraneous molars cut out of my jaws recently, and haven't been much for . . . well, much for much of anything, lately. It's been a joy.

I'm back, and, with the benefit of hindsight, it seems I owe some some apologies. My words weren't meant to incite or offend, I'm just lousy at peopleing, at knowing in advance what will or won't offend. Any judgementalness, any holier-than-thouness or whatnot that came across in my words was an unintended consequence of perhaps my chief character flaw - not my tendency to barf out words as they pass through my mind, but that I blithely assume that people want to hear my stream of consciousness as I would like to hear theirs'. For that I apologize. I'm aware that the things I've said and will say come across as stupid or insane to many. (I say them anyway, partly to see if by sheer chance I'll run across someone who agrees, and partly to disseminate information I've found useful.) By way of consolation, I feel the same way about what much or many find sensible or self-evident.

It seems that people have moved on to other topics, so I'll keep my reciprocal responses brief. Don't feel obligated to respond, if you don't want to, or continue by way of PMs or a new thread? I'm assuming that no one wants to, so I'll leave finding a way to to anyone who does. But it's been made clear that this isn't the thread for it.

Vanykrye wrote:
I'm curious how your investments are going to matter in your collapsed economy scenario. Money is only useful when there's a societal institution, I.E. government, backing that currency. I many investments paid off in 1929?

There are degrees to which the economy can collapse. At the Great Depression's very height, the unemployment rate was 25% - terrifying, when way more than twenty five percent of people live paycheck to paycheck, but industry went on. As long as humans persist, it always will, in some fashion. Seeing as a disaster at least on par with the Great Depression is on it's merry way, and the question at this point in time isn't whether it can be stopped but the degree to which it can be mitigated, it seems sensible to me to at least prepare for the best case scenario.

I also question how a single mother is supposed to support 5 children and be able to quit her job while recovering from a broken back within 12-13 years. You wrote that she broke her back when you were 5-6 years old, but that she should have been able to quit working before you were an adult. Only way that would work is if she had no kids or other responsibilities beyond herself at all.

What motive would I have to lie about my own life? If it strikes you as implausible, I guess that just means my family is more badass than you're used to. This is a statement of fact - little offense was taken and no offense is meant.

Living on $5k a year can be done, but I dare you to try it in London, Tokyo, New York, Paris, Melbourne, or any other major world city.

Does seven thousand in San Fransisco count? It's an old post, but it's stuck with me since my formative years.

This is all the worse to me because you don't have to live that way when you're simply refusing to use your available resources of three times that income. Not that $15k/year is a walk in the park either, but it's a lot easier than $5k/year. No, you're not saving anything anymore, but you're in less imminent danger of existence failure.

I'm not in any imminent risk of existence failure.

Fumarole wrote:
Since it seems like this was directed at me,

I'm sorry about that. It was directed more at society in general, but it used words that you said and in hindsight I see that that would have made me feel personally attacked, in your shoes.

Fumarole wrote:
Also, it seems a bit strange to criticize others for paying for Netflix or video games on a forum dedicated to tabletop roleplaying games. These are all luxuries. I hope you're not advocating pirating any of these things.

I certainly wouldn't advocate breaking any laws, as that's against the rules of this forum. I wouldn't even advocate walking over to the nearest river or canal and filling your backpack with cattails, despite that they do a stellar job of filtering out pollutants and are safe to eat even in high population density areas. Because foraging is against the law in most parts of the US. But I also won't advocate not breaking the law, because I dislike giving people bad advice.

In my view, where unenforceable laws count for less than earnest advice, buying from someone what you could get free elsewhere is charity. I'm not against charity, I live frugally in large part so that I can give more to charity (and this because I see no significant difference between killing and letting die, and the idea of buying luxuries I don't need rather than donating to the Against Malaria Foundation weighs too heavily on my mind to contemplate). And when it comes to picking a charity to donate to, well, I rate musicians and gamemakers the same as I rate animal shelters - not worth a person's life. I only have so much money, so I'll try and do as much good as I can with it.

Mostly, though, I use the SRD.

TOZ wrote:
Also, it's not immoral to enjoy things now instead of hoarding for later. Being frugal in your youth in order to be luxurious in your later years deprives you of enjoying your best health.

We disagree on several counts, but most of them are the sort of disagreements that can never be resolved, so there's no real point in trying to argue them.

As a simple matter of clearing up a miscommunication, I don't plain on being luxurious until humanity has achieved a post-scarcity utopian society where robots service our every need, if that ever happens. I try not to hold everyone to that standard, though, because I've an inkling that if one's system of morality peg more than ninety percent of people as Evil, there's probably something more going on. I'm sure future humans will find me as deplorable as I find the Spanish Inquisition or Jane off the street, and that's a good thing. It means humanity's improving.

Regardless of whether instant gratification is immoral, it's certainly short sighted. In youth that we have the ability to go without, should the need arise, the fortitude to pull all nighters, the ability to work hard without injuring ourselves. Logically, it's in youth that we should do as much that we anticipate needing to that we can.

Lady Ladile wrote:
Certainly save up, maybe make some investments, consider your non-essential purchases...but if you're doing all of that and it's not going to put you in danger of being unable to pay your bills and put food on the table, then why not live a little?

There's nothing wrong with living a little. I try to live as much as I can, without compromising other values. But as Mr. Money Mustache says, "at almost every moment in time, there is always something you could be doing that costs absolutely nothing, but which also makes you absolutely happy."

I watched Avengers: Endgame on opening night. I'm not a frequent visitor of movie theaters, but someone else bought the ticket. And it was fun. Was it more fun than playing Pathfinder with a couple of friends, or watching Avengers: Endgame somewhat later at home where I could talk during the movie, pause the movie to talk with a friend? No. Living a fulfilling life isn't at odds with not spending more than circumstances force one to!


Just apologizing again for giving people offense. I didn't mean to give anyone the impression that I thought I was somehow better than them [jocular aside]though I do[/jocular aside], we're all biological robots together, stumbling through life and executing our directives as best we can.


DungeonmasterCal wrote:
It's hard to save when a person lives below the poverty line for even an individual, like I do. There isn't a month that goes by I don't have to help from some source or another. When the economy collapses I guess I'm screwed.

I've been there. Back in my earliest memories, when I was five or six, my single parent broke her back in a car accident and couln't walk, let alone work. There were something like five of us kids at the time, and we mostly lived off of free school lunches. I spent my formative years poor enough that after a grocery run I'd hide the saltine crackers so I could ration them without my brothers eating them all. They'd come to me and ask politely, and I'd give them some. For dinner we ate bread cereal, which is exactly what it says on the tin. That's probably a solid part of why it is that people who own things they don't need, but don't own the things they do need, annoy me so much. They have money to invest, and they aren't. It boggles my mind.

It's like, if you take home more than fifteen thousand dollars a year, you should be able to live on a third of it and invest the rest, barring medical complications or too many damn kids. Plenty of people live on five thousand dollars a year. People waste money on the stupidest things - running the heater instead of wearing shoes and a sweater, buying food without coupons (free money people! they are giving out free money online!), eating at restaurants (who looks at that markup and thinks it's a good idea?), buying video games and paying for netflix or paying for cable, all manner of gizmos and gadgets, five freaking computers, borrowing money for a house or a car . . . if you can't afford it now, do you think you'll be able to afford it after a few years of paying interest on those loans? Or is it that you enjoy wondering every month where you're going to find the money to pay for things you don't need and don't use?

Things don't make you happy, we all know this. When my mom's back healed and she got a job and put herself through college and got a job, she bought herself a motorcycle. She lives in a bigger house than I grew up in, despite there being less kids at home, and as far as I know she still lives paycheck to paycheck. She could have quite working before I was even an adult and devoted her life to things that make her happy and fulfilled, instead of devoting her life to working a desk job so she can pay for a motorcycle that she pretty much never has time to ride because she spends all of her time at a desk.

When the economy collapses I guess she's screwed, and that's something weird that annoys me.

thejeff wrote:
I suppose you could use your savings and retirement to move to a safe location, regardless of whether there's decent employment there?

Yes. Being financially independent insulates you from economic shocks. Should food, gas, and shelter become prohibitively expensive, half a million dollars in the bank (easily doable in twelve years (at which point we'll have passed the point of no return, according to the UN), if you can make 40,000 dollars a year and live off of 9,000 (assuming a seven percent interest rate, which . . . well, assuming inflation-adjusted returns over this particular ten year period does strike me as a tad optimistic)) gives you options that most people won't have. It's far more important than storing food, since money buys food and where food stores are depleted money compounds.

Fumarole wrote:
Asmodeus' Advocate wrote:
I know people who are “worried” about climate change, and yet own multiple computers, multiple cars, don’t own the needlessly extravagant houses they live in, and have nothing squirreled away for rainy days to come.

This is pretty much me and my wife. Multiple computers? We have five between us. Multiple cars? Two. Don't own my needlessly extravagant house? While it's not needlessly extravagant, I do not own my home. Nothing squirreled away for a rainy day? We have some savings, but probably not as much as we should.

Why is this the case? Because I know that the single greatest contribution that I can make to fighting the good fight is to vote for politicians that have a good stance on this issue and encourage others to do the same, as politicians can effect change on a much, much greater scale than I can as an individual. Which is what I do.

So be annoyed with me if you must, but do try to remember not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

The thing is, that there are degrees to which the environment and society could collapse. In the worst case scenario, where things go right down the shyter and humanity is extinct sixty years from today, there's not a lot that can be done to prepare. But in what I believe to be the more likely scenario - where attempts to abate anthropogenic climate change amount to too little and are begun too late, geoengineering is likewise only begun when the reality of the disaster is already killing and displacing en mass - but where humanity limps on, a little preparation goes a lot further than hoping the politicians fix things.

I'm not saying that you should live a "greener" lifestyle, though it'd be nice if everyone did one person's effect on the global biosphere is negligible. I'm advocating for a cheaper lifestyle, I'm advocating cutting expenses drastically and living on at most one third of your take-home paycheck. People with a third your paycheck manage it. And then the other two thirds of what you take home goes, not in the bank, but somewhere where you make compound interest off it. Ten years from now we'll know how bad the next century is going to suck for humanity, but ten years from now you'll also, if you invest twice as much per year as you need to live on, and average seven percent interest per year, be able to retire and live off passive income. That way when people start losing their livelihoods en mass, you won't be one of them.

Coriat wrote:
Asmodeus' Advocate wrote:

But the question itself is entirely academic. The only answer to ‘exactly how many people will starve to death over the next century’ is sell everything you don’t need, save money, stockpile food.
An alternative to this "only answer" is the rather more straightforward don't have children.

I don’t have children, nor do I plan to. (I might adopt, but only when I’m at a point where I don’t have to work for a living.) That doesn’t change the fact that a very large number of people will be killed and/or displaced by climate change over these next few decades, and it’d be best not to be one of them.

Everyone everywhere is screwed in the case of societal collapse, but how screwed we all are depends on how badly society collapses, and on each of our individual circumstances. The following decades will see stronger and more frequent fires and storms, this alone is cause enough to keep a bit of food on hand so you aren’t one of those people raiding a Walmart at the last second while a hurricane bears down on you.

But yes, hoarding food isn’t a viable long term solution! I never claimed it was. It’d be nice to have a buffer in the increasingly likely scenario that supply chains are cut and their aren’t enough relief workers to get to everyone in time, but if those supply chains are cut forever than there’s not a whole ton that a whole ton of food would do for you. Nobody knows how bad this thing will get, so the sane thing to do is, rather than hope everything goes so peachy keen that one doesn’t have to change their lifestyle at all, or rather than shrug one’s shoulders and say that since there’s nothing an individual can do to y’all might as well lie down and die already, is prepare for the scenarios that can be prepared for.

Of course, storing food is a tangent. It’s a common sense thing to do, but it’s hardly as important as living somewhere far from the coast with stable weather. The United States at least has written a study on how different parts of the country are likely to be affected, so I’m sure everywhere else has too. Or as important as being financially independent. Things’ll get really bad a decade from now, so everyone ought to have a ten year plan to early retirement. (Which isn’t nearly as hard as it seems (making the plan that is, not implementing it (I’m not really finding implementation hard myself, but I know other people have more emotional attachment to owning things.))) And of course everyone needs to look at their circumstances and their environment and decide what else it is they need to do in specific.

I know it’s not likely any of you will act on this - I’ve had variations of this conversation with any number of people and have come to conclusion that it’s a rare human indeed who’ll prepare for things that don’t seem real to them while there’s still time to do so. After all, isn’t that why we’re in this mess in the first place? Still, I wish you all the best of luck, and wish that luck wasn’t quite so important for our futures.

DungeonmasterCal wrote:

This is so cool.

‘Perfectly Preserved’ Head of 40,000-Year-Old Ice Age Wolf Found in Siberia

Damn, it’s still got its brain and everything. The argument could be made that the critter is still alive, though the ice damage has to be extensive. Still, who knows what future technology will look like - one day that wolfo could be living happily in a zoo.

Quark Blast wrote:
I'm with thejeff on this particular point. Not the sans-kids thing so much (lots of time to see on that one for me) but that if things go really bad on a global scale being all survivalist will only prolong one's agony. With a general breakdown of social institutions (e.g. no functioning CDC, ECDC, etc.) the #### will hit the fan forthwith. Nuclear and biological warfare are very quick acting phenomena. You could have a 100 years of MREs squirreled away and be lucky to use 1% of them.

We’re coming at this from two very different perspectives. I see no reason not to extend one’s life by as long as possible - if I ever decide that there’s no hope and you’re just prolonging your own suffering, you can always choose to die. Having the choice to not die does nothing but expand your options. Bleeding to death is faster than starving anyway.

There’s also the distinct possibility that climate change doesn’t kill everyone everywhere, at least not within your lifetime. Societal collapse ≠ nuclear or biological warfare, and almost seems to prohibit such things on a large scale. And even a nuclear winter wouldn’t likely kill everyone everywhere! Like every historic catastrophe, and every catastrophe yet to come, people who saw the writing on the wall and stepped out of the barreling train’s path will be disproportionately represented among the survivors.

Sadly bereft of oracular prowess, we don’t know exactly how bad things will get. There are a *lot* of middle ground between ‘miracle tech is built and scaled in time, and everything ends happily’ and ‘world governments’ attempts at geoengineering do nothing to soften the blow, and then everyone nukes everyone else for no adequately explained reason’. We can only prepare as best as we’re able, and hope for a less bad ending. Or do nothing, guaranteeing we die even in the ‘happy’ ending, like so many are doing.

Post scriptum the first: Might I recommend following Jeff’s advice and not adding more people to the planet? Plenty of orphans out there.

Post scriptum the second: I infer that you’re unread on the topic of superintelligence, perhaps the most plausible of miracle tech (and by its nature the easiest/least necessary to scale), as well as being an existential risk in its own right. A good book for the layperson is, “Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies” by Nick Bostrom. You can probably find it at your local library.

Any intelligent being capable of building an entity smarter than itself has the potential to set of an ‘intelligence explosion’ as the smarter entity could in turn create something smarter than itself, ad infinitum, limited only by the size of the being. This, rather than the robot armies displayed in media, is the promise of and danger posed by artificial intelligence - something as close to omniscient as physics allow, in command of technology that makes our science fiction look mundane. The most frightening/hope-inciting thing about superintelligence is that building something smarter than oneself isn’t hard; evolution managed it and evolution is a moron.

thejeff wrote:

It's the billions of climate refugees. And the wars. And the social collapse.

Having food stored up and some cash doesn't really help with societal collapse. I'm not interested in living a doomsday prepper lifestyle - especially since I'm likely to be pretty old by the time things get that bad. And I don't have kids to worry about, as I said.

Having a few months of food stored up does help if society only collapses a little. It would make the difference between starving to death in the weeks after a natural or man made disaster, or being one of the ones who make it long enough for relief workers to get to you. And if you grow what you eat, you’ll last as long as the water does, whatever it is society does.

The world won’t unravel all at once, and right until the moment you die there’s hope. If/when things get past the point of no return, where cutting emissions will do nothing to help, the governments of the world are going to try their hand at geoengineering. Will that make more of the world habitable, albeit too late for many, or will it just make things into an even worse hellscape? I don’t know, but the only answer I need is to buy as much time as I can afford. And that’s without mentioning intelligence enhancing brain-machine interfaces, or artificial intelligence, both of which are being built as we speak by corporations and governments, and either of which would bring on technologic and societal change comparable to the industrial revolution or the advent of the internet.

Setting yourself up to ride it out is the only sane choice - because it’s the only choice that gives you a chance of doing so! Buy as much time as you can afford; we don’t know how bad exactly things will get but it’d be mighty silly to bite the dust afore the s++!storm truly hits the fan.

You don’t have to live like a doomsday prepper - the middle class of America waste a truly absurd amount of money, and it doesn’t take much curbing of one’s unconscious rampant consumerism to see returns; even a little money compounds quickly. You might as well give those blogs I linked a glance-over. And don’t be discouraged by ERE’s extreme name, it was mostly written more than decade ago and naming conventions were different.

Even if/when there are forests in the poles, there will be habitable parts of the earth. At the very least, it’s common sense to relocate to the part of your nation that will be least effected by climate change over the thirty or fifty years. (And by that point odds are that we’ll have created an artificial superintelligence, for better or worse, so there’s not a whole lot of sense in planning beyond that.) There will be billions of climate refugees over the next few decades, you’re helping no one, least of all yourself, by not getting out ahead of this thing.

You are rich enough to buy time (though I protest the fatalistic way that’s worded; if things continue the way they have historically, everyone dies eventually - the game is seeing how long you can stretch that out); you’re reading this on an internet so I know you’re wealthy like I could scarcely comprehend when I was a kid, so you might as well buy as much time as you can afford - I’m told it’s priceless. There’s neither point or space here for reinventing the wheel, so I’ll point you towards the blogs Early Retirement Extreme and Mr. Money Mustache for solid advice on living cheaper, without sacrificing quality of life.

Honestly, what annoys me worse even then climate change deniers (they, at least, have the excuse of being deliberately and maliciously misinformed) are people who acknowledge climate change, know that millions at the least will die, and then do nothing to prepare themselves and their family. I know people who are “worried” about climate change, and yet own multiple computers, multiple cars, don’t own the needlessly extravagant houses they live in, and have nothing squirreled away for rainy days to come.

Quark Blast wrote:
* and trolling is #####, so I don't recommend it

This thing I said, it was said in jest.

To play the devil’s advocate, isn’t a marked lack of satisfaction with opposing opinions fairly descriptive of yourself as well? The difference, I’m sure, is that you’re right where he’s wrong (I’m assuming Irontruth’s a he as the post I’m replying to also referred to him as such, someone correct me if I’m wrong), but at least in the realm of opinions and unprovens (such as the nature and future of humanity) you can hardly fault him for displaying a trait you have in common.

The argument you’ve been making seems to be (and correct me where I’m wrong) that humankind can’t act in time to avert the worst of climate change, where Irontruth, possessing the same facts, thinks that humankind can. I, like you, am not a sociologist, nor am I an economist, nor am I a historian, nor am I privy to any exclusive data in regards to the climate, nor am I an oracle (nor am I a cleric, druid, or shaman); and so the only claim I can with any authority make is, ‘we’ll see.’

But the question itself is entirely academic. The only answer to ‘exactly how many people will starve to death over the next century’ is sell everything you don’t need, save money, stockpile food. Honestly, what annoys me worse even then climate change deniers (they, at least, have the excuse of being stupid) are people who acknowledge climate change, know that millions at the least will die, and then do nothing to prepare themselves and their family. I know people who are “worried” about climate change, and yet own multiple computers, multiple cars, don’t own the gigantic houses they live in, and have nothing squirreled away for rainy days to come.

Hey. I’m new to the thread, so greetings all! I’ve checked in on it on and off for the past few years, mostly out of disbelief that it’s continued for so long after the OP’s question was answered.

But if there’s trolling going on in this thread, I want in on that shyte!

Forgive me if I sound ignorant - I am ignorant! - but what is it that makes Irontruth a troll? If responding to someone’s every post is the hallmark of trollish behavior, even if responding with invective to someone’s every post is the hallmark of trollish behavior, that defines Quark Blast just as well. From what I’ve read, Irontruth is more civil about the back-and-forth, not less.

But hey, I’m new to the thread, so I could be missing something.

Actually, is it that bizarre? At the risk of constructing a just so story, throughout most of human and pre-human history it would have been *very* rare for someone to have a cause to grieve unshared by everyone they spoke with regularly. It’s not a scenario nature would have selected hominids for.

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Sir RicHunt Attenwampi wrote:
Drejk wrote:
Sir RicHunt Attenwampi wrote:
Edit: Oooo, would dragons get bezoars?
I think that draconic bezoars would be composed of teeth, bones, hair, and some other undigested remains of their prey, so they would be closer to owl's pellets than cat's hairballs.
Just needs a little necromancy to animate as a bezoarombie then, or maybe as a death bezoar knight.

This is happening.

DungeonmasterCal wrote:
Vanykrye wrote:

It's not that my wisdom teeth never came in...

It's that I never had them at all. Ever. Not even little nubs of remnants of teeth.

I am but a step in evolution.

One of my best friends in college (and my first DM) had to have his wisdom teeth removed twice. TWICE. They actually grew back.


TheGreatWot wrote:
All you have to do to wreck multiple-opponent encounters is exist and swing away for a few rounds. From what I've seen in most APs, whenever groups of enemies are thrown out, the individual enemies are too weak to do anything.

From what I've seen in APs (with the exception of some particularly punishing fights) all you have to do to wreck encounters is exist and swing away for a few rounds. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

In APs, the most memorable fights tend to be those against incorporeal undead at level one, or when your boat's boarded by an invisible wizard three levels your superior. But not all multi-opponent fights are forgettable, and, in fact, they're easy to make memorable indeed.

There are two different methods of making good group fights. The first method is to have just enough opponents to negate the PCs overwhelming action economy, but not enough that any are irrelevant. For instance, a party of four antagonists, each of the PCs' level (though one CR lower), would make for an awesome boss fight against four PCs. The second method is to have one lead adversary of about the PC's CR, and then an overwhelming number of minions. Ten or twenty or however many. Each of them might be individually irrelevant, but if the frontliners choose to ignore them they'll go after people with less stellar defenses.

Bill Dunn wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

Charisma can't be physical attractiveness.

And, yet, here it is (emphasis mine):

rules wrote:
Charisma measures a character’s personality, personal magnetism, ability to lead, and appearance.
It certainly can include physical beauty, it just doesn't need to. Besides, this is fantasy. Why not allow someone to be so beautiful that their beauty can influence even the poop-eating otyugh? The net effect is the same - their Charisma (and ability to wield that beauty, magnetism, personality, whatever) enables them to do better at interactions than someone who's more of a dud.

If that's what the player wants, I guess? I've no dog in this fight (I view stats as means to ends - as they effect mechanics I staunchly resist them effecting things other than mechanics - perhaps my reckless Caydenite cleric has to be better at perception then the average person as an unfortunate side effect of pumping his spell DCs, but he sure as hell doesn't have to be wise.), but as I see it the thing people were complaining about four years ago was largely the assertion that low charisma characters had to be ugly, not that high charisma characters could be attractive.

Have you hugged an owlbear today~

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DungeonmasterCal wrote:
My singing could curdle water.

Could curdle water. xD

I look forward to the day when brain machine interfaces are somewhat more common, and humans won’t be limited even by their imaginations.

Two feats (combat reflexes and power attack) for effective infinite AC? I call that a win. (And also poor tactics on the GM's part.)

Being sedated freaks me out nearly as much as being fully aware. *Sigh*

It has to be done, I guess.

In which case you're a) zoning, and b) casting spells free of harassment. That's a win in my book.

In depth breakdown of a reach cleric's advantages compared to other styles of cleric:

Brewer's Guide to Reach Clerics wrote:

Comparisons to a Two-Handed Cleric

How does a Reach Cleric (we'll name her Alice) compare with a Two-Handed Weapon Cleric (we'll name him Bob) - how do they look when contrasted with one another?
Actually, they're pretty darned close, as it turns out.

Advantages of Bob on Paper:
He's either got higher Strength or higher Constitution by +1 (possibly both.) Bob can dump dex, which means lets him spend a few more points on the other physical stats. He's got a higher To-Hit rate. This is partly because his strength is higher, and partly because Bob's more likely to take martial feats - he's likely to take feats like Weapon Focus over Sacred Summons.

Advantages of Alice on Paper:
She's got a higher AC - while Bob might even dump Dexterity, she's got it at 14.
She's capable of more attacks through Attacks of Opportunity. She has a higher Initiative. Even if Bob takes Improved Initiative, he's still got a lower Dex score. She's more likely to have spellcaster feats that Bob hasn't taken.

An Actual Battle, Level 10 Characters
Let's say either Alice or Bob is in a battle alongside a Sword and Board Fighter, an Archer Ranger, and a Wizard. They're up against six Salamanders, but two of the Salamanders are wielding crossbows. Initiative is rolled, and we'll say that Alice and Bob both do well and get to go before the salamanders.

Round 1 – Heroes' Turn
Alice and Bob would both probably do the same thing on round 1: cast a spell. Maybe a Wall of Stone if they're feeling nervous, a Summon Monster, or just a self-buff spell if they want to get aggressive.

Round 1 – Salamanders' Turn
However, things start to go differently when the enemies attack. Alice gets attacks of opportunities against any Salamander that approaches - and with melee foes, she'll probably get all three possible.

Round 2 – Heroes' Turn
On the second turn, Bob would probably full attack before 5-foot stepping away (being nice and letting the archer or wizard get decent shots at the enemy.) Alice, though? She'd use Acrobatics to get into a favorable position - ideally one that would require the Salamanders to once again approach her. Chances are, the acrobatics will go without a hitch - even if she fails the acrobatics check against one of them, they still have to hit her on the attack of opportunity; worst case, if she's unlucky she gets hit by an attack. After she arrives, she casts a second spell.

Round 2 – Salamanders' Turn
On the Salamanders turn, they 5-foot step in against Bob and do full attacks. Against Alice, they can charge her, but they'll only get one attack each (and provide Alice with more attacks of opportunity.)

Battle Summary So Far
After two rounds, Alice is clearly out-performing Bob: she's done more damage thanks to her attacks of opportunities, taken less damage, and even had the opportunity to cast a second spell. However, the final portion of the battle goes to Bob. When the melee salamanders die, it's time to take out the two ranged combatants. Alice doesn't do as much damage as Bob when she does regular attacks, nor does she hit quite as reliably. Granted, this difference is only +1 or +2, but that's still worth considering. Without the attacks of opportunity, Alice isn't quite as good as Bob at cleaning up the ranged foes.

What's the Trade Off?
Basically, the Reach Cleric is better at handling throngs and is better at spellcasting (even if they have the same Wisdom score.) When Alice was outnumbered, her damage output went up to impressive amounts. And during battle, finding the opportunity to cast spells wasn't a problem.

The trade-off is against large foes and enemies that don't want to get in close. In those situations, the Two-Handed Weapon Cleric is better.

Why the tradeoff is worth it.
The places where Bob is better, he's not better by much; the places where Alice is better, she's better by a mile. Alice is just a shade short of functioning as well as Bob in straight-forward fighting - she's possibly missing a point or two of strength, and possibly missing a feat or two. Other than that, she's capable of simply Power Attacking away the same as Bob. But the places where Alice shines - getting spellcasting while doing damage, handling multiple attackers - Bob simply can't do at all.

Comparison to a Caster Cleric
This time, Alice will be compared against a Caster Cleric named Charlie. Charlie doesn't do many martial actions in combat. He's pumped his Wisdom up to 24, and the rest of his stats are concerned with survival, not dealing damage. While he has a weapon, he'd much rather stick to the back and cast his spells.

Advantages of Charlie on Paper:
The DC to resist his spells is +3 or so higher. He gets a handful of extra spells each day. He can prepare a wider variety of spells (since he's not dissuaded from Save-Or-Suck spells) He has more feats dedicated to improving his spells.

Advantages of Alice on Paper:
She can do combat damage. She serves as a protector of the party, not someone who needs protecting. She's better at casting her spells in dangerous situations.

An Actual Battle, Level 10 Characters
Let's create the same battle - 6 Salamanders, two that use crossbows.

Round 1 – Heroes' Turn
Charlie's going to cast a spell. Probably Wall of Stone or something similar.

Round 1 – Salamanders' Turn
The Salamanders charge. Charlie is staying out of the way.

Round 2 – Heroes' Turn
Charlie casts another spell. Maybe a Summon Monster through Sacred Summons.

Round 2 – Salamanders' Turn
More Salamander aggression – which hopefully Charlie is managing to stay away from.

Battle Summary So Far
Charlie has cast spells just as fast as Alice, though he hasn't done any additional damage. Towards the end of battle, Charlie and Alice go into completely different roles. Charlie is more passive, because if the battle is already won, it's time to start looking to conserve resources. If the choice comes down to letting the fighter take 8 points of damage before finishing off the last foe, or using a third level spell to incapacitate the enemy, it's better to just let the fighter deal the killing blow and use a first level spell to heal him afterwards. Alice, on the other hand, simply hunts down the enemies and attacks them.

What's the Trade Off?
In the first two rounds? The trade goes entirely to Alice's favor. She casts just as many spells, but also deals about around 150 points of damage in 5 attacks. Later in the battle? Charlie's battle will take longer to finish; while Alice and Charlie are both casting spells, Alice is doing damage alongside those spells and is far more help in a fight that's winding down. Now, having a battle take longer isn't necessarily a problem. It does, however, mean that it's more likely that Charlie will be spending an extra spell or two; maybe he has to throw out one additional control spell while the other characters finish killing things off, maybe he has to throw out an additional cure spell to fix some additional points of damage.

After the battle? This is where Charlie gets his due. He's coming out of the battle with more spells for subsequent fights - after all, he started out with more. Alice is less able to fight multiple fights with full intensity before running out of spells (though, in fairness, with enough fights, Charlie breaks down entirely.)

Why the tradeoff is worth it.
This might be a bit harder to put a finger on at first. Does Charlie require more spells per fight? Probably... but are those additional spells per fight more or less than the bonus spells he gets for having a high wisdom?

An easier way of looking at it is this: What would Charlie have to do, spellcasting-wise, to replicate what Alice does? She did 150 points of damage in two rounds, while still casting each round. You could say that's a fireball worth of damage... but it's more like a quickened fireball, since she still got to do her usual spellcasting. So I'd say the tradeoff is worth it, simply because the additional spells-per-day don't overcome that level of bonus damage.

In the end, a Reach Cleric is a cross between a Two-Handed Weapon Cleric and a Caster Cleric. It keeps almost all of the Two-Handed Weapon Cleric's offensive potential (and surpasses it in a lot of situations) while keeping its standard actions free for spellcasting.

MelkLador wrote:
It's not that you can't build a cleric to do well as a "fighter". It's that past a certain level, it will almost always be even more effective for it to cast spells every round, which would make your investment in combat a waste of resources.

The orc skull ram is a reach weapon. Investment in your attacks of opportunity is never wasted.

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Ugh. Speaking of dentistry, I’m getting my wisdom teeth cut out later this month. Best to have it done while you’re young, I’m told.

doc roc wrote:

Battle clerics are pretty pointless and really fade away quickly as you level up IMO

Arsenal Chaplain warpriest or something like Sanctified Slayer is your go to.

I disagree. Battle clerics are amazeballs because they’re powerful martials at the levels where martials dominate the game, and transition smoothly to being powerful casters at the levels where one to niners move and shake the multiverse.

But, the advice I can give in this thread is limited. I don’t really know how the OP envisions their character, so I can’t offer better ways to get there. I can just take what I’ve been told and offer better ways to do that. All I know is that they want a half-orc with a “perfect mix” of sword and sorcery.

Is the orc skull ram your diety's favored weapon?

I don't think even with the favorable house rule that Guided Hand is worth two feats, especially considering that as you'd most likely like to dump Charisma and channel positive energy Channel Smite does nothing for you at all.

I'd probably use a point buy like:

Str 16 (10 points)
Dex 14 (5 points)
Con 14 (5 points)
Int 12 (2 points)
Wis 15 (7 points)
Cha 7 (+4 points)

And then I'd put my half-orc +2 into Str, and my +1 from level up into Wis. But I know many people would play with a lower INT, and I could also see an argument for dropping Dex down to 12.

As far as general advice goes, trade out your Orc Ferocity for Sacred Tatoo. And then get the trait Fate's Favored. Your favorite level one buff spell is Divine Favor. Just try and get luck bonuses to as many things as you can. Feat-wise, I'd take Improved Initiative, Power Attack, and Combat Reflexes, and I'd plan to take Sacred Summons at seven.

Best of luck!

You could build a master transmogrifer. If you decide to focus on polymorphery, consider taking familiar spell, if it's allowed - it's a level cheaper than quicken.

TheGreatWot wrote:
Great advice from the Angry GM and both of you two- I'll keep that all in mind when I'm designing the encounters here. I definitely was having problems with monster variation (lots of gnolls) so I'll think of some ways to make the fights interesting instead.

I'm glad I helped! One of my favorite ways of adding variety with humanoid enemies (like gnolls) is a particular and (historically common!) build. Here's a variant of it for use with hyenas.

Classy Gnoll (CR 2):

Gnoll fighter 1 (CR 2)
CE Medium humanoid (gnoll)
Init +0; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +2


AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 13 (+3 armor, +2 dex, +1 natural)
hp 17 (1d10+2d8+3)
Fort +6, Ref +2, Will +1


Speed 30 ft.
Melee mk ranseur +5 (2d4+7/x3)
battleaxe +4 (1d8+5/x3)
Ranged throwing axe +4 (1d6+3/x3)
alchemist's fire +4


Str 17, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 6
Base Atk +2; CMB +5 (+7 grapple); CMD 17 (17 vs grapple)
Feats Combat Reflexes, Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike, Power Attack
Skills Intimidate +1, Perception +4, Survival +4
Languages Gnoll

Gear alchemist fire (x5), chain shirt, battleaxe, mk ranseur, potion of cure light wounds (x2), potion of enlarge person, throwing axe (x6)

Characters with this build like to throw weapons until the PCs close, get their attacks of opportunity off, and then draw a one-handed weapon and grapple. Not only is this a fairly true to how medieval fights actually played out, but their versatility and the ease with which they adapt their tactics to different battlefields means there's a lot you can do with them. These ones have potions, just a quirk of how their wealth by level fell, which suits our purposes - do they drink them right away, or only after the PCs prove themselves a threat worth 50 gp to stop? Every fight with them is familiar, yet unique.

Artofregicide wrote:
Some of this may be a personal preference, but I'm not a big fan of the Angry GM. By his logic, Giantslayer should be the best AP Paizo has ever published... also, learning enemy tactics and preempting ambushes is what knowledge and perception checks respectively are for. I do strongly agree you should use the environment and various external factors to keep combats interesting. But monster variety (even if it's templates, class levels, different tactics or gear) is vital to keeping things from being a slog.

Isn't adding variety in the form of different tactics what building from a limited asset library is all about?

I haven't actually had the chance to play Giantslayer (and haven't read it, on account of wanting to play it some time), so I can't speak for it's quality. But I don't espouse fighting identical fights one after another. Using a limited library of assets is meant to reduce slog, if not eliminate it entirely. By using the same (or similar!) monsters multiple times, the PCs are able to create and execute tactics that they simply can't if each fight is "unique", which means that it's against the unknown monsters that the PCs rely on tried, true, and boring tactics.

As a player I wouldn't want to fight a grey ooze, and then another grey ooze, and then another grey ooze, and then another grey ooze, and then another grey ooze. But if I fought a grey ooze, and then I fought two grey oozes (but that fight went pretty easily, because we knew to look for them and killed them with ranged weapons in a long hallway that supported just that), and then, feeling confident that we could handle grey oozes pretty easily as long as we saw them coming, I fought a handful of yellow musk creepers and their zombie bat swarm, and then, in the middle of the fight, I stepped on a grey ooze which grappled me, that'd be an interesting fight (and a much harder one than it originally appeared) but also a chance to apply what I know about fighting grey oozes, a chance to form a plan and pull it off without unforeseeable complications - and that's the sweetest part of a tactical game, when you have all the pieces you need to think your way out of a hairy scrape. And then I fight black puddings, stealth predators that cling to the ceiling instead of pretending to be water, with another dynamic ability to boot, and the familiar stays unfamiliar, as, when building from limited assets, it always should.


That sucks. :(

I don't believe that handholding the party is always necessary (as evidenced by your party). Nor should adventures be written with the PCs triumph as all but inevitable.

Oh, I agree! I'm the sort of "killer GM" who'd pit a handful of low level PCs against a black pudding in a room with a trap that doubles the number of enemies they have to fight each round. But I like to set things up, I like to lay out the ground work so that the PCs understand fully just how screwed they are. To quote Wildbow's Worm:

Worm wrote:

“There are two kinds of fear, Bakuda,” Lung said. “The first is common. Fear of the unknown. A questioning fear.”

“Uh huh,” she said. He could tell he had her attention.

“This is fear of unanswered questions. If I fought him, would I win? How is he going to hurt me? Who or what is he?”

“And the other kind?”

“A fear of knowing. Of realities. If I fight him, I lose. I know him, and I quiver to be in his presence. I know he will hurt me and I know it will be the worst pain imaginable.”

Bakuda didn’t reply.

“I have found that the first is a weak fear. It breaks. It ends when you have answers, when others give you their support. The other? It is a fear that breeds itself."

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Give your followers scrolls of merciful magic missile. You have plenty enough liquid cash.

What level range are you thinking of?

I've seen the other thread. :)

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Populating a dungeon or three with a variety of monsters is a tricky thing at times. I popped in to say that it's worth noting that a variety of monsters isn't always a good thing. The Angry GM puts it better than I could, so I'll let him explain.

The Angry GM wrote:

Why Mega Man is Better than Keep on the Borderlands

It is ALWAYS better to build a level from a small collection of assets mixed and match together than it is to build it from anything you want. ALWAYS. The trouble is, the reasons are not always obvious.

First of all, remember that D&D is a tactical game. One of the things that makes combat interesting is that the players can make lots of choices about how to engage. Do we close with those enemies, do we let them come to us, do we use ranged combat, melee combat, do I spend resources on a burning hands spell or just throw a cantrip, and so on and so on. Honestly, if you build combats that are tactically interesting, you’ll find most players respond really well. I’m watching a group of complete neophytes to D&D RIGHT NOW who are mainly into story and character nonetheless get excited by exploiting the tactics in the combat sections because they are learning how to exploit their tactics.

But to allow for that kind of interesting tactical play, you have to build for it. Let me give you an example. In a recent game I ran, I included these dinosaur-like raptor enemies. They were fast, but they were really good jumpers. And if they could cover enough ground before their attack (by running or jumping), they did hefty extra damage. Now, tactically speaking, that isn’t too complex to deal with. You don’t want to fight them at range because they will close quickly and do extra damage in the process. Instead, you want to get right in their faces as quickly as possible and pin them down. Or slow them down with spells or other effects.

The problem is, players generally won’t figure that s$&% out in the first fight. Or they will figure it out late in the fight, after they’ve been screwed over by the charge and jump. It wasn’t until the SECOND fight with those bastards that the players really exploited the tactics. And they felt really good about winning that second fight. Because they took far less damage.

You really can’t make any combat tactically interesting until the players start to understand how their enemies actually work. The first fight with a new opponent is never the most interesting one. The same is true for traps and other obstacles. The first pit trap is a surprise. Either it hurts the players or it doesn’t. When the party spots the second pit trap that completely blocks the hallway they need to go down, that’s the interesting one. That’s the one where they have to figure out how to cross 15 feet of hallway without touching the ground.

Speaking of pits, the third fight with those lizard monsters happened in a room that was divided in half by a ravine. The monsters could easily retreat across the ravine with their prodigious jumping skills. They started disengaging, jumping across the ravine, and then leaping back into the fray the next round to do massive damage. Suddenly, the ranged combatants became more important again with those enforced hit and run tactics.

With one ravine and one lizard monster, I created three fights that got progressively more interesting. Hell, imagine those lizard monsters in a room with pit traps.

Now, imagine I have two different lizard monsters. One spits acid. One is a jumping pouncer. Do you charge the acid spitter and leave the pouncers free to run around? Do you pin down the pouncers and suffer the acid attacks? What if those creatures have a ravine. How many different encounters can I build with acid spitters, pouncers, and ravines? I could fill a ten room dungeon with tactically interesting challenges with three elements.

And it isn’t always about adding challenge. Imagine the satisfaction when the PCs enter a small, constrained room with a couple of pouncers they can easily pin down. Suddenly, they feel powerful.

You don’t get that if room one is pouncers, room two is spitters, room three is a pit, room four is kobolds, room five is a momma dinosaur, and room six is a kobold sorcerer.

And you might say “well, it’s hard to design tactically interesting encounters, I’m not good at it, so variety is easier.” Sure, it is. But if you impose a hard-and-fast rule that you only have two monsters and one environment hazard to use and you have to fill eight rooms, you GET good at it. Because you have to. Limitations and handicaps force you to design better things.

And it isn’t just about combat. Or traps. Imagine a hazard like green slime. Green slime hides on the ceiling and plops on you and sticks to you and dissolves your skin. The first time, it’ll surprise the hell out of someone. After that, the party will start looking up. They will see it every time. How many different things can you do with green slime assuming the party is never going to be surprised by green slime again?

Try it right now. Think of how many different ways to use green slime if the party is already looking up.

On the ceiling above the door the party wants to go through. On the ceiling inside the door so the party can’t see it from outside the room. Several patches above a narrow walkway over a drop. On the ceiling above a treasure chest. On the ceiling above the pedestal that has the book that is easily dissolved by acid. Blocking a narrow hallway. See what I mean? If I told you had to use green slime four times in a dungeon, you’d HAVE TO get creative.

Something that I like doing is preparing the PCs for hard fights by having them fight similar creatures ahead of time. In a dungeon that I'm in the middle of sketching out, around other projects, there's a fight I wrote, and in fact designed much of the dungeon around, against a black pudding in a room with a resetting silver darts trap. This has to the potential to be a positively brutal fight at the level the PCs face it, so I don't spring it on them. But I can't warn them ahead of time that it's coming, either - that'd take all the fun out it.

What I'm doing is, first the PCs will fight a handful of grey oozes on their way through the dungeon. The tactics the party learns fighting the oozes are directly applicable to the pudding - they're both ambush-grapplers that melt equipment. (The adventure assumes automatic bonus progression, so it's not so bad.) The PCs'll also run into a number of the silver dart traps, in places where it'd make sense for the dungeon's creator to trap - they're built into the iron doors that protect high-security vaults, and the floors in front of the doors that are trapped are often marked with scratches from when wandering oozes or vermin set off the trap. The PCs should learn to avoid the traps pretty quickly. (Though some rooms inaccessible to bugs and oozes won't have the tell-tale floor scratches, and combats might make them position recklessly. The important thing is that the traps become a known quality before they are ever particularly dangerous.) And then they'll fight a black pudding - but not in a room with a darts trap. Only then, that the groundwork is set, would I submit a party to trap and pudding alongside, only once they know their enemy well enough to plan around it's strengths and weaknesses, despite that they didn't likely expect this scenario specifically.

Relating this to your mothman, perhaps you could introduce the party to some of his tactics ahead of time? A wizard with greater invisibility and black tentacles, an aboleth with project image and illusions and domination, a creature or five with fear auras so that the party's wised up and gotten some kind of protection against his mind-rending gaze, etc. So then when it comes down to the climatic fight with this rogue agent of fate, the PCs are forced to put together all the lessons they've learned over the course of their adventures. Heck, maybe have the dungeon leading up to the final fight deliberately evoke the bosses of days past, to put the PCs in a nostalgic mood here at the end of the adventure, to remind them of what all they've done and how far they've come.

TheGreatWot wrote:
Maybe I'm running the wrong campaign. My party was fighting CR 3 enemies right off the bat, and they definitely took some bigger swings to take down.


I like you. We should play together some time.

Of course build advice is variable - the optimal decision depends on the circumstances. My experience is that at level one most creatures die pretty quickly, whether they be skeletons, orcs, ghouls, or player characters. Hence why I focus on defense, accuracy, and initiative - what I consider the holy trinity of very low and very high level play, when things are at their most rocket tag-y, when it's trivial to dish out more damage than your foe has hitpoints barring exceptional investment. But that's my experience, and what I've come to expect from le APs, and is clearly not applicable at every table.

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Unless you need it for prereqs, I see little reason for nabbing power attack before level three or five. Especially on a two-handed fighter. 1d10+6 or more damage will drop the vast majority of creatures you fight at such low levels already, reducing your accuracy to put them three points further past zero is an awful trade.

I’d rather have combat reflexes or toughness or improved initiative, or even whatever prereqs you’d have to take later down the road anyway to make your build work.

I built a fifteenth level wizardy lich, as one is wont to do. I couldn't find a properly divination-oriented lich anywhere, and that struck me as deeply wrong. Is not divination of the most stereotypical lichic pursuits? I'm putting the statblock up here because where else would I put it. It'd be cool if someone benefited from my bizarre compulsion to build high level NPCs who'll never see the light of a game table.

She's using Automatic Bonus Progression, from Pathfinder Unchained, as a character of her level -1 (since she's an NPC, and that's what Master Seifter recommends), and then I went and doubled her NPC wealth on account of all the crafting feats she took.

Dewrien Dreamseeker:

Dewrien Dreamseeker

Middle aged dreamspeaker elf lich diviner (foresight) 15 (CR 16)
NE Medium undead (augmented humanoid)
Init +9; Senses arcane sight, darkvision 60 ft., see invisibility; Perception +28 (+32)
Aura fear (60-ft. radius, DC 23)


AC 26, touch 16, flat-footed 22 (+3 armor, +2 deflection, +4 Dex, +7 natural)
hp 190 (14d6 wizard, +6 maxed first hitdie, +90 Cha, +30 desecrate, +15 toughness)
temporary 15 (false life)
Fort +17, Ref +11, Will +18
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +4; contingency ("Upon making the Sakvroth hand sign for 'vegepygmy' [a free action requiring a free hand], teleport me to the room with my backup spellbook."); DR 15/bludgeoning and magic; elven magic, forewarned*; Immune cold, electricity; undead traits


Speed 30 ft.
Melee touch +7 (1d8+7 plus paralyzing touch)
Ranged touch +11
Special Attacks foretell 15/day*, paralyzing touch (DC 23), prescience 9/day*
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 15th)
Spells Prepared (CL 16th)
8th—moment of prescience (already cast), prediction of failure (DC 26)
7th—greater scrying (DC 25), maximized enervation, waves of exaustion
6th—greater dispel magic, mass suggestion (DC 22), quickened glitterdust (DC 18), quickened mirror image, true seeing
5th—persistent image (DC 23, 2), quickened true strike, teleport (2), wall of stone
4th—arcane eye, black tentacles, enervation (2), greater invisibility (2)
3rd—aqueous orb (DC 19, 2), clairaudience/clairvoyance, dispel magic (2), nondetection (already cast)
2nd—detect thoughts (DC 19), mirror image (2), false life (2, cast on self and familiar), web (DC 18, 2)
1st—alarm (2), silent image (DC 19, 3), sheild (2)
0—arcane mark, mage hand, prestidigitation, read magic
Opposition Schools evocation, transmutation

Attrition is the name of the game, and at this game Dewrien excels. She executes a fighting retreat throughout whatever dungeon she's in, ambushing them via mundane stealth while they're in the middle of a different encounter and then retreating with dimension door from her staff, forcing the PCs' collective hands and baiting them into using rare daily resources and high level spells, and then retreating to heal whatever damage they did to her with her at-will ability. She tries to save her spells above fourth level for when she finally commits to a fight.

Dewrien uses prescience on rounds she plans to cast a spell requiring an attack roll (such as black tentacles, enervation, or battering blast). Should she roll a 20, instead of whatever spell she would have cast Dewrien instead casts quickened true strike (to negate miss chance and guarantee the confirmation roll) and maximized enervation to suck eight levels right out of whoever looks like they'd like that least (likely a frontliner).

If ever her deathwatch eyes reveal someone on the cusp of death, or if ever she's captured a PC within an aqueous orb, she casts freezing sphere on them from her staff. As she and her familiar are immune to cold, and any other minions are in her eyes expendable, she doesn't care who's caught in the effect.

When it comes time to commit to a fight, Dewrien casts Beastshape on her familiar from her staff, likely turning Nyx into an allosaurus, uses her scrolls of fly, and casts greater invisibility on both herself and Nyx. During this final battle Dewrien uses Spell Perfection to spontaneously cast quickened shadow evocation (DC 25, CL 20) every round. Her favorite spells to imitate in this way are battering blast, deeper darkness, resilient sphere, and telekinetic charge. She might also cast maximized shadow evocation to imitate battering blast, if she thinks that someone is particularly likely to fail the save and take 120 damage. She often opens the battle with waves of exhaustion, targeting as many of the PCs as she can hit before her allies close to melee (she likes to team with constructs or undead to sidestep this issue altogether), after which she likes to cast greater dispel magic (using arcane sight to know which effects to target) and then prediction of failure. If someone is making a nuisance of themself via teleportation, she uses her scroll of dimensional anchor (and then likely locks them behind a wall of stone).

Str 11, Dex 18, Con —, Int 22, Wis 16, Cha 22
Base Atk +7; CMB +6; CMD 18
Feats Craft Construct, Craft Staff, Craft Wondrous Item, Forge Ring, Greater Spell Focus (illusion), Greater Spell Specialization (shadow evocation), Improved Familiar, Maximize Spell, Quicken Spell, Scribe Scroll, Spell Focus (illusion), Spell Perfection (shadow evocation), Spell Specialization (shadow evocation), Toughness
Skills Craft Clockwork +24, Craft Sculpture +19, Disguise +21, Diplomacy +21, Knowledge (arcana) +24, Knowledge (engineering) +10, Knowledge (geography) +10, Knowledge (history) +10, Knowledge (planes) +10, Knowledge (religion) +10, Linguistics +24, Perception +28, Sense Motive +26, Spellcraft +24, Stealth +27; Racial Modifiers +10 Perception, +8 Sense Motive, +8 Stealth; alertness (when Nyx is within arm's reach, +4 perception and sense motive); elven magic; favored class skillpoints
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Cyclops, Draconic, Drow Sign Language, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Goblin, Iblydan, Ignan, Infernal, Kelish, Necril, Orc, Osririani, Sylvan, Tien, Undercommon
SQ Automatic Bonus Progression (armor attunement +3, deflection +2, mental prowess +4/+2, physical prowess +4/+2, toughening +2, resistance +5)

Combat Gear hand of glory, ring of counterspells (3; disintegrate, greater dispel magic, heal), scroll of antimagic field, scroll of dimensional anchor, scroll of gaseous form, scroll of fly (2), scroll of teleport, staff of games long and short (10 charges [charm monster 2 charges, beastshape III 2 charges, detect thoughts 2 charges, freezing sphere 2 charges, dimension door 1 charge, glitterdust 1 charge]), wand of scorching ray (50 charges)
Other Gear deathwatch eyes, orange prism ioun stone, 1200 gp of assorted knick knacks, spell components, and coinage

Fear Aura (Su)
Creatures of less than 5 HD in a 60-foot radius that look at a lich must succeed on a Will save or become frightened. Creatures with 5 HD or more must succeed at a Will save or be shaken for a number of rounds equal to the lich’s Hit Dice. A creature that successfully saves cannot be affected again by the same lich’s fear aura for 24 hours. This is a mind-affecting fear effect.

Foretell (Su)
Dewrien can utter a prediction of the immediate future. While her foretelling is in effect, she emits a 30-foot aura of fortune that aids her allies or hinders her enemies, as chosen by you at the time of prediction. If she chooses to aid, she and her allies gain a +2 luck bonus on ability checks, attack rolls, caster level checks, saving throws, and skill checks. If she choose to hinder, her enemies take a –2 penalty on those rolls instead. She can use this ability for fifteen rounds each day. These rounds do not need to be consecutive.

Paralyzing Touch (Su)
Any living creature a lich hits with its touch attack must succeed on a Fortitude save or be permanently paralyzed. Remove paralysis or any spell that can remove a curse can free the victim (with a DC equal to the lich’s save DC). The effect cannot be dispelled. Anyone paralyzed by a lich seems dead, though a DC 20 Perception check or a DC 15 Heal check reveals that the victim is still alive.

Prescience (Su): At the beginning of her turn, Dewrien may, as a free action, roll a single d20. At any point before her next turn, she may use the result of this roll as the result of any d20 roll she is required to make. If she does not use the d20 result before her next turn, it is lost. She can use this ability nine times per day.

Rejuvenation (Su)
When a lich is destroyed, its phylactery (which is generally hidden by the lich in a safe place far from where it chooses to dwell) immediately begins to rebuild the undead spellcaster’s body nearby. This process takes 1d10 days—if the body is destroyed before that time passes, the phylactery merely starts the process anew. After this time passes, the lich wakens fully healed (albeit without any gear it left behind on its old body), usually with a burning need for revenge against those who previously destroyed it.

Shadow drake familiar (CR -)

CE Tiny dragon (cold)
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +7

AC 26, touch 17, flat-footed 21 (+5 Dex, +9 natural, +2 size)
hp 95
temporary 15 (false life)
Fort +6, Ref +10, Will +10
Defensive Abilities shadow blend; SR 20; Immune cold, paralysis, and sleep
Weaknesses light sensitivity, vulnerable to fire

Speed 20 ft., fly 90 ft. (perfect)
Melee bite +14 (1d3–1), tail slap +9 (1d3–1)
Space 2-1/2 ft.; Reach 0 ft. (5 ft. with tail)
Special Attacks stygian breath

Str 9, Dex 20, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 16
Base Atk +3; CMB +6; CMD 15
Feats Flyby Attack, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +8 (+4 when jumping), Craft Clockwork +19, Craft Sculpture +14, Diplomacy +18, Disable Device +8, Disguise +15, Fly +23, Knowledge (arcana) +19, Knowledge (engineering) +5, Knowledge (geography) +5, Knowledge (history) 5, Knowledge (planes) +10, Knowledge (religion) +5, Linnguistics +19, Perception +19, Sense Motive +19, Sleight of Hand +8, Spellcraft +19, Stealth +31; Racial Modifiers –4 Acrobatics when jumping
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Cyclops, Draconic, Drow Sign Language, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Goblin, Iblydan, Ignan, Infernal, Kelish, Necril, Orc, Osririani, Sylvan, Tien, Undercommon
SQ empathic link*, alertness*, scry on familiar*, share spells*, speed surge
*familiar power

Special Abilities
Shadow Blend (Su)
In conditions of illumination other than bright light, a shadow drake disappears into the shadows, giving it concealment (20% miss chance). It can resume or suspend this ability as a free action.

Speed Surge (Ex)
Three times per day as a swift action, a shadow drake may draw on its draconic heritage for a boost of strength and speed to take an additional move action in that round.

Stygian Breath (Su)
As a standard action, a shadow drake can exhale a ball of black liquid that explodes into a cloud of frigid black mist. This attack has a range of 60 feet and deals 2d6 points of cold damage (Reflex DC 12 half) to all creatures within a 5-foot-radius spread. The mist snuffs out light sources in the area effect, extinguishing non-magical light sources and dispelling light spells of 1st level or lower. Once a shadow drake has used its stygian breath, it cannot do so again for 1d6 rounds. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Take a gander at that horrific formatting. But the alternative is going through that and adding [b]'s by hand.


And here's the staff of games long and short. I'm rather proud of that name, by the way - it sounds suitably ostentatious, but doesn't mean anything at all. Perfect for a utility stick with no coherent theme.

Staff of Games Long and Short:
Freezing Sphere (LV 6) Price: 200x6x11=13,200
Beast Shape 5 (LV 5) Price: 150x5x11= 8,250
Dimension Door (LV 4) Price: 200x4x11= 8,800
Charm Monster (LV 4) Price: 100x4x11= 4,400
Glitterdust (LV 2) Price: 200x2x11= 4,400
Detect Thoughts (LV 2) Price: 100x2x11= 2,200
Total: 41,250

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DungeonmasterCal wrote:
It's been pretty quiet the last couple of days.

Awkward quiet, or companionable quiet? Well, now I’m here, so it’s awkward loud. ‘Poligies.

Building hype for a medium dragon? One way could be to have the players encounter a medium sized brass dragon earlier in their careers - say, at level four - so that they're well aware of the critter's prowess. Perhaps throw in a subplot whilst our intrepid heroes are still in Kes where they have to team with a brass dragon, or maybe have them framed for a crime and apprehended by the constabulary - chief of whom is a flyby-attacking sleep-breathing terror on the wing.

One of the more oppressive Diviner builds out there.

Let's talk minionmancy and terrain!

Balkoth wrote:

Syries wrote:
Use of natural terrain
Why isn't a caster Dimension Dooring the party to the boss? Or a Monk/Magus/Horizon Walker/etc using Dimensional Dervish or something similar full attacking the boss with that? Or hell just using Flight?

Something as simple as "difficult terrain" can give a huge advantage of mobility (in five foot steps) to a creature who doesn't have to bother with it (such as an aquatic or large/huge/gargantuan/colossal creature in shallow water, a druid or ranger in the brush, etc.) . . . so long as the party isn't flying. Which, after a certain level, you can more or less expect them to do. Hence why some consider terrain to be a low-level concern, to be ignored as the party increases in level. These people aren't entirely wrong, but they aren't entirely right either - "difficult terrain" becomes less meaningful, but the walls and ceilings of the great indoors make such things as chokepoints and cover, both total and soft, meaningful indeed. And if the party caster teleports themself and friends past the doorway or piled crates the NPCs are defending, so much the better - they've transported their squishy self into the heart of enemy territory.

Balkoth wrote:
Syries wrote:
minions that pose serious threats if the party ignores them
Give me some examples please, because in default Pathfinder they'd be CCed in one spell, too weak to be a real threat, or so powerful they're definitely exceeding the CR guidelines.

Au contraire, my skeptical friend. Your party is level nine, no? Well, they're somewhat stronger than the typical party, on acount both of using powerful builds, and on account of having double the magic at their disposal. But let's see if we can't challenge them with a CR 12 encounter.

Our "boss" monster will be this CR 11 Hezrou, and for minions we can use a brace of Shadow Demons. And for good measure, we'll add in a CR 4 giant howler. That takes us a little bit above our XP budget, but not by much. I assume we'd double the demons' hitpoints, on account of the players getting the same advantage?

Battle starts. Let's say that the demons have a round to prepare while the players use their actions to cast buff spells or bypass some manner of terrain. The Hezrou will use this turn to cast gaseous form and sink beneath the floorboards (or up through a porous ceiling, which would be better). The shadow demons, being incorporeal, will cast spells with their standard action and then phase through the ceiling. The howler begins howling. Party's turn. The howler dies like a chump, hopefully wasting limited resources as it does so. The players are somewhat bemused by how quickly the largest demon there died. Demons go. They attempt to summon help. Odds are good they at least get another shadow demon. Party's go, they ready actions/cast summoning spells/cast buff spells/move to the next room, erroneously thinking that the encounter is over. Demons go. The Hezrou reenters the field of battle and casts blasphemy, hopefully removing any summons from play and debuffing at least one character. The shadow demons use their spell-like abilities, with one of them casting deeper darkness to turn out the lights. After this, the demons' strategy is fairly straightforward - use hit and run tactics to avoid full attacks while hammering the party with at-will spell like abilities. If a majority of the martials are slowed by chaos hammer, the Hezrou switches to unholy blight. If someone fails their save against that, the Hezrou attempts an intimidate check to demoralize them and all the shadow demons pile on with magic jar. If given an opportunity (the most salient martial threats are occupied elsewhere), the Hezrou retreats into a patch of deeper darkness to dismiss gaseous form and then attempts to grapple a spellcaster.

In this case, the Hezrou is the highest CR monster on the field, but the players don't really have the option to ignore it's henchthings and target it - the shadow demons obstruct vision, construct walls of ice (shadow evocation) or shaped stone (shadow conjuration), and deal consistent damage/interrupt spells with telekinesis. Now, I'm not saying that this is by any means a killer encounter - your party is crazy strong even without houserules buffing them, and have spells enough to play or win the attrition game against the at-will spell like abilities of the demons. But it could be a challenging encounter, especially if the PCs have already had a fight or two since last they slept.

I’ll second the notion that there are dynamic ways within the existing rules to make combat harder, and that slowly chipping away at a creature with thousands of hit points sounds repetitive and monotonous as hell. I’d be willing to give it a try for novelty’s sake (and to play a mystic theurge summoner based on grappling, which is a niche build if ever one was), but it looks like there aren’t enough people to make a party out of.

You’ll note that the post was originally made some time ago, and was edited as more rules were made. My assumption is that at some point or another Balkoth decided to remove haste, and missed some of the references to the spell.

I too question some of the design decisions. Look forward to playtesting it; having new experiences slows down your perception of time and effectively lengthens your lifespan.

Ooh! I’m always open to new experiences. Figure I’ll build a tetori monk with a focus on grappling and tying up, unless you’d rather I didn’t.


Nix that, Tetori’s from Ultimate Combat. I sent you a friend request, my discord tag is YordleSandwich.

Barachiel Shina wrote:
Well, my player wants to make a ronin Samurai/Rogue type of character. Think of Zoro from the anime "One Piece." Not exactly, just the fact that he has a "samurai ronin" way of carrying himself and his fighting and is also a pirate (rogue) kind of character. He plans on multiclassing as Rogue, so anything that can help optimize a Samurai/Rogue would be great, although I am aware Pathfinder is not very multiclass friendly so he may only take a few levels of Rogue

Warrior Poets get good mileage out of a high DEX and CHA; I could see a two level dip in Ninja for a ki pool and Vanishing Trick. But if you plan on using two (or more?) swords, you might prefer a class or archetype better suited to standing around and full attacking.

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It's never happened in a game I've been a part of, but I do have an anecdote for you. Have you ever read the Tale of an Industrious Rogue?

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Slim Jim wrote:
There's no reason your "samurai" can't also be a paladin.

Ohhhhh, I see.

I'll second the Warrior Poet, 'tis amazeballs!

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Kamea wrote:
For those that are interested. His Rules

Fascinating. For those who don’t want to read through all of that, 1-9 casters get double spellslots per day.

Having read it, though, I don’t see why enervation is such a problem. Shouldn’t the enervated BBEG get a new save, using their lowest saving throw, for the first few rounds of the effect?

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