Iroran Paladin

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Ahh damn I missed that part. Thanks for the clarification.

I know Selective spell would negate the need for saves against the fascination effect, but there's more to it. I need to assess the tactical value of this combo.

Question 1: Do all creatures I select with Selective Spell HAVE to be within the spells effect at time of creation? I'm assuming yes, but just making sure.

Question 2: Do selected creatures get to ignore the visual impairment (Miss chance, blocked vision) caused by the spell? Say, could an archer target creatures inside or on the other side normally without having to worry about the normal rules for areas of fog? "These targets are excluded from the effects of your spell." seems to indicate that any impairment can be ignored as if the spell didn't exist.

"Can Painful Stare boost the damage of a magic missile?"

Here's my two cents. Yes I think it can and here's why.

Unlike the precision damage of the rogue's sneak attack, Painful Stare is mind affecting. This in effect means that when a target is damaged, the extra damage from painful stare simulates the target believing a wound is more egregious than it actually was, thus translating into imagined physical trauma made real.

The ability doesn't actually require the mesmerist or anyone else to aim their attacks more precisely. Instead, the ability requires the following of the target:

1. It is not mindless or otherwise immune to mind affecting abilities.

2. It is not immune to critical hits

Whereas Sneak attack requires the target to be in some position of physical vulnerability (Flanked, Flat-footed, denied dex, etc), Painful stare requires the target to be in a position of MENTAL vulnerability (not immune to mind affecting). So I don't believe the two sources of precision damage should be held to the same standard.

Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
I don't think there are (m)any. The new amplifications in that book were largely dire and not well thought out, and I noted this one in particular as not making much sense.

Yeeahh I'm seeing bupkis. That's a damned shame. With the right spells, this could have been useful or at least fun.

The only thing I'm seeing that could potentially be applicable at low levels are spells like Sleep, that have a limited radius. You could possibly shape the spells with cones to make the effects hit more targets. But with Sleep, the spell is limited to 4HD, so there goes that.

That's disappointing.. But the silver lining in all this that I saved myself the trouble of completely wasting one of my Phrenic Amplification choices.

So I saw this Phrenic Amplification from Occult Origins:

Dragon's Breath Focus (Su): The psychic can spend 2 points from her phrenic pool to change a linked spell that has a line or burst area of effect into a 30-foot cone that emanates from the psychic's mouth as a breath weapon. Source PPC:OO

Looks like a fun way to alter spells to be more adaptable. But as I'm looking through the Psychic's spell list... I don't see many spells that would really benefit. Am I missing something? I'd love to find a viable way to work this into my upcoming Psychic character..

I'd like to compile a list of spells that can work with this Phrenic Amplification. Of course I'll spend more time investigating this.. But has anyone else out there researched this, yet?

1. Druid.

My first pathfinder druid was a serpent shaman using snake style and the trickery domain to great effect.

2. Magus.

I love classes that give you another way to utilize touch spells. So much burst damage.

3. Mesmerist.

One of my new favorites. This class is a master of action economy and a pro at dismantling single targets. I could go into great detail about the kind of shenanigans this class is capable of. As a matter of fact... I WILL be doing just that when I release my Mesmerist guide in another month or so!

Just throwing in my two cents since I know others have already stated this opinion in great detail.

Making war for a petty reason or no reason at all is Evil with a capital 'E' because by the same logic, killing for a petty reason or no reason at all is 'E'vil. War means people dying. So causing a war 'just because' means you are causing people to die needlessly. That is all.

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Ventnor wrote:

Evil can never be not-evil. That to me is the problematic part of all this. That one little absolute statement. It does not require you to think, or question. It is evil, so condemn it. This act is good, so don't think about it.

People who think in black-and-white never think about morality, because why would they have to? Evil is evil, and good is good. Just do these things, and don't do those things. Oh, those people who do those things? They do them because they are evil.

It is the product of our animal brains, the part of use that is most brutish and nasty and clanlike. They are not like us, therefore they are evil. It is a philosophy that is responsible for so much evil in the world that I cannot help but see it as evil myself.

Ventnor, I think you are still missing the multiple posts addressing that portion of your argument. You need to separate the act from the person. Multiple times it has been stated that good people can do evil things and that evil people can do good things.

You act as if we don't have any reason behind why we view an act as evil and instead paint opposing viewpoints as blind and unthinking when it is actually you who are forcing oversimplication into a complex topic. For someone who accuses others of being 'moral absolutists' you sure are making a lot of rigid assumptions about the way other people think.

Ventnor wrote:

Why redeem evil? It is evil. It will inevitably take advantage of your kindness to stab you in the back.

Evil is evil. It can only ever be evil. There is no redemption to one who believes in black-and-white morality. You walk a straight and narrow path, and if you deviate from it, you can never return.

If a person kills an innocent, then they are now and forever evil. Nothing they do can ever absolve them of that. Their motivation does not matter. Their circumstance does not matter. All that matters is that they did the deed. All they will ever be from that point on is a murderer.

I think you are still having trouble with separating the 'act' from the person. Evil acts are indeed evil. Evil people are evil at that point in time. But that can change. When it comes to actions that decide life or death, Good and evil does not change.

Ventnor wrote:

It is true.

There are no shades of grey, no degrees. Either something is good, or it is evil. All evil is equal: a robber, a murderer, and tyrant are all equally evil, because evil is black. There is no such thing as "lesser evil" or "greater evil." If there is, then you are introducing shades of grey into the equation, and it is black-and-white morality no longer.

Except this discussion is solely about life or death of innocents. It has nothing to do with lesser crimes. Moral relativism has no place in a discussion about weather an innocent person deserves to be killed for the benefit of others. Killing someone who doesn't deserve it is evil. We're not talking about pickpocketing, or carjacking, or someone who steals to feed his family. We're talking straight up Murder.

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Captain collateral damage wrote:

BackHandOfFate: You make a really good point, and I should have clarified what I meant better. I did not mean to say that it was good to kill innocents. This is a very bad situation no matter what happens. The point I was trying to make was that for the purposes of the paladin codes (Which specifically use the terms of good and evil acts, which was why I was using those terms) and maintaining good alignments saving the many by killing the few is the option that (at least if your GM is in any way good) the one that would not result in falling.

Charon's Little Helper: There should not be ANY situations where a paladin falls no matter what they do, because whether or not a paladin falls is dictated by their deity, and any deity who is a legal choice for a paladin would not condemn someone just for a situation they were placed in. If a GM is mean enough to place a paladin in a situation and then rule that they fall no matter what the paladin does they fall, the paladin's player should stop playing.

One post on that and I'll cease and desist since I don't want to turn this into Paladin thread #5334927824323156809. Paladins don't get their powers from deities. They are empowered by a higher (non-personified) power while adhering to a code of conduct that is independent of any specific deity. Nothing in the rules states a deity can take away a Paladins powers as with a Cleric. The code is what gives them power. Break the code, lose your power. This is true regardless of if the deity they follow believes the Paladin should be shown leeway. We've all seen examples of Good aligned deities straying into dark paths... 'Clash of the Kingslayers' for example.. Paladins follow a stricter code than even most good aligned deities follow. One that doesn't allow them to utilize dark methods to achieve what they view to be righteous ends. That is all I will say on the topic. I fully understand if your viewpoint differs on this. I will say I agree with you when you say a Paladin should not be placed in any situation where they fall either way, which is why I would avoid games that include these kinds of scenarios.

Now please let us return to the topic at hand.

I believe there should be a clear distinction made between morally 'good' and tactically 'good'. Because it seems the lines have been blurred a little in this discussion. Winning at chess is tactically 'good' and also devoid of any moral implication. Saving lives is 'good' from a moral standpoint despite the tactical risks that may be involved. Damning innocent lives to save many more lives in the process (as when you sacrifice a pawn to protect the other chess pieces) is obviously the strategically sound move to make. From a moral standpoint, however, you cannot view people as pawns that you can dispose of to the benefit of others and view it as a morally 'good' decision.

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Captain collateral damage wrote:
BackHandOfFate: The problem is, if you do not kill the singular family, many more innocent families die. In my opinion YOU would be killing the multiple families JUST as much as you would be killing the singular family, regardless of how indirect that killing was. (Remember, in this hypothetical scenario, there is no 3rd option.) There is no way to avoid killing innocents, therefore morality falls to which option kills more, therefore killing the family is a good act, because it saves more people, regardless of how it would normally be an evil act, because good and evil are based on context.

Captain, you are confusing the concept of 'good' with the concept of 'favorable'. Of course you want to save as many people as possible. That doesn't mean it's a 'good' act to murder innocent families. It just means that you've made a decision to favor the many over the few. Killing innocent people is never good. You're taking a decision that is ultimately beneficial to a large group of people and painting it as morally justified when anyone who's cracked a history book knows what that kind of thinking can lead to.

Tacticslion wrote:

See; this, right here, is a dividing line that many cannot ever get across.

It is the point at which one's willing suspension of disbelief breaks, and one goes, "Nope; ain't never work that way, not even in fiction." and one cannot come to the conclusion that such a thing could ever be good: because of the persistent and abiding belief in hidden "strings attached" to <evil action>.

There's nothing hidden about these strings. The decision is plain to see, you are being 'forced' to commit evil with the promise of avoiding great catastrophe. It's not that I wouldn't have a character make a decision in this kind of scenario. The problem is, if this was a kind of game where this type of 'lesser of two evils, never a third option' thinking was prevalent among the DM and players, it would likely be a game I'd want to walk away from. Because the truth is, THAT is the most rigid, non compromising kind of thought process presented in this thread. I find it disappointing that my analysis comes across as rigid thinking to you. For me, suspension of disbelief belongs squarely in the 'fantasy' aspect of any game. I do not believe it should be applied to acts of good and evil to make them appear as anything other than what they are.

Tacticslion wrote:
If one cannot accept the scenario as it functionally is, or mentally contrive a scenario that functions for the purpose of the test, then one cannot come to the "same" conclusion as another who can. Neither person is wrong - one is more rooted into reality, while the other has the ability to loosen their mindset from the universe in which we love, but neither of these are wrong. But they will crest mutually irreconcilable differences.

So, what you're saying is... If I am of the mindset to analyze and critique contrived scenarios that never present a third option, that I cannot loosen my mind enough? If 'loosening your mindset' involves somehow turning concepts of morality (which are clearly definable in said fantasy universe) on their head and saying 'Killing innocents can be a good act from a moral standpoint' then yeah count me out. Because that is ultimately what this boils down to. As I said earlier, my problem was never with these scenarios being presented in the first place. My problem was with these actions being rationalized as 'good' when all they really are is 'tactically sound' at best.

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Dastis wrote:

Is killing an innocent wrong? Yes

Is killing an innocent always wrong? no

Stop trying to confuse me with contradictory statements. It won't work! :p


We can all think of a scenario in which killing an innocent is the right choice. If your not original enough enjoy

** spoiler omitted **
From there it is just deciding where the line is

The line is right there at that first life.

Please note what I said in an earlier post. Self sacrifice is the only sacrifice that can be for the greater good because it is the only righteous kind of sacrifice. Killing one innocent soul to eliminate all evil is still killing for the convenience of others. The promise of eliminating all the worlds problems with a single dark deed is THE ultimate sham. I'd half expect a DM to place good players in this scenario as a villainous deception to try to get them all to stain their soul, and take the first step towards the dark side. The first step is always the most important. Then from there it just gets easier and easier to view the lives of others as a means to an end.

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OP wrote:

Cleric: "You are going to do everything to protect your people, that's not a suggestion. That's a fact, I just want to say that you should never ever forget that your final goal, is to protect people. It's easy for one to loose himself"

Swashbuckler: "What exactly defines everything? What is the limit in what we do?"
Cleric: "I... I really do not think there is one. As long as it is to keep your people safe I think you will do everything. Would you kill a whole family to save many many more? Yes you would. Now would you sleep at night? That's a very different question"
Swashbuckler: "Yes, I would. You are right. It's all about the people. We don't matter if we cant protect them. And yes... I could sleep at night."

This is the problem with any 'greater good' scenario. The fact that 'good' is anywhere in the discussion. There is no greater good if good is nowhere to be found. Only difficult AND oversimplified decisions.

In exactly what scenario would someone have to go in and personally kill an innocent family to save numerous others? This is a very contrived scenario. Much more often than not, when you are dealing with a 'who lives and who dies' situation, the deaths of those involved are caused by something other than your own hand.

For instance, a plague has spread and you are trying to decide how to allocate limited medical staff and supplies to be the most effective. Are you killing the family in that situation? Certainly not. And a good person isn't justifying their decisions in any way because good people are humble. They empathize with their suffering, and sacrifice their own time, energy, and sometimes lives to doing everything they can to save others.

I saw people referencing Spock's sacrifice bringing up the age old 'needs of many outweigh needs of few' argument. The problem is that in that movie, it was SPOCK that said it before he sacrificed his own life. He didn't say it while shoving someone else into that radioactive chamber. That is where the line is drawn.

When it comes to life or death, there can be no greater good where murder and coercion are in play. Self sacrifice is the only kind of sacrifice that can ever be for a greater good because it is done willingly. That is part of what defines good, valuing the lives of others more than your own life. Valuing the lives of some over the lives of others and mentally preparing yourself to personally snuff out innocent life for some 'greater cause' is nowhere near any kind of good.

While I am familiar with how most of the classes function, I really only have experience with the Mesmerist. Played through levels 3 to 12 so far and I can say without a doubt that it is one of the most adaptive classes I have ever used..

The direct and indirect support you give your party is significant. You can take any encounter with a single main threat and turn it into a joke. You can debuff attack, saves, SPELL RESISTANCE, SPELL DC'S... ALL WITH A SWIFT ACTION.

The Mesmerist tricks let you bring a great deal of defensive power to bear without eating up your action economy! I can't tell you how many times Mesmeric Mirror has saved my team mates a thrashing.

And I haven't even gotten into Touch Treatment being able to straight up remove conditions that would otherwise have led to a world of pain. It's like having an extra ten spells of 'remove x or y or z' without having to expend your spell slots.

Suffice it to say this class is now one of my all time favorites. Right up there with Druid, Barbarian and Magus.

If enemies immune to mind affecting effects are prevalent in your campaign, Psychic inception is definitely the way to go. However, the problem with choosing the bold stare choice at level 3 is that you do not get another choice until LEVEL SEVEN.

Mesmerists have many spells that can affect enemies that are immune to mind affecting stuff already. Grease, Glitterdust, Ill Omen to name a few. During my run as a Mesmerist (Started at level 3, now at level 12)I have found that, while psychic inception does let you utilize your hypnotic stare more often, the mesmerist usually benefits more early on from choosing a different bold stare, such as Sapped Magic (which is probably one of the best bold stares in the game), and Disorientation (stare applies to attack rolls).

Psychic Inception's main strength is letting you utilize the debuffs associated with Hypnotic/Bold Stare against otherwise immune enemies, as well as Painful Stare if they aren't also immune to critical hits, which many are.

Yes, you have a chance of using mind affecting spells against your target as well. BUT you must remember that you are still suffering an additional 50% failure rate right off the bat, not even taking saves and spell resistance into account. That is a significant hurdle for any spellcaster and WILL lead to many wasted spells and wasted turns if they persistently try to make it work. Trust me, I have tried many times, and those percentile dice can be extremely fickle and spiteful.

The best way to use Psychic inception, based on my experience and opinion, is to use it in conjunction with spells that require a will save but are NOT mind affecting. Curses, Glitterdust, etc etc. A mesmerist can debuff a will save like nobodies business. Eating a 50% failure chance on top of other obstacles seems to me like going to your favorite pizza joint, buying your favorite pizza of all time and then throwing half of it in the trash as soon as you leave.

Skalds have fantastic defensive potential that the whole group can benefit from. Just a handfull of rage powers c s n combine to grant massivebonuses to ac and saves. They have the ability to bring out the potential of other classes by bringing new abilities to a character who may never see them otherwise. Even if a class doesn't accept the rage song, their cohort or familiar or animal companion or eidolon or summon would LOVE it. Combine that with bard spells and a good set of saves, and alot of different classes can benefit from your presence.

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hasteroth wrote:
Congrats on missing the point. The argument was over whether a Paladin could have authority over and above what other PC classes would have by virtue of being a Paladin.

If you read my previous post, I DID address this. I would argue that people most certainly WOULD be more likely to respect their word, seek their council and heed their advice BECAUSE they know the person they are dealing with IS good and trustworthy by virtue of his/her profession. I labeled that as Moral Authority earlier on. Yes, other characters can be good aligned. Yes, other characters can be trustworthy. But even other good and trustworthy characters don't ALWAYS have to behave in a good and trustworthy manner. So yes, this does set them apart from other classes in that respect.

I'm not saying that a Paladin can walk up to any stranger and expect them to obey his orders. I'm saying a Paladins' reputation is such that you can expect people to trust his judgement a bit more quickly and be cooperative because they know he isn't out to screw them. Existing authority figures (The generally well meaning kind) are far more likely to trust a Paladin, who is always honest in his dealings, because they know he doesn't have some kind of hidden agenda. A Paladin doesn't have to DEMAND authority. He gets it by behaving as he should, by being good and humble, asking for people to work with him for the greater good.

A DM certainly doesn't have to go by this logic. They can have commoners be skeptical of any stranger until they are blue in the face just because if that is how they want to run the game. I'm simply making the argument from my standpoint.

hasteroth wrote:
Also the argument I made was that authority has to be granted in some way, this can be forced or otherwise. The Balor you mention has authority because the populace fears him and obeys his authority. Thus he has authority granted by the populace which he used force and intimidation to obtain.

I don't think I was disagreeing with you on that. I also specifically brought up the point that authority can be obtained in a number of ways by DEFINING authority.

hasteroth wrote:
A Paladin on the other hand isn't going to strike down anyone who disobeys him, as that would be evil. A level 1 Paladin likely wouldn't have the power to force everyone to bend to his will. But that still doesn't change that rule by intimidation is something ANYBODY sufficiently powerful can do, and still doesn't mean that a Paladin has implicit authority.

Again, you're echoing my exact sentiments. I never said a Paladin would try to impose his will on others in a way similar to a warlord or a Balor. Yes a Paladin could use intimidation. But he doesn't make threats without good and righteous cause.

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The Paladin Thread Train (PTT)(TM) is just getting warmed up! Lets get this party really going. Time to crack open a dictionary!

Define Authority: 1. the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.

It seems some are sticking to the latter portion of this definition, claiming that only official recognition by existing authority figures grants one authority. This is not the case.

A Balor can teleport into a small town and say "I'm in charge". Was he elected Mayor of this boondock town? Nope. Is some ignorant yokel going to brazenly stroll up to him, point his crooked finger at the Balor and say. "Now wait juuust a cotton pickin second, mister. Y'all gotta be a citizen of this here small town for a minimum of ten years an then run fer public office before y'all can start barkin orders at us town folk."? Maybe. Does that stop the Balor from using his power to enforce his will? NOPE. Thus, he has authority over the town by virtue of having the power to wipe it off the map with insignificant effort on his part.

By the same logic, a Paladin, who is likely more powerful than 99% of people in the known world even at low levels, DOES have the power to exert his will on others. He just doesn't do it in the same way a Balor would. A Paladin is a righteous harbinger of truth and justice. He is humble and tries to work WITH existing authority if their goals and his don't outright clash. He's not out to conquer and pillage, but to defend the weak against evil. The moral authority he possesses as a result of the lifestyle he chooses gives him power and respect, even if he isn't mayor of every town he strolls into.

The fact that 'ACTUAL' authority was used as a qualifier means nothing as I have now defined what authority ACTUALLY means. As for the "Well it depends on what your definition of 'Paladin' is.." argument...

In fantasy realms, words have definitions.. A Paladin isn't some rare sight that you only behold once every five hundred years when the planets align. They are everywhere and the DC to know what a Paladin is can easily be made untrained. If you want to re-define what a Paladin is in your game, then by all means do so. As is, there are definitions for things in Pathfinder. Paladin is one such word that has a specific definition. We're not in Europe during the middle ages. We're in a fantasy setting with magic missiles and goblins and such. If you need your game to be different in that respect to have fun, then do it. Lord knows the games I play have about 500 house rules and tweaks.

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Ventnor wrote:
I don't really like this line of reasoning, honestly. Life experience has taught me that the people who boast about their own righteousness the loudest are often the most corrupt.

While what you say is true, that assumes the Paladin is boastful about who he is. That may be how some choose to play the class, and it is decidedly pompous to do so. Paladins embody not only what it means to be lawful. They also embody what it means to be GOOD in a much heavier sense. That includes displaying an appropriate amount of humility, which is implied when a class is dedicated to putting others before themselves. True, a paladin may not shy away from the spotlight when it is shined on them. But, they do not seek that spotlight at the expense of others.

A paladin can say "I'm a Paladin." and easily prove it in some way without having to resort to being boastful and arrogant. Using lay on hand to heal the wounded, for example..

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What's all this now?

"You Don't Have Any Actual Authority, Just Because You're A Paladin"


Paladins have MORAL authority because they hold themselves to such a strict code of ethics. That may not give them title or the right to lawfully govern. But it does give them power. Even if they aren't an elected or appointed official, people will often look to them for guidance because they know a Paladin isn't out to screw them. Even elected officials will seize the opportunity to enlist the aid of a Paladin for the same reasons. They aren't just some random mercenary. They are always noble, altruistic, and HONEST. No other profession can claim the same high standards unless it has a similar code of conduct.

Serpent Shaman archetype for druid is pretty good at all the things an Assassin has to do. You can wildshape into diminutive snake forms as early as level 6. You get access to the TRICKERY DOMAIN!

There's more to it. But Altarlost already pretty much covered the basics of how awesome vanilla druid is at this job.

Paladins dont need a deity to grant them powers. They can worship one. But it does not override their code of conduct. (Archetypes not withstanding.) They recieve their powers from adhering to the code, not from adhering to the tenets of a specific deity. Heck, paladins aren't even required to worship anyone, though it is common.

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*Cue 1960's-esque Red Raven theme song complete with visualized sound effects when people get punched.*

My first pathfinder character was a Barbarian. That was a hoot for a half-dozen sessions. Then I gave Samurai a try. That was fun too.

Then I switched gears and tried Druid on for size. (Specifically Serpent Shaman with the trickery domain who utilized Snake Style as a huge emperor cobra better than any Monk ever could, and also had that sweet sweet spellcasting..) I haven't gone back to pure martials since.

I did misread that. Still kind of gives the impression of you getting a 'rush from killing' that reflects pure bloodlust. And you still get mechanical bonuses later down the line from killing 200 intelligent noncombatants. DOUBLING the penalties from shaken is a huge boon and it further reflects the 'I am an indiscriminate and bloodthirsty killer who has been around the block 8 dozen times, you are more scared of me because of this'

As I said before. Reflavor it and remove the prerequisite of 'kill 50 intelligent noncombatants' and the goal of 'kill 200 more intelligent noncombatants' and I would not have any qualms about putting this on a non-evil character as a normal feat.

Wierdo wrote:

Actually, it reminds me of a good portion of neutral-aligned adventurers.

Nothing personal, bandits, but the local lord put a bounty on your head and so I'm going to take it off.

Now, the people that adventurers kill are typically combatants because it makes a better game. But adventurers are often the ones starting combat, in which case it no longer qualifies as self-defense. I really see no moral difference between an adventurer ambushing and killing a bunch of bandits to collect a bounty and an executioner lopping off the head of a poisoner to collect a paycheck.

Perhaps we should review the definition of 'noncombatant':

"1: a person (such as a military chaplain or doctor) who is in the army, navy, etc., but does not fight

2: a person who is not in the army, navy, etc."

In the case of pathfinder, a noncombatant is someone who is not part of an armed force or who can't or otherwise chooses not to take up arms in a fight, like a civilian who might be able to throw a feeble punch in a fight but would rather run to ensure his safety. Bandits are part of an armed force and have the capability to fight back, be they innocent or guilty. They are certainly able and willing to fight no matter who initiates combat.

Moral arguments aside. For the purposes of this story feat, there really IS no difference between bandit hunting and an executioner doing his job. Both fail to qualify for purposes of meeting the requirements of the Goal. Both actions are carried out under a justice system which you are playing a part in. Even if that justice system is ultimately a farce, it is a higher purpose. Bandits do not count as noncombatants. In the case of the executioner, the poisoner's head is on the chopping block for a reason. He is being punished for his crimes. His head isn't rolling solely for the purpose of you benefitting from his death or because you just felt like it.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
I disagree. While the text claims that story feats represent a goal that motivates you, I think it should be a valid roleplaying choice to qualify for the story feat because of your background details without actually having any intent to reach the completion criterion. You can be better at intimidating people because of all the innocent blood on your hands, but that doesn't mean you necessarily want more. You could stack both this feat and skill focus (intimidate). That story feats claim to represent character goals and not player goals is I think an overreach and I would personally advise GMs ignore it since mechanical effects like feats should be about what you can do, not what you want to do.

Assuming you were playing that kind of character. Why would you choose a feat that incentivizes slaying noncombatants with a juicy +1 bonus to attack and caster level checks? You wanna be scary? Skillfocus(Intimidate) + some trait like bruising intellect that synergizes with your character idea. You don't need a feat that gives you a +2 to intimidate along with a mechanically defined 'rush from slaying people who didn't want to fight you just because'.

You are right, feats should be about what you can do. This feat gives you bonuses for killing noncombatants for selfish reasons or no reason at all. Why do you need that for your character concept if you never plan to use it? Is the lawful good paladin going to accidentally slip and plunge his longsword into an orphan walking by and notice he's somehow a little more competent at combat for a little while? Is the level 8 wizard who fireballs a peasant on a whim going to just happen to notice that his next magic missile spell shoots five missiles instead of four? Like players, your characters are fully conscious of what they are capable of. You know how strong you are, how fast you are, how smart you are, how skillful you are, and what other abilities you possess. All this feat does initially (aside from a pitiful skill bonus) is make you want to find excuses to kill people who in all likelihood don't need killing. You can be 'the guy with blood on his hands' without being 'the guy who wants MORE blood on his hands' easily enough without this feat.

I think the disconnect here is that I am looking at this feat and analyzing it's literal meaning from both a narrative standpoint and a rules standpoint. I use rules definitions to explore how the wording of the feat should be interpreted. I use dictionary definitions to clarify why certain scenarios don't really count. If you feel I am being too strict or unfair, it is likely because you don't quite realize exactly how strict the wording of this feat really is and why scenarios like 'paladins without foresight' and 'hunting bandits' and 'executioners doing their job' don't really fall into this purview. I have made an extremely clear case why they do not.

I can understand if the theme of the feat appeals to others in a 'dark past' sort of way. That does not change the fact that, as is, it's a very specific type of feat for a very specific type of killer. From both a narrative and mechanical perspective, this feat is the type you'd find on a homicidal psychopath.

If you feel inclined to tweak the feat to include combatants and perhaps remove the goal altogether, I can see this working for non evil characters. And as I said before, you are free to play your games however you'd like. I am not going to stop you from doing so. Doesn't mean I won't lay out my opinion on something that is obviously a bit more complex than it appears to be on the surface.

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Possiblecabbage wrote:

I think whether you can start the feat without being evil and whether you can finish the feat without being evil are different questions.

If the player can come up with a plausible explanation for why they have so much blood on their hands, then they can take the feat. Then if they want to stay non-evil, it's a roleplaying challenge to resolve out how to balance their code of ethics with their killing spree.

But if you can kill one intelligent non-combatant for personal gain or for no greater cause without having it be an evil act, it should be possible to kill 200 intelligent non-combatants for personal gain or for no greater cause without having it be an evil act. Simply repeating the exculpatory circumstances of the first time 199 more times should be sufficient.

Whether or not it is possible to do this once or two hundred times and maintain your current alignment is irrelevant. This story feat makes it a personal GOAL to do this 200 times.

But before we continue, lets define the word "Goal"

'Goal: the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.'

That means this is something on your bucket list. It's not just some circumstance that you'll face sometime in your life where you're put in the position where you HAVE TO SLAY 200 NON COMBATANTS. You are actively seeking these people out at every opportunity and getting a (mechanically definable) rush from killing them.

OS_Dirk wrote:

Yes, actually. I'm not saying that being Evil (with a capital 'E')doesn't make this feat much, much, easier to qualify for. - I maintain, simply, that it is both plausible and possible for a character of a non-evil alignment to qualify and complete.

I take it as a given that semantic discussions on the word "cause" are completely irrelevant, because trying to push this to extremes only serves to make it completely impossible to qualify for the feat, or makes it so everyone qualifies for the feat. (I went into more detail on this earlier)

I have to disagree with you on this. I already stated that it is quite possible for a non evil person to meet the prerequisites for this feat. What makes this feat evil is the 'goal' that I mentioned earlier. Goals aren't something you meet by happenstance. They are your ambitions. They are the thing you go to sleep thinking about at night. You have a quota to fill and you want to fill it.

The fact that this story feat does not require an evil alignment as a prerequisite is more of a design failure than an admission that lawful good characters can be murderhobos too.

OS_Dirk wrote:
1) If you're a Holy Paladim of Pharasma eradicating as many undead as you can come across, without exception, you're automatically Lawful Good. It maters not one whit whether or not the undead that you're destroying serve a benefical purpose in society, nor does it matter whether or not they become undead willingly or not. They all must die.

You are a lawful good paladin of Pharasma. You serve a higher purpose and are slaying these undead because you are sworn to. Does not count as 'for personal gain or no reason at all.'

OS_Dirk wrote:
Now there is no one left to check the wizard from going on a murder spree of his own in bloodlust. The villages that bear the brunt of this seek their revenge against the paladin, because the grief stricken wizard would never have gone on his rampage if not for his wife's second death. (Again kind of trite, but plausible in an RPG setting)

At which point the villagers are no longer 'noncombatants' as they are now seeking to do the Paladin harm. Again, this will not fill the quota.

OS_Dirk wrote:

Or, a slightly more M. Night Shyamalan approach - The surrounding village is some sort of blited place where grieving family members have taken to placing their dead in order that they're guaranteed to come back as some form of undead, with the aggrieved family members reaminin there to monitor, and keep them from becoming harmful.

Could not one see a Paladin of Pharasma absolutely destroying such a heinous affront against the nature of things? This is a lawful good act, and completely in keeping with the Paladin code... technically. Or wait..., is it evil? You just murdered a bunch of innocents who hadn't actually harmed anyone. Hmm... - Could it just be possible for a Lawful Good character to kill a bunch of non-combatants too, and find people who want to see justifiable revenge as much?

And again, as a Paladin that is sworn to destroy undead in order to serve a higher purpose, you are not destroying these creatures 'for personal gain or for no reason at all'.

OS_Dirk wrote:

2) You're an adventurer hired by a group of townsfolk to eradicate the local goblin menace in order to prevent them from raiding and being a general nuisance. So far, none of the villagers have actually ever been harmed in the raids, except financially, but it is significant to them because this particular tribe is larger than normal.

You go ahead and kill off the goblins, accept your payment, and shove off. You return to the village a month latter for friendly R&R, and you find the village devoid of all life. - Little did you know, the goblins had been busily eating of a very poisonous and fast growing fungus, preventing it from spreading into the countryside. Your actions directly caused the death and dissolution of the village.

You are trying to blur the line between directly and indirectly. To quote common rules in the Story Feats section of the PFSRD:

"Slay: Slaying a foe includes killing it, destroying it, turning it to stone, banishing it to the Abyss, or otherwise eliminating it in a fashion reversible only by powerful magic. Unless otherwise noted, you must deal the final blow yourself to slay a creature."

Your Goal: 'SLAY' 200 intelligent noncombatants.

You must be the one to deliver the killing blow. Not be the one that dealt with a problem that led to another unforeseen problem that led to people dying. This does not qualify.

OS_Dirk wrote:
Sooner or later relatives of the former villagers (from neighboring villages) find out how your action caused the death of loved ones, and they hire another adventurer to find you and bring you to justice.

See my response about aforementioned deaths not qualifying. Also an adventurer that comes to bring you to 'justice' would not count as a noncombatant. So unless the aforementioned 'relatives of former villagers' came and took up arms, this would have absolutely no bearing on this story feat.

OS_Dirk wrote:
Alternate scenario: A group of hobgoblins that have been relying on the local goblin tribe for tithes decide they don't like you killling off the breeding stock of their lesser cousins and send one of their best fighters after you.

Then a bounty has been placed on your head. This is neither someone trying to bring you to justice, nor someone trying to usurp your position. It is someone going after you because you hurt their business.

OS_Dirk wrote:

3)You're a knight (or mercenary if that makes you feel better) besieging the castle of an enemy king. The dastardly coward decides to relocate entire families to the walls in order to discourage the use of trebuchet, catapults, and ballistae. - You're a knight (realistically) only because this is what you had to be in order to be prosperous, and actually own land in your kingdom (feudal system at work), and lay siege to the castle at the expense of the innocents at the walls.

You're found to have been the major reason for the success of the battle, and the besieged king seeks you out for it. (Or family members of the deceased if that makes you feel better, because how could an "Evil" person what to punish others for the violation of his laws?)

The king that put families on a wall being besieged by siege weapons is just as responsible for the deaths of these people. Also, you are in the service of a king, you are attacking those walls because the king ordered you to. You are serving a higher authority. Does not meet the 'for personal gain or no reason at all' quota requirement. There is a reason you are there, it is to take the castle in service of a king. And assuming the besieged king seeks you out for any reason, it will be because you brought down his walls, not because you mercilessly slaughtered the helpless people HE put there in the first place. As for family members of the deceased, I'd think they would be a little more angry at the king who put their loved ones in a war zone where they were guaranteed to die.

OS_Dirk wrote:
(EDIT) It's really, really, easy to come up with plausible reasons for this feat to apply to all sorts of situations if you think on it. The very, very, funny thing about trying to take a position of moral superiority here is that the more you try to be absolute, the more credence you lend to the argument I propose simply because of alignment as it is applied in Pathfinder.

It's very funny that you would accuse me of taking a position of 'moral superiority' when all I have done is used sound reasoning to analyze this story feat and address contrived scenarios that try to rationalize a character's life long goal of wholesale slaughter. This character is the very definition of a Psychopath. Psychology 101 bro.

OS_Dirk wrote:
Is killing noncombatants always evil? Nope. It's OK as long as the noncombatants are Orc or Goblin.


OS_Dirk wrote:
What about the Lawful Good Paladin killing a bunch of noncombatant villagers because they were complicit in a mass "animate dead" ceremony to bring back loved ones? That's absolutely good, because after all a Paladin must be lawful good in order to be a paladin.


OS_Dirk wrote:
Are laws always written by good people? Could not an evil society also have its own laws? Ravenloft? Anyone?

How is this relevant? I still have yet to see a credible scenario of non evil character personally slaying 200 noncombatants for simply 'personal gain or no reason at all'. No use in skipping to the endgame, right?

OS_Dirk wrote:
Seriously, whether or not the predominat majority of characters would be evil in order to take this feat is not at issue. - What is at issue is the fact that characters of any alignment could manage to take, and complete this feat- even if the road is a little bit more interesting than the stock answer of: "He's got to be evil, and just love killing people"

You are right about the first part. Non evil characters can indeed qualify for this feat. But taking this STORY feat means accepting that your characters goal in life involves seeking out those who would do you no harm and ending their lives. Not because they were ordered to. Not because circumstances led to it. Because they want to. Because they choose to. Unlike normal feats, the very mechanics of the feat dictate your characters motivation for filling this quota. "Personal gain or no reason at all." This isn't 'power attack' or 'dodge' where your mechanical bonuses don't imply a moral standpoint. This story feat dictates things about your character whether you want It to or not. It gives you a background and a goal. Kill people who don't or can't fight back because you get mechanical bonuses from it and if you do it enough, get even BIGGER mechanical bonuses from it. Don't do it to serve a higher purpose, do it because you want to do it. Do it because you personally benefit from it or just because you feel like it. Despite people disagreeing with me, I fail to see anyone other than an evil character having this mindset.

OS_Dirk wrote:

(EDIT) - If it helps, I can think of a probably one of the best examples from popular culture:

Sam & Dean Winchester - How many innocents do you think that these chuckleheads managed to kill? (both on purpose and not) Which of them hasn't made the requisite kill tally in spades by alternating selfish-bouts of getting the other brother resurrected at great cost to the rest of the world? Who here wants to make the argument that they are outright evil? (Discounting the odd bout of slumming it with the demons, depending on the season) Think someone, somewhere want's revenge? (Oops. Forgot. That plot-point was overdone by the time the 11th season rolled around)

SUPERNATURAL! Having seen just about every episode of this show, I can pretty much say without a doubt that these two characters wouldn't fit the bill for this feat. Neither of them seem to go after innocent people who can't fight back and personally slay them in order to get a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls and caster level checks for 1 minute. And I highly doubt either of them wake up in the morning thinking about confronting those 'evil noncombatants who are plaguing nobody'. Yes, their actions have collateral damage. But the story feat being discussed has more specific requirements.

OS_Dirk wrote:
Point is: Evil people don't have a monopoly on evil acts.

They most certainly do by definition.

Tormsskull wrote:

You're not getting it. The people that disagree with you mostly care about rules, not descriptive text. The feat could be called Supreme Evil Overlord, but if there was no evil alignment requirement, they'd make the case that you don't have to be evil.

If you want to try to see it from their eyes, imagine that you are a lawyer and your client is charged with not following the rules. Your job is to defend your client. With that mindset, read the feat again.

You are wrong. I totally get it. I care about rules too. You act as if I have solely addressed the fluff of this feat when I have in fact addressed the mechanics of it as well. There are rules about alignment and what it means to be good and evil.

Good Versus Evil wrote:

Good characters and creatures protect innocent life. Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit.

Good Good implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.

Evil Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.

Neutral People who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions against killing the innocent, but may lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others.

OP made this post because they had reservations about what it would lead to. If you disagree with me after I have made my case, that is totally fine. That doesn't mean either of us is right or wrong. It just means that perhaps we have different ideas of what a story feat (that makes you look at innocent life as just another notch in your murderhobo quota) will lead to.

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Okay I know I gave my viewpoint a bit more succinctly earlier on in this thread. Counter points have arisen and I feel the need to break this feat down and explain exactly why I view this as 'evil' only.

Innocent Blood wrote:


With their deaths, the pitiful wretches that inhabit this world open your path to greatness.

Right off the bat, the theme of this story feat suggests using the lives of others as a stepping stone to your own personal glory. Do you think of LG or even TN characters when you read this? I do not.

Prerequisite wrote:
You must slay at least 50 intelligent noncombatants for either your own personal gain or for no cause at all, or have the Bloodthirsty, First Kill, or The Kill background.

Obviously the original prereq seems morally questionable. You are seeking out people who mean you no harm and taking their lives. This is a vital part of your character's narrative. How many neutral or good aligned characters do you know of that go out of their way to take the lives of this many noncombatants during the course of a campaign? How many DM's do you know that would allow that character to maintain a neutral or good alignment while doing so?

Then we come across some alternative prereqs: Bloodthirsty, First Kill, and The Kill Background. Lets take a look at those!

Bloodthirsty wrote:
The first time you spilled a deserving foe's blood and watched the thing's life ebb out onto the hard ground, you found yourself filled with a mad, euphoric ecstasy like none other. The memory of this visceral experience returns to you in every battle, like an insatiable addiction that can only be abated with further bloodshed. You gain access to the Bloodthirsty combat trait and the Innocent Blood story feat.

Okay so you don't have to kill 50 noncombatants to qualify for this feat. The initial victim may have even been deserving. But the very description states that taking a life is the one thing that fulfills you more than anything else. Killing is your drug. Sound like a Lawful good character? Sound like a Neutral character? My vote goes no.

The Kill wrote:
You killed someone when you were relatively young. You might have done it in self-defense, in anger, or as part of an initiation ritual, and it was easier than you suspected. Afterward, some individuals or groups started paying you to kill for them, and you made a lucrative career of assassination. You gain access to the Killer combat trait and the Innocent Blood story feat.

Okay so you only killed one person. And you liked it! So much so that you made a career out of it. You are an Assassin for hire. Evil by definition. Not much more to say.

First Kill wrote:
You've had blood on your hands since your youth, when you first took the life of another creature. Whether this act repulsed you or gave you pleasure, it was a formative experience. You gain access to the Killer combat trait and the Innocent Blood story feat.

Okay so here is at least ONE possible prerequisite that doesn't require you to be a murderhobo right off the bat! One concrete background that leaves the door open to the possibility that you may be repentant for what you've done! I call this Progress! (With a capital P for some reason)

Now on to the Benefit...

Benefit wrote:
You gain a +2 bonus on Intimidate checks. If you have 10 or more ranks in Intimidate, this bonus increases to +4. Each time you slay an intelligent creature, you gain a +1 bonus on attack rolls and caster level checks for 1 minute (this bonus does not stack with itself).

You are a scary guy.. This doesn't necessarily make you evil. You could generally flavor the 'getting a rush from defeating a foe' part as the adrenaline that any warrior could experience. However, since the 'intelligent creature' definition does not discriminate between a CR 20 Balor or a CR 0 newborn baby in a crib, a character can benefit from this from killing either. Taking lives gives you bonuses. Pretty straight forward.

Goal wrote:
Slay at least 200 more intelligent noncombatants, then slay a challenging foe that seeks to either bring you to justice for your crimes or usurp your position.

Here, we come to another problem. Even assuming you took the ONE character background that allowed you to avoid the initial murder spree, you now have incentive to similarly kill TWO HUNDRED noncombatants. This means you are actively seeking out people who mean you no legitimate harm and ending their lives either just for the sake of doing so, or because you benefit directly from their deaths (Kill and take their stuff, kill them because they inconvenienced you in some way). You are taking the lives of people who would either not take up arms against you, or lack the means or doing so.

As if Fifty people wasn't bad enough... Can you honestly say that you remember a non evil character that went out of their way to kill TWO HUNDRED noncombatants over the course of a campaign? It's a real stretch. This is a feat that rewards you for looking for fights where there would be none, otherwise. Causing undue suffering and death. That is evil.

As for those who make the 'executioner' argument seem to have a good point. Although executioners generally kill to serve a justice system. Even if this justice system is corrupt and vile, you are serving a cause other than your own by performing the killings in this manner. Or you could say the guy just took the job for the money. "Nothing personal guy. But my wallet gets fatter when your head rolls." Remind you of anyone? (looking at you Assassin)

This leads me back to the feat description: "With their deaths, the pitiful wretches that inhabit this world open your path to greatness." You are using the deaths of noncombatants as a stepping stone for your personal benefit and for no other reason. You do not value the life of another person enough to even come close to regretting your actions. This is something you could do TWO HUNDRED TIMES and never bat an eye. In fact this is something you WANT to do TWO HUNDRED TIMES. It is your personal goal to take the lives of two hundred people who would have otherwise done real harm to you.

And for this murderhobo achievement, you get:

Completion Benefit wrote:
Any shaken creature takes double the normal penalties when attacking you, making saves against your abilities, or resolving skill checks with you as a target.

Assuming you fulfilled the ONE entry requirement that would leave the door open for you initially being non-evil aligned.. Can you honestly say that non evil alignment would even be a remote possibility after you have acquired this 'Completion Benefit'? I would say certainly not.

Both those spells seem serviceable to me. Well done!

I think spellcraft still works the same way with these spells. It's just different visual components. Emotional components would probably involve you making a certain type of expression on your face or assuming a certain posture. Psychic spellcasting still provokes AoO's like any other sort of spellcasting, so it stands to reason that there are visual cues that tell someone when an opponent is using psychic magic because they have either visibly dropped their guard (allowing for an AoO) Or they are struggling to concentrate on defending themselves while using their ability.

That's the way I have interpreted it.

Hope you have fun with your Mesmerist!

I think you need Spellcraft to craft wondrous items. And you have it.

Looking at your other skills, I think you're good...

I'd spare a few points later on for stealth and sleight of hand as they will play very well with your higher dex mod. Knowledge(arcana) could use a rank later as well. But honestly I think you've used your skill points very wisely for 1st level.

As for spells, Already suggested some earlier that I see as clear winners.

Looking awesome!

As for Craft Wondrous Items... I'd say wait til at least 5th level. Most of the really useful stuff has a minimum CL of 5 anyways. After that, go nuts! Mask of the Mesmerist is something I'm planning on crafting for my mesmerist as well. At that point I'll be pushing around a -9 or 10 penalty to attack rolls against my character with a fully debuffed enemy.

MORE IMPORTANTLY: A feat is a very limited character resource.. And early on, you're very starved for feats. Demand a little bit of compensation for your time spent crafting as a character. Have your friends characters pitch in for scrolls, potions, wands and whatnot with the OODLES of money they save having you half price their most expensive magic items.

It is in Occult Adventures:

Couple it with a Cruel weapon when you can afford it, and you'll be debuffing like a champ in no time.

PFFT, Errata Shmerrata :p My group literally ignores 3/4ths the stuff that gets changed effect wise. But in this case, I'd ask the DM to see if he'd allow the pre-errata'd version.

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In that case, you don't really have to rely on strength to do damage at all. You can leave it at 12 and boost dex and charisma as much as you can. Painful stare will keep your damage at reasonable levels.

Level 1 Feat: Intimidating Glance

Swift action intimidate will do wonders for debuffing everything about a more dangerous opponent. Every single one of your allies, be they spellcasters or melee bruisers will benefit from this.

Level 3 Feat: Weapon Finesse.

This helps your accuracy greatly. And it helps synergize offense and defense more importantly. At this point you don't need to worry about more damage because you're dealing an extra 1d6+1 precision damage with your painful stare. That means even your sword cane will be dealing around 2d6+2 damage at this point. Pretty damned decent.

Level 5 Feat: Battle Cry

A swift action to give everyone within 30ft a +1 morale bonus to attack rolls and a +4 morale bonus on will saves vs Fear. That's not even the best part. Any time during this minute, anyone under this effect can re-roll a failed save (ANY SAVE). This is priceless. Your charisma will be high enough that you'll easily be able to use it 3-4 times per day. It's great support that helps keep your team in one piece. It requires 5 ranks in perform or some nonsense.. Easily worth the price.

As for spells:

I would recommend Grease, Ill Omen, Ray of Enfeeblement or Silent Image.

All of them are extremely helpful in situations. Ray of Enfeeblement can really ruin a bosses day, even if they succeed at the save. And higher dex means you hit more often. Ill Omen for when you wanna SUPER debuff someone's will save and open them up to another spell from a friendly spellcaster. Grease cause grease is fun and hilarious. Silent Image because there are so many fun and creative uses for it.

I hope you find this advice useful.

EDIT: I JUST noticed the saves on your sheet are wrong. Your Base Reflex save bonus should be 2, not Zero.

Jaçinto wrote:
I believe our party will, so far, have a vitalist, a ranger that will probably go with bows and intends to take the trait to disable magical traps, and the other two or three players have not decided yet. I absolutely plan to take the ability to use my powers on undead as soon as possible, by the way. I love being able to control people or at least make things harder for them.

I see...

Have you given the archetype: Vexing Daredevil a look? They are probably the most viable melee Mesmerist you can make. Martial Weapon Proficiency... Improved/Greater Feint combo.. It's pretty neat.

EDIT: Ahh I noticed you were planning on taking Psychic Inception asap. That gets replaced with this archetype. Cancel this suggestion..

I understand completely.

I think I can lend you a bit more useful advice if you were able to describe your fellow party members as well.. A Mesmerist is a solid support and debuff class. Depending on the party composition, different tactics and spells are very useful.

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I love the Mesmerist class. It can excel in melee combat and debuff people into oblivion. Having said that, I strongly recommend focusing on dexterity based combat. Yes, it is more feat intensive. But a caster class needs dexterity far more than it needs strength. Keep Dexterity and Charisma high and your saves will be grand. You will need higher AC if you are going into melee combat regularly. And dexterity meshes much better with the Mesmerist's skillset.

As for first level feats: Intimidating Glance is a great first step towards your debuffing spree. Swift action intimidation towards your Hypnotic Stare target. And it'll help the entire party. Power Attack won't benefit you much.

Regardless of if you take my advice, I do hope you have fun with this character. I really had fun with my Mesmerist.

master_marshmallow wrote:

Advocating the devil: playing a fighter teaches players the d20 system itself, which can be daunting to new players who don't have the basci grasp of "roll d20, add modifier, then roll something else" as the main mechanics of the game.

Sometimes it's frustrating when someone wants to attack something using Spellstrike or Smite or some other ability and they don't even know that they need to make an attack roll first, because they are focusing on learning their classes abilities rather than the basics of the game's engine.

A weakness that not many PFRPG players have since 3.5 came out well over a decade ago. For some veteran players, they cannot even grasp the concept of not knowing the difference between a d10 and a d12, and they scoff at new players who don't know just by looking at them.

A simple, low level fighter build teaches them the basics of how to play, not how to build a character, not how to be optimal in combat, not about what is most fun about the game, but the absolute bare bones of table top RPGing.

If someone doesn't need that basic lesson, like someone transferring over from a different d20 game, then obviously it's different, but there is nothing wrong with keeping it simple, and saying that learning the basics of the d20 system (how to make attack rolls, what skill checks are, what saving throws are, how to track HP, etc) is teaching them nothing, then clearly there is some disconnect.

I can see the fighter class being a useful tool for say... one shot sessions where people learn how to add modifiers and do the mathing required of the system. Although I wouldn't stick them with a fighter for their first campaign. But I can definitely see what you mean. It is important to learn the basics.

Rashagar wrote:

Maybe should have clarified, stifle the creativity of new players specifically. If a new player asks the question "can I do this?" it's been my experience that for rangers the answer is more often "yes you can definitely try!" than it is for paladins.

Favoured Enemy is a nicer, more open mechanical method of teaching role-play in my experience. You as GM suggest a few types of creature that will be good for them to pick, and then let them know that it doesn't have to mean they HATE that species and want it exterminated, it could mean that they're particularly familiar with it's anatomy, or know it's behaviour patterns and it's social cues, or have had the most dealings with it in the past, OR a band of them slaughtered their family if they want. It gets them thinking about where their character has come from and how their past experiences have shaped them without letting them feel forced into a trope like the paladin suggestion can feel.

I can understand what you're trying to get across. You're saying that having a code of conduct discourages a new player from exploring the results of certain trains of thought. I can see that. There are definitely a lot of directions you can take another character while the code will limit you in some ways. When a player asks me if they can do 'x' in regards to morally questionable decisions that could have consequences, I generally talk it out with them a little bit and maybe have them roll a knowledge check or two. I don't flat out say no. But I do remind them that no matter what alignment they are, they should be mindful of their actions.

I see the code as a sort of built in reminder that is helpful to new players. Keeps their character's behavior consistent and gives them incentive to find ways of solving problems that they might not have thought of before. Using diplomacy in order to avoid needless bloodshed, for example.

Rashagar wrote:
I feel that preconception of paladin acts more to stifle creativity than guide role-playing, and the creative juices of new players are worth encouraging, not crushing. It's where most of the fun comes from, after all.

I do agree with you that the Ranger is probably the less complicated class in some regards. Although I don't feel the Paladin's code of conduct stifles creativity. I believe it actually challenges a player to find new ways to solve problems that they wouldn't otherwise think of. Solving a problem when actions do matter in a way that can affect your character directly and immediately is a little more engaging. The challenge comes from having to make a decision while trying to adhere to a set of ideals that you as a real life person might not share. That is encouraging roleplay. Not discouraging it.

TarkXT wrote:
Kahel Stormbender wrote:

Personally, I don't think paladins are that good for a completely new player. It's one of the most complicated of the core classes. And you must maintain the hardest to keep alignment. Let's face it, many people just can't play a lawful good character. Not to mention the paladin code of conduct can be a bit vague in places. Not to mention the hidden drawbacks to many of a paladin's abilities.

Take detect evil for example. Unlike what the new player might think, detect evil wont always tell you if that being is evil, even if they are. Divines who worship an evil god(dess) detect as evil. Supernatural entities can detect as evil. But most badguys wont detect as evil if they're below level 4 or so.

Think about it, a goblin shaman is typically stated as Adept 2. This is not a divine caster, and they aren't level 4. Detect evil wont tell you if that goblin shaman is evil. You can guess they are, but you may easily be wrong. Granted, goblins are generally evil. But you could be guessing wrong.

Which if you think is an issue (being the teacher) you can use a ranger or if you think they're competent enough a bloodrager.


And that's without factoring in how much easier it is to mess up a paladin build then it is with a fighter build.
I have to disagree here. The class itself gives pretty clear signs of the things it needs and you can build a paladin a variety of ways and still be pretty effective at least.

Not to mention the Paladin is a lot more resilient than a Fighter given it has stellar saves right off the bat. It's a good sturdy teaching tool that won't discourage a new player by failing every reflex save and will save it has to make.

Bravo, Tark.

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A feat that motivates you to kill for personal gain or for no reason whatsoever can never be justified as anything but evil. Even neutral characters have problems with killing innocent people. You'd have to go out of your way to slaughter 50 noncombatants. Doesn't matter what alignment they are. Noncombatant means they aren't trying to kill you or otherwise pose no threat to you at all.

This feat encourages the murder hobo lifestyle. Yes it might be fun for a little bit like the first chapter of Baldur's Gate where I snuck around and backstabbed everyone except Gorion just to see if I could.

But, you are fooling yourself if you think this feat is going on anything other than an evil character. In fact I would outright ban this feat if someone tried to justify its use as non evil at my table.

Mesmerist works best as a full progression. The 1st level does give you goodies. The swift action hypnotic stare for a -2 to will saves is good.. But the real meat of the class comes from the first six/seven levels. In this case it wouldn't be worthwhile delaying cleric spellcasting progression.

Mesmerist is, however, one of my new favorite classes. I've played one from level 3 to 10 and it's been a blast at every level. Mesmerists are deceptively good at melee and also have some VERY strong support mechanics.

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I do have fond memories of using this with my first Pathfinder Half-Orc Barbarian. Started out at level 4. The DM had randomly generated a +1 Mighty Cleaving Earthbreaker from a high level encounter. I managed to snag the Cleave feat by the very next level and the next couple of games were GLORIOUS.

It's very fun at low levels in tight quarters where you can control the flow of mooks more easily. And to be fair, I DID end up lucking out on random treasure, which helped immensely.

Another tactical advantage to this feat (And by extension, great cleave) is that I was able to keep enemies from swarming me, or at least influence the positions they attack from if they knew that I'd be able to wipe the floor with all of them with a single standard action. Especially useful for a barbarian with lower AC and much higher than normal damage output. It either made enemy mooks that were overly aggressive die much more quickly. OR it made them too timid and gave my allies time to rally and push into the battlefield, attacking higher value targets.

I won't argue that it's usefulness does dwindle a little bit during higher levels. Still, my first Pathfinder experience was that much more enjoyable because of it. If a feat can do that for a first time player. Then I say it's okay in my book.

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Arachnofiend wrote:
I just found a new side business for Magic Mart, owner and proprietor of Magic Mart: zookeeper of exotic beasts and monsters. He rents out good polymorph choices to Druids and other polymorph school specialists so that they may get the required "familiarity" with the creature.

While I love the idea. I'm pretty sure Druids would come from all over the globe to see this business for a completely different reason. They'd probably bust up the owners business for keeping the animals in captivity and then spend some time with the animals for freeeee!

You are right on the money with this analysis. There have been many discussions about this very topic. It is true, the unchained monk has a higher damage potential. Although it has sacrificed much of what made it unique, such as the strong will save. I think some of the things they did were interesting. But I am not a fan of the unchained monk as a whole.

Doomed Hero wrote:
Hopefully it will continue to evolve so that eventually OP can play a Neutral Paladin, because seriously, why the hell not?

OP can already try to play a TN Paladin if he wants to. That doesn't mean everyone has to get on the Neutraladin Hype Train. And it certainly doesn't mean I want to see Paizo bend the Paladin to be more relaxed with regards to alignment requirements.

Doomed Hero wrote:
The only actual argument anyone seems to have against that idea is "tradition." That's a bad argument.

This is false. You have either ignored any other argument or criticism made or dismissed it with a 'why not?' As you may see in my posts, this is not a counter argument I contest. Indeed, WHY NOT? I don't have a problem with players striking out on their own and trying new ideas that aren't in published material. What I have done is brought up multiple reasons why I think this concept doesn't hold water.

The concept of a strict code of conduct does not fit non lawful alignments. The Lawful Good Paladin falls if he commits an evil act. The same conditions must be true for a Neutraladin on some level for a sense of equality to be present. There must be some action taken that will cause him to fall outright. Problem is, the Neutraladin is not the antithesis of anything. He does not strongly oppose any alignment. So what causes him to lose his powers? Nothing? Anything?

Is his code of conduct simply a 'don't be too good/evil and don't be too lawful/chaotic?' If so, this is a significantly relaxed view of a Paladin's code that I can't agree with. Any character can have a 'general set of behaviors that I sometimes deviate from'. A Code of Conduct entails consistency and strong self discipline. These are traits of a lawful person who is compelled to adhere to a set of rules. Neutral characters are not compelled in such a manner.

Then again, if you disagree with the whole strict 'Code of Conduct' thing, I totally get it. It's a different kind of challenge that makes you have to put effort into how you roleplay. As for me, I see the code as something that enriches roleplay. It gives a player that much more reason to put aside their own opinions and motivations and think things through from a different perspective.

Of course you could argue 'Why does the player even need the code to do that?' That's a good question. I think the code is there as a reminder that your actions in the game matter. It's all too easy to lose sight of your core ideals when the game starts to drag on and hairy situations present themselves. The code reminds a Paladin of the ideals he should strive to meet in order to be worthy of the divine powers of righteousness he receives.

These powers don't come from any deity, though one could choose to enlist a Paladin into a worthy cause. These powers come as a result of YOUR own actions. They come from within. The code is a reminder that every choice you make has an impact, no matter how small. It challenges you to think things through and try to stick to your guns even if it's not easy, or if it garners a few eyerolls from across the table. This is a part of the game that I appreciate. And I do not believe it fits well with most other alignments.

Paladins are a classic reminder that you should roleplay a character as if the character wasn't just a fantasy version of you. People don't want to be challenged to take the high road anymore because it's too difficult for them to reconcile their own 'my way' attitudes with the ideals a Paladin is supposed to represent.

The solution? Remove the lawful good alignment and code requirement from the Paladin and just let anyone play it any way they want to. Can they do it? Sure! It's your game, after all. Does it take away from the flavor and challenge of the class? It absolutely does! It's damned difficult to play the straight man in real life. It should be equally challenging in a fantasy game. That's what's so fun about it.

Paizo has already provided a bevy of alternative classes for people who want to play a divine warrior of different alignments be they druids, clerics, warpriests, etc. All of these classes are awesome. So, why all this fuss over the Paladin? Because people want that sweet sweet full BAB? lol Please..

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