Benjamin Roe's page

Goblin Squad Member. RPG Superstar 8 Season Star Voter. ***** Pathfinder Society GM. 26 posts (584 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 21 Organized Play characters. 1 alias.

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As I assume prestige classes are likely getting the axe, I'd make sure that eldritch knight, arcane trickster, and shadowdancer are all included as archetypes, likely for fighter, rogue, and either rogue or bard, respectively. Otherwise, anti-paladin (and preferably other non-LG paladin variants) and crossblooded sorcerer.

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One of our annual Philly PFS conventions is this weekend, and there's still plenty of space! We'll be running both 8-99 and 9-00, among other offerings!

Sign up here: https://www.warhorn.net/events/unseelie-court-2017/

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Thanks, guys! I look forward to watching Philly PFS continue to grow, especially as we look toward PAX Unplugged and what it'll mean for the area.

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To return to the original question, you're not really empowered to offer any sort of box-text-consequences, nor do you really have to offer the player any explanation about how his character preferences interface with that box text. The box text tells him what happened, and he can fill in the details to himself if he needs to. Bonekeep adventures are strictly timed, and there's no need to instigate an argument with a player you know is prone to arguing, since it will only be at the other players' expense. Hand-wave it, and start at the dungeon doors, after a brief conversation about how he wants to handle the duration on skinsend.

As for this player being a problem in general, just send it up the VO chain for advice. I will say, though (and this is not aimed at the OP, specifically; just mentioned in response to much of the tone of this thread), that a GM trying to find in-game ways to punish a player for any reason (up to and including having a powerful character) is both grossly unacceptable in PFS, and makes that GM look like just as just as much of a jerk as this player is being made out to be.

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I would say allow the option to select a separate GM and then only show things that both the GM hasn't GMed and the players haven't played. If the GM doesn't mind GMing something he or she has already received credit for, then people can just not add the GM to the search.

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The important thing to note here is that spellstrike has no action involved. It's not an active or activated ability. It's a passive ability that allows you to deliver touch spells using your weapon instead of your hand if you want. If you look through the FAQs on this site it's quite explicitly intended to be co-functional with spell combat.

And yes, if you begin your turn with a shocking grasp held, you can discharge it with your first attack, casting it again at the end of a spell combat sequence, and then immediately getting a free attack as per the rules for touch spells as modified by spellstrike. This is all intended functionality, and I would play a different character if your GM says you can't use these magus fundamentals.

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All the "archery and spells are the two most powerful things in the game" arguments strike me as disingenuous fear-mongering. This class has neither access to spells at the levels that make them crazy powerful, nor the available feat slots or BAB to do archery as well as most archers. The magus is THE class I play religiously, and I agree this is a powerful archetype, but those arguments are dishonest, and there's nothing this archetype gains that isn't offset by something else in a meaningful way. This thread is full of knee-jerks, arguments that assume ideal circumstances (under which all characters should be overpowered), and theory-crafting that sounds like it's coming from people who don't play magi.

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Like Drogon, I'm the owner of two reasonably successful game stores in a metropolitan area (in my case Redcap's Corner in Philadelphia, but our sales figures and attendance numbers are very similar to his). Drogon and I have had several reasonably high-profile disagreements with regard to PFS in the past, but I wanted to chime in here and say that I agree with virtually every word he's written in this thread. My Pathfinder sales have dropped off a lot, and D&D is hard to keep in stock. My PFS numbers aren't the highest they've ever been, but they're still reasonably strong, with three to four tables (often full) regularly firing every week. Unfortunately, that's at least partially because I'm not running any D&D events at the moment while I regroup and lockdown a stable of DMs. I just wanted to take the time to echo his point of view, and offer another substantiated take.

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John, you're in Newark? If you feel like coming to Philly and GMing, we're running a ton of specials at Unseelie Court next month and I think we still need GMs for some of them.

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Hey everyone! Redcap's Corner is hosting our fourth annual fall Pathfinder Society convention this October at our newly moved and renovated Powelton Village location (3850 Lancaster Ave. in West Philly). It takes place from October 16th to 18th and features a ton of recent specials and 4+ star exclusives, as well as all of the new regular scenarios. If we can get up to 50 tables worth of sign-ups (we already have over 30 with sign-ups only having been open for a few days), we'll even add Ruins of Bonekeep level 3 to the schedule! The price to play is reasonably low, scales with the number of days you choose to play, and can be mitigated by GMing a few slots. Check out our Warhorn for more information, as well as the full schedule of events.

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Skylancer4 wrote:
So that they cannot be stacked? You are only able to benefit from one Polymorph spell at a time.

The problem is that most of these spells don't explicitly say "ignore the following rules of the polymorph subschool". They just proceed as though those rules don't exist, which means that for most of the above referenced spells there's either not enough information for the spells to work properly, or the spells have unintended consequences, like the caster suddenly no longer having a movement speed.

If the intention was to stop these spells from stacking with specific things, it would make a lot more sense to just say "the effects of this spell don't stack with [insert spell here]". I can see the designers not wanting the "aspect" spells to stack with each other, for instance (though it would hardly be game-breaking). I also agree that it's a little weird to allow the "body"/"form" spells to stack with each other, but as I've already pointed out, half of them have the polymorph subschool and half don't, so that's actually possible to do in various combinations at the moment already.

Skylancer4 wrote:
There is no "burden" on spells. The Polymorph school is the "general rule", the specific spells are the exceptions. That the Poly school has the built in limitation of one effect, makes it ideal as a balancing point for effects the devs don't want stacked multiple times or with each other. Each of those spells obviously alters the character, presumably in ways that would make the character less itself and more like the named creature/form but not completely. I fail to see how that doesn't "fit" the Transmutation(Polymorph) school quite honestly.

There absolutely is a burden. If I were to write a custom spell that had the exact text of dimension door, only it had the healing subschool instead of the teleportation subschool, I think you'd agree it didn't meet the burden of that particular inclusion. And the healing and teleportation subschools don't even have rules baggage, whereas the polymorph subschool has a ton of it. Polymorph has a very specific definition (transforming a creature into "the form of a creature of a specific type"), and a ton of extra rules to facilitate that, and it is neither useful as a definition if it has exceptions, nor functional when those exceptions fail to take its rules into consideration.

I agree that these spells are similar to polymorph spells, in that they're still transformative, but that only means they meet the burden of being transmutation spells, not necessarily polymorph spells. To use the "healing" example again, if I were to write a spell called cheer up that improves the attitude of the target toward all other creatures by one step, and then assign the healing subtype to the spell, I think you'd agree it wasn't the best fit. Well, healing is about making people feel better, right? My spell makes people feel better. It doesn't, however, meet the burden of "healing creatures or bringing them back to life", even if it's thematically similar.

Azten wrote:
Is is Arcane Cannon abjuration when the first sentence of the spell says "conjur"? Because that's how Paizo decided to go.

Actually, arcane cannon is a transmutation spell that never once uses the word "conjure" and, in fact, specifically says it transmutes the spell's focus into a cannon. Regardless, making nonsense rules "just because" is not a reasonable way to design a game. As the Paizo design team seems to be overwhelmingly reasonable in general, I think it's more likely someone merely didn't realize polymorph had so much rules baggage and/or wasn't clear on exactly what being a polymorph spell meant and just included the subtype without doing enough research.

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Why do the "aspect" spells and some of the "form" or "body" spells have the polymorph subtype, when they don't seem to meet the burden or utilize the rules inherent to that subtype?

Specific Spells and Some Evidence:
The polymorph subschool says "each polymorph spell allows you to assume the form of a creature of a specific type", "your base speed changes to match that of the form you assume", and "you lose all extraordinary and supernatural abilities that depend on your original form [...], as well as any natural attacks and movement types possessed by your original form", among other relevant things.

The following spells were printed with the polymorph subtype, despite not appearing to use its rules or align with its purpose:

Animal Aspect (Ultimate Combat, pg.222)
This spell says "your base form is largely unchanged [...], but some of your body parts are altered". You don't actually transform into any of the listed animals, which fails to meet the polymorph burden, and if you try to apply the polymorph rules to this spell, it just becomes a mess (no base speed to adopt, etc.).

Animal Aspect, Greater (Ultimate Combat, pg.223)
This functions the same way as above.

Aspect of the Bear (Advanced Player's Guide, pg.203)
Again, "you take on an aspect of a bear" (emphasis mine), but you don't actually take the form of one.

Aspect of the Falcon (Advanced Player's Guide, pg.203)
This functions the same way as above.

Aspect of the Stag (Advanced Player's Guide, pg.203)
This functions the same way as above.

Aspect of the Wolf (Advanced Player's Guide, pg.204)
This functions the same way as above.

Dust Form (Ultimate Combat, pg.228)
This says "upon casting this spell, you keep your relative form", which again fails to meet polymorph's burden. Further, fiery body (Advanced Player's Guide, pg.221), ice body (Ultimate Magic, pg.224), and iron body (Core Rulebook, pg.302) work in much the same way, but (correctly, I believe) don't have the subtype.

Frightful Aspect (Ultimate Combat, pg.230)
I'm on the fence about this one. It says "you become a larger, awful version of yourself," but seems compatible with polymorph rules even if it doesn't totally seem like a polymorph spell.

Paragon Surge (Advanced Race Guide, pg.48)
This spell says "you surge with ancestral power, temporarily embodying all the strengths of both elvenkind and humankind simultaneously, and transforming into a paragon of both races", which doesn't really sound anything like taking the form of a creature of a particular type, and then immediately goes on to explain that this spell doesn't really use any of the polymorph rules.

Shadow Body (Occult Adventures, pg.186)
This appears to function the same way as dust form, above, but is less clear about it. Does this actually turn you into a shadow, as the creature? If so, maybe it is a polymorph spell.

Sonic Form (Advanced Class Guide, pg.193)
This functions the same way as dust form, above.

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Vic Wertz wrote:
Following that logic, you would prefer we were selling new players the exact same Core Rulebook that we introduced several years ago, complete with all the problems that we've identified and fixed in the years since? I'm not a fan of that plan.

I can't speak for everyone who's unhappy about the recent errata, but my issue isn't with updating the books. It's with redesigning their content. I can't see a lot of downside to fixing obvious editing errors, typos, things that actually don't work as written, and clarifying vague writing, but the last few updates have done comparatively little of that, instead focusing energy on actually redesigning rules. If I have the old printing of a book and something seems wrong or vague, I've no qualms checking a different source to see if there's been a wording update, but I stop trusting my books when the new printing is actually radically altering functionality in ways I would have no indication I would need to look up. Paizo's been doing power-level errata for a long time, but it had previously been sparse. The last three updates have been unbearable, especially since so much of the vague writing remained untouched (naga aspirant's naga shape, for instance) in favour of kneejerk power-level errata for things that mostly weren't big deals anywhere but in the imaginations of vocal forum posters.

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Vic Wertz wrote:

Let's see:

Plan A: We ignore the problems, refuse to answer questions that people keep asking, and force people in PFS to deal with balance issues. A lot of the audience is unhappy, but hey, you're happy.

Plan B: We fix the problems and you are forced to incorporate them into your home game. A lot of the audience is pleased, but you aren't.

Plan C: We fix the problems, and so long as you're not playing in Pathfinder Society, you ignore all of these changes. (Or just the ones you want to ignore, if that makes you happier.) Yet everybody who values them can have them, so everybody's happy!

We have decided not to go with Plan A. *I* certainly think Plan C is the best, but it turns out that if you really want to pick Plan B, I can't stop you.

It all sounds very reasonable when you say it like that, but as a retailer I can tell you that 4th edition books really did go from "selling really well" to "literally impossible to sell" once Wizards crossed the power-level-errata threshold Paizo's now teetering on the edge of. 4th had the character builder software you could subscribe to, and players nearly universally used that instead of books because they knew they couldn't trust their books to be right. Paizo has PDFs and the PRD to fill much the same role. This update just pushed me over the edge of beginning to feel like I can't trust my books, and it's making my stomach sink. If people stop trusting their books, they'll stop buying them, which will cause retailers to stop supporting the game, which will dry up demand for the game very quickly. I don't mean to get all doom-and-gloom on you, but the last few updates are perched at the top of a very slippery slope.

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I have the following for trade right now:


Adopted Weapon Training gain the weapon familiarity racial trait of dwarves, elves, gnomes, halflings, or half-orcs, but take a -1 penalty on attack rolls made with weapons with which you don't have weapon familiarity.
Ancestral Ally expand your animal companion or mount options based on your race; dwarves: badger, boar; elves: bird, elk; gnomes: badger, giant weasel; halflings: dog, ram; half-elf: bird, elk, horse; half-orc: bear, bird, camel, horse; human: bird, horse.
Custom Order buy +1 or +2 ammunition in batches of 10 instead of 50.
Ley Line Access choose darkness/death, curse/fire, language-dependent/law, or light/shadow; three times you can count a spell with one of the chosen descriptors as being 1 caster level higher; can use the ability additional times if in Cheliax or Nidal (for light/shadow), Varisia (for language-dependent/law), Osirion (for curse/fire), or a nation bordering Lake Encarthan (for darkness/death).
Niche Specialist choose chases, darkness, or haunts, and gain some benefits under circumstances involving your choice.
Numerian Weapon Training only take a -2 penalty when using tech guns without proficiency, and timeworn devices have a lower chance of glitches for you.
Technophobe +1 to AC and saves vs. technological devices or robots, +1 to attacks and damage vs. robots, and a penalty for using tech items.

I'm not looking for anything in particular, but I'm open to offers.

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3x Aasimar (2x angel-blooded, 1x garuda-blooded)
1x Dhampir (1x generic)
1x Half-elf
7x Human (2x Chelaxian, 1x Mwangi, 1x Taldan, 3x generic)
1x Nagaji
1x Samsaran
1x Wayang

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wayang magus (hexcrafter) 3 / fighter (lore warden) 2 / shadowdancer 3 / barbarian (titan mauler) 2 / ninja 2

1: Combat Reflexes
3: Skill Focus (Stealth)
4: Dodge
5: Combat Expertise, Butterfly's Sting, Mobility
7: Combat Patrol, Hellcat Stealth
9: Weapon Finesse
11: Quick Draw

Magus arcana: prehensile hair
Rogue talent: fast stealth
Ninja trick: pressure points

Weapons: boarding pike of repelling, keen fauchard (using cracked opalescent white pyramid ioun stone)

Str 10, Dex 18, Con 12, Int 17, Wis 10, Cha 12 starting stats at 20 pts.

Chill touch: the only spell you ever need!

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Tcho Tcho wrote:
Benjamin, how exactly did this nerf the arcane archer? I'm building one as my PC at the moment and I really can't see if you just shouldn't have added the arcane archer or if I'm missing something I should know.

The arcane archer took a hit because people were using the FAQ to get early entry into eldritch knight, so that by the time they qualified for arcane archer they had nearly full wizard spellcasting progression AND BAB: aasimar wizard 1/eldritch knight 6/arcane archer X, etc. Such a character is a 6th level wizard upon taking its 1st level of arcane archer at level 8 and has full BAB minus 1. Compare with the alternatives now: fighter 4/wizard 5/arcane archer X (wizard caster levels, but only 5 of them at 10th level, with 3/4 BAB, and you're also not an AA until 10th level), bloodrager 6/arcane archer X (full BAB, but super crappy casting), magus 8/arcane archer X (good casting, and only a little behind on BAB, but it sure isn't wizard casting, not to mention you're an AA at level 9 instead of 7), etc.

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I have mixed feelings. Early entry into prestige classes was not a big deal at all for balance, but the previous ruling was so arbitrary and inconsistent. I think the new ruling is way more intuitive and elegant, but I'm sad to see eldritch knights, arcane tricksters, mystic theurges, and (to a lesser extent) arcane archers stop being playable.

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Thanks a lot! It's no problem. I just wasn't sure if there was a date. Since we know the playtest classes are confirmed to be in the rules update, is it all right if a player or two uses one of those classes this Saturday, or do we need to wait for the update to use that content at all?

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Yeah, I saw that other post, but it just said it was being pushed back a week, not when that would mean it would actually be available. So, there is no official firm release date then?

Thanks for your help!

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Wylantern wrote:
I never understood why monsters HAVE to have racial hit dice. I always replaced them with class levels and ignored it. Worked great, as long as you continue your math on to any HD-based special attacks or qualities.

That seems like it could be a fine system as long as you screen it for races with game-breaking abilities at low levels, and I'm more than happy to house rule things. I just want to know what the real rules are first.

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mbaum wrote:

My 2cents. I'll first state that I personally do not like monsters as characters. Once in a while is ok but as soon as on pc has one they all want one.

1) All Monsters have hit dice based on their creature type. Your Vegepygmy is a plant and has a d8 hit dice.

2) As soon as a monster gains a class level such as fighter it would gain those hit dice on top of it's normal monster hit dice.

3) In 3.5 if your race had a fraction of the hit dice that fraction was ignored as you gained a class level.

4) Creature hit dice don't appear to be maxed at 1st level as they have basically 1/2 their max hit points. If they were pc's I'd let them roll.

5) don't know but that's what nice about having them as strictly monsters and not making them into playable races. As a DM you shouldn't have to justify why this monster has that ability or plus to hit.

Thanks for your help! I had a few counter questions for you too, though!

1) I understand how racial hit dice are determined, but several monsters (specifically, kobold, orc, goblin, tengu, aasimar, tiefling, and hobgoblin... maybe more) state in their entries that they, in fact, do not have racial hit dice and that they should only have hit dice from class levels if ever presented above level 1. This is similar to the system from 3.5 that we can return to in number three. What I was really trying to ask was whether or not the creatures explicitly stated as lacking racial hit dice are the ONLY creatures who lack racial hit dice, or if their entries were chosen to be expanded because they're the most likely candidates for PC use. In other words, is there a more general rule about this sort of thing (like 3.5 had) or do these creatures constitute carefully chosen exceptions to the racial hit dice rules?

2) Yeah, but this isn't true with a goblin or tiefling, right? Or am I misunderstanding something?

3) Are you sure about that? I really, really thought the rule in 3.5 was that any monster with one or fewer hit dice (and no level adjustment) would have its hit dice replaced with class levels, and would start as a typical level 1 character, on equal footing with the core-race PCs. Was it only partial hit dice races?

4) I agree with you about letting them roll, but is there an official rule about that anywhere? I'm more than happy to house-rule stuff and come up with my own solutions, but I mostly started this thread to make sure I understand the official rulings before I delve into the world of coming up with my own solutions.

5) No arguments there from a DM perspective! (: As a player, though, I still really like playing more interesting and memorable characters, and whereas I don't rely entirely on out-there classes and races to make that happen, I certainly appreciate having those options available.

Thanks again!

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Savant wrote:

1. Yes and Yes. There is a difference between Challenge Rating, Hit Dice, and Level Adjustment. I am unfamiliar with the creature you describe, but I do not believe such a creature would have a Level Adjustment.

2. No half levels, it gets overly complicated. Where do we stop slicing levels? Let's keep a level as an integer value for now so we don't have to break out Calculus.

3. Yes.

Thanks for your response! Your post raises a few more questions for me, though. How can the answers to questions one and three both be "yes?"

In question one I asked if creatures were only able to ignore racial hit dice if they explicitly stated in their monster entry that they do (like goblin, kobold, orc, tengu, etc.), and in question three I asked if creatures were always able to ignore racial hit dice as long as they had only one hit die (or less). Which is it? I don't see how it can be both.

I'm trying to understand this from a perspective of keeping all PCs in a given party at the same effective level, regardless of whether or not they're all playing monstrous characters, so I'm trying to find out if a vegepygmy, for example (which has CR 1/2 and has one d8 hit die, but isn't explicitly stat-ed out for player-character-use like kobolds are), with one class level would ignore the racial hit die and be an effective level 1 character, or if it would keep its hit die and be an effective level 2 character (one racial hit die plus one class level), or if--as the rules in the Bestiary seem to suggest--it would keep its racial hit die and be an effective level 1.5 character, since CR is treated as effective class level prior to adding actual class level. A level 1.5 character doesn't even make sense, I realize, which is why I'm trying to clear this up.

Also, does level adjustment still exist in Pathfinder, at least in the game rules sense of the term that 3.5 had for it? I didn't think it did.

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I'm going to be running Pathfinder Society at my store in Philadelphia soon, and I was curious when we should expect the 2.1 rules update? I have quite a few players interested in playing oracles or cavaliers and I wasn't sure if they were legal immediately or if we had to wait for the 2.1 rules. We're running our first games this Saturday and wasn't sure if there was a chance the rules might be out before then, though I realize Paizo may want to wait until all six playtest classes have been released before opening the classes up for organized play.

Also, on a similar note, is the Bestiary going to make it into the 2.1 update? I have a lot of players who want to play kobolds or orcs or whathaveyou, and there's currently no mention of the Bestiary in the rules. Will we see monstrous PCs opened up for PFS play, or does that contradict the way Golarion works?


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Hey there! So, I know Paizo's opinion on monsters as PCs and I know the position that they plan to devote an entire book to the subject before it'll ever really be all cleared up, but I'm a person very drawn to non-standard options when I roleplay, so I'm trying to get a handle on the current possibilities for monster PCs as best I can.

Here are my questions:

1) Does a monster only fail to have racial hit dice when its entry explicitly says so (ie. kobold, goblin, etc.)? Does, for instance, a vegepygmy have racial hit dice, despite its CR of 1/2?

2) Assuming the answers above are "yes," how do you adjust for a monster with racial hit dice, but only 1/2 CR as a PC? How can we treat the monster as having half a class-level by default? And if the answer is as simple as rounding, is a being a vegepygmy really as good as having a class level?

3) Assuming the answers to question one are "no," does it amount (as it did with 3.5) to any creature with only one hit die officially having no racial hit dice, thus making the vegepygmy a fully playable character?

4) Racial hit dice don't get full hit points at first level, right?

5) How are ability modifiers determined when not explicitly broken down in the form of PC stat blocks? I remember that for 3.5 the answer was to just subtract 10 or 11 (whichever gave you an even result) from each ability score to get the modifiers, but that doesn't seem to be the case for Pathfinder, based on the few listings in the Bestiary that do provide PC stat blocks. Is there an established system for determining these at all?

And I believe those are all my questions. I'm pretty sure I understand the CR to class-levels conversion, and I'm certainly glad to see level adjustments done away with (even though the current system preserves the possibility of races with level adjustment-esque CRs). If I think of anything else, I'll keep posting in this thread.