Almost no one takes Improved Initiative, IMX. Going first just isn't that big an advantage when you're in a party unless you have something like Sneak Attack that benefits from enemies being flatfooted. It's in that category of feats along with Iron Will and Skill Focus which everyone agrees would be quite nice to have but which aren't crucial enough to most builds to reasonable edge out feats more central to the character concept.
I have three reasons:
1) Casters shouldn't all have to take Spellcraft to cast on the defensive/not lose a spell when hit with damage or in a storm. As is, you're intentionally gimping yourself if you want a Cleric or Druid who casts off simple faith or a Sorcerer who casts "from the hip." There has been talk of moving this use of concentration into a different system entirely, which is fine, but then there's still...
2) Backwards compatibility. Concentration is very important to the Expanded Psionics Handbook, and the Tome of Battle makes good use of it as well. While most of the skill consolidations are a simple enough fix ("It says make a Tumble check? Well, roll your Acrobatics."), Concentration was basically eliminated, which means you would have to shoehorn gaining Psionic Focus or using Sapphire Nightmare Blade into other skills that don't really fit and/or aren't class skills for most of the classes that would want to use them.
3) To a lesser extent, Concentration is also useful to rogues who might want to use their skills in combat, at least hypothetically. Since Pathfinder also seems to be in the business of shoring up the weaker skills, it would be a good idea to change the rules for interruption to apply to all actions, which suddenly makes AoOs against movement a much bigger deal to avoid (which makes sense: "Oh, you tried to run by my fighter but got hit in the face with a greataxe? Sorry, that knocks you on your ass"). This would make it a useful skill for everyone.
Premise 1: The ability to cast spells in armor is not very powerful.
Premise 2: However, not ever caster should be able to cast in armor right off the bat.
Premise 3: The characters that Arcane Spell Failure screws the most are gishes, who are substandard in power level anyway.
Conclusion: If Arcane Spell Failure were a consequence of nonproficiency, gish builds would be capable of wearing armor but it would still be onerous for straight casters to wear it (they would have to either multiclass with fightery base classes or blow feats, both of which are significant investments which show them making effort to learn how to do this). This is also a more elegant solution than having to specify that a given class (like the bard) can cast in a certain weight class of armor when that's the weight class he's given proficiency in anyway and then patching the problem for everyone else by charging extra feats on top of proficiency.
As-is, the fighter's a bit meh, even with the Pathfinder changes. Extra combat feats just aren't that cool; of boy, I deal +2 damage. However, if there were a slew of high-prereq tactical feats, not only would fighters have cool options in combat, but they would be able to pull off all sorts of things that no one else could (they could at least get a couple of these tactical feats, whereas everone else would have to settle with one).
J. Cayne wrote:
This is my real concern. You shouldn't have to play a class with mechanics you hate just to play the character you want to play.
If we add this to everyone's casting, then the +5 to spellcraft DC becomes unnecessary.
In any case, I'm all in favor of this. There's no potential for abuse, and it's just darn cool. I'd actually also like to add in a "caster effects" clause, basically letting players describe cool minor things on the order of Prestidigitation happening to their characters when casting. So, maybe a Sorcerer who tosses out a fireball has flames curl up his body, twisting around his feat and up his chest until they come to a point in his hand which he closes... and there's an explosion 400 ft away, or his voice deepens preternaturally and his eyes glow when he casts Dominate Person. Maybe a Wizard casts Lightning Bolt and his clothes seem to be enveloped in buffets of wind and he floats an inch about the ground for a moment or two. Stuff like that. Stuff that any DM following the Rule of Cool would allow, only made explicit.
Assuming that your statement is true, why does this support your case? It seems that you are suggesting that singing and moving your hands is easier to do under stress than a math problem, which I don't agree with. I know I can barely sing without distractions, but I can do math in my head no problem.
Perhaps it was a bad analogy. I know I can do intuitive things under stress better than intellectual things.
In any case, I agree that I'd be fine with removing casting on the defensive and/or moving the whole system to something other than skills, since no matter how you cut it, it's going to be necessary for casters to take it. But if that's the case, we need to wait until the Skills board to talk about it.
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
They did... and I do not want them to anymore. There is not enough room in the core rules for two classes that try to fill the exact same niche.
I... I don't quite know what to say. That isn't the sorcerer anymore. Talk about backwards compatibility problems: every single 3E supplement assumes that you can swap your sorcerer for a wizard, and vice versa!
And if you're looking for classes that fill the exact same niche, I would like to direct your attention to the Barbarian and Fighter. The fighter gets bonus feats, the barbarian gets rage, but both are basically the bruiser of the group. There are important flavor differences between the two of them and there are some things each is better at, but each is doing essentially the same thing.
The Sorcerer and the Wizard are doing the same thing. They're both casting the same spells (much like the Fighter and Barbarian are using mostly the same feats, though the Fighter gets more of them), but the wizard is all about bookkeeping and planning every day, whereas the sorcerer is more about reacting, where you just cast and don't quibble about the details, because you don't have to. The difference between spontaneous and prepared casting is a deal-breaker for a lot of people. "Spontaneous arcane caster" and "prepared arcane caster" are vastly different to play in many ways. More than what they do, it's how they do it.
If you're trying to reduce redundancy, the only way to really do it is with generic classes. Warrior, Expert, Mage, and sort out the differences with huge lists of "Warrior Talents," "Expert Tricks," and "Mage Masteries." 3E D&D has redundant classes, classes which are mostly the same but with small differences to distinguish them. Given how lax 3.5 is about what can constitute a base class, even in core, the differences between spontaneous and prepared are important enough to justify two classes. If nothing else, people want a spontaneous arcane caster, and frankly I'm shocked that you would seriously consider turning that into an even less viable option.
Sorry about the rant, but the sorcerer's been the redheaded stepchild of the Big Four casters for over eight years now, and it would be a shame to not even try for parity now that we've got the chance.
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Not everything comes down to spellcasting.. and for the sorcerer, this is an avenue I would like to actively explore. Most classes have a solid niche that they are attempting to fulfill and it seems like the Wiz and Sor are both aiming at the same one (arcane caster). I decided that since the Wiz is more settled in that roll, the sorcerer needs another focus.
They intentionally fill the same role, because a lot of people really want to play the arcane caster but hate preparing spells. As such, the sorcerer needs to be able to stand up against the wizard, since his whole purpose is as an alternative option.
With the removal of Concentration, Spellcraft becomes a necessary skill for the Sorcerer to max. If he doesn't take it, he won't be able to cast defensively, and any goblin with a readied action can interrupt his spells with a bowshot. Now, while my preference would be to return Concentration (since removing it a) screws up Pathfinder's backwards compatibility with both the Expanded Psionics Handbook and the Tome of Battle, and b) means you can't have a sorcerer who doesn't understand the minutia of how his spells work without seriously underpowering yourself), in lieu of that, I think it is necessary to let the Sorcerer apply his Charisma modifier to spellcraft checks (though he still has to use his Intelligence modifier when deciphering magical writing and so one). This could be accomplished with a new class feature at 1st level:
Intuitive Understanding: Magic strikes a concordant note with your soul, and you "get" it like a musical savant might "get" a piano. You may add your Charisma modifier to Spellcraft checks instead of your Intelligence modifier. You must use your Intelligence modifier when making spellcraft checks involving magical writing.
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
1. Sorcerers get quite a few more spell slots than wizards, and the level lag is a balancing mechanic.
This isn't even strictly speaking true. With the change to Specialist casters, Wizards now end up with just about 6/day, though granted they have to choose one-to-two of them far ahead of time. That said, I wouldn't mind dropping the Sorcerer to 5/day, or even 4/day. 6/day seems to indicate that they are more about quantity than quality, which is, if anything, the exact opposite of how things are.
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
2. Sorcerer bloodlines grant quite a few more abilities than wizard arcane schools.
Abilities that are fun, but largely inconsequential when it comes to what the sorcerer is actually supposed to be doing, namely casting spells. And the Wizard gets two more feats, all of which are directly related to spellcasting, whereas the Sorcerer's feat list is a mere 3, takes much longer to get, and has at most one metamagic feat (and the rest tend to be unrelated to spellcasting).
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
The end result here is that if we pulled the level lag, sorcerer would be a superior choice to wizard (as many consider it to be right now).
I really don't think this would tip the balance. And frankly, I think the unstaggered casting is an important enough change that I would be willing to drop a lot for it.
I guess I see it differently. Sorcerers already ARE better at metamagic, even with the increased casting time, since they get to have the right metamagic version of the spell they want, when they want it, without having to guess ahead of time what they'll need. I think metamagic is much better when you don't have to prepare ahead of time. If you want to empower your fireball, you don't have to decide that at the beginning of the day.
I'm not saying they're not better at it. I'm saying that the game shouldn't apologize for it. If you want to be really good at metamagic, play a sorcerer and don't say you're sorry, because you shouldn't be.
And then, of course, there are metamagic rods, which certainly shouldn't increase a sorcerer's spellcasting time (and probably should increase a wizard's, since he's already getting so much benefit from them).
(I'm inserting it anyway, since the objection is specious whether you were excepting to get called on it or not).
How is it any more "non-backwards compatible" than, say, completely changing the rage system, or altering specialized wizards such that they're hardly recognizable anymore? Given how few Sorcerer PrCs there are anyway, and almost all PrCs have a Skill rank requirement anyway, when could it possibly pose a problem?
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Instead of just moving the bonus spells down 1 level, I'd shift the sorcerer's whole spell progression up to match the wizard's (2nd level spells at CL 3rd). Even with that change, I don't foresee a whole lot of people forsaking the wizard to play a sorcerer -- the two classes have totally different areas of focus (casting a few spells a lot of times, vs. preparing exactly the spells needed for a particular task/mission).
That's what I meant. The Sorcerer should get the new level of spells at the same time that the Wizard does, and the Cleric does, and even the Druid does. The bonus spells known should get unstaggered as well.
A few tweaks:
Pg 51: (School powers): These should probably be listed along with the Wizard class description, since they are exclusively part of his class abilities.
pg 194-5: (Abjuration school): Their level 1 ability seems kinda pointless. Also, their abilities seem altogether too concerned with personal safety against energy attacks. The whole point of playing an Abjurer is to can protect multiple people against all sorts of threats, not just yourself against one (one that isn’t even all that big a deal at higher levels). Personal safety is well and good, after all, but fairly pointless if it’s all you can do. Throwing an aegis over everyone, though, is very useful (as long as it isn’t a piddling +1 to +5 AC at the cost of your standard action each round. If the wizard is going to have to dedicate his concentration to holding up a protective aura, it should be more impressive than making the dragon’s worst attack miss).
pg 195: (Conjuration school): Summoning Master: It could be argued that I could summon a creature just before going to bed, have it guard us, and then summon a second creature the next morning, giving me two for that day (as well as a guard for a second night). I’m not sure if this is overpowered per se, but it’s still something of an exploit. It does mean that the Wizard would never have a good reason to not use this just before going to bed, because then he’d pretty much always have a creature at his side as well as another loaded and ready to go if things got heavy.
pg 196: (Illusion school): Invisibility Field: combat at higher levels is fast, brutal, and as frequent as the party feels like. As such, I don’t see a high-level party fighting for much more than 15-20 rounds in a day, which means an Illusionist can easily be invisible for all of them. This doesn’t particularly concern me, only that it’s so easy for them to do. If they had to use a swift action every round to maintain the invisibility, or if it functioned as invisibility rather than greater invisibility, it would give a definite downside to using this as your regular MO.
pg 196: (Necromancy school): Deathless: this is a type of creature in Eberron, and for that reason I would suggest changing the name here to avoid confusion.
pg 195: (Transmutation school): Fluid Form: isn’t Flight with speed 120 feet strictly better than Climb with 60 feet? Also, a maneuverability rating isn’t listed for the flight gained.
pg 196-7: (Universal school): Hand of the Apprentice: just a nitpick on the wording: “You must concentrate on the hand each round or it returns any items it was holding to you and then winks out.” This means the same thing but doesn’t have the weird image of, “it winks out. Wait, no, it winks back, returns your sword, as if it had forgotten, and then winks out,” that the current syntax implies. Metamagic Mastery: This ability is much more powerful than the comparable Sorcerer metamagic ability, which is just unfair given that if anyone should be good at using metamagic, it’s the Sorcerer. The wizard gets to use this many more times per day that the sorcerer does, and he doesn’t even have to pay for the increased spell level! He should at least have the time increased and have to lose a prepared spell of the appropriate level. As written, he could Quicken 9th level spells, or even make them last 24 hours if he’s using the Persistent Spell feat from Complete Arcane (he could even use the same trick that the Conjurer is using and make one 9th level spell persistent before he goes to bed and another upon waking on days when he knows he’s going to face a BBEG).
Here are just a few minor suggestions I had about this or that Bloodline ability. In general, I'd like the feat lists to be expanded a bit, but I don't have any hard suggestions just yet.
Pg 43: (Abyssal) Claws: Still not entirely sold on the idea of sorcerers being encouraged to enter melee combat, but that they progress is nice. Also not sold on Strength of the Abyss, though it’s an interesting idea for roleplaying purposes.
Pg 43: Arcane): Metamagic Adept: The time increase is still unnecessary, but now that all sorcerers can cast a Quickened spell right off the bat, it’s not such a big deal. New Arcana: It would be pretty cool if the sorcerer could pick any spell to add to his spells known, though he would have to pick it up at the highest level it’s listed for if it’s not already on the Sor/Wiz list.
Pg 45: (Celestial): Ascension: Doesn’t this just scream “unlimited use of Wings of Heaven”? I mean, it’s not like all-day flying is hard to get at 20th level, and it fits the ability so perfectly.
Pg 45: (Destined): Within Reach: This could use a better name, like “I can’t go out this way!”, “This Isn’t How I Die!”, or something like that.
(As a corollary, it would be good if save-or-dies in general to simply drop you to -7 or so and bleeding. That way, the DM can actually use them against the PCs, and the PCs can get hit by them without having to roll up a new character or go through the hassle of getting rezzed).
Pg 46: (Draconic): Breath Weapon: I’d like to see this more closely resemble actual breath weapons. Perhaps it could deal ½ sor level in d6s, but he could use it every 1d4 hours at 9th level, every 1d4 minutes at 17th level, and 1d4 rounds at 20th level?
Pg 47: (Fey): Laughing Touch: This should be a [Mind-effecting] effect, if not have a save.
Pg 48: (Undead): One of Us: This could be worded better: it seems to be trying to say that you don’t have to rot, but technically all it says is you don’t have to look like you’re rotting even though you are.
This single change will go a long, long way towards bringing parity between the sorcerer and the wizard. Staggered casting says "training-wheels caster," the guy who doesn't want to play around with serious magic whom you point at a problem and have him fireball it away, and that is not the image the sorcerer should have.
At the very very least, please give the sorcerer his bloodline spells known when he gains the new spell level. Otherwise, he only has the one spell choice, which means he basically has to wait yet another level before he's casting his max-level spells truly spontaneously.
Abraham spalding wrote:
1. *facepalm*2. My point was calling him on the exact wording isn't fair.
3. It is entirely reasonable to keep noncore stuff in mind, even if you can't balance off the assumption that every given bard will have access to it. That's all I'm saying.
4. I still don't see your point.
And I am all for making the bard better, but his spellcasting is fine. It might be nice to toss another spell or two onto his spell list at higher levels to let him deal with multiple people a little more easily, but he doesn't need more spells known/per day. When I played bards in 3.5, my problem wasn't that my spellcasting was poor, but that I always used it instead of my bardic music. My music just wasn't as good an option as casting a spell most of the time.
Abraham spalding wrote:
1. Who said anything about 5th level?2. Why do you assume he said just those words in character? The Bard was singing at the time.
3. He specifically didn't make those other suggestions, merely noting them as something else that could be discussed. It's been my observation that bards make out like bandits with almost all noncore material.
I honestly think the best way to fix the bard is not to remove performance from his class abilities (which seems to be what some people want), but rather to give him a choice of which performances he gets, expanding the list substantially beyond what the Pathfinder bard gets and making many of them specific to single types of Perform.
Rincewind the wizard?
Rincewind knew one spell that just happened to fill his mind and scare away any other spells that might have wanted to take up residence. And if you'll remember, the reason he put "Wizzard" right on his hat was because people kept questioning him about it.
Oh you mean a cleric dedicated to war and chaos who never prostheletizes but who seeks battle around the globe and exhibits strange powers.
That's still a spirituality, an ethos.
a pacific man who is trying to stop to fight but that sometimes is forceddue tot he circumstances? an officer that is more intothestrategy than the fuighting itself and whose decisión change the battlefield?
The former is fine, but not what KaeYoss specified ("disliking using your combat ability" is markedly different from "my class abilities have nothing to do with combat"). And trying to do the latter with the Fighter is pretty much impossible. The class is totally unsuited for noncombat options. I'm not sure it's even strictly possible to build a fighter without combat prowess after a certain point.
a wizard or sorcerer that see his/her power as a curse or who lives ina land where magis is distrusted and the moment he uses his spells he will be hunted and killed?
Having spells and hating it or not being able to use them for fear or being burned at the stake is different from not having them.
err they already exist... the godless clerics that follow abstract things... they have nothing religious or espiritual about them... and they are available in the rules...
"Following abstract ideals" falls under the umbrella of "spiritual" as KaeYoss was describing it.
a paladin dissilusioned with battle, seeing thatthe followers of her god are more into killing for killing and looting and who decides that as a protest she will not fight, proving herself going everywhere without raising her sword and trying to eb all example that people can do ebtter by not fighting?
That paladin is still following some pretty strong, if atypical, ideals.
By definition, your counter examples don't keep their cool in battle.
That's still a performance, if not a musical performance.
Dennis da Ogre wrote:
Bleeding attack is self regulating as you suggest. Crippling strike under 3.5 didn't stack with a ton of other stuff.
In 3.5, just like in Pathfinder, Crippling Strike deals Strength damage, period. In what way does that have anything to do with stacking, other than that damage always stacks?
Crippling Strike is from 3.5, and he applied to all his sneak attacks there too, no matter how many he had that round. Bleeding Strike doesn't stack with itself, so it's effectively once per round per person anyway. I do think it's weird that Dispelling Strike doesn't have any sort of per-day cap, even though Minor and Major Magic both have caps are each duplicate much lower-level spells.
If you think this is overpowered, provide some reason why it is. Run some stats, toss up some comparisons, give us a few mock battles. Let's just not jump to the conclusion that because this is a powerful ability it is overpowered.
If we do decide it's too much for the rogue to be able to do all this with every attack, the best way to handle it would be to let him only apply one per attack. With the possible exception of Dispelling Strike, these are simply "moves," differing ways of stabbing people. It's reasonable to say you can't perform two different moves with the same attack, but not that you can't perform two different moves with two different attacks, and it's straight-up underpowering to charge a swift action for this either way (it makes the rogue worse off than his 3.5 counterpart, who could Crippling Strike with every single attack for no opportunity cost). However, first thing's first: is this actually a problem, or are you overreacting because a noncaster is doing something cool?
The rogue and barbarian still can be completelly nonmagical. Having the option of picking up a tiny bit of magic doesn't mean they're foisting something on the rogue. It's functionally identical to adding a feat "Rogue Magic" or something.
Bards: Yeah, I don't see much reason for this.
Monks: They are supposed to be disciplined, which Lawful is supposed to mean. I think it makes sense to keep it.
Barbarians: Eh. Rage is extremely chaotic, though I can *kinda* see a very disciplined character who is usually quite taciturn and polite simply controlling what anger he has in a very precise and careful way, like a nozzle on a hose. I'm ambivalent about this one.
Howdy, all. I'm running a Pathfinder game right now, and one of my players really wanted to play a bard but wasn't going to ever use her Inspire abilities. She's very evil, and more than a bit insane, and the whole making people fight better thing just really wasn't for her, so I cooked up these quick-and-dirty alternate bardic songs for her. The campaign isn't going to make it past 11th level, so I didn't bother with the progression past that point, but I figured I'd post this anyway, just to give people ideas.
This bardic music progression totally replaces the bardic music in the beta (but no other class features of the bard). Also, “will save” = 10 + ½ Bard level + Cha mod, but “will save vs perform” = perform check result.
1st: countersong (as Beta),
In any case, I know this isn't perfectly balanced, and I'm not suggesting it be used as written. I'd just like to get the wheels turning on other possible bardic musics, so bards can choose.
Honorable Rogue wrote:
Most would see him as a rogue that dabbled in magic at some point. And that's exactly the image I thought you're player was looking for. A rogue with a neat (and maybe nasty) magic trick.
That's not what one level of wizard gives you. It gives you a bevy of options, and the level of expertise that that brings. It's much much more than "a neat trick."
Honorable Rogue wrote:
And yes, some of the rogue talents are better than others. Some are equal to a full-fledge feat. But that is true of rage powers and domain powers and even the feat system in general.
That doesn't mean we should totally give up. If we can make something balanced, we should.
There is, of course, a simple way around this. Describe it as spellcasting, but add "The rogue casts this spell from rote memory, which means it isn't subject to arcane spell failure and doesn't qualify as spellcasting for the purposes of meeting feat, prestige class, or other prerequisites." A *bit* contrived, but call it "rote spellcasting" and I think that that's enough explanation. Assuming, of course, we care whether or not this lets him meet prereqs without multiclassing.
I've seen people say that a few times. It's ridiculous, though -- all 1st level spells have to be as powerful as Sleep or Colour Spray? All weapons have to be as good as a spiked chain? All classes have to be as powerful as the cleric? If that's really how you feel, you must be extremely, extremely unhappy with all incarnations of D&D.
No. All options should be about as equal as we can make them while maintaining plausibility. It is implausible that a human would be as innately powerful as a half-celestial, so we give the half-celestial template some nice bonuses and toss on a LA in the hopes of letting the two play together without one overshining the other. A club is not going to be as good a weapon as a longsword, but it's also easier to find/make clubs and you're more likely to be proficient in their use. Spiked chains are better than shortswords, but they require a feat to be proficient, and we could always bump the spiked chain down a bit (and probably will, when we get to equipment).
In other words, you just strawmanned me. If two things are unequal, they should be made equal if you can, whether that means bumping up one or bumping down the other. Weapon Finesse isn't especially powerful for a Rogue Talent and would be difficult to bump down, so this means in this case, the others need to be adjusted up.
Even if you picked the worst rogue talents every time, you would still be more powerful than a 3.5 rogue. Do you consider the 3.5 rogue to be unplayably weak?
Beside the point. First, Pathfinder boosted the power of all the classes, and the rogue needs to stay competitive. Second, it's bad game design to give players sub-par options if you can help it. Re-writing the spells isn't actually that bad an idea, but there are limitations on how much you can do because of backwards compatibility (and more to the point, we're not there yet). If we can make Minor and Major Arcana worth taking, we should. Otherwise, it's like you're trying to trick the player into wasting abilities.
No; I'm perfectly happy with having rogue talents be weak but mildly flavourful. If you want something as good as a feat of your choice, that's a place for advanced rogue talents.
But that's not what they are. You can get Weapon Finesse (something almost every melee rogue wants anyway), Weapon Focus, and one other combat feat with your Rogue Talents, so everything else should be worth about a feat so they're all on the same level.
Honorable Rogue wrote:
Then he must not want the name bad enough.
My point isn't that he doesn't want to dip because it's too much of an investment, but because it's not what he's looking for. He doesn't want to be a caster who happens to use Ray of Frost a lot. He wants to be that rogue who knows a nasty trick. 2/day doesn't cut it for that. "So, show us that trick you're famous for." "Sorry, can't." Not exactly all that compelling a trick if you can't use it much.
Honorable Rogue wrote:
I’d like to think so too. But reading the Cleric, Druid, Paladin forum it seems many groups replace the Cleric with a wand of cure light wounds pretty quick.
The cleric is more than healing, even if the average player doesn't give them more credit than that.
Dennis da Ogre wrote:
It is functionally much better than sneak attacking with a short bow.
Under certain circumstances, yes, it's better.
But remember, the rogue could spend a mere 900 gp and get Ray of Frost at will. A wand is a mere 375 gp (and is he really going to need to use it more than 50 times during a given campaign?). Surely a rogue talent should be harder to duplicate than a mere 375 gp?
Abraham spalding wrote:
I don't think cantrips in an of themselves are too powerful, but I worry about taking this talent for say acid splash and having a touch attack vehicle to carry sneak attack without even having to multiclass for it -- in effect creating a bizzare warlock like character out of a rogue. Now it is possible the player will have a great story fluff yada yada yada but it still strikes me a little uneasy.
It's not functionally much better than sneak-attacking with a shortbow. Touch attack, yes, but it's always only once per round, and he can't even use Shot on the Run with it. Plus, he had to spend a Talent on it.
Chris Mortika wrote:
Maybe a relevant knowledge roll would allow a rogue to succeed with precision damage?
Yeah, that was what I was getting at. I don't so much have a problem, conceptually, with a rogue being able to go for the golem's knees (though it should still be more difficult/less effective than SAing a human, who has all sorts of weak points), though I don't think the rogue really needs the power boost, but such a change means you need it to be something a given rogue might not be able to do.
James Jacobs wrote:
It's easy enough to assume that the sneak attack ability itself is based on knowledge. You don't just magically get those extra damage dice. As the dice go up, that's basically modeling the rogue's knowledge of anatomy and weaponplay, of how he knows not only how to handle his weapon but knows what part of the body will be most damaged by his blows. It's no problem at all to assume that a Pathfinder RPG rogue also learns about the best ways of killing undead and constructs and the like as he gains levels. For constructs, he'll be attacking seams and joints and places where the creature's body is weak, or perhaps striking at places where the magical or elemental animating force is most vulnerable. For undead, he'll have picked up knowledge like "Aim for a vampire's heart" or "Stab a zombie in the head" or "Aim for the center of the ribcage of a skeleton" and so on. Most folk wouldn't know how and where to attack a creature's vulnerabilities; that's why most folk don't have sneak attack.
It is absurd to assume that all rogues know the weak points of all monsters. It is even extremely unreasonable to assume that all rogues know the weak points of merely most monsters: why do all rogues know how to kill zombies or golems? What if my rogue never much cared about undead? What if he came from a society that just didn't have them and he had never heard of them until he ends up in a fight with a skeleton? It was bad enough that D&D has made all rogues concerned with stabbing people in the kidneys, but this limits the number of characters you can model accurately with the class to a ridiculous degree. All rogues apparently spend all their time reading obscure journals so that they know how to quickly kill every possible creature in existence.