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McDaygo wrote:
Backstory isn’t what I mean by well rounded. Sure the fighter doesn’t need to be a face but what does your character do during downtime to make them interesting and entertaining to listen to.

Brothels and taverns. I thought that was the adventurer default. No feats, skill points, or class features required. On a different character (not the ablative meat shield who's gonna live life to the fullest before a monster swallows them again) I might splurge a skill point in Craft, Profession, or Perform to indicate a focus on their outside hobbies... but nothing is stopping the Fighter with zero ranks and 8 Charisma from singing every night in the bars, they just suck at it. Again, zero character resources of any kind spent.

What a character does for fun is not a class feature. A character's hobbies do not need skill points. Feats are not required to give a character a family, friends, or rivals. If that's what you mean by well-rounded, any character can be.


Optimized one dimensional characters, all day. At least I know they are capable of something. Character, by which I mean the mental and physical traits that distinguish a person, doesn't require class features or feats (there might be a few exceptions I'm missing). If I'm forced to choose between two characters, one who says they're "good at this one thing you need" and another who says they're "okay at everything", I'll always take "good at one thing". They can still have flavor. And the jack of all trades might not have flavor, nothing requires it.

It even has a name, given specifically so it'd be catchier and people would remember it.

Stormwind Fallacy wrote:
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa.

As for mechanical choices outside your focus, Pathfinder rewards specialization. The focused sneaker doesn't want an amateur with them. Anyone who might be able to spot the expert will definitely spot the amateur. If the Fighter is having trouble hitting the Bard definitely isn't hitting. If McBrain the Wizard can't hit the knowledge check then MrOnerankineverything definitely can't either.


The Pathfinder provided art for a Stone Golem is an exaggerated human figure. The waist is as small as the head. The biceps seem to be smaller than the swords it holds. The knees make me wonder how it doesn't collapse under its own weight. The point being, I see lots of extremely vulnerable spots that could be more easily broken and cripple the thing. Of course, I also think a warhammer would be a much better choice to do that but Pathfinder doesn't model those kind of weapon vs defense interactions (and I don't want to bring them back, screw you weapon tables).

Critical hits are not hits to vulnerable anatomy. They're just hits that do more damage. If there are thinner parts of a golem then there are parts you can hit for more damage. The only way to avoid that is a perfect sphere, in which case any hit to the dead center will do more damage by virtue of not being deflected in some way. Again, if something has a place you can hit harder (because it's weaker, hurts more, is thinner, smaller, whatever) then it makes perfect sense you can crit it.

The high crit range weapon choices might not make sense but that's a completely different problem.


It's not folklore in Pathfinder. It's lore. Paizo has explicitly said that's how it works in the flavor text. And it still doesn't contradict the folklore. Instead of the rune bringing the golem to life itself it can bind the Elemental into the golem (therefore bringing it to life). I'm not aware of anywhere they actually specify those kind of details of the golem building process.

A critical hit is not a debilitating hit unless you take a feat to allow you to do that. A critical hit is just more damage. What that means is... well, complicated. HP is an abstraction, 20 damage is lethal to low levels and ignorable at high levels. Do high level people's eyes become immune to stabbings? I'd assume a golem's knee is just as vulnerable (compared to the rest of it) as a human knee. And you can whack them with a sword repeatedly and it somehow hurts them (ignoring DR, which even the Flesh Golem has despite exclusively being made of meat, wires, and staples) so presumably there's stronger and weaker bits.

...the Terbutje is a finesse weapon? The bunch of spiky stuff jammed into a club? Still 19-20 crit range. The Falchion, a weapon described as "better for chopping than stabbing"? Best crit range in the game. Crit ranges are a mechanical construct to add variety to weapon types. I think most high crit range weapons are piercing just because it's the least useful damage type (bypasses the least resistances).


Yqatuba wrote:
I get why a robot or clockwork might be vulnerable (you could break some important gears or computer chip), but how can a stone golem, which is just a homogenous humanoid shaped mass of stone be hit by a critical? It's like with that rock monster on Galaxy Quest "It's a rock, it doesn't have any vulnerable spots!"

A Stone Golem is not a huge humanoid shaped mass of stone. That's an Earth Elemental. They are immune to critical hits.

Stone Golem wrote:

This towering stone automaton bears the likeness of an archaic, armored warrior. It moves with ponderous but inexorable steps.

...
A stone golem has a humanoid body made from stone, frequently stylized to suit its creator. For example, it might look like it is wearing armor, with a particular symbol carved on the breastplate, or have designs worked into the stone of its limbs. Its head is often carved to resemble a helmet or the head of some beast. While it may be sculpted to carry a stone shield or stone weapon such as a sword, these aesthetic choices do not affect its combat abilities.

So Stone Golems are very explicitly made to resemble people which easily leads to critical hit ideas (joints, the head, etc.).

The folklore version also supports this as it has a big rune that gives it life that you can remove, destroy, or rewrite (depending on which story we're talking about).


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Snatch Arrows wrote:
Benefit: When using the Deflect Arrows feat you may choose to catch the weapon instead of just deflecting it.
Deflect Arrows wrote:
Unusually massive ranged weapons (such as boulders or ballista bolts) and ranged attacks generated by natural attacks or spell effects can’t be deflected.

I'm pretty sure most instances of giants throwing rocks are "unusually massive ranged weapons". Maybe there's a Small giant with rock throwing but I can't think of one. Anyway, you can't use Snatch Arrows on something unless you can use Deflect Arrows on it and boulders are specifically called out as something you can't use it on.


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If 3.5 is on the table just use Dragonfire Adept.


The classic is breaking the Magic Circle. It even says it's a bad trap because anyone can break it.

Honestly, I always just assumed that's what all of them were. And trapfinding is just "and this is the part you need to break, the rest are decoys". Like defusing a bomb in movies. Cut the red wire.

Probably there's some unwritten assumptions that guide all of this. Like the spell manifestations stuff. They just always assumed it worked that way but never bothered to write it down. Maybe all magical traps are just fancy magic circles and you need to be able to see the circle for it to affect you. So it's not that the Rogue sees an invisible field, they see magic writing they recognize as a sensor. Then... have a giant stick they use to break it? Actually, given that's exactly what the 10-foot pole was for, probably. So potentially it's just pre-skill check D&D being carried forward without accounting for the changes (alarm spell is now larger, some traps are line of sight).


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Linnorms are heavily inspired by Lindworms. Seriously, the Father of All Linnorms is Fafnheir. Now where the curse specifically comes from I don't know. The Wagner version of the Nibelungenleid has the ring that transformed Fafnir cursed to pass on misfortune to whoever had it. I think some versions might have the gold it made cursed as well. That's my best guess.


As blahpers mentioned this is basically what Throat Slicer is made for. The name even evokes the image we're discussing, holding a deadly weapon to a hostage and threatening to kill them if anyone moves. Of course, amusingly, the best weapon to use it with is a Pick because a x4 crit is probably more important that whatever weapon specific bonuses they get.

There's a reason this ended up abstracted out. For every hostage situation that's super deadly serious there's another where the hero quickdraws and shoots the weapon out of their hand/shoots the hostage taker. And both work in Pathfinder (to an extent). It's not hard to make Coup de Grace dangerous, just use an axe (or any other x3 weapon). Two-handed if you really want to make it brutal. A standard bestiary Orc with a Greataxe can force a 25+ Fort save at level 1. Likely much, much higher (average of 40). The part where it falls apart is in stopping someone from Coup de Graceing. If they're high level enough you probably can't kill them in a single shot and the AoO it provokes doesn't actually interrupt the attempt. Saving the hostage at high levels can probably only be done by making them no longer helpless.

But all that rambling aside, if you can put your gun to someone's head and they don't resist, yeah, it's probably a Coup de Grace. But people resist everything unless they have a condition that says they don't. Paralyzed people get Reflex saves. Objects get Reflex saves (magical objects, but still). So unless they have a condition (like helpless) that allows Coup de Grace then you can't just walk up and put the gun to their head. They will resist. Even the Cloak of Resistance.


Create Demiplane wrote:
Alternatively, when cast within your demiplane, you may add (or remove) one of the following features to your demiplane with each casting of the spell, in which case it has an instantaneous duration.
Creation Subschool wrote:
Creation: a creation spell manipulates matter to create an object or creature in the place the spellcaster designates. If the spell has a duration other than instantaneous, magic holds the creation together, and when the spell ends, the conjured creature or object vanishes without a trace. If the spell has an instantaneous duration, the created object or creature is merely assembled through magic. It lasts indefinitely and does not depend on magic for its existence.

Bolding mine. Adding or removing features changes the duration to instantaneous. Instantaneous duration on a Conjuration (creation) spell means that the spell makes something which then sticks around forever. The something in this case is the changes to the demiplane. The only thing you need to use permanency on is creating or expanding it.

Alternatively, you can just cast it again to renew the duration. It's days/level, you don't have to check in more than once a week.

Again, "F (a forked metal rod worth at least 500 gp)" is a one time cost. It's a focus, not a material component. You buy it once and you can use it again and again. By the time you're throwing around 7th level spells a single 500 gp purchase should be peanuts.


Lesser Create Demiplane wrote:
When you cast the spell, you decide whether the demiplane is within the Astral or the Ethereal Plane. It is filled with air or water (decided by you). The plane is generally flat and featureless, such as an earth, stone, water, or wood floor. The “walls” and “ceiling” of the plane may appear like solid earth, stone, wood, or water, or they may end in mist, a featureless void, or a similar unreal-looking border. The plane’s environmental conditions are those of a temperate spring day on the Material Plane. You determine the plane’s light level (bright, normal, dim, or darkness), which affects the entire plane.
Create Demiplane wrote:

This spell functions as create lesser demiplane, except the area is larger and you can add more features to the plane. You can use this spell to expand a demiplane you created with create lesser demiplane (you do not need to create an entirely new plane using this spell), in which case it has a duration of 1 day/level. Alternatively, when cast within your demiplane, you may add (or remove) one of the following features to your demiplane with each casting of the spell, in which case it has an instantaneous duration.

Greater Create Demiplane wrote:

This spell functions as create demiplane, except the area is larger and you can add more features to the plane. You can use this spell to expand a demiplane you created with lesser create demiplane or create demiplane (you do not need to create an entirely new plane using this spell), in which case it has a duration of 1 day/level. Alternatively, when cast within your demiplane, you may add to your demiplane (or remove from it) one of the following features (or any of the features described in create demiplane) with each casting of the spell, in which case it has an instantaneous duration.

It looks like you get to choose Material or Ethereal, water or air, light level, and a general theme (walls and ceiling). That's apparently all you get for free. It also specifies that you can only add one feature at a time with each new casting.

Why do you think it's expensive though? It uses a focus, not a material component. You just need it once. And adding features is instantaneous, i.e. permanent and undispellable.


Cavall wrote:

Being so angry you could fly was stupid in the first place. There. I said it.

And justifying system abuse by saying not doing it is stopping you from roleplaying is even worse.

Unchained barbarian is great, and was made for everyone playing tired of system abuse and clunky mechanics.

Don't forget growing claws, sprouting spikes (that eventually hurt Good creatures that get too close), getting a toxic bite, giving their mount DR/magic, and summoning spirits that protect them and attack their enemies. Oh wait, those are the powers the Unchained Barbarian still gets. Growing a pair of wings and flying? Really not that strange.

Like I said last time, I am going to continue to call it a nerf because it explicitly pruned the rage power list of the better powers and a bunch of not great powers that apparently didn't fit their idea of Barbarian. If you can give me one good reason why Dragon Totem Wings was removed while the rest of its line was included then I'll reconsider. But until then it's just a stealth nerf Paizo slipped in while claiming to fix the class.


That looks like what I expected.

The Gunslinger is playing agressively. The buff might not have helped. The Wizard did not use the buff because they thought it would not help and was not needed. The Gunslinger did not play how the Wizard expected and it led to the death.

Now what I cannot figure out because of the language barrier. Either the Wizard never casts long duration spells or the real Wizard player casts them and the substitute player does not. Also the Wizard doesn't get Magic Vestment (which is what I am guessing Mighty Magic Armor is) so I am a little confused about what the spells are. Heroism is the only one of those spells that stacks with common magic items though. Greater Magic Weapon and Magic Vestment (at level 15) have no point if you have +3 armor and weapons already. By level 15 you should have +3 armor and weapons. Probably higher.

deathstern wrote:
I'm a ranged, why do I need as much life and RK as a melee?

This does need to be talked about though. Ranged attackers do not need as much AC (RK?) if they stay out of monster's attack range. If you are standing near a monster then you need just as much AC as the melee fighters. And in that story you seemed to be standing real close to the monster.


Ryan Freire wrote:

...

Flying, for all the amount you should need in an adventuring day is 16k in boots.

...

Ubarb in particular gets the crit multiplier increase 4 levels earlier than fighter, who gets it at capstone, thats basically an entire adventure path. The +6 to confirm EVERY crit combined with the +4 from crit focus (if youre building a crit fisher) > one auto crit on a charge in actual play. +10 to hit on a martial is basically an autoconfirm.

3/day is usually enough. But definitely not always. Additionally, 16k is only cheap at higher levels. At level 10, when the CBarb could get flying, it's 26% of their money. Does that come from the armor, the weapon, the stat booster, the cloak? Where are they taking money away from? And Winged Boots means no Boots of Speed.

As I said last time, I've never played a UBarb. So maybe there's something obvious I'm missing, but is there some way you can enter a stance as a free/swift action? Because without that the UBarb's first turn is Rage, Accurate Stance, and maybe a move/activate the boots while the CBarb's first turn is Rage/Pouncemurder. You'd need an awful lot of extra damage (and probably some super long battles) to make up the difference of a Barbarian's full attack.


If I'm reading that correctly then it just depends on the group whether to do few buffs or a lot of buffs. But you can never expect someone else to cast buffs for your character. Their character is their own, they decide what to do with it. If they made a Wizard who shoots Fireballs, that's what they're going to want to do.

I'm curious what buffs you wanted though. The Gunslinger should have decent AC and HP, the Wizard defensive buffs tend to be personal, cost money, or are single target. And almost all of them are very short duration. They might not have the buffs you want or the buffs might not work how you think they do.

As a general rule, healing in combat is a bad idea because healing doesn't heal as much as the damage being done. Sometimes it's a good idea to heal, the Heal spell heals enough to be worth it, but generally the attacks are doing more damage than healing. The best use of the healer's actions is to try to kill the enemies before they can attack again.

Similarly, buffing is a balancing act between improving party members and hurting enemies. The best buffs last a long time (and are cast before battle) or affect the entire party. A spell to protect a single party member either better be a really powerful spell or that party member has to be really important. And while your own character is super important to you, that doesn't mean they're important to the party as a whole.

The best guideline I've seen is that if you ask for a spell you compensate the caster in some way. If your friend is a chef you don't just show up at their house and demand they make you dinner. You might bring them some fancy ingredient you got and ask them nicely to cook it though.


Ryan Freire wrote:

Barbarians get their crit multiplier boost at level 16, 4 levels and likely an entire module before fighters get weapon mastery which is their capstone.

Ubarb, class abilities only as to hit boosts are a wash, +20 BAB, + 4 from rage +6 from accurate stance.

Fighter +20bab +6/7 from weapon training + gloves of dueling

Slayer +20bab +5 from studied target

How is the fighter or slayer more accurate than the Ubarb while dual wielding again?

...

Reckless abandon: dumping AC while youre already at -2 ac from raging is how you get wrecked.

Lot of theory, very little actual play demonstrated in this thread.

A bard. Inspire Courage doesn't stack with Accurate Stance. For the Fighter, Warrior Spirit to give their weapon Bane and Greater Weapon Focus. For the Slayer, Quarry and Ranger Combat Styles (to dump Dex).

I have not played a Ubarb. I have played a regular Barb and the most annoying part was sitting around doing nothing or plinking away with my bow (eventually Adaptive, but that's a minor patch at best). I took Greater Elemental Blood before Greater Beast Totem just so I wasn't sitting around while the enemy was out of reach. If they don't fly they cast walls or pit traps or the terrain hurts you or there's so many minions you can't reach them. I don't really care if the Ubarb or Barb is more accurate or hits harder unless it's some obscene difference. I do care whether Smashy McFace can take her axe and smash some faces in. Ubarb not only doesn't have those options, they actively removed them. And if you think it's theorycraft that lots of mid-high level enemies can fly or prevent you from reaching them, I don't think you've ever played at higher levels.


Kraken Caller Druid.

Wild Shape wrote:

The kraken caller can alternatively expend a daily use of wild shape to grow tentacles out of her body while otherwise retaining her own form. This effect lasts for 10 minutes per level, or until the kraken caller changes back.

...
At each of 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th levels, a kraken caller can grow an additional tentacle. As a move action, she can retract or regrow any number of the additional tentacles, redistributing the mass of any retracted tentacles. For every 2 retracted tentacles, she can increase the reach of the remaining tentacles by 5 feet (to a maximum of 15 feet), or increase the damage dealt by her tentacles as if she were one size category larger.


I can never think of UBarbarian as anything but a downgrade since I noticed that they very explicitly excised any way for the Barbarian to get flying. They include the other two Dragon Totem powers but not Dragon Totem Wings. It wasn't even that good and they still went out of their way to get rid of it. And the UBarb will never get a bonus on ranged attacks. CBarb at least could do it with Belt of Mighty Hurling.


thejeff wrote:
But yeah, some aren't good at it, but that's not the same as "It's always obvious". Most of those who fudge don't fudge entire combats, so it's not like you can tell "the rolls aren't really random". Often you're just dialing back weird dice luck to something closer to what would be expected. The six goblins just rolled 3 20s in that round? Nah, one of them was really a crit, the others just normal hits.
That's a nice ideal. Three posts later:
Matthew Downie wrote:
That's why it's better if you can roll openly. If you roll behind a screen, it's a natural assumption that anything statistically unusual is probably the GM changing the numbers - isn't that the primary reason for them to use a screen in the first place?

Here's some reality. You are right, not all fudging is caught. But not all "catches" are fudging either. And anything that looks like it's not random to the player is going to be labeled fudging by someone looking for it.

And in the nicest way, people are really bad at understanding probability. Randomness to them means the results keep changing. You even allude to that yourself by talking about "dialing back dice luck". But what happens if the goblins all roll above 13 next round (or whatever they need to hit)? Do you make a few of them misses so the goblins don't all hit? Because otherwise the players will suspect you changed the dice, even though you didn't that round.

This is why I personally roll in the open. I am not willing to commit to continuously altering dice rolls so that players think it's random in defiance of actual randomness. There's a thousand other tools on the GM side during battle (target priority, spell choice, HP values) and outside of battle (healing/resurrection for quests, provided loot) that changing the actual dice rolls just doesn't seem worth it.


This is an opinion thing. There is no universal right answer, just right for you. And as I've said previously in this thread, right for you with that GM. One I absolutely trust and am happy to let fudge in that I'd know he has a good reason. The other I would much rather see the rolls so I can ask how that monster has a +26 to attack at level 6 (it was the AC). I trust that he has our best interests in mind, I just don't trust that he knows the rules that well. And fudging when you don't fully understand the rules can end up setting bad precedents and unbalancing the game or worse, making fudging the default answer to any problem.

As for the assertion that only pedantic rules lawyers will notice fudging, GMs are also pretty good at finding it out. I can't tell you what the attack bonus of a Goblin is. I can tell you if we're fighting six of them at level 6 then they're either a complete cakewalk or have an attack bonus somewhere around +6-8. More rolls also means it's easier to spot when the rolls aren't really random. Then there's the GMs that are just terrible poker players. Roll, make a disappointed face, ask for your AC, tell you it hit. Some even skip asking for AC even though they've never seen your sheet and it's the first battle.

What (hopefully) everyone can agree with is that the players and GM need to agree on how they want to run these things.


If the players/PCs aren't involved and don't plan to be involved then there's no reason to roll dice unless you want randomness to decide something. Single roll for the battle, contesting rolls for a blow-by-blow, whatever you want randomness to decide. Or you can just skip it and narrate what happens if you already know what you want. Think of it like video game cutscenes with player interrupts. If they don't click a button it plays out the way you say. If they click a button then they can change the results. Just keep in mind the same problem with video game cutscenes, don't make the characters more awesome/powerful than they actually are. Nothing quite as disappointing as finally getting that awesome character as a party member... and realizing they're weaker than you and can't do anything they did in the cutscene.


The rules are pretty clear, the mask blinds you. Not "the mask blocks vision" it just straight up blinds you. Personally I always figured it was like those face computers they love in sci-fi. You put it on and when you think of something it pulls up the relevant part of the appropriate book and displays it. Making it invisible would make it completely useless. That way also implies you could make a miniaturized version if you can take the DBZ jokes.


Okay, so we definitely need to make some distinctions here. Your "overt" punishment is just in-game consequences for the characters. It's punishing the characters. Your "covert" punishment is punishing the players.

There are absolutely times you might need to punish the players but "had a terrible, stupid, disruptive plan" isn't usually one unless it's like the tenth time and you've already told them to knock it off a few times already. My point is, unless this is a regular occurence and you've asked them to stop, this isn't really the kind of thing you should be punishing the physical humans behind the characters for.

I don't really see why this is so complicated. The character literally ran onto a field, interrupted a duel by stealing a weapon, stole a holy relic, and did it in full view of a whole bunch of people who wouldn't tolerate that, even after you reminded them how stupid an idea this was. What was their getaway plan? What was their endgame? If they can actually escape you might be able to have a nice chase scene/fight as the Church tracks them down. If not... well, then they deserve what they get. Ask whether they prefer service to the Church or new characters. Geas/Quest is made for this. If the whole party is involved (which is sounds like not) then you might need to recalibrate your expectations for the game. If it's just a couple of players then you might need to sit them down out of game and explain why setting fire to orphanages, attempting to assassinate the king, and generally trying to be an internet troll in game is no fun for everyone else.


So as a GM, there's really not much problem with Occult stuff. It's fairly complex but you'll never have to learn more than what your players actually plan on using. The only thing from there I've actually had a player want to play is Kineticist and it seems a popular enough option (blast all day) I wouldn't suggest outright banning it without a good reason (though banning the whole book is a pretty good reason).

I've done average (round up) HP before and it's seemed about right. PCs died because they took big risks or an axe got a crit. 50-100% more HP than that seems like PCs would never be in danger.

I've dropped Weapon Finesse, the players liked it but I think it only came up ten times over the entire campaign. The melee types still used Strength, the casters were the only one who used it (and not often).

As a player I've never felt more feat starved than when trying to build a low level martial. Power Attack and Deadly Aim as default options would have made it less frustrating and made that backup ranged weapon not feel like a peashooter. So, yes to the feat changes, at least as a player. It'd just make those first few levels easier, especially as a class without a pile of bonus feats (Barbarian or Bloodrager mostly).

Now the obligatory question, why 1e and not 2e? If you want the Unchained action economy, well, 2e is basically designed around that. 1e isn't and a few classes play poorly with it. 2e gives max HP, everyone gets Perception (which is now also Sense Motive), and they reworked feats. Basically, it includes a lot of your changes in a system designed around them. Depending on what you want it might be better to homebrew 1e stuff into 2e than houseruling 1e. I've seen some epic length houserule documents, that's all I'm saying.


Wonderstell wrote:
I kinda feel we've left the original character concept behind in pursuit of numbers. The idea was to make a playable assassin that could dish out big numbers, probably more than once per day/career.
The original character given by the OP required 4 attack rolls to hit for which their solution was "using prescience to ensure hits", an ability with 3+Int uses a day. Also they never gave an attack bonus and my ballpark guess put it in the "needs at least an 11 to hit with the best attack". So "can do it multiple times in a single day" doesn't really seem like the goal. And as for the focus on numbers:
Omagi wrote:
Looking for assistance in building a character capable of this damage output at level 6. Thanks in advance!

That's exactly what the OP asked for. They didn't ask for sneaking, or approaching the target, or anything outside "win at initiative, deal 140 damage against 24 AC". If they ever come back I'm sure they can give us more direction but I don't see any reason these builds wouldn't be what they want. They're all really good at killing a specific target.

Honestly, it sounds like PvP arena combat to me. 24 AC and 140 HP is weirdly specific (AC is CR 10, HP is between CR 10 and 11).


Did they ever fix Pageant of the Peacock to not be the most ridiculous thing ever?

The relevant bit for this thread:

Pageant of the Peacock wrote:
For the duration of the effect, you gain a +4 circumstance bonus on Bluff checks, and may attempt a Bluff check in place of an Intelligence check or Intelligence-based skill check.

So for 10 minutes all your lies accidentally turn out to be true. Or you're so good at blending in you just automatically know the answer to knowledge checks. There's really no good explanation other than "you lie so hard the universe makes it true". Probably won't fly if the GM's already vetoing character choices though.


It's just to save space and ink on the printing. They generally only list skills that the monster has ranks or bonuses in. Everything can do any skill (except the ones requiring trained only). You are right on the ability mod for the Bugbear but keep in mind it's wearing leather armor and using a shield, that comes with an ACP of -1 (the shield) for an end mod of +0 and +2, respectively.


Omagi wrote:

Preferably this character would be able to consistently be able to eliminate a foe within one round

The goal: deal 140 damage to an opponent before they can act at level 6 against an AC of 24.
...
Wizard for acting in surprise round and for initiative purposes and accuracy, using prescience to ensure hits.
...
63+28.5 = 91.5 on average assuming all attacks hit.

...okay, so I hate to nitpick but I've got a few problems with this specifically. The formula for DPR needs the attack bonus for good reason. You even supply the target AC, you can't then ignore the need to hit it. With a Wizard 1/Ninja 5 you're looking at +4 BAB and apparently +7 Dex. That's +11, you would need a 13 or higher to hit. With TWF you'd need a 15 or higher to hit. Flat-footed can lower your target number (average is -3) but also might not at all. With 3+Int extra rolls (how high is Int?) and 4 attack rolls that need to hit, the odds of all of them hitting is definitely less than 100%.

Basically, this seems to rely a lot on skipping the actual hitting part. And it really shouldn't, since it's using lots of attacks and taking extra to-hit penalties to do it.

Since you asked though, I'll throw out the default big hit build. Human Cavalier (Order of the Sword). Mounted Combat, Ride-by-Attack, Spirited Charge, Power Attack, Furious Focus. Spot enemy, challenge, charge with two-handed lance. Attack is +6 (BAB) +7 (Str, assuming same numbers as you) +4 (charge) +2 (order) for a total of +19. Damage is 3d8+30(Str)+18(PA)+18(challenge) for an average of 79.5. Expected DPR is 63.6 and the only limited resource used is challenge (3/day). To win initiative make your horse a Racer and open combat by charging from 600 feet away. Presumably you could also use Ride-by-Attack and do it from 300 feet away then run 300 feet away before they can do anything. ...will need to max Perception, probably use a spyglass to find their target.

That being said, I'd expect a magic weapon at this point. Cyclops Helm would most likely give the Cavalier a crit (average 132.5) and a new expected DPR 121.9. With actual build rules I might be able to scrounge up 140 DPR (just need +2 damage and +4 to hit).


Oh, I fully agree that high level characters aren't realistic. Specifically HP, BAB (and combat maneuvers), saves, and skills. Basically anything with auto-scaling. But I'm specifically talking about class design (and more specifically class abilities).

The 19th level Fighter ability is DR 5/- while wearing armor or using a shield. At the same level 9th level spells are getting slung around the Fighter gets "can use armor or a shield to take less damage". Literally identical to an optional subsystem they made that gives access to everyone at all levels. That's not a high level ability. In fact, all evidence is that even the developers think it's a 1st level ability.


allisonkaas wrote:
I don't care if it's realistic; I prefer unrealism in my games, but this has no bearing on what's good for the base game. What I'm confused about is the inconsistency. Why did the devs ever think it was okay to use the capabilities of aging, out of shape game developers as the basis for experienced, skilled heroic fantasy warriors that don't exist in real life? Assuming that this makes sense, why did they not use that same basis for every class, given that all the classes represent characters which are equally imaginary?

That's actually how they did rules for a lot of early stuff and I don't think they ever stopped. I swear a developer (I think 3.0) actually put down lines and did standing long jumps to figure out what an average person could jump.

Again though, it's not inconsistent. High level Fighting Men are unrealistic. Unrealistic things require magic (or SCIENCE!) or the divine. Therefore Fighting Men without one of those are limited to real world things. It's bad, sure, but the logic is consistent. There's a reason the fancier abilities tend to be tagged SU and all the monk powers work off of Ki (SU).


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...so like a secret Necro? Everything they cite is from 2013. All happened around the same time, I think.

Honestly, I would have said that with time the martial options have gotten a lot better. Tagged magical (SU, usually) but at least they're available. CRB only martials were just sad.

As for why developers put weird restrictions on martials, it's a dearth of inspiration and imagination. King Arthur... is a man with a magic sword. His own abilities are subsumed into being a "magic item holder". Ditto LotR. Hercules is descended from gods (in game, probably a new race or template). The developers are not unique in this regard, I've seen my fair share of DMs and players who restrict martials because "realism". There's a lot of sociology stuff but it all basically boils down to "high level martials don't exist in reality" and "things which aren't real are explained by magic or the divine (gods)". The only time this wasn't true that I know of was essentially the American expansion into the West. Wild West legends, basically. Pecos Bill lassoed a tornado with a rattlesnake and shot out all the stars in the sky except one. No magic powers or magic gun, he was just that good. And then it has gone back and forth. Early James Bond movies he's a man with a bunch of magic items (spy gadgets), more recently they've tried to make it less gadgets and more the man. Doctor Who is just a science wizard. Superman is basically Hercules (granted power by not being fully human), Batman has magic items (science gadgets). Batman's another one that's gone from focus on the items to focus on the man (and maybe back? I haven't read it in a while).

Basically most of our stories of high level Fighting Men involve magic items, blessings, halfhumans or nonhumans, or some other excuse for their power beyond themselves. So people absorb that and make it so your Fighter sucks unless they get a sweet magic sword, then they're allowed to be good.


Kayerloth wrote:

An observation.

There's a distinct, if light, bias against arcane magic running through the thread. Divine casting/spells seem to hold a slightly different position in our collective minds from arcane. While I'm fairly certain no one thinks dropping Flame Strikes and Unholy Blight would be okay in circumstances where Fireball and Disintegrate would be highly problematic most/many of the spells and classes mentioned as examples, are arcane in typical usage.

And thinking about two published campaign worlds where magic is highly controlled it is the arcane side of spells that bears the brunt of prejudice and law enforcement. Namely the worlds of Athas (Dark Sun) and Midnight. What is it about arcane magic that brings this out? Perhaps divine magic is seen as coming from a higher authority (the deities) while arcane is not.

Honestly, it's a double dose of cultural stereotypes for me. In the real world, priests are meant to be trusted. Magicians are meant to trick you (in a good way). Some of the specialities are just synonyms (Conjurer, Illusionist), others are frequently associated with fraud (Diviner, Transmuter).

In games if you tell me Wizard I expect elemental blasting and debuffs (black magic). If you tell me Cleric I expect buffing and healing (white magic). Pathfinder magic is a lot broader than that but still generally follows it. So the Wizard casting a spell means an attack, the Cleric casting a spell means a buff/heal.

Then there's the branding. Knowledge (Arcana) will never tell you someone is a Wizard. There's no special equipment or gear they have that will let you know who they are. Knowledge (Religion) on the other hand lets you identify a Cleric with a DC low enough that anybody can attempt it. Seriously, "Recognize a common deity’s symbol or clergy". So if a Cleric starts casting a spell (especially one using a divine focus) there's a chance the people around can identify which god they worship and react accordingly. A Cleric of Sarenrae in most towns, probably fine. A Cleric of Urgathoa, on the other hand, run for your life. Or vice-versa in Geb. Clerics have rules, basically, and Wizards do not. And out of game we know that. In game they know that. So between the person who can randomly just starting throwing fire into the crowd and the person who will lose their ability to throw fire if they start throwing it into the crowd, is it any wonder we worry more about the first one?


Multiple cards that match edge-to-edge is the easy way to do it. I swear there's a board game where you do something similar, where each "square" on the path forward is randomly chosen from the deck. Any size grid that lets you easily roll dice for which squares move and how is probably best (so 6x6 or 8x8, d4 for how many times it turns). Maybe double-sided, so you can flip the cards. Potentially some kind of online roller to speed it up (otherwise it's a lot of rolling to make the effect noticeable).

As an alternative, consider making the labyrinth the interior of a cube (or any other shape you want, really). Make six maps. Whenever you want it to shift roll a d6, drop them at the same spot they were on on the previous map on the new map. For extra fun make the center hollow and have the labyrinth actually roll every time it shifts, throwing them around before they land.


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EldonGuyre wrote:
Yes, they are, but I didn't post here for that. When I want a critique, I ask for it.

Not really your choice. Once you post something other people get to decide how they respond (within the framework of the thread, of course). And if your post differs enough from other's expectations (say, Monk/Wizard multiclass breaking the game) then I would expect people to question it.

In your case your complaints all seem to boil down to "this character is the best at the most common stuff in the campaign". While it might be powergaming (depending on degree) it's definitely not game breaking. And while we can't really measure the degree (as you won't provide details) we can absolutely guess that the other players are wildly behind (as 40 DPR is what, a 6th level Fighter with a bow?). Other players being really bad is a problem (all game imbalance is) but it's not powergaming. One Fighter and three Commoners is a bad party but it's not the Fighter's fault.

If you think it's off-topic by all means flag and move on. But since people seem to be arguing it, I'm absolutely going to chime in with "A Paladin in a demon-heavy campaign isn't a powergamer". Because they're not. It's what their class is designed to do. It's the perfect time to play one.


McDaygo wrote:
For example: I think a Level 1 Goblin NPC should have an equal chance of killing the Level 1 fighter vs. being considered a “trash mob”.

Well, then you're in the wrong game. NPC classes are weaker than PC classes. If you make the Goblin also a Fighter with full gold then it's an even match though. Of course, if it's only one Goblin then it's going to get curb-stomped by the other three people in the party. Adding more goblins just raises the CR. Of course, maybe slogging through constant CR+4 boss battles would give you the experience you want. I'd check if that's what the other people want first though (and it's going to lead to all powergaming, all the time).

As for the rest, as others have said that's a very different kind of game. Call of Cthulhu, specifically. You might be able to work with some stuff in Horror Adventures for Pathfinder. But it's really not the default assumptions of Swords and Sorcery fantasy stories. You can add it if you really want, that's clearly what Frightful Presence and all the other fear auras are there for.


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McDaygo wrote:

Outside the game I have zero issues. My problem (if I’m GMing or not) is the ridiculous damage output. From how I was brought up the game should play more like dark souls and less like a hack ‘n’ slash on easy mode. If you don’t feel stressed, scared for survival or have that feeling of gone through some stuff it is too easy.

I’m not talking GM vs. player either as that is wrong.

So, in the politest terms, you're wrong.

D&D hasn't worked that way since AD&D 2e (and maybe not even that, I'm not as familiar with all the options). Power Attack was added in 3e, this system (Pathfinder) is two generations after that. And those were the Fighter numbers, the Wizard was throwing out uncapped fireballs and lightning bolts in AD&D. Also health numbers were much lower, a big bad Red Dragon had (I think) 77 HP. So while the Fighter slogged through, the Magic User could instantly fry it just with raw damage.

Dark Souls on the other hand has a plethora of glitch/gamist ways around the difficulty. Tricking people off cliffs, into holes, trapped in buildings, hit them through walls, shoot them before they activate, and my favorite, throwing poop at them until they die of poison. And those are the unintended ones, as at least one boss includes a way to instantly kill them with a flying leap down onto them. Might be the second or third game.

Anyway, my point is that I think you're playing the wrong game. D&D (and its offshoots) have gotten progressively more "easy hack and slash" because they have to. Levels being more tightly tied to power means you need to make higher level characters to keep up, higher level characters take longer to make. The options to avoid repeated lengthy character recreation sessions are either easy resurrection or less random deaths. They went with less random deaths. If you want a game where your character doesn't get a name until level 5 because "why bother", this isn't the game for you.


Having children.


So for informational purposes (it's both higher level and needs a book not on your list) I'll share the best version of the original Assassin's Creed I've been able to make in Pathfinder.

First you need to have Snapping Turtle Style for Snapping Turtle Clutch. This lets you, when an opponent misses you in combat, make an immediate action grapple (at a -2). Then you use Greater Grapple (move action) to pin them on your turn and Throat Slicer (standard action) to coup de grace them. Basically, if they swing and miss you grab them, pin them, and (probably) kill them. It's fairly involved for basically just one cool trick and it's very campaign dependent (doesn't work on oozes, elementals, constructs, or undead) but it very much recreates the iconic counter-stab kill.

Also, hilariously, the best weapon to do it with is a Pick (heavy or light) for that x4 crit.

As for a mundane version of the Hidden Blade, you're probably never going to find it. Pathfinder has a real problem with quick sheathing for reasons I never really understood (something with shields?). With some magic however, this would seem to work (not in a book available to you). Swift action to draw, move action to sheath. The upgrade is Gloves of Storing, a free action for both. If you're willing to burn money and just want the surprise weapon factor Liquid Blade lets you create weapons out of nothing to stab a dude (it's a shortsword but I can't see a GM refusing to downgrade it to a dagger).

But there's always going to be a fundamental problem with the concept. Anything "mundane assassin" not based around actual Save or Die abilities is going to have to be based on high spike damage. Spike damage, by its very nature, cannot be repeated that often. If it is then it's just baseline damage. And unless you're playing something wildly unbalanced spike damage is generally balanced by per-day resources or poor hit chance. Basically, if you're trying to play Altair or Ezio you're going to be disappointed by either running out of juice or only hitting 40% of the time (and only the new games are that buggy). Sneak attack is a patch to using a tiny weapon with low strength, Fighter with a Greatsword is probably more damage and does it all day. This is more of an expectations thing though so I can't really suggest anything to fix it. You basically have to resolve yourself to just being "sneaky guy who stabs people who can't see them", not "unstoppable killing machine if they can't see you".


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Bob Bob Bob wrote:
I'll preface this with the simple answer. Torture is an Evil act, one Evil act does not change your alignment. Torturing for some Good might balance to Neutral but that's a GM call.

You're right, making a singular mistake in a moment of desperation doesn't completely change your alignment; if an otherwise Good person starts to feel the pressure of the situation and commits to torture as a means to their ends, then that alone won't change their alignment completely. They will probably feel horrible about what they've done and seek to atone somehow - or perhaps they'll double down on justifying themselves, which would indicate an alignment shift.

That's not what the OP's character is doing though; torture as a means of gathering information is a defining character trait for him. Once it's a pattern of behavior rather than a single transgression it's absolutely indicative of being an evil person. It's the difference between a crime-of-passion murderer and a serial killer.

So while the first post says the character "tortures because they must" (with no caveats) the other two posts with information are quite explicit in that the character is not torturing for information. Specifically:
McDaygo wrote:
It was less about the torture for information but the actual tools I see many uses for for example thumbscrews remove a caster from casting unless they have a still spell, the Trephine can actually heal mental ability damage (or cause it if the heal check fails by 5 or more).
McDaygo wrote:
The torture he learned was less about interrogation more for stopping “evil magic users” from casting their spells when imprisoned. The why I only gave him the tools that prevent casting (Screws to remove somatic, Fork to prevent a good night sleep and the Trephine to not only help non magic heal mental ability damage of allies heal dc 25 but to potential lower a caster ability to cast)

It's not about interrogation, it's about preventing a captive from escaping. Which isn't inherently Evil (unless you think all prisons are).

Now, as I said in my other post, I think the methods they are suggesting (the torture implements) are absolutely torture. Thumbscrews might get a pass (in that you don't have to inflict pain with them) but the other two can only be used for their torture use and are almost textbook Evil.

But the main reason I qualified it based on individual acts is I don't think it's going to come up that often. I rarely see players take prisoners, the specific implements only work on certain types (SLAs don't have somatic components), and it really only matters for long-term containment. It doesn't matter if the player is built for it if they never actually do it. You'll notice Cook People, arguably the easiest example of Evil, still only says "Using this hex or knowingly eating its food is an evil act." Not taking the hex but actually using it. Not sure who would take it if they didn't intend to use it but merely having it doesn't count as Evil.


I'll preface this with the simple answer. Torture is an Evil act, one Evil act does not change your alignment. Torturing for some Good might balance to Neutral but that's a GM call.

As for using the torture devices, the text is very clear.

Torture Implements wrote:
Each act of torture shifts the torturer’s alignment one step toward evil, and it counts as a willful evil act for the purpose of effects like atonement.

You can potentially argue that using the thumbscrews to restrain but not harm is not torture (however, as someone who sprained their thumb recently, #@$% yes it's still torture to hurt them if they use their thumbs). The Fork though? You have to stab it into them to put it on, then it stabs them again if they try to relax. There is no use of that (without consent) that's not just torture. Then there's the Trephine. Your friend telling you to use it to reduce mental ability score damage (but only from physical trauma to the head) is fine, they consent. Spending 10 minutes drilling into someone's skull to intentionally damage their brain (mental ability scores) is monstrous and evil and there is no use for the Trephine to restrain someone I can see that isn't EVIL.


Bill Dunn wrote:
Why would the GM fudging a die roll every once in a while make player decisions meaningless?

"If I'm going to win no matter what I do then what's the point of even rolling the dice?" or "If he was just going to get away then why'd you even go through the motions? Just have him get away". Basically, if fudging looks like fiat then making the player roll dice looks like a cruel joke where you force them to spend time and energy doing something before telling them it was all worthless.


Balkoth wrote:

I get that. My question do you is, how would you handle that instead? Again, the designers seem to have done that to ensure the Cleric's CASTING ability is relevant...and due to the design of the Cleric chasis, the BAB/saves is an issue.

A CR16 Frost Giant Fighter (7 levels) makes sense. A CR16 Frost Giant Cleric (7 levels) is a joke of a cleric. Are 14 cleric levels too much? Possibly, but coming up with consistent rules to get like 10-12 caster level might be tricky because it has to work for all levels.

I guess my question here is -- what's your concern precisely? That the GM will "abuse" the situation and basically turn a Cleric into a better Fighter? The GM can already change whatever stats he wants and put whatever creatures he wants into a fight.

My concern is the same thing it's always been. CR is a not a good rule. Anything that refers to opponents just by their CR is basically worthless. You mentioned the inquisitor always being able to hit a CR 20. That statement is wrong. Published monster statistics for the AC of a CR 20 monster range from 25 to 42 (according to the spreadsheet). NPCs could easily be much lower if they're made poorly. The AC 42 could actually be higher (spellcaster with Quicken Spell and Shield). The inquisitor can hit specific CR 20s all of the time (well, 95% of the time). Not all of them. And, again, not getting into all the abilities monsters might have (miss chance, DR, auras) that would stop the inquisitor from hitting or doing damage.

Balkoth wrote:
If you go from Ogre to Cyclops to Hill Giant to Frost Giant to Fire Giant to Cloud Giant and so on it seems to be fairly reasonable, no (excluding the Cyclops ability potentially)? It's obviously not perfect.

And yet you just refered to generic "CR 20s" like there's not a huge difference between monsters in each CR.

Balkoth wrote:
17 gold worth of item falls within the spirit of no gear mentioned there.
No it doesn't. The rules are quite explicit.
Core Rulebook pg 399 wrote:
A classed NPC encountered with no gear should have his CR reduced by 1 (provided that loss of gear actually hampers the NPC)

Not less gear, not worse gear, no gear. A Fighter who trades in their magic weapon for their backup weapon is not hampered.

Again, while I have problems with CR (and ways to fix them myself) my issue in this thread is that you refer to monsters by CR alone. That's not useful information. That's like saying you had a "beverage" with dinner. A milkshake? A soda? Threw a hotdog in a blender with some raw eggs? Metal shavings in hydrocloric acid? Liquid iron? You already said you made a CR 10 creature with 36 AC, surely the CR 20 version would have more?


Matthew Downie wrote:
Bob Bob Bob wrote:
I haven't met a GM yet who's actually managed to keep it hidden. Some may take longer but it's basically Godwin's law.
Godwin's law? Isn't that the one where the longer this debate goes on, the more likely it is someone will say, "You know who else fudged dice rolls? Hitler!"

Or Nazis. A more relevant example for us would be "As the length of an alignment thread approaches infinity the probability of someone saying the paladin should have fallen approaches 1". Certain things are inevitable, basically. And if you're not going to stop doing it at least be more mindful about it, in the case of Godwin's law.


So I've covered this before, the short answer is "depends on the GM". One guy I'd trust to do whatever he feels like (even diceless). The other I double-check all the rules. However, there's one comment I felt I had to call out.

TheGreatWot wrote:
What my players don't know can't hurt them.

They know. I haven't met a GM yet who's actually managed to keep it hidden. Some may take longer but it's basically Godwin's law. The longer you fudge the more likely you get caught. Tense moments actually increase the chance of getting caught, I think, as players are more attuned to the little stuff then. And once they suspect something every action is going under the microscope. Heck, if you're unlucky they might start attributing bad/good luck to fudging. Personally I roll in the open for that very reason. Keeps everything honest. Has led to some disappointing fights (and dramatic character deaths) but I haven't had any complaints yet. Both times were axes and lucky x3 crits from melee brutes.


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Talcrion wrote:

The biggest pro and the reason one of my players pitched this was to try to get characters that are a little more diverse then your standard fighter with dumped charisma or low str mages.

would help increase variety of characters.

I recognize this. What they actually meant was "my Han Solo knockoff should have 18 Cha but I don't want to spend any points on it". Rolling doesn't really lead to diversity. It mostly leads to casters (because you only got one good stat) or reckless disregard for life (since your Dex and Con sucked).

Talcrion wrote:

We also considered applying additional bonus's based on stats to help balance things out (under a certain point value maybe gets a bonus couple of d6's to pass around) to create more of a balanced group bell curve.

Thanks for all your input folks.

If you don't want the dice to be the final arbiter then don't roll dice. You can make all the fiddly modifications you want, there's always going to be disparity. That's what dice do.

Honestly, the best way I've seen to do diverse characters is simple. Let them pick their stats. Anything between 8 and 18. Lower if they really want it. Just pick a number you think fits the character. I think you'd be surprised what people make (except for the all 18 person, nobody is surprised by them).


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For a one-shot it's moderate fun. Need a lot of system mastery to do anything useful with some rolls but there's always the old standby of Fighter (named "Bait"). It works much better with a campaign you can easily replace characters in. Skull and Shackles maybe? I don't know how often you put into port (get downtime in town) and how much fancy gear is given out (that you might want continuity for). You could also roll up multiple characters and let the party pick who to recruit for the ship (at low levels anyway).

The one time I did it for a full campaign was for Way of the Wicked, which gives you an 18, an 8, and 1d10+8 straight down. Some people got great rolls (average of 16, one was the Wizard, the other the Fighter). The Cleric didn't get above a 12... but was already planning to be a summoner. The last person got mediocre rolls, died, got better rolls, died, and is currently alive (but with worse rolls than the dead ones, weirdly enough).

Every other time someone says 3d6 or rolls in place and then one player gets somewhere between 12 and 14 for everything, another's best roll is a 6, and one guy is rocking two 16s and a 15. So we reroll, or the bad ones point buy, or some other change. I just rolled, got 9/8/10/12/8/6. Second round, 10/7/10/9/9/9. Sweet, finally got positive Str and Con! 13/9/14/8/12/11. Try it yourself.

Basicallly, most people don't actually want to roll dice for stats. They want to get good stats and don't know how math works. Or they do and think they're lucky/have lucky dice/have loaded dice/are just optimistic. Gamblers love to roll... rarely like keeping the rolls though.


Alright, detective time!

Level 14 UMonk with a Monk's Robe, Boots of Haste, Jabbing Style, Medusa's Wrath, Flying Kick, Elbow Strike. Maybe Power Attack/Piranha Strike. Some kind of ranged Flurry (Blood Crow Strike?). The sticking point is "can easily do 400+ dpr".

Here's where we hit the first problem. Flying Kick and Elbow Smash (what I assume they meant) can't be used together until level 15. So that's one attack off.

Medusa's Wrath has similar activation problems. They do imply the Monk wins initiative (which would let the player use it) but don't really say how the player wins initiative reliably. I really honestly doubt they do. There is a ki power but it takes two points and only lets you roll twice. This also doesn't address what happens after the first round, at which point the Monk (or their party members) has to actually get a condition on the enemies for it to work. We'll still count it for the alpha strike, it's iffy after that. Stunning Fist's save is the issue.

Alright, so with no other information we're looking at 3 attacks from flurry, 1 from Haste, 1 from a ki point, 2 from Medusa's Wrath, 1 at -5, 1 at -10. 2d8+Str+Enh+8+0/2d6/4d6 (on first, second, and third+ hits). Ignoring attack bonuses (which is not how you calculate DPR and a great way to inflate numbers) we get 18d8+9*Str+9*Enh+72+30d6. Maximum is 396+9*Str+9*Enh. Average (and with ~50 dice, way more likely) is 186+9*Str+9*Enh. So assuming +5 handwraps gives us a required Strength mod of... 19? 48 Strength? ...if we assume all the elemental enhancements then we can get that down to 20 Str but then the level 14 Monk has a +9 (equivalent) weapon.

And that's still assuming a punching bag with 0 AC the Monk cannot miss. In reality while the first attacks have a good (but not guaranteed) chance to hit that last attack is bad. d20+4+Str+Enh-4+1 versus AC ~26 (on level) or AC ~22 (minions) (flat-footed is about a -3 AC) is more likely to miss than hit (unless they do have 48 Str). Also handwraps wouldn't work on the flying kick (it requires a kick), Amulet of Mighty Fists is more expensive and caps at +5, and the Body Wrap would only be usable 3 times.

Am I missing some huge attack/damage bonus here? Because it looks like an alpha strike would get you ~350 damage (assuming the stars align and everything hits, also +5 weapon/20 Str) but every missed attack (probably 1-2 on that alpha strike, a few more on any subsequent attacks) would cost you ~41 damage. 300 dpr, maybe. 400 seems a little much.


Balkoth wrote:

Well, I meant they were edge cases in three ways.

1, level 20 tends to make problems worse as you noted

2, Fighter itself is an edge case -- I don't think any other class gains 6-8 AB and 8-10 damage at high levels solely based on having the right type of weapon. Nor do they have class features like spells, animal companions, or abilities like Lay on Hands. I think even a rogue without gear might be better off.

Even giving a fighter 17 gold for a Spear and Hide Armor means he has AC 16ish, AB of probably +10/+5, damage of 1d8+6, and HP of 58 ((6 + 3) * 6 + 4). Possibly better. And that's assuming the wrong weapon with no feats for it, of course.

Compare that to a bear or boar and it's quite respectable despite not having magic gear or even just the proper weapon/armor you could have by level 2.

3, the tiger is way stronger than other typical CR4 enemies (no matter if you go by comparing it to the table or comparing it to other CR4s).

As an aside, also keep in mind that 1 CR is a 42ish% power increase. So something can be 35% better than something else and still be in the same CR range, for example.

So level 20 may be the edge of the cases (in that classes don't go beyond that) but it's not an edge case. The problem is also true at 19, 18, 17, and a whole bunch of levels below that. It is where the problem is worst, obviously, and if I was trying to argue about the severity of the disparity it would be an edge case. But all I'm trying to say is that CR is not a very accurate measure of power, which is true at most levels of "naked Fighter vs some monster".

I honestly only picked Fighter because it's always been the classic martial but you're right, it might lose the most with no gear (I would say Gunslinger is the worst off though). That being said, I'm pretty sure naked Gunslinger, Rogue, Barbarian, Slayer, Swashbuckler, Alchemist, and Paladin compare (un)favorably to the Fighter as examples. Most have actual class abilities but most still need a weapon and armor to function (outside specific builds). Alchemist is special in that its class features require items to function. And giving them weapons and armor completely misses the point. Without "no gear" they just go back to their normal CR, at which point you might as well give them full NPC gear, at which point I would have to argue the relative merits of one class versus another. There's already like a million threads fighting on that (and little agreement), I'm not going to do that. But hopefully everyone can agree a naked Fighter is not worth -1 CR over a full kitted Fighter.

...how is the Tiger stronger than the Hound Archon? Or the Schir Demon? Or the Barghest? It does have a slightly higher attack than it's CR... and a much worse AC. And no DR, regeneration, auras, spells, or anything else that would mitigate that. And using the Grizzly is problematic because it has lower attack and AC than the table. Dire Boar is less AC than the table as well. You can't discount Tiger for being too strong and then cherry-pick the weaker monsters to compare. Even with that, I'd still fight a naked Fighter over a Grizzly or Dire Boar. +9/10 attack for 1d3+3/4 nonlethal? Sad. Also you complain about the Tiger but not the Hydra? More AC, more HP, fast healing, greater reach, and it also has pounce.

Balkoth wrote:
Those are now both CR30 creatures that are more powerful than most demon lords, so I would think it's definitely an example of an edge case. And clearly they tried to do that rule since a CR30 creature with level 10 Cleric spellcasting would be massively underwhelming -- it just so happens to "break" the game if the GM tries to use it to maximize creature melee power (also I don't think they envisioned most high CR creatures getting more than a handful of levels).

My first example was a Cave Giant. At every step between Cave Giant and Balor a big beefy bruiser gets more attack and saves from Cleric than Fighter. Again, Balor is almost the edge of the cases (there are higher CR monsters) but it's not an edge case. I'm not arguing how severe the problem is, just that the problem exists. And the problem exists at CR 6, 7, etc. up to at least 20. That's not an edge, that's 75% of the list.

Balkoth wrote:

Well, in the Strange Aeons AP I played in I think zombies might have come up once. Not even sure about that. The undead we encountered were typically something else. Zombies tend to be reserved for low level threats.

And having a low level threat with no intelligence, slow movement speed, and no alternative combat modes (like the ability to pull out a ranged weapon of any kind) would be an edge case, I think.

Entangled is another matter...but no, actually, I've very rarely seen entangled come up as a player or GM. Obviously if you built a character around it and tried to have a ranged party to exploit it you'd probably do very well against a lot of enemies.

One AP does not an entire game make. Low intelligence and no ranged attack describes the entire Animal type and low speed isn't actually a requirement. Entangle drops their speed by half. The standard 40/50 feet of an animal drops to 20/25, enough for most characters to get away.

As for the sources of entangle, nobody ever bought a tanglefoot bag? Net? Lasso (okay, I admit this one is a little out there)? Bomb, shot, or arrow? The spell of the same name? And that's honestly just my specific circumstances. Difficult terrain does the same thing (just usually not as long). And then there's the stuff that actually immobilizes them. Paralysis, grapple, stuff like that. And Slow turns everyone into a zombie (along with a few other abilities).

And honestly, that doesn't really matter. What's important is that it is entirely possible for certain builds to completely shut down certain enemies. Monsters with a single attack (T-rex). Monsters with no ranged attacks or way to ground flyers (also T-rex). Monsters with some specific weakness (Golems and Glitterdust). A level 1 Strix can solo a T-rex but it's not because the Strix is too powerful.

Balkoth wrote:
It was 10 CR6 typical archers, 20 CR6 run of the mill soldiers with greatswords, one elite CR10 archer, one CR10 elite soldier, and one CR10 cleric as I recall. Can give more info if you want.
I don't actually care what the fight is. My point, as I said last time, was:
Bob Bob Bob wrote:
You list your combats as "CR 10". That tells me almost nothing useful about the combat. The AC is a little more information but I could still find or make a dozen enemies that match those criteria, all of whom vary wildly in power from each other. Even the ones who might come in at the same overall power level might fare wildly differently against different builds (bad saves, no ranged weapons, etc.).

I'm not here to analyze the fight. I'm here to say that calling a fight "a CR 12" and asking what went wrong is like saying you had a sandwich for lunch and had a bad reaction. Unless you start telling us what was in the sandwich there's absolutely no way we're going to be able to help.

...that being said, you pitted a horde of minions against a well built martial character. Of course the player tore through them like tissue paper. 6 CR lower is about -10 AB/AC on the table. 2 CR lower is about -3 AB/AC. If your minions are just meatshields (only good for attacking with weapons) then they're just bags of free EXP.

Honestly, that battle really seems to prove my point. Those CR 6s were worthless. They were not a threat, they were punching bags of free EXP. But the system told you that they weren't.


Not enough to be relied upon, more than none. For the Wizard, anyway. Other classes have different requirements. Spontaneous casters should be responsible for nothing, they have enough of their own problems. Clerics probably lean towards more buffs (in that they can always cherry-pick what they want for the day).

Basically, character choices should always be personal. How many buffs you expect from a spellcaster should be directly related to how little it impacts their own personal character choices (generally in the realm of spell selection though spells per day is also important). Nobody expects the sorcerer to learn a spell just for them (unless they're a jerk). Nobody expects the Bloodrager to be the party buffer. But if you're going to the Red Dragon's Lair in the Lave Caves of Fire Mountain, maybe the Cleric could cast a Communal Resist Energy?

Wizards have a fairly easy learning mechanic and a large spells per day selection. If you want a spell from them you can throw money at the problem to solve it. I mean, you can do this with scrolls for every caster, but with Wizards they can learn and recast a spell using only gold so you can ask for regular daily buffs from them. So more than none, less than a lot. Some.

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