Blue Dragon

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Organized Play Member. 667 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 2 Organized Play characters.

Liberty's Edge

I've got a friend who's interested in a Goblin Alchemist. He normally only plays full-BAB bruisers, but he really likes the idea of playing a Goblin who hurls bombs.

Unfortunately, I don't know a whole lot about Alchemist - I know the rules, but I don't know builds or combat strategies.

5th level, standard wealth, 20 point buy; we're in an adventure path, so one trait is tied up. Advice?

Liberty's Edge

I know that the "shifter" race from Eberron is copyright, but is the underlying mechanic something usable?

Can Paizo and third-party publishers create races that are weaker than normal most of the time, but can gain a "burst of ability score + thing" that is improved by taking various feats?

I think the answer is "yes", because rules cannot be copyright, but I'm wondering.

Liberty's Edge

I've been thinking about Animals (intelligent, talking, etc) as Player Races off and on for a while, and a friend of mine recently (if in-eloquently) brought up the topic, so I thought I'd post what I've got.

Step Zero: Heres a link to the Race Building Guide, and another for the Beast Shape spell.

First: Let's eliminate the obvious pitfalls. For the initial set of rules, limit animals to Small or Medium size only, no fly speed, no "hands". So no rabbits, monkeys, eagles, horses, gorillas, etc. "Dire" versions are okay, as are "runts" of larger critters.

Second: I cannot emphasize this enough, toss out the stat block. Those were designed as monsters and support, not as Player Characters. They are fine for reference, but trying to write a single set of unified rules for converting every animal in the game into a viable Player Race is basically impossible.

Third: actually, this is where I'm stuck at the moment. Figuring any given race out should be done using the Race Building Guide, with the animal's stat-block and the Beast Shape spell serving as guidelines. But there also needs to be some common rules, and that's where I'm stuck.

All should get a racial quality indicating they don't have hands and thus cannot effectively use most tools (at least a -10). All should get the Wild Shape feat for free, and probably Eschew Materials as well (technically 8 points, but should be less IMHO). They are not humanoid in shape, so have to pay double for armor (-2 or -4). That said, they should have a feature that has them counting as both humanoids and animals for the purpose of spells and effects (net zero; vulnerable to Charm Person and various social skills, but also get benefits of druid spells). I can't think of any other common features they should all share.

It's almost like, in order to do it properly even with the limitations stated above, there needs to be a "build your own animal" table, with various options listed. Various natural attacks, speeds, quadruped bonus, +1 natural armor, +2 natural armor, a flexible but limited set up for determining ability modifiers, etc.

For more complicated traits, the list should either include them or stick them in the "advanced" list (where flight, tiny, large, etc, currently are). Things like poison, grab, constrict, pounce, and so on.

Liberty's Edge

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I'm wondering if the "Powerful Build" ability is ever acceptable from a +0 level adjustment race.

Specifically, I'm referring to the "Half-Giant", from Dreamscarred Press's "Psionics Unleashed", which I've quoted below.


Half-giant Racial Traits

+2 Wisdom, +2 Strength, –2 Dexterity: Half-giants are tough and intuitive, but not too nimble.
Giant Blood: Half-giants count as both human and humanoid (giant) for any effect related to race.
Medium: Half-giants are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Normal Speed: Half-giants have a base speed of 30 feet.
Low-Light Vision: Half-giants can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.
Fire Acclimated: Half-giants receive a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against all fire spells and effects.
Powerful Build: The physical stature of half-giants lets them function in many ways as if they were one size category larger.
Whenever a half-giant is subject to a size modifier or special size modifier for an opposed check (such as during grapple checks, bull rush attempts, and trip attempts), the half-giant is treated as one size larger if doing so is advantageous to him.
A half-giant is also considered to be one size larger when determining whether a creature’s special attacks based on size (such as grab or swallow whole) can affect him.
A half-giant can use weapons designed for a creature one size larger without penalty. However, his space and reach remain those of a creature of his actual size.
The benefits of this racial trait stack with the effects of powers, abilities, and spells that change the subject’s size category.
Naturally Psionic: Half-giants receive Wild Talent as a bonus feat at 1st level. If a half-giant takes levels in a psionic class, he instead gains the Psionic Talent feat.
Half-giant Psionics: Half-giants gain the following spell-like ability: 1/day—stomp. The manifester level for this effect is equal to 1/2 the half-giant’s level (minimum 1st). The DC for this power is equal to 10 + the power’s level + the half-giant’s Charisma modifier.
Psionic Aptitude: When a half-giant takes a level in a favored class, he can choose to gain an additional power point instead of a hit point or skill point.
Survivor: Half-giants gain a +4 racial bonus to Survival checks.
Languages: Half-giants begin play speaking Common. Half-giants with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Draconic, Giant, Gnoll, and Ignan.

I'm familiar with the Race Building Guide on these forums, and I agree with most of its points. Here's how I see the Half-Giant race breaking down:

Ability Scores - standard, zero points. They lost the +2 con they had in the XPH, which helps here, and the -2 dex is a solid penalty, much more reasonable than the -2 int or -2 cha I'd expect to see in a home-brew race.

Giant Blood - 1 point. Like Half-Orcs and Half-Elves, here.
Medium Size - 0.
Speed 30 feet - 0.
Low-Light Vision - 1 point.
Fire-Acclimated - 2 points. Decent defense against a fairly common type of attack.

Powerful Build - Skipping This for now.

Naturally Psionic - 1 point. Yes, it's a "bonus feat", but it gives 1 power point (wild talent) or 2 power points (psionic talent). It's the racial equivalent of "you can cast a 0th level spell once per day; if you enter into a class that has this spell on its list of spells know, you may cast it at will". Honestly, I feel bad even charging one point for this.

Half-Giant Psionics - 1 point. First level spell, usable once per day. I looked up the spell, and it's basically an instant-duration Grease in a 15 foot cone, limited to area effect only. I could see a Warrior-type using this consistently through the levels, so I'm comfortable charging for it, but it's not a huge benefit.

Psionic Aptitude - 0 points. Races don't get charged for alternate favored class options.

Survivor - 2 points, +2 to Survival and +2 to Survival. Not quite the intent, but not worth more than this.
Languages - 0 points. Standard stuff here.

Without Powerful Build, they're at 8/10 points.

But what does Powerful Build - this particular version of it, anyway - get them?
+1 to most/all CMD checks: 1 point, maybe 2.
+1 to CMB most/all of the time: 2 points, maybe 1. Combine this with the previous one, it's a solid 3.
Resistance to Swallow Whole and similar size-based abilities: 1 point.
Ability to use weapons one size category larger: 4 points. It's basically Weapon Specialization; 2d8 averages 2 points higher than 2d6. While Weapon Spec isn't all that good, this applies to all weapons, and stacks with Weapon Spec.
So Powerful Build, all by itself, is worth 8. Which puts Half-Giants at 16 points altogether.


Thing is, I like the Half-Giant. Besides the whole "size huge Bastard Sword OMG" nonsense they can get up to, the race doesn't seem typecast, which is says a great deal. Two questions:

1) Is the race as presented balanced at +0 level adjustment?

2) Would removing just the "A half-giant can use weapons designed for a creature one size larger without penalty" aspect of Powerful Build make them mostly balanced at +0 level adjustment?
I say "mostly" because some of the "NPC monsters" from Bestiary 1 and 2 don't quite match up to 10/10 either, and they are generally still okay; some just need a "trait tax".

Liberty's Edge

I was reviewing the Combat Maneuver rules, and I stumbled on this:

Miscellaneous Modifiers

A creature can also add any circumstance, deflection, dodge, insight, luck, morale, profane, and sacred bonuses to AC to its CMD. Any penalties to a creature's AC also apply to its CMD. A flat-footed creature does not add its Dexterity bonus to its CMD.

I'm pretty sure I know what this means, but I want to confirm:

Does this mean that Barbarians in Rage suffer a -2 to their CMD? (which is negated by the +4 str boost, so net zero?)

Does this mean that the Dodge feat also applies to CMD?

Does this mean that a Ring of Protection also applies to CMD?

Finally, is any of this a surprise to anyone besides myself?

EDIT: related question: besides Base Attack Bonus, Strength (or dex with Agile Maneuvers), the various Improved and Greater maneuver feats, and Monk Maneuver training, is there anything a character can use to raise the Combat Maneuver Bonus?

Liberty's Edge

Sorry if this is the wrong place for a thread like this - I didn't see any likely forums.

I'm looking for a few different minis, and I'm having trouble finding them.

I'm looking for:

* A medium size female (not dwarf) with a two-handed axe. I've got males with greatswords, greataxes, and greatclubs; I've got females with greatswords (no greatclubs/hammers, but several holding staves mid-swing). I've got a female dwarf with a greataxe. But no generic humanoid female with a big axe. Been looking for this one on and off for years.

* Crossbow wielders, male and female. I've got plenty (too many) minis with bows and spellcaster minis with staves, but the only crossbow mini is a guy in full plate. Which is nice to have, definitely not complaining. But variety would be nice.

* Gunslingers, male and female. I've got a male crouching with a heavy sniper rifle, and a female with a single small pistol (and box under her arm); both were originally for Star Wars, but they work just fine. More would be nice, though; a two-pistol mini, a rapier-and-pistol mini, etc. Also, see below.
EDIT: I just finished doing a complete sweep of all the minis on this site, and I found this wonderful goblin - exactly what I'm looking for, only in non-monster form (buying anyway, of course). I need a non-monster small guy and 2-3 medium size ones (more does not hurt). There was also a half-orc pirate with a rapier and pistol, but "unavailable".

* Mildly-Steampunk minis. Just a few. Trenchcoats, bowler hats, large hats that aren't witch hats, mild gear iconography, firearms. Also, a couple warforged/gearmen style minis. Nothing too overt or over-the-top; it's still pathfinder.

Anyone have any suggestions? Any searchable indexes online, ones that aren't just "browse our 10,000 images!"?

Liberty's Edge

Do characters lose their dex bonus to CMD when they are flat-footed?

If not, is there a Talent that Rogues can take to cause them to do so?

I ask because I've been thinking a lot about Dex-based Monks and Rogues over the past few weeks, and I've come to the conclusion that:

* Agile Maneuvers and Weapon Finesse should be combined into a single feat

* Monks need the above feat on their bonus feat list, starting at level one
** The above point should be enough to make Dex Monks viable.

* Rogues need to be able to take the above feat with their "Finesse Rogue" talent.
* Rogues need to be able to deny/ignore opponent's Dex bonus to CMD if they are flat-footed or otherwise in a position to be sneak attacked; having to spend a talent on this is probably fine, assuming it doesn't already exist.
** The above two points should be enough to make Dex Rogues (that aren't spamming TWF) viable.

Setting aside "D&D" and "mechanic issues" for a second, when you think of "a graceful, agile, precise" sort of character, and imagine this character fighting, does he win by standing in one place and bludgeoning his opponents to death with his raw grace? Or does he win by being agile, maneuverable, and using tricks/traps/skill against his opponent?

Shouldn't Dex-based characters work the same way mechanically? Dex-based characters don't need dex to damage, they need dex to CMB and some brains.

I'm wondering what others think about this idea.

Liberty's Edge

My character is Invisible (2nd level spell version), and has an active Flaming Sphere. Directing it does not break invisibility, since it's an indirect attack. So I roll it around a corner into a group of baddies and cast Pyrotechnics.

Does the effect generated by Pyrotechnics count as an "attack" for the purposes of breaking Invisibility? Why or why not?

I think the answer is "yes, it does", but I got to thinking (or over-thinking) things, and, well... see below.

Does casting Glitterdust on a group of enemies break invisibility? Why or why not? If the answer is different between this spell and Pyrotechnics, what about the two spells made them different?

Does casting Obscuring Mist so that a group of enemies are in the area of effect break invisibility? Why or why not? If the answer is different between this spell and Pyrotechnics, what about the two spells made them different?

Does casting Darkness on a group of enemies break invisibility? Why or why not? If the answer is different between this spell and Pyrotechnics, what about the two spells made them different?

In other words, where does "attack" end?

Liberty's Edge

This was originally a response to a post in another thread, but I realized that it's rather off-topic, and possibly worthy of discussion.

My post is rather ranty, and I apologize for that; I like the idea of Vitality/Wounds, but I know from personal experience that it does not work for the reasons I lay out below.


LazarX wrote:
I wonder if anyone has used the Vitality/Wound Point variant in a Pathfinder ruleset.


The Vitality/Wound Point Mechanic is AWFUL.

It's not a bad idea, but the mechanics behind it are either generally a waste of time (keep crit rules as they currently are) or game-breaking awful (crits go straight to wounds).

I played a Star Wars d20 Revised Edition campaign. There were 6 players, we started at level 1. New Jedi Order Era, DM using the pre-published Vong campaign as a guideline. Everyone had a blast, until around 9th or 10th level.

At that point, characters picked up the Improved Critical feat (weapons threatened on a 19-20 instead of just a 20), and either improved two-weapon fighting or burst-fire (or autofire mastery, or whatever - I forget the feat name). Combined with heavy blaster rifles and lightsaber damage boosts, this meant that everyone started making 4-5 attacks a round for 3d10 or 4d8 damage a hit.

Armor didn't improved defenses (in fact, it lowered your AC and provided only a small amount of DR), that came from class, and it wasn't nearly enough. Combat went from interesting and dynamic to "which side can get more one-crit-kills first". The only way the GM was able to challenge us without killing us was to use custom-built NPCs with the very best Vong armor available and who spent every single one of their feats on Toughness (+3 wound points).

We gave up after another two sessions; we were very sorry to see the game go.


The alternative, of course, is to keep crit rules as they are, and have Wounds only lost once all Vitality has been depleted. Again, it's not a bad idea, but getting the rules to work is rather complicated, and the net benefit is very minimal.

Here's a few questions:
How rapidly do characters recover Vitality?
How Rapidly do characters recover Wounds?
Do NPC classes grant Vitality Points?
What about Poisons, Diseases, Bleed effects, and the like? Do they still trigger when the attack onyl deals Vitality damage? If so, what is the in-game explanation (the mechanical explanation is "they have to in order to keep things fair, balanced, and simple", but an in-game explanation is needed as well).

How does Healing Magic interact with Vitality - does it work like it does now with hit points, or is it significantly increased? If Wounds is the same, then Vitality should logically be boosted. If Vitality is the same, then Wounds should logically be healed at a much reduced rate. The simple answer is, of course, "they both work the same as they do now", but why bother changing hit Points if you are just going to keep everything the exact same?

How does Healing Magic interact with Wounds - does it work like it does now with hit points, or is it significantly reduced? If so, by how much?

What is the impact of how Vitality and Wounds interact with Healing Magic on the entire game, given that, as the rules work now, the way 99% of hit points are recovered is through healing magic?

You need to evaluate the last set questions for every single healing spell in the game, along with fast healing, regeneration, the heal skill, etc.

That's enough to drive the point home, I think; there's more I could bring up.

Vitality/Wounds is a wonderful idea, but it completely fails in actual play.

EDIT: Don't get me wrong, I think Vitality/Wounds is a fantastic idea. I would absolutely love to see a Skill-Based Magic/Spellcasting system that had mages spending Vitality (and wounds if desperate) to power their magic. I think such a game, running on the d20 mechanics, would be completely awesome.

It's just that I've never seen a d20 system that actually implements the idea well. Star Wars d20 Revised did great at the very low levels, but even without the heaps of extra attacks and the Improved Critical feat, it still would have failed eventually.

It's one thing when a crit hits you for 10 wounds and bypasses the 20 vitality you've got at 3rd level, but it's another thing entirely when it's a crit for 20 damage that jumps over 100+ vit points.

And really, that's the problem. That's the fundamental issue at the very heart of why Vitality/Wounds does not work. Save-Or-Die spells in 3.5 were boring, and reduced high-level fights to who rolled poorly more often. Vitality/Wounds puts the Save-Or-Die into the hands of the Fighters instead of the Wizards, but it's the same fundamental problem, and it needs a viable solution before the mechanic can be used.

As you may have gathered from my ranting post, I've given the mechanic alot of thought, and I just do not see a way around the one-hit-kill that's eventually guaranteed to start happening as characters advance.

At least, I don't see any way around it besides capping players at level 6 or so, and that's no fun for me. Besides, there's already a system that does that, and they didn't use Vit/Wounds either.

Anyway, that's my rant, my experience, and my thoughts on the idea. I don't suppose anyone sees a solution?

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate. 1 person marked this as a favorite.

Alright, I'm fairly certain that a mage can use Pyrotechnics on a pre-existing Flaming Sphere - that is, a Flaming Sphere is a valid "source of flame" for the Pyrotechnics spell.

What I'm not clear on is this - what happens to the sphere?

Relevant text from Flaming Sphere: "It can be extinguished by any means that would put out a normal fire of its size."

Relevant text from Pyrotechnics: "The spell uses one fire source, which is immediately extinguished. Magical fires are not extinguished, although a fire-based creature used as a source takes 1 point of damage per caster level."

So, which happens:
1) Pyrotechnics consumes / destroys the sphere; given it's relatively small size (5 foot diameter) and the fact that a) "the sphere is extinguished by anything that would put out a normal fire of it's size" and b) "the fire source used by pyrotechnics is extinguished if it is a normal source of fire".
2) The sphere is unharmed, because it is a "magical source of flame".
3)It takes 1 point of damage per level, because it counts as a fire-based creature.

3a) Follow-up question: The sphere has no hit points or any other listed statistics beyond a movement speed and damage dealt (which is prevented by a Reflex save, not a failed attack roll/touch attack). How much damage can the Sphere take?

Either interpretation seems valid to me - I don't see how one takes precedence over the other. I mean, if a mage cast Pyrotechnics on the "+1 Flaming Greatsword" wielded by the party Barbarian, the sword would not go out, because it's a magical source of flame (whether the mage would survive the barbarian's wrath is an interesting question, but off-topic).

I'm also not sure there's a balance/powergaming problem with the strategy - it takes two rounds to set up, and the sphere doesn't last that long,so it's not like there will be multiple castings of Pyrotechnics off of the same sphere.

If Pyrotechnics consumes the sphere, the tactic is noticeably less awesome. It's still worth doing, but not as often - and it's already not always worth doing.

I'm not sure. I could go either way.

Liberty's Edge

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I've been thinking, and I've built myself a complicated situation. I think I know what happens, but it's questionable enough that I would like some feedback from the forums.

Party includes a Rogue, a Ranger, a Wizard, and whatever else. Party is in generic first level dungeon. Party sees light coming from a room down the dark hall.

Rogue decides to investigate, rolls stealth (8 + 7 mod = 15). Wizard player promptly chastises Rogue for rolling instead of taking 10, Rogue player says "I like to roll". Rogue jots down "15" on the battle mat, as everyone knows you need to keep track of your stealth check result.

Rogue heads down the hall, sticks his head in the room, sees two goblin warriors on sentry duty - to keep the math simple, the DM rules that, since the rogue has his head in the door, he is "9.99 feet away" (no penalty on the goblin's perception checks). Wizard Player questions why the goblins have a fire going, party tells him to "shut up already".

(I swear, this is not from an actual gaming session. I'm trying to describe something that might actually come up, instead of just poking random holes in the rules. Also, I think the details are funny.)

The DM is aware that the players have a somewhat stealth-heavy party, so is using custom built first level NPC Goblin warriors; these ones have a rank in perception and the Skill Focus feat. The DM rolls (8,9 + 5 = 13, 14) - the goblins do not see the Rogue! The Wizard Player mumbles something about "no one ever takes 10 but me", Players ignore him.

(IMPORTANT NOTE: At this point, everyone promptly forgets what the goblins got on their perception check. No one but the DM knew in the first place, and he doesn't think he'll need the information - all that matters is they didn't see the Rogue. Or so they think.)

Rogue, knowing the Goblin language, understand what the Goblins are saying, and spends several minutes listening to their conversation. The party "grows concerned" (other Players are getting bored), and sends the Ranger forward. The Ranger is a half-orc with the Two-Handed option, and doesn't have very good stealth. He rolls (7 + 5 = 12), writes it down on the battlemat, and heads forward.

(you can see where I'm going at this point.)

Ranger moves up to the doorway, waves at the Rogue. Goblins make perception checks to see if they spot the Ranger. Goblins roll (14,15 + 5 = 19, 20). (To refresh your memories, the Rogue got a 15 on his Stealth check).

Table erupts into chaos.

Rogue says "they don't see me, they failed to see me before and nothing changed". Ranger says "I'm not getting shanked alone!" Wizard blames everyone for not taking 10. Remaining party members, shocked awake by the yelling, knock over the dice towers they built, which go clattering to the floor and are chased by the cat.

20 minutes of debate later, DM declares Session over, everyone goes home.


The question I'm trying to ask is - what is supposed to happen in this situation? Is the GM supposed to keep and re-use the Goblin's perception checks? In my 11 years of 3.0/3.5/star wars/d20modern/pathfinder gaming experience, no one ever bothers to keep track of their old spot/listen/perception checks.

Since the DM didn't keep track, regardless of whether or not he was supposed to, what's the correct or most fair ruling here?

I think the right thing to do is: 1) don't bother keeping old perception checks, and 2) Goblins fail to see the Rogue (since they didn't see him earlier, and he hasn't changed), but see the Ranger.

But, like I said at the top, I'm looking for feedback/comments on this.

P.S. I swear, this is not from an actual gaming session. No feelings will be hurt. It's just something that could come up in the future, and I'd like to know what the right and proper way to handle it is.

P.P.S. Another Thought! What's the social protocol for when you accidentally knock down another Player's dice tower, and the cat belonging to a third Player swallows one of the dice and has to go to the vet's? Again, did not happen, but I'm curious.

Liberty's Edge

I was comparing the Pistol to the musket, trying to figure out where the numbers came from, and I noticed something.

Pistol = one-handed, 1d8, 20x4, 20 foot range, misfire on 1, standard action reload.
Musket = two-handed, 1d12, 20x4, 40 foot range, misfire on 1,2, full-round action reload.
Size Large Pistol = two-handed, 2d6, 20x4, 20 foot range, misfire on 1, standard action reload, -2 on attack rolls for medium-size creatures.

Given that the first range increment is a touch attack, given the increased reload times and misfire chance on the musket, given that there will probably be a "pistol" size revolver but not a musket-size revolver in the final rules, why would anyone bother using the musket? Why not just stick to the Hellboy Hand-Cannon? Is the extra 20 feet really worth that much? Because I don't see it.

Liberty's Edge

From another thread, in which this post would be off-topic:

Ice Titan wrote:

... 108d6+12d4+9 damage if his DM lets his magic missiles apply multiple times. Or 54d6+36d6 if his DM doesn't and he just quickens scorching rays instead. You know. Whatever.

I don't even know if a wizard can have 315 (scorching ray) or 408 (magic missile) hit points. That's assuming they all hit-- he could probably miss 3 or 4 and still one-shot explode him.

I'm confused. What's this about sneak attack applying multiple times to the same action against a single target? This definitely did not work in 3.5; I read the Sage columns throughly every month, this came up periodically, and the answer was always the same. I know this isn't 3.5, but is this how the rules actually work now?

Another question: how does the Arcane Trickster (or anyone) get sneak attack damage on magic missile at all? There's no attack roll, the missiles auto-hit. If the spell can't crit, how can it sneak-attack?

Liberty's Edge

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I'm looking for advice on Metamagic for a Sorcerer with the Arcane bloodline.

I've been thinking about the build for several days now, and I'm stuck; I've never really understood metamagic feats. I understand what metamagic feats do (add theoretical utility to spells and spellcasters), and why sorcerers have the "action tax" (limited spells known increases the theoretical utility of Metamagic feats, so increased casting time balances this advantage out).

It's just that, well, I've never really believed in the theoretical utility of these feats. An "empowered magic missile" or "empowered burning hands" doesn't come close to matching a fireball, so it's not like a sorcerer can pass on learning the higher-level spell. Feats like "extend spell" and "reach spell" are handy, I guess, but compared to Spell Focus, or Toughness? I don't see it.

For the past week or so, I've had a Character Concept for an Arcane Sorcerer floating around in my head; I like the character, and it's looking more and more like I'm going to get to game (which I've only done twice in the last four months - sigh). I just don't see the point of Metamagic, which is the problem. No metamagic means the Arcane Bloodline is largely superfluous, which bugs me.

I'd like to play the character that's in my head, but I feel like I need to figure out how to "like" metamagic in order to do that, and I'm not sure how.

Liberty's Edge

Yay, controversial topic!

I've been thinking (and reading) about the various new "player races" in the Bestiary 2 - also called "Zero Hit Die Monsters". I've noticed several things that, while not strictly universal, are pretty common:

1) The various "Zero Hit Die Monsters" from the Bestiary and Bestiary 2 are mostly acceptable in Golarion (default Pathfinder Campaign Setting).

2) They are generally considered to be more powerful than the standard seven races.

3) The difference in power is not enough - nowhere near enough - to justify a "Level Adjustment".

So, my question is this: what is enough to justify the difference in power?

For convenience, I'm going to list all the current race/zero HD monsters/etc, sorted using the only "official" standard we have - the core seven, the races with one level in warrior (CR 1/3), and the races with one PC class level (CR 1/2).

Core Races (7): Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Half-Elf, Half-Orc, Halfling, Human

Warrior Races: Drow (Common), Duergar, Goblin, Kobold, Merfolk, Orc

PC Class Races: Aasimar, Hobgoblin, Teifling, Tengu, Dhampir, Fetchling, Grippli, Ifrit, Oread, Sylph, Urdine

Note: the Svirfneblin and the Drow (Noble) do not appear in this list, as they are noticeably more powerful than any of the above races.


I could see moving the Drow (common), the Duergar, and the Merfolk down to the next group; personally, I would arrange things thusly:

"standard" races: Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Half-Elf, Half-Orc, Halfling, Human; Goblin, Kobold, Orc

"more powerful" races: Drow (Common), Duergar, Merfolk, Aasimar, Hobgoblin, Teifling, Tengu, Dhampir, Fetchling, Grippli, Ifrit, Oread, Sylph, Urdine.

In either case - given either of the divisions I've listed - what is a good way to quickly, easily, and with minimal paperwork balence out the races?

A full level adjustment is overkill, and a generally clunky mechanic besides. A Point Buy or Feat tax seems awkward. I'm aware of the "Council of Thieves Teifling Trait", but I (and many other players) feel that it's overkill, especially given that it costs a trait to take.

What about charging a "trait tax" - letting "standard" races get two traits, "more powerful" races getting only one (which is often the "campaign" trait), and throwing Kobolds a freebie third trait because they need the help?

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

I know this has popped up a time or two before, but I couldn't find an official answer or group consensus on how it should work, so I'm asking.

In the Magic chapter, under Adding Spells to a Wizards Spellbook, it says if the spellcraft check fails, the wizard must wait until he gains a rank in spellcraft to try again.

Under the Spellcraft skill it says the wizard must wait a week before trying again.

There seemed to be three schools of thought on the issue - the largest group thought the spellcraft version was correct, as it is new and the Magic section is the same as 3rd edition. Two smaller (but still significant) groups said either both rules applied or that there was no clear answer.

So, firstly is there an official answer to this question? I believe not, but I'm asking just in case.

Secondly, what in your opinion is the correct ruling?

Thirdly, why does the rule exist at all? A wizard can take ten on this check, correct? And spellcraft is a very useful skill for wizards to have, so most will keep many ranks in it even without this rule, so what purpose does it serve? Why provide consequences for failure at all?

It wouldn't be a big deal, except for that third part. It's bugging me. Inconsistent leftover rules from an obscure and rarely referenced part of an older edition I get; sure, it's a tiny little bit annoying, but it happens all the time, and we wanted something more like 3.5 and less like 4th, so it's all good. What I don't get is why the rule even exists in the first place, and why they kept it in at all.

Liberty's Edge

I'm going to be playing in a Kingmaker campaign starting in the next few weeks, and I'm trying to decide what to play. One concept I've always liked, but never really been able to do effectively, is a character focused on item creation. Kingmaker is such that I will likely have many opportunities to create items; also, apparently magic items are somewhat difficult to get a hold of, so being able to make them would be highly valuable.

I'm looking for some build advice, suggestions, or ideas. Not fully-fleshed out stats so much as "wizard is good, get transmutation and avoid brew potion' or the like.

Liberty's Edge

Currently in pathfinder, any build using Weapon Finesse is basically non-viable. The bonus damage from Strength is the single best method of dealing damage with a weapon, especially when using two-handed weapons, and the bonus from power attack is just gravy.

Going the weapon finesse route not only costs significant damage, it also costs a feat. All this offers in return is better reflex saves and a higher touch AC. Note that, until you can get dex to 30 or higher, you really don't gain any AC, due to max dex bonus on armor - dex of 28-29 = +9 modifier = full plate and dex of 12.
(EDIT: the break-away is actually dex 36 - full plate is +9, and mithril bumps the dex bonus up, so 9+3 = 12 = dex 34-35. This threshold also represents the theoretical maximum possible dex within the current rules.)

If the damage scaling issue were fixed, would Weapon Finesse be worth taking? In other words, would it be worth taking a feat to, say, add 1/2 strength modifier as a bonus to reflex saves and touch AC? If so, then Weapon Finesse in and of itself is balanced, and the problem lies with damage scaling (or the lack thereof). Otherwise, more work is needed.

The other part of the potential solution is to fix the weapon scaling. Let the Weapon Finesse feat also allow the character add his dex bonus to weapon damage instead of his strength bonus, complete with doubling for two-handed weapons.

What I'm not clear on is what this would do to two-weapon builds, and more importantly, to the power-gamey and rather odd two-weapon "shield basher" builds. Ideally, it would result in two-weapon fighting being more viable, and the "shield basher" build being less viable, but I'm not sure if shields can be "finessed". I really want them to not be finessable, as that's just silly, but I'm honestly not clear on specifics. (Seriously, the current best two-weapon build is the one that dual-wields shields. I know why it works, but it bothers me.)

Liberty's Edge

5 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

Let’s say we have a barbarian, a fighter, and a wizard in combat with an ogre. The battlefield looks like the following.

If the wizard casts magic missile (non-defensively), does he provoke?

The wizard is at range, so the ogre must use the rules for ranged cover when determining whether the wizard has cover. The ogre is large, no matter which square you choose, the two meat shields will always block some of the lines traced from one of his corners, giving the wizard soft cover.

According to PFRPG 196, “You can’t execute an attack of opportunity against an opponent with cover relative to you.” Assuming that when they say ‘cover’, they mean any form of cover (i.e. cover, partial cover, improved cover, full cover, and soft cover), then I think our pointy hat gets to shoot the ogre unmolested.

Am I reading this right?

Liberty's Edge

LG vs LG: Two Kingdoms at war: a Thought Experiment

I would like to pull together a set of general traits that could be used to create two kingdoms, both of which are fairly plainly Lawful Good. These kingdoms should dislike each other in the best of times, and it should be entirely believable that they would go to war agaisnt one another if the right buttons were pushed.

It's not for a campaign or anything, just an interesting exploration of alignment and what it does and does not mean.

Here's what I've got so far:

* different races: Dwarves and Humans are excellent choices, though not always viable.

* different patron gods / belief systems: may or may not be doable, depending on existing deities.

* different ruling structures: King, Council of Lords, council of wizards, Parliament, etc. This should be easy enough to set up.

* different power bases / lands: one small but significantly developed (likely with a large population of arcane spellcasters), the other large but more rural, possibly with emphasis on druidic customs and respect for nature/balance. Other ideas would be nice, here.

* reasons to fight: each needs something: land, wood, metals, etc, that the other has in abundance. They currently trade for it, but don't like being so dependent.

* a history of fighting: always easier to pick a fight with someone if there's a history of fighting. Even better is if it's generational - kids fighting the same war their parents fought. And, of course, "stuff" must be "taken" - crown jewels, handy resource on the border (city/mine/port), etc. An excellent example: port city was part of Kingdom, switched allegiances to Monarchy; Kingdom went to war and won/lost X generations ago. Loser preparing for "corrective action" to "take back what is rightfully theirs".

Other ideas?

Liberty's Edge

I'm looking for spell suggestions and selections that a Wizard could prepare, that would be useful in a 'working' environment. What would a "city mage" put together to help out?

Figuring this out for a divine spellcaster is easy - people are always getting hurt or sick, and divinations are handy too. But arcane has mostly spells that hurt people, or make it easier for other people to hurt them.

Of course, there are skills like Craft and Profession, but the local "experts" will probably be better unless it's a high-level mage. Other skills, like Knowledge and Spellcraft, are very hit-and-miss, and unlikely to be reliable sources of income on their own. Skills like appraise require a "honest" reputation, which mages might not have (or want to have; "respected" is far more valuable, and its easier to get with "feared" than "trusted").

So I'm curious, what sort of spells of each level might a city want a wizard to cast for them on a somewhat reliable basis, so he can pay for the four-story tower with all the horrible things in it (without dipping into his gear/spells wealth) when most folks are stuck renting a one-room apartment?

Liberty's Edge

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Is it unbalancing to let a Wizard or (or Sorcerer or Adept) to take a dog as a familiar? I'm thinking that it's fine, but I figured i'd ask.

Also, seeing as how it's a 'standard' familiar, what would it's special skill bonus be? +3 to Survival?

Liberty's Edge

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I've been following the forums, and I've noticed a repeating theme. People are complaining, over and over again, about Monks, Barbarians, and to a lesser extent Rogues. I would like to perhaps try and address this issue by looking at how characters in pathfinder fit together.

I've been around a while. I've played second edition, third edition, 3.5, 4th, and pathfinder, along with loads of other RPGs, like Exalted and Legend of the Five Rings. I currently play WoW. In all those games, there are Character Roles. generic slots that characters fall into and describe in general terms what that particular character does for the party.

Sometimes, like in second and third edition, these roles are rather vague. Other times, like in 4th and L5R and WoW, these roles are very explicit.

In second edition, you need a fighter to get hit, a rogue to deal with skills and sneaky stuff, a cleric to heal the party, and a wizard to kill stuff. But those roles aren't expressly called out in the system, and you can get by without one of them for most things.

In things like WoW and 4th edition, you can also get by easier stuff without one of those, but the really hard, cutting edge challenges require all of them filled and working well, or for very unusual tactics (in Wow, for instance, there was a time when the best way for dealing with Sarth (a big bad dragon) was for a warlock (squishy magic class) to 'tank' him; this was fixed in a patch. WoW discourages unusual tactics).

Like I mentioned at the very beginning, people are complaining. "Barbarians don't fight as well as fighters and paladins" and "monks can't hold their own in front line combat OR compete against rogue damage".

I think these problems come from a lack of understanding as to how each variant build of each class fits together within a party. I think these problems could be addressed by figuring out:
A) what are the various roles for characters in pathfinder? and
B) what roles can each class fill, and how should they go about it?

Here's the initial list that I see. Please help me expand it. Note that the class list is incomplete; I am particularly unclear as to what clerics can do.

Controllers: Also called Buffers, Debuffers, or Leaders, these guys make the enemies hit softer and the party hit harder. They limit the enemies options from afar and let the party do things they couldn't otherwise do.
Classes: Wizards, sorcerers, druids, clerics, bards.
Note: the traditional 'cleric' or 'healer' role is usually a waste of time in pathfinder; spells are better spent preventing the enemy from hurting the party in the first place. Regularly buy Wands of Cure Light Wounds and the party will be fine.

Tank: Also called "Protectors", these guys are there to be hit. They either do as much damage as Melee, or lesser damage but have certain Controller abilities like trip and disarm; without either of these abilities, their high AC and large hitpoint pools make them unattractive targets. They tend to have low mobility compared to melee and disruptors, but otherwise operate as melee.
Classes: Paladins, Fighters.
Note: Shields are a trap. They increase your AC (making you less attractive a target), reduce your damage (making you less attractive a target), and inhibit controller-like actions (making you less attractive a target).

Melee: short for "melee damage dealers", also called Strikers, these guys are the primary source of damage to enemies. They can one-round-kill a lesser monster and reliably handle an even level enemy in two or three rounds. They tend to be fairly mobile, but rely on Controllers for buffs and Tanks for flanking to be most effective.
Classes: Rogues, Rangers, Paladins, Druids, Bards. (see also: tank)

Ranged: short for "ranged damage dealers", also called Strikers, these guys tend to do less damage overall than melee characters, and also tend to be more vulnerable, but compensate by being harder for enemies to get to most of the time and by being able to strike at the entire battlefield, rather than just what is within melee reach.
Classes: Wizards, sorcerers, druids, clerics, bards, rangers, fighters.
Note: because they pretty much always do less damage than melee focused characters, and 'prevent' less damage than controllers (monster with 1 hp still hurts the party), these are usually sub-optimal roles. This does not mean they are 'bad', just not "minmaxed".

Disruptors: something that seems unique to pathfinder, these guys are there to disrupt the enemies plans, the "Anti-Controller". They move around or through the enemy lines, avoid or counter hostile terrain, and harass the enemy controller. Their damage is roughly comparable to ranged, lagging noticeably behind Melee and Tanks, and have unusual abilities like speed, escape tricks, and shut-down maneuvers instead of damage enhancing techniques.
Classes: Monk, Rogue, Bard, Barbarian.
Note: these guys require intelligent enemies and interesting settings to be effective. If every fight takes place in a perfectly swept square dungeon room or on a perfectly maintained lawn, and the enemies do nothing but stand in place and try to kill the tank, these guys are going to be rather boring. In dynamic locations against intelligent foes, they steal the show.

So Tanks are on a sliding scale of Melee vs Controller, along with high hit points and AC. Ranged deal less damage but also take less, and can cover somewhat for an Disruptor. Disruptors get stuck with the same low damage as ranged, but without the range, which looks really bad on paper, but thanks to their various odd-ball tricks they can actually do quite a lot in anything outside of the stereotypical arena.

Class Breakdown List:
Barbarian: Disruptor. Their damage isn't high enough for the Melee position, and they can't afford to trade hits like a Tank. It's not the same role they had is 3.5, which is imensely frustrating to many barbarian fans.

Bard: Controller, Melee, Ranged, Disruptor. Bards are their usual flexible selves; as Melee they don't do as much damage on paper, but make up for it with their buffs and debuffs; well chosen spells also let them move around the battlefield in Disruptor fashion.

Cleric: Controller, Ranged. I honestly don't know much about what clerics can do in pathfinder, so my information may be completely wrong.

Druid: Controller, Ranged, Melee. Druids can no longer do everything, due to how wildshape works, but are still a flexible, unique class.

Fighter: Tank, Ranged. Fighters fight. They exist to hurt the enemy, by limiting their movement options, setting up flanking, using combat maneuvers, and beating their enemies to death with pointy objects. They can either deal competitive melee damage, or shut down enemy melee, or deal competitive ranged damage.

Monk: Disruptor. Monks continue to fill the unique role they occupied in 3rd edition, only without the option to just do a bunch of damage instead. Again, many players are upset about this.

Paladin: Tank, Melee. Paladins tank just like always, only now they don't use a shield. They can only compete as melee if they are mounted. Fighters can technically try the mounted thing too, but their horse / dog will get one-shot, so it's not really an option. Also, the mount limits mobility as much as it enhances it by requiring open areas with high ceilings to function.

Ranger: Melee, Ranged. They've got enough mobility and staying power to get into position as Melee and stay out of trouble as Ranged, but not enough to Tank or act as Disruptors.

Rogue: Melee, Disruptor. A duel-wielding rogue is perhaps the highest-damage-dealer in the game, if he has a full round action, a flanking buddy, and a Controller to pile on the spells. A rogue who picks up some speed enhancing magic items has the tricks (uncanny dodge, evasion, skills) to get next to controllers and the tactics to shut them down.

Sorcerer: Ranged, Controller. Stand in the back and blast away. Tend to make better Ranged than wizards, thanks to metamagic and more spells per day.

Wizard: Ranged, Controller. Stand in back and blast away. Tend to make better Controllers than sorcerers, thanks to large spell selection and flexible preparation.

Note that all of the above are broad, sweeping generalizations. Your mileage may vary.

Liberty's Edge

I would like to make a ray sorcerer. I've got the basics down - Halfling, Straight Sorcerer, Elemental Bloodline (air most likely). What I'm not sure about is feat choice and to lesser extent spell choice.

Any advice?

Liberty's Edge

I'm looking for ideas on building a Warrior/Mage. I'd like to stick to Pathfinder Core rules, standard 15 point buy, etc.

What are the different approaches to this archetype? There's the classic Fighter/Wizard/EK, of course, but what else? Fighter/Sorcerer/DD/EK? I might be able to swing the "base monk stuff on Int instead of Wis' feat from Dragon Compendium, so how would a Monk/Wizard go?