Thanaldhu

Bodhizen's page

Organized Play Member. 906 posts (925 including aliases). No reviews. 2 lists. No wishlists. 1 Organized Play character. 1 alias.


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The consequences are (likely) left deliberately vague so that the moderation team can decide how egregious a violation has occurred. It allows for flexibility without having to consult 50+ rules or a table to determine how a post has violated a rule, how many times, how seriously the rule was violated, and how many consequences in a progressive-discipline model have been given out.

Certain violations will trigger a permanent suspension. Those violations are going to necessarily be few, far between, and communicated clearly. Other violations are going to result in warnings, post editing, post deletion, or temporary suspension. Unfortunately, the more clearly defined the rule + consequence matrix is, the easier it is to craft violations that don't fit the matrix. You get a lot of, "What I <said/did> wasn't a violation of <Rule X> or didn't deserve <Consequence Y> because it doesn't fit the clearly established definition." The rules need to remain flexible enough to be useful, which means that some users are going to complain that they are unclear, arbitrary, or arbitrarily enforced because their perception of the violation/consequence intersection is going to be different from that of the people whose job it is to execute their best judgment.

This is not to say that rules should be deliberately vague, but they should not be so specific as to be too narrow to apply in most situations. The appropriate resolution to the natural flexibility (read: vagueness) of forum rules (or guidelines) is a clear rationale given for consequences. The moderation team here is pretty darn good at that already, given the fact that they let people know that posts were edited or removed, or that users have been suspended. Nothing is being done behind closed doors, even if people would prefer greater specificity in the guidelines.

All of this holds true in any healthy environment. When rules become so specific that you need to have dozens of rules to cover every specific type of violation that could occur, that's when your forum environment becomes difficult to navigate and oppressive. Keeping it simple, while allowing guidelines to be flexibly employed is going to make the environment easy enough to navigate (i.e. you won't have to memorize an entire rulebook to avoid traps) and allow for healthy discussion or activity.

Best wishes!


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As a long-time moderator for a variety of forums, I will chime in with this:

Whether you support free-range posting (no moderation, just let the community "police itself"), deleting posts that are problematic, or just locking down discussions, you're going to have people who disagree with how you've worked to keep your community safe.

It has been my experience that removing toxic behavior (and the ability of toxic posters to contribute toxicity to the community) is the most effective means of dealing with toxic behavior. There is some value in leaving artifacts of how toxic behaviors are dealt with to demonstrate to the community that healthy moderation does occur, but in my experience, having a few artifacts is far healthier and more productive than leaving every possible artifact of how the community is moderated. Having too many toxic posts preserved for posterity has a tendency to create an environment that leads to increased toxicity (often as a game for the trolls to see just how far they can push boundaries before action is taken), which has the unfortunate side effect of increasing trauma-causing behaviors (such as quoting from those preserved posts, or referring to them).

Essentially, it's a delicate balance that is not going to satisfy everyone. This is not a sign of poor forum moderation, merely a natural consequence of forum moderation in general. Toxic posters don't want to be moderated. Gaslighters will also argue against what they consider to be "reactionary moderation". People who are genuinely trying to interact in healthy ways will still try to interact in healthy ways regardless of how the forums are moderated (unless moderation is truly oppressive and harmful, at which point, healthy discussion will cease and posters will leave).

I will freely admit that I haven't spent much time on these forums in a long while. That doesn't mean that I've been disconnected from Paizo & Pathfinder - just not here on these forums. But, recent developments did encourage me to come back to not only weigh in on such matters, but reconnect with some of the awesome members of this community.

Suffice it to say... Trolls will regenerate, unless you use magic or burn them with fire. Leaving pieces of trolls lying around can give rise to fully reformed trolls. Let's work together to prevent trolls from taking over our spaces.

Best wishes!


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I apologize for not being more active here. I could add in the Silk Wyrm, but I'm loathe to do an update just for one monster.

What are some other things that people would like to see in this PF1 conversion (yes, I have considered a PF2 conversion, but I haven't actually gotten to play PF2 yet, so...)?

Ross Hearne aka poisonbladed wrote:
So many to think of. On a quick glance at the table of contents I think you have all the basis covered. Though there is this one monster from Al-Quadim that was like half cat half crocodile. Spacing the name right now.

I've had strong thoughts about Al-Qadim of late. For the moment, setting aside the problematic nature of some of the content, I did really enjoy the feeling of the Sha'ir. The implementation of such a class in PF1 has never felt organic or satisfactory to me, but I will fully admit that I haven't gone looking for every permutation of fan-created content related to the Sha'ir.

Then again... I have spent most of my Pathfinder energies focusing on my own pet project (a setting, which includes multiple world-layers, a couple of unchained versions of existing classes, a variety of new monsters, differences in traditional races, etc...).

Best wishes!


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As I've said as a moderator for other places before...

"There is no line. There is a neutral zone, and if you enter the neutral zone, you violate the treaty. Both sides may end up blowing up your starship if you enter the neutral zone. I strongly encourage you to stay out of it."

Best wishes!


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I don't think that you'll find too much in the way of updates, unless of course, people are really interested in more material for this conversion. I could expand on the bestiary, but honestly, that was my least favorite part of the conversion (barring the entries on the Dragon Kings and Avangion).

But, if you want to engage, I'm up for it.

Best wishes!


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DragonKing666 wrote:

I'm not normally into thread necromancy, but I have a few questions...

1. Bodhizen, did you ever complete the epic spell conversions or 10th level spell conversions? I'm quite interested in this especially.
2. Does defiling harm plant creatures or just nonsentient plants?
3. Will there be "raze" feats of any kind in the next update.
4. Will there be an update?
5. You have the Longevity and Immortal mythic abilities noted as being mythic feats under the Dragon King abilities. Was this intentional or an error?
6. Do Athasian Dragons still require a perfect obsidian orb worth at least 1,000 gp as a focus for their Dragon Magic ability? Currently, I have it errata'ed for my campaign that they do.

Anyway, excellent work. I absolutely love this conversion of Dark Sun. It's the best I've ever seen. :)

Hello, DragonKing666!

So, no, I never completed the spell conversion for 10th level spells. There never seemed to be that much interest in them, and the spells themselves needed a lot of work. The power level in the spells varied widely, but for the most part, they were underpowered compared to 9th level spells in Pathfinder. If there's interest, then I'm certainly up for revising them...

Let me see if I can answer all of the rest of your questions.

Question #2: Defiling would harm plant creatures just as it would harm a plant in a hanging basket. Defiling magic draws from the soil, but also from nearby plant life, and that would also include plant creatures. As an initial thought, I would say that any plant creature caught within the radius of a defiling effect takes 1d4+1 points of damage (no save) per defiler point used when the spell is cast. This is in addition to any other damage that such a spell might cause with its effects. The plant creature can also be the sole target for the defiler's magical energies, but only if the available land to draw energy from is already defiled, in which case, the plant creature takes 2d4+1 points of damage (no save) per defiler point used when the spell is cast. Any plant creature that is slain from such defilement crumbles to dust, but its equipment will remain unaffected.

For example, If the defiler cast an enlarged, dazing, burning magic missile (which would have a final spell slot level of seven, but only use a first level spell slot), they are reducing the spell by six levels, and the defiler would gain six defiler points. If a plant creature is caught within the area of effect for the defilement, it also takes 6d4+6 points of damage from the defiler drawing upon its life source. If it's caught in the effect while in lands that have already been defiled, the damage increases to 12d4+6.

However, if a defiler casts a spell and defiles land within the presence of any plant creature or creatures, all plant creatures with line of sight to the defiler or to any defiled squares automatically become hostile to the defiler. They will prioritize stopping or slaying the defiler over other targets.

Question #3: I had not planned to include any, as defiler magic already wreaks significant devastation for a pretty significant benefit. However, I could be convinced to write some.

Question #4: That depends... How many people are really using this? I had not planned to do another update, but I could be persuaded if there are a fair amount of people out there using this document. I will admit that I was somewhat astonished to find it on Scribd, but... I never sought to make any money off of this anyway.

Question #5: No, this is not an error. You get the powers of those mythic feats. It was a convenient way to grant those powers without copying and pasting the feats themselves or creating something similar, but new.

Question #6: I always felt that was a silly requirement, given the level of spellcasting and psionic power that was required to become a dragon king in the first place. Canonically, the dragon kings swallowed such orbs as they gained levels as dragon kings. In this conversion, I purposefully omitted this requirement, as it was just "Have the gold to have this thing and you can afford to be a dragon king, too... If you meet all of the other requirements." Granted, it is a way to reduce the power of the dragon king (but breaking its orb or orbs), but as a dragon king, I can use magic to rapidly repair, replace, or undo the damage, so... What's the point? I can cast make whole (quickened or otherwise) to fix those orbs in an instant.

Thanks for your questions. In the future, if you want to get in touch with me to ask questions (or to summon me back to these boards faster), you can reach me at bodhisattvaspath@gmail.com.

Best wishes!


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The link is still functional.


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I really like how the spells seem to be avoiding the "save or suck" conditions that many spells in PF1 suffered from. They made certain spells "undesirable", as characters that made their saving throw would render your spell effectively wasted.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Revan wrote:
Frankly, per Bodhizen's definition, literally *nothing* in Pathfinder, roleplaying at large, or real life can accurately be called Chaotic.
That seems a bit harsh. I've seen what's described being played, and it's doable, though rare.

It was also a complete mischaracterisation of my position on the matter, but I feel that you've addressed that adequately, so thank you kindly, good sir!

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Bodhizen wrote:
That is a big issue. The poor writing of what "chaotic societies" would look like in Pathfinder has been particularly astonishing to me. Chaotic societies are anarchic, pretty much by definition. Paizo hasn't done "chaotic societies" any more justice than Salvatore did Menzoberranzan. The only reason that these chaotic tribes of barbarians, and chaotic samurai, and chaotic cavaliers even exist is because multiple someones attempted to shoehorn representative sampling into the game in order to say, "See? Chaos exists!" They took neutral structures (at best) and slapped the "chaotic" label onto them for some strange reason, even though they don't remotely represent chaos in any meaningful interpretation of the word. An overhaul isn't explicitly what's needed. What's needed is for people who write for chaotic representation to actually write chaotic examples and stop slapping the "chaos" label onto things just to add a sense of "wild west lawlessness" into the setting.

Rather than giving you a point by point response on the last few posts, I will say that I think our definitions differ mainly in the following way:

I think the third or maybe quarter (assuming Neutral Alignments are more common) of the population (or societies) who come closest to meeting a Chaotic ideal qualify as Chaotic. Just as I think about the same percentage who come closest to it qualify as Lawful.

If you're attempting to qualify something as lawful or chaotic for the purposes of representation, I can see this.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
You seem to be of the opinion that most of those I believe would qualify as Chaotic would be Neutral, with only the real extreme fringe being Chaotic.

That's probably accurate. Chaotic "societies" (anarchies) are exceptionally rare and are almost universally transitional conditions.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
And that's a completely valid viewpoint from the Alignment descriptions of either Law or Chaos, but not IMO an ideal way of looking at Alignment from a playability perspective (assuming you want Law and Chaos to be commonly played, anyway), and not especially reflective of Golarion or most other settings I've seen (as you acknowledge here).

I don't expect law or chaos to be common, truth be told. Most people are more neutral than anything else in real life. Playing toward the lawful or chaotic end of the spectrum takes as much work as it would actually acting that way in real life, but I do understand what you're saying.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
I will say that most Paizo supplements seem to favor my interpretation, which is irrelevant in a wider context, but certainly valid for whether Paizo should consider a CG Paladin (the thread's original point). What would be required for it to be a good idea would be for it to be CG by the standards used by Paizo, which I think are a lot less strenuous in regards to who can be Chaotic than yours are.

This is, generally speaking, true. While I feel that Paizo has done a poor job representing what chaotic is in any meaningful sense of the word, if you go by Paizo's standard, pretty much anything "neutral" could easily be considered chaotic; not by its nature of actually being chaotic, but by virtue of slapping the chaotic label onto it via a nebulous set of quasi-but-not-really-guidelines.

What aspects of a character's life need to be represented by chaos in any meaningful sense of the word to consider the character chaotic? Exactly how many rules would they follow and still be considered chaotic? Are we assuming that chaos is "self-interest" while lawful is "altruism" when approaching chaotic good and lawful good? Are we defining chaos versus law as "this is my personal internal code that is irrespective of anyone else's personal internal code" versus "my personal internal code is identical to the socially accepted external code"?

Paizo isn't very clear on what those standards are, and they don't really match up with any reasonable interpretation of "chaos". Paizo's standards, to all appearances, are both mechanically and metaphysically identical when determining what is "neutral" and what is "chaotic". The only difference seems to be the label.

d20pfsrd.com wrote:

Lawful characters tell the truth, keep their word, respect authority, honor tradition, and judge those who fall short of their duties. Chaotic characters follow their consciences, resent being told what to do, favor new ideas over tradition, and do what they promise if they feel like it.

Law Law implies honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability. On the downside, lawfulness can include closed-mindedness, reactionary adherence to tradition, self-righteousness, and a lack of adaptability. Those who consciously promote lawfulness say that only lawful behavior creates a society in which people can depend on each other and make the right decisions in full confidence that others will act as they should.

Chaos Chaos implies freedom, adaptability, and flexibility. On the downside, chaos can include recklessness, resentment toward legitimate authority, arbitrary actions, and irresponsibility. Those who promote chaotic behavior say that only unfettered personal freedom allows people to express themselves fully and lets society benefit from the potential that its individuals have within them.

Neutral Someone who is neutral with respect to law and chaos has some respect for authority and feels neither a compulsion to obey nor a compulsion to rebel. She is generally honest, but can be tempted into lying or deceiving others.

The entry for neutrality is particularly telling, as it implies that chaotic characters are compelled to rebel, which is a definition that I don't believe that anyone is using. This is why I'm not especially fond of using Paizo for the standard when it comes to alignment.

In any case... You and I generally appear to be reaching at least a tentative consensus on the matter. Woot!

Iron_Matt17 wrote:
Actually on further inspection, my idea of a Chaotic Society may be the same as Bodhis. (I would love to hear your thoughts Bodhi) But in the end my discussion does not answer the questions on how to play a Chaotic character or even a Chaotic Good Paladin. But I think it was worth speaking on...

It appears that they are consistent, yes.

========== Having said all that... ==========

Going by Paizo's definition of what's chaotic, they still value unfettered personal freedom, and resent authority. A code would contradict that (it would explicitly attach fetters).

However...

Going by some of what Deadmanwalking has been saying about the power of a (we'll call them "holy warrior" for the moment) holy warrior could spring forth spontaneously from within without the need for a godly being. This may be mechanically similar to paladins, and so we'll call this holy warrior (for the purposes of further discussion) a Templar. Assuming that this Templar is a chaotic good character that follows an internal code of behavior (which isn't consistent with chaos, but it follows Paizo's lackadaisical standards for chaos), here's what I'd propose for their code:

  • I shall make my own way, and that way shall be one of kindness and benevolence. I shall allow my conscience to guide me. I will not willingly commit an act of evil, unless that act is done to create or preserve a greater good. Even then, I shall seek atonement for the evil that I have wrought.
  • I shall lead by example, not by force. My ways shall serve as an example unto others of goodly behaviour, but I shall not force others to follow my example, as that would force me to exert control over them.
  • Control is not freedom. Laws and regulations are unnecessary mechanisms of control, not protection for the people. People will do good if you give them the chance to do so freely, and so I will work to convince others of the inherent goodness of people and seek to sever the yoke of law whenever good people suffer from its burden.
  • Tyranny and slavery are an abomination. I shall not allow anyone to be subjected to them without challenge, and I shall devote myself to the downfall of such practices.
  • I shall question what is known. I shall actively seek out knowledge and truth, but only when I have questioned facts and beliefs will I find truth. I shall question the way that things have always been, for stagnation is death, and exploration is life.
  • Justice shall be dealt by my own hand. I shall not look to others to mete out justice in my stead. I shall act upon what is good and truthful, even if it conflicts with the expectations of others. Those that pass judgment must be the ones to swing the sword, and I shall not stand in the way of others delivering justice by their own hands, unless that justice comes at the expense of what is good and true.

It's different from what Deadmanwalking has proposed, and it does attempt to maintain some semblance of internal consistency with prioritization of goodly behaviour. It's not chaotic in any meaningful way, but it's about as loose as one would get and still allow a chaotic good character to find some appeal in this set of tenets.

As always, everyone, best wishes!


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willuwontu wrote:
That is the big issue here, because if we say that chaos doesn't ever follow codes (or just strongly dislikes following them and thus won't maintain over long periods of time) it causes an issue. This is shown with the question "What is good?", I'd say (and I'm probably not alone) that it's a code of how to act and behave with (and to) others. Which means that if chaos won't follow codes (or just dislikes them), they can't ever really be good. They might not necessarily be evil, but they wouldn't be good, and that causes an issue.

The fact that chaos doesn't follow codes is really only an issue when you attempt to shoehorn a code in. Chaotic people (or characters) may seem to do things without purpose (which is a completely chaotic thing to do in a pure sense of the word), and often times that's true, but they may also act irrespective of a code. That means that at times, their actions may be congruent with an existing code, or set of laws, but at other times they may not. The defining point here is that the rules don't matter. It doesn't matter if they exist, or if they don't exist. The chaotic character would do what they're going to do without any regard for rules or codes.

The lawful character would follow the rules unless they had a good reason not to. The neutral character would follow rules that they feel like following or that they agree with while not following rules they don't feel like following or that they disagree with. The chaotic character wouldn't even pay rules any mind because for the chaotic character, rules don't even matter to them. As such, with rules not even mattering, they wouldn't accept another entity placing rules upon them, as they would then be forced to at least tacitly acknowledge rules as appying or not applying to them. They would reject the notion that any being even has the authority to subject them to rules in the first place.

This does not mean that without having any regard for rules that the character cannot act in a good fashion. They act in a good fashion because they choose to, not because anything says that they must. It's like the atheist perspective; they don't rape, or kill, or steal because they don't want to rape, or kill, or steal, not because some mythical bearded man in the sky tells them that it's bad.

willuwontu wrote:
I see what you're saying, and while I don't fully disagree, I have to reference my statement above, if chaotic cannot maintain a code (or follow a set of rules) how can they maintain being good, when good is held to a higher (not higher, all alignments are equal, but I feel you'll understand what I mean) standard (and code/rules). Also note that social interactions tend to follow rules as well, the chaotic character is not required to just always ignore them.

I believe I already answered this above, but I think it bears repeating. The chaotic good character can be good because they want to be good, not because they'll be punished for not being good because of "Rules, man. Rules."

So, with regard to social interactions, a very basic one is a greeting. You say some form of hello to me, and I say some form of hello back to you. That's a pretty basic social convention. The chaotic character may say hello back to you, but not because it's the "socially acceptable" thing to do; things like "social acceptability" don't really matter to them. They say "hello" back to you because they want to. Or they nod their head and don't say anything at all. Or maybe they grunt a reply, or don't acknowledge you at all. They don't explicitly bow to the social convention of greeting you back.

willuwontu wrote:
Also, while a chaotic character might reject laws that don't conflict with good, they don't necessarily fight them all the time, instead ignoring them when inconvenienced by them. Some might choose to champion against them, while others might accept their existence and instead choose to educate others on the downsides of them.

I don't disagree with this at all.

willuwontu wrote:
Similarly, I think that the alignment square is a bad representation of how alignment looks and how the axes influence each other. Instead I'd consider it akin to the color circle, with an extra source color and G,E,L,C as the source colors (I really enjoyed how unchained did alignment, and this is like a more granular version of that), With the corner alignments being somewhere in-between. This means that each corner alignment, can be various shades of their sources. So we end up with some CG's whom have a little more C than G in them, whom like you said can't follow a code really, and other CG's whom would be able to (Maybe they've got a splash on lawful in their color ;D ).

While I don't inherently disagree with this, I find it problematic when one of the axes overwhelms the other to the point where the other is irrelevant. At that point, the law-chaos axis naturally settles to "neutral" because the neutral point in the axis prefers neither side of the law-chaos axis to the other.

willuwontu wrote:
I know it's not meant for me, but, You too, kind sir! Your posts are growing on me, and it is somewhat enjoyable to see them, despite my disagreement.

I appreciate the respectful discourse as well! We may not agree, but that's part of the process, and if we eventually reach consensus, I will feel that this conversation was deeply rewarding. If not, it'll still be a good conversation. So, I say "Best wishes!" to you as well, good sir!

==========

Deadmanwalking wrote:
I'll repeat that I keep bringing up Good because a LG Paladin prioritizes Good over Law, and I thus consider a CG one prioritizing Good over Chaos to be very much the way a CG Paladin should work.

I think it's only natural that a paladin prioritizes Good over Law, as they would be completely unable to function as a paladin if they did not do so. However, that doesn't mean that Law holds no bearing upon their actions, and "Law" does not always mean "laws and rules". It can also mean "pattern", "code", "order" (as in the natural order of things in this specific context, not as in command, but it can mean that as well), or any other host of synonyms. I know you understand this, but I wanted to be specific that it's not limited to only the three synonyms I listed here.

Chaos, on the other hand, can also mean "discord", "disorder", "unruliness" (or again, a host of other synonyms not limited to the three I chose). Chaos finds itself in opposition to order or law not explicitly because it is the equal and opposite counter to any given rule or law, but because it doesn't engage with law. It's akin to colouring a picture by numbers; the lawful character will colour a section of the picture blue because the picture calls for blue, and that matters. The chaotic character may choose to use blue in any specific spot that calls for blue, or they may choose to use another colour instead because the colours called for don't really matter to them.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
I disagree that prioritizing the freedom of others over your own is in any way non-Chaotic. It's explicitly Good and thus not typical of CN or CE, but it's a very Chaotic act to prioritize freedom in general regardless of whose. And that's what most of the Code I'd give a CG Paladin is: prioritizing freedom.

I don't disagree that the prioritizing of freedom of others over your own is explicitly non-chaotic. I do, however, argue that doing so universally or consistently is non-chaotic. A chaotic good paladin, in prioritizing freedom, must sometimes prioritize their own as well, and that may sometimes conflict with prioritizing the freedom of others. This is best done when it does not conflict with a good act.

Deadmanwalking wrote:

Absolutely! Unfortunately, having a Code that actually necessitates lawbreaking is not feasible and does not actually covey the lack of respect for laws a Chaotic character should have, since it binds them to them every bit as closely as requiring them to obey them.

Which is why my CG Paladin Code is focused pretty exclusively on protecting the freedom of others rather than anything else.

I agree with you that having a code that necessitates lawbreaking is not feasible. I disagree with you that the chaotic character would overmuch care (or consider) the law when acting in a good fashion. It's good for goodness sake, as opposed to the proverbial bearded man in the sky telling them that they have to be good or be condemned to an eternity of fiery torture.

I understand and respect your position on the chaotic good "paladin" focusing pretty exclusively on protecting freedoms, but I argue that they must also preserve their own. In preserving their own, I find it to be at odds with the concept that they would allow their freedom to be restricted by a set of behavioural rules. The bearded man in the sky can't tell them what to do, but they can still do good of their own volition.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
And once again, the same to you. :)

As always, best wishes to you, good sir.


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I'm actually a fan of the, "this may not be the right tool [read: weapon] for this monster" vibe I'm getting. Don't get me wrong, having the über-Sword of Awesomeness +eleventybillion mow down everything you encounter is cool and all, but I like the notion that weaknesses are going to encourage you to think about switching up your weapons. It's not a requirement any more so than in PF1 to have multiple weapons for the job (PF1 didn't play with weaknesses nearly this much), but there is an incentive for sheathing your sword and grabbing your tetsubo from your back to pound some sense into the horde.


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Bodhi (of Bodhi's Guide to the Optimal Paladin/Antipaladin) here...

I haven't had much to say about the playtest, but I'm going to weigh in here.

Paladins are an archetype. They are the shining holy knight that embodies all that is good and righteous in the world. They are the best of the Knights of Charlemagne. They are the best of the Knights of the Round Table. They, more than any other class in the core rulebook, exemplify a very specific type of character. They are, in Pathfinder 1.0 and Pathfinder 2.0 both, very much functioning as intended. They're a literary convention, as it were, and if you want to play that particular literary convention, stripping out all of the idiosyncrasies that make paladins what they are just to keep the mechanical chassis would do the class a disservice.

I totally get that people want to play Chaotic Good paladins, and while I'm not against that type of play, it's not the paladin archetype. Would it be awesome to have a paladin of Milani? Absolutely. From an in-game perspective, does a Chaotic Good champion have the mental and emotional wherewithal to uphold to a code? If you're taking a pretty mean interpretation of alignment, then no. They pretty much do as they will without much regard for any particular sort of code. That's also why neutral good "paladins" don't necessarily work out well; they ditch their "code" when it suits them. That "code" is what paladins must adhere to in exchange for their powers. To be fair, the paladin gets some pretty sweet class abilities.

The problem with "clerics as paladins" is that clerics were far too generic in Pathfinder 1.0, and I'm not entirely certain that they're going to be "not so generic" in Pathfinder 2.0. We shall see how that pans out. Warpriests sort of hit the mark to fill in that gap, but they didn't do it perfectly, and I feel that's because people were expecting "paladin 2.0" from warpriests, and that didn't pan out.

Why does "god" love paladins more than their other children (clerics, inquisitors, and warpriests)? It's because "god" expects more from them, it's that fact (far more so than a specific alignment) that is the driving force behind why paladins are "god's favourite". Does that mean that other gods (that aren't lawful good) couldn't create a "paladin-like being"? Certainly not. It's more likely that they don't really care to and beings that aren't lawful good are probably not as likely to follow the strict guidelines that "god" demands in exchange for these specific powers.

It's really more a narrative issue than a mechanical one.

Having said all of that... I completely get that people may want to play paladins and not be lawful good. I believe that a good portion of that sentiment stems from the number of times they've seen either "lawful stupid" or "lawful @$$hole" played at their table. Those aren't fun to be around. Another chunk of it comes from the concept that "those few people over there shouldn't have the shiniest toys", and I understand that as well. If you really want to play a paladin of Gorum, absolutely nothing stops you... except you. Write up a code, hold some expectations for what you want out of this paladin and go for it. It's not really supported by the literature that supports the concept of paladins, but that's not really important to someone who really wants to play that paladin of Gorum.

Lastly... I'm a huge proponent of the idea that antipaladins, in order to be the dark mirror of paladins, should be lawful evil, not chaotic evil. I don't particularly care much for "chaotic evil" antipaladins, as they wouldn't really be able to hold on to any tenets to oppose those of paladins anyway. They don't want to convert you to their dark purpose and fulfill the desires of their black-souled deities; they just want to watch the world burn. Not that world-burning is a problem for antipaladins, I just feel that they'd be way too disorganized to be a match for the average paladin.

Best wishes, all!


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

One thing that I think we could explain a bit better is the fact that every character has a breadth of options open to them when it comes to social and out of combat abilities. Some come from classes whose theme and purpose aligns closely with those parts of the game. For those classes, they usually get some additional choices so that they do not feel that they are lacking in combat ability (sacrificing social for combat, or vice versa).

That said, everyone has access to skills, skill feats, and general feats that allow you to tune your character to perform in the way that you want outside of combat (exploration mode and downtime mode). We will be looking at the modes of play on Friday and I am going to sneak in some information on this topic then to give you a sense of what's out there.

This sounds encouraging. I hope that the fighter class (and all martial classes, actually) see a decent amount of access. The fighter class in Pathfinder (First Edition) feels like it got punished in every area except feat access; fighters were skill poor, had to invest in Intelligence just to have better access to skills (at the expense of other Attributes), and because the real benefit they had was in the amount of feats they had, it felt like they got punished by having to use feats that would otherwise keep them on par with other classes on things that would actually grant them narrative utility. Personally, I'd like to see at least one decent narrative utility feature built into the base fighter chassis.


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Lady-J wrote:
except it is fact

Sorry, but you have no proof that your view could objectively be valid.

Lady-J wrote:
paladins in 5e can pretty much do what ever they want so long as they stick to the code that they themselves chose out this does in fact give them more freedom.

This neither confirms nor refutes any point made thusfar. It's nice to know, but it's unimportant.

Lady-J wrote:
another fact is that they are more powerful than pathfinder paladins, their aura effect everyone evenly paladin gets immunity to something so does every other party member with in 10 feet(upgraded to 30 feet at higher levels) paladin get charisma to all saves guess what so does every ally within the 10(30)foot radius their smite works vs everything and they get like a dozen different kinds of smite that each do neat effects, they also get spells at level 2 their only downside is lay on hands which works kinda like the 3.5 one.

Again, nice to know, but it neither confirms nor refutes any point made thusfar.

Lady-J wrote:
5e paladins get overall better features than pf and wear less of a strait jacket while getting to enjoy those powers.

Good to know. It's a completely different design paradigm based upon a system two editions beyond what Pathfinder was based upon. That doesn't mean that the Pathfinder paladin is "subpar", just different. If you're making the assertion that the Pathfinder paladin is "subpar", not only is that a completely separate argument from paladin morality and fall conditions, but it is, once again, an apples to oranges comparison.


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Lady-J wrote:
that's more on the fault of the paladin class being poorly written then actual issue of ethics

There is no evidence to support this, only opinion.

Lady-J wrote:
5e has no restriction on alignment and also have codes that are much more lenient then pathfinders paladin, 5e paladins have little to no issues with any of the actions they take, they are also much more powerful than pathfinder paladins so the argument of the code is there for balance is complete hogwash

You're making an apples to oranges comparison. Not only are you arguing that 5e has less restrictive codes (your words were "more lenient", but I'm not really altering meaning in this context), which alters game-play, but does not provide any means-tested (objective) evidence that their ethical sandbox is measurably "better" (it's just an opinion, after all; subjective), but also you're arguing that because paladins in 5e are "more powerful", the balance with ethical codes is better. Those items are unrelated.

Not only that, but your contribution seemed to completely ignore (not refute) everything that I presented, which essentially boils down to, "the black and white morality interpretation that you have (subjectively) imposed upon the paladin class is incompatible with rules as intended, and strong arguments can be made for the notion that it is incompatible with rules as written, ergo, your black and white morality interpretation cannot objectively be valid".


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I am very hopeful that Pathfinder 2nd Edition will bring martials and casters into balance and redress the problem of the martial/caster disparity.


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There's a lot in this thread that's troubling.

First, the notion that no matter what the paladin does, the paladin falls. This assumes that the paladin's actions, via the butterfly effect, will eventually result in some act of evil that the paladin will be indirectly (but we seem to be assuming directly for some strange reason) responsible for. Since any act of good may provoke an equal and opposite response, the paladin must therefore fall and thusly, the paladin falls immediately upon dedicating herself to her god(dess).

This explicitly breaks the system, violating Rules as Intended (and arguably, Rules as Written).

Second, the notion that the paladin, upon learning that the person saved is an Agent of Evil (capital E here), the paladin must definitively "Deal with the Agent". This assumes that the paladin is omniscient, as letting the Agent of Evil live is considered to be an evil act, since the Agent of Evil (having no agency of their own) will undoubtedly commit an act of evil (or Evil), which the paladin is (in)directly responsible for. Therefore, the paladin has no choice but to execute the Agent of Evil.

However, murder is an Evil (again, capital E) act, and therefore, executing the Agent of Evil automatically makes the paladin fall. We'd try to resolve this by turning over the Agent of Evil to the Proper Authorities, but in so doing, the Agent of Evil could escape, committing further acts of evil, and therefore, the paladin once again is (in)directly responsible for the Agent of Evil's actions. Thusly, the paladin falls. All of this assumes that the paladin lacks agency herself as she must act to deal with the Agent of Evil, but simultaneously assumes that the paladin has enough agency to be responsible for her choices and therefore be culpable for her actions and capable of falling.

This also explicitly breaks the system, violating Rules as Intended (and arguably, Rules as Written).

Both of these arguments make the paladin unplayable. This breaks the design paradigm of the paladin class (as well as the design paradigm of the "good" axis of Alignment in the Alignment system in our fantasy swords & sorcery setting). As they both make the paladin class unplayable, neither one can be valid interpretations of paladin fall conditions or ethics in this fantasy sword & sorcery setting.

  • Paladins are not directly responsible for any actions but their own.
  • Paladins are not indirectly responsible for any actions that do not directly result from a paladin's action or inaction. Even NPCs have agency, and to deny them their agency is to deny the agency of the paladin or the player.
  • Paladins are not omniscient or precognitive. Pre-crime is not the prerogative of the paladin class.
  • If an act doesn't explicitly break the generic or god(dess)-specific Paladin Code, the paladin does not fall, period. Failing to kill a sentient evil creature that is not currently in the commission of an act of evil does not violate the generic paladin code, nor does it break the paladin code of any god(dess) that I'm aware of.
  • According to some paladin codes, the paladin cannot kill an evil creature that is not currently committing an act of evil. Some are even required to attempt to redeem evil creatures prior to "final solutions".

Ethical trap-baiting is not fun for players, particularly those playing alignment-reliant characters. Arguing the ethics of fantastical moral dilemmas in a fantasy sword & sorcery setting that assumes that killing other creatures is a "good" or "socially acceptable" act is also not fun for most players (hence the general, "Another 'paladin falls' thread? Oh, God! Here we go again!" feeling when one of these threads crops up). Since both of these are "not fun", it's a short leap from "not fun" to "badwrongfun" to even get into these sorts of debates, particularly when dealing in absolutes like, "all murder is always wrong, despite the rules-as-written conceits of the fantasy sword & sorcery setting".

Best wishes!


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Absolutely not. Absolutely nothing the paladin did violates Erastil's code.


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Author here. The link still points to the exact place the file is stored.

Best wishes!


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master_marshmallow wrote:
Bodhizen wrote:

Our hypothetical fighter here cannot make use of Versatile Training until 9th level, at which point he must be already invested in hammers, heavy blades, light blades, or polearms to take advantage of the ability to boost their Diplomacy. If the fighter has not invested in those weapon groups, they'd be out of luck, so their narrative scope is rather limited. The Manual of War doesn't help out in this circumstance, as it only swaps out bonus fighter feats for combat feats, and Versatile Training is not a feat. So, the fighter doesn't gain this narrative utility until 9th level (at the earliest), and it's limited to the skills associated with his weapon groups, and unfortunately, he'll only have one weapon group by 9th level if he takes advanced weapon training at 9th level.

That grants your fighter four skills that they can retrain (as Bluff and Intimidate are skills that are associated with all weapon groups). Unfortunately, if Knowledge (local) is something my fighter needs, or maybe they need Use Magic Device, no weapon groups are associated with those skills, so they're simply out of luck.

I'm not quite sure how you're going to retrain abilities mid-combat to escape a grapple; I doubt that most fighters are going to choose the monk weapon group just to have that option available. However, the point remains that the fighter's utility is handicapped by the mechanics associated with their concept.

With respect, there is a feat available to 5th level fighters which grants an additional Advanced Weapon Training ability, it can be taken every 5 levels and is a combat feat. Thus it not only qualifies for Manual of War, but it's an eligible option for Quick Study, Barroom Brawler, and the Training weapon property, accessible via Warrior Spirit.

Additionally, the rules for Versatile Training specify that if your selection included a skill you already have trained, you immediately can reassign those skill ranks to whatever else you like. One could have a fighter with Max ranks in intimidate/whatever else lines up with your weapon group, select it, then move those skill ranks over.

If that skill is somewhere on the available list of options for Versatile Training, said fighter could simply do this trick again to either reset their skills or just change them up to suit their needs.

EDIT: I suppose since I'm going all out on exposition here, I ought mention the AWT option which grants Item Mastery feats allows one to bypass the spell prerequisites for such feats, thus any fighter that has Warrior Spirit at 9th level who did not take the AWT feat (something I have mentioned in the guide) can have at virtually any time any of the item mastery feats, and use them.

Schrodinger's fighter is a thing.

With respect,

The issue with not being invested in the proper weapon groups to get the skills you need remains unaddressed; this is a bug, not a feature. Also, the level of system mastery required to get all of these features to come online is pretty significant. The amount of specific feats required to do what you need can significantly handicap the fighter, who relies upon their feat choices to keep pace with other martial characters in terms of combat effectiveness. This is also a bug.

This is far less Schrödinger's Fighter and more of a highly specific solution that does not universally resolve the general problem.


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Omnius wrote:

The source does not make that an accurate assessment. The style of play seen in all official material (PFS modules and APs) does not do what James says it does past the lowest levels.

He is factually incorrect that the problem is the fifteen minute adventuring day, and that the mages' resources are significantly limited past the lowest levels, especially when we're not looking at the Wizard, but rather the Druid, Summoner, Witch, or Shaman, with their various sundry all-day abilities and pets. Staying power, as implemented in the system, is a failed notion as a balancer, particularly because the classes supposedly limited by it gain so much staying power so fast and can do so many different things.

He says casters have to be careful about using up all their resources at once, but you really only need a spell or two an encounter, and you get way more than that real fast. And you literally can't spend all your resources at once.

Also, James is literally obligated to maintain the party line.

Let us also not fail to acknowledge the fact that Paizo has yet to release an adventure or adventure path where characters get to the "20th round of the 20th battle of the day" just to put proof to the notion that caster/martial disparity is not a concern. Even the big bad boss fights don't make it that far, with that many lead-up fights, mostly because most players don't care for that kind of slog-fest, even if they are the murderiest of murderhobos.


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The Caster/Martial Disparity was written into Pathfinder. That doesn't mean that it's not a good game to play, just that it's flawed, and the flaws continue to grow more glaring with the advent of more spells and classes. The fighter (especially) falls further and further behind on the narrative power-scale as time goes on, and I personally feel that it could use (and should have) an Unchained version that includes some class skills that would grant the fighter more utility outside of combat. Fighters aren't just dumb brutes. I've suggested a few things earlier in the thread, and I feel that it would be useful to come up with ways to enhance the fighter's narrative utility (and the narrative utility of other classes that have fallen behind the curve).


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Ssalarn wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:

Alternately, there are a wealth of games out there to play, and it speaks poorly of those who'd rather play one they don't really enjoy and complain about not enjoying it rather than put the effort into finding something they do enjoy doing.

Edit: "the players" meaning the subset of forum goers who post complaints. You don't speak for "the players" It doesn't even look like your position has a majority stake in the "actual experiences with C/MD thread.

How about another possibility? The majority of people in this thread actually love Pathfinder, but recognize that as a massive system built on a framework over two decades old it has places that can be improved upon to maximize their personal enjoyment of the game and that of the people they play with. If left to their own devices, these individuals would have the opportunity to share their collective experience and help each other and anyone else seeking to improve their game experience to do so.

Unfortunately, there are individuals out there who see a thread title referring to rebalancing the game and think to themselves "Aha! This is my opportunity to go tell all these people they're playing the game wrong because they don't use the exact same set of house rules I do, and then haunt the thread until any potential for it being helpful to anyone dies. If I'm really lucky, over time I'll erode the fanbase so thoroughly that Paizo will go out of business and I'll never have to be even tangentially aware that anyone is talking about adding improvements or customizations to the game ever again." Inevitably, these individuals succeed in thoroughly derailing the thread and burying any potentially helpful advice so that it's impossible for anyone searching for help to find it, which leads to the need for another such thread, which starts the cycle over again.

I've tried a couple of times to get into some more useful advise, but to little avail so far.


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Here is Iomedae's Code:

Iomedae's Code wrote:

  • I will learn the weight of my sword. Without my heart to guide it, it is worthless—my strength is not in my sword, but in my heart. If I lose my sword, I have lost a tool. If I betray my heart, I have died.
  • I will have faith in the Inheritor. I will channel her strength through my body. I will shine in her legion, and I will not tarnish her glory through base actions.
  • I am the first into battle, and the last to leave it.
  • I will not be taken prisoner by my free will. I will not surrender those under my command.
  • I will never abandon a companion, though I will honor sacrifice freely given.
  • I will guard the honor of my fellows, both in thought and deed, and I will have faith in them.
  • When in doubt, I may force my enemies to surrender, but I am responsible for their lives.
  • I will never refuse a challenge from an equal. I will give honor to worthy enemies, and contempt to the rest.
  • I will suffer death before dishonor.
  • I will be temperate in my actions and moderate in my behavior. I will strive to emulate Iomedae’s perfection.

Your player's paladin has fairly convincingly violated the following tenets of Iomedae's Code:


  • When in doubt, I may force my enemies to surrender, but I am responsible for their lives. The foe was asking the paladin for mercy. This, at the very least, raises some doubt as to whether or not killing was the best course of action.
  • I will never refuse a challenge from an equal. I will give honor to worthy enemies, and contempt to the rest. It's really easy to declare a defeated enemy as "not worthy". However, killing is not simply an act of evil, otherwise the paladin would be evil simply for killing, and therefore, it cannot be used as a justification for the paladin ending the "evil guy's" life. There are motivations, shades of grey, and all sorts of other factors that determine whether the act of killing is unequivocally evil. Is the assassin evil, particularly if they only kill bad people? Is the fighter defending farmers from a horde of bandits, killing them to protect the innocent? If your player's paladin doesn't realize that there's some grey area here, that's a problem. This enemy was defeated, and begging for their life, and the paladin swooped in and delivered the killing blow without hearing them out. That's definitely cause for concern.
  • I will be temperate in my actions and moderate in my behavior. I will strive to emulate Iomedae’s perfection. The rest of the paladin's actions (jumping into battle and getting themselves killed, rushing into the fray despite the warpriest's objections, etc...) do not seem "temperate" or "moderate".

I'm not saying that this is a "paladin falls" situation, but it's definitely one where a servitor of Iomedae would come a-callin' to say, "Hey, you're not really representing Iomedae in the best light here. If you don't change your ways, you're going to lose her favor."


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Wilheim Upenzi wrote:

If your desire is for fighters to be equal to casters in not only combat but all roleplay and the power to shape a game, quite simply, you have to remove 95% of spells from the game. Keep a few very narrow, damage/combat only spells from each list, and allow only skill points and ranks to be factors in or of combat challenges.

The sheer amount of silliness you need to do to make a fighter equal to a wizard... It's far asier to just restrict casters to World of Warcraft rules: no difference out of combat, one uses a sword and the other uses ice balls in combat.

I don't think that you need to remove 95% of the spells from the game, but I do think it's a little strange and slapdash that you can learn to cast a fireball, but you never learned a spell that lets you light a candle, or create a campfire, first. When studying magic, and having schools of magic, and studying how magic works, and how to perfect it, it just seems odd to me that you can summon demons of great power, despite never having learned how to summon a chihuahua first. Granted, forcing spellcasters to learn a low-level version of a spell that generates wind (for example) before they can conjure a tornado limits the spellcaster greatly, but when we're talking about overall balance of martial characters versus spellcasters, it's certainly a valid topic of discussion.

The problem is, though, that you've got players of spellcasters that don't want to be limited in that fashion, and I completely understand that. In order to bring a martial character into something close to resembling parity, even just in terms of combat, you'd have to give them the option to start out with stabbing foes with a dagger, then allow them to make trick shots with a bow (despite never having learned to shoot one), then allow them to be able to decapitate foes with a spoon (despite never having learned exactly where to strike a creature so that their head pops clean off), then give them the option of exploding half a dozen opponents with a flexed bicep and a stern look.

This is why the system has parity issues. Spellcasters don't have to follow any sort of spell progression, save the restriction of spells by level. Martial characters have to grab a feat in order to progress, then grab another feat that builds off of the first feat, or grab a feat that gives them more utility by giving them a different skill or combat option. Spellcasters don't have prerequisite spells to get to the bigger, better versions of those spells. They can just grab whatever spell they like when they get access to more spells. Martial characters just can't keep up with that kind of character flexibility, and that's why your spellcasters are far more versatile than your martials can hope to be.

It's not enough to condense feats into auto-upgrading versions of themselves (that grant new abilities when you reach specific levels). You'd have to do away with the concept of pre-requisites for combat feats (except for level restrictions) for martial characters entirely. Let the fighter take point-blank shot at 1st level, swordplay style at 3rd level, then improved whip mastery at 5th level, and so on. That's the only reasonable way to give your martial characters as much flexibility (at least in terms of combat) and utility as the wizard gets without restricting spellcasting to having prerequisite spells (or at least forcing spells to require spells from the same school and/or subschool and/or having the same descriptor in order to learn a spell of the next spellcasting level). Doing so would force the wizard to take burning hands at 1st level (or some other evocation spell with the fire descriptor), flaming sphere at 3rd level (or some other evocation spell with the fire descriptor), in order to allow them to take fireball at 5th level (an evocation spell with the fire descriptor).

Until you deal with the fact that the spellcaster can grab any spell they want while the martial character is forced to follow a feat progression, you're never going to achieve parity. I would encourage GMs to consider balancing a martial character's feat progression to only require Base Attack Bonus (or character level), and class ability, as the only prerequisites for grabbing a feat as the solution to this issue. Sure, your spellcasters are going to be annoyed that the ranger can grab any feat he likes (provided he's got the class ability it links to, if a class ability is required), but since the oracle can grab any spell in her spell list she likes, I think it's a fair trade-off. All you need to do is grant martial characters a class ability that allows them to ignore feat prerequisites that require you to have another feat in order to select the feat you want.

Best wishes!


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Some ideas to help balance the disparity:

1. The notion that martial classes are dumb brutes with few skills is fundamentally flawed.
Watch any film about medieval warriors (particularly Wuxia) and most martial characters (or martial artists, if you will) are very skilled at quite a few things. Martial characters should get more skill points in general, and casters, who are more focused on learning arcane secrets, can have fewer. As a start, I'd re-assign the skill points per level to the following values: Barbarian (5), Fighter (6), Monk (5), Paladin (4), Ranger (7), Rogue (8), Cavalier (5), Gunslinger (5), Vigilante (7), Brawler (5), Hunter (7), Slayer (7), Swashbuckler (5) + Int modifier.

2. Versatility is everything, and martials are lacking in versatility.
This would be a more complex issue to resolve, but it should revolve around skills. Much like skill unlocks for Rogues, all martial characters should be able to access a certain number of "versatility tricks" per level. Maybe the fighter can't cast a spell to open a lock, but they could gain a trick that would let them force the door open (more easily). Maybe they can't cast a cure spell, but they know a trick using half a torn sleeve and an herb that they learned from an old wise-woman that allows for increased healing benefits while completely resting. Maybe they can't summon a dire wolf to attack their foe, but they can perform a sword dance that causes their foe to become shaken... All without having to use their pool of feats. Rogue/Ninja tricks do some of this, and granting these sorts of abilities to other martial characters could expand upon their usefulness in situations other than, "The minute his head is in view, hit it with the rock!"

I do apologize, as I feel that I'm not articulating the examples of versatility tricks as well as I could were I thinking a bit more clearly. You don't have to give them "magical powers" that are like what wizards and clerics can achieve, but that doesn't mean that your fighter shouldn't be able to produce a raucous bellow that makes those in the bar want to take him out because he's clearly the biggest, meanest son of a b***h in the bar. (Yes, I know that aside from the Antagonize feat, there's not much "drawing aggro" in this game.) It doesn't mean that the Ranger shouldn't be able to rig some kind of complex series of traps, given a reasonable amount of time, that will give the squadron of hit-men following him a reason to call today a "really bad day" (if they're still alive to say anything at all). Some of this is stuff that anyone can do (if they have the right skill points assigned), but it takes lots of time, resources, and skill rolls. There's no particular reason a martial character couldn't have some sort of "concentration bonuses" to combat maneuvers and/or CMD.

3. Magic is not the answer.
If you want to give discounts to magic weapons and armour, you have to recognize that those discounts will also apply to casters who want to use them. That just exacerbates the "arms race" that is magical power. Instead, you may wish to consider granting limited spell resistance to martial characters. This encourages casters to be cautious when it comes to going up against martial characters, and encourages martials to be a bit more bold. Maybe martials get SR 10 against 1 spell per day (of the character's choosing) for every 4 levels they possess (up to 5 spells per day at 20th level), plus their Constitution modifier. Maybe you want to grant certain classes more magic resistance than others. Maybe you want to give them blanket spell resistance that applies to both harmful and beneficial effects. Maybe you don't want to give them spell resistance at all... It's up to you.

I just find the notion that a fighter, for example, has pretty decent Fortitude saves, but poor Reflexive and Will saves, to be nonsensical. It generally takes great strength of will to be a warrior (ask anyone in the military, or watch any martial arts film). That line of work is not for the weak of heart (and not usually for the weak of mind). I think it's one of the ways that the system is balanced against the martial character, and it should be simple enough to address.

4. Martials should be resilient.
One of the things that makes martial characters less realistic to play is the fact that they can get pretty high armour class, and then that makes them unattractive targets. "Go after the squishies first" has been a solid tactic for a long time in RPGs, so armouring up to the point where your goblin opponents can't touch you is stupid (unless your GM throws realism out the window and keeps sending wave after wave of goblin at your cuisinart-like sword while you never get a scratch). Power-turtling is never a good thing.

Martials need to be attractive enough targets to where your enemies want to hit them, but resilient enough to where they can take the hit and survive it. I'm not saying to nerf AC and grant them fast healing, but granting them the ability (a certain number of times per day) to shrug off damage (before damage is rolled) wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. You roll to hit the barbarian, you connect, the barbarian uses the ability (maybe at his level, he takes 15 points less damage), you roll for damage, subtract 15 points, and then the barbarian takes anything that may be left over. This encourages enemies to engage the warriors of the group instead of only going after the casters, while making the warriors dangerous enough opponents that aren't going to be squishy-dead within the first few rounds.

This addresses (at least in part) the issue with martials doing what they do best while casters do their part in battle. Martials can end up being superfluous when it comes to intelligent opponents, and that's decidedly a bad thing.

I'm sure you can come up with other ideas (and I'm not suggesting that I've got all the answers... I just spent a few minutes putting a few thoughts out there). Deadmanwalking has some pretty solid house rules that may very well help fix the disparity somewhat.

Best wishes!


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I think a perfect switch for the Inquisitor from Torag would be Droskar, the Dark Smith. Once a student of Torag, his greed for power and respect lead him down a dark path where he had kidnapped, imprisoned, and tortured a smith for the designs that he used to impress others. He is now the god of cheating, slavery, and toil. Droskar would love to get his hands on one of Torag's former faithful, since they're both at engaged in a cold war with one another.

His favoured weapon would change from the warhammer to the light hammer, and his domains would change from Artifice, Earth, Good, Law, and Protection to Artifice, Charm, Darkness, Evil, and Trickery.

I'm sure that you can come up with some servants of Droskar that offer the Inquisitor power and glory. They don't have to mention Droskar by name, or if they do, they can repeatedly offer him respect and glory, even offering aid from time to time. It'll be especially fun if the Inquisitor continues to rebuke or attack them, and more keep coming to help the Inquisitor (and his party) anyway. Followers of Torag start shunning the Inquisitor, and won't offer him aid or succor. If that doesn't give the Inquisitor any clue as to how much of a douchecanoe he's being, then fine... he can slip into the willing embrace and service of Droskar.

Best wishes!


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Let's pose Torag as, "The Boss".

The Boss has some rules (and a paladin's code is a decent place to begin):
1. My word is my bond. When I give my word formally, I defend my oath to my death. Traps lie in idle banter or thoughtless talk, and so I watch my tongue.
This suggests that Torag has a thing for following through with what you say you're going to do. If you're lying to someone about the treasure that you collected, that you were supposed to turn over to that person, this is something that Torag would frown upon, and not just because the character is a paladin. That's something that a priest of Torag would be preaching to the congregation.

2. I am at all times truthful, honorable, and forthright, but my allegiance is to my people. I will do what is necessary to serve them, including misleading others if need be.
"My people", among dwarves, generally refers to dwarves. If your inquisitor is killing off a bunch of dwarves, they're not really living up to the spirit of this part of Torag's code, and so Torag wouldn't take too kindly to his inquisitors pulling these sorts of shenanigans, either. They wouldn't suffer a "fall" like a paladin, but it would definitely earn them some side-eye/a visit from one of Torag's celestial servitors (or one of their flunkies).

3. I respect the forge, and never sully it with half-hearted work. My creations reflect the depth of my faith, and I will not allow flaws save in direst need.
I haven't heard of your inquisitor doing anything that would go against this sort of edict from Torag.

Against my people’s enemies, I will show no mercy. I will not allow their surrender, except when strategy warrants. I will defeat them, yet even in the direst struggle, I will act in a way that brings honor to Torag.
Is your inquisitor (and their party) really acting in a way that brings honor to Torag? If the answer is yes, then fine. If no, then Torag's going to be upset.

So... The Boss has made these rules clear (or something like these rules). Maybe they'll miss you violating the rules your first time (or look the other way) 'cause you do good work. The second time, though, you're going to have an uncomfortable talk with HR. The third time, The Boss might put you on probation. Beyond that, you're strung up by the short and curlies, and you're out on your rear collecting unemployment. But even before that happens...

The Boss' rules for the regular employees are going to be different from a paladin's code, but as I said, it's a good place to start. Follow the employee handbook, or you're going to be filing for unemployment. Torag may not be some kind of cosmic bean-counter, but he probably employs minions who are tasked with ensuring that the faithful are living up to his good name. A warning or two is warranted, and an alignment shift to reflect their current behavior (arguably some form of evil; I personally see this as neutral-evil, as it is very self-serving behavior) is justified. Sorry, Inqui... You just lost your certification for Torag's employment, and now you have to recertify before Torag can hire you back.

Best wishes!


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Or atone for their misdeeds.


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Considering the addition of the old 10th level spells into the conversion...


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

If we're gonna discuss fixes , mine can be found here. It actually does several of the things just mentioned.

It lacks simplicity, sadly, but I'm pretty happy with it.

I think the shifter (as presented by Paizo) suffers from an overabundance of simplicity.

I actually like quite a few of the features of your Shifter fix. It does grant some more utility than Paizo's version of the class does. I'd tweak a few things, but overall, it's a pretty solid fix.

Best wishes!


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Painful Bugger wrote:

Personally I think you should change the shifter in one of two ways. Both have wild shape act like the druid's.

First idea is to have the aspects each grant bonuses and abilities as you level. No minor or major form and have them act all day. They stack with wild shape and the chimeric aspect abilities let you combine aspects. Aspects can let you fly, swim, sneak, etc.

Second idea is to ditch aspects and on the odd levels you select universal monster abilities(including movement options) you can use. You can modify some monster abilities to scale in some way with level to make them unique. Chimeric aspect lets you use multiple...

I think it goes without saying that the shifter's wild shape ability needs to be changed for the better. I think that there's an elegant way to do it that adds something truly new to the shifter class rather than grabbing abilities from other places. But, so long as it's better, I suppose that's the important thing.

Best wishes!


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Painful Bugger wrote:
Bloodrealm wrote:
Weird that you guys are still discussing damage output when most of us seem to agree that it's serviceable-but-not-great as-is for damage and that EVERYTHING ELSE is the real problem.

It's basically getting to the stage where everyone had their say about how poorly this class is put together and now where we're getting to the number crunching and finding that it's still a poor class to play on top of the lack of versatility.

I don't think damage would be that big of issue if you had a greater flexibility with the forms at least because then you can change into a form that makes Shifter Claws a non issue.

This is absolutely the point. The lack of versatility is what makes this particular class bland at best. There's a niche for it to fill, but it does so in a particularly poor manner, and so it just seems to have no genuine place in the grand scheme of things. The add-ins from other classes could have been replaced by much better class features (on a whim, I'd give the class some animal version of leadership that grants some "pack magic"/"pack synergies" where if your "pack" is nearby, you get some fast healing, or damage reduction, or some other kind of supernatural benefit), and the chimeric abilities could have been rolled into a single ability with a more imaginative capstone.


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Bloodrealm wrote:
Bodhizen wrote:


At 11th level, we'll add in Bear to get to 2d6+8 claw damage, plus 2d6+8 bite damage, plus 1d8+12 trample damage (average 61.5 damage per round). Falls behind the paladin/antipaladin to end up in 2nd place.
Then at 16th level, we'll add Deinonychus to get 2d8+9 claw damage, plus 2d6+9 bite damage, plus 1d10+9 rake damage, plus 1d8+13 trample damage (average 84 damage per round). Also falls behind the cavalier/samurai to take 3rd place.
Where are you getting that Trample?

Ah, that must be an error with Hero Lab (which is where I usually do my proofing). It comes from the bull, but you only get it with the major form. That drops the damage at 11th and 16th, respectively, to 45 and 66.5 average damage per round.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Bodhizen wrote:
** spoiler omitted **...

The problem with this analysis is that it assumes the Shifter is never Wild Shaping, which by 6th they can do for 12 hours a day.

And that it assumes the Shifter can't add any additional natural attacks, which are actually quite easy to add.

The shifter can. You're absolutely right about that. And we could build in feats, and consider the druid wild shaping as well. It's just a baseline analysis, not a "what could you achieve"? But, you're absolutely right that in a fair comparison, I should have been demonstrating the shifter's attacks far better.

So, let's say that you go Dire Tiger and Bull to get 2d4+7 claw damage, plus 2d6+7 bite damage (average 38 damage per round) at 6th level. This is the highest damage per round at this level of the martial classes.
At 11th level, we'll add in Bear to get to 2d6+8 claw damage, plus 2d6+8 bite damage, plus 1d8+12 trample damage (average 61.5 damage per round). Falls behind the paladin/antipaladin to end up in 2nd place.
Then at 16th level, we'll add Deinonychus to get 2d8+9 claw damage, plus 2d6+9 bite damage, plus 1d10+9 rake damage, plus 1d8+13 trample damage (average 84 damage per round). Also falls behind the cavalier/samurai to take 3rd place.

It was not my intention to misrepresent the class, and I'd like to thank you for pointing out the error.


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My take on the Shifter class:

As a martial class, this class doesn't make the grade.

Sure, it gets full Base Attack Bonus progression (like the Antipaladin, Barbarian, Bloodrager, Brawler, Cavalier, Fighter, Gunslinger, Paladin, Ranger, Samurai, Slayer, and Swashbuckler classes), but the damage output is far too low.

The following is a martial comparison (which, admittedly, doesn't showcase the absolute best that any class can achieve, but it does provide a baseline for comparison):

1st level:
Assumptions: 18 Strength, every attack lands a hit, longsword (assuming proficiency via class feature or feat; claws for the Shifter), full attack, class abilities, no other damage bonuses (from races, feats, magical items, etc...)
Antipaladin: (no smite) +5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 8.5 average damage per round. (with smite) 1d8+5, 9.5 average damage. (with smite, double damage) 1d8+6, 10.5 average damage.
Barbarian: (no rage) +5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 8.5 average damage per round. (with rage) +7 attack bonus, 1d8+6 damage, 10.5 average damage per round.
Bloodrager: (no rage) +5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 8.5 average damage per round. (with rage) +7 attack bonus, 1d8+6 damage, 10.5 average damage per round.
Brawler: +5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 8.5 average damage per round.
Cavalier: (no challenge) +5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 8.5 average damage per round. (challenge) 1d8+5 damage, 9.5 average damage per round.
Fighter: +5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 8.5 average damage per round.
Gunslinger: +5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 8.5 average damage per round.
Paladin: (no smite) +5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 8.5 average damage per round. (with smite) 1d8+5, 9.5 average damage. (with smite, double damage) 1d8+6, 10.5 average damage.
Ranger: (non-favored enemy) +5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 8.5 average damage per round. (favored enemy) +7 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 8.5 average damage per round.
Samurai: (no challenge) +5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 8.5 average damage per round. (challenge) 1d8+5 damage, 9.5 average damage per round.
Shifter: +5/+5 attack bonus, 1d4+4 damage, 13 average damage per round. (bull aspect) +6/+6 attack bonus, 1d4+5 damage, 15 average damage per round. Highest average damage per round. Using a longsword instead of claws, +5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 8.5 average damage per round.
Slayer: +5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 8.5 average damage per round. (vs. studied target) +6 attack bonus, 1d8+5 damage, 9.5 average damage per round.
Swashbuckler: +5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 8.5 average damage per round.

6th level:
Assumptions: 18 Strength, every attack lands a hit, longsword (assuming proficiency via class feature or feat; claws for the Shifter), full attack, class abilities, no other damage bonuses (from races, feats, magical items, etc...)
Antipaladin: (no smite) +10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 17 average damage per round. (with smite, no double damage) 1d8+9 damage, 27 average damage per round. (with smite, double damage) 1d8+14 damage, 18.5 average damage per round.
Barbarian: (no rage) +10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 17 average damage per round. (with rage) +12/+7 attack bonus, 1d8+6 damage, 30 average damage per round.
Bloodrager: (no rage) +10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 17 average damage per round. (with rage) +12/+7 attack bonus, 1d8+6 damage, 30 average damage per round.
Brawler: +10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 17 average damage per round.
Cavalier: (no challenge) +10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 17 average damage per round. (challenge) 1d8+10 damage, 29 average damage per round.
Fighter: +10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 17 average damage per round.
Gunslinger: +10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 17 average damage per round.
Paladin: (no smite) +10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 17 average damage per round. (with smite, no double damage) 1d8+9 damage, 27 average damage per round. (with smite, double damage) 1d8+14 damage, 18.5 average damage per round.
Ranger: (non-favored enemy) +10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 17 average damage per round. (favored enemy) +12/+7 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 17 average damage per round.
Samurai: (no challenge) +10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 17 average damage per round. (challenge) 1d8+10 damage, 29 average damage per round.
Shifter: +10/+10 attack bonus, 1d4+4 damage, 13 average damage per round. (bull aspect) +12/+12 attack bonus, 1d6+5 damage, 17 average damage per round. Lowest average damage per round. Using a longsword instead of claws, +10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 17 average damage per round.
Slayer: (vs. non-studied target) +10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 17 average damage per round. (vs. studied target) +12/+7 attack bonus, 1d8+6 damage, 21 average damage per round.
Swashbuckler: +10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 17 average damage per round.

11th level:
Assumptions: 18 Strength, every attack lands a hit, longsword (assuming proficiency via class feature or feat; claws for the Shifter), full attack, class abilities, no other damage bonuses (from races, feats, magical items, etc...)
Antipaladin: (no smite) +15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 25.5 average damage per round. (with smite, no double damage) 1d8+15 damage, 58.5 average damage per round. (with smite, double damage) 1d8+26 damage, 91.5 average damage per round.
Barbarian: (no rage) +15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 25.5 average damage per round. (with rage) +18/+13/+8 attack bonus, 1d8+7 damage, 34.5 average damage per round.
Bloodrager: (no rage) +15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 25.5 average damage per round. (with rage) +18/+13/+8 attack bonus, 1d8+7 damage, 34.5 average damage per round.
Brawler: +15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 25.5 average damage per round.
Cavalier: (no challenge) +15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 25.5 average damage per round. (challenge) 1d8+15 damage, 58.5 average damage per round.
Fighter: +15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 25.5 average damage per round.
Gunslinger: +15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 25.5 average damage per round.
Paladin: (no smite) +15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 25.5 average damage per round. (with smite, no double damage) 1d8+15 damage, 58.5 average damage per round. (with smite, double damage) 1d8+26 damage, 91.5 average damage per round.
Ranger: (non-favored enemy) +15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 25.5 average damage per round. (favored enemy) +17/+12/+7 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 25.5 average damage per round.
Samurai: (no challenge) +15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 8.5 average damage per round. (challenge) 1d8+15 damage, 58.5 average damage per round.
Shifter: +15/+15 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 17 average damage per round. (bull aspect) +17/+17 attack bonus, 1d8+6 damage, 23 average damage per round. Lowest average damage per round. Using a longsword instead of claws, +15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 25.5 average damage per round.
Slayer: (vs. non-studied target) +15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 25.5 average damage per round. (vs. studied target) +17/+12/+7 attack bonus, 1d8+6 damage, 31.5 average damage per round.
Swashbuckler: +15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 25.5 average damage per round.

16th level:
Assumptions: 18 Strength, every attack lands a hit, longsword (assuming proficiency via class feature or feat; claws for the Shifter), full attack, class abilities, no other damage bonuses (from races, feats, magical items, etc...)
Antipaladin: (no smite) +20/+15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 34 average damage per round. (with smite, no double damage) +10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+20 damage, 98 average damage per round. (with smite, double damage) 1d8+36 damage, 162 average damage per round.
Barbarian: (no rage) +20/+15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 34 average damage per round. (with rage) +23/+18/+13/+8 attack bonus, 1d8+7 damage, 46 average damage per round.
Bloodrager: (no rage) +20/+15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 34 average damage per round. (with rage) +23/+18/+13/+8 attack bonus, 1d8+7 damage, 46 average damage per round.
Brawler: +20/+15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 34 average damage per round.
Cavalier: (no challenge) +20/+15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 34 average damage per round. (challenge) 1d8+20 damage, 98 average damage per round.
Fighter: +20/+15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 34 average damage per round.
Gunslinger: +20/+15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 34 average damage per round.
Paladin: (no smite) +20/+15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 34 average damage per round. (with smite, no double damage) +10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+20 damage, 98 average damage per round. (with smite, double damage) 1d8+36 damage, 162 average damage per round.
Ranger: (non-favored enemy) +20/+15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 34 average damage per round. (favored enemy) +22/+17/+12/+7 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 34 average damage per round.
Samurai: (no challenge) +20/+15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 34 average damage per round. (challenge) 1d8+20 damage, 98 average damage per round.
Shifter: +20/+20 attack bonus, 1d10+4 damage, 19 average damage per round. (bull aspect) +23/+23 attack bonus, 1d10+7 damage, 25 average damage per round. Lowest average damage per round. Using a longsword instead of claws, +20/+15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 34 average damage per round.
Slayer: (vs. non-studied target) +20/+15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 34 average damage per round. (vs. studied target) +22/+17/+12/+7 attack bonus, 1d8+8 damage, 50 average damage per round.
Swashbuckler: +20/+15/+10/+5 attack bonus, 1d8+4 damage, 34 average damage per round.

Others have already provided an analysis of the amount of wild-shaping that shifters can do versus druid wild-shaping. This comparison will demonstrate how much wild-shaping each class gets at a very basic level.

Shifter
Level 1: Shifter Aspect: 4 minutes/day
Level 6: Shifter Aspect: 9 minutes/day; Wild Shape (6 hours, 2/day)
Level 11: Shifter Aspect: 14 minutes/day; Wild Shape (11 hours, 4/day)
Level 16: Shifter Aspect: 19 minutes/day; Wild Shape (16 hours, 7/day)

Druid
Level 1: No wild-shaping.
Level 6: Wild Shape (6 hours, 2/day)
Level 11: Wild Shape (11 hours, 4/day)
Level 16: Wild Shape (16 hours, 7/day)

The shifter gets no more wild shaping than the druid, though the shifter does get their shifter aspect, so there's that. Not inherently any better than the druid, which is a let-down, because wild shaping is a secondary ability of the druid, whereas it's the primary ability for the shifter.

Looking at the other abilities of the shifter. Based upon our esteemed Guide builders, these abilities have been rated as follows:
Wild Empathy: Mediocre
Defensive Instinct: It's a good feature; a clone-over from the Monk's AC Bonus.
Track: Mediocre
Woodland Stride: Mediocre
Trackless Step: Mediocre

The unique abilities to the Shifter... I'd rate those as follows:
Shifter Aspect: It's all right, but you only really get to the good stuff when you use your Major form at 4th level.
Shifter Claws: This ability is mediocre, because the damage scaling is poor. The damage dice increasing only adds a point or two, on average, and would have been much better if there was a bonus on damage rolls. At least it would have scaled a lot better compared to other martial classes.
Chimeric Aspect: This is another good feature, as it allows you to take on more than one aspect. Combining the minor forms gives you some decent benefits that scale every 7 levels. The only real down-side is the time-limit per day.
Greater Chimeric Aspect: A bump-up of Chimeric Aspect. Decent, but not awe-inspiring.
Final Aspect: It's a logical extension of the class' abilities, but it's underwhelming, as it's just another bump-up of Chimeric Aspect. Chimeric Aspect, Greater Chimeric Aspect, and Final Aspect feel like they could have been rolled into one ability. As a capstone, it's not something that seems inspired or even all that interesting. In terms of power, you're controlling four aspects simultaneously, so you could have bonus to your three physical attributes and another skill or character mechanic (such as initiative or base speed), or gain another ability (like scent or evasion). The combination is decently powerful, but it's weak compared to some other capstone abilities (such as the Inquisitor's Final Judgment or the Monk's Perfect Self).

All in all, the class is mediocre in its mechanics and somewhat weak in its build. It deserves some love; an "unchained" version of the class, if you will. I wouldn't say that the basic version of the class is not worth playing, but it's definitely going to put players who want to keep up with other party members at a disadvantage.

Best wishes!


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Bodhi's Guide to the Optimal Paladin & Antipaladin has been updated to version 5.0.

Best wishes!


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Reduxist wrote:
I specifically use stars because of the possibility of color blind readers, but I am beginning to contemplate using a simpler three-point system due to how easy it is for some readers to be confused by the number of stars on each rating.

While I use the colour system (and I recognize that it causes issues for our colourblind readers), I also include text that indicates whether choices are good or bad above and beyond the colours themselves. I am, however, baffled at how a reader could become confused by the number of stars on each rating, especially if a key of some sort was provided within the guide.

You just can't dummy-proof this sort of thing. To paraphrase a rather common axiom, "If you dummy-proof it, someone will find a dumber dummy."


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Eltacolibre wrote:

Just a passing comment, the conversion is pretty good and I like it a lot, just an alternative suggestion:

I would probably tone down the Sorcerer-Kings...yeah they are powerful but would probably make most of the sorcerer kings CR 26-29, with Dregoth being CR 30.

To be more in line with Pathfinder power scaling.

At CR 26-29, most sorcerer kings can fight demon lords, empyreal lords, archfiends, Great old ones toe to toe, which should be plenty enough to represent their vast power and can crush easily dukes of hell, the tarrasque etc...

Dark Sun being mostly a survival/dark fantasy, most players aren't going to become Mythic anyway(unless a gm runs that kind of game of course), so killing a sorcerer king is almost impossible for the average party even when they reach level 20 and that doesn't even take into account their vast resources.

I appreciate the alternative suggestion, Eltacolibre! However, given the amount of time that I spent in constructing the Dragon Kings and in attempting to make them genuine and appropriate threats for the environment of Athas, I do not think that I'll be re-configuring them. That, and the currently statted Demon Lords can give the Dragon of Tyr (for example) a run for his money.

As a thought exercise, I'm going to play this out a little, keeping with simple actions as an example.

Spoiler:
Borys of Ebe (the Dragon of Tyr) gets into a fight with Pazuzu (a demon lord). They roll for initiative.

Pazuzu: Initiative: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (14) + 13 = 27
Borys: Initiative: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (19) + 20 = 39
Borys has initiative, so he's going to make a single bite attack.

Borys: Bite Attack: 1d20 + 41 ⇒ (16) + 41 = 57
As this beats Pazuzu's Armor Class of 48, Borys hits, doing...
Bite Attack Damage: 8d6 + 6 ⇒ (5, 6, 2, 4, 4, 4, 4, 1) + 6 = 36
Heat Aura: 2d6 ⇒ (6, 4) = 10
46 points of damage to Pazuzu. Pazuzu is down to 716 hit points.

Pazuzu retaliates with his +5 anarchic keen unholy longsword, making a single attack as well.
Pazuzu Longsword Attack: 1d20 + 54 ⇒ (7) + 54 = 61
As this beats Borys' Armor Class of 40, Pazuzu hits, doing...
Longsword Attack Damage: 2d6 + 20 ⇒ (6, 1) + 20 = 27
Borys must resist Pazuzu's Aura of Locusts. Borys' Fortitude Save: 1d20 + 30 ⇒ (8) + 30 = 38
Since Borys did not make the save, he is nauseated, so he may only make a move action next round.
30 points of damage to Borys. Borys is down to 674 hit points.

Should they continue at this rate with the same attack and damage results, if Borys doesn't overcome those Aura of Locust saves, he's toast. Should he manage to overcome them, he's doing 46 damage to Pazuzu's 30, and will win in 16 rounds.

Now we know that this is not indicative of real combat, so we'll go with full attacks this time. We're not using spells or psionics, which would further complicate matters. I'm just keeping this simple for now.

ROUND 1

Borys makes a full attack, attacking with his bite, two claws, two wings, and a tail slap.
Borys: Bite Attack: 1d20 + 41 ⇒ (6) + 41 = 47
Borys: Claw Attack #1: 1d20 + 41 ⇒ (14) + 41 = 55
Borys: Claw Attack #2: 1d20 + 41 ⇒ (12) + 41 = 53
Borys: Wing Attack #1: 1d20 + 36 ⇒ (10) + 36 = 46
Borys: Wing Attack #2: 1d20 + 36 ⇒ (15) + 36 = 51
Borys: Tail Slap: 1d20 + 36 ⇒ (7) + 36 = 43
Since Pazuzu's Armor Class is 48, only the Bite Attack, Claw Attack #2, Wing Attack #1, and the Tail Slap land.
Borys: Bite Attack Damage: 8d6 + 6 ⇒ (4, 2, 5, 6, 4, 3, 3, 1) + 6 = 34
Borys: Claw Attack #2 Damage: 6d6 + 6 ⇒ (5, 3, 3, 6, 2, 1) + 6 = 26
Borys: Wing Attack #1 Damage: 6d6 + 6 ⇒ (1, 1, 1, 3, 2, 1) + 6 = 15
Borys: Tail Slap Damage: 6d8 + 6 ⇒ (7, 8, 4, 5, 3, 6) + 6 = 39
Borys: Heat Aura: 2d6 ⇒ (5, 1) = 6
Pazuzu is savaged for 124 points of damage and is down from 752 hit points to 628.

Pazuzu retaliates with a full attack, attacking with his longsword only.
Pazuzu: Longsword Attack #1: 1d20 + 54 ⇒ (5) + 54 = 59
Pazuzu: Longsword Attack #2: 1d20 + 49 ⇒ (13) + 49 = 62
Pazuzu: Longsword Attack #3: 1d20 + 44 ⇒ (9) + 44 = 53
Pazuzu: Longsword Attack #4: 1d20 + 39 ⇒ (18) + 39 = 57
Against Borys' Armor Class of 40, all four attacks hit.
Pazuzu: Longsword Attack #1 Damage: 2d6 + 20 ⇒ (3, 3) + 20 = 26
Pazuzu: Longsword Attack #2 Damage: 2d6 + 20 ⇒ (4, 2) + 20 = 26
Pazuzu: Longsword Attack #3 Damage: 2d6 + 20 ⇒ (1, 4) + 20 = 25
Pazuzu: Longsword Attack #4 Damage: 2d6 + 20 ⇒ (6, 4) + 20 = 30
Borys: Fortitude Save versus the Aura of Locusts: 1d20 + 30 ⇒ (10) + 30 = 40
Borys is sliced up for 101 points of damage and is down from 704 hit points to 603. In Round 2, he can only take a move action.

ROUND 2
Borys moves 65 feet away from Pazuzu, and his nauseated condition wears off. Pazuzu moves 60 feet toward Borys and waits for the next round.

ROUND 3

Borys takes a 5-foot step toward Pazuzu and makes a full attack, attacking with his bite, two claws, two wings, and a tail slap.
Borys: Bite Attack: 1d20 + 41 ⇒ (2) + 41 = 43
Borys: Claw Attack #1: 1d20 + 41 ⇒ (15) + 41 = 56
Borys: Claw Attack #2: 1d20 + 41 ⇒ (9) + 41 = 50
Borys: Wing Attack #1: 1d20 + 36 ⇒ (12) + 36 = 48
Borys: Wing Attack #2: 1d20 + 36 ⇒ (2) + 36 = 38
Borys: Tail Slap: 1d20 + 36 ⇒ (15) + 36 = 51
Since Pazuzu's Armor Class is 48, only the Bite Attack, Claw Attack #1, Wing Attack #1, and the Tail Slap land.
Borys: Bite Attack Damage: 8d6 + 6 ⇒ (5, 4, 2, 4, 4, 2, 2, 3) + 6 = 32
Borys: Claw Attack #1 Damage: 6d6 + 6 ⇒ (2, 1, 3, 1, 2, 2) + 6 = 17
Borys: Wing Attack #1 Damage: 6d6 + 6 ⇒ (1, 6, 2, 6, 2, 3) + 6 = 26
Borys: Tail Slap Damage: 6d8 + 6 ⇒ (6, 4, 1, 3, 6, 2) + 6 = 28
Borys: Heat Aura: 2d6 ⇒ (1, 3) = 4
Pazuzu is mauled for 105 points of damage and is down from 628 hit points to 519.

Pazuzu decides to switch things up, making with a full attack with all of his attacks (but only striking with the longsword once).
Pazuzu: Longsword Attack: 1d20 + 54 ⇒ (3) + 54 = 57
Pazuzu: Bite Attack: 1d20 + 49 ⇒ (12) + 49 = 61
Pazuzu: Claw Attack: 1d20 + 49 ⇒ (11) + 49 = 60
Pazuzu: Sting Attack: 1d20 + 49 ⇒ (4) + 49 = 53
Pazuzu: Talon Attack #1: 1d20 + 49 ⇒ (13) + 49 = 62
Pazuzu: Talon Attack #2: 1d20 + 49 ⇒ (14) + 49 = 63
Against Borys' Armor Class of 40, all six attacks hit.
Pazuzu: Longsword Attack Damage: 2d6 + 20 ⇒ (1, 4) + 20 = 25
Pazuzu: Bite Attack Damage: 2d6 + 15 ⇒ (5, 6) + 15 = 26
Pazuzu: Claw Attack Damage: 1d6 + 15 ⇒ (3) + 15 = 18
Pazuzu: Sting Attack Damage: 2d8 + 15 ⇒ (6, 4) + 15 = 25
Pazuzu: Talon Attack #1 Damage: 1d6 + 15 ⇒ (3) + 15 = 18
Pazuzu: Talon Attack #2 Damage: 1d6 + 15 ⇒ (6) + 15 = 21
Borys: Fortitude Save versus the Aura of Locusts: 1d20 + 30 ⇒ (5) + 30 = 35
Borys is torn up for 123 points of damage and is down from 603 hit points to 480. He's nauseated again.

You can see where this is going. Borys is getting the short end of the stick here. Since that worked better for Pazuzu, he's going to continue in the same fashion in subsequent rounds.

ROUND 4
Borys moves 65 feet away from Pazuzu, and his nauseated condition wears off. Pazuzu moves 60 feet toward Borys and waits for the next round.

ROUND 5

Again, Borys takes a 5-foot step and makes a full attack, attacking with his bite, two claws, two wings, and a tail slap.
Borys: Bite Attack: 1d20 + 41 ⇒ (11) + 41 = 52
Borys: Claw Attack #1: 1d20 + 41 ⇒ (12) + 41 = 53
Borys: Claw Attack #2: 1d20 + 41 ⇒ (18) + 41 = 59
Borys: Wing Attack #1: 1d20 + 36 ⇒ (2) + 36 = 38
Borys: Wing Attack #2: 1d20 + 36 ⇒ (9) + 36 = 45
Borys: Tail Slap: 1d20 + 36 ⇒ (19) + 36 = 55
Since Pazuzu's Armor Class is 48, only the Bite Attack, Claw Attack #1, Wing Attack #2, and the Tail Slap land.
Borys: Bite Attack Damage: 8d6 + 6 ⇒ (1, 3, 2, 4, 3, 4, 5, 4) + 6 = 32
Borys: Claw Attack #1 Damage: 6d6 + 6 ⇒ (3, 3, 4, 2, 2, 4) + 6 = 24
Borys: Wing Attack #2 Damage: 6d6 + 6 ⇒ (6, 3, 3, 5, 2, 5) + 6 = 30
Borys: Tail Slap Damage: 6d8 + 6 ⇒ (6, 4, 6, 2, 4, 2) + 6 = 30
Borys: Heat Aura: 2d6 ⇒ (5, 2) = 7
Pazuzu is battered for 123 points of damage and is down from 519 hit points to 396.

Pazuzu makes a full attack with all of his attacks (but only striking with the longsword once).
Pazuzu: Longsword Attack: 1d20 + 54 ⇒ (13) + 54 = 67
Pazuzu: Bite Attack: 1d20 + 49 ⇒ (11) + 49 = 60
Pazuzu: Claw Attack: 1d20 + 49 ⇒ (20) + 49 = 69
Pazuzu: Sting Attack: 1d20 + 49 ⇒ (19) + 49 = 68
Pazuzu: Talon Attack #1: 1d20 + 49 ⇒ (17) + 49 = 66
Pazuzu: Talon Attack #2: 1d20 + 49 ⇒ (7) + 49 = 56
Against Borys' Armor Class of 40, all six attacks hit.
Pazuzu: Longsword Attack Damage: 2d6 + 20 ⇒ (5, 1) + 20 = 26
Pazuzu: Bite Attack Damage: 2d6 + 15 ⇒ (6, 6) + 15 = 27
Pazuzu: Claw Attack Damage: 1d6 + 15 ⇒ (3) + 15 = 18
Pazuzu: Sting Attack Damage: 2d8 + 15 ⇒ (6, 4) + 15 = 25
Pazuzu: Talon Attack #1 Damage: 1d6 + 15 ⇒ (6) + 15 = 21
Pazuzu: Talon Attack #2 Damage: 1d6 + 15 ⇒ (4) + 15 = 19
Borys: Fortitude Save versus the Aura of Locusts: 1d20 + 30 ⇒ (17) + 30 = 47
Borys is torn up for 134 points of damage and is down from 480 hit points to 346. However, this time he's not nauseated.

At this rate, Pazuzu will probably kill Borys in two more rounds and have somewhere in the neighborhood of 180 hit points remaining.

With magic and psionics, the outcome will likely be different, but this demonstrates that in a straight slug-fest, Borys and Pazuzu are doing pretty well against one another.

Without the inclusion of magic, you can see that Borys probably could use a boost in fighting capabilities, if anything. That heat aura isn't doing a whole lot for him, and his bonuses to damage are much smaller than Pazuzu's, which is why Pazuzu can keep pace with him pretty well.

So, despite the fact that their CRs are quite different, when you get up to those kinds of CRs, most monsters are pretty well matched. It's when you're adding in class levels, class features, and magic that things get really wonky. Mythic levels don't mean that a non-mythic party can't handle a mythic creature. There's just extra stuff to worry about.

Best wishes!


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Unless I receive notification that more people wanted to contribute to things like the bestiary, or feats, or anything else, there are no updates planned for the foreseeable future.


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Reduxist wrote:
Is it just me or does the Rough Rampager sound like it could have a good Bleeding Critical focused build? Get a bunch of Two-Weapon Fighting feats, maybe some keen or conductive kukris, and you'd be all set.

The Rampager Antipaladin archetype is more of a niche archetype. While it's great that you can cause bleed damage, your auras are still only limited to 10 feet. Even with spells to extend your aura, you can only get 20 feet on this ability, which is useless against things that do not bleed, or enemies that can overcome caster level checks to heal their allies. Giving up that Aura of Despair is a bitter pill to swallow. Sure, you can grab feats or weapons to make it more effective, but it's narrower in scope and utility than the standard antipaladin. Your GM could easily throw lots of undead, elementals, constructs, oozes, and so forth at you, and you now have two completely useless auras (blood and putrefaction) and one that's not wonderful, as healers are probably going to overcome it anyway.

Reduxist wrote:
Also, have you thought about Deific/Demonic Obedience or just deity selection in general? A lot of Demon Lords have a bunch of nice abilities, namely Mazmezz, Shax and Shivaska.

I did think about them, but mostly, they didn't particularly "wow" me. Plus, the prep-time in engaging the obedience for an hour could be problematic, particularly if you're in a time-crunch. Most of the boon effects are minor things, though some of them do have some utility. The only downside is that the really good ones you only get to use once a day, and your favored weapons suck for those deities (which is a consideration, as the best martial weapon you're likely to get without burning a feat on it is probably the scimitar; not a poor weapon). Exalted boons for paladins or antipaladins generally aren't fantastic, and the only ones I'd consider from the core deities are:

  • Iomedae's Just Ally
  • Norgorber's Virulent Ally
  • Rovagug's Apocalyptic Ally
  • Sarenrae's Angelic Ally
  • Shelyn's Plumed Blade
  • Torag's Hammerfist Ally
  • Urgathoa's Ally from the Grave
  • Zon-Kuthon's Fleshrending Ally

As for demon lords, there's a lot to choose from. I'd consider taking boons from Andirifkhu, Flauros, Gogunta, Haagenti, Lozeri, Mazmezz, Nocticula, Orcus, Shax, Shivaska, Yhidothrus, and Zevgavizeb. For empyreal lords, I'd consider boons from Olheon, Ragathiel, or Tanagaar.

Essentially, they are worth a feat, but you have to make sure that you have time to perform your obedience or you gain no benefit.

Best wishes!


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Broken Zenith wrote:

My pleasure (and here are some top of the page links)!

Guide to the Guides

Guide to the Builds

@bodhi - changed the anti/paladin link. Thanks!

Thank you, good sir.

An update to the Paladin Guide is coming soon.


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Yes, and that's assumed to be part and parcel of your vessel's hull.


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You may wish to use the Athasian Pathfinder Conversion done last year.


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How can you get women to join your campaign? Simple. Recognize that they're people, treat them with dignity and equality, and ask them if they'd like to play.


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Megistone wrote:
I say: treat paladins like any other class. If you challenge a paladin's morality, do the same with the other characters. Make a wizard have doubts about arcane magic, or create a situation where the barbarian needs to forget her chaotic instinct and resort to some kind of balance to solve the problem.

Most GMs don't do this.

Of course, most GMs don't treat alignment any differently for any other character class. If you have a lawful good fighter, they don't get challenged or punished for acting lawful good in a party with a chaotic neutral thief (mostly because there's no restriction for the class, but that's beside the point), nor does that chaotic neutral thief get challenged or punished for acting chaotic neutral in a party of lawful characters.

The druid in the party of good characters doesn't get dinged for always doing good works or always going along with what lawful characters in her party want to do. She might never act chaotically, or evil, and so she's effectively being lawful and/or good, despite bearing the neutral qualifier in her alignment, yet no one at the gaming table says a word because "neutral" characters can effectively be played just about any way you want as most GMs don't enforce balance for neutral characters. That druid who teaches her druidic language to someone else loses her class features too, but I've seen it happen at gaming tables with no word from anyone. The same druid, who spends years of in-game time away from nature (running around in cities and hanging out on in dungeons) doesn't become an ex-druid because the GM doesn't challenge the fact that the druid is no longer "revering nature". Totally different treatment than a paladin. How many threads do you see pop up about druids losing their class features and having to seek atonement? I've found less than a dozen on these forums, and they're all from years ago.

Monks acting outside of their "laws" or "code" or "rules" don't come up for discussion a lot, as they could end up being ex-members of their class, being unable to gain more monk levels. Don't see that happening too much, even though it's entirely possible.

I agree with Megistone that paladin + lawful good is only a problem for players or GMs because they explicitly make it so.


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Friends and fans, the Guide is in the process of getting an update.

Best wishes!


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Some roles to consider when playing a paladin (from Bodhi's Guide to the Optimal Paladin/Antipaladin):

There are a number of different ways of playing the paladin apart from the traditional “I uphold the law and fight for good, and if you don’t, I’m going to come into conflict with you, and I’m looking at you, Rogue!” attitude. We’ll look into just a few that might help shine some light on alternatives to the standard paladin-at-the-table annoyance that seems to be the popular concept.

The Eternal Optimist: A more benevolent paladin type, you could quite possibly be the most naive person in the party. You’re always cheerful and look on the bright side of everything, and this can either be very soothing to other members of the party, or it can annoy them to no end. You have a tendency to take what people say at face value, at least until they prove you wrong. This character concept goes along quite well with the idea that Wisdom is a dump-stat for paladins, combined with their high Charisma. You’re quite likable to others most of the time, and people generally find you pleasant to be around, not a burden like some of the other paladin-personalities.

Useful Skills: Diplomacy; you have a tendency to try to convince others to play nice and fair just like you do.

The Harmoniser: This type of paladin does not wish to impose their view of the world upon others, but rather, through examples of good living and strength of faith rather than brutally imposing their view of the world upon others. They encourage rather than force, and attempt to gently chide those who may stray from the path of goodness and law. They do not tolerate genuine evil, but they prefer to remediate rather than punish whenever possible; to reform instead of destroy. If the redemption of the paladin’s foes is not possible, they will do what is necessary without hesitation, but with remorse for those who cannot be saved. This type of paladin is best suited to getting the group to gradually change their ways into those that are more lawful and goodly in nature. It can be difficult to justify a plan of gradual change with paladins who have low Wisdom scores, but this is a role that most players will be able to get along with.

Useful Skills: Diplomacy, for obvious reasons, and a splash of Knowledge (Religion) probably couldn’t hurt if you’re attempting to convert others to your faith.

The Holy Pain (i.e. Lawful Stupid): Unfortunately, most players seem to think that this is the way a paladin must be played. This is only one option that is available to players, and while it’s a popular option, it causes a lot of conflict with other members of your group. You essentially see every non-good, non-lawful act that your companions commit as a violation of your ethics and you attempt to force your way of acting and thinking upon them, often to disastrous results. At their worst, the Holy Pain will issue inconvenient challenges that may spoil the element of surprise, insist upon imprisoning foes who will ultimately break free from simple jails manned by careless non-player characters, or you’ll argue with your companions over minor actions all the time, particularly those of rogues or barbarians. If you really want to play this character concept, there’s nothing that stops you, but just be warned... This is going to make your paladin quite unpopular with the other characters and create disharmony in achieving your goals.

Useful Skills: Diplomacy, ‘cause you’re going to need it a lot to get yourself out of trouble, and Sense Motive, because you’re going to be judging everyone all the time.

The Vindicator: There is a purpose in all that you do, and you will pursue your goals with intensity that can frighten others, but that’s okay... If they can’t or won’t help you, they can get out of your way. You won’t purposefully put others into harm’s way, and you’ll allow other members of the party to do what they feel is best, so long as your own goals are achieved. You’re not Mr. Personality, and you don’t care about playing nice, particularly with your enemies. You ask for no quarter, and you give none. You are judge, jury and executioner when it comes to dealing with the forces of evil. Your hard tack with your enemies can sometimes make others fearful of crossing you, worrying that you may turn your harsh judgments upon them (think Judge Dredd). You’ll take the law quite literally, but if you genuinely believe someone to be innocent, then they have nothing to fear from you. Your party members will accept you, but they’ll probably believe that you lack compassion.

Useful Skills: Intimidate will probably be your principal skill.

-----

If you're having problems with paladins in your group, you're quite likely encountering The Holy Pain or The Vindicator at your table. I would urge you to guide your paladin players toward either The Eternal Optimist or especially The Harmoniser.

Best wishes!

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