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I have a BBEG that's going to challenge my solo character and her NPCs soon, but I need to interrupt and distract this mostly-lawful/good party for a while.

I have two worlds, one a lot like Golarion and one that's entirely homebrew (the extraplanar creatures of the second world are different - Aeternals [lawmakers and enforcers], Fallen [the ones who turned away from the Aeternals], Totems [elementals/forces of nature], Oni [corruptions of natural forces in the forms of demons], Undead, Fae, Dragons, Oozes, Constructs, Gorgons [all creatures that petrify], and Shapeshifters).

The Aeternals just recently re-constructed their city and the Fallen have no leader. Dragons - who in this world have evolved into psionic humanoid-like beings who possess futuristic technology - have just recently reappeared, but have no real desire to interact with the world.

So ... what kinds of challenges would you guys throw up against a level 16/17 solo party while I'm prepping the BBEG?

1. How might I offset an alchemist having access to "Holy Ice Weapon"? Or is that something I shouldn't even worry too much about?

2. Are there any alchemist/investigator archetypes that deal specifically with dragons?

3. Barring anything like in (2), is there an alchemist or investigator type that would pair well with a "Dragon Hunter" Ranger type?

JohnHawkins wrote:

The cost is a totally made up number for gm convenience /game balance.

The factors which should effect cost are Difficulty to procure, Demand and Legality. Wether it works on one race or everyone is not really important to this.
For your specific example as it must have an huge DC to be effective against a dragon given their massive fortitude saves and the exotic nature of the target I would assume it was massively rare or massively difficult to make, this would mean it have a huge cost.

Yes, but the point would be that it would be essentially like injecting saline/salt water into a human, whereas it would be exceptionally deadly to a dragon.

I'm looking over an older thread, and it seems that some people have made attempts at balancing the poison system in Pathfinder. However, one thing that I've not found considered anywhere is making racial-specific poisons.

For example, in my current game, I have invented a poison that is (Death/Unconsciousness), but only for dragons. I'm uncertain as to how to price this, since for the majority of creatures in the world it does nothing.

Any thoughts/suggestions?

Dear Hivemind,

I have been working on a campaign I'm loosely calling Tim Burton's The Princess Bride, because it is going to primarily revolve around a relationship that's currently being established between the solo PC and a very charismatic NPC.

Currently, he (the NPC) is something of a bard/expert: he's a violinist and folk dancer with sleight of hand and quick wit. His mother used to travel and perform parlor tricks, so she made connections with a local traveling circus so that he could start into a line of work.

In the course of this campaign, though, he is going to be killed and re-raised as a death-knight-like class because of his high Charisma and refusal to embrace death willingly. The "true love" component of the story, if you will.

Problem is that I don't like the Pathfinder antipaladin-style undead-based class, and I can't find a whole lot of other choices. I want something that's clearly intended to be used for intelligent undead in a knight-like capacity, but I want a class that my NPC can be redeemed from -- brought back to the light by the power of "true love" -- even if he's still dead.

Any suggestions? I'm even willing to go third party on this.

Thanks for your help.

Simple question:

If a caster casts a summon spell (such as summon nature's ally) from a hiding spot, will they still be seen? Do the sniping rules apply, or what?

Skylancer4 wrote:

They did a "create a class options book" in 2e, anything you made as pretty much broken. There might have been one in 3.x (but I might be recalling a pretty extensive race builder book too).

Generally speaking, just don't do it unless you let everyone do it. And then be prepared for what you let them do and to toss most balancing mechanics out the window.

Well, she's a solo-player when she does this, so there's no worry about allowing "other players" to do it. And she usually rolls high stats, anyway, so the idea of balancing against enemies is already fraught with peril.

Idle Champion wrote:

What is this player's starting concept for the character, if there is one?

Does the player, given a starting concept, have a sort of eventual destination concept for where the character will end up?
Does the player have a fair degree of system mastery - is a custom class called for, or could you simply find a suitable build for her to level into and gradually reveal?

The player (my wife) usually wants me to have some sort of input into her initial character, anyway. She is most comfortable in the human-elf spectrum, and typically plays a good alignment, but she likes being surprised as to what her character can do, etc.

For example, in our first game ever, she started with no strange powers at all (she was a standard wizard). After a certain point, she began to channel magical energy into various magical effects (as if casting a spell) with a random chance of failure. Later, she discovered she was a "magic golem," designed to be an automaton made of pure magic in a corporeal form, which is why she thought she had those powers. Much later still, I revealed that she was, in fact, the hidden child of two gods (magic and fate).

I suppose I could find a suitable build, but I also enjoy getting her to certain points where her powers simply start breaking the system. It doesn't have to be in all-powerful ways: one of her characters gained what we called "trap fu," where she would, if she could close her mind to distractions, instantly react correctly to any and all traps initiated in her vicinity, almost Matrix-style.

I'm kind of wanting to create a character class/archetype based on some kind of stellar abilities: star-based spells, flight, psychic stuff, etc. ... or I could do something else, but those are a few examples of how I've really surprised her OOC.

I have a player who enjoys discovering things about her class as the story progresses, rather than knowing what's coming up and being able to min/max and fine-tune her character straightaway. Is there a resource that could help me balance and/or create a class from scratch?

Boom. Got it. Thanks, everyone!

It doesn't need to be a bard; that's just what I first thought of. It doesn't even need to be a spellcaster. Again, that just seems the most applicable in the Pathfinder universe.

Character concept:
Mikel Nikolai grew up as a farmer, but when he moved out of the house, he was inspired to paint and draw the fields he used to till. His stylings got him noticed by a local paladin (following my homebrew God of Knowledge), who "more or less" became his patron and tutor as the boy finished growing up.

Now, he's an adult with a penchant for drawing, painting, engineering, and learning. He has his own art studio, and while he's not necessarily an adventurer in the strictest sense, he's extremely interested in exploring the world and learning everything he can from it.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that he's probably some kind of archivist/non-singing bard, but the artwork is just fluff/flavor.

I meant in a tactile sense. This NPC is gifted at pencil sketching, charcoal, painting, and dabbles in sculpting and engineering, in addition to being well-versed in culture, language, politics, diplomacy, and all the Charisma-based things that bards normally do.

Think: renaissance man, like Leonardo da Vinci.

Does anyone know of a Bard archetype which works more off of artistry than performance?

And, if not, is there a class that has an artist archetype?

ErisAcolyte-Chaos jester wrote:
I think the oracle also HAS to listen, or it triggers as well. If they just cover their ears, they still know the words that are being said. It also should only work if the oracle is hearing the command in a language they understand. So if the character does not know what the enemy are saying, they won't trigger. So basically anything in common can ruin the oracles day, unless they pass a will save to ignore or resist the command given.

Agreed on both points. Since I'm running a homebrew solo game, I don't need to specify it, since I can just adjudicate on the fly, but that's how we've agreed to it.

Common is the bane of her existence.

I wondered if I should make it the full-strength geas, and just have it decrease in intensity as the Oracle levels up.

I'm also just having a hard time picking the spells that the Oracle should get in exchange. Basically, the theme of "curse" is kind of an ironic one: you exchange one form of sight for another, one form of movement for another, etc. In this case, it needs to be one form of control for another, but I'm just not sure how I would do that.

Hence, why I asked for suggestions. ;)

Does it seem balanced with other Oracle curses, though?

Yes, Puna'chong. It is. ;)

And the idea of the immediate action is to do something like "cover ears," "cover someone's mouth" and the like.

Basically, any time someone issues a command to the character, the character is compelled to fulfill the command (or suffers the penalties outlined in lesser geas). I wrote that in as part of the "Level 1" text, but I can see where that might look like something else.

My question is: should I make the penalties harsher? The spells balance with other oracle curses, but I don't know if the penalties stack up to other oracle penalties.

1st: Any command given to you functions as lesser geas. Add charm person or delusional pride to your list of spells.

5th: Penalty from lesser geas effect lessens to -1 penalty per time period, with a cap of -4. Add touch of mercy or oppressive boredom.

10th: Add dominate person or feeblemind.

15th: You become preternaturally aware when someone is about to use your curse against you, and you may take an immediate action. Add power word: stun or demand to your spell list.

This doesn't seem unbalanced to me, but I thought I would solicit feedback, regardless. Any suggestions?


When the tribe split up, one of the goblins had his hands ritualistically scarred across the back, exposing the bones of his knuckles. He kept them in this condition until it was natural, because he noticed that beating his wives and subcommanders hurt more when the knuckles connected.

Goblins in this tribe have Improved Unarmed Strike in lieu of Improved Initiative. Instead of the racial modifiers to Ride and Stealth, the Bonefists receive a +1 to hit and a +1 to damage when attacking unarmed. Commanders in this clan can be Brawlers or Monks (who adhere to the ritual scarification as true ritual).

Why don't you just make one, based on the likelihood(s) that you'll find a particular creature in said particular situation?

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Brawler/Investigaator? Brawler/Inquisitor?

Actually, that last one sounds mighty good...

I'm really confused as to where to put my friend - new to Pathfinder and tabletop gaming in-general - on the "rogue" spectrum. His favorite fantasy tropes are the gritty Batman reboot in the Arkham games, as well as the Demon Hunter and the Wizard from Diablo 3.

What would you guys say is the best class to encompass something like this?

Second question: is there a feasible unarmed Inquisitor/Rogue-like build?

In my games, Charisma measures how well-liked or appealing you are, personality-wise. Physical attractiveness, on the other hand, is a combination of Strength (muscle), Dexterity (flexibility), and Constitution (health/color). This makes much more sense to me.

I guess you could say that physical attractiveness is MAD in my games.

My solo PC rolled *extremely* well (again) for her character, so I get to build an NPC monk to accompany her (40 point).

However, I've only ever played the standard monk class, so I have no idea which of the available archetypes are good/crap for monks. I already have:

Time Thief (PC)
Swashbuckler (damage)
Sorcerer (damage/support - illusion/evocation)

I want something that can complement the party. I also want something that WON'T SUCK.


Bump for advice.

I'm running a campaign for my wife (solo) loosely based on Assassin's Creed series of video games and its lore.

So far:
1. A group called the "Chromonika Knights" is fighting the "Ublissi Assassins."
2. The Chromonika Knights continue to contract lycanthropy in order to maintain their edge over the Ublissi.
3. The Ublissi are trying to reassemble an artifact known as "the Jaw of Moln": a powerful kukri that could bring rest to the dead (make it very hard to reanimate corpses).
4. The Ublissi territories are ruled by Karals ("kings") who are all watched over by the Verkhov ("master").
5. The Verkhov has been missing for almost a year.
6. A shadowy figure (not unlike how Altair appears to Ezio in some games) is leading my wife's character to certain pivotal things (like a piece of the kukri and a ship's ledger showing the Verkhov booked passage 9 months ago).

I don't want to reduce my game to
- Stealth check
- Climb check
- Acrobatics check
- Stealth check

So, does anyone have any ideas (clever or otherwise) on how I could "do more" with the kinds of things that an AC assassin might do while questing?

Well, I'm the GM. I'm trying to re-create someone like Ezio from Assassin's Creed.

Amendment: What if I'm restricted to core classes? How do these builds change?

Just a Guess wrote:
Scavion wrote:
Broadhand wrote:
By the same token, what would happen if we improved BAB for all classes?

Clerics/Summoners/Bards/Warpriests/Monks replace Martials entirely.

Theyre already close. They already do comparable damage. They just have lower to-hit.

Depends where the full BAB martials end up with their BAB.


I'd say add 1/4 to everyone.

Fighter-Type: 5/4
Rogue-Cleric-Type: 1
Mage-Type: 3/4

Thanks, ShroudedInLight. Also, let me know how that campaign goes? I'd be interested in giving you another data point from a solo campaign perspective (I run solo games for my wife all the time).

Which class/feats/etc. would I want to play/create in order to fully maximize stealth? I'm secondarily concerned with Acrobatics.

See, Abraham, that's kind of what I was thinking. Not necessarily survivable against CR 20 stuff, but fun as hell to play? Seems like it.

By the same token, what would happen if we improved BAB for all classes?

Reading this thread got me thinking:

Is there ANY viable combination of "dips" into classes that could make an effective upper-level character? I know it'll never be as efficient as a straight-to-capstone L20, but I'm very curious to see if anyone has ever made a super-multiclass build that's very functional.

wraithstrike wrote:
Scythia wrote:
specter_78 wrote:

When torture is not an option... Somebody's getting a BJ.

This week on "Sentences I never expected to read".
I was about to ask him what he meant, but then I decided that I might not want to know.

But what if they want the torture AND the BJ?

... Just sayin'.

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Experiment 626 wrote:
Nezzmith wrote:
My personal experience has been that it is the good characters that end up betraying the evil ones in my campaigns.
Same here. As soon as they see "Evil" on the character sheet they get weird. Metagamers gonna metagame, I guess.

I once used that fact to great success in a campaign once. Never has a man had so much egg on his face than that poor PC did that day.

There is ALWAYS a way around metagaming.

Well, according to Pathfinder/D&D legacy rules, "defeat" is any scenario by which PCs stop the bad guys. Subdual, arrest, and the like, all count as "defeat."

I also give XP for great role-playing, and any half-hour in which there is no combat, I give the PCs 1/6 of a level-appropriate CR's XP.

I just went from level 1-10 with my wife in a solo campaign without having more than two combats.

Zmanpwnsdaleks wrote:

I completely forgot about infernal healing

Eltacolibre wrote:
Negative energy affinity might also have repercussions later as you paint yourself in a corner with undead creatures against them, which would be quite a shame.
Not anymore than a good cleric is in a corner fighting living enemies. (which happens way more often)

Actually, evil clerics have the ability to sink a feat into Rebuke Undead, which eliminates that problem. Unlike the good clerics.

I'd rule that, for the cost of a trait, the Creed of Mercy feat no longer applied to Evil Outsiders.

thejeff wrote:
Broadhand wrote:
I'd be the GM who would be a complete jerk about it, and have hidden magic items in the rooms that my later baddies could swoop in and scoop up en route to taking out the party that left them all just "lying around."

Yeah, exactly. Don't do that.

Don't let them find the secret passage that would have let them bypass the traps or whatever when they search on the way out, either.

Not unless you do want them to thoroughly search every room right away. Players learn from what you teach them. Screwing them over teaches them not to let you.

Of course if you also make sure their buffs wear off and they get ambushed when they do search thoroughly, you're teaching them they can't win and it doesn't matter what they do, they get screwed either way. Also not a good approach.

I love sending mixed messages. More realism.

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Broadhand wrote:
I'd be the GM who would be a complete jerk about it, and have hidden magic items in the rooms that my later baddies could swoop in and scoop up en route to taking out the party that left them all just "lying around."
How is that any different from those enemies just having the items with them from the start? Unless you tell them 'ha ha, should have found these before we did'?

It's no different. But it would make me laugh and laugh and laugh behind my screen.

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Thanis Kartaleon wrote:
134. Raise them. When they're of age, garb them in green tunics. Then, send them on their way with wooden swords. Give half of them pixies as companions; the other half get will o' whisps.


I'd be the GM who would be a complete jerk about it, and have hidden magic items in the rooms that my later baddies could swoop in and scoop up en route to taking out the party that left them all just "lying around."

I believe the +2 applies to all settings, otherwise it would similarly have "in urban and underground settings" tacked onto the end of it, or at very least a second comma after "checks," or no commas at all.

No, I hadn't. Thanks for the tip, HeyGabe!

I usually run games, but I would really appreciate a chance to play a character every now and again. If someone were in the St. Louis area, I would really love to talk about some possibilities.

I set up an entire camp of lizardfolk for my FIRST-LEVEL PCs to encounter. Thanks to the strategic mind of one of my best childhood friends - and a lot of time to prepare - they managed to dig traps all around the fort, hang swinging logs, and trap a whole bunch of other stuff ... before setting the first building on fire and sending hordes of lizardfolk screaming out - and to their deaths.

The Sorry, That's What The Dice Say

Similar to Old-School, this GM does everything by the book. Literally. If the dice rolls say it happen, it does. Otherwise, you slip on a banana peel and die.

Your character is naturally curious? Oh? Well, he just investigated some CR 11 ghouls outside. Roll up a new character.

Your character has 5 CON because of bad character rolling? Oh, well, have fun with this intense underwater encounter where the PCs are holding their breath to survive.

Basically, the die-rolling gets in the way of telling great stories and making the heroes feel ... well ... heroic.


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I designed a backwards-dungeon once. The only thing keeping the monsters inert was the presence of an artifact at the dungeon center. Once picked up (using the handy-dandy container that blocks all artifact "signals"), I assumed I would be free to make the monsters all go berserk.

Damn PCs kept the thing out and just waltzed out of the dungeon with it, and all the monsters just sitting there.

Darkbridger wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:
(3) Be useless and die.

And then re-roll as a Sorcerer which won't need equipment anyway, or will at least have a far easier time going without. Refuse to cast any magic on behalf of the Rogue. Spend all your share of the treasure getting permanent spells cast on yourself if you can keep it that long. Later spend it on spells like limited wish, wish and various summoning spells. If Vow of Poverty is allowed, maybe go that route as well.

Obviously other classes/builds would work here, such as Oracle or Summoner.

Or as a monk with Vow of Poverty.

Excel spreadsheets. Formulas to automate things.

Always helps me.

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