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Organized Play Member. 347 posts (1,301 including aliases). 35 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.

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We all know that Aroden did not come back when it was prophethized he would. By not returning, he broke one of the worlds most powerful prophecies, thus creating the Age of Lost Omens. I have speculated on why Aroden choose to do this - considering his power and the prophecy, I think it must have been a choice. And in the Doomsday Dawn, I have found the reason!

If there is a prophecy that is stronger than the one about Aroden's return, it is the prophecy of the Doomsday Dawn. Foretelling the end of the world as we know it, this was a future Aroden absolutely could not accept - and which relied on the same power of prophecy that would allow Aroden to ascend to an even higher level of existence! Upon learning of the Doomsday Dawn, which he would do in the visions accompanying his supposed accession, he must have realized that the one way of avoiding the Doomsday Dawn was to break the power of prophecy. Thus, he martyred himself to falsify the prophecy of his own accession, in order to give (meta)humanity a chance to defeat the Doomsday Dawn!

This raises the question, once the Doomsday Dawn has been defeated, will Aroden Return?


This is a conspiracy theory, nothing more. It fits the facts of the fiction as I know them, but it in no way originates with Paizo.

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This is about the fight with the Kraken at the end of Ref Flags. I decided to put this in a separate thread from the other playtest observations, as it is quite complex, involving Invisibility and the ability to autmatically get 20 on a Stealth check. I have not looked up the names of all the abilities used, so I may have some names wrong.

The PCs are all on Heightened Invisibility since they used that to bypass the mirror trap. They have proceeded very fast through the last few rooms, leaving Necerion a few rounds behind. At first, 2 of the PCs are still on the other side of the mirror room, where the bard is making them indivisible one per round in order to pass the mirror trap.

A cleric and a rogue enter the Kraken's cave, which starts initiative. The players can take auto-20 on Stealth as they are invisible, but the Kraken still wins initiative and sees them all. But it is only there to defend the treasure, not to eat guests - it readies a tentacle slap. One player uses Celestial Armor (all 4 PCs had this) to fly over to the pillar, using Accelerated Stealth to do this unobtrusively. Because of auto-20, this automatically succeeds against the kraken's Perception defense, but I still let it trigger the tentacle attack - but after some discussion we judged Grab to be a separate action to follow up a tentacle - not a part of the tentacle attack itself. The PC (a rogue) takes damage but proceeds.

On its next action, the kraken tries to sense the invisible rogue, but it realizes it is too far away (the kraken has an Int of 20!). It thus starts to climb the pillar, which it can quite readily do, but it is still slow. It does get to the top and easily senses the rogue, as this is against the rogue's Stealth defense, not Stealth +20 like the rogue is using against the kraken. The rogue automatically hides again on her next action as she is still Invisible and thus rolls 20 on her Stealth.

We have 2 creatures that will almost automatically succeed at hiding AND at spotting the other.

Meanwhile, another PC, a bard, enters the room and uses Hallucination to create a psychic impression of the rogue running along the ledge around the room, out of the kraken's reach. Halluciantion does not allow an initial save, so the kraken falls for this. While the Rogue makes short work of the safe (Fast Lockinging or some such ability) the Kraken chases the Hallucination and saves - almost automatically. The bard casts another Hallucination. She has to move into the room to get within range (30 ft.) of the kraken. She uses Hallucination to make it seem she moves further than she actually did. I gave the kraken a hard Int DC to see if it caught up to this ploy, but it didn't, and both the PCs could exit the room.

Meanwhile, Necerion is approaching from the other direction, having finally caught up. Note that no-one is in danger of the mirrors, as everyone is invisible and thus casts no reflection (this is why the PCs started out invisible). The PCs suspect they are being pursued, and just in time one of them casts See Invisible. Necerion is next up and is in a hurry and does not move at the half speed required to use Stealth, so he is automatically seen. He has cast See Invisibility, so he also sees the PCs. Both sides have concealment as that is what you get with See invisibility vs. Invisibility. Concealment allows the use of Stealth, which will be important later.

Only one PC can actually see Necerion, and had no time to point him out, but the area where he could be is small enough to be totally covered by Faery Fire, downgrading Necerion's Invisibility to Concealment. Necerion proceeds to cast Warp Mind and Quickened Black tentacles, to no great effect as outlined in the other thread. Somewhere around here the bard uses Dirge of Doom and some spell makes Necerion sickened 1, so he suffers a -2 penalty on basically everything. He is also tripped and the rogue moves behind him, and he's down to 99 Hp (I don't recall the exact series of events, Mats may post this later). Some PCs end their turns by using Stealth to become sensed, as this disallows Necerion to cast targeted spells on them, but now they must roll Stealth as they are merely concealed and not invisible.

At this point, Necerion decides to Dimension Door out - he is after all a recurring villain! I let Dimension Door be one of the two spells he could spontaneously heighten, as his stat block did not list anything.

The main oddity is how Invisibility interacts with Perception. When using Invisibility to Sneak or Hide, a character automatically rolls 20.

Playtest document, p 158 wrote:
If you’re unseen by a creature and it’s impossible for that creature to see you (such as when you’re invisible, the observer is blinded, or you’re in darkness and the creature can’t see in darkness), you automatically treat the result of your d20 roll as a 20 against that creature on your checks to Sneak.

But when someone Seeks the invisible character, the DC is 10 + Stealth bonus. And when Stealth is an initiative roll, it seems you're seen by anyone faster than you.

Playtest document, p 317 wrote:


You attempt a Stealth check to avoid notice while moving at half your travel Speed, unless you have an ability to move at full Speed while Sneaking. If you’re Sneaking at an encounter’s start, you usually roll a Stealth check instead of a Perception check as part of your initiative roll, both to determine initiative order and to see if the enemies notice you.

This can be read that you use your Stealth check as initiative, and also compare it to the opponents' Perception DC to see if you are hidden. Read this way, you can be hidden even if you lose the initiative check. I only realized this was a possible reading when I looked the rule up after the session. Read this way, the kraken would never have noticed the PCs.

I read it that you have to beat their opposed initiative check in order to start hidden. Which gets odd if the opponent is using something other than Perception for initiative.

Overall, this was a very satisfying fight that we all enjoyed. Red Flags was very much James Bond to us, and the finalé was so most of all. No-one was seriously hurt, PC or NPC, which is totally in my players' taste. I am not critical of how the rules worked here, I think they worked quite well, even tough they created some very odd situations.


Finally, off on a tangent about the word "kraken". In Old Norse, this means "oddity", or "weird creature". In Norwegian, this became the sea monster of Red Flags. In Swedish (my native language), it has come to mean something pitiful, perhaps even cute in its meekness, like a newborn puppy that is still blind or a small child that has fallen over and is crying. I find this difference very funny. :)

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Some observations I've made during playtesting.

The playest scenarios have become more and more interesting as we play at higher levels, so its not all bad. Like always, however, its easier to point out the bad than the good.


The training modifier being less than the item modifier on skills is a bit silly. Not only is training less important than ability modifier, it is also less important that gear? This is bad.


Freedom of Movement is a very specific effect that avoids some very specific conditions - except it doesn't if the condition is magical. Is a creature's ability to grab magical? I'm thinking specifically of the Kraken in Red Flags. For such a specific counter, having it be conditional is lame.

Black Tentacles are so very easy to destroy these days. Necerion tried to use Black Tentacles to keep the PCs away from him. He only caught one of them, the rest could just saunter up to him as the area of the is not even difficult ground. The last one, a cleric using an unarmed attack (we did not use the Golarion gods, as this was set in Greyhawk), easily critted the tentacles and would have destroyed them even if the attack did not crit. In the moment we read it so that this ended the spell, this is not the reading I do now, but it does not matter - all the PCs were out of the area by then.

The Tounges spell used to be the best language tool in PF1, and it was a cleric spell. Its function is today subsumed under heightened Comprehend Languages, but this spell is not on the divine spell list. Not good.

A spellcaster has 3 spells per spell level. A typical party has 4-5 members. For spells like Water Walk, this means that a single caster cannot buff their entire party using spell slots of the right level. In the case of Water Walk, there is a heightened version that does this, but many spells don't give this option. Also, the spells that DO have such an option are not uniform - some target 5 creatures, some 10. Some spells that used to affect others - such as Dimension Door - no longer do. Our playstyle involves casters enabling the warriors through services like this, meaning that this becomes a nerf to warrior-types.


The terrain descriptions are in 2 different books - the bestiary and the playtest rulebook. This is similar to the problem of having partially redundant rules in the Playing The Game and Gamemastering chapters of the rulebook. It makes things a LOT more difficult to find. For Mirrored moon, I could not find which terrain types constituted difficult terrain, so I had to fudge things.


One awkward GM movement in In Pale Mountain's Shadow was B5. Approaching the Tomb. The gnolls there are described thus: "gnolls have become hungry and desperate. They viciously attack anyone who comes near, eager for food and supplies. Canny characters can convince the gnolls to let them by if they can prove the manticore is dead." The gnolls are vicious and attack immediately, yet there is a line about how they would act in a parley. What parley? The players might try to use Diplomacy: Request to start a parley, except that only works on friendly creatures. This is the worst case, but I feel Doomsday Dawn is full of situations like these, where one sentence of a monster description does not fit the next sentence.

I also sorely miss the "tactics" and "morale" sections that were standard in PF1, because it makes the monster idiosyncratic and not merely gamist play-pieces. I play all the monsters, but I don't want them all to feel like me. It would be nice to have some support for how to individualize them. I also want these things in the bestiary.


AoOs are truly rare and also rather meek in the playtest. Except when a PC was a fighter, there have been almost no situations where they played a part. And PC fighters have mostly AoOed dumb animals that don't understand tactics. Many have missed because of the -2 penalty. In Red Flag, a 14th level adventure, no-one. PC or NPC, had AoOs. The rogue could simply walk around Necerion to outflank him.

Blind Fighting

One rules that we did like was the wording of the Rogue's Blind Fighting ability - except that it is ambiguous. Line numbers are mine.

Playtest Rulesbook p 122 wrote:

FEAT 6 Prerequisites master in Perception

1 You are more aware of concealed and invisible enemies.
2 If you are adjacent to an unseen creature of your level or lower, you treat it as sensed.
3 When you are adjacent to a sensed creature, you treat it as concealed.
4 When adjacent to a concealed creature, you treat it as though it weren’t concealed.

Sentence 1 is fluff

Sentence 2 is a solid but conditional ability.
Sentence 3 and 4 is the meat of the feat. But are they subject to the level limitation from line 1? We ruled that they are not, which made the feat quite good, but it is unclear. This kind of writing, where it is hard to know if a rule element carries from one sentence to the next, is pretty common in the Playtest Rulebook, and needs to be made clear. The language is that of a computer program, with if statements, but it is unclear even for a professional computer programmer how to parse it unless you know the dialect of code in use. In this case, simply putting line 2 last would have sorted out the problem and made it human-readable.

Here I sit, updating the DCs from the patch notes, and feeling my stomach cramp up. I KNOW I am making the scenario less fun and abusing table 10-2, but for the sake of the playtest I guess I should. Blah!

A question on the action economy for Summon Monster came up during Affair At Sombrefell hall. I didn't see any other threads on this.

Summon Monster spell wrote:


Casting Material Casting, Somatic Casting, Verbal Casting
Range 30 feet
Duration concentration, up to 1 minute or until dismissed

You summon a level 0 creature from the summon monster list. This creature fights for you until the spell ends. The creature gains the summoned trait. The spell automatically ends if the monster’s Hit Points drop to 0. Summoned creatures have 2 actions per turn (which they use when you Concentrate on the Spell) and can’t use reactions. The creature attacks your enemies to the best of its abilities. If you can communicate with it, you can attempt to command it as part of your action to Concentrate on a Spell, but the GM determines the degree to which it follows your commands. Heightening the spell increases the maximum level of monster you can summon. You can always summon a monster of a lower level than the spell allows.

Emphasis mine.

We read this so that summoned monsters appear immediately when the spell is cast, but only act on the next turn, when the summoner concentrates on the spell. This, combined with having no reactions, made a summoned Animated Armor a very poor frontliner, even against level 0 zombies. The summoner was a cleric, and opted to use a 3-action heal to blast those zombies out of existence the next turn, rather than concentrate on the summon.

Rules-wise this is actually quite elegant, it works a lot like Summon Monster did in PF1, but is less clumsy in actual play. Like all spells, summons could use a bit of a buff, but I can't really have an opinion on that before I see one in actual use - the zombies lumbered up to the Animated Armor here, but with only 2 actions, they never got to attack it. Anything smarter than a zombie would just walk past an Animated Armor, as it has no reactions. Some might think it does have Attacks of Opportunity and thus refrain, but since AoOs are so rare (not a single creature in this scenario had it, on either side, unless I missed it), most creatures would just assume the armor doesn't have them either.

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Due to real-life circumstances, I can spend quite a bit of time here on the forums but at some interval, once a week or so. It is discouraging to find a thread locked when I first see it, it really limits my ability to participate on these forums.

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We began doing Sombrefell Hall yesterday. We played 2h 30 min and got to the first banging on the doors. And I have two mayor impressions, both about skill checks.

* The DCs are ridiculous. Perception DC 26 to notice a bump under a carpet? The standard difficulty in the adventure is DC 22. This is a situation when there really is no opposing force. The NPCs in the adventure are not working at cross purposes. There are not a group of malignant maids of level 7 skills hiding evidence. The DCs feel entirely arbitrary.

* Again, the number of die rolls you have to make to resolve some situations are ridiculous, the main example being lock picking.

In this adventure there were a lot of lock picking. We realized that, as long as you have any chance of success (even it it is a 20 only), the best way to open a lock is to always use improvised tools. Sure, you get a -4 penalty, but you never loose successes to avoid breaking your tools since you are not using tools but a set of nails. So, progress is slow, but entirely safe.

Something we decided to do, and which I have been thinking about for some time, is to say that anything that is possible to do in encounter mode, is automatically successful in exploration mode. That saved us about 100 rolls of non-stressful lock picking.

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This is a thread proposed by one of my playtesters, who's playing a rogue. He thinks the Acrobatics skill should go. It has no proactive uses, and the reactive uses could just as well be handled by Reflex saves. As it is, it is a skill tax for certain concepts. Athletics got all of the proactive uses that could have gone with Acrobatics.

To me, this seems to be a part of the "fighters should have all the good stuff" feel of PF2. The fighter tag feat, Athletics, stole all the utility that could have been in Acrobatics.

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How To Use Skills - Roll Until Critical Fail
or "how to have fun skills with coin toss math".

A proposed generalization of the Thievery/Pick Lock mechanics to all skills.

The new PF2 math, where every die roll is pretty close to a coin toss, works decently in combat. Because rolls are repeated, you are not stuck with failure - you can always try again. A miss is the expected result on a second or later attack, but the payout on a lucky roll is good and thus its worth trying (unless you have something better to spend actions on that is not an attack). Not so with most skill rolls. Skills often allow only one roll, and if that roll fails there is no recourse. This proposed mechanic seeks to alleviate that. It also makes table 10-2 more tolerable, even if you fail against those high DCs, you can still try again.

Proposed Skill Roll Mechanic

Any skill task requires a number of successes depending on the complexity of the task. One success for simple tasks, multiple successes for lengthy or complex tasks. Each attempt takes a time depending in the mode of play. In encounter mode, this is a single action. In exploration mode this is 10 minutes. In downtime mode, one day.

All skills use the following table of success:

Success: The task comes one step closer to the goal.
Critical Success: This counts as two successes.
Failure: No result except wasted time. You are free to continue.
Critical Failure: You suffer a setback, as determined by the GM. Others attempting the task are not affected.

The most common setback is that the method you have been using is shown to be ineffective, meaning you have to come up with a new way to solve the task. This leads to a negotiation with the GM. The GM has a fail-forward mechanism here, tasks that are meant to succeed can have trivial "new ways" while tasks that are outside the scope of the adventure or otherwise troublesome to the GM or story might require very ingenuitive new methods.

Other setbacks include falling when climbing, getting hit in the head by a rock when spelunking, crushing the contents of a treasure chest when forcing it open, destroying a scroll you are attempting to decipher or fool, erroneous information when attempting to recall, and so on. These do not hamper further attempts, but may cost you the successes you have collected so far. Nobody else is affected in any way. GMs are encouraged to use these in tasks that the story demands that the PCs succeed.

Damaging your tools or otherwise penalizing future rolls is not a good setback result, as it either has no effect (if the PC has reserves) or stymies all future efforts, making the players give up.


Cooperative Tasks
A cooperative task is simply when several people are trying to gather successes on the same task. Each can continue until they critically fail. Everyone can try, but those with poor skills are likely to get setbacks that either damages them or forces them out of the race. This does not hamper others involved in the task.

Task Progression
Some tasks, like gathering information or climbing a wall, lend themselves naturally to having partial successes. This should only be used where partial results are meaningful, not where a certain number of successes are used as a goal final goal with no intermediate results. An Athletics check to climb or an Acrobatics check to balance moves your speed each time, A Diplomacy check to gather information or a Lore check to recall information reveals one piece of information with each success. Each check using Thievery or Athletics to demolish a wall opens up a 1 ft. a hole, Medicine restores Hit Points per the rule in 1.3, and so on.

Different Time Scales
Skills can be used either in encounter, exploration, and downtime mode. Any task that could succeed in encounter mode would automatically succeed in exploration mode (spending 10 minutes rather than 1 action) and the same for exploration tasks in downtime mode. Sometimes, it is dramatically appropriate that things move must faster in encounter mode and this rule can be ignored.

Things like a Medicine check to restore Hit Points, which affects up to 6 people in exploration mode, could perhaps affect a single creature in encounter mode?


Gathering Information at a Formal Dinner:
Diplomacy or Society vs. Perception defense. Success: One bit of information. Fail: Small talk. Crit Fail: This person gets bored with you and you need to talk to someone else.

Jumping a Chasm
Athletics DC as determined by Athletics/Long Jump. 1 success. Success: you jump. Failure: you stall and do nothing. Critical Failure: You jump, but fail. You can still try to use Acrobatics/Grab edge.

Climbing a Rock Wall:
Acrobatics or Athletics vs DC 12. Success: You climb 5 ft. If your Speed is 40 feet or greater, you move 10 feet instead. Fail: You get nowhere. Crit Fail: You slip and fall.

Demolishing a Dungeon Wall
Athletics or Thievery DC18, 20 successes. Failure: Sweat. Critical failure: fatigued for 10 minutes.

Cooking A Meal
Craft or Society DC 8, 3 successes. Failure: Wasted time. Critical Failure: Ingredients for 1 person are spoiled and needs to be replaced, requiring a trip to the scary cellar.

This system has similarities with 4E's skill challenges. The same goal of "every roll matters" is met. The main difference is that a character with low skill can still contribute. In 4E, unless you were the character most likely to succeed in a skill challenge, rolling meant you were sabotaging the team effort. Here, the worst that can happen is that you and only you suffer a setback.

One important reason to NOT use the "lose a success on a critical failure" mechanic of the current Thievery/Open Lock rules is that that can lead to making 500 rolls. With this system, you either succeed or critically fail in short order.

People on the boards have been asking for a system where all 4 degrees of success applies to skill rolls. This system does that.

The reason a critical success gives 2 successes (rather than finishing the task completely) is that even an unskilled character can achieve a critical success on a lucky 20 - this would overshadow the skilled characters' efforts.

We did some simple spreadsheets to gauge results, which were encouraging in that your skill really matters. But we're not sure enough of those results to quote them here.

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While I am on the subject of grandiose rules changes that probably will not happen (see Excessive Siloing), I might as well take up another big peeve.

I feel the Playing The Game and Game Mastering chapters in the core rulebook should be merged. As it is, there is a whole lot of paging back and forth between these two chapters. They cover much of the same material, but some of the rules are in one chapter, some in the other. This is counter-intuitive and makes learning or even checking on a rule is that much harder.

It also feels like some rules, like much of the Exploration chapter, is deliberately hidden from player view. Well, that is NOT going to float at my table. The players are at least as involved in the intricacies of the rules as I am as a game master. I have a good group, mind, and they abide by my decisions. But they have a very firm grasp of the rules and remind me if there is a rule I'm neglecting or unaware of.

Some of those hidden rules are also very unfair for the players to be unaware of, like the 10-minute limit on double exploration activities or that only the best perception roll helps when you are searching.

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[Siloing - when the game gives characters resources to spend in several distinct lists of different content]

With 1.4, a new kind of feat was introduced, the heritage feat.

From memory, we now have Class feats >> General feats >> Ancestry feats >> Heritage Feats >> Skill Feats

Each of these categories is worse than the one before - the exact order is debatable. With class feats already being on the weak side compared to what we were doing in PF1, skill feats obviously have to be almost worthless, and most of them are indeed so. But there are always a few gems, or at least things that can be abused.

I feel this is not a good way to structure character creation. The many different options become restrictive instead of permissive. Depending on the PCs concept, there are bound to be some categories that are very useful and others that are off. Not only because of the power goal of each category, but simply because there is a limit to designer creativity and foresight, as well as the amount of text you can use.

I feel this siloing should be reduced. At the very least, allow us to replace feats with other feat categories lower on the totem pole, so that we can change Class feats for General feats and so on. But preferably also by abandoning the deliberate power difference between different kinds of feats.

It is impossible for every list of feats to pander to every player's wants. And it is also impossible for designers to write to 5 or more different standards of power throughout. The more power classifications you try to keep, the bigger the risk of making feats either too weak or too powerful.

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Please, could Paizo collect all the available downloads and surveys on a single page? I find having to page through the blog to find something specific extremely frustrating!

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In the "Deconstructing Doomsday Dawn, Ch.3 with Amanda Hamon Kunz and Jason Bulmahn!" podcast, Bulmahn mentions (near the start) that this is not really a report on how the playtest went, as they had not had time to compile the reports. Will we get a new deconstruction podcast for chapter 3?

I'm a little worried Paizo didn't get enough response on chapter 3 to get good data. If so, that would be a spectacular decrease in reports. There can be several reasons for this, I know my group is still on chapter 1 simply for scheduling issues. But I also worry that the deadliness and caster rage-quits is making many playtest groups give up.

Rather than making separate threads, I'll make one thread with all the typos and obvious errors I've found.

Errata Page 8

Page 300—In Spending 1 Hero Point, change everything after “spend 1 Hero Point to” to “return to 1 Hit Point. As normal for gaining HP when dying, you lose the dying condition, become conscious, and are slowed for 1 round.”

Dying and recovery no longer involves being slowed, so this is a holdover from 1.1.


Ranger Feats

• Page 116—In the ranger’s 8th-level feats, in Hazard Finder,
change the last sentence to “You can find hazards that have
a listed proficiency rank even if you aren’t searching.”

You now don't need to search to find hazards that "have a listed proficiency", but not hazards that anyone can find? So a simpler hazard, that anyone can find, is harder for the ranger to find?


Alchemist Feats

• Page 50—In the alchemist’s 10th-level feats, in Stalker
Mutagen, remove the first sentence, and at the end of
the second sentence, add “and your body camouflages
to match your surroundings, allowing you to Hide and
Sneak even if you don’t have cover or concealment”.

This allows the alchemist to end his turn with the Hide action and become sensed, giving a 50% miss chance. Even adjacent to another enemy. There is currently no way to take an opponent from sensed to seen without removing their cover/concealment, which you can't do in this case.

This is also a problem with anything that gives concealment, such as smoke.

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There has been much discussion of rarity in other thread, but I've not seen a thread dedicated to it, or I'd post there.

My view on rarity is different from what most people seem to think. To me, things that are uncommon/rare are not so because some cabal of in-world secret masters are hoarding them, or for any other simulationist reason having to do with economics or some such.

Rare and uncommon items are so rated as they are known problems in games. They are easy way to circumvent problems many DMs feel should not be circumvented. Teleport allows you to bypass travel, protection from evil bypasses some of the horror about outsiders, fly bypasses all need to climb or take long detours. In other words, rarity is there to put power into the hands of the GM. Its a gaming table phenomenon, not an in-world phenomenon.

Many have noted that monsters have too high skill, perception, attack, and save bonuses, as well as too high AC. As far as I have observed it, they all seem to be about two points too high.

What if, when the bestiary was written, the rules for TEML was different? Instead of the -2 that lack of training/proficiency gives now, there was a +2 bonus that came with being trained?

Today, the XTEML (X standing for unskilled) bonuses are -2/+0/+1/+2/+3. With my proposed earlier setup, the XTEML bonuses would have been +0/+2/+3/+4/+5. That is EXACTLY two points better at basically everything. Very similar to how much all monsters seem "off" in ability.

Speculation, but it fits the facts I see.

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I have a mild case of dyslexia, but PF2 has some serious traps for me.

The main issue is the name of the Circumstance and Conditional bonuses and penalties. These two words are similar in both pronunciation (I'm a non-native English speaker, which might might matter here), spelling, and word-image, meaning that there is basically no way for me to keep these two categories apart. Almost any other words would be better. Anecdotally, I told a friend I would have preferred if this was a red and green bonus, with the text color coded - and he immediately protested, as he is color blind. :o

The second issue is the pricing of some things in silver pieces and some in gold. The terms "gp" and "sp" are a little appendix to the number that is very easy to miss. I would greatly prefer if one currency was used throughout, preferably silver.

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I am not a fan of 4E, but there was one thing it did right; creatures type. This was a format of two parts, one describing the creature's origin, the other describing its form. As opposed to the 1-part creature type of 3E and Pathfinder.

So, for example, a pixie goes from fey to fey humanoid
A displacer beast goes from aberration to aberrant beast.

And so on.


I'm working on a shape dancer class built on the summoner. Scheduled for eventual publication with Purple Duck Games. Not quite sure yet if it will be an archetype, alternate class, or its own class entirely.

The basic concept of the class has been trough friendly playtesting, and it works if you don't try to abuse it. So what I'm asking for is friendly abuse - to spot the holes in the design, I need builders to look for ways to break the class and make absurd things with it.

So, here goes, the Shape Dancer:

Shape Dancer (Summoner Archetype)

The shape dancer is not a summoner at all. Rather than summoning creatures, he changes shape to become the monsters he wants.

Class Information
This is an archetype for the classic summoner (not the unchained summoner) that shifts their own shape instead of summoning other creatures.

Class Skills
Acrobatics (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int ), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Fly (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).

Skill points per level: 4 + Int mod.

Class Features
This archetype has all classic summoner (not unchained summoner) class features, except as noted.

A shape dancer casts and learns spells as a summoner, but uses the alchemist formula list for his spell list. The spells on the list are not elixirs to the shape dancer, they are arcane spells. Spells that affect alchemist abilities the shape dancer does not have, such as bombs or discoveries, are not on the shape dancer's spell list. The shape dancer cannot use cantrips and ignores the level zero column in Table: Summoner Spells Known. This modifies spells and replaces cantrips.

Eidolon Form (Su)
As a standard action a shape dancer can assume the form of a powerful magical beast, an eidolon, or return to his normal shape. The shape dancer assumes the eidolon form's shape and abilities. The eidolon form is not a summoned creature, and cannot be banished, dismissed, or dispelled. If the shape dancer is unconscious, asleep, or killed, eidolon form immediately ends. Use the classic summoner's eidolon ability for eidolon form, not the unchained summoner's eidolon. The eidolon form is built as if it was a classic summoner's eidolon, with the modifications outlined here.

Each eidolon form receives a pool of evolution points, based on the shape dancer’s class level, that can be used to give the eidolon form different abilities and powers. Whenever the shape dancer gains a level, he must decide how these points are spent, and they are set until he gains another level of shape dancer.

The eidolon form’s physical appearance is up to the shape dancer, but it always appears as some sort of fantastical creature. This control is not fine enough to make the shape dancer appear like a specific creature. A shape dancer retains his alignment, type, and subtypes. He uses his own base attack bonus, base saves, feats, skill ranks, and class skills (modified by the eidolon form's attribute modifiers and size); the eidolon form has no skills, class skills, or feats of its own. He gains the eidolon form's armor bonus (any natural armor an eidolon has becomes armor for the eidolon form), darkvision, and all the eidolon form’s evolutions. The eidolon form is limited to the eidolon forms’s maximum number of natural attacks. The eidolon form uses the shape dancer's ability scores as its base form ability scores, modified by the eidolon form's evolutions and the Str/Dex bonuses from Table: Eidolon Base Statistics. The eidolon form cannot apply the ability increase evolution to mental ability scores or the skilled evolution to skills with mental key attributes (Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma). The eidolon form cannot select any evolutions that are spell-like abilities, and can spend no more than one third of its evolution points on evolutions that are supernatural abilities.

While in eidolon form, the shape dancer gains 4 temporary hit points per class level. These temporary hit points are persistent from one use of eidolon form to another. When these temporary hit points reach 0, the eidolon form ends. The shape dancer cannot use eidolon form again until he has used renew shape to restore his eidolon form's temporary hit points. When the shape dancer is in eidolon form, the eidolon form’s temporary hit points can be restored with the rejuvenate shape ability, the rejuvenate eidolon spell, and other effects that specifically restore eidolon hit points, but not by other means such as natural rest or cure spells. The temporary hit points can never exceed the eidolon form's starting hit points. While using eidolon form, the shape dancer loses the benefits of any armor worn. The shape dancer can use all of his own abilities and gear, except for armor. To cast spells with somatic components, the eidolon form must have arms.

The shape dancer can use transmutation (polymorph) effects simultaneously with eidolon form, further transforming himself. When he does so, he loses darkvision and all evolutions that are exceptional abilities, except those affecting armor and physical ability scores (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution). He keeps the eidolon form's armor bonuses.

This replaces eidolon.

Renew Shape (Sp)
The shape dancer can restore the temporary hit points of his eidolon form to full with a 1-minute ritual. This ability can be used even if the eidolon form has been dispelled by reducing the temporary hit points to zero. This ability can be used once per day at 1st level, and one additional time per day for every four levels after the first. This replaces summon monster I, III, V, VII, and IX.

Shape Link (Su)
The shape dancer can use his own health to maintain his eidolon form. Whenever the temporary hit points from his eidolon form would be reduced to 0, the shape dancer can sacrifice any number of his own hit points. Each hit point sacrificed this way prevents 1 point of damage (thus preventing the loss of the shape dancer’s temporary hit points), preventing the eidolon form from being disrupted. This replaces life link.

Shapechanger Subtype (Ex)
At 2nd level the shape dancer becomes a natural shape changer and gains the shapechanger subtype. This replaces bond senses.

Shape Dance (Sp)
At 3rd level, as a 5-minute ritual, the shape dancer can change the distribution of his eidolon form's evolution points, as transmogrifyAPG (sp). If this ritual is interrupted, the shape dancer cannot use eidolon form until he has successfully finished this ritual on a later attempt. At third level the shape dancer can use this ability once per day. At level 7, and every 4 levels thereafter, the shapedancer gain an additional daily use, up to a maximum of 4 times per day at level 15. A ritual that is interrupted does not count against the daily limit. This replaces summon monster II, IV, VI, and VIII.

Shielded Shape (Ex)
At 4th level, whenever the shape dancer is in eidolon form, he gains a +2 shield bonus to his Armor Class and a +2 circumstance bonus on his saving throws. This ability replaces shield ally.

Swift Eidolon Form (Su)
At 6th level the shape dancer can use eidolon form as a swift action. This ability replaces maker's call.

Greater Shape Dance (Su)
At 8th level the shape dancer can change his eidolon form's base form when using shape dance. This ability replaces transposition.

Greater Shielded Shape (Ex)
At 12th level, whenever the shape dancer is in eidolon form, he gains a +4 shield bonus to his Armor Class and a +4 circumstance bonus on his saving throws. This ability replaces greater shield ally.

Extend Polymorph (Ex)
At 14th level, when the shape dancer casts a transmutation (polymorph) spell with a duration of 1 minute/level on himself, he can choose to extend the duration of that spell to 10 minutes/level(D). This ability replaces life bond.

Fast Shape Dance (Su)
At 16th level the shape dancer can use shape dance in one minute. This ability replaces merge forms.

Shapechange (Sp)
At 19th level, the shape danger can use shapechange (sp) as a swift action. The shape dancer can use this ability a number of rounds per day equal to his class level. This replaces gate.

Supreme Shielded Shape (Ex)
At 20th level, whenever the shape dancer is in eidolon form, he gains a +6 shield bonus to his Armor Class and a +6 circumstance bonus on his saving throws. This ability replaces twin eidolon.

Table: The Shape Dancer

1st:Eidolon form, renew shape I, shape link
2nd:Shapechanger subtype
3rd:Shape dance
4th:Shielded shape
5th:Renew shape (2/day)
6th:Swift eidolon form
7th:Shape dance (2/day)
8th:Greater shape dance
9th:Renew shape (3/day)
11th:Shape dance (3/day)
12th:Greater shielded shape
13th:Renew shape (4/day)
14th:Extend polymorph
15th:Shape dance (4/day)
16th:Fast shape dance
17th:Renew shape (5/day)
18th:Greater aspect
20th:Supreme shielded shape

The picture is not great. Googling for a better image, "Amazon Queen on Throne Thunderbolt Mountain" gave me, among other hits, Queen Elizabeth II. :o

This is expected to be the first in a series of books. If you have ideas for psychic disciplines you want to see written out, I can likely do it. Basically, I'm asking you to give up ideas for free to see them written out and discussed.

See also Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew/Psychic Discipline Ideas.

I'm working on a series of psychic discipline supplements for Purple Duck Games. Psychic Disciplines of Porphyra is out, more are in the works.

I like how a psychic discipline can set the theme and mood of a psychic. About 1/5 of all spells come from the discipline, along with abilities are relatively low levels, where they actually come into play.

I'm here looking for requests; anything people here want for psychic disciplines? I can write up your ideas if they mesh with mine. Basically, I'm asking you to give up ideas for free to see them written out and discussed.

This came up last session. A druid wanted to summon a stirge with summon nature's ally I. The stirge is Tiny, and thus has to be in an opponent's space in order to attack. Can the summon spell deposit the stirge in the space of another creature? A Tiny creature can legally be in the space of another creature, and summon nature's ally I doesn't mention placement at all.

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

The question here is; how does nonlethal damage work in psychic duels? The rest is my musings on the subject.

How does non-lethal damage work in a psychic duel? This is relevant for a kineticist with burn, but a character might begin the duel with nonlethal damage or take nonlethal damage to their physical body.

"she uses the following statistics as they were prior to entering: her current hit points..."

The rules seem to imply that nonlethal damage do not transfer to the mindscape at all, since they are not a part of but an adjunct to current hit points.

"Regardless of the effect's form, damage dealt by a manifestation is always untyped damage, and can be mitigated only by defensive manifestations."

It seems you cannot inflict non-lethal damage in a psychic duel. This is not 100% sure, but as I understand things physical combat maneuvers (such as Power Attack or the option to do "Nonlethal Damage with a Weapon that Deals Lethal Damage" do not exist in the mindscape.

"However, while the mind is engaged in a psychic duel, only damaging and healing spells and effects cast on the body of a combatant have an effect on the battle."

A physical attack is an effect, and nonlethal damage is still damage, so it seems that nonlethal damage inflicted outside of the mindscape does transfer to the mindscape.

"The duel ends immediately if one of the combatants reaches 0 or fewer hit points..."

It doesn't seem that nonlethal damage can end a psychic duel. This raises the question of what happens to the character's physical and mindscape bodies when it would normally go unconscious from the compound effect of lethal and nonlethal damage. The implication is that the character's physical body goes unconscious but the mindscape body remains conscious in the binary mindscape.

Author of the golden legionnaire here, and shameless plug warning.

If your dream is to play an arcane trickster based on the alchemist or a hybrid of ninja and barbarian, now is your chance!

I feel the golden legionnaire is an interesting take on a defensive warrior, but it sorely needs reviews. So I issue a challenge to review the golden legionnaire!

I pride myself on having become something of a specialist at making archetypes and prestige archetypes. If you review the golden legionnaire prestige archetype, I offer to make an archetype or prestige archetype for the Pathfinder game to your specifications.

Your review should include a rating and be 200 words or more. It is to be posted on the golden legionnaire product page, and you must notify me so that I know you posted it. I will retain publishing rights on the archetype or prestige archetype I write, but you get to decide what it is to be about and what class(es) it is based on. Any classes or combination of classes is good, but some would get outright weird. You can also suggest abilities for the archetype to have. However, I am not signing on to work forever on this; I will make an honest attempt at the project, but am not responsible for continuing to develop it indefinitely.

First come, first served. I promise to make archetypes for the first three reviewers, but may continue if there is more interest.

And yeah, you have to get the PDF for yourself. Pay the $1.99 to get the file - or the $16.99 for the subscription.

Carl Cramér, Prestige Archetype designer.

One of the problems with the current rogue is that it is very focused on traps, and ability that is very relevant in old skool dungeons, but less so in more diverse adventures. How about we regard this as one possible rogue specialization among many. By providing alternative versions of trapfinding and trap sense, we open up more jobs to the rogue than mine clearing. Similar to how a sorcerer chooses bloodline, a specialist rogue would pick a specialization.

Here it that idea expressed as a rogue archetype:

Specialist Rogue:

A specialist rogue is focused on a certain role. The standard rogue can be said to be a traps specialist. This archetypes allows for alternate specializations in other roles.

Class Skills The specialist rogue's class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Dex), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (local) (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Stealth (Dex), and Swim (Str). Depending on her specialization, a specialist rogue gains additional class skills.

Skill Ranks per Level: 8 + Int modifier.

Rogue Specialization

At first level, a specialist rogue must select a specialist role, which decides her class skills and how her specialist focus and specialist awareness abilities work. This replaces trapfinding and trap sense.

The backstabber is an athletic combat specialist focused on getting enemies in vulnerable positions and exploiting the advantage as hard as possible.

Class Skills: Add Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Knowledge (Dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (Nature) (Int), Knowledge (Planes) (Int), Knowledge (Religion) (Int), to the list of class skills.

Specialist Focus: The backstabber adds 1/2 her level to Knowledge skill checks made to identify the abilities of enemies, and can make such checks unskilled. She add the same bonus to all Acrobatics skill checks to move through threatened squares (minimum +1) and can do so at full speed without penalty.

Specialist Awareness: The backstabber learns to use her enemies as cover. At third level, the backstabber gains a +1 dodge bonus to Armor Class and Reflex saves when she is in a position where she is outflanked or outflanks an enemy. These bonuses rise to +2 when the specialist rogue reaches 6th level, to +3 when she reaches 9th level, to +4 when she reaches 12th level, to +5 at 15th, and to +6 at 18th level.

The face is a charming criminal. She runs negotiations with other gangs, fences, and specialists, bribes officials, runs protection rackets, and maintains the fear and loyalty that holds the gang's territory together. As an independent, she can be an adventurous merchant, con artist, fixer, or gambler.

Class Skills: Add Knowledge (Nobility) (Int), Knowledge (Religion) (Int), Linguistics (Int), and Use Magic Device (Cha), to the list of class skills.

Specialist Focus: The face adds 1/2 her level to Bluff and Diplomacy skill checks (minimum +1).

Specialist Awareness: At 3rd level, a face reacts intuitively to danger and can take a double move in a surprise round, even when she would not normally be allowed to act. This also gives her a +1 bonus on Initiative and a +1 dodge bonus to AC during a surprise round and in rounds when she does nothing but move. These bonuses rise to +2 when the specialist rogue reaches 6th level, to +3 when she reaches 9th level, to +4 when she reaches 12th level, to +5 at 15th, and to +6 at 18th level.

A specialist in appraising, laundering, and selling stolen and hot property, the fence tries to stay away from physical threats. Her special talents lies in avoiding detection and spotting curses before they cause any harm.

Class Skills: Add Knowledge (History) (Int), Knowledge (Nobility) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Use Magic Device (Cha), to the list of class skills.

Specialist Focus: The fence adds 1/2 her level to Craft skill checks made to forge or launder an item, to Linguistics checks made to forge an item's credentials, and to all Appraise skill checks (minimum +1). While appraising an item, she can use the Appraise skill to spot a cursed item (DC 15 + the cursed item's caster level) without triggering the curse.

Specialist Awareness: At 3rd level, a fence a special skill at avoiding curses and detection, giving her a +1 bonus on Will saves against divination magic. She is allowed a Will saving throw against any divination effect, even ones that do not normally allow a saving throw such as ''detect magic''. Items she has stowed away count as being in her possession for saving throws against divination magic and uses her saving throws. These bonuses rise to +2 when the specialist rogue reaches 6th level, to +3 when she reaches 9th level, to +4 when she reaches 12th level, to +5 at 15th, and to +6 at 18th level.

A pickpocket is a specialist in minor street crime, mainly pick-pocketing and purse cutting, but at higher levels also the stealing of letters, compromising evidence, and other small items. Most pickpockets are youths or children with little skill, those who make a career of this need to be able to maintain a veneer of respectability to gain admittance to the scene of the crime .

Class Skills: Add Handle Animal (Cha), Knowledge (Nobility) (Int), Knowledge (Religion) (Int), Use Magic Device (Cha), to the list of class skills.

Specialist Focus: The pickpocket adds 1/2 her level to Disguise skill checks as long as the disguise is only in minor details (generally to fit into a social context), on Stealth checks to hide in a crowd as long as she is disguised to fit into that group, and to Sleight of Hand skill checks (minimum +1).

Specialist Awareness: At 3rd level, a pickpocket gains the ability to disappear in a crowd, giving her a +1 bonus on Reflex saves and a +1 dodge bonus to AC against attacks made against her as long as she is in a crowd (see urban adventures) or there are at least 4 other creatures adjacent to her. These bonuses rise to +2 when the specialist rogue reaches 6th level, to +3 when she reaches 9th level, to +4 when she reaches 12th level, to +5 at 15th, and to +6 at 18th level.

Point Man
The point man is a dedicated lookout and scout, the first to advance into unknown territory and covering the backs of others while they do what they have to do.

Class Skills: Add Climb (Str), Handle Animal (Cha), Ride (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha), to the list of class skills.

Specialist Focus: The point man adds 1/2 her level to Disable device skill checks made to open doors and other openings and to Perception skill checks (minimum +1).

Specialist Awareness: At 3rd level, a point man gains an intuitive sense that alerts her to newly arrived enemies, giving her a +1 bonus on Reflex saves and a +1 dodge bonus to AC against attacks made in the first round of regular combat (not a surprise round). These bonuses rise to +2 when the specialist rogue reaches 6th level, to +3 when she reaches 9th level, to +4 when she reaches 12th level, to +5 at 15th, and to +6 at 18th level.

A runners is a delivery girl and mobility and getaway expert. A runner runs contraband short distances and is often the fastest and most reliable way to deliver a message. A runner is also an excellent second-storey man, able to get to places no-one thought needed security.

Class Skills: Add Climb (Str), Knowledge (Engineering) (Int), Ride (Dex), and Use Magic Device (Cha), to the list of class skills.

Specialist Focus: The runner adds 1/2 her level to Knowledge skill checks made to know a shortcut, best route, or to know where a person can be found at the moment, and to all Acrobatics skill checks (minimum +1). A runner can use Acrobatics to climb as long as she uses accelerated climbing.

Specialist Awareness: At 3rd level, a runner gains the ability to run and dodge, giving her a +1 bonus on Initiative at all times and a +1 bonus on Reflex saves and a +1 dodge bonus to AC in any round in which she only moves or interacts with terrain and unattended objects. These bonuses rise to +2 when the specialist rogue reaches 6th level, to +3 when she reaches 9th level, to +4 when she reaches 12th level, to +5 at 15th, and to +6 at 18th level.

The scoundrel is a rogue specializing in versatility. This happy-go-lucky individual can stand in for any more specialized rogue and makes a great solo operative.

Class Skills: Add Climb (Str), Linguistics (Int), Ride (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha), to the list of class skills.

Specialist Focus: The scoundrel lacks a specialist focus.

Specialist Awareness: The scoundrel is a great improviser and talented in many areas. At third level, a scoundrel gains a +1 bonus on Acrobatics (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Disable Device (Dex), Escape Artist (Dex), Perception (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), and Stealth (Dex) skill checks. These bonuses rise to +2 when the specialist rogue reaches 6th level, to +3 when she reaches 9th level, to +4 when she reaches 12th level, to +5 at 15th, and to +6 at 18th level.

A smuggler delivers cargoes between distant destinations. His main skill is to avoid detection, it is just not economical to try to force your way past customs and barriers. A smuggler needs to know his vehicle and the terrain he operates in better than anyone.

Class Skills: Add Climb (Str), Knowledge (Geography) (Int), Ride (Dex), Survival (Wis), to the list of class skills.

Specialist Focus: The smuggler adds 1/2 her level to Profession skill checks made to run a vehicle or caravan (such as teamster or sailor) and to all Stealth skill checks (minimum +1). She can use her Stealth skill modifier to hide a vehicle or caravan she is running (including any passengers), but suffer the Stealth size penalty for the size of the vehicle or caravan.

Specialist Awareness: At 3rd level, a smuggler gains an intuitive sense that alerts her to danger while sneaking, giving her a +1 bonus on Reflex saves and a +1 dodge bonus to AC as long as she is trying to use Stealth. These bonuses rise to +2 when the specialist rogue reaches 6th level, to +3 when she reaches 9th level, to +4 when she reaches 12th level, to +5 at 15th, and to +6 at 18th level.

2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

We've had a discussion IMC about the use of uncanny dodge in relation to various ways of losing your dexterity bonus to armor class, exemplified by climbing and balancing.

My question is, does uncanny dodge let you retain your Dexterity bonus to AC while climbing?

Rule quotes:
Uncanny dodge wrote:
Starting at 4th level, a rogue can react to danger before her senses would normally allow her to do so. She cannot be caught flat-footed, nor does she lose her Dex bonus to AC if the attacker is invisible. She still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. A rogue with this ability can still lose her Dexterity bonus to AC if an opponent successfully uses the feint action (see Combat) against her.
Climb wrote:
While climbing, you can’t move to avoid a blow, so you lose your Dexterity bonus to AC (if any).
Acrobatics wrote:
[On Balancing] While you are using Acrobatics in this way, you are considered flat-footed and lose your Dexterity bonus to your AC (if any).

That uncanny dodge works while balancing is quite clear, as you explicitly become flat-footed, and this is exactly what uncanny dodge helps against. Climb is less clear. On one hand, Climb does not explicitly say you are flat-footed. On the other hand, separating flat-footed from having no Dexterity to AC might be over-thinking, and the the two might mean exactly the same, being just a variation of language.

Also, uncanny dodge explicitly cites "She still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. A rogue with this ability can still lose her Dexterity bonus to AC if an opponent successfully uses the feint action (see Combat) against her." - both cases of losing Dex bonus while not being flat-footed. This could mean that these are the only two examples of this applying and that uncanny dodge helps against all other cases of losing your Dexterity bonus to AC.

I am leaning towards reading flat-footed and losing dexterity bonus to AC is one and the same, and that uncanny dodge helps against both unless explicitly stated otherwise. It also encourages rogues and barbarians to act more heroic.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I want to make the case that Advanced Class Guide should look into the Stealth skill and increase it's utility - a lot.

Why? Because in more than half the discussions here, the gimpedness of the rogue seems to come up. Class X is being held down because it is half rogue, and thus it cannot be a better rogue than the rogue is. Because so many things in this book tangentially touch the rogue, a rogue buff would seem to be needed. Otherwise the gimpedness of the rogue means 1/3 of these new classes are gimped too. And in a future revision it is a lot harder to correct 4 classes at once than it is to correct a single class.

I know the devs say the rogue is not gimped, and to a degree it is true. The rogue has some nice abilities (even if the talents have too many usage limits). But the problem is that the rogues main trick - sneak attack from stealth - really isn't a viable tactic. This forces the rogue to rely on flanking, which puts him in danger, where his poor defenses gets him killed. If the rogue could instead reliably use Stealth to achieve sneak attack, it would make him less reliant on others, reduce his exposed position, and actually work as a defense (you cannot attack what you cannot see).

Much of this comes from a 4E game I used to run that had a sneak-and-throw-daggers rogue. 4E Stealth rules were much clearer and much more liberal than Pathfinder's. At first the utility of this kind of stealth sort of overwhelmed me as a GM, but soon I came to see it as a natural and worthwhile rogue ability.

Additionally, the current Pathfinder Stealth rules are very unclear. From just reading the skill description, it is almost impossible to understand what they mean. I have had to research several forums to get what I feel is an understanding of Stealth, and that still has a lot of assumptions in it.

How: So, what kind of Stealth rules do I want? Rather than trying to write out a new rule, I will give some points that I feel the Stealth rules should allow.

  • It should be easier to get a distraction to hide, and much clearer than it is now. In general, an ally closer to the enemy than you are should be an adequate distraction. An enemy actually in melee could suffer a -5 distraction penalty to Perception, more if actually flanked.

  • It should be possible to gain stealth at the end of a round after making a (ranged) Sneak attack, potentially setting you up for a full round of sneak attacks next round as well. Naturally you need to be under cover/concealment to do this.

  • Stealthed should be a condition, similar to invisible. Either you are stealthed or you are not, there is no such thing as being hidden only to some enemies (unless there are two distinct groups that do not communicate). That means that a single high-Perception opponent helps defend all his pals, making Perception less of a universal must-have for PCs. (This is actually a slight nerf compared to how I think Stealth works right now).

  • Once you are Stealthed, the result should be like invisibility, and should last until the end of your turn at a minimum. So all actions you do during your turn effectively benefit from invisibility - including moving past enemies outside of cover and making full attacks.

  • Because this is an extraordinary ability, things like True Seeing and See Invisible are no defense.

Yes, I know this makes Stealth more powerful, and that is actually the point. By making Stealth more powerful, you make the rogue more balanced, which creates design space to improve classes like the investigator and slayer and by lesser degree the hunter and swashbuckler.

I noticed this looking at the various threads here. Whit the possible exception of the arcanist, all these playtest classes all seem underpowered. I wonder if this is so, and if it might even be intended?

When I design things myself, I often err on the side of caution early on. While in collaborations, the collaborators usually up the power of others' work to bring it up to a perceived baseline. Maybe that is what is happening here?

I have a question on Knight's Challenge - Order of the Sword for the Cavalier class.

Is this an extra challenge per day, or is it a modification to one of the challenges you already have?

Just finished up two big adventure paths by Pazio. Rather than cross-post, I'll just put in a link to these very boards.

Link to post on the Savage Tide Forum.

I recently (about 2 weeks ago) finished up two major D&D campaigns. What a rush! Two such project ending in the very same week! It took me some time to gather my wits for some kind of resume.

Sasserine/Savage Tide

This took 3.5 years and was played in 3.5, using quite a lot of house rules, such as recharge magic. It was based on Pazio's Savage Tide adventure path, one of the best series of adventures ever published IMO. One player got ill halfway and we decided to take a break for him to recover; we used that break for a spin-off police story set in Sasserine. Thus, this was two campaigns in one. The main arc was level 1-20 using the adventure path, the other was set in Sasserine and level 1 to 13, centered on the Chimes of Midnight arc. Both used a lot of filler adventures from Dragon.

Rise of the Runelords

This took 1.5 years to play and was played in 4E using some house rules, but generally much closer to canon than Savage Tide. Unlike the other campaign I did not use a lot of filler, tough I did insert "Seven Swords of Sin" in the middle. It’s a much more linear adventure path than Savage Tide, and not quite as good IMO, less bristling with opportunities for interesting roleplay, but still exiting and compelling in its own right.

Judging the Edition Wars?

I should be in a perfect position to judge the edition wars, just having finished two such great projects in the two competing systems? Not really. First, my answer to which system is best only applies to me, my group, and our tastes. Secondly, we only used a tiny part of the 4E rules (the classes my players choose to use), and my version of 3.5 was heavily house ruled.

Comparing 3.5 (heavily modified) to 4.0 and thinking on what system to use in the future, I settled on neither. My next project, to tentatively start this weekend will be using homebrew rules loosely based on the Feng Shui rpg. If I had to choose between 3.5 and 4-0, I think I’d choose 3.5, but not by any great margin.

The problem with 3.5 is mainly the prep time. I really don’t want to spend that much time and effort preparing for play, and I don’t have any really good electronic tools to help me either. This means I am more or less bound to using published scenarios as written. The humongous stat blocks are also hard to read and use in play – 4E really improved the DMs side of the screen. The player’s side of the screen works much better. My players were mostly happy with the rules, thinking they were versatile, not that hard to use, and gave a great variety of options in and out of combat.

The problems with 4E are the mechanics. They are slow and cumbersome, and the structure with encounter/daily powers did not sit well with the group. Combat is not swingy enough for our tastes, which makes it seem grindy and unexciting. We tried half hit points for a while, but that meant fights felt like they finished before you had time to use your encounter powers. Basically, the gamism is at fault because it didn’t mesh with out play style and expectations. In 4E, the problems are mainly on the player’s side of the screen. That said, the group was heavily divided, with some liking 4E quite a lot and others hating it.

But the major problem is actually common to both systems, even if 4E had them to a greater degree. And this problem is classes, builds, and the linear probability distribution of the d20. 4E in particular is very centered on the classes and the various pre-prepared builds. If what you want to play falls just a little outside the given builds, it’s very hard to realize. And some builds are missing – in 4E there is no such thing as a Dex-based leader or an Int-based arcane melee striker, both of which were in demand IMC. This problem is less pronounced in 3.5, but once you notice it the issues carry over; the level 20 druid IMC was pretty happy with her (house ruled) class package deal, but not perfectly happy. The same is true for the 20th level ranger. And the two prestige/multi class builds sure worked, but had lots of little oddities and were very dependent on specific prestige classes – and there is not a prestige class for every role you might want to play. Some game values – such as saving throws and non-armor-class defenses – end up way out of sync with what the game expects. On top of this comes the very concept of a “build” – that you have to plan ahead in order to purchase every feat and option in the right order so that they all add up. All too gamey for me, I want to concentrate on role, not build - I can do builds in MMOs. I also find I dislike the linear probability distribution of the d20, where a modifier has such a different effect depending on which part of the probability scale you are in – I’ve come to appreciate the pyramidal probability distribution of 2d6. That’s why I’m going to try out a non-DnD, non-class system using 1d6 -1d6 for a while.

Good Episodes:

So, what were the high moments of each campaign? For me personally, a great moment in Savage Tide was at the very end, when Iggliv disintegrated the wall of stone blocking entrance to the room where the players were fighting Demogorgon, stepped out of the mist, and used the Flask of Turney the Mad to capture Demogorgon’s soul.

A lovely recurring theme was crocodiles – one player had to use a fate point to survive a crocodile encounter at level 2, and crocodiles continued to plague the players for much of the arc, cumulating with the great crock in the lake of Tamoachan. That one made for a great pair of crocodile boots!

From Rise of the Runelords, the scene from The Skinsaw Murders where the players pursued a ghost through an entire haunted house, tough a secret door they had failed to notice earlier, trough ghoul warrens, and into a confrontation with the main villain - who was lusting after one of the PCs and the brother of another, and those two were the only ones who got by all the monsters on the way down to see the climactic scene – the others arrived pell-mell as they could.

And again, the final fight (that I had to re-script completely), an airborne conflict in a great empty room, with mages on the ground acting as Flak guns and players having to hitch fly boosts from each other.

Thank You!

In toto, I am very happy with both these campaigns, and as I said I am up and at it again this Saturday – even if that campaign proper will not start until the end of summer I want to thank all the wonderful players who participated,. I also want to thank these boards that gave me a lot of ideas, particularly for the 4E game, and Scott Betts and the Rusty Dragon blog that helped me trough the early levels. Finally, a big thank you to Pazio and the crew there that made it all possible as well as WotC and the game designers behind both editions of DnD.

My players could not stand by and watch as Crimson was slowly torn to bits by Malcaeneth's court. M's agent assumed responsibility for Crimson and they took her aboard the Sea Wyvern.

So, now is the question; what kind of plots should this lead to? Crimson is depressed now, and the players thought they saw a glimmer of redemption in her - which is fairly much projection, as my party is a bunch of very Good people. Still, I don't want to hose them because they want to be nice.

I need some crux and plots to develop the situation. I depicted Crimson as very goth, very much about drama, and incredibly self-centered. Basically, if she could not get Malcaenet's attention in some other way, she was ok with being torn to shreds in order to satisfy her own egotism.

I am planning to have Iggliv somewhat amused and the rest of the "people" they will meet during the AP pretty much ignore Crimson. What I'm mainly looking for is some interesting developments with Crimson herself.

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Thanks for the index.

Based on earlier work by Jay A. Hafner and others I made a Google document Index for Dungeon Issue 1-150 with the scenario list in table form . It has some points that are not of general interest (if I played the scenario or not, and in what campaign I am planning to use it), but I can still share it.

Since others can't sort the document, I made several pages, sorting by issue, level, and scenario name (and hiding the personal notes).

I also included the scenarios that used to be on Wizard's Webiste into this list (Issue listed as File instead of a number). Last I looked, they were still available on the Wizards of the Coast Website.

Hey! I noticed there were some "new" scenarios on that link that I didn't have! These obviously are not included.

In Rise of the Runelords I, Cyrdak Drokkus is a homosexual theater owner exiled to the small town of Sandpoint from the nearby city of Magnimaar. I am now running the 5th part of the adventure path, and my players have asked for an interlude where they stage a play one of them has written.

I thought it would be a nice part of this interlude to have the players redeem Cyrdak Drokkus and restore him to the good graces of the good people of Magnimaar. But I must admit I am bereft of ideas. The players will be lvl 21 (4E, equivalent to around lvl 14 in 3E), and even if the task is not really expected to be a challenge for them, I want it to be meaningful. And the fact that they are not fighting an evil mastermind, but rather public opinion, makes it doubly hard.

I've been thinking of adding some kind of sinister shadow presence for them to cross, but I really don't have much of a lead for it, so I decided to ask here.

I've been thinking that a World of Greyhawk where the Savage Tide failed might be a cool place to adventure. I know Greyhawk is no longer something Paizo can work on, but I figure these fora can still be a place of fan discussion.

If we stay with the campaign arc's number of shadow pearls, I think they were only about 70 - considering the chaotic organization behind the Savage Tide, that would hardly be enough to cause more than a wave of terror. But imagine a genuinely successful Shadow Pearl blowout - with most large cities blown away. The situation is in many ways similar to the postapocalyptic games that bloomed around 1985. Most larger cities have been "nuked", but important people got away (save DCs are modest). The area of destruction is not huge (only a mile in radius each); the outlying areas of large cities would be spared, only to be savagely attacked by transformed inner city citizens - many still somewhat recognizable. Many cities would be "zombie towns" full of the transformed and those infected. Others will have curtained-of badlands where all the monsters live. Small bands of infected would prowl outlying areas, attack outlying settlements and provide a general menace. The largest cities, like Greyhawk, Dyvers, and Rel Astra, would probably survive because of their powerful guardians and large size. Rural states, like Nyrond, Furyondy, and all hinterland areas, would hardly be affected at all. The emerging city culture of Greyhawk would be setback, but not destroyed. Trade would grind to a halt with so many hubs of communication disrupted, but would soon resume at a much reduced scale.

Recovery could take decades - or maybe just years, depending on resources and heroes to lead. It would be a points of light setting initially, but with a known map and known objectives. Nations would come in to "succor" wounded cites, no doubt re-igniting old political conflicts like the independence of Dyvers. And once the old safe places are saved, the larger world looms.

Monsters in the hinterlands would not be affected at all, and would start raiding the weakened civilized areas. Ius' state seems largely rural, but would probably be disrupted by the loss of key marshaling fortresses. Also, the infected in this area would be particularity vicious because of the high concentrations of military force there. The Great Kingdom would be largely intact but politically beheaded; it is a rural economy, but all the political power is in urban areas. A great opportunity for an insurgent campaign in either of these places.

And finally, there is old monkey-boy himself and his minions, greatly strengthened and with a new unity. The chaos would engender apocalyptic cults, many demon-worshippers. The cults of various demon lords would be warring against each other. Powers like Iggliw that opposed the new king of demons will be in hiding and might have to be sought out for their knowledge. There will be a civil war among the succubi, with a weakened Malcaenet rivaled by the likes of Red Shroud and Shami-Amourae.

Overall, it will be a very chaotic world, and adventurers thrive on chaos.

My players just woke up the dragon at Divided's Ire. They cast control winds to cover their passage across the bridge. The storm lasts for hours and is big enough to block all bridges but one and the volcano . They then ran from the enemies still inside and ended up inside before the dragon awakened.

So, what will it do now? Its a pretty stupid beastie (Int 8) and lacks any Spellcraft or Knowledge skills, so it doesn't really know what happened, only that a tornado is throwing chunks of its beloved magama all over the place. I guess this is the kind of thing that can happen in the Abyss, but hasn't in a long time, so the dragon is too pissed to just go back to sleep.

Should it start tearing up the buildings? The tornado is mildly dangerous to it (Fort save +26 vs DC 30), so it would begin with some building not in the storm, which basically gives it a 50% chance to pick the building the players are in. They would have plenty of warning as it would take a bit of time to get through the very solid roof.

It could also simply hover outside and wait - sooner or later someone will walk outside. Its not like dragons lack patience.

As an aside, there are no demons outside any longer - most were swept away by the tornado and ended up outside the Forbiddance effect. They are very happy now - but won't be so happy when the secondary compulsion hits them, probably going to great pains to get even for this cruel "prank".

We just finished Serpents of Scuttlecove,and Harliss is triumphant. it was she who stuck the final blow to Cold Captain Wythers, she used his head to intimidate the crew, and she personally stuck down the last of the opposing pirate captains.

The question is; what to do now? My players (very much into the good amd redemption thing) are debating whether to give her the crystal ball with telepathy, to try and let her lead and reform the Crimson Pirates. However, even if they do not recognize Demogorgon's leadership any longer, they are still the scum of the high seas.

Good times was had by all! And a big thanks to all the people who made illustrations to show the structure of The Wreck; we really found these graphics useful.

Quoted from the Downtown thread:

Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:
Carl Cramér wrote:

I got my players away from Farshore to attend Rowyn's official inauguration as a princess of Ahlissa (long story), which of course served as a lovely distraction for Serpents of Scuttlecove.

</anecdote mode>
Rowyn Kellani as princess of Ahlissa . . . wow. At the risk of inciting a threadjack, how'd that happen? I take it your players sold out Lavinia?

Actually, Lavinia helped set it up. This is how it went; My players marooned Rowyn after the incident in In the Sea-Wyvern's Wake. She ended up in Scuttlecove and got recruited to the Crimson Pirates. Rather roughly too. While she didn't protest at the time (smart girl), she didn't like how they treated her. She joined the assault on Farshore but ran away at the first opportunity.

Meanwhile, the players had picked up another bunch of colonists from Dragon Hunters (Dungeon #104) on a small island on the way. While Prince Henri and his cohorts most certainly were not of the same culture or alignment as the players, they decided his case was not hopeless and that taking him along was the best solution. Conveniently, there was room on the Blue Nixie as the passengers had eaten about half of the food stores. Prince Henri enjoyed Lavina's company a lot, tough not of that of the Jade Ravens. After the pirate attack on Farshore, Prince Henri was put in charge of keeping the pirate prisoners on his plantation - the task of being a prison warden being distasteful to my group. Most of the pirates were saved from death and captured - my players are quite pacifistic and very good in outlook.

As one of the more charismatic escapees, Rowing gathered many runaway pirates around her, then contacted Prince Henri with a deal; she'd give up all her pirate prisoners in return for a full pardon. The heroes were reluctant, but both Lavinia ad Prince Henri supported the idea, and it was accepted. Rowyn ended up living on Prince Henri's plantation (Farshore wasn't large enough for both her and the heroes), and the two became an item and finally got married. Her opportunism and quick thinking (CE) complements his steadfast and methodological approach to life (LE), tough neither is as evil as they were at the beginning.

About a year later, all adventures on the Isle of Dread resolved, the PCs arranged a reconciliation between Prince Henri and his mother, who I now (level 15) decided was actually the acting regent of Ahlissa. This was largely possible because Prince Henri has so obvioulsy settled down and "grown up" as his mother would say, getting married , building a plantation, and giving up the ambition for immediate warfare. With Prince Henri restored to the succession in Ahlissa, Rowyn ended up as a princess of that realm.

I don't expect this arc of the campaign to ever visit Ahlissa again, but I'm thinking of placing the Curse of the Crimson Throne in the Great Kingdom, where this act of charity could affect things greatly. I'd not go as far as placing Rowyn as the queen of the Crimson Throne, tough ow that I think of it... This will need more thought.

Sorry, saw the "Keep the Messageboards Civil" thread, juts couldn't resist paraphrasing.

Nothing to see here. Move on. Or do like I did, post your free associations.

Just FYI. And I do agree with this guy.

I have a system of Metamagic that keeps low-level spells attractive at higher levels. Basically, the idea is that you can metamagic any spell up to the level of the highest level spell you know, thus keeping low-level spells viable and reducing the 15-minute-mage problem.

I'm posting it here, and hope it makes some sort of sense:

Starfox's House Rule wrote:

Forget the original metamagic rules except when creating magic items. Applying metamagic is a free action for all classes, and it is never prepared in advance. You can apply metamagic that brings the effective spell level of a spell up to the highest spell level you can cast, for free. You can apply the same metamagic feat several times to the same spell, with cumulative effects.

Example: A lvl 9 wizard can prepare 5th level spells. This means he can apply 5 levels of metamagic to his level 0 spells, 4 levels to his level 1 spells, 3 levels to his level 2 spells, 2 levels to his level 3 spells, and 1 level to his level 5 spells. This does not change the spell slot used.

Add to this my modified version of Heighten spell:

Starfox's House Rule wrote:

Heighten Spell (Metamagic)

Benefit: A heightened spell has a higher spell level than normal (up to a maximum of 9th level). Unlike other metamagic feats, Heighten Spell actually increases the effective level of the spell that it modifies. All effects dependent on spell level (such as saving throw DCs and ability to penetrate a lesser globe of invulnerability) are calculated according to the heightened level. The heightened spell is as difficult to prepare and cast as a spell of its effective level.

If a spell is heightened by two levels or more, all of these additional benefits apply. Each applies once per two levels of spell level increase. I.e., a first level spell heightened to sixth level (+5 levels) gets each of these bonuses twice.

* Increase the cap on the maximum amount of damage your spell can do by five dice.
* Increase the limit on any spellcasting level based bonus in the spell by ten.
* Affect four additional hit dice of enemies. Only applies to spells who affect a limited number of hit dice.

Example: Tim the Enchanter is a ninth level wizard who considers how he can prepare various heightened spells. Hypnotic pattern is normally a first level spell that affects 2d4 hit dice of creatures, plus a number of hit dice equal to the caster level. Tim can prepare it in a third level spell slot, and it will affect 2d4+13 hit dice of creatures, or use a fifth level spell slot to affect 2d4+17 hit dice of creatures. A fireball that uses a level 5 spell slot has a damage cap of 15 dice, while a seventh level slot gives it a cap of 20d6. A dispel magic that uses a level 5 spell slot has a cap on the dispel check of +20.

page 16 wrote:

Arcane Bond (Su): At 1st level, wizards forge a powerful

bond with an object or creature. This bond can take one of
two forms: The first is a familiar, following the standard
rules for such creatures (see Familiars) and the second is a
bond with an object, using it to cast spells and enchanting
it with even greater powers.
Objects that are the subject of an arcane bond must
fall into one of the following categories: amulet, ring,
staff, wand, or weapon. If the object is an amulet or ring,
it must be worn to have effect, while staves, wands, and
weapons must be wielded. If a wizard attempts to cast a
spell without his bonded object worn or in hand, he must
make a Spellcraft check or lose the spell. The DC for this
check is equal to 20 + the spell’s level.

Dies this mean that the bond is optional; that the wizard has EITHER a familiar or a bonded object? Or does it mean he has both, and MIST have a bonded object to cast spells?

I think the intent is that the bonded object is mandatory and the familiar optional. This means you can disarm a wizard by taking away their bonded object, which is good from a story perspective. But its not very clear on this point.

page 14 wrote:

The rogue must be able to see the target well enough

to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a
spot. A rogue cannot sneak attack while striking a creature
with concealment or striking the limbs of a creature whose
vitals are beyond reach.

Can we get rid of this 3.5 inheritance? At least the part about concealment? The bad thing about it is that rogues should be masters of combat in shadowy conditions. Now, they're not - dim lightning gives a miss chance, and that kills off Sneak Attack.

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