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RPG Superstar 6 Season Star Voter. Organized Play Member. 1,180 posts (4,147 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 5 Organized Play characters. 11 aliases.

It seems to be taken as an article of faith that allowing Dexterity to add to damage would automatically be overpowered "Because Dexterity adds to so much" but that got me thinking about how Strength, Dexterity, and AC are interrelated. So I put some numbers up on a spreadsheet to get to looking at them all at once. And I have come to two conclusions. One, Strength and Dexterity are both important stats for AC. The second - unless you are a light armor user, Strength is by far the more important.

First, the obvious - How does Dexterity add to AC. That's relatively simple, every 2 points of Dexterity adds one point to AC. This starts at -3 for 5 Dexterity (the lowest you can reasonably expect to start a PC at.) So obviously, you need some Dex if you're planning to make a character who will survive on the front lines.

Now, how does Strength play into this? Well, the relationship here is quite a bit more complex. The AC bonus that can be derived from Strength always starts at +0 (because not wearing armor doesn't give a penalty), and is tied to carrying capacity. For purposes of this discussion, I'm going to assume you don't want to carry an encumberance penalty on top of movement penalties for armor, and thus we'll reference the "Light Load" carrying capacity column. Thus, at a Strength of 5, you can carry 16 pounds. Assuming your class can wear any armor at all, This is enough for Leather armor, or a +2 AC bonus out of the gate. (If you can't, you're almost certainly a d6/poor BAB class and Dexterity-to-melee-damage isn't really a concern.)

Continuing to reference across, for light armor this means that the best AC return will be a chain shirt, requiring a mere 8 strength for a +4 to AC. Choosing to ignore the Agile property (Mostly because it's non-Core), Medium armor has the Breastplate at a strength of 9 and a +6. And Heavy armor gives the best return at 13 Strength, with full plate giving a +9.

Of course, the above argument has a serious issue - it assumes the only thing you're going to be doing with your carrying capacity is wearing armor. No weapon, no shield, no magical equipment, and no mundane equipment of any kind. Since it isn't really possible to function like that, for the sake of argument let's assume that you'll never want to wear more than half what you can carry as armor.

Doing that, the chain shirt effectively requires a Strength of 13. The Breastplate requires you to have a strength of 15, and Full Plate requires a whopping 18 strength.

So, now we have some numbers to compare.

13 Dex = +4
13 Str = +4

15 Dex = +5
15 Str = +6

18 Dex = +7
18 Str = +9

20 Dex = +8
20 Str = +9

Well, that's interesting. Looks like the overall effect of the stats is roughly equal up through the range where PCs exist. I didn't really look at shields since they seem to be out of favor at the moment, although that would probably tilt things in favor of even more strength for defense. Also, remember that these additive effects are mutually exclusive - the more AC derived from Strength, the less you're allowed to gain from Dexterity. Further, I just took the raw amount added - the game assumes a baseline AC of 10, and Dexterity (counting from 0) starts out behind Strength.

So which is more important if you want a high AC? Honestly, while they both have some meaning, Strength seems to give the better return for AC up through the 'sane' range.

Obviously, this doesn't look at anything else Dexterity does for you. It still adds to a number of key skills (as long as you're not wearing heavier armor) and of course to Reflex saves. On the other hand, Strength also adds to-hit and damage.

So which is "better?" After going through this....I'm really not sure. I'll leave that up to others to decide.

Since it seems to be a hot topic right now, I've got a question for all the optimizers out there about a (relatively) simple change.

Rule: The attribute adjustments from the Fused Eidolon always count as temporary adjustments. Therefore, to take a feat, the Summoner's base attributes must allow them to qualify for that feat.

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On reading through the Skull and Shackle AP, at least up through volume 5, one thing that I (and I think a lot of other people) noticed was that the AP doesn't really seem to push the idea of "being a pirate" all that much. Motivation is sorely lacking for the PCs to actually go to many of the set-pieces and do the adventures. It feels like it really calls for some kind of explore/resource sub-system.

So I decided to develop one.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to try to lay out ideas and solicit feedback, starting with the basic, underlying principles in this post and going from there.

So, without further ado, here we go.

"So You Want To Be A Pirate - Core Principles behind 'Exploring the Shackles'

In thinking about this system, I decided I wanted to stick to three really core ideas to making the campaign more interesting.

1) A Living World. While most players should end up tackling many of the set-piece areas of the campaign, they won't necessarily go for all of them, and they won't do so in any particular order. Furthermore, NPCs are not static mission sources. If the PCs hole up in some dive tavern and tell stories, events can keep moving around them and eventually force them to act. These rules are not going to be for every party - successfully finishing the campaign will require players who are willing to take charge of their destiny.

2) Goals, not Adventures. The biggest weakness of the AP is that the writers have largely presumed that the PCs will be motivated by the mere presence of adventure spots and challenges. As carreer criminals, most pirates aren't going to be all that intrigued by island exploration when there's plunder and pillage to be had. Clear reasons for doing many of the set-pieces will be laid out and tied back into the new systems.

3) Simplicity. By its' nature, the modifications being made will be a huge complication to the AP. So, every new rule shall have a purpose, and I will be trying to keep added complexity to a minimum. The goal is not to detail every ship going over every shipping lane or track the opinions of every pirate lord in the Shackles. Instead, the overall goal is to allow the players to make meaningful contributions to the direction the story takes (I even intend to have minimal information on how the campaign can evolve to allow the PCs to side with Harrigan if that's their choice!)

Female Human Bard (Court Bard)

The Eye of Abandengo, one of the most terrifying 'wonders' of the Inner Sea region, and all the more so for what it hides - the Shackles. An island chain that is home to all known and many imagined terrors of the seas. And then there are the pirates.

It is here that the tale begins, the thriving city of Port Peril, home port of the Shackles' current ruler, Kerdak Bonefist. A lawless, wretched place, the waterfront of Port Peril is lined with taverns and inns that cater to the pirates of the Shackles, but only one in particular is a concern. The "Formidably Maid" is a typical specimen, with all the rum, gambling, and company one can pay for. And a good brawl if that's your pleasure.

The quiet corners are few, and they're all being used for discussing business that would get you tossed in jail anywhere else in the Inner Sea. But here, well, business is good.

Just like the thread title says - I seem to have gotten two copies of this order, but no reciept in either box.


I just noticed that my latest GMd session didn't increase my counter. Is there something off, or does someone need to look into my account?

Okay, first of all let me say that the trait as originally published was overpowered. I argued against it in the past because it really was crazy.

...that said, here is the new version in the errata released today:

Heirloom Weapon: You carry a non-masterwork simple or martial weapon that has been passed down from generation to generation in your family (pay the standard gp cost for the weapon). When you select this trait, choose one of the following benefits: proficiency with that specific weapon, a +1 trait bonus on attacks of opportunity with that specific weapon, or a +2 trait bonus on one kind of combat maneuver when using that specific weapon.

I really think this one speaks for itself.


Growing out of the Faction thread, there seems to be a discussion about just what Pathfinding is supposed to be, and what the minimum bar for entry is. Well, ICly. OOCly I think that's pretty obvious.

These are, obviously, just my opinion and the guys in charge are obviously free to contradict me, but I don't see any of them as being at all unreasonable given what's in the books everybody is supposed to be reading. And yet, I have seen a case of someone trying to violate every last one of them.

1) You need to have the ability to travel. No brainer, here - you're going to be criss-crossing the Inner Sea and beyond. Being tied to a noble estate a la Kingmaker is a no-go.

2) You must be a first level member of a Core or Base PC class. Taken care of in the character creation guidelines, but a few people see the "Expert" class and try to get eight free class skills.

3) You must be fluent in both spoken and written Taldane (Common). Again, fairly common sense - this is the language of Absalom, the language Pathfinders use between each other, and the language the Chronicle is written in. If you can't get around your base city, can't communicate with the guys who are giving you your missions, and can't write up sumissions for the Chronicle, well, you're a lousy Pathfinder.

4) (This is the only one that I expect to generate real protests) You must have spent some time in the Grand Lodge as an Initiate. This one's in Seekers, and that book makes it pretty clear this is totally non-negotiable. A lot of people bring up Masters of the Fallen Fortress as a counter-example, and I don't buy it. Just because you managed to get the job done once doesn't mean you're Pathfinder material. And, of course, it doesn't mean the Venture Captains know you from Tom, Dick, or Grognar. Now, circumstances like that are easily enough to keep you from having to do three years as an Initiate, but a one-month evaluation and maybe another to correct any deficiencies spotted (such as Grognar's inability to sign 'X' as his own name) wouldn't be unexpected.

This seems like the best spot for it. Over on the PFS forums, I nearly derailed a topic into this point.

Where was it ever explained that the pages of a Magic User's spellbook could be used as spell scrolls. I know that from 2E on this was against the rules, and I've never been able to find a reference to this 'trick' in the 1E books.

I'm not looking for "what people remember" here either, I really want a specific book and page number. I just checked over the PHB and DMG and couldn't find a blessed thing.


First of all, players be warned, here there be spoilers. Big, huge, massive spoilers. Turn back now or be forever damned!

...okay, now that I've got your attention, the spoilers probably aren't that bad. First of all, the normal playspace for my local PFS group allows every table a quiet room to themselves. At a convention or normal game store this probably wouldn't be advisable, but I've found in running "The Devil We Know" that having the right tunes handy seems to help keep the players focused. It can also creep them the hell out, as using barely audible whispering amid dischordant, intermittent tones for the Derro proved. So...looking for some stuff to specifically load up for certain recurring themes.

General Use

Pathfinders / The Grand Lodge: Looking for something generically heroic. This has to serve as a stand-in for both the Grand Lodge of Absalom and its' most important members - our heros. The specific composition doesn't matter too much, but see the Enemies section below.

Andoran: This theme should be simple and evocative of a bit of frontier spirit. Remember that Andoran itself has a very "Colonial America" feel to it and that any music for locations specifically wthin the nation should probably try to mirror this.

Cheliax: Rennaisance Italy, with a particular attention paid to the presence of dischordant harmonies and grandeur twisted.

Osirion: Ancient Egypt, should be evocative of mystery. Probably something middle eastern, but try to make very distinct from...

Qadira: Something similiar to what might be heard on the streets of Baghdad back when it was the height of culture in the region.

Taldor: This theme might be best served by being related to the Cheliax theme, but with the grandeur not meant to be in mockery.


The Aspis Consortium: Should probably have a quick pace. The Consortium's intrigues are not of much concern to Pathfinders - they serve as very dangerous adversaries, but very straightforward ones.

Shadow Lodge - Pathfinders: Unlike the Consortium, the Shadow Lodge is all about intrigue. A somewhat slower theme, this should readily be able to serve as either combat music or "danger lurking in the shadows." A strong lietmotif with the main Pathfinder theme a plus.

Shadow Lodge - Goblins: Comedy Relief villains at their finest. While the Goblins aren't dangerous, they do have the ability to twist into something extremely silly on a moment's notice, and their music should reflect this. Something from a kids' move might work.

Shadow Lodge - Dragons: These guys are the Shadow Lodge's heavy-hitters, and there should be no mistake there will be a fight and the players are very likely to lose when this music begins playing.

....and any other useful suggestions for things that will come up often that I might have missed.


First of all, I know it's probably too late to implement this idea for "Year of the Shadow Lodge" but that doesn't mean it's not worth asking about.

First of all, I noticed that the Special is closed to Level 12 characters, and to be honest they're the ones who are most able to help with such an epic scenario. It kind of puzzled me for a bit, but then I realized that it's probably at least partially because the scenario is worth XP. Which brought up the little controversy about how Josh was torn between having the Special grant XP and not.

Which makes me wonder if it wouldn't be possible to allow the player to choose whether it's worth XP or not.

This would allow Level 12 characters to participate without throwing off the calculations for XP too much, and would let people pick whether they wanted the XP or the ability to play in more scenarios.



All right. Skipping the new Alchemist stuff that's already been gone over, I have a few questions about how things are supposed to be applied in PFS regarding the new abilities.

Cavalier- Order of the Star: What religions are acceptable for members to serve? Is it restricted to normally-legal deities, or can they worship anything. (Asked because, unlike every other case where a character must declare a faith, they gain no benefits from selecting one over another, they're all equal.)

Oracle - Nature Mystery: What spell should an Oracle of this Mystery receive in place of Awaken at 11th level, since that spell is illegal per PFS rules?

...and that's it. Thought there were more than this. Oh well, I'm sure someone will find what I missed.