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Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. Organized Play Member. 338 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.



Shadow Lodge

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My group has been running through almost an adventure a week since the play-test came out. We meet weekly and play for approx 8 hours each session. We have been testing the mechanics and rules mostly to see how well they played and if we enjoyed the experience. We dd not do much social encounter/role-playing as we decided to delve into the mechanics and how they played out/felt to the group as a whole. I am writing this now because our group has concluded that the basic rules just aren't realty fun, although there are a few system changes we like a lot of the combat and mechanics are frustrating, poorly written, and do not fix the problems at all. It really feels like it just shifts them around.

First, the good things. There are some really positive things this edition that I do feel the group appreciated and took to. They loved the action economy and the nuances that gave to the game. We liked the increase in skill points (although not enough in some cases) and felt like touch AC getting a boost was an important thing for the game to function better at higher levels. I also took to the monsters having more special and interesting abilities that were flavorful and interacted with the new action economy in interesting ways. Also shield block is really good and gives a real reason to have a shield even when it is not a huge boost to armor class. I think it really opens up a lot of interesting things. Also starting hit points boost from ancestry is really good, that extra cushion was invaluable at low levels for keeping people alive early on and feels better than before.

The neutral, these things weren't eally good or bad and we could take them or leave them. I felt adding your level to everything was really problematic and was really a lot of fancy math and was almost better served with a simple system of if a target is above or below your level just add x amount to it's stuff. where x is the difference in level. I think this would have been a cool way of showing progression and making bonusses feel much more special without the feeling of levels are numbers that you have to have. but either way is the same play effect. Magic was kind of a sore subject and in the end was kind of a wash. The limiting of spellcasting was not necessarily a good or bad thing, some spells felt really useless, especially things like mage armor where I would just want an item since to be effective as a buff spell I have to use one of my highest level slots, versus shield which is now a really clever buff that works really well. Magic comes out nuetral because there were some really good examples,like tenth level spells and cantrips that really were useful long term, versus some really bad ones I will get to later. The limited spells per day otherwise reduced some of the spam casting issues and makes spells with an effect that is not damage way more powerful than before.

And now, the bad. There are a lot of things to go over here unfortumately, and I will try to get all of them out as best I can.

Starting with specific spells that just aren't worth anything anymore. Mainly buff spells that either have a duration so short that you have to waste alot of time in combat better used to fight the enemy than butt, resist energy is a huge problem here, to spells like mage armor that you now have to use a high level spell slot to keep up with progression and in doing so may lose all of that to a dispel check and not hae ht eextra spells to recast the buff. Mage armor being 24 hours is nice so I only have to cast it once. But if I only have spells at that level and I need a damage spell, I may just be wasting my time. both of these spells feel really bad an will most like;y only be used for crafting the items that give the bonusses without the penalties.

Speaking of items, one of the biggest gripes we had was that the magic item christmas tree actually got worse. It didn't get removed it just got redecorated into even more necessary level based items that you have to have to be competetive and effective. The last adventure we got to was The heroes of Undarin. Firat of all this is horribly written and no PC of mine would ever want to walk into a no win situation they either did not cause or were unaware of so all of my players were informed before hand that this was designed to kill them and was stress testing survivability. Next we got to the first encounter and we spent upwards of 4 hours on the fight because a PC without there christmas tree is absolutely useless in this edition. The first fight involved demons that coud disarm you with an almost automatic chance of success. And they are 2 levels lower than the PC's, and it's a reaction to a miss. This meant that after 2 hits and taking one of the four from full to 1/3 it's hit points, the paladin missed his third attack, was disarmed because I rolled above a 5 and then the demons got to go and decided that sword was a problem so one of them took it and left. after that the PC's managed to win only because the POaladin's AC was high enough they could not regularly hit him, bu tthey killed everyone else. without a weapon a PC simply cannot hurt things at high level and that is a serious problem if Enemies can dirarm you that easily. My group was already fed up with the rules but was pushing forward to see if things got better and because we wanted to help improve this, but they are done with it now as this was just the most horrible combat we have had in a very long time.
This christmas tree effect is even worse now that the math in the system is so tightly wound to make all of the numbers nearly identical. If you do not have the neccessary/expeted items/bonusses, you will fail. Sure the bonusses are smaller, but so is the success chance. Throw in the fact that enemies have no ACP and always maxed skills in things they are goos at and any combat manuever they try is probably going to succeed. It is so close to automatic because of ACP and stat distribution that I can't see why the monsters are built like this. The expected numbers do not take into account ACP or average PC's and this means the one person who is supposed to be good at combat manuevers is either lower on AC to negate ACP or realistically behind the curve because of it. The STR based characters who should have the best athletics don't because of ACP and this is a problem.

We also really dislike the ancestries, they do not give enough to start with, the choices do not feel meaningfull, half of the feats are really bad or so situational they really don't make sense to us and everyone feels kind of like their ancestry is really boiled down to their ability boosts beoing chosen for them and maybe a vision mode. This felt limiting not like it was otions, and felt like everyone was kind of just a generic human with a couple minor things that didn't matter. Overall the only races anyone realy wanted to be were those with darkvision, because light radius's are realy bad now and dim light is not really a thing anymore. And now that darkvision is infinite range it is the only ability orth having for the most part from any race at first level. It also felt like a lot of ancestry feats were not a choice, every halfling I can think of playing would take the luck feat, and the weapon familiarity thing was ok, but almost all the lasses that really care about hitting something with a weapon already gain those abilities so they really wash out as useless in the end.

The dying rules are also really bad. I need to know how far negative you are. I really have a proble with no matter how far you are down or how much you are hit you don't need more than point to get back up. At least under the rules before errata the wake up easn't automatif but even then it felt like negative numbers were measuring something before and now that we just get healed and stand up it actually caused more player deaths. Because if the players start getting back up a lot the enemies eventually start putting them down and making sure they stay that way. I let it go tyhe fist couple of times but the third time the fighter miraculously got better the enemies started focussing fire to make sutre he would stay down.

Some spells are just bad, cloudkill is now just awful, it doesn't really do a meaningful amount of damage, will likely only hit once, maybe twice if you are lucky, now doesn't hurt things that don't breathe (don't know if you can hold your breathe but it seems like this is poorly worded either way, and it has no lasting effect on people, it's a poison that doesn't even poison people.

Ranged combat is also very bad for PC's. Monsters do theexpected ranged damage, often with bonuses PCs do not get, while PCs have no real way to focus on reliable repeatable ranged combat.

Monsterloot needs to match their stat blocks as well. Telling a fighter he needs a magic sword to do real damage means that Gnoll had better also have one to do that kind of damage back. I will give large monstrous creatures a pass on this since they could actually have weapons like that as natural attacks but Humanoid NPC's need real gear or the it is just plain unfair for the PCs in all respects and that really made my players feel underwhelmed and chafe even more at their christmas tree requirements.

Critical hits are more common for the DM than players,because a monster who manages to catch a player flat footed without its shield up is going to crush it. The combat advantage of monsters having higher initiatives and better attacks than players means this is alarmingly true throughout the levels. With the math being so tight a boss fight monster just destroys what it gets into combat with. My players have not had a good fight against anything over their CR by more than 1 level the entire time we have play-tested.

Raising a shield to get it's bonus is bad, it makes sense for maybe the first round of combat and would be fatiguing to do long term but needing an action each round or you just forget about it is really taxing and should not be a feat that only really high level fighters can get. it should just be a thing.

Overall I wil be giving this system a pass unless it is changed drastically, it's promise of more options has hashed out to be less with more fidly things that don't matter and didn't need to be feats. It's classes are restrictive not open, It's multiclassing while interesting, feels like a patch to fix the issue of classes beiong to restrictive. Magic is underwhelming in areas it soesn't need to be and still netter in things that the skill feats could have, but for the most part did not, correct. Skill feats are abysmal and no one in my group felt that any of them that didn't require master proficiency were really interesting at all. Leading low level play to turn into a slog fest to get to interesting abilities that actually do something worthwhile. Resonance points fix a problem we never had in my group. Crits are awful and enemies get them so much more often than PC's, checks for skills have way to high a failure rate and taking 10 is a feat so even a reasonably skilled player has a chance of failing checks it isn't investing it's feats into. Signature Skills are still just a horrible idea, and fighters still get shafted on skill pints for no good reason.

The biggest thing we see, andf the biggrst problem I have with the system, is the push to be like later editions of D&D, crying out for balance and equality and losing all of the interesting fun elements a cooperative game can have when things are not so tightly wound as to make everything routine. It is exactly why I did not convert to 4.0 and it is why I won't be converting to this system either.

Shadow Lodge

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I had a question about some of the abilities monsters have that seem to be sometimes stackable and sometimes not.

Most creatures have an entry if their ability is supposed to stack but I found 2 problems with this. first, vampires, I like vampires. They make really good villains and I want them to be interesting, but as they are written they cannot actually drink someone dry. The rules state a condition can never go higher than 4. so no matter how much they drink, they really won't kill anyone doing it ever.

The second problem with this is Wights and other level draining creatures. Enervatios can't go above a penalty of 4, ok I'm alright with that the penalty is really steep so that probably works out ok. It no longer kills, ok that is fine for penalizing spells I suppose but the ideathat a creature is actually stealing my life force does not really compute with this. Enervation from mulyiple wights doen not stack, it has no rule saying it does andd conditions specifically state they do not stak.

This means a ight will never drain you more than a little bit and even the beefiest of creatures seem to do no more than 2a value of 2. which means barring truly horrendous reeated failures at most day to recover.

THis doesn't tell the stories of these creatures it boils them down to math numbers with no meaning. No threat other than inconvenience and inneptitude (time to run away and try again later. and the fact that none of these conditions stack with each other means that once you are enervated, most other conditions don't effect you at all.

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I understand the value of a higher quality item costing more because of the work and expertise put into making it, but requiring specifically 20 times more mithriil to raise the quality of an elven chain shirt seems ludicrous. It may require more specialized tools or a much more expensive sub reagents but because the crafting rules decided to remove time as a very limiting factor and instead make time = cost we need some other method. The shirts require the same amount of material to make, it's the quality that matters right?

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Chrcking the math for cold Iron and a couple of others, it appears the + Hardness for expert quality was not added to the tables. As master quality should only be 1 higher than expert as far as I can tell based on the quality rules in the equipment section. Looks like it was probably skipped for most materials.

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OK, 2 questions of importance to make sure I am looking at this right.

1. Can a gunslinger use the dead shot deed with a Slow-Firing weapon?

2. Can you Vital Strike with a slow firing weapon? (Although I believe this would turn the attack into a full round action instead of a standard action.)

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Time for a discussion on technology and magic and the way things work in the universe as a whole. I want to keep things streamlined if possible for my campaign, but I also want for there to be an overarching sense that this all works under some universal principles. Just answering "because it's magic" seems to be an easy out that makes for more loopholes than it does for actual constructive thought. I don't need a thesis for why things work but an overall sense that they do so I can say when things don't work and point to reasons.

The first conundrum I find is the idea of combining them side by side to make infinite energy. Although expensive permanent magical effects allow for a number of ways of creating an infinite supply of energy. Portals are the biggest offenders here but other permanent effects (especially those that create energy) are just as easily at fault. The skymetal Siccatite also plays a role in this as it's constant output of energy allows for a very similar effect. Abyssium doesn't have this issue simply because it is a radioactive substance and we understand how that works. It decays and eventually ends, Siccatite does not. If Siccatite simply moves energy From cold to hot through some quantum entanglement principle, it is less of a conundrum as it is still technically conserving energy to do so. so what then of portals and spells? The way I am going to resolve this is simply by taking a page out of Final Fantasy 7's book and using mana and ley lines. For the most part we can hand wave magical energy as being like solar energy, nigh infinite and constantly produced and distributed to a planet. This only causes issues when to much is used, or we deal with the what if of space, but more on that a little later.

Next we talk about pure technology mimicking magic, and the opposite. This is a case where I think some help can be given to making technology more important and better in some respects than magic. The first rule is high level tech is more available than magic for use by common folk, this makes technology seem more powerful since it is easier for everyone to use (think a wand versus a gun). The other boost I feel technology needs is a way to make it different than magic in what it can do and how easily it does things. To do this I think we should first look at what magic does that science has a real problem with, teleportation and telekinesis. Magic is able to move objects (either instantaneously or through use of force effects) much easier than technology is. This leads me to believe that magic is an underlying quantum thing that gives access to an energy that is much more efficient and easy to use to manipulate things on a quantum scale to create these effects. So what is science better at? Science is better at divination and calculation. whereas it takes a very large expenditure of energy to determine an objects properties with magic, science expends very little to determine these things. As long as you keep this dichotomy in mind, both magic and technology serve different paths to the same end goal. Both can do things (sometimes in the same way, sometimes different) but have a different method that still fits the world.

The last and possible most powerful situation is a society advanced in both science and magic. A society that has advanced them side by side far enough to integrate the principles of the two is awe inspiring indeed. The scientific principles and understanding here would cause the largest shift of effects as the efficiency of using the better method appropriately for the desired effects would cause them to be able to do things on an even larger scale. Sometimes magic and tech don't have to be different at all, sometimes they become the same thing. This kind of society is unlikely to develop however, as most seem to be drawn towards one end of the spectrum or the other, where Golarion is magic centric and does most of its awe inspiring feats through the use of phenomenal cosmic powers; Earth is technology centric, using science to fuel its growth and expansion. This appears to be an effect of which is discovered first and used more in the beginning as an easier method to do things. When magic is easily available it flourishes and tech falls by the wayside, and when technology is used it is so easily accessible that magic seems like a step backwards as it is harder to use than the simple uses and advancement of science.

As for balance a couple of things to remember.
1. Conserve energy! This is a principle that should be followed so that it all stays equal. If magic is an energy that can be conserved and used, then all the other principles we understand fall in line. Even if it seems like a better if harder to manipulate kind of energy.
2. Don't sweat the little stuff. Sure space is huge and empty and without much magic or energy but what you bring with you, but it also has very little drawing on that energy so magic in space works fine! Don't over complicate the rules; just hand wave it so that it works the way you need it to unless the situation becomes truly extraordinary.
3. Remind your players of how silly they are being when trying to break the rules. They built an infinite enrgy turbine using magic and technology for a huge sum of money and now have infinite free energy. Too bad for a fraction of the cost they could have simply built a dam and a waterwheel and had the money left over to use the energy for something...

That's what I have for now, I hope to get at least a few comments on this and would love to discuss it. I hope it came out in a way that make sense and would love to answer questions about any of the above.

Shadow Lodge

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These are a few ideas I had about sky metals and their uses as technological devices instead of magical ones. Updated and ran Barrier Peaks for my group and will have many things to post here just wanted to get the thread started with a start to the uses and properties of the sky metals as I saw them.

Adamantine: Used mainly as a structural component and when hardened whether magically or through technology it's hardness is such as to support the superstructure of a spaceship and other impossible feats of engineering. Not a lot of extra with this one other than that.

Abyssium: The radioactive skymetal, used as a power source and fuel for nuclear reactors. Isotopes of this are commonly even more radiactive than the base line and provides power for most technology that is fueled by nuclear reactions.

Djezet: This liquid skymetal also has technological properties with an almost superconductivity and heightening of transference of charges and information, used in many devices as a liquid wire to boost processing speeds as well as to boost communication signals.

Horacalcum: This is the metal where warp drives are born, its ability to bend time combined with science and engineering create large superstructures that when spun and manipulated create bubbles in the fabric of time and space allowing for FTL travel and communications. This is how my version of the warp field is generated and allows for some explanation of why a space ships warp drive could work at a lower tech level for a more steam-punk type adventure as well!

Inubrix: Its ability to pass through other metals makes it invaluable in processes to sort waste and recyclables as well as practical uses. used as a simple way to do everything from sorting items to washing dishes (since metal plates would pass through but not the organic matter on them.)

Noqual: Used as a super lead to shield reactors ad its anti magic properties also block out radiation surprisingly well. used as shielding on the outside of spaceships as well as thick layers for the insides of reactors. crystalline structure absorbs and contains radiation but in doing so becomes a liquid instead of a crystalline metal (which gives you a glowing green radioactive goo!)

Siccatite: Used to power devices as a constant source of heat this metal sees a variety of uses not only as a constant power source but gets a better definition of its properties. It's constant hot or cold effect is caused by a quantum principle linking the hot to the cold and transferring the energy from cold to hot. This is also an interesting side effect that the universal amount of it is balanced and conserves energy through this process. Often used as an alloy to create equipment of a specific temperature for lab use and for convenience. Hot plates and cold beer mugs are especially useful.

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Was wondering about this. How does a Shades, or shadow conjuration, summoned creature interact with Protection from Evil or its ilk. These spells mimic summoning spells but since they are illusion spells and not actual conjuration spells does Protection from evil actually offer any protection against them?

I'm on the fence on this one and it brings up an interesting question, if a spell is copied by a different spell, do the immunities carry over if the spell that does the copying is not the spell in question? (ie I am immune to finger of death, say by spell immunity, but does that stop a caster using wish to get a finger of death affect?)

Does me believing it is real grant protection since it is then behaving in all ways as the intended spell and I believe myself to be immune? This one I think no on but that would also be an awesome side effect.

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So in different parts of the book this appears to do different things. In the Bestiary it actually increases threat ranges further (from 19-20 to 18-20) but in the sample adventure and the feats section it increases the multiplier on the critical hits. Probably just an editing thing but wanted to confirm which is actually intended.

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Unfortunately due to real life events my gaming group has been dropped to 3 players looking for a game to join. We have our Friday evenings free and were hoping to find a group to play with.

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So I had a couple of questions regarding the samsaran trait from the advanced race guide that allows them to pick up non-class spells of the same branch of magic(arcane or divine) and add them to their spell list. I have already seen a number of very broken possibilities for this that seem to be counter productive to balanced game play.

The first question is about spell level, there appears to be no limit in picking where your spells come from so that a few spells (mainly looking at you mister summoner) that have odd levels for the classes that get them; usually because of a reduced spellcasting progression. Looking at a few of their spells; [http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/all-spells/d/dominate-monster]dominate monster[/url] is a great example. A bard could get access to it, as could a magus as a sixth level spell. This is not broken in and of itself as long as a couple of other things remain true. This brings me to point number 2...

Can a class put the spell on their spell list a a lower level than normal through this trait, or a a lower level than similar classes because of getting it through a lowered spell progression class. Say the wizard takes dominate monster as sixth level spell instead of a ninth. This interaction seems to be a bit of a problem as it could lead to a lot of lower level characters having the biggest spells in the game quite early.

I was thinking on a quick rule clarificaion for this requiring you to take it off of the wizard/sorceror or cleric spell lists if available and then the other full 9 level casters first simply to prevent this kind of cheese. Just seems a little overpowered for some classes/combinations.

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Question regarding monk flurry, since it allows them to attack and fight as if they had 2-weapon fighting, can they ignore the 2nd weapon and just flurry as if using a single weapon? i.e. at 5th level instead of +3/+3 just one attack at +5? and can they still spend a ki point to take an extra attack while doing so?

Since in 3.5 there was no associated 2-weapon fighting overhead to deal with this, it was a non issue, but now since often monks suffer greatly from accuracy and enhancement cost issues, this may make for a slightly more viable build if they can ignore that penalty especially for archtypes that specialize in a specific 2 handed weapon. Also since flurry works as 2 weapon fighting does this mean the archer monks cannot fire more than their base attack bonus as they are only using 1 weapon?

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So I was looking at the above spells and wanted to see what other peoples opinions were of stacking the two spells together. It seems a bit powerful and I'm not sure it works. I am leaning towards the RAI interpretation of Abundant Ammunition probably being for spells that enhance multiple pieces of amunition per casting, but as written it could go either way. Thoughts?

Links:
Named Bullet
Abundant Ammunition

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So I was thinking about the new version of VOP and realized that a solution may already exist that would at least make it a more playable option as well as keep the "value" question in check. I was looking at my dusty collection of old 3.5 books when I came across Weapons of Legacy, a nifty book to be sure, and started to remember how they worked rules wise. The items value never got above about 5k, if you used a very expensive base item, as they were all basically +1 until you attuned to them. the process of them leveling with you works extremely well for a way to constantly add bonuses to an item without requiring a player to spend money except on the 3 awakening rituals (Which you could also rule to be a part of the vows the monk is taking). Although it may require a little GM tweaking to make the item give the bonuses the player wants in the end it also gives the monk a single "heirloom" item that they can have that starts as nothing more than a base +1 and levels up with them as they progress. I also think that negating the penalties the monk would take from the legacy item (originally a min/max idea that most people could loophole out of anyways) would work well for the theme.

Any thoughts on this or tweaks you would use for the system? I was leaning towards a doubled progression as it will be the only item a monk has, so long as the bonuses are spread out and not min/maxed to heavily (ie two seperate items giving seperate bonuses so they don't qualify for higher level abilities, giving the monk more options but not a ridiculous increase in power, but still being a single item). I was also thinking of adding modifying abilities if I felt the monk was falling to far behind but that will require some playtesting to see how much balance is needed. Also with the addition of all the ki points maybe a feat to let a monk get an extra Ki power would be useful, you have the points to spend a feat for more versatility would be really nice.

So tl'dr: Give the VoP monk 2 WoL items that are a single item and let them level it with them; without using the penalty tables that were kind of silly anyways for most players. Use the vows as the prerequisite money expenditure to awaken the legacy item tiers, maybe taking additional vows to unlock the higher tiers(although VoP is probably enough). And finally just getting rid of the silly bonus feats that the tiers required and all that junk and just using the template system from WoL to build the item.

Thoughts, comments?

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Some of the creatures in the Bestiary have this feat without meeting the prerequisite strength score. Are they statted wrong and the feat should be replaced or are the prerequisites lower than the feat proclaims? i.e. the remorhaz only has a strength of 22 but has awesome blow which requires a strength of 25 to use.

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OK here goes:

1. if you vital strike with a firearm, do your extra dice gain exploding dice?

2. Can you vital strike without precision? (i.e. use it against undead constructs etc.) and if so can you use it with the scattergun?

3. On a similar note can you use deadly stroke with firearms, say as a sniper for the first shot.

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I understand for the most part the working and mathematics of this feat however one thing does bother me in the definition. If I can use it at the end of a charge because that is a "attack action" not a "full attack action" then would it apply to attacks of opportunity as well? That would make it more worthwhile for the feat to be in my list instead of other feats especially as a Dex based fighter or rogue based on taking attacks of opportunities. I do believe this feat needs to be clarified, does it mean that when I am given an attack that is not part of a "full attack action" I may use the extra damage, or is charge meant to say "Attacking on a Charge: After moving, you may make a single melee attack action."?

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In 3.5 this issue was a flat 50% chance to hit either of the grappled creatures but I have not been able to figure out how it is dealt with in the pathfinder RPG. It appears to have changed since the improved precise shot no longer ignores the grappled condition. So here is the list of important questions:

- Does the grappled condition give modifiers to ranged attacks into the grapple?
- Does it grant a cover or concealment bonus or just a flat miss chance?
- Does the size of the grapplers matter?

Thanks for the help guys!