A good GM will approach running a game like writing a story. Every character needs to have agency. Said good GM will write in scenes where the poor Aquaman will be able to shine and not feel like a sandwich maker. This might be backstory quests, roleplaying with certain NPC's, facing down a baddie in a duel, etc. The story needs to move forward without the player party's wizard's magic being the most pivotal thing. The emotions of the npc's and player characters should be defining, then the feelings of martial inadequacy are lessoned. Magic doesn't make a player heroic, what the player's doing that does. At the crux though, Pathfinder is a game about magic. It's everywhere. It's really hard to try and limit it/work around something that's inherent in the system and not cut large parts of the game out (e6/e8/spells).
No reason not to combine all of them together. Give the players the toolbox to make the super hero type character they want. There is no point I can see to divide the Vigilante up into 2-4+ "specializations". If the point of the class is the dual personality thing, make that shine. As it stands now, the "specializations" are what's shining. One class, open up the talents. Make dual personality awesome.
I'd like all the talents to be available to the base Vigilante and let the players decide what kind of mish-mash they want.
Also the amount of talents you have to dedicate toward spell casting is a bit much if they are keeping specializations. You get talents every two levels and it takes five talents to get full casting? So half your progression goes to casting.
Remove the specializations and just have the vigilante pick what it wants to do.
What would the secret identity do in an AP that matters? This is a major class feature and seems to do nothing of substance except impose limitations. I feel a major class feature shouldn't limit players, it should give options thematic to the class.
Some people are either intimidated by the amount of options, or not confident that everyone will be able to make sense of all of them (ala how people make mistakes all the time with creating a legal Summoner's Eidolon) is my interpretation.
My only concern is that due to the huge amount of options, some will be outright bad, others to good and some utterly niche that will never see use.
What are folks thoughts about the abilities that are pretty much mirrors of the Summoner's? I'd like the Spiritualist to have more unique abilities, not copies and close thematic mirrors to the Summoner. This isn't an archetype, it's meant to be a new class.
Shared with Summoner:
Bond Senses -> Bond Senses
The Phantom is a weaker Eidolon. The Spiritualist is a 3/4 BAB class, why not put some abilities in there that make use of that? I like that the Phantom isn't a natural attacking Ginsu machine, however I think the Spiritualist itself could use some more unique, class/role defining abilities. Perhaps tied to the emotional focus the Phantom has. As the two grow together, they take on shared emotional traits perhaps.
I have a question regarding the phantom residing on the ethereal plane. It states in the description that:
"The phantom forms a link with the spiritualist, who forever after either harbors the creature within her consciousness[b] or manifests it as ectoplasm or incorporeal essence." [...] "Fully
So, really, where is the Phantom living? In the mind of the Spiritualist, or on a plane? If it's on the Ethereal, and the spiritualist is on the material plane, without the Phantom manifested and an enemy jumps to the ethereal, what happens? Is the Phantom hovering over the place/point where the Spiritualist is on the material plane? Is it targetable? Can it be destroyed now? Can it be interacted with if you use Blink?
I don't see how something can reside in the mind of a creature and reside on the ethereal at the same time. I'd pick one or the other. Use the ethereal as an origin, but do away with potential abuse by stating the Phantom is driven back to the mind of the Spiritualist, not sent back to the Ethereal. It's not a Summoner who specializes in planar stuffs There are a lot of ways for characters to reach the ethereal pretty easily and having to deal with an ethereal remora without clear rules could be a pain in the rear.
It seems like you are willing to look at abilities that inherently are limited and per effect/description data, give it more flexibility without doing the opposite. Taking an inherently flexible ability and limiting it based on effect/description.
If a (Su) ability states it's a cone, it inherits all benefits and limitations. As there (to the best of my knowledge) only 1 set of rules pertaining to cones, burst etc., it's logical that the ability must obey said rules.
You appear to want a blanket rule for (Su) abilities. These abilities are to me designed to do stuff spells don't/can't do, so by design and intent they don't all inherent the rules that spells are forced to obey. Some (Su) abilities will conform to LoE, some won't. Some will be unclear due to poor wording. In all cases one has to read the descriptions and effects to determine what does and does not apply. Also rules for Pathfibder are spread out, sometimes in multiple locations.
Have you thought about having a larger force of Dwarves show up? You can add some really cool cinematic scenes to the battle if you have more canon fodder for the Dragon to lay waste too. Also, the more good guy mooks you have around, gives more opportunities for you to spare the PC's some insane dragon pain if they are getting wrecked (if you go for that style of game).
I'd also recommend having the players meet the dwarves before they attack the dragon. Give the players time to prepare for fighting one. That way you can feel a bit better about unloading on them and making the fight really challenging. Plus you would have the time to convince the players to help the Dwarves, possibly enough time to give the dwarves some unique names, traits etc to make their deaths feel like a loss when the dragon starts eating dwarf kabobs.
Cinematically, you could have the dragon chase small groups of dwarves through the lair, melting them with its breath, disappearing down a tunnel, and reappearing elsewhere to snatch a Dwarf up and eat it.
With the Witches Slumber Hex and access to Blindness/Deafness, they can technically end the fight immediately with a lucky roll. (That's how my group took out the Dragon's Demand module. I landed Blindness/Deafness. It felt a bit anti-climactic.) I'd try to find a way to keep the Dragon airborne, so if Slumber hits it, falling damage would wake it back up. An alternate sense (blind/tremor) would allow it to function if blinded. I would buff the dragons health up to an almost absurd level.
Environmental challenges could add a lot to the fight. Imagine if the players, or a player with a squad of dwarves caused the main gate to come down on the dragons head, pinning it for a round or two, giving the dwarves a chance to lay into it. Or having the dragon operate in a 3d arena.
RAW:1. Spell descriptor does not include "light". Therefor no light is produced.
2. You don't need light for this to work. It's not listed as a requirement.
3. A sightless creature is one that has the Sightless SQ.
Personal Interpretation: (Biggdawg posted a good reply (#51 I believe).
RE: Raw, previous thread etc.
It's not fluff. RE: Light spell: School evocation [light]; Level bard 0, cleric/oracle 0, druid 0, inquisitor 0, magus 0, sorcerer/wizard 0, summoner 0, witch 0
Color Spray does not have light as a descriptor per the RAW, where the Light spell does per RAW.
It's also a skill that largely retains usefulness once magic nullifies other skills. If you want to lessen how "good" perception is, you need to ensure other skills are just as useful and not invalidated by a low level spell, and have players/dm's break away from the habit of hyper specializing. What I mean by that is players who build characters to get say, skill X into the possible 60-70 check zone by level 10 (as seen in PFS). Also, getting a handle on what appropriate DC's actually are for skill checks (no, seeing if someone sneaking a coffee during a speech is not a DC40 perception just because you're level 15).
This is why most groups shouldn't play, or DM Paladins. Zero creativity comes to mind after reading this debacle of a thread. It seems most people believe that the box players willingly put around their character concept (Paladin rules) is in fact the entirety of the character. After reading 390 posts the overwhelming feeling I've gotten is that if you're playing a Paladin, you're stuck roleplaying the box, not the character.
Yes, situations come about that you can't win. However, do you assume because you know the stats of a giant that you can't win? Or do you play the game and trust that your DM isn't a prick who's throwing encounters at you that are flat out impossible and only geared to kill you?
Look at clash of the titans. Kill the BBEG. Impossible, it's a CR 20 Kaiju! Wait, research and story happens. Ok, we kill the Medusa. Hmm, that's a CR 10 monster with a death attack! Impossible! Hmm, ok we go get a shield to counter the death attack. Toe to toe, character sheet to monster sheet, it's impossible. Playing the game, experiencing the story and using out of combat activities to supplement a combat made the encounters possible. Is that the story being told, or the DM saving the group?
Lets look at another farcical encounter. Our trusty rogue, after overcoming the giant through guile and some hard dwarven liquor feels invincible. Despite learning that he's needed to help so and so down in the kingdom from the bbeg that he's been fighting for 15 levels, he decides he wants to get rich. Filthy rich. So, he goes hunting for a great wyrm dragon to kill it and steal its horde. He leaves his group behind and goes & finds a dragon. Then, sneaking up on it, he stabs the dragon. Then he dies.
Both at first glance appear to be unwinnable situations. On the one hand, the first example would have the players and DM in harmony telling the cooperative story. Despite seemingly impossible challenges, they are overcome. The second example is a pretty black and white example of a player out of harmony with the group and DM, doing something absolutely dumb and dying for it.
My train of thought and comments come from assuming that the DM and players are in harmony, telling a cooperative story, and that the encounter IS balanced despite the mechanical disparity. So overcoming the challenges are not dependent on the DM hand waving and breaking story. It's based on creativity, paying attention, thinking outside the box etc in addition to mechanics. PnP RPGs aren't black and white stat block vs. stat block.
To me it sounds like you are frustrated with summoners as a class, and haven't broken down why yet. You're appearing to me as being all over the place on what you're not satisfied with. Stat allocation, spells, eidolons activity time, eidolon customization, feeling eidolons are better than other class abilities (which it is because it's a larger portion of the summoners ability than comparable class abilities on other classes) etc. It's not that your rationale is arcane, it's that you're not being specific in what you want to resolve as far as I can tell.
It's my opinion that the summoner isn't OP compared to other classes if you're looking at potential. It's that they don't require a great deal of system mastery to be really good, so you get more disparity in a group (I believe someone else mentioned this). Take a look what you can do with cleric summoners or wizard summoners and a single level of diabolist if you want an example. (If you're using inner sea magic, i'd never bother with a summoner over a core caster.)
All I can say is you can't look at the eidolon in a vacuum comparing it to other class abilities. It won't result in a fair comparison.
Run the character as a cohort. Don't roll the combats for him, just deal w/his activities as a narrative if he's not there. If it's vital to the group that his character do something, then roll etc and quickly remove him from being the star. Focus on the players who are attending.
Don't award XP if he doesn't give ample warning that he won't attend.
When he doesn't attend, any chance you get to move the character to the background do so. Examples:
Don't bring anything up to the other players until it's obviously something the group is concerned about. Drama is no bueno.
If he cheats (and you know it for certain) to excel and be the big man on campus, talk to him after the game one on one and deal with it factually and without emotions flaring.