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RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16. RPG Superstar 7 Season Star Voter, 8 Season Star Voter. * Pathfinder Society GM. 5,488 posts (5,711 including aliases). 26 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 32 Organized Play characters. 1 alias.

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RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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I built several Exemplars to get a feel of the options and the experience of creating a character using it. Afterward, I ran a variety of combat encounters from the 10th level of Abomination Vaults. I was interested to see how satisfying the class felt in combat with the flow of swapping ikons.


1) The class has amazing flavor and many interesting abilities. However, it lacked the breadth of tactical options I expected from this class's design.

2) Lack of medium armor proficiency, incompatibility with unarmed attacks, and weak feat choices at low levels were major limiting factors in character creation.

3) Almost all active feats are Transcend abilities, which compete with one another for usage. This made the class feel like it had less breadth of tactical options at higher levels compared to other martials.

4) Ikon swapping could be interesting at times, but I felt there's a dominant strategy in just swapping between weapon and worn ikons. Most body ikons did not feel useful in combat.

5) Damage feels low unless I'm scoring critical hits.

6) Struggles with constructs until level 7 when you can swap out spirit damage for something else.

7) Having only 2 + Religion trained skills does hurt.



I built multiple exemplars based on several concepts I love. Out of them, I had two favorites:

1) katana-wielding storm-themed samurai kitsune using Gaze Sharp as Steel, Gleaming Blade, and Thousand-League Sandals
2) human dual-wielding air repeaters using Scar of the Survivor, Fated Shot, Victor's Wreath. This took advantage of Humble Strikes increasing the damage die of air repeaters from 1d4 to 1d6.

However, I ran into a few obstacles when making exemplars:

1) Absolutely no support for unarmed attacks. This surprised me, especially as many mystical characters in historic literature are unarmed fighters. Plus, the class features do not work with unarmed attacks. Humble Strikes only work with weapons. Weapon ikons have to be weapons, and other ikons have no options for enhancing unarmed attacks. So, even taking Martial Artist archetype is not an option here. It's also a missed chance for foxfires dealing spirit damage, which would have been super cool and flavorful.

2) Lack of medium armor proficiency. This outright punishes Strength builds. I see absolutely no mechanical reason for this, and I strongly disagree with the flavor reason why the class only has light armor. There are plenty of legendary heroes in mythology that wear significant amounts of armor. If low armor is so integral to the class, then maybe give them expert in unarmored defense?

3) Boring 1st level and 2nd level feats. Almost none of the low level feats are attractive. Claim Initiate Domain is the most interesting of the bunch. Sanctified Soul doesn't feel like a net-positive. Twin Stars is a feat tax for dual-wielding that also conflicts with Dual-Weapon Warrior because you don't get a 1st level feat. Vow of Mortal Defiance is cool but I personally despise the flavor. Leap the Falls is not worth a class feat; it's two level 1 skill feats that only work with body ikons, which are the worst ikons aside from the overpowered Scar of the Survivor. Abilities that disrupt healing feel too situational as a player option and horrible as an NPC option, making Thorns of Mortality feel lackluster.

4) Low skills. Might be justified because of the versatility and combat focus, but I'm really missing that one skill increase at level 1.

I ultimately chose the samurai kitsune for this playtest.

ANCESTRY Sylph Kitsune
BACKGROUND Martial Disciple
CLASS Exemplar

STR +5, DEX +4, CON +3, INT +0, WIS +0, CHA +3

Claim Initiate Domain (Air)
Only the Worthy
Motionless Cutter
Dominion Signifier
Journey of the Sky Chariot

Gaze Sharp as Steel
Gleaming Blade
Thousand League Sandals

Whose Cry is Thunder


I ran through several combats on the 10th floor of Abomination Vaults. Swapping between ikons proved a lot more fluid than I anticipated and was pretty fun. However, as a level 10 martial, I felt like I had less damage and fewer tactical options, despite the ikons having varied effects. Most active abilities in feats and other class features are Transcend abilities. This combined with Transcend forcing a swap creates a rather big problem where ikons and Transcend abilities were always competing with one another. Most of the class's damage rests in the weapon ikon, which makes the feel problem worse. Also, because most body ikons don't feel useful in combat, there's a dominant strategy where you're just swapping between weapon and worn ikons. On the other hand, the support auras are really strong, even though some of them will become less useful at later levels due to status bonuses not stacking.

Brave Epithet ended up not being particularly useful. Most of the body ikons are extremely situational. If I want mobility, I'm better off using Thousand-League Sandals. So Brave never saw any use. There was a combat where I got lucky with lots of crits, which made Whose Cry is Thunder's Immanence incredibly awesome. That was the one time Epithets actually ended up being fun. I never got to use Judgment from Clear Skies. As cool as it looks, it did not feel worth using. The range is too low and my character primarily uses Strength, not Dexterity, which would have make the ranged Strike not particularly great.

Were I to make another exemplar, I would either focus on stacking immanence effects or support auras with maybe one go-to Transcend ability.

There were two combats of particular interest.

The spirit damage was very helpful against a combat of specters, and it was pretty fun to try to end each turn with Gaze Sharp as Steel active to protect myself from the ranged attacks.

On the flip side, I struggled against a stone golem, which is immune to spirit damage and has resistance 10 physical. I had to change my strategy to kite the construct with Thousand-League Sandals and use Gleaming Blade's Mirrored Spirit Strike to try to penetrate through its resistance.

However, I realized after the fight that I made a mistake: Mirrored Spirit Strike changes the weapon damage to spirit damage. So, I would have been completely useless against this monster. My only choice would be to stick with Thousand-League Sandals to help my allies kite it, and even that wouldn't work if I ran this encounter as written in the adventure path (the golem is supposed to be in a tiny room).

Then later, I realized I forgot that Whose Cry is Thunder can change spirit damage to electricity damage. So, I guess Mirrored Spirit Strike would have helped after all!

Warning: There's minor spoilers for Abomination Vaults.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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Print On Demand for Infinite Masters? Fantastic.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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Overall, I did not enjoy playing this class, despite liking its general direction and structure.

The kineticist feels like it wants to be akin to a non-spell martial caster, but lacks the numbers, options, and action economy to pull this off. I felt mediocre at Striking because of the slower attack proficiency, key ability score, inability to two-hand or dual-wield Elemental Blasts. I felt bad at blasting because I don't have offensive cantrips and the blast impulses deal weak damage. And I felt bad at combining Strikes with blasts because offensive impulses essentially cost 3 actions due to Overflow. Contrast with other martial spellcasters, who typically Strike and then cast a non-attack cantrip.

1. I played an 11th level Strength-based melee kineticist with the fire dedicated gate. I played through the monk monastery dungeon in the first Ruby Phoenix AP volume alongside martial spellcasters.

2. Combat felt surprisingly dull. I spent all my feats on offense, and I still felt like I had few tactical options. Every fight just boiled down to spamming Elemental Blast.

3. The overflow offensive impulses never felt worthwhile. I would rather have electric arc or scatter scree than any of these impulses, and their secondary effects either felt too niche or too ineffective for the action economy cost. I wish there were tactical options with overflow, like an innate ability to boost an Elemental Blast. Or perhaps that offensive impulses have the overflow trait as an option, like how the inventor has the option to add unstable to Megavolt.

4. Impulse rules are annoying and cripple melee builds because all impulses have the manipulate trait and provoke reactions. Lack of medium armor proficiency also hurts melee builds as well.

5. Gather Element is really cool, but the class doesn't really use this ability other than as a punishment for overflow impulses, dropping the element, or using different elements.

6. Build versatility feels a little lacking for what I expected out of the class, but I think some quality of life changes for melee builds and maybe more Elemental Blast options would fix this.

7. I'm happy the CON is still the class's key score, but the "straining yourself to channel the elements" aspect of the class is completely missing. There's also a weird issue where the class punishes melee builds and encourages you to fight from afar while you have an absurd amount of Hit Points. It ends up making ranged builds feel way too safe, and you don't have the option of reducing your Hit Points with lower CON because you need it for your DCs.


I've been playing Pathfinder since 2012, and I'm a Pathfinder Infinite author.

The kineticist was my favorite class in PF1E, second only to the magus. I absolutely loved the flavor and versatility of the 1st Edition incarnation as all four of my kineticists in PFS had completely different play styles. My kineticists in 1st Edition included:

1. A kitsune telekineticist who pilfered things with her mind and telekinetic blasted people with clusters of cards and dice
2. A kitsune chaokineticist who adventured with his twin sister, a hydrokineticist chirurgeon. The two of them combined their blasts using the Interweave Composite Blast teamwork feat.
3. An ifrit pyrokinetic knight who wielded fire like it was a katana using iaijitsu.
4. A merfolk hydrokineticist chirurgeon who used waterdancer to float on a current of water as a means of traveling on land.

Thus, I must concede that my expectations have been colored by my experiences playing a 1E kineticist as well as my experience playing many martial casters (magi and summoners) in 2E.


I tried several combinations of character concepts, but ultimately decided to use Elemental Weapon to recreate my kinetic knight from 1st Edition. The following are notes I wrote as I tried to create my character.

- Elemental Weapon feels mandatory to play a melee kineticist. All impulses have the manipulate trait, which means melee Elemental Blasts provoke Attacks of Opportunity.

- In my initial impressions, the greatest perk of Elemental Blast is that it can be used as both a melee weapon and a ranged weapon. However, the issue with the manipulate trait in impulses severely undermines this perk. While Elemental Weapon avoids this, it also takes away the ability to switch-hit.

- Can't use Elemental Blasts with Striking feats, but generally feels like a fair trade.

- Wanted to use Elemental Weapon to create a katana. Got worried as this class can't use martial weapons, but thankfully it's simple weapon proficiency.

- Why doesnt' the class have proficiency in medium armor? This is supposed to be a martial class, and it doesn't have Dex as its key ability score. Yet another punch in the face for melee kineticists.

- I had to spend a general feat on medium armor. Every melee kineticist would probably be forced to take Sentinel.

- What do you use your off-hand for? A shield?

- I'm struggling to find any blast impulses I like. Flame Eruption is the basic one, but it only deals 4d6 at 11th level. Even for an AoE cantrip, that's low. Its secondary effects feel mostly useless as it only affects a single square and most enemies won't care about the weak damage. It seems only useful for blocking a door, but this niche usefulness is not worth the loss in damage and losing your element.

- The other blasts I'm having similar feelings. At this point, I'd rather have a cantrip like scatter scree or electric arc. Sure, they don't affect as many enemies as Blazing Wave, but the damage is higher, more reliable, and they don't cost me an extra action.

- Really like the utility impulses.

- There's an Elemental Weapon feat. Would have been cool if we could get an Elemental Armor feat, too. Would suit earth element very well.

- Why are there so few feats that use Elemental Blast? It's a core feature of the class.

- Don't really need much equipment other than armor and handwraps

- None of the feats for Dedicated Gate seem attractive, which is annoying as Dedicated Gate has the least versatility out of the three options.

- Considered Stoke Element but the bonus doesn't feel worth the action cost. One action is not worth a +3 damage on my next Elemental Blast. If it dealt +2 per weapon die, then it would be useful and reasonable given that this is a 6th level feat and Elemental Blasts deal as much damage as a one-handed weapon. It might be useful for AoE impulses, but those already have a crippling action cost.

- I'm glad Con is a key score, but it seems to run counter to the entire playstyle of the class. The class encourages you to fight from afar and punishes you for being in close range due to impulses having the manipulate trait. There's no class features that necessitate Con other than just class DCs. So the extra HP feels pointless at best and makes the class feel too "safe" at worst.

- Very few skills. This class doesn't get as many trained skills as most other classes.

- I really, really wish each element got more than one option for Elemental Blast.

- I miss Interweave Composite Blast from 1st Edition. It was a niche feat, but I had a ton of fun with it when a friend and I played twins that combined their blasts. I'm not sure how it would be implemented in this class. Maybe sacrifice a Gathered Element as a reaction to buff an ally's spell/impulse?


Level 11
Ancestry Human (Ifrit)
Background Warrior
Class Kineticist
Inner Gate Dedicated Gate (fire)


Lv 01: Str 16; Dex 14; Con 16; Wis 12; Cha 10
Lv 05: Str 18; Dex 16; Con 18; Wis 14; Cha 10
Lv 10: Str 19; Dex 18; Con 19; Wis 16; Cha 10


140 HP; AC 29

Perception +18 (T)
Fortitude +21 (M)
Reflex +19 (E)
Will +18 (E)


Acrobatics +19 (E)
Diplomacy +17 (M)
Intimidation +17 (M)
Warfare Lore +13 (T)
Nature +16 (T)
Society +13 (T)


01 Elemental Weapon, Burning Jet, Flame Eruption, Eternal Torch
02 Flexible Blasts
04 Blast Barrage
06 Blazing Wave
08 Solar Detonation
10 Chain Blast


I played through the monk monestary dungeon in the first volume of the Ruby Phoenix AP. I played along side a magus with similar statistics. The following are notes I wrote about the experience.

- Off to a bad start. Struggling to deal any damage to the spiders in A1, but I did have some pretty bad luck.

- Switch-hitting the spiders useful when they kept climbing up and down their webs

- AoEs not useful except for clearing webs

- Got restrained but thankfully escaped. Made me realize that getting grabbed is really *really* bad for this class as almost everything they do has the manipulate trait.

- Tried different combinations of actions, but the best seemed to just spam Elemental Blast.

- Tried the combination of Striking and then using Blazing Wave. The cost of having to Gather my Element on the following turn just didn't seem worth it. The damage is ineffectual. The magus is doing a lot more damage even though they're just Spellstriking with cantrips and recharging.

- Had nothing to deal with the ghosts in A3. Not enough burst to punch through their resistances. Ineffectual the whole fight.

- We had to flee from the haunts. None of us had the right skills to deal with them.

- Halfway through the dungeon, this class just feels really, really dull in combat. I took all combat feats, but every time it's my turn, none of my options feel viable. I took Bon Mot for flavor, but even that wasn't an option for most enemies. So I just ended up Elemental Blasting every turn. Maneuvering around with Flame Jet was probably the most interesting part of fighting. This is a huge contrast with the 1st Edition kineticist where you usually had multiple infusions that either pushed enemies or knocked them prone.

- Chain Blast was nice against multiple enemies. Elemental Barrage is not bad either, but I'm definitely feeling the sting at having a weaker attack roll than the magus.


- I'm super happy Water Dance is a feat. The action economy is awkward, but this impulse means I can recreate my merfolk hydrokineticist, which was one of my favorite characters to play in 1st Edition. It would be cool if there was a feat that lets you use a Swim speed as a land speed.

- Where's kinetic healer? That was such an iconic ability in 1st Edition. Some of the elements have healing abilities, but water is surprisingly one of the worst at them. Why is air the best at healing?

- One thing I liked about the elements in 1st Edition was that they each had their own niches and play styles. While it's cool that each element has its own Elemental Blast statistics, I'm not needing a coherent theme with any of the elements.

- I miss the straining aspect of the original kineticist; the flavor of straining one's body to channel the raw power of the elements. Odd that it's missing given that this is a Con-based class.

- I love Adapt Element and the utility abilities that kineticists get as they level up. Not only does it fill the same role as utility cantrips, but also it's a major flavor enabler. Avoids the trap of the Evolutionist playtest class in Starfinder, which was a shapeshifting class that had no innate way to alter their appearance.

- Fire is the only energy Elemental Blast? No electricity or cold damage? Not even an ice blast with the water element?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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I've run into an issue with the wand implement, aside from it feeling a little underwhelming as it provides little more benefit than a cantrip.

It doesn't mesh with the rest of the class's class features at all.

1. Requiring two-actions is understandable, but it exacerbates the class's action economy issues. Much of your action economy is already spent on Find Flaws and Esoteric Antithesis. Your implement's main ability clutters your action economy even further.

2. It doesn't synergize very well with Find Flaws because you cannot change its energy type until later levels.

3. It doesn't synergize with any of your other class features because they all rely on Strikes. The playstyle of the character revolves around Strikes. Esoteric Antithesis only works with Strikes. Relying on a saving throw is helpful to avoid MAP, but the implement doesn't work well with fighting with both the weapon and wand due to the above action economy issues.

It would have been cool if the wand implement allowed you to wield a wand as a special weapon that you can Strike with. Maybe it could allow you to shoot bolts of energy based on the traits of the wand? Or maybe you could conjure an energy blade out of the wand and wield it like a lightsaber esoteric spirit blade? Having it be something you can Strike with would make it more interesting and allow it to work well with your other class features. As is, I'd rather spend an ancestry feat on a cantrip than use a wand implement.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Most of the terrain attunements listed in the Geomancer archetypes.

When I gain an attunement, how long do they last? Do I keep them even when I leave the corresponding terrain?

If I go with RAW, it seems that when I cast a water spell in an aquatic terrain to gain the aquatic attunement, I gain its benefits indefinitely until I cast another spell in another terrain to gain a different attunement.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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I keep running into the same issue when I build and play a character with this class.

I need a high Charisma because it's my key ability score and my main class feature uses it.

I need a high Strength and/or high Dexterity because I am a combat class with class features revolving around Striking enemies.

I need a good Constitution because I'm a combat class that only gets 8 hit points per level.

Because I need these three or four ability scores, it means my Wisdom and Intelligence will be low. However, most of what my class does revolves around using Wisdom-based and Intelligence-based skills. I can only use Charisma on these skills when I Find Flaws. Outside of magic skills (all Intelligence- and Wisdom-based skills), I won't have many skills because my Intelligence will be low.

As a consequence of all this, the class forces me to invest in skills I'm not good at while also hindering me from using skills I would be good at. I feel it when I play, too. Outside of combat, I feel useless because I'm bad or mediocre at almost all my skills. And I'm bad or mediocre at these skills because I'm a Charisma-based martial class with a role revolving around Wisdom-based and Intelligence-based skills.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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Due to shipping delays, I would like to cancel my Pathfinder Special Edition subscription.

Thank you.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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I am creating a character for PFS that is a kitsune whose eidolon looks like herself. The two act like twin sisters with a mild hivemind that perform coordinated dances and acts of mischief. The eidolon's unarmed attacks are flavored as stylish dance moves that conjure flames around herself.

I pictured the character functioning as a face and a skirmisher where the two of them flank enemies, debuff using Intimidate/Bon Mot/distractions, and bombard with foxfire when dealing with enemies at range.

But I'm not sure if the build accomplishes this. I'm concerned about lack of damage.

Maybe someone can give suggestions for improvements?

Kitsune Double Trouble!:

Statistics (Level 3)

- Ancestry Kitsune (Dark Fields)
- Background Entertainer
- Class Summoner (Fey Eidolon)
- STR 10; DEX 16; CON 12; INT 12; WIS 10; CHA 18
- Future boosts to Str, Dex, Con, and Cha
- Perception +7; Fort +8; Ref +8; Will +7
- AC 18; HP 41
- Melee +8 (Finesse); Ranged +8
- Skills
- Deception (Expert) +11;
- Diplomacy +9;
- Intimidation +9;
- Theater Lore +6;
- Nature +5;
- Performance +9;
- Society +6;
- Stealth +8

Eidolon (Fey, Level 3)

- STR 12; DEX 18; CON 12; INT 12; WIS 8; CHA 18
- Future boosts to Str, Dex, Con, and Cha
- Perception +6; Fort +8; Ref +9; Will +6
- AC 20;
- Attacks
- Primary +9 1d6+1 fire (deadly d8, finesse)
- Secondary +9 1d6+1 bludgeoning (agile, finesse)
- Skills
- Deception (Expert) +10;
- Diplomacy +8;
- Intimidation +8;
- Theater Lore +6;
- Nature +5;
- Performance +8;
- Society +6;
- Stealth +9

Ancestry, General, Skill Feats

- 1 Foxfire, Fascinating Performance
- 2 Bon Mot
- 3 Ancestral Paragon (Star Orb)
- 4 Distracting Performance
- 5 Myriad Forms
- 6 Lengthy Diversion
- 7 Toughness
- 8 Slippery Secrets
- 9 Fox Trick
- 10 Swift Sneak

Class Feats

- 1 Energy Heart (fire)
- 2 Ranged Combatant (fire)
- 4 Tandem Movement
- 6 Tandem Strike
- 8 Skilled Partner
- 10 Transpose

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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Overall, I did not enjoy playing the class. Adaptive Strike is really cool, but the class felt largely boring during combat and ineffective out of combat. The class also fails to meet the expectation of being an adaptive combatant and fails to live up to the thematic of playing a shapeshifter.

- Adaptive Strike is pretty cool, customizable, and does satisfying damage.

- Dexterity-based evolutionist using a melee adaptive strike is frustratingly not viable due to lack of the ability to give it the operative ability.

- Evolution Track and EP were easier to manage than expected. However, I felt like the buffs were mostly inconsequential and unsatisfying.

- I felt like I had very few tactical options. My only option was pretty much just run at an enemy and adaptive strike them to death.

- I did not feel like a shapeshifter or a fighter that was shifting to the needs of the battle. Few tactical options to adapt to fights.

- Transformation abilities don't really feel like transformation abilities as they don't help you disguise or change forms.

- Felt almost completely useless out of combat, including during a martial non-combat challenge due to being unable to generate EP.

Character Creation Experience:
I built two 4th level evolutionists: a Strength-based evolutionist with a melee physical adaptive strike and a Dexterity-based evolutionist with a ranged energy adaptive strike. The statistics for each are below.

human (gravity dweller with dusk sight) evolutionist 4
Str 20, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 8
melee adaptive strike with slashing damage
vital niche
Feats Heavy Armor Proficiency, Weapon Focus (basic melee), Cleave
Adaptations Distant Strike, Versatile Strike
Gear returning spear, heavy armor
Augmentations Personal Upgrade, Advanced Morphic Skin, Wildwise, Gill Sheath

human evolutionist 4
Str 12, Dex 20, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10
ranged adaptive strike with electricity damage
eldritch niche
Feats Advanced Melee Weapon Proficiency, Weapon Focus (small arms), Weapon Specialization (advanced melee)
Adaptations Distant Strike, Versatile Strike
Gear light armor, student plasma ribbon
Augmentations Personal Upgrade, Basic Morphic Skin, Force Soles Mk 1

I made the following notes as I built these characters:

- There's no way to make adaptive strike into an operative weapon. While it's probably best to prevent multiclass operatives, it does hinder concepts as it makes Dexterity-based melee evolutionists non-viable.

- Because of the above, lack of heavy armor proficiency, and weapon specialization's bonus, playing a Dexterity-based evolutionist with a physical ranged strike feels like the optimal choice.

- The fact that adaptive strike doesn't use up a hand is actually pretty powerful and makes it easy to create a switch-hit build.

- The poor proficiencies forced me to use up feats for weapon or armor proficiency. It felt a little annoying and strange there's no heavy armor proficiency given that many evolutionists will want to build a Strength-based melee fighter.

- Distant Strike and Versatile Strike feel like the best 2nd level adaptations. Other adaptations don't add much in the way of tactical options. These two adaptations do enhance your tactical options by augmenting adaptive strike, which so much of the class's power rests within.

- I had little in the way of skills due to the class's lack of skill support and dire need for a good attack roll.

- No meaningful transformation abilities on a class about transformation. Would be cool if you actually transformed yourself into a new form when you manifest your adaptive strike given that the adaptive strike requires changing yourself in a visually obvious way. Giving an alternate form would have granted the class some much needed out-of-combat usefulness.

I playtested in a SFS scenario. I went with my melee vital evolutionist because there were no spellcasters in the party for me to use eldritch niche's spell weaving ability. I took the following notes.

- The Evolution Track ended up being much more fluid than I thought. In several fights, I was able to max out the track in most fights. However..

- Most of the Evolution Track buffs felt inconsequential. I only really cared about the +10-foot speed buff and the damage bonus for maxing out EP at level 5.

- Because this was a quest series, I was liberal with spending Resolve for extra EP.

- I rarely spent EP. I only spent it on Distant Strike, the vital niche's stamina heal, and occasionally the boost to base attack bonus.

- I felt like I had little to no tactical options in each fight. My only options involved mainly running at enemies and slashing them. Aside from base attack bonus boost and Distant Strike, most of the ways to spend EP were not useful to me.

- The two soldiers in the party were much better combatants than me due to the variety of weapons, gear, and combat abilities they had.
- The character felt largely useless and ineffective in non-combat encounters, including a starship combat.

- I also felt ineffective during a martial non-combat encounter. We had a non-combat encounter where we had to make attack rolls. However, I was unable to boost my base attack bonus because it was technically not a combat encounter and therefore I was unable to gain EP.

- The 3 EP drawback became relevant during a combat encounter I was trying to resolve peacefully. I tried to ignore an NPC that was scared and just trying to defend themselves from my murderhobo allies. Unfortunately, when my EP reached 3, they attacked me and I pretty much had no choice but to maul them to near death.

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I expected more transformation and adaptation abilities for a class centered around transformation and adaptation.

From a mechanics and thematic standpoint, I mean:

1. The class does not give you any abilities that let you fully transform into a creature. I wasn't expecting a druid wild shape, but the class lacks the mechanics to realize the numerous tropes and characters in science fiction that have shapeshifting abilities or alternate forms.

2. There are no abilities that allow you to alter your appearance in any meaningful way. It doesn't matter that your class features are flavored as altering yourself -- you still need a disguise kit to look like something other than yourself. Mutating yourself gives you no bonus to Disguise. The best you get is a discount for Adaptive Skin.

3. Lack of adaptation and customization. Only one of the main uses of EP actually give you extra tactical options. The other three merely circumvent the class's numerous weaknesses. Aside from choosing your niche and the usual talents, there's not much customization to your new glorious evolution.

When I ordered the subscription for Secrets of Magic last week, the special edition of the book was not an available option in the special edition subscription. Now it is.

Is there any possibility my rulebook subscription can be changed to the special edition rulebook subscription so I can get the special edition of Secrets of Magic?

Thank you.

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Almost all battle form polymorph spells have some version of the following text.

One or more unarmed melee attacks specific to the battle form you choose, which are the only attacks you can use.

The second printing errata defines attacks as any check with the attack trait.

An attack is any check that has the attack trait. It applies and increases the multiple attack penalty.

So if I become the god of liberation, I cannot Escape a grab? Or Disarm, Trip, or Shove? And if my form gives me an unarmed attack with disarm, I cannot actually Disarm anyone?

I feel like the original intent was to prohibit other types of Strikes or prohibit other types of unarmed attacks, but the second printing makes it clear that's not what the text means anymore. If the spell says "[these] are the only attacks you can use," then you cannot do anything that has a check with the attack trait.

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I get an error page everytime I go to checkout or view my cart. Clearing cookies/cache, relogging, and using other browsers doesn't solve the problem.

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Through playtesting, character building, and long hours of examining the rules of each feat and how they stack with other classes, I put together this spreadsheet that rates each gunslinger feat on three pillars (Power, Usability, Fun) on a scale of 0 to 3, with zero and three as outliers. A little late, but better late than never I suppose!


Some notes of interest.

1. Many utility feats require a loaded firearm, which essentially increases the action cost by 1. When playtesting, I found this particularly problematic with reactions because you have to end your turn with a loaded gun and using the reaction sets you back as you have to start your next turn with an empty. The same goes for Press abilities that require a loaded gun.

2. The above and other action economy issues resulted in some feats getting a Usability rating of zero. Some feats like Two-Weapon Flurry or Slinger's Relexes you almost can never use unless you get an archetype or pull some other shenanigans to overcome the action economy drawback.

3. Cover Fire and Cauterize had the lowest rating. I had to leave Glancing Shot unrated because the text is unclear how much damage it deals.

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1. I tried to build and play Way of the Drifter characters using a melee weapon and firearm. It was fun, but annoying to build.
2. Using an unarmed attack for Way of the Drifter felt like the most effective approach, which feels counterintuitive and undermines the flavor.
3. I struggled to build a sword-and-pistol character that felt fun and effective enough to make the action economy hindrances, low range, and low damage of one-handed firearms feel worth it.
4. Finesse weapons feel mandatory for a melee+gun build. Agile is ideal.
5. The brace-of-guns build can be really fun, but it requires a lot of money, levels, and feats to make it work. For a sword-and-pistol gunslinger, it did not feel very effective.
6. I love scatter weapons, but I wish the gunslinger got feats to increase the splash damage.
7. Tried using a shield for my melee weapon in Way of the Drifter. It felt pretty cool, but I'm not sure if it was intended or legal.
8. Firearm Ace feels mandatory and a build that cannot use it feels lackluster.
9. I found some fun roleplay uses of Black Powder Boost.
10. Not many high level feats that support melee+firearm gunslingers.
11. The scatter quality left questions whether or not I could shoot beyond the first ranged increment. It also raised questions how it interacts with the fatal trait and critical hits. Does the double damage and bonus die count towards the splash damage, which is based on damage dice?

Below reports my experience building and playing Bitey Boom Boom, my boisterous kobold gunslinger that wielded a blunderbuss and bit enemies that got too close.


I was invited to play the beginner box scenario in campaign mode.

I decided early on that I wanted to playtest Way of the Drifter. I had four major concepts in mind:

- Concept #1: Human with a sword and bandolier of guns
- Concept #2: Pirate parrot tengu with a cutlass and a gun
- Concept #3: samurai with a katana and hand cannon
- Concept #4: Catfolk with blunderbuss that he wields as an improvised weapon
- Concept #5: Catfolk with a pistol and a claw attack
- Concept #6: Kobold with a blunderbuss and a bite attack

Concept #1
I tried very hard to make bandolier of guns work. Given this character started at level 1, every build I attempted just did not look like much fun to play. Even with feats, the action economy is awkward. Pistols and hand cannons are expensive, have low range, and do less damage than a melee weapon. Very unsatisfying for a build that costs so much money and feats to make work.

I did later do this concept in a level 5 PFS scenario, which I'll post later.

Concept #2
This concept involved a tengu that resembled a parrot wielding a cutlass and a pistol.

In addition to the issues in Concept #1, this concept revealed yet another problem. **A sword and pistol gunslinger needs a finesse weapon.** Ideally an agile weapon to perform your secondary attacks. Your primary weapon is a gun and your class has Dexterity as a key ability score. So Dexterity has to be your primary ability score.

There's no cutlass in the game yet, and scimitars are *terrible* for a sword and pistol gunslinger. Unlike 1st Edition, there's no way to finesse scimitars. Their traits are useless for two-weapon fighting because forceful and sweep require you to attack using the same weapon multiple times. This made me *really* hope 2E cutlasses do not have the same statistics as scimitars. Ideally, I would love it if they were like rapiers that did slashing damage, which fits very well when many pirate films involve fencing with rapiers or cutlasses.

It also feel a little "feel-bad" in that my melee weapon proficiency does not match my

Concept #3
This concept involved a Tien ronin-type of character with a katana that mixes it up with a hand cannon. Admittedly, this concept came from the Way of the Drifter flavor text.

However, I ran into the same issues as Concept #2. Katanas are not finesse and wakizashis feel lackluster.

Concept #4
This concept involved a character wielding a gun (probably a two-hander) as an improvised weapon using the Improvised Weapon Master archetype. This sounded like a fun idea, but I decided against it due to the playtest discouraging archetypes.

Concept #5
This concept involved a catfolk wielding a pistol and claw.

After frustration with getting a sword-and-pistol build to work, I considered character concepts using an unarmed attack. However, a fist fighter is too predictable and would require an archetype. The build seemed to work really well. I'm surprised there's no pistol whip feat. A little depressing that Way of the Drifter seems to work best if you don't use a melee weapon at all.

I almost went with this concept until I came up with Concept #6.

Concept #6
This concept involved a kobold wielding a blunderbuss and biting enemies.

This concept came to light when I noticed that Way of the Drifter did not bar two-handed weapons. This instantly conjured the idea of a blunderbuss-wielding critter that used an unarmed attack that did not require a hand (kicking is too boring). I loved the idea of a little kobold with a huge shotgun, so thus Bitey Boom Boom was born.

The Build:

I played this character primarily at level 1 and 2, but I'll also include the feats I planned the take.

Ancestry: Kobold (strongjaw)
Background: Alkenstar Tinker
Class: Gunslinger (Way of the Drifter)
STR 16; DEX 18; Con 10; INT 10; WIS 10; CHA 14
AC 18; Fort +5; Ref +9; Will +3
Skills Acrobatics, Crafting, Diplomacy, Intimidation, Engineering Lore, Stealth, Thievery

Class Feats:
1 Firearm Ace (mandatory, firearms feel lackluster without it)
2 Sword and Pistol (I'm not a fan of this feat because it only works in melee combat, which feels counter to switch-hitting, but my only other attractive option was Blast Lock)
4 Running Reload (So I can reload while repositioning)
6 Alchemical Shot (Reloading Strike doesn't work with two-handed weapons)

Skill feats were largely around Intimidation. I'm sad there's no "tinkerer" themed skill feats. Even something like a feat that lets you Demoralize with Crafting by presenting an item of your creation ("Gentlemen, Behold!") would have been cool.

Gear: blunderbuss, leather armor, adventurer's pack, and lots of ammo

I couldn't afford a side-arm, and I'm not sure if I can buy one after character creation or a schematic for building my own.


- The scenario so far was mostly group combats and traps. There wasn't really much to say about most of them other than a distant enemy that was hard to get to because of difficult terrain.
- I simply skirted around the battlefield to get into position to blast. I found it surprisingly easy to ensure my allies weren't getting the blunderbuss's splash damage due to not all enemies having reactions
- My attack rotation was Shoot, Bite, Reload to take advantage of Sword and Pistol and Firearm Ace.
- The scatter quality ended up becoming quite fun chipping at lots of enemy health at once. However, I'm not sure how effective it would be at later levels.
- The scatter quality left questions whether or not I could shoot beyond the first ranged increment. It also raised questions how it interacts with the fatal trait and critical hits. Does the double damage and bonus die count towards the splash damage, which is based on damage dice?
- Using a two-handed weapon with a low range made it difficult to deal with enemies at range.
- The versatile B trait with the scatter trait proved quite useful against a group of skeletons

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Each day up to Christmas, I created a piece of holiday-themed content for Pathfinder.

Happy Holiday Gaming and let me know which you like best!

1. The Gift Wrapper (Creature 7): The forlorn construct desperate turn anything into properly packaged gifts.
2. Eggnog Ooze (Creature 5): This delicious predator lies in wait for unsuspecting party-goers.
3. Animated Dreidel (Creature 5): As it spins, your fate spins in the balance. When it falls, good fortune falls upon you.
4. Delicious Polymorph (Spell 6): The perfect spell when someone needs to be a little sweeter for the holidays.
5. Deadly Mistletoe (Creature 2): Share a fate together under the mistletoe.
6. Gift Bag of Holding (Item 4+): Useful for giftwrapping presents. Not so much for storing adventuring equipment.
7. Giftwrap Gremlin (Creature 1): This mischievous gremlin gifts back an individual's own items.
8. Candy Cane Dirk (Item 1+): The perfect treat when someone threatens your holiday cheer.
9. Gingerbread Golem (Creature 2): You will have to eat or smash this dangerous holiday treat.
10. Cookie Dough Blob (Creature 2): Baking up trouble when you encounter this precursor to delicious treats.
11. Snow Golem (Creature 5): Thumpety thump thump, look at that golem go!
12. Bah Humbug (Curse 6): A curse that turns you into a real Scrooge.
13. Festive (Rune 2+): When your equipment needs a little Christmas cheer.
14. Cursed Festive Item (Curse 5): Someone has a bah humbug? Give them one of these cursed items.
15. Childhood Glee (Spell 5): Recapture youth with this radiant spell.
16. Cottage Mimic (Creature 15): Hope Old Saint Nick doesn't stumble upon one of these overgrown mimics.
17. Decorated Arboreal (Creature 8): Sometimes even a treant gets caught up in the holiday cheer.
18. Fireplace Passage (Spell 5): They always wonder how Old Saint Nick delivers gifts to houses without a chimney.
19. Nutcracker (Creature 5): The real fey creature that inspired the toy can crush much more than walnuts.
20. Radiant Reindeer (Creature 10): A nose so bright, they even say it glows!
21. Guiding Star (Spell 3): Place a shining star to guide all towards it.
22. Snowfield (Spell 2): Anyone ready for a snowball fight?
23. Menorah Master (Creature 14): Light a candle for the ultimate beholder of the festivities.
24. Krampus (Creature 21): The true fiend of the holiday manifested from absence of Christmas spirit.
25. Old Saint Nicolas (Creature 20): The legendary figure brings peace and joy to all and a merry holiday for the children of his Lord.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

I wish you guys would show a line up of your character miniatures

Also, why is Jirelle not a blob-ificated?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

I wanted to purchase the Rewrite History boon for my 60928-2001 and 60928-2005 characters for 0 AcP.

I selected my 60928-2001 character and clicked Purchase next to the Rewrite History boon. Instead, it spent 4 of my playtest points to purchase Kortos Captivation.

So, I then selected my 60928-2005 character and clicked Purchase next to the Rewrite History boon. Instead, it gave a Rewrite History to my 60928-2001 character.

I tried the process again. Thankfully, *this time* it gave Rewrite History to my 60928-2005

Can you please refund Kortos Captivation? I was planning to spend my playtest points on Experienced Adventurer. Now I can't anymore.

1/5 * RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

I'm glad ConCurrent is still going, but I'm not hopeful as I couldn't find any available games during PaizoCon.

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This adventure path looks like fun.

A picture of a card thrower? Does that mean we might get the Deadly Dealer feat soon?!

(And hopefully not locked behind yet another archetype)

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Gods & Magic is a great book written by many talented people. However, I've noticed examples of significant dissonance with the lore that obstruct building character concepts around the setting's narrative, which makes it difficult for me to get past them. A few I have encountered include:

1. Apsu will only serve as a patron to Lawful Good characters despite the fact he's the patron deity of all good-aligned dragons. It feels strange that copper and brass dragons cannot become clerics or champions of Apsu despite him being the father of all good metallic dragons.

2. Glyph domain's redact focus spell violates the edicts of most deities that have that domain. Obscuring or redacting information or destroying literary works is an anathema for deities like Irez, Entrice, Imot, and many others.

3. Bladed scarves are no longer finesse weapons. The changes to this weapon from its 1st Edition counterpart strikes me as odd. Adding reach is neat, but the finesse property was the selling point of bladed scarves in terms of both flavor and mechanics. Especially bladed scarves are associated with Varisian dancers and deities with Dexterity as a divine ability score.

4. No deities have bo staff as a favored weapon, not even Tien dieties like Sun Wukong. A minor one but still worth mentioning. I suppose an odd effect from quarterstaff not existing in 2nd Edition.

Any others you spotted?

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Is there any way to lift the cart limitations?

I tried to add a bunch of $1 minis. My cart is now bugged and I can't make any changes to it. Even removing items don't work most of the time.

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Recall Knowledge and other information gathering mechanics in 2nd Edition tend to be nebulous and leave the DC as well as the quality and quantity of information entirely to GM fiat with little to no direction or guidance. This is an issue for the investigator, a class centered around using Recall Knowledge and gaining information.

Many investigator abilities and feats feel very “meh” because they have a non-discrete effect with a value that heavily depends on the GM’s adjudication. Others feel useless because they hinge on vague or nonexistent rules.

Thorough Research is an egregious example – it gives you one extra fact when using Recall Knowledge and even more information with GM discretion if you get a critical success. However, Recall Knowledge doesn’t tell you how many facts you recall and leaves the quality of the information entirely to GM discretion anyway.

Looks Good! I wonder how many new connections for Mystics will be offered in the book.

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Errata for 2E? Horray!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

I had 12 playtest points and 16 replays. Now, they're all reduced to 0.

I also don't seem to have an achievement point counter, but I might not have been able to find it.

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3 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 1 person marked this as a favorite.

There's several boons like Home Region that let you satisfy access conditions and prerequisites for uncommon cultural options. The problem is that weapons don't have access conditions and prerequisites.

So now my Tian Xia fighter has access to almost all weapons in the game, but not the everyday weapons of his homeland. Unless I have him be human (in a land where nonhuman ancestries are common) with the Unconventional Weaponry feat.

Can we get a clarification about this?

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The core rulebook is a bit vague about the details of how improvised weapons work with respect to proficiency, damage, traits, and other statistics. It leaves it entirely on the GM to figure out the details.

What is the Society's stance on this? Are there plans to add guidelines for improvised weapons? If I want my character to wield a broom or chair, can I just take an existing weapon from the Equipment chapter and reflavor it?

I want to convert my barrel-wielding brewmaster from 1E to 2E.

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I only selected the 2nd Edition core rulebook for my subscription. When I checked my subscription status at the time of subscribing, only the core rulebook was in my side cart. But now I received an email that the bestiary was added to the order?

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Following the release of the Artiforged Class Handbook, we decided to release an open playtest of our next class for 1st Edition Pathfinder: the Reaver.


The reaver is a 6-level spellcaster centered around stealing essence from enemies through melee attacks and weaponizing that essence into a negative energy special attack. They can also study essence to learn about a creature, use it fuel special abilities, and even temporarily add new spells to their spell list. They prepare spells like an arcanist.

The final product will feature additional archetypes, feats, traits, and magic items based on feedback.

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Having registered for 2e events at Gen Con, I want to ensure I get the rule set as soon as possible before the event. What method of pre-ordering or subscribing should I do? I don't mind getting a PDF.

I ask this because I had pre-ordered Starfinder's Core Rulebook for Gen Con 2017 only to discover I couldn't pick it up at the event and it would not arrive before the event. So Customer Service had to change my order to a subscription so I could get a PDF. I want to avoid this situation happening again.

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I'm finding this class rather awkward and limited in build choices. It feels like Con + Dex are the only way to go. If you go Str + Con, then you're better off using an advanced melee weapon unless you need to target EAC. It hurts as the class already feels like it doens't offer much in customization.

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He has many names across the Pact World, but the enigma's current incarnation called himself "Steve," resembling a scruffy traveler with a rugged trench coat and a five-o-clock shadow. His new comrades asked if he was a man called The Doctor, to which he replied, "Maybe an David Tennant if he was high and could reshape reality. If you knew who I was, I doubt you would venture with me." One his comrades then "Googled" a photo of his face on the infosphere and found reports of a strange man ending bank robberies by turning guns into snakes or ending gang wars by transforming a city street into gingerbread.

Knowing he would cease to exist after 16 Abadius, 319, Steve lent his services to the Starfinder Society for the first and final time. He was surprised his party welcomed him with open arms despite the news reports about him. In fact, they even felt safe knowing Steve had their back. He was friendly to them, especially to the halfling he knew was a 7-foot tall hero in another reality. One party member asked if he gambled.

"Not after I got kicked out of a casino when my dice turned into a pair of rubber ducks."

"Dude, we gotta go out gambling together!"

Steve was selfless and took no gear for himself. He offered one of his tools (a null-space chamber) to store an alien creature, though warned to remove the creature before he (and the chamber) stop existing. When the party encountered a decent Freebooter armor, they gave it to the halfling.

"Perhaps we should call it a Half-booter armor," snickered the dwarf.

Steve, who knew the halfling to be a 7-foot hero in another reality, looked to his friend and said, "Don't worry. You will always be a Full-booter in my eyes."

"Aw, thanks, Steve! You're a great guy!"

The mission involved infiltrating a hostile base. After a failed attempt of Steve disguising himself as an alien, the party sneaked into the base and took out many hostiles. Steve helped by hobbling enemies, by turning an alien into partially Morgan Freeman and startling robots by merging their reality with that which they were human. He also blocked enemy reinforcements by lowering the floor and raising a catwalk upwards (and turning it into candy canes). He attacked an enemy spellcaster with a spell of his own (explosive blast) where a duck flew out of his sleeve and transformed into a grenade that exploded. This bought enough time to complete the mission and escape safely, which Steve helped by transforming the dwarf into a flying dragon-like person.

After the mission, Steve treated his allies to a massive party with booze for the dwarves and gambling for the gambler. After handing off credit of the mission to a future incarnation, Steve gave his new friends a final farewell before departing. Alone by himself, he said "I don't want to go" as his body glowed with radiant energy. Just as it seemed his very being would explode, Steve vanished from existence with a subtle "POP."

BUILD (Level 8):

Ability Scores (Pre-upgrades/levels):
Str 10; Dex 15; Con 10; Int 10; Wis 10; Cha 18

Ability Scores (Post-upgrades/levels):
Str 10; Dex 19; Con 12; Int 12; Wis 10; Cha 23

Defenses: EAC 24; KAC 24; Fort +3; Reflex +10; Will +2

Offenses: Melee +7; Ranged +11; Thrown +7

Skills: Invested heavily in Buff (+16), Culture (+10) and Diplomacy (+18)

Feats: Weapon Focus, Improved Initiative, Spell Focus, Improved Feint, Deadly Aim

Paradigm Shifts (DC 20): Disrupt Creature, Thwart Ability, Hobble Creature

Gear: Vesk Brigandine III, advanced semi-auto pistol, null-space chamber mk 1, storage goo, advanced morphic skin, personal upgrade mk 1 (Dex), personal upgrade mk 2 (Cha)


0: charming veneer, token spell, mending, ghost sound, energy ray, detect magic
1: comprehend languages, grease, disguise self, shifting surge
2: make whole, invisibility, see invisibility, knock
3: polymorph, dispel magic, explosive blast, remove affliction


  • I tried building a 1st level and 4th level version of this character. However, they looked too boring to play. Until 7th level, the witchwarper is essentially a technomancer that gets a worse version of the grease spell instead of an extra spell per day. And I already have a poor opinion of the technomancer because it gets few class features and doesn't live up to the theme of a spellcaster that manipulates and controls technology.

  • Weird that Will is not the class's good save.

  • Could not find an appropriate theme. I wanted something like a wanderer or an infamous enigma. I ultimately went with Icon which ended up working out when one of the PCs Google'd Steve. I wish there was a reverse Icon where you're an infamous celebrity.

  • Hobble Creature requiring Disrupt Creature creates an annoying issue where I have only three talents and two of them have the same role. So in essence, it feels like I only have two talents instead of three.

  • During the playtest, I wish I took Inhibit instead of Hobble Creature. At 8th level, Inhibit is more versatile and accomplishes the same goal of preventing an enemy from full attacking while hampering their movement. Whereas, I had to saddlebag my build by taking Disrupt Creature, which becomes redundant.

  • Many of the paradigm shifts seem to do roughly the same thing. While I appreciate the options, I would like to see more variety.

  • The 7th level ability of Infinite Worlds raised many questions during the playtest. How does raising or lowering the ground work on a thin surface like a catwalk or bridge? How does it work in a starship? I used the ability on a section of catwalk just outside a door and we were unsure how the catwalk would reshape. I believed it would block the door, but the GM decided that the catwalk would essentially disconnect from the door and rise up 10 feet ending at above the door instead of below it. One player argued the door should raise up with it.

  • I used Infinite Worlds to block a corridor from incoming enemies approaching. One of the attempts lowered the floor so enemies could not reach the door.

  • GM was initially unsure whether Hobble Creature could affect constructs because it allowed a Will save but was not a mind-affecting effect. He had to double-check the rules on constructs and read Hobble Creature. Considering that Hobble Creature does not say it's mind-affecting and that the ability is flavored as reality warping that can be resisted by force of will, he decided to allow it.

  • Hobble Creature does not mention a duration. I didn't notice that there's a default duration until after the session. It really should be directly in the ability description, especially when there's two listings for the class feature.

  • I got excited to finally use the extremely situational 4th level effect of Infinite Worlds to change an environment energy type, but the mechanic ended up disabling the hazard anyway.

  • I couldn't use Alternate Outcome on an ally because I already used a reaction. While I think limiting paradigm shifts using action economy is great, it does significantly reduce the usefulness of Alternate Outcome when it also must compete for my one reaction per round.

  • I used about 40% of my resources, but the scenario was unusually short and only lasted about 2 hours. I used Infinite Worlds twice, two 3rd level spell slots, and one 2nd level spell slot.

  • RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

    My spiritualist is a librarian that got haunted by a grim reaper-like death spirit and forced into adventuring. The initial build strategy was to make her be a skill monkey while the phantom is a tank/debuffer. However, I've been struggling to think of things for her to do other than heal allies with CLW wands and casting buffs on occasion.

    Maybe some suggestions? Her phantom has the fear emotion focus. I considered retraining a couple of feats so she can spend her turns demoralizing enemies.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

    I'm working on a new campaign that uses a patchwork of different rules for an original setting.


    However, I am concerned I might not have provided enough information for players to create original characters for the setting. I don't want to burden them with too much information.

    I am also debating how death and dying will work. Resurrection doesn't exist in the setting, so I need a way for PCs to be durable without taking away the tension of dropping to 0. I already tried borrowing the stamina system from Starfinder, but it ended up being too much book keeping.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

    Many spells such as polymorph and summon creature give you different options depending on what class you are. Which (if any) of these classes is the witchwarper considered for the purpose of these spell effects?

    The party is level 20 with a few mythic tiers. Team Big Bad set up a horrible trap by opening a portal to the Negative Energy Plane (as a homage to Tar Baphon's trap for Aroden). However, despite having every advantage, Team Big Bad still suffered a humiliating defeat that makes it clear they have little chance to defeat them.

    What should I have the Big Bads do? Should they just give up and attempt to make peace?

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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    I wrote this article in response to an issue I've encountered with running and playing the Pathfinder Playtest.

    The playtest replaces attacks of opportunity with a paradigm where monsters and martial characters gain special abilities where they get free attacks or actions in response to a trigger. While this is a cool way to add variety of combat roles, it does an inadequate job of influencing combat tactics in a positive way. This mostly has to do with the fact that the reactions (unlike attacks of opportunity) are not universal and provide no descriptive means to convey when an opponent has such an ability. As a result, most monster reactions just feel like "cheap shots" and don't affect tactical decision-making the same way that AoOs do unless a player metagames or accidentally triggers one.

    There's also the issue that almost all the player martial reactions are reactive rather than proactive choices and generally feel unsatisfying.

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    As someone who loves shapeshifting in fiction, I really enjoyed the polymorph rules. It did have a few rough spots, such as natural weapons being uselessly weak unless you spend one of the form's racial trait slots. However, I find it shockingly uncommon in games to offer this much customization when it comes to shapeshifting. It does take some reading and comprehension, but most of the rules are just making your forms, which only need to be once and can be done in 5 minutes.

    I'm looking forward to this volume getting cleared for organized play so I can make my priest of Oras.

    Now if we can only get kitsune added to the game...

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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    Shapeshifting is one of my favorite tropes in fantasy and science fiction. It creates a very broad design space that I feel most games do not fully explore. I looked forward to seeing how the playtest would implement them. However, after building and playing characters at various levels with multiple combinations of classes and spells, I ran into many issues with polymorph effects that hindered character concepts and made them not as fun as they should be.

    Attack Bonus & AC: Polymorph spells overwrite your attack bonus and AC, which feels awful and creates a situation where polymorph spells are only useful if your natural form is weak. While this is neat for weak monsters turning into beasts, it feels terrible when a buff spell actually cripples you. This is also bad because it causes each polymorph spell to have a shelf life based on the maximum level you can heighten it. Much of this can be fixed just by having polymorph spells use your bonus/AC if it's higher without forcing you to buy an expensive item late in your career. Or have the attack bonus and AC be based on the target's level.

    Level Gating: You can't turn into an animal or another humanoid until level 3. You can't turn into an animal that can fight until level 5. You can't break any of these restrictions unless you play a specific class. All of this hinders character concepts for no good reason. Level gating isn't as necessary in a game when you can balance spells using heightening. Level gating also creates some significant dissonance if the selection of spells has inconsistent standards. My classic complaint in Pathfinder was "Why is it that I can only turn a man into an elf for a few minutes at the same level I can permanently transform a dragon into a chicken AND brainwash him into thinking he was always a chicken?"

    Limited Targeting: Almost all of the polymorph spells target the caster. Again, hurts character concepts. Wanna play a witch that punishes enemies by turning them into goblins? Well, tough luck. You can never do that!

    Duration: Polymorph spells have prohibitively short durations that don't scale with level and have extremely few options to extend durations. Even non-combat polymorph spells only have (at most) a 10 minute duration, which isn't enough for most non-combat encounters and exploration mode. The short duration is also a problem in high level play where combats tend to drag for a long time. Many combats in Frozen Oath got very close to 10 rounds. Now that the 10-minute Treat Wounds might be the standard healing option, it seems less necessary to keep the durations so short.

    Restrictive Choices: Not to sound like a cranky Protean, but the polymorph spells severely restrict your choices of form. I like that some of them try to cover all the bases and balance the different forms, but it still feels rather restrictive and doesn't make the forms feel distinct enough.

    Rules Repeat: Minor nitpick about rules presentation. Many spells and effects repeat the same rules about polymorphing. While it's nice to have all the rules in one place, it makes the spells and feats bloated and risks consistency problems. This could be fixed by putting the rules in the polymorph trait or inventing new traits depending on how the polymorph effect changes you.

    I understand there's good reasons for many of these quirks, especially now that monsters have completely different standards than PCs. However, so far, I had very mixed experiences.

    1/5 * RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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    I'm happy you're trying to streamline tracking and chronicle sheets, but the log sheet has so much wasted space that you can only put three entries on it!

    I'd prefer a ledger like this.

    I track every character in a similar way using just a sheet of notebook paper. It's so much easier to record purchases and audit characters this way than shuffling through dozens of chronicle sheets.

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    What does it cost for someone to drink a combined elixir? I would guess 0 RP as it seems like the intent is having the combined effects of two elixirs costs the same RP as two elixirs. Since an infused elixir no longer has a cost to drink, then double the elixir has no cost.

    Combine Elixirs wrote:

    Frequency once per round

    Trigger You craft an alchemical item that has the
    elixir trait using the Quick Alchemy action.

    You’ve discovered how to mix two elixirs into a single concoction
    for quicker consumption. You can spend 3 Resonance Points
    instead of 1 Resonance Point to add a second elixir to the one
    you’re crafting. When this combination elixir is consumed, both
    the constituent elixirs take effect. For example, you can combine
    two of the same elixirs to create a combined elixir of life that
    heals double the amount. If a creature other than you drinks a
    combined elixir, it must spend 2 Resonance Points to gain the
    effects instead of only 1 Resonance Point.

    Update 1.4 wrote:

    Page 47—In the infused trait, change “cost its crafter any

    Resonance Points” to “cost any Resonance Points” and
    delete “though anyone else must spend Resonance Points to
    activate it normally”.

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    Skill checks with the Secret trait have left a bad taste in my mouth. I recently ran a game with a rogue, and it was an awful experience for me and the player.

    I generally hate having to roll a player's skill check in tabletop RPGs because:
    1) It takes the fun of rolling the die away from the player.
    2) It burdens adds more burden to GMing.
    3) It breaks flow and adds more book keeping as I now have to ask the player for their bonus in the middle of play or ask for it ahead of time.

    The game added a lot more secret rolls, too. Now sneaking and identifying magic are secret rolls. I don't see why it's all necessary, especially when it's annoying.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

    Reporting feedback from my run of Part 2.

    1) Players had an "okay" time overall, but the rogue was frustrating to both play and GM for.

    2) Tactical combat was fine, but often the players felt their classes did not give them enough breadth in ways to deal with situations. Both the alchemist and the sorcerer had to burn many resources just to consistently contribute.

    3) Liked exploration but not how it was executed in the module. Did not enjoy the way it forced me to draw maps in specific ways.

    4) Very little narrative until the very end.

    Exploration: Exploration was surprisingly not that hard to prepare. I liked it.

    Maps: I don't mind drawing maps, but I hated the way the "draw your own maps" thing was handled in the module. The descriptions for B1, B2, and B4 were so overly specific and presented in a big paragraph that made it annoying to reference. It would have been better off as an itemized list or a small diagram. If a map has to be that specific, then you're better off just having the map in the adventure.

    FormatI also strongly believe the module presents information very poorly in the format. I always believed modules made terrible reference documents because all of the important information is buried in a huge block of text. Having to pause the game while I search for a skill check DC lost in a page of text feels really awful. I never understood why rooms and encounters can't have stat blocks that quickly summarize items and creatures in the room while also listing important skill check DCs.

    Hero Points
    I gave out the basic 2 hero points to each character at the start of the adventure. However, none of the PCs used them. From our past experiences with 2nd Edition's hero points, we felt like hero points are better off saved for when a character is dying.

    Players complained that you couldn't buy a +1 weapon with the wealth that was provided. They also complained that the equipment chapter does not include a general "adventurer's kit" that has all of the standard adventurer gear. This was annoying as they had to waste a lot of time tracking trivial piecemeal purchases of mundane adventuring items.

    1) human fighter: Used a warhammer and shield. He was the highest damage dealer in the party. He was also the one who took the +1 weapon at the start of the adventure. The player seemed to have a lot of fun during the session, which is good especially as it was also his birthday. He spent his magic items on armor.

    2) goblin sorcerer: She had the celestial bloodline. On my side of the table, the character came off feeling like she had little impact on the party. Almost all of her spells kept failing or missing. The character felt like a worse cleric in every way, and she lacked the proficiencies to contribute anything beyond the limited number of spells she could do in a day. She spent her magic items on a staff of healing and a wand of magic missile (which she didn't use for some reason).

    3) half-elf alchemist: He ended up being a huge asset during non-combat encounters as he had excellent skills in Arcana, Religion, and Occultism and had spent his skill feats on Multilingual. Despite having Extra Resonance (which cost him two ability boosts because the feat requires a good Charisma), he ran out of resources after only two Overall, it seemed like he was burning through a lot of resources just to have a consistent contribution to the team.

    4) half-elf rogue: This character ended up being frustrating for both the player and myself. The rogue used a shortsword and had feats for frightening opponents so she could sneak attack them. However, the sneak attacks required so much set up for very little pay off. Sneak attack and the increased number of trained skills did not make up for the loss in proficiencies and damage options that other non-spellcasting classes have. Despite loving the rogue as a concept, the player felt like she was at a handicap compared to other classes. I personally got irritated with the mechanics due to Sneak and other rolls having the Secret trait, requiring me having to waste time rolling her skill checks. Even though I asked for her bonuses ahead of time, it still was a pain. It's not the player's fault as the character needs these rolls in order to function. I'd never want to GM for a party of rogues.

    At the start of the adventure, I had Lady Vord give the party the choice between a +1 hammer, +1 shortsword, or a +1 dagger. The party agreed to have the fighter take the hammer.

    Exploration: The party got lucky and did very well on the Survival checks despite the highest bonus only being about +4 or +5. While no critical successes, they managed to get to the tomb in 6 days with 3 days to spare.

    B1: This encounter went pretty well. I actually really liked the hyena special abilities to knockdown and drag foes. That was a lot of fun to do, and it surprised the party. The terrain had little to no effect on the encounter. Because the hyenas had no reactions, it made no difference that the PCs couldn't Step. One of the PCs had a feat that let them Step in difficult terrain that was useless as a consequence.

    B2: The encounter rules do not make it clear how awareness works at the start of combat when someone (or something) uses Stealth for initiative. Only one PC beat the quicksand's initiative, so I ran the the encounter assuming that only someone who beat its initiative sees the quicksand before it acts. Only one PC fell into the quicksand and was quickly pulled out. I did like the quicksand rules. However, group all agreed that persistent damage is insanely annoying as each character has to make up to 4 rolls a turn in attempt to get rid of it. The DC also feels incredibly unfair. I would have preferred a system where you only roll once a turn, but can spend an action to reduce the DC by 5, resulting in a flat DC 5 check if you spent an entire turn trying to remove it. After combat ended, I just ruled that all the damage stops because I didn't want to waste another precious 10 minutes on it. Most of the party's resources were tapped out after this encounter.

    B3: The party made their checks to notice, identify, and stealth past the gnoll camp.

    B4: The climb was very tough. But because they made good time, it didn't matter that they lost almost an hour. The manticore fight was annoying for the party because it was a high health flying enemy. The party could not deal much damage to it from range. It could fly out of the range of the alchemist bombs and the sorcerer's spells kept failing or missing. The alchemist entangled it, but that only reduced its movement speed as the creature had no After it pinned two party members and started to run low on quills, the manticore went in to try to kill one of them. That's when the fight turned around as the fighter got a couple of lucky criticals. When the manticore got low on health, it flew away and the party decided to just

    B5: The alchemist spoke Gnoll and told the gnolls that the manticore was heavily wounded and that the gnolls could probably kill it for revenge if it appeared again. This and a great Diplomacy check persuaded the gnolls to take their leave.

    C1: The rogue found the letch and discovered the trap on it. She was able to bypass it so she could open the door safely.

    C2: The mute rogue took one look at the room, said "f*** that" in sign language, and proceeded down the hall. Because the countdown clock probably wasn't hidden there, the party felt no need to enter a room that obviously had a monster or trap hidden inside and probably led to a dead end.

    C3: The party did not discover this room. I described the hallway leading to it as emitting some heat, so they avoided it and proceeded to C3. It was probably for the best as we were starting to run low on time.

    C4: The encounter's description overcomplicated what is actually a fairly simple and boring "puzzle." The puzzle basically boils down to "perform four skill checks. If you got a gem, the DC is lower." Despite the party having no gems, the alchemist had great Arcana, Occultism, and Religion checks. The rogue also helped out. I really loved the fact that the rogue could help by using Thievery. I would love to see this in future adventures as rogues often get left out in what are commonly seen as "mage only" non-combat encounters.

    C5: The party slaughtered the mummies as each was well equiped to deal with them. Despite missing most of his bombs, the alchemist devastated the mummies as each mummy took 11 points of fire damage from the splash damage that normally only did 1 point of damage. This is ontop of the persistent damage that some of the mummies suffered. The rogue had ample opportunities to stealth and take advantage of flatfooted enemies. The divine sorcerer finally got to use all of her anti-undead spells. And the fighter was dishing out huge amounts of damage.

    The party was suspicious of Mabar at first, but eventually let him go. We had some time to spare for roleplay (which they enjoyed).

    C6: The party was more terrified of the mummy than the mirror. Afterall, from successful Occultism checks about the Dark Tapestry, they knew the mirror was dangerous and knew right away not to do anything with it. With only 5 minutes left, I had to tell them, "After staring at the mummy for a solid 10 minutes, you are certain that it will do exactly what all mummies should do. Nothing." The party grabbed the gem and the treasure, and got out of Dodge.

    With more than two days to spare, the Night Heralds were unable to catch up with them.

    Other Notes
    1) The players seemed to have an "okay" experience overall. Though, both the rogue and I found many mechanics such as Secret rolls and persistant damage very annoying.

    2) I really hate the abundance of Secret rolls in this game. It takes the fun away from the player because they aren't rolling anything. It adds to the hassle of GMing. And it breaks the flow of things since I have to either ask the player directly for their Stealth bonus or obtain this information ahead of time. It's not fun for the player. It's not fun for the GM.

    3) I did like the exploration rules. However, I do not believe they were executed well in the adventure. All of the encounters were bunched up after most of the exploration was already completed.

    4) Like with part 1, the narrative felt lacking. Almost all of the encounters had nothing to do with the story. The tomb was a little bit of a let down as it was basically just 1 trapped door, 1 lame puzzle, a mummy fight that the party slaughtered easily, and a couple of unrewarding optional combats.

    5) Minor Point: I can't say I'm a fan of the "preview" of the antipaladin as it has many of the same problems as the normal paladin with having smite get replaced with a lame, situational reaction. Also, would prefer if the antipaladin was lawful evil as a tyrant makes a more suitable rival for a class all about justice and righteousness.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

    I am working on a few Pathfinder compatible products extensively supported with links to the official PRD. I deliberately choose the official PRD because I expected the URLs to remain static. However, with the unexpected transition to Archives of Nethys, all of my links no longer work. They just redirect to the AoN homepage.

    1) Are there any plans to fix this issue and map the old URLs to the new ones?

    2) If there are no plans to fix/map the URLs, what URLs should I use? Will the Archives of Nethys URLs still work in the future? Will they change? Please advise.

    Thank you.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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    Horray, more story! I'm hoping each scenario will have more nuance and an effect on future scenarios. This has been one of the two biggest issues that has deterred my group from playing this game.