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blahpers wrote:
Hoo, that needed spoiler tags. If my players read this thread, it's gonna be a sad time.

You're right; I was reading this as a GM'ing thread, which requires spoilers to clarify key points, but I can definitely see how a player might click on this and enter it.

Too late to edit in spoiler tags now, unfortunately.


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My own view of Strange Aeons (and as GM of your own game you might portray it differently) is that the narrative itself is at tension between the genres of cosmic horror and fantasy adventure. The cosmic horror story is that of how Haserton Lowls brought doom upon himself and everyone who crossed his path along the way. The fantasy adventure story is how the PC's follow in Lowls' footsteps and set things right. The PC's aren't so much in a cosmic horror story as they're following in its wake. A true cosmic horror story shouldn't have heroes who show up in the final act to set things right, and by all rights their part in the story should have ended as catatonic victims locked away in Briarstone. This is stated explicitly by the Pallid Mask in book 6, and his confusion and inability to thwart them is a powerful irony.

From this perspective, I don't think corruptions would fit very well. The moment the PC's woke up Briarstone they stopped being the victims of cosmic horror and started becoming the protagonists who take control of their own fantasy adventure. Of course, that's just my reading of the campaign and I'm certain you could run things very differently if you so choose.


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deuxhero wrote:
PFS has a few mandatory pseudo archetypes. The one I recall of the top of my head is that Alchemists trade Brew Potion for Extra Bombs and Wizards trade scribe scroll for... something I forget. Should we rate these?

Wizards get spell focus in one school of their choice, iirc. It's probably not worth rating because swapping one generally good feat for another generally good feat is typically an even trade.


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avr wrote:
I'd call it not unlike charitable impulse or hold monster in effectiveness. 4th level seems about right.

I would disagree; Hold Monster gives a new save every round and once you've saved you take no further penalties, whereas this would require you to spend several rounds picking up the various items off the ground. This is significantly more dangerous than Hold Monster.

I would compare this to Dispel Magic, which allows you to suppress the effects of one magic item for 1d4 rounds. Even if this spell were single-target it would still be significantly better than Dispel Magic, since an action to pick up an item is much more disruptive than having the item come back on its own in 1-4 rounds. Some equipment would require additional actions to re-equip, or in the case of armor re-equipping may not even be possible in-combat. So I would say 4th level would be appropriate if this spell targeted only one piece of equipment that isn't armor.

I would say 7th or 8th level would be more appropriate if it affected all equipment carried by the subject, as it's verging rather close to the power of the Disjunction spell.


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pad300 wrote:
or is this pure flim-flammery that's not supposed to be available to PC's?

Fast Healing 5 is not something you would ever make available to a PC as a racial ability, and the ability to see through smoke and fog is an incredibly powerful benefit that straddles the boundary of whether it's ever appropriate as a racial bonus. Definitely "not available to PC's" territory.

If that bothers you (I have a "if it's fine for the NPC's, it's fine for the PC's" outlook myself) then you could swap this out for magical items and spells that provide similar bonuses.


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Mystic Theurge has an infamously bad valley of suck, but it's actually pretty solid at higher levels. I'm of the opinion that it's solid at 10th level and above and you don't really need to do anything special to make it work well. It's the lower levels as it's qualifying and immediately after qualification that it struggles.


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As written they're the same ability, and they don't say they stack for levels so they don't stack. With that said, I feel in any home game a GM should allow them to stack for level if it comes up.

However, it's mostly an academic matter since the ability is so weak that you'd never actually use it in actual play. You will always have better things to do than spend 8 hours creating the corpse companion, and they're so fragile they rarely last more than one combat encounter.


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SorrySleeping wrote:
A normal spell/caster level 1 would be 360g. A once per week would be ~50g (51.4g)

Strongly disagree. That's roughly on par with the pricing of potions, which are single-use items. Something usable more than once should cost more than this.

Especially for utility effects that won't be needed every day, or for campaigns with generous downtime between adventuring days, 1/week isn't that much worse than 1/day. You don't even need to have a week worth of downtime for them to be worthwhile; just get multiple 1/week items and stagger their uses. I wouldn't go any lower than half the price of a 1/day item.


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I agree with avr's suggestions. Aside from those, Sense Vitals is a good combat buff at these levels, Mirror Image is nice although you must be weary of Truesight and unconventional senses at this level range. Haste is always a nice buff to have. Shield is a good defensive buff at any level. Wall of Force and Emergency Force Sphere are nice option for controlling the pacing of a fight. Since you're an evil party you might consider dabbling with Animate Dead.

Always remember that you are a prepared spellcaster, so don't be afraid to try switching stuff around from day to do to try new things.


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You definitely want unchained for this, as you need finesse training for this build to pull together. Before we talk about discretionary options, let's lay out what's necessary:

1 - Quicken Spell
3 - Exotic Weapon Proficiency
4 - Vanishing Trick (Rogue Talent)
5 - Metamagic #2
7 - Metamagic #3
8 - (Rogue Talent)
9 - (Feat)
11 - Dimensional Agility
12 - Invisible Blade (Rogue Talent)
13 - (Feat)
15 - Spell Perfection

So that leaves your 9th and 13th level feat, your 8th level rogue talent, and your two metamagic feats up for consideration. For metamagic I think Extend spell and Silent spell make the most sense; Silent spell works nicely with your stealthy aspect especially when invisible, while Extend spell synergizes with all the utility and buff spells you'll be using. Of course if you've got other metamagic you're interested in feel free to use those instead; Quicken is the only one that really matters.

You do have some choice in which weapon you choose for weapon proficiency. Anything that's two-handed and legal to use with weapon finesse is a possible selection. Elven Curve Blade and Elven Branched Spear are the "standard" choices, but there are others you can pick.

Your remaining feats and rogue talent are a matter of preference. You can pick combat options like Accomplished Sneak Attacker and Weapon Focus, or you can pick something to play more on your utility. Everything you strictly need is already on the build.

You will also have three skill unlocks. Stealth is an obvious choice that synergizes very well with this build. Perception, Bluff, Diplomacy, Disguise, Sense Motive, and Escape Artist are all neat options.

In terms of gear, start with the big 6: a good magic weapon, dex-boosting belt, int-boosting headband, cloak of resistance, amulet of natural armor, and ring of protection. After that, if you have the cash left over a Ring of Wizardry (1st level) synergizes very well with your build. You can spontaneously convert 1st level spells into Quickened Greater Invisibility, so doubling your 1st level spell slots is amazingly good for you. Another good item would be a shadow harimaki; you don't really care about the AC (mage armor is good enough) but the +5 to stealth is nice for whenever you aren't invisible.

For stats, dexterity is your most important stat by far. You generally won't be using magic offensively so you don't really care about your spell DC's, so extra intelligence is mostly for bonus spell slots. Other than that just try to avoid dumping stuff since every stat is at least marginally useful to you (strength is important for carrying capacity, constitution for hit points, wisdom for will saves, and charisma for diplomacy/bluff/use magic device)


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Those are very different builds, even if both will be able to make use of Dimensional Agility. You're comparing a 3/4 BAB 6-level caster to a full BAB with SLA's; they have one thing in common and otherwise will feel completely different in actual play.

For the Eldritch Scoundrel, probably your best option is to take Dimensional Agility and then take Spell Perfection on Dimension Door so you can Quicken it for free. That means you don't need to worry about the rest of the Dimensional Agility feat chain. This will save you a feat and mean you don't have the range restriction on Dimensional Dervish. Otherwise a lot of basics of the Eldritch Scoundrel build apply; take a two-handed finessable weapon such as elven curve blade or elven branch spear, take vanishing trick and invisible blade for swift action invisibility goodness, and fill yourself with a selection of defensive and utility spells. If you have access to a Goz mask then fog spells will be amazing for you.

For the Slayer, your biggest issue will be that you only start to qualify for Dimensional Agility at the 9th level. Since you need Dimensional Dervish to get your full attack off that's your 9th, 11th, and 13th level feats locked in by this build. If you want Dimensional Savant so you can sneak attack with yourself as the flanking buddy, then that's all your feats up to 15th. It's not a deal-breaker, but it definitely is a steep limitation on your build.

Figure out which build seems more appealing to you, and maybe then you can refine down further on specifics.


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Zaister wrote:
By the rules, a cursed item usually "masquerades" as some normal item, and can be identified as that item by its own caster level.

That is not an actual rule. Cursed Items use their own caster level for identification purposes, not that of the item they're masquerading as.

While not all cursed items are like this, they often do have significantly higher caster levels than the item they're masquerading as. For instance, a Ring of Clumsiness is CL 15th, but the item it masquerades as is a Ring of Feather Falling, which is CL 1st. This means the real Ring of Feather falling requires a DC 16 spellcraft check to ID, while the Ring of Clumsiness requires a DC 25 spellcraft check to mis-identify as a Ring of Feather Falling and a DC 35 spellcraft check to correctly ID the cursed item.

It's not always the case, but cursed items often have abnormally high DC's when compared to level-appropriate loot and as a result players can be suspicious of items that are difficult to ID.


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So that gives you 10 feats total (including magus bonus feats) to work with, with a possible 11th if you're human. Spell Perfection will require a total of four feats on your build, leaving 6-7 for everything else.

Given how tight you'll be on feats, I think using Shadowshooting and (Greater) Reliable weapon properties to handle reloading and misfires respectively is a good idea. Given that you have access to the Mending cantrip, even if some rare effect does increase your misfire chance you can at least still fix it between combats. This lets you avoid having to pay for feats to reload your weapon and fix misfires, freeing up feats for other things (like Spell Perfection).

Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot are always necessary on any obligate ranged attacker build, so you definitely want those. Damage-wise you definitely want Deadly Aim and Rapid Shot. So that's four obligatory feat taxes right out of the gate. That leaves 2-3 more feats; I'd say the Snap Shot feat line makes most sense to pursue.

In terms of metamagic, Intensified and Empowered are kinda obvious picks for a Magus, and since you're going for Spell Perfection you'll be able to make use of Quicken quite effectively so that makes an obvious choice for the third.

TL;DR:
1 - Point Blank Shot
3 - Precise Shot
5 - Deadly Aim
6 - (Magus bonus feat) Rapid Shot
7 - Intensified Spell
9 - Empowered Spell
11 - Quicken Spell
12 - (Magus bonus feat) Weapon Focus
13 - Snap Shot
15 - Spell Perfection

Aside from that, make sure to Magical Lineage as one of your traits. You can go with the always popular Shocking Grasp (using the Reach Spellstrike Arcana to deliver it through your weapon) or with something else; Shocking Grasp is the standard for a reason, but it's by no means the only option.

One thing to keep in mind is that you should be very cautious about using the arcane gun to enhance range or area spells. Overloads are not misfires, and thus abilities that lower misfire chance or fix misfires do not work on overloads. Moreover, you can't carry backup weapons since the eldritch archer class features only work with your bonded weapon. If you do intend to use the arcane gun class feature, ensure you have the mending cantrip prepared and have numerous copies of the Jury Rig spell prepared (which suppresses the broken condition for 1 round/level). The Mage Bullets class feature is much safer and more reliable, and notably stacks with your arcane pool's enhancements.

Kaouse wrote:
Spell Cartridges is pretty good, lets you deal force damage and you never have to worry about ammo.

Spell Cartridges costs an extra feat tax (arcane strike) and eats into your swift action economy which is incredibly problematic on this build since this build already has a lot of things that rely on swift action activation (arcane pool, mage bullets, quicken spell, possibly other magus arcana). Spell Cartridges is one of those feats that looks amazing in isolation, but when you try to fit it into an actual build it has severe opportunity costs. It's still a good feat on the right build, but this build has a lot of dissonance with it and I strongly recommend against it as a result.

Zepheri wrote:
I suggest piercing spell as 1 of the metamagic it will help to reduce the sr of the target by 5 and since your caster lv is 14 it will help a lot vs powerful enemies

Also a good option


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[Edit] I just realized this is a duplicate thread; reposted in the other thread that got more replies


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neonWitch wrote:
I had just assumed that the shard in his hand was stitched to the shreds of soul left in his body the same way that they're attached to the PCs, so it would just go with him to the phylactery.

Good point. Actually, now that I think about it, I'm not sure if the PC's even know about the shard in his hand being the necessary focus. I'll have to go re-check the prior volumes when I have the time.


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Miraina is able to detect the obols and even figure out what they are just with Arcane Sight, which means the PC's should be able to detect the presence of the obols with Detect Magic. While the skill check DC's to give more revealing answers should be borderline impossible at the low levels, you could give the PC's retries whenever they gain access to libraries or spend time doing additional research and drip-feed info to them. Miraina in this sense acts as a backup to exposit any details the PC's didn't learn on their own.


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I was having a bit of trouble putting my finger on why the "martyr ending" plot twist sat with me wrong. I'd certainly say that the adventure does a very poor job of telegraphing this to either player or GM, but if it doesn't fit you can very easily remove the perma-death element and proceed more conventionally. After thinking about it a bit, I've come to my answer: this plot twist only works if we're presuming the PC's are metagaming.

Golarion, and most fantasy worlds like it, is chock full of parables of wizards (or their guinea pigs) who were humiliated or killed because things didn't work according to theory. Miraina is a scholar who has never seen living Kumaru in her life; it's a massive leap of faith that her untested theory will work as intended. Even then, there's no assurance that the destroying the shard in the Whispering Tyrant's hand will stop him from using the Radiant Fire - for all we know he could simply use one of his other shards as a replacement focus. Even without the "fate-worse-than-death" martyrdom aspect, this is a longshot plan. The only reason we "know" it will work is because of plot-savviness. If it weren't for PC plot armor guaranteeing their sacrifice will have meaning, this could just as easily be a setup for a fool's sacrifice that achieves nothing of substance.

I would also note it would be possible to enact a version of this plan without even using the obols. Contingencies can be counterspelled, and if the WT tried to pull the same trick he did on Arazni and got counterspelled he'd eat his own Radiant Fire, destroying his body and forcing him to reform without the shard in his hand. Counterspelling is an oft-overlooked strategy, and is one of the few things the Whispering Tyrant has no special precautions against.

Beyond that, I'm quite curious about the obol downgrade. The Heal spell is the bread-and-butter in-combat healing option at these levels, and it does not benefit from maximization at all, so a lot of parties will just have no good way to make use of the new effect. Maybe if you're a paladin or have an allied cleric who loves to channel positive energy to heal it might be useful... but in a campaign like this SR against necromancy and negative energy resistance is really good so it's a pretty hard sell even if you've got good synergy with the other effect. I'm wondering if there's going to be something in book 6 that synergizes with this.


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Melkiador wrote:
Arcane is pretty funny, because you are trading its ability to get a familiar to instead get a familiar with an extra perk. It’s kind of a no brainer. Especially since the bonded object option doesn’t work well without a spellbook.

Having a Bloodline Familiar also delays your bloodline spells. And Arcane has one of the best list of bloodline spells in the game, so you're going to be missing out on a pretty good spell at your highest spell level a lot of the time.


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Fireball is an area spell, not a target spell, and thus would not benefit. This is an edge-case since the word "target" is often used informally throughout the rules to describe situations where a create is within the area of an area spell, but in this case I would require the spell to formally be a target spell rather than an area spell.

This still opens up the case of spells that can have multiple targets including the familiar, such as Communal Protection from Evil or Mass Suggestion. That would be up to GM discretion as to how it worked in such a case. I think in most of those cases all it would do is raise duration and help with SR so I'd be inclined to allow it to raise the caster level of the spell for all targets.


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Slim Jim wrote:
In a game with Dazing metamagic, you're damned right it is very good.

Uh... Evasion doesn't actually do anything against Dazing spell. A successful save already negates the Dazing effect (and it's not even necessarily a reflex save). Improved Evasion doesn't help either, since it only halves damage on a failed save and doesn't negate other effects.

Slim Jim wrote:
Failure to successfully flee when the dice gods are playing hardball is a key element in the overwhelming majority of character deaths (not to mention TPKs) that I have seen. --As always: it's about managing attrition.

If the best contribution you can make in a losing fight is to run away and save your own skin, you're not helping.


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The only thing that catches my eye about her is that her to-hit is pretty poor. Combining power attack and two-weapon fighting on an NPC is a great way to whiff every attack. I'd be inclined to get Weapon Focus in there and drop Power Attack for greater consistency. In terms of her non-combat capabilities she's definitely more suited to her role and could be used more extensively with a statblock like that.


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Slim Jim wrote:
The rogue can laugh off fireballs to the face.

Evasion is very good, but it's pretty much the only defensive selling point of the rogue. Aside from that you have weak fortitude and will saves, mediocre AC and CMD, and average HP.

Slim Jim wrote:
The rogue is more likely to run away and make Stealth checks to hide while doing so than any other Core class

Not really; rogues have no special bonuses with stealth other than having it as a class skill and investing in dex. There are some decent stealth-based rogue talents, but they're not game-changing. And anyone willing to put feat-equivalents into stealth can be good with it.

The fact that we're even debating "running away" as one of the key selling points of the rogue class says a lot in and of itself.

Slim Jim wrote:
The rogue can later convince the constabulary that his opponent is guilty of [insert heinous crime here], and thereby de facto acquire the town guard as minions sans the Leadership feat.

The rogue is nothing special at this, and any charisma-based class does the face job better.


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Michael Sayre wrote:
I have not yet run into a situation where a PF2 version of a monster wasn't able to perform the suggested tactics of its PF1 version, though there probably is some potential there in the case of extremely specific tactics

I was thinking more in terms of PF2->PF1 conversion. You have the 3-action economy which doesn't really translate back very well, mobility is a lot more free in PF2 and it's harder to lock someone down, effects that trigger on critical success or failure don't have good analogues, combat tends to be faster paced so strategies that take time to execute are virtually always disrupted, and you're much more likely to run into "hard stop" effects that can't be overpowered without the right abilities.

In terms of PF1->PF2 conversion, the big thing I see is that buffs and debuffs cap out at much smaller values. In PF1 if you've got a mid-level bard or some other class that's good at buffing/debuffing, you can give him really low CR mooks and they'll still be threatening because of the support he can give. In PF2 playtest buffs didn't swing quite that hard, and unless there were some big changes in the final version that kind of force multiplier tactic just isn't possible in 2E, at least not to the same extent as it was in 1E.

In any case, I suspect that an experienced GM could modify any such encounter to at least keep to its spirit, even if substantial overhauls are necessary to make it work with the edition mechanics.


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Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I'm confused. Ninja IS Paizo. It's in Ultimate Combat. It's not 3rd Party at all!

Ninja is Paizo, but they never published an unchained version to correspond with the Unchained Rogue. There are various versions of "unchained ninja" out there that apply the unchained rogue buffs to the ninja, but they're not Paizo-published.

The big problem with core rogue and ninja is that their combat power is bad. Even if you're consistently getting sneak attacks on every hit you're still just mediocre, and defensively you're extremely vulnerable for a melee character. How big an issue of this depends on your group dynamics, but rogues and ninjas can really struggle to have a niche in combat.

As to the original poster, it sounds like your GM is being unreasonable. I can understand putting the foot down on 3rd party, but disallowing archetypes on the Unchained Rogue is just being needlessly punitive. Probably your best option is to go with the Teisatsu Vigilante. Stalker vigilante is basically just a better rogue to begin with, and Teisatsu gives you access to ninja tricks.


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avr wrote:
I think it's a poor assumption that an adventure with a set of PF2 monsters as encounters would automatically be a good challenge (not a killer, not a walkover) if you swapped in PF1 monsters of the same names. Some thought would be required.

To be fair, I think it's always a good idea to adjust encounters to your specific party anyways. However, you do need to pay close attention to tactics since some combat tactics that work in 2E won't work in 1E, either because they just don't work in 1E ruleset or because there's an easy counter-measure to shut it down in 1E that doesn't exist in 2E.


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Herald of the Redeemer Queen wrote:


It actually states in the gauntlet's description that as soon as you put them on you immediately become aware of their abilities.

That's how my PCs figured it out.

A lot of players will simply never equip a magic item that they cannot identify. This is not unfounded paranoia; a high spellcraft DC to identify is a very strong indicator that the item may be cursed.


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1. This is correct, although personally I feel it's a mean-spirited ruling. Talk to your GM and see if you can get a pass on that.

2. All three of those are excellent choices. Evocation should take the Admixture subschool and Conjuration should take the Teleportation subschool for access to better powers. The lack of spells for evocation isn't a big problem since you can just use metamagic to alter spells you do like using to utilize different level slots.

For opposition schools, I would suggest Necromancy and Enchantment. You never want to oppose Conjuration or Transmutation, you've expressed interest in Evocation, Illusion is too important to an arcane trickster, and Divination and Abjuration have too many important spells that would be dangerous to live without. This leaves your opposition choices fairly obvious. If you have a Cleric in the party you can live without Divination or Abjuration, but be careful when opposing those as they get very important at higher levels.

Surprise rounds occur when one side of a battle is surprised. Only characters who are not surprised can act on a surprise round. This ability means you can never be surprised, and always get to act. This won't always be a big deal, but when it comes up it can save your life.


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Remotely destroying an object from without even knowing where it is (or even whether it exists at all) or what protection it is under is quite frankly beyond the normal scope of magic in Pathfinder. And given the scope of high-level magic, that's saying something. What you're describing is "Wish" territory, in my view. And even then if the body part in question is an attended object the owner should get a save to avoid it being destroyed.


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Claxon wrote:

Who said the PCs get it as loot?

The NPC can harass and flee before being defeated.

If you send an NPC into battle with the PC's, then you need to accept that he can and probably will die. And when he dies, anything he owns will become property of the PC's. Don't give anything to your NPC's that you'd be uncomfortable falling into the hands of your players.


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I would be very, very hesitant to give my PC's a Goz Mask as loot. That's an item that can get very broken very quickly. I honestly wouldn't be comfortable with items that let you see through fog-like concealment until around 10th level, because it's really powerful.


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The single biggest damage spike I've ever seen involved a character with thousands of pounds of carrying capacity and high explosives.

In all seriousness, I've seen my fair share of high damage builds; the shocking grasp magus, the blaster sorcerer, and martials with superb at-will DPR that is actually comparable to nova power. None of them really stand out as being the most ridiculous of them all, but there are plenty of memorable ones. I've always felt like relying on hit points, AC, and saves to keep the adversaries alive is a losing battle after the low levels. I prefer battlefield control, disruption, buffs and debuffs, and using more enemies. In fact, when it comes to mooks I prefer my players to one-shot them; it's cathartic and keeps the pace of the fight scene, and I don't need to track HP for an enemy that was taken from full to dead in one blow.


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That would default to CR = level. However, any time you are custom building an NPC or a monster you should always sanity-test it. Compare it to the monster builder guidelines and see if it's significantly higher (or lower) than expected. There is nothing wrong with ad-hoccing the CR higher if the stats justify it.

When your PC's are really optimized and you're routinely throwing APL+3 through APL+5 encounters at them as their "standard" fights, you may want to consider moving to the slow XP track since fighting such powerful adversaries means you'll get a lot of XP very quickly, but try to keep CR's consistent.


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The page cites its source right at the top: Pathfinder #67: The Snows of Summer pg. 72

Content from the appendices of AP's has a reputation for being a bit dodgy, so you should always ask your GM before utilizing such content.


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Taudis wrote:
There're also a few that give up poison and Mutagen, which theoretically might work for bombers but IMO giving up Mutagen is a trap option if you're starting play at early levels. It's an incredibly powerful buff and you'll be relying on it way more than bombs in the early game.

Worth noting that most archetypes that lose mutagen can buy it back with a discovery. This is actually better than losing your 2nd level discovery, since you'd still qualify for extra discovery at 3rd level.


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blahpers wrote:


If the character concept matches the vanilla alchemist best, well, there you go.

There are too many archetypes that give up only the poison use ability, so any such vanilla Alchemist would have to value poison use very highly. That already makes the build super-niche, and at that point I'd be very inclined to take a poison-focused archetype that better enhances what would otherwise be an extremely lackluster offering. So yeah, I do see vanilla alchemist as something I just wouldn't use on a PC.

I've used it on NPC's, because they don't have to worry about bleeding money on consumables, but for PC's you need more than just poison use and poison immunity for it to be a good path for you.


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blahpers wrote:
Any of them. All of the base classes are fine.

I think there's an important distinction here. Even if the base class is just fine (which I'd agree is true for almost all classes) there is still very likely an archetype out there that would appeal slightly more than the base class. Going back to the Alchemist, the vanilla class is just fine, but for any given build there's going to be some archetype out there that's going to appeal more. It's not that vanilla is bad, it's just that there will always be something that you'll take over it for any given build.


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Derklord wrote:
It would be much faster to list the ones you would take without an archetype!

Pretty much everything that's a 9-level caster is extremely solid vanilla. Wizard and Sorcerer have one overpowered archetype each (Pact Wizard and Razmiran Priest respectively) that I personally would never avail myself of, and the rest are at best side-grades. Cleric can be a little bit bland vanilla, but it's incredibly solid and well-rounded. Druid and Oracle lack the blandness issue while still being excellent vanilla. Witch and Arcanist have some nice archetypes, but vanilla is a competitive option for both. Psychic has almost nothing published for it so vanilla is definitely the default now and forever. The Summoner is a pseudo-9-level caster, and it definitely has no need of an archetype. Even its best archetypes are merely side-grades on vanilla.

While most other classes have such a wealth of archetypes that there's almost certainly something that fits, I feel there's one that stands out for its merits as vanilla: the Fighter. It was basically unchained with the combination of Weapon Master's Handbook and Armor Master's Handbook, buffing the main Fighter class features massively and as a consequence also severely nerfing its existing archetypes. Only the very best archetypes remain viable, and those are pretty much just side-grades on vanilla.


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IsawaBrian wrote:
If I'm reading it right, that means that a character with Skeleton Summoner can use Summon Monster to summon the undead without it being an inherently evil act by spell type. Is that right?

Whether casting a spell counts as an evil act is strictly up to GM discretion. If you decide it's evil, then it's evil. If you decide it's not, then it's not. Alignment subtypes on spells are a rabbit's hole filled with loopholes, and if you want them to have any effect on a spellcaster's alignment then GM discretion is necessary.

In terms of actual game mechanics, the spell would not have an alignment subtype. The skeleton template removes any alignment subtype from the creature, and since the creature lacks an alignment subtype the spell also lacks it.

IsawaBrian wrote:
But if a neutral or even good spellcaster obtained this feat and used it towards good ends in the sense of fighting evil, then... not so sure.

If such a character exists in your game, then alignment subtypes on spells are best ignored entirely. Pathfinder rules ultimately presume free will on the part of all characters (PC and NPC) which means that forced alignment shifts can get really messy if the character in question doesn't play along with them. This is weird enough in the case of a morally-good wizard having an evil alignment due to spell choice, but the ramifications are world-changing if we have a morally-evil wizard who has a good alignment due to spell choice. In many ways, it feels a lot like the medieval notion of absolution, that you can sin freely so long as you pay for it. This is actually a really cool angle in some respects, but the resulting game would be a deconstruction of the standard alignment system and almost certainly not what you're looking for.

The best way to get strong thematic divides between good and evil spells is with a gentleman's accord. It's easy to pretend a line exists if everyone agrees not to straddle it. The moment someone does, though, it becomes messy.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Crossbows are only meaningful if you lack proficiency in bows or have special class features that make you better with them. If you don't have special class features and are proficient with bows, there is absolutely no point to using a crossbow.

There are some cool archetypes that are good with crossbows, the bolt ace being the most notable, but unless you're specifically seeking that out crossbows are backup weapons for characters who lack proficiency with regular bows.


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I've never used the Horror Adventure Fear or Sanity rules, so I can't comment on those.


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I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Empiricist yet. Whether it's on the boards or at my own table, I've never seen a non-Empirist Investigator.

I'm surprised to see so much discussion about the Alchemist. The Alchemist is a very versatile class that has a lot of different ways to build it. While there are plenty of amazingly good archetypes out there, they all focus on different aspects on the class. For a strength-based mutagen-focused alchemist you might say that Beastmorph is the default, but that would a silly selection for a Dex/Int focused bomb alchemist. Because the class can go in such wildly different directions, and the archetypes tend to be narrowly focused, I don't feel any can appropriately be said to be a default.


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Uqbarian wrote:

That is:

If the poison cup does have feathers, it is two cups to the right of a gold cup; conversely, if the poison cup does not have feathers, it is not two cups to the right of a gold cup.

Whereas the conditional reading is:
If the poison cup does have feathers, it is two cups to the right of a gold cup; this implies nothing about the case of the poison cup not having feathers.

But if we apply that same logic to clue #2 then the hippogriff cup fails and can't be the poison cup either.

"If the the poison cup does not have scales, then it has hooves; conversely, if the poison cup does have scales, then it does not have hooves"

Hippogriffs have the front claws of a bird of prey, which have scales, and the back legs of a horse, which have hooves.

The only possible solution I've come up with is that artistic depiction of the Unicorn cup only shows the upper body of the unicorn, without depicting its lower body and more importantly its hooves. Therefor it fails clue #2 because it doesn't have scales or hooves. That feels really contrived to me, though.


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That is one way to do it. The campaign leaves a lot of room for you to adjust this aspect to taste.

Spoiler:

The only thing that is necessary plot-wise is that the PC's spent the last few years in the service of Count Haserton Lowls. The people of Versex county remember them as the underlings of their evil Count, doing his dirty work. Ultimately they were betrayed by their boss, their minds sacrificed to a powerful entity in the dimension of dreams, leaving their bodies in the fugue state.

The default presumption is that 3-4 years ago the PC's had been captured by slavers and put up for auction in the flesh markets of Okeno. They were purchased by Count Haserton Lowls, who took them back to his home in Versex county and freed them. It was understood that they owed him a debt of service, but otherwise they were free retainers. In this time the PC's gradually drifted towards evil, under the influence of their morally bankrupt boss.

iirc there's some implication in book 6 that the player characters may in fact be entirely new souls that inherited the mind and bodies of the individuals who died in the dimension of dreams. Thematically it makes sense; Strange Aeons is really the story of fantasy adventure heroes waking up in the middle of a cosmic horror story. A proper cosmic horror story shouldn't have heroes who show up in the final act to confront the cosmic horrors and set things right, and the player characters are anomalies who don't really belong. I thought it was a clever way of bridging the genres, and having a literal demigod be confused by their existence in the final chapter was a nice touch.


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David knott 242 wrote:
Shocking Grasp damage is supposed to max out at 5d6. How was the magus able to bump that up to 7d6?

Intensified Spell Metamagic, usually combined with the Magical Lineage trait so it's still a 1st level spell. The extra +1 caster level may be coming from Mage's Tattoo (Evocation).

Anguish wrote:
This is a real problem. Since you're playing RoTR, it's safe to assume that the DM isn't home-building encounters. So all the suggestions to throw more/different challenges at the party aren't useful.

Completely disagree here; the entire point of having a GM, as opposed to just playing a video game, is that you have someone who can be responsive to the specific game unfolding at your table. Adjusting combat encounters to deliver the most satisfying experience is part of that job description.

I can understand if you're in organized play and have your hands tied, or if you're a novice GM still learning the ropes, but for an experienced GM making adjustments to an adventure is part of your job. You should have notes prepared for any combat encounters likely to occur in the the upcoming session, and making small adjustments is an normal part of this prep process that you can work into your pre-session routine.


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Val'bryn2 wrote:
How is he getting that AC? For Mage Armor to help, he can't be wearing armor. Cat's Grace and Shield combine to only a +6, and Shield doesn't last long.

Kensai gets Int-to-AC; it's not really that outlandish for his level, presuming a high point buy and optimized stat spread. Maybe something like this:

10 + 6 dex + 5 int + 4 armor + 4 shield + 1 deflection + 1 natural = 31 AC


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The way to handle the Magus damage spike isn't to use stronger monsters, but to use more monsters. The Magus has very limited daily resources and against weaker monsters his shocking grasp spike will simply overflow their HP and waste much of his potential. The Magus will still be a beast against boss enemies, but shouldn't completely dominate the field.

The harder thing to handle is actually his AC, since when fully-buffed he can pretty much ignore attacks from any monster below CR 6. The answer here is to fight fire with fire; the enemies should use buffs of their own to close the gap. They don't need that much of a bonus, just enough to make them credible threats; a 25% chance to hit is plenty if there are five or six of them.


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Kingsalad wrote:
Despite not being very good at creating undead, the occultist's necromancy resonant power doubles the HD of undead that you can control(if you're willing to put all your mental focus into it.) I've been thinking of making a necromancer with that but if you want to make cooler undead you'd need to mix it with undead lord cleric or juju oracle.

An appropriate necro of a thread about necromancy.

Occultist is a solid choice for necromancer. He gets access to animate dead and has a decent ability for boosting it, but doesn't have access to anything else of note. As far as 6-level casters go he's actually one of the better ones for this purpose. I'm not sure what you'd get out of dipping Oracle or Cleric; the Command Undead feat has a HD cap based on class level so if you're dipping it's completely useless.


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A Lamia Matriarch has +12 BAB, meaning when attacking with weapons or unarmed strikes she gets one attack at +12, one at +7, and one at +2 for three attacks total. Unarmed strikes are not natural attacks and do not use the rules for that.

However, her touch attack is not an unarmed strike, but a specific type of attack that is an alternative to her normal attacks. An unarmed strike would not gain the benefits of this, and would simply deal 1 point of wisdom drain on the first hit of any round as her regular attacks do.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
doc roc wrote:
Am I right in thinking from looking at the players guide for Strange Aeons that the 'Fugue State' starting point means that they can't recall the last 2-3 years of their lives but memories before that are OK?

How much or how little they can remember is up to you and how you want to run it as a GM. Personally I'd stick as close to blank slate as possible, and be open with my players about this from the outset. In particular, there's one important thing to keep in mind:

Spoiler:

The PC's were evil prior to being murdered in the dimension of dreams and falling into a fugue state. Not mustache-twirling villain evil, but more of your mundane "break your leg" street thug evil. A big part of the first half of the campaign is coming to terms with the fact that they may not actually like the person they used to be.


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Derklord wrote:
It's a badly designed, badly written class feature for Batman fanboys who are too stupid to find the disguise rules in the CRB.

While I agree that it's circumstantial and not applicable in most campaigns, it's one of the few 100% counters to scrying that exists at low levels. In the kinds of games where this can actually come up, this is incredibly useful.

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