I've been running (and playing) these games since ... 2004? Started with 3.0E D&D and moved to Pathfinder after the 4E kickoff. I can still count on a single hand how many games that I've DM-ed that have sputtered out before 10th level (I've had a few more fall away around level 13 and 14). I have been a player in about a dozen games that didn't quite make it there. I am not counting short adventures where we never planned for, or expected, to reach level 20 (those are 'filler' games).
For the most part, the games I run make it to level 20 and beyond, if the interest is still there to play those characters. I am currently running a Gestalt/Mythic game in my own homebrew setting with a fairly robust houserule system (mostly from Unchained) and hardly any 3rd party material. Players are 14th level and mythic tier 7.
If you are taking Shield Focus, Unhindering Shield should be on your radar. It will let you shift back and forth between one handing your weapon and two-handing it, while keeping your buckler AC bonus. Also, if you go with that, consider Upsetting Shield Style and shield bashing people to debuff their attack. I've also looked at taking Missile Shield in combination with the two above feats to deal with pesky archers.
Interesting. I hadn't ever seen that particular video before (sound is waaaaaay too quiet, had to crank my speakers to max to hear anything). Seems to be mostly an introduction to the Crossblooded archetype in general.
I was toying around with the idea of a Crossblooded Sorcerer using those bloodlines about the same time as the video was posted but didn't post my particular build until December of the same year, after I had refined the idea a bit. Good ideas seem to be almost universal, eh?
But, back on topic... For stand alone bloodlines (ie, no crossblooded), I liked Verdant when I fist started playing. That built in 'ring of sustenance' effect is amazing. Sure, its overshadowed later on with wealth, but you never actually have to use up a ring slot for it.
I think I watched a YouTube video that talked about the Crossblooded archetype using those two Bloodlines as an example - did you by chance make that video or is it just a common combination?
No. I haven't made any videos. I am curious as to how old that video is, though. I have no idea of how common the combination is. I've made a few posts about a build that uses Arcanist, Wizard, and Sorcerer (all at once) with those bloodlines on these forums but it never seemed to garner much attention. After seeing it in play, it is by far my favorite 'pure caster type' build I've ever used.
Using the shield purely for defense would raise your chance to hit to 50% with the Axe (and only for CR 5 moderate AC). Better, but to me that is still too low. Anything less than 60% just doesn't feel right to me.
Slayer might be the better option, even if you don't go TWF. The Studied target will help with accuracy and damage (sneak attack too). The Slayer even gets access to Ranger combat styles, which will eventually completely negate your TWF penalties if you get Shield Master.
Depending on what flavor of character you are going for, I might recommend the Viking (Fighter) archetype. You get some nifty shield-focused abilities, more rage, fighter feats, and can opt to take rage powers instead of fighter feats after class level 6.
CR 5 (Moderate AC) = AC 21
You'd need to roll a 15 (axe) or 17 (shield) or better to hit your target. It gets worse from there.
Likelihood of hitting your target? Bad. 30% with your Axe, 20% with your Shield. This character needs to be more optimized to perform adequately, let alone well.
Great example is how many people IRL get overly attached to the idea of succubus and wouldn't mind getting charmed. While others would feel utherly violated.
The magnitude of intensity of the sheer animosity I would feel would eclipse the yearly energy output of the sun. That might put it into context for anyone not acutely aware of how some people treasure their autonomy and free action. I don't expect I am unique in that level of reaction either, so I do not let it go unrepresented in the games I run. Be careful with those level 1 commoners. You manipulate the wrong one and they will find a way to ruin you.
I generally don't mind how other's imagine my character. The fact that they even have a mental image of the character is more than enough for me.
As for how I handle the communication of the character's appearance, I generally tend to find a piece of artwork that I like and use it as a basis for designing the aesthetics of the character. That way, 99% of the work is already done and it helps me pick flavorful options that suite the character better. If I cannot find a suitable picture, I am not slouch when it comes to describing them with words, but many people just don't seem to have the willingness (or ability) to read through a few paragraphs.
Rogue: Unchained is an upgrade in just about every way. There are very few rogue tricks that are just 'better' then their unchained counterparts, but it takes a very specific kind of build to make use of them.
I handle compulsion spells like I do with manipulation attempts in real life, with an increasing level of hostility towards the source of the attempt, all dependent on how invasive the attempt was. Though Necromany (ie, messing with undeath) is still seen as the most horrific thing that you can do, as it interferes with natural process of life and a soul's journey. Your mileage may vary from mine.
For example: Suggestion as a spell is about as harmless as a fairly targeted advertisement on television (or in your social media). Annoying, but if you were already reasonably likely to engage in the activity, its not the worst of things. Though, that can vary wildly depending on just what kind of things you'd find 'reasonable' or not. You are not overriding their free will.
Command spell? That's assault. You are hi-jacking their autonomy. Perhaps it is justified in combat. Outside of it? Yeah, people are going to get pretty hostile fairly quickly.
Charm? Yeah, that person is going to despise you if they ever figure out you've mentally manipulated them like that.
We haven't even gotten out of the 1st level spells and this is the kind of results you can expect from my games.
Counter-Nitpick: Shaman was aware of the party getting ready to kick in the door and gets a surprise round, which he uses to ready an action (how the shaman knew isn't relevant). Nowhere was it stated that the PCs knew anything was beyond the door, only that their actions occurred on round 1.
That aside, no general statement is going to withstand universal scrutiny in a system where no one is aware of all the factors except for the GM, and being overly critical of a specific scenario that was never described to be a universal solution to all scenarios is an exercise in futility.
You experience a strong gust of wind that blows all your arrows back in your direction and they clatter all over the floor below you. The Windwall spell the Shaman had cast in response to the door opening prevents your ranged attacks from being effective. It also looks like they are about to start casting another spell... Roll initiative. [Use spells to help minimize the effects of ranged attacks]
Alternatively: You see the subject of your smite evil attempt riddled with enough arrows to down an rampaging elephant but still standing despite the grievous wounds inflicted upon it. Oddly, several of the surrounding enemies bear wounds that offer a striking resemblance to the wounds of your target, yet lack any signs of the arrows to cause them. The nearby shaman lifts their holy symbol in the air and releases a burst of healing energy that knits together the majority of the wounds shared by the group of enemies. [Sharing HP/damage through spells like Shield other and then healing through channel energy is very effective]
I think the idea that something has to be 'super effective' for a few combats a day is a bit ... silly. That they can be super effective at all is something to be admired. Save it for the boss fights. Most CR equivalent fights can be handled without the expenditure of a single spell at the lower levels.
Personally, I don't usually bother with a point by point evaluation between classes unless there is a specific niche or focus that you trying to look at between the two classes. Ie, which class can be better suited for a specific concept or specific overall intention. The classes (and archetypes available) are complex enough that you will never settle on an objective scale to weigh them properly in all situations.
A Warpriest fills a niche that falls between the Cleric and the Paladin (Cleric -> Warpriest -> Paladin -> Fighter).
If it was me... I'd opt for a Shaman of some sort.
Based on the locations often visited in that adventure path, perhaps a Shaman with the Waves Spirit.
If we wanted to get crazy, a Deep Shaman Witch Doctor with the Waves Spirit (primary) and the Life Spirit (wandering). I'd focus on Fluid Magic and Crashing Waves as my Waves hexes, Channel Energy with my Life wandering spirit, and pick up Benthic Spell to turn most of my spells into water spells (that deal bludgeoning damage to ignore energy resistance), knock them down prone if they fail a saving throw, and tack of Magical Lineage trait with the Pale Flame spell so that you can throw ranged touch attacks without increasing the spell level.
Cherry pick the Cleric spells you want with favored class bonuses if that is an option. I'd probably pick half-elf so that you can take spells and increase the range of some of your hexes. Maybe pick up Protective Luck and Chant as hexes so you have something to do to protect your allies from attacks when you want to save spells.
Oh, yikes. I've been gaming long enough that the ebb and flow between real life and the game world seems like a natural transition, as easy as breathing (I don't notice it until I actively pay attention to it). It is very similar to the feeling of finishing a very good book, or video game, and having to put it down.
I suppose the closest I come to a ritual or process is a general basking in the glow of a story well lived, admiring the struggles and achievements of the character/group, while I go about my more mundane tasks.
As far as signaling the end of the session... Well, that's the time of the night. As a GM, I pay fairly close attention to the clock and make sure that I'm winding down the events of the session in a way to make the break seem like its a natural transition in the story. Sometimes, we have to end of a cliff hanger and that can leave the group figuratively biting their nails and trying to come up with ways to get out of the situation. I enjoy watching them squirm at those moments. For me, I simply put the cliff hanger in its specially prepared 'box' in my mental space and don't touch it until prepping for the next session.
Maybe overly simplifying the answer here but... A Paladin can do ANYTHING 'for the greater good' and still retain their powers, EXCEPT performing an Evil action. And if they do things that 'grossly violate' their oaths, they might find themselves cut off from their power anyway. Gross violations is a fluid and not-fully-defined level of action, as it should be. Paladins CAN lie, they CAN cheat, they CAN steal, etc, etc. Their oaths (and their own beliefs) make them opposed to doing so. At the very least, a Paladin should be morally conflicted after engaging in such behavior and seek to atone (if not mechanically, but narratively). If they are not conflicted with such behavior, this indicates a potential shift in their core alignment and might be a more serious issue to tackle.
One thing to remember is that D&D does not get into the complexities of real world morality to the extent some people like. Doing Evil in the name (or pursuit) of a 'greater' good is still Evil, and your Paladin will lose their powers. Their path is a narrow one and it is HARD to stay balanced on it.
I thought about replying but realized that it was eventually going to turn into a back and forth about the reasons for doing the thing and nitpicks from others about the why, and the unfairness of it because issue 'X' isn't dealt with, or you could do 'Y' to resolve the issue too. So, I won't get into the specific things that I frown on.
I stick pretty closely to 1st party material, so I don't have to deal with the 3rd party nonsense. My players are aware that they are going to get as good as they give. If they want an arms race, they will get one. If they are capable of nuking a single mob with ranged weapons in a single round, the same potential exists to happen to them. To help offset this, I let them play around with some hero points.
Honestly ... I've watched a bit too much anime at this point in which to offer really helpful advice in this regard.
Just kidding. No such thing as too much anime. Just too little time.
Anyway, I'd play a budding romance off of the dutiful nature of the Paladin and the gregarious/whimsical nature of the dragon that has assumed a more servant role (ie, willingly submitting to a kind of lawful role as a servant). Treat it a bit like the 'no fraternization' rule that is present in the military, but have moments where the line is skirted until the year and a day is up. The dragon should very well be the instigator of those moments, just to test the Paladin's resolve and strength of character, though more than willing to go along if the Paladin caves. It is all about the tease, the bait, the switch, and the snatching away of the ideal moment.
Secondly, have her stubbornly remain in her half-elf form regardless of the circumstances, unwilling to submit her actual dragon powers to those of the mortals until they have actually earned her favor (or, in the Paladin's case, heart).
As far as plot points go, I might start her out as a bit too over protective of the Paladin, and overly eager to dote on him. Quick to step in front of those who publicly speak down to him and maybe over zealously react with her above-human level of strength... That should result in the Paladin attempting to reign in the protective behavior a bit. After that, I'd probably have enemy NPCs start taking notice of the 'civilian' the Paladin keeps hauling around with him and attempt (at least once) to use her against him, though they fail horribly because .. dragon. Still, it will get the Paladin to develop more of a bond with the dragon because there is a more personal tie between them.
Hmm, missed that in the title (haha).
As for Furious Spell, I'd toss it on any spell you intend to deal damage with (you should always have a ranged option available), like Call Lightning, Produce Flame, Pale Flame, etc, etc. And, any spells you might want to cast in the middle of combat but are not something you'd cast every fight, and something you don't want to drop out of rage for. Like Wind Wall to deal with enemy ranged characters.
I'd recommend starting with a 16 wisdom, rather than 14, as you'll have to devote every ability score increase to wisdom to eventually catch up with you casting progression, and even rely on stat boosting items to break even until level 20. Even with studied target, you don't want your spell DC's to lag too far behind the curve.
I have a solution for the 'no spells when raging' issue, though it will require some feat investment and a class level dip (or more feats). Where are you getting your ability to rage from?
Raging Blood will allow you to mimic the Bloodrage class feature for a certain number of rounds per day. This requires a level dip in Sorcerer, or the feat Eldritch Heritage (which requires Skill Focus or similar).
Mad Magic let you cast spells while in a bloodrage, regardless of their source.
Alternatively, you could just use Furious Spell (metamagic) to prep the spells with a higher spell slot and maintain your ability to cast them while raging. This might be the best option for you.
I don't use 3rd party materials, so I can't help you with Spheres content, but I am currently running a homebrew campaign where the characters are level 14 gestalt and mythic tier 6, with plans on easily reaching level 20 and mythic tier 10 (we've been playing at least a year). This is the fourth iteration of the campaign I've run with a different group of players, and the majority of them have reached this level (the first round went to level 26 and I used modified 3e D&D rules for epic levels to handle that).
Reaching high level play is, I'll admit, a rarity for MOST people. Not for me, as I'll keep elevating those players as long as they hold interest in the game.
The rules I use are mostly 1st party Pathfinder content, fractional BAB/Saves, background skills, unchained action economy (kept swift actions), and tweaks to the way cantrips works to keep them relevant. I pulled Magic of the Incarnum from 3.e D&D into the game, but the players rarely use it so it is more of a GM tool.
Stating up Monsters is fairly easy for myself, as slapping the Advanced Template on the critters twice and maxing out their HP (players get the same maxed HP as well, so fair is fair) is more than enough to turn a monster into a challenge, once you've given them at least one mythic rank as well.
I've also got a separate subsystem of quasi-mythic powers that I make use of that the players chose not to engage with this time around (the choice of this or mythic, not both). I put a lot of thought and lore behind that particular subsystem and it is present in the world regardless of whether the players want to make use of it or not, as they serve an integral plot points.
Its perfectly fine, you just have to do the math. Let's go with the character with the LEAST amount of HP at level 1. 6 HP wizard (or insert squishy) with 10 CON.
The average damage a fireball does at 5th level is 17.5, let's round up to 18. The first 6 HP is nonlethal, so we are down to 12 damage that is directly lethal to the character. This brings their actual HP down (from 6) to -6, still alive with a few point to work around.
An average adventurer that takes their survival seriously is not simply going to to have 10 CON, or the bare minimum HP. Then you factor in the potential for them to make their reflex saving throw. If you need to fudge the situation just a bit to keep the squishy wizard alive because "reasons", give them some cover bonus to their saving throw to take half damage.
I guess the question is if the "source" is still fire, since the spell is still a fire spell, even if it does no fire damage.
Those are some dangerous threads to pick at, with a lot of unforeseen consequences that will upend a lot of existing mechanics with the implications. It is best to leave it that particular matter alone, and leave the 'completely immune to everything fire-based' to monsters that have specific immunity to [Fire] spells called out.
How does that interact with immunity? If a creature is immune to fire and the benthic fireball is all bludgeoning, but still fire subtype? Is the fire immune creature immune to the bludgeoning from the spell too?
It doesn't interact with immunity at all, unless some of the damage from the spell is left as fire damage. Fire immunity only makes you immune to fire damage, not [Fire] spells. If they were immune to [Fire] spells, it would be specifically called out.
Matthew Morris wrote:
This always bugs me. Detect evil would pick up a 6 year old wanting to take his brother's candy. "Creatures with actively evil intents count as evil creatures for the purpose of this spell." It shouldn't be a license to kill.
No, it wouldn't. Detect Evil has the same stipulations that Detect Magic does. Until you are 5 HD or more (or an actual cleric with an aura), you aren't registering at all on the detect 'alignment' scale. So many people seem to overlook this mechanic that I am still flabbergasted that I can still be surprised by this.
This is the reason why so much petty and minor evils go around unnoticed by the Paladins of the realm. People are simply too low level in many of the areas in which they exist to register on the radar.
The Focusing Glove is a 3rd party magic item, so I can't really comment on its usefulness.
I've been tweaking the Havocker build for a little bit and it's not something that evokes a huge "OMG WOW!" reaction. It merely gives the Witch the option to trade out their hex versatility to pick up reliable blasting capability. You'll likely get better results just using their damage dealing spells every round, but you can always fall back on the kinetic blast when you don't want to use any resources, or you find a neat little niche to fit yourself in (such as the venomous dispelling ball of flame I mentioned earlier).
I'll try to finish it up and post it.
Considering some of the modifiers that effect your score can vary given time (such as moving around a lot), it would reason that an alignment change is going to be reflected in that score as well. Your leadership score is, in so many ways, a summary of what others think of you and how well you are able to use that to attract followers.
Aberrations encompass a huge pot of potential origins: "An aberration has a bizarre anatomy, strange abilities, an alien mindset, or any combination of the three." It is pretty much a catch-all for 'what the hell is that!?' kind of monsters that don't really fit in elsewhere, and are still 'living'.
Personally, I have my own homebrew that draws on the fiction than came before and heavily influenced by view on the subject matter. There are two 'kinds' of aberrations in my setting; those that have mutated from something that is natural to the universe as a whole and those that have come from outside of it. The former is like a cancer cell and the later as a foreign invader that has infected the cell and caused it to reproduce itself (like a virus). Functionally, they fit the same role but one is vastly more 'alien' than the other.
When I say from 'outside the universe', I am not speaking of just coming from the Outer Planes, but from beyond even them, in a place that the gods do not venture. Not because they cannot, but because the rules out there do not operate the same as within their bubble universe and whatever protections they have as deities within do not protect them out there. The buffer between out there and in here is the Abyss itself, which is more vast then what we can even imagine and is more akin to a cell wall that keeps everything contained while being exceedingly hostile to what lays outside. Not that most are even aware of this function outside of very powerful and very older deities, of course.
Anyway, back to the critters in question. The native aberrations are generally trying to do what they've always done, survive and thrive and hope their forms are stable enough to allow them to do so. The foreign aberrations? Well, they are present in a universe that is quite different than their own, that operates on different rules, and it is driving them mad (to a degree). They are hungry, irritable, unstable, frustrated, and never comfortable. Those that get a hang of existing in the universe end up as powerful beings (like mindflayers or aboleths), with their own goals of importing more like them into the universe and conquering it.
Alternatively, you could use Sorcerer variant multiclass but the wings dont come online until 15th level and you trade off half your feats. But, it does come out about ahead in overall feat expenditure (No need for Skill Focus, Eldritch Heritage, 2x Improved Eldritch Heritage, or Greater Eldritch Heritage) and you get a bloodline feat to boot.
Oh, they rarely surrender and when they do get the idea that its probably better to not fight, they usually just bugger off and don't mess with the group again. I have yet to actually have to capture and restrain any of the enemies, unless we are literally heading directly to turn them in to the authorities. He's managed to talk down an almost literal swarm of tooth fairies from absconding with the party's teeth because 1) he doesn't have any and 2) he might know where they can get a whole lot of other teeth without the hassle of fighting for it.
I think you misunderstand his motivations. He is OLD (venerable, specifically), and the fatigue alone from combat encounters (ie, rage fatigue) usually ends up with him having 8 STR and 8 DEX for a full minute after the hostilities end. He can fight, and fight exceedingly well, but he believes things are much better handled (in the end) through conversation and discourse since everyone is still around to make better decisions and grow as individuals. That might not be best suited for how people typically play this game, but it is still a very interesting method to approach the roleplaying aspect of his existence within the world.
Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
On the flip side, I have YET to see ANY PC in over a decade of PF1 games take prisoners among the foes they're fighting. I'm not exaggerating. PCs might ACCEPT surrender, but they never seek it ever unless their class DEMANDS that they do, and if they're forced to accept a foe's surrender their prisoners are either executed after their usefulness is at an end or those prisoners are banished. Also it is likely that, by the time prisoners are released there's no mechanical way they could overpower the PCs anyway.
That's a shame. Maybe I should introduce you to my Tyrant's Grasp character, Kaius Ironstaff. He's often demanded the surrender of his enemies, or offered them the chance to quit while they are ahead. Why? He's just so damn old that its a little boring to engage in fisticuffs with the help and takes so much effort to settle disagreements with your fists. But if you are really eager to learn the hard way, well, he'll roll up his long sleeves and show you the meaning of "I ain't as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was."
My immediate answer is: No. My answer after a bit more thought is: Hell no. There is nothing 'comfortable' in handing over your ability to defend yourself (no matter how outmatched you are) into the hands of someone you perceive as your enemy, and how (for all intents and purposes) might be on the opposite end of the alignment spectrum and prone to considering (and performing) all manner of unmentionable atrocities to you. Better death and a suitable afterlife than that.
Perhaps that doesn't sound like a great way to tell a story through capture and whatever else the GM had in mind but, meh. Though, that all is assuming a general adherence to the GOOD end of the alignment spectrum and dealing with the EVIL end. There is more middle ground and shades of grey. If the party is more neutral or evil, they might find it better to surrender to forces that aren't known to deal in such methods, if they were wanted for crimes or the like.
Perhaps it is just me and the unwavering blaze of freedom that burns in my soul.