Doll, Soulbound

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59 posts. Alias of James Bolton.

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To whichever one of you Paizo mad scientists it was that came up with the sensei archetype:

Thank you. Thank you very much.

I'm playing a level 4 qingong ki mystic sensei monk and loving it. It may be the most fun I've had playing a d20 game in years.


He has something meaningful to do (and sometimes more than just one thing) every single round regardless of where he is or where the bad guys are.


Anyone else this in love with an archetype or archetypes? Even if they aren't "optimal"?

I have played every iteration of D&D since 2nd and now play Pathfinder (quite fondly, I might add). I have been gifted a few 4e books and I leafed through them, but not extensively.

(I have the PHB 1, Forgotten Realms and one more I can't remember at the moment.)

Perhaps age is an obstacle here. I just don't find the books all that interesting and I'm not sure I see any changes that were all that needful but I'm reserving my opinion here until I can talk to someone who's played the game.

Is there something I'm missing?

I'd hate to waste gifted books.

This looks like something that may well have been addressed already, but here goes.

Can a level 2 titan mauler barbarian/level 1 magus use a great sword, falchion (or normally two-handed weapon) in one hand with spell combat?

So here's my question:

"The magus can use the athame as if he were fighting with two weapons, or can use that hand to cast spells as part of the spell combat class ability (but not both in the same round)."

I'm not sure this is the intent, but it seems like this basically gives you the TWF feat?

Does "...use the athame as if he were fighting with two weapons" mean that the character IS NOT fighting with two weapons but is still treated as such (i.e. gets an offhand attack at -2)?

Or is the intent: "now go take TWF so you can use your'e class ability ya sorry sob."

Does your game feature any of the alternate rules from UC?

I find the wounds, armor as DR and called shots rules intriguing, but I want to know how they affect the game before I actually spring them on my players...

There's been a lot of rulesy posts on here concerning UC, so I thought I'd invite anyone who has actually played a character with one of the new classes or archetypes to voice their opinions...

So to start it off...

One of my friends played a war-forged musket-toting gunslinger/druid with a monkey animal companion that (the DM) allowed to sit on his back and reload for him every round. I think his verdict was that the gunslinger was pretty stale though.

This is a group of adventurers for playtest scenarios that all use firearms.

It is definitely non-traditional and the charcters don't cover all of their bases (buff/heal, tank, skill-dude and control).

Notes: I don't care if they have 'the right' gp-worth of goodies. I don't care if they are implausible. I just care that the firearm rules get playtested with more than just the gunslinger.

So, without further ado...

The Four Musket-axe-ateers!

Pretentious Priscilla
Female Human Gunslinger 10

Str 25 (17, +2 racial, +2 level, +4 item)
Dex 12
Con 16 (14, +2 item)
Int 8
Wis 14
Cha 7

HP 123
AC (w/ buckler) 26
Fort +12
Ref +10
Will +9 (+3 vs. fear)
Grit 2
Initiative: +3

Feats: gunsmith, power attack, cleave, great cleave, toughness, heavy armor proficiency, iron will, weapon focus (musket axe), improved critical (musket axe)

Abilities: gunsmith, bravery +3, deeds, gun training (musket axe, pepperbox)

Relevent skills: acrobatics +14

Strength +4 item
Wisdom +2 item
+2 flamebursting musket axe (one that doesn?t blow up, apparently. I?m assuming for this test that the magic properties work on both the axe head and the muzzle)
MW pepperbox
50 paper cartridges
50 flare cartridges
+2 buckler
+2 full plate
+2 ring of protection
+2 cloak of resistance

(So? if a musket axe is considered a battle axe that means in melee he can use it with one hand, right? Normally it?s a two-handed weapon, so?
If he has a musket axe in hand and fires off a ranged attack, can he still make attacks of opportunity with it in melee that round if he forgoes his buckler?s protection? I?m going to assume ?yes, he can.?
This ?gunslinger? charges into melee, hacking away at foes she can hit and shooting and taking 5ft steps away from the things she can?t. She frequently blinds things.

Melee Attack: +20 (musket axe) 1d8+9+1d6 fire, 19-20x3+2d10 fire or w/ power attack +17 or w/ power attack and dual-wielding +17a (musket axe) 1d8+21+1d6 fire
Full Attack: +20/+15 (musket axe) or +20/+12 w/ power attack
Ranged attack: +14 (musket axe) 1d12+2+1d6 fire, 19-20x4+3d10 fire

YD, you are an inspiration to us all… or something.

Seriously though, you make this look easy - this took hours!


James’s showdown at the rhetorical and strangely void OK-45 foot Cube!

“The Kid”
Human Gunslinger 1/Rogue (swashbuckler) 9

Str 13
Dex 22 (+2 racial, +2 item, +2 level)
Con 14
Int 10
Wis 16 (+2 item)
Cha 7

Feats: Gunsmith, Rapid Reload, Deadly Aim, Rapid Shot, TWF, Improved TWF, *Dodge, *Mobility, Deft Shootist
Talents: Powerful Sneak (unused), Befuddling Strike (always used), *Combat Trick x2

2 +1 pepperboxes
2 pistols as backup weapons
100 flare cartridges
100 paper cartridges
+2 dex item
+2 wis item
+2 mithril chain shirt
ring of protection +1
cloak of resistance +2

and lots and lots of other stuff he can afford at that level (including a sideline cleric with the heal spells)…

HP 75 (10+9d8+20) (*note I'm not adding favored class bonuses...)
AC 24 (6 armor, 6 dex, 1 deflection, 1 dodge)
CMB +7
CMD 23
Fort 9
Ref 16
Will 8 (+3 vs. fear)
Initiative +6
3 Grit
Improved Uncanny Dodge
Daring +3 (acrobatics and saves vs. fear)

Relevent Skills: escape artist +19, acrobatics +22

Attack: +14 pepperbox (1d8+1), w/ DA +12 (1d8+5), w/ DA and SA (1d8+5+5d6)
Full Attack: +10/+5 pepperbox and +10/+5 pepperbox
Or W/ rapid shot: +8/+8/+3 pepperbox and +8/+3 pepperbox
And w/ DA: +6/+6/+1 pepperbox and +6/+1 pepperbox.

He can reload after each and every shot, so I’ll not document it unless I think I need to.

His big draw? He blinds his targets and full-attack sneak attacks the enemy’s touch AC until it goes down.

Combats, scaling from -2 CR to +2 CR if he makes it…

CR 8 Behir
CR 9 Nessian Hell Hound
CR 10 Rakshasa
CR 11 Cloud Giant
CR 12 Adult Green Dragon

45ft cube, combatants begin adjacent to a wall w/ equal distance to side walls.

CR 8 Behir

Round 1

The Kid goes first w/ a 16, the behir rolls 4

The kid takes a five-foot step up, burns a grit point on deadeye and fires a flare cartridge. He rolls a 30, hits for 2 damage and blinds the behir (who now has 103 remaining) The kid reloads a flare cartridge.

The behir moves forward 20ft.

Round 2

The Kid steps up 5ft, uses a full attack w/rapid shot.
First shot – 25, hits. 4 damage and blinds behir again. (behir has 99)
Second shot 17, hit. 17 damage w/ SA. (behir has 72)
Third shot is a threat, and confirms with 13. 37 damage. (behir has 35)
1st offhand shot hits, 27. 22 damage (behir has 15)
2nd offhand shot hits, 14. 20 damage.

The behir is dead. (As a side note, using befuddling strike on 4 SA’s gives the behir a -8 penalty on attack rolls for at least the next round, in addition to being blind…)

The Kid reloads a single flare cartridge and a bunch of normal shot.

*Too Easy - I was worried about grapple in this fight, but...

CR 9 Nissian Hell Hound

Round 1

The hound wins initiative with a 24, The Kid got 16

The hound moves 20ft and uses breath weapon. The Kid saves (29) and takes no damage.

The Kid makes a full attack w/ rapid shot.

First shot (flare cartridge) hits (27), blinding the hound and doing 7 dmg.

(the hound has 119 remaining)

Second shot hits (14) for 27 dmg. (hound has 92)
Third shot hits (10) for 31 dmg. (hound has 61)
1st offhand hits (17) for 15 dmg. (hound has 46)
2nd offhand hits (16) for 23 dmg. (hound has 23)

The hound also takes a -8 penalty for (1d4 rounds) to attacks and is blind for 1 round.

Round 2

The hound moves into melee and bites blindly, missing (on a 17).

The kid makes a full attack w/out rapid shot.

First shot (flare cartridge, again) is a threat, confirmed with a roll of 16. 11 damage.

(The hound has 12 HP remaining.)

The Kid’s second shot is a hit (15) for only 10 damage. (hound has 2)
1st offhand threats (24 confirms) for 42 damage. (hound is -40)

The hound dies and The Kid reloads, again loading a single flare cartridge and again suffering no damage this round.

*Again, too easy.

CR 10 Rakshasa

The kid rolls 22 initiative. The rakshasa only rolled 19.

Round 1

The kid steps forward 5ft, uses deadeye (2 grit left) and fires off flare cartridge.

That shot barely hits (because it hits touch AC) on a roll of 17. The shot deals no damage, but blinds the rakshasa for 1 round.

The rakshasa uses detect thoughts to find the gunslinger as a free action, but The Kid saves (19).

The rakshasa then casts invisibility and moves forward 35ft toward where he remembered The Kid standing.

Round 2

The kid delays.

The rakshasa takes a 5ft step into melee and takes a full-round of melee attacks.
The first kukri attack misses (16)
The second kukri attack is a threat that confirms (31). The Kid takes 15 damage.
The claw is a miss (14)
And the bite hits (28) and does 5 damage.

The kid is down to 55hp.

The kid takes a full round of attacks, using rapid shot and dead aim.
First shot (flare cartridge) hits on an 18. No damage, but the rakshasa is blind.
The second shot hits (14). He does 22 damage after DR.
The third shot threats and confirms (12). The rakshasa takes 47 damage after DR.
1st offhand shot misses (8).
2nd offhand shot misses (4).

So rakshasa is blind, has a -4 to hit next round and has 46hp remaining and the kid has 55.

Round 3

The kid takes a full round of attacks, again with rapid shot and dead aim.

First Shot (flare cartridge) hits w/ 22. No damage, but the rakshasa is blind.
Second Shot hits (24) and does 20 damage after DR. (rakshasa has 26 left)
Third Shot hits (15) and does 12 damage after DR. (rakshasa has 14)
1st offhand hits (16) and does 11 damage after DR. (rakshasa has 3)
2nd offhand misses (4) misfiring as well!

The rakshasa detects thoughts.
He then full attacks.

First kukri attack beats miss chance but misses (18).
Second kukri misses due to blind.
Claw misses, blind.
Bite misses due to befuddling strike.

Round 4

The kid repeats his full round of attacks w/ rapid shot and dead aim.
First shot (flare) is a miss (11). Wow. I guess he reloads another and fires…
His second shot (flare) is also a big miss (16). Reload flare.
Third shot hits (21) and blinds but does no damage.
1st offhand hits (12) and does 7 damage after DR – enough to drop the rakshasa.

The rakshasa goes down, The Kid fixes his gun and reloads. He pops a couple of potions and is back to full. Back to 3 grit again…

*This was actually kind of challenging. Not surprisingly, one of the problematic things with The Kid is that with this build (and a lot of other TWF builds) DR is a big deal. The Kid’s total damage output before DR is almost as much as the rakshasa’s max hp. Also, the build counts on enemies having a lot less Touch AC than normal AC – which is still the case here. Rakshasa’s have a 25 AC, and only a 16 Touch AC, but that is still a problem for this build when The Kid full attacks.

CR 11 Cloud Giant

The Kid rolls 23 for initiative. The giant gets 13.

Round 1

The Kid uses deadey and fires a single flare cartridge using DA. (2 grit left)
21 hits. It does 11 damage and the giant is blind.

The Kid then moves 20ft to right.

The giant casts fog cloud directly in front of himself.

Round 2

The Kid delays.

The giant exits walks forward through the cloud (25ft to the center of the cube floor) and chucks a handy dandy boulder at The Kid, missing. (17)

The Kid takes a five foot step toward the giant (now 20ft away) and opens fire – full attack with rapid shot (but not DA).

First shot (flare cartridge) hits (15) and does 4 dmg, blinding the cloud giant.
(giant has 157 left)
Second shot hits (25) and does 30 dmg. (giant has 127)
Third shot hits (20) and does 24 dmg. (giant has 103)
1st offhand (23) and does 29 dmg. (giant has 74 left)
2nd offhand misfires! (natural 1)

Round 3

The Kid spends a grit fixing his gun as a move action. He then fires another flare at the giant, which hits (19) and does 21 damage (and, I assume) extending the giant’s blindness.

The giant takes a five-foot step into melee range (at least for him) and full attacks.
The giant misses due to concealment on the first attack.
The giant hits (30) doing 33 damage to The Kid. (The Kid has 42 left)
The giant misses (23) just barely on the last attack. Befuddling strike was a life-saver.

Round 4

The Kid take a five-foot step back and opens the barrage – full attack w/ rapid shot and deadly aim.
The first shot hits (24) with a flare cartridge. It does 7 damage and blinds the cloud giant yet again. (giant has 67 remaining hp)
The second shot hits (24 again) and does 25 damage (giant has 42)
The third shot hits (16) and does 22 damage (giant has 20)
1st offhand hits (11) and does 32 damage, dropping the cloud giant.

The Kid reloads, heals to full (thanks insubstantial level 10 cleric of the cube!) and goes back to 2 grit thanks to the holy cloud giant.

*Thoughts about cloud giants – they hit hard. They’re also the best kinds of targets for The Kid – almost unmissable – but probably instant death if he gets hit with more than one attack. Make no mistake – The Kid is no tank. I really dig befuddling strike.

CR 12 Adult Green Dragon

The Kid rolls 9 (natural 3) on initiative, but the dragon actually rolled a 2. And I thought this would be a quick kill…

Round 1

The Kid opens with deadeye on a flash cartridge shot. 30 hits. 4 damage and blind. The dragon has ONLY 168hp… The Kid then moves forward 20ft and reloads that flash cartridge.

The dragon doesn’t really need his eyes… he uses his breath weapon. The Kid fails. (DC 22, he rolled a 5+16=21) He takes 50 acid damage.

Round 2

The Kid full attacks with rapid shot and DA.
Fist shot hits (13) and does 5 damage.
Second shot hits (13) and does 27 damage.
Third shot misses (8).
1st offhand hits (23) and does 33 damage.
2nd offhand hits (18) and does 35 damage. The dragon has only 66hp left.

(Added up, this round saw the gunslinger/rogue drop 102 damage on a dragon in one round. Methinks the level of dragon wouldn’t matter much, either…)

(Weird. I rolled 3 8s and 2 18s this round…)

The dragon flyby attacks using power attack. 27 hits. The Kid takes 36 damage. So… yeah, he’s dead, and probably eaten by now.

Those pepperboxes will look nice in the dragon’s hoard though.

Just some thoughts...

So the consensus I'm seeing is that rogues are underpowered in combat compared to their ninja cousins (that is, the FIRST ROUND playtest ninja cousins). Which may or may not be a valid argument, as those issues seem to stem more from the ninja's ability to manipulate visibility - thereby allowing him to skirt about the battlefield and then pump out a flurry of shurikens with tons of SA dice than anything else, and really, the rogue should probably be able to manipulate visibility as well (and they can for a steeper price).

I see the issue as a ki point problem and an availability problem (for the rogue), not an ability balancing problem.

Maybe turning all of these ninja tricks into 1/day rogue talents and then adding the following or something akin to it to the ninja's ki pool description could help alleviate that:

The ninja can expend ki points to activate a once per day rogue talent that she has already expended. Only certain talents can be used in this way and each of those has a point cost associated with it as seen on table x.

Then the real trick would be assigning enough points to the really good abilities.

Honestly, a lot of these are very iconic abilities and I would hate to see them removed.

Though I do think that the capstone ability is too good and I also think light steps should be a trick instead of a class ability...

And this is a combat handbook for all classes, right?

I'm assuming combat savvy rogue talents will be included as well?

I'm sure the paizo team would not neglect them.

I've seen lots of inflammatory threads that bash the rogue's capabilities and so far, I've frankly been unimpressed with people's arguments that rogues are no longer viable characters. But most of my group's sneaky dudes have been anything but rogues lately, and that, as a DM, has finally drawn my attention to the possibility.

The idea that the rogue isn't as good at sneaking as any of the other classes has come up as well.

So, in light of our playtest's ninja character, I've decided to look at the infiltration ability of the ninja versus that of the rogue on at least a somewhat level-to-level, apples-to-apples basis.

I'm using a halfling ninja/rogue with 18 Dex and 16 Cha.

So here goes:

Level 1
The halfling ninja and the halfing rogue each have a +15 on stealth checks. (4 dex, 4 size, 4 class skill, 3 from skill focus) They can each sneak about as long as they have something/someone to hide behind almost all of the time without being seen by anyone.

Level 2
They now have a +16 stealth.


Now the ninja can go invisible as a swift action x times/day. This means that the ninja can effectively be seen during a stealth attempt and then hide in plain sight (a level 8 assassin ability that rogues cannot get anymore) and continue on his merry way essentially without even rolling a die.

What's more is that if the ninja needs to get away from something quickly, he can spend another ki point to move +20 feet per move action or +40 feet on a double move all the while never worrying about penalties because of speed.

The rogue, not to be outdone, takes the Fast Stealth talent. Now he no longer has to worry about penalties either, but he still has to stick to the corners of rooms, shadowy hallways, etc. and he still only moves up to 40ft on a double move. He still has to worry about rolling a 1.

Level 10
The twins now have a +38 on stealth checks (6 dex, 4 size, 13 class skill, 6 Skill Focus, 4 from Stealthy and 5 from magic).

The ninja picks up Invisible Blade.

The rogue has picked up Skill Mastery (which means he has a 48 at all times).

But he STILL has to have something to hide behind and finding something to hide behind still requires at least his move actions if not his standard... which means this rogue, by himself, will only be able to use sneak attack every other round, and then only on one attack due to having to move to hide.

Both of these guys must be good looking because they're so hard to see.

But the ninja can afford to roll a 1. He can still hide in the middle of a lit room on a sunny day in the middle of summer in Heaven. And he can still sneak attack virtually every round due to his ability to not need to spend actions to sneak or position himself without the need for a flanking buddy.

As an infiltrator, the ninja can waltz down lit corridors in Heaven and not have to worry about bumping into guards.

The rogue is really, really good at hiding behind cover, but he couldn't dream of doing the kinds of things the ninja could even once a day.

I'll stop right there. The bonuses keep going up, but the circumstantial bonus from invisibility/improved invisibility is so potent that the rogue can't keep up.

I know that sneak attack is a lot less circumstantial than it used to be thanks to the fewer numbers of creatures with immunity. But ACTUALLY SNEAKING is something that rogues should be able to do at least just as well as their ninja/arcane trickster/shadow dancer/ranger/assassin/monk/bard/wizard/sorcerer/inquisitor/alchemist buddies.

Heck, even the fighter loses his armor check penalties and with skill focus and max ranks is just about as good as the rogue at sneaking around. (In fact, a fighter and any other class that puts ranks in sneak and takes just 1 level of shadow dancer is much better at sneaking than the rogue.)

So here's my two-fold suggestion:

If, we:

give the rogue HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT as a normal talent



then they might just be balanced against each other as far as their actual ability to sneak around.

Although, I'm still not sure that would completely do it.

I'm not really sure what the V-day deadline on this round of playtesting effectively means...

We're probably going to continue playing tonight... so... should I post it?


Is it a waste of time at this point to keep fielding characters from the first round?

Forgot one thing: the ninja ran out of ki on the last fight of the night, severely limiting his usefulness. (He threw shurikens and shot his crossbow for the rest of the fight, hiding behind the magus's 'grease' effect on the ground, away from the two ogres and the anti-paladin.

He tried to use at least one point per encounter and there were 5 encounters and honestly, would not have been nearly as effective without the extra ki feat - which essentially meant two to four extra sneak attacks for him.

OK. Spotted an error.

In the tatzlewyrm fight, the samurai was down after taking 18 hp, used resolve to stay up, then offed the wyrm...

That thing was mean....

I've been seeing quite a lot of chatter about how feat-starved the gunslinger is.

The class essentially gives out feats like a 3/4 base attack bonus (compared to the base fighter's 1-1 feat to level ratio). 3 levels of feats, 1 no feat, repeat... So is the problem more about when those feats become available?

I was also wondering if anyone thought it would be game-breaking to just give the gunslinger all those grit deed feats (minus extra grit) along with his normal deeds? That would probably take care of some of the feat-tax.

Any thoughts?

I've played Iron Kingdoms. I've looked at a lot of other d20 mechanics for guns.
In every one, guns have a high crit damage and a low crit chance. (In many of these rules guns deal two dice of damage on a hit, too!)


Because in all those games precision damage and damage from lots of magical sources were meant to addend the dice from those guns, and those guns have to hit AC like every other weapon in the game.

If we are going to have a 1/1 base attack scaling class that uses nothing but guns that hit touch AC (meaning he'll almost always hit), whose sole hope of obtaining a reasonable damage output is scoring a crit, why not give the darn thing an 18-20 threat range?

Making the gunslinger the king of crit sort of works thematically too. Duels to the death usually only resulted in one shot being fired, right?