Kestoglyr Mantiel

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I presume when you already have it, you'll run the Beginner Box first, which should teach the basics to both you and the players. My tips are mostly for the following campaign.

● Use Combat Manager (discussion thread here). I'm using that program and I honestly don't know how I would be able to GM without it. A library of not only monsters (with templates addable), including all the ones from your APs, but also feats, spells, and rules. I've made characters for my PCs so I can roll stuff like perception without my players noticing. I also use the initiative roller, because while "roll initiative" at the start of combat can be cool, it a) wastes a lot of time, b) distrupts the flow of the game and c) prevents the GM from using initiative for situations that may or may not result in actual fighting (because when they have rolled initiative, the players will presume a combat is absolutely going to happen).

● Use some method to track initiative for the players. I'm using little folded pieces of cardboard with the PCs names (and numbers for monsters that the party knows about) on both sides that I put on the top of my laptop and move around so that the one farthest to my right (the players' left) is the the current character and the players can see who's next and so on.

Don't rolls ability scores or hit dice! Both might feel like important RPG staples, but in reality, they're in reality it's asking for trouble. A melee character that has less HP than the party Wizard is fun for absolutely no one. I'm using "average rounded up" for HD, and point buy for ability scores. I'd also suggest not using too low a point buy (nothing below 20), because a) it increases the inherent disparity, and b) usually leads to less rounded out characters. Higher point buy does not actually mean more powerful characters, because players react to the point buy.

● Always expect the unexpected, and learn to roll with it. Using an AP there are some limits, and it's relaly more an art than a science, but expect the players to always do something else than what you've thought they'd do. When in doubt, invent some NPC or use some quickly selected monsters (Combat Manager helps here) when the PCs really want to invest that run down house that the AP description doesn't expect to be visited. Don't feel bad when you need to call for a short time out when the players catch you flat footed because they did something weird.

● Read ahead, and familiarize yourself with both the plot, and with the monsters the party will face, especially their special abilities (a monster/NPC uses soem ability that fascinates? Read up on it!). Expect NPCs to be interrogated (friend and foe).

● Make the PCs create cheat sheets for their characters, where they have all the important statistics, including attack rolls and damage rolls udner different sircumstances. Here are some examples. Calculating the currently valid attack roll(s) every round is probably the biggest time waste during combat. Likewise, have the players use Spell Cards and the likes for spells, active abilities (bardic performances, hexes, etc.), and printouts for complex on-the-fly choices like Summoned Monsters.

● Check everything your players selects (to see if it's actually legal, and to prevent imbalances, i.e. characters that are too weak or too strong in comparison to the other PCs). Try to familiarize yourself with every ability your PCs have. Asking for the spell/ability card in question can't hurt, you'd be surprised how ofter people overlook something semi-hidden in the description.

● Remember that very few creatures fight to the death. If a combat is too lethal, but the monster/NPC side has also suffered losses, having them retreat/cut their losses or use diplomacy even if they'd likely won the fight is a good and realistic alternative to fudging dice.

● Be honest and forthcoming with descriptions - the players only know what you tell them. Focus on information that is or may be actually important.

● Be willing to always listen to your players, but enforce rulings and decisions when necessary.

● When a rule issue could really go both ways, flip a coin!


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Jane "The Knife" wrote:
Kitty Catoblepas wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
Maybe just make a ranged weapon version of throat slicer? That said, what should it be called?
Head Banger
Head Hunter

"Dodge This"


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Aleister VII wrote:
As the title says which class would do better at using natural attacks and how get more of them?

For a natural attack build, you go pounce or you go home. Because the damage of a natural attack build comes from having a bunch of them (at full BAB), which obviously doesn't help you if you have to move and make a single attack half the rounds.

LordKailas wrote:
I can't recall if tieflings count as humanoids or not, but assuming they do I'd suggest taking a look at the mooncursed archetype if you decide to go the barbarian route. You can pick tiger which nets you a bite, two claw attacks and pounce all without having to take the animal totem powers.

Tieflings are native outsiders, but could select the archetype via the Pass for Human racial trait. Edit: Yes, it's PFS legal. It prevents selecting the maw and claw racial traits, but a Mooncursed doesn't need them anyway.

Good idea, "wrong" archetype. Mooncursed is mostly for those who want to use both weapons and natural attacks. Much better for a normal natural attack build is Beastkin Berserker, which gains Beast Shape II and thus pounce at 8th level, two levels before a regular barbarian and three levels before a Mooncursed, and where Mooncursed replaces the usual bonuses form Rage with those granted by the polymorph effect, Beastkin Berserker grants you both at the same time. Main downside is that Beastkin Berserker has pretty poor armor. Luckily, the archetype stacks with Invulnerable Rager! You should still have a buddy you can hand a Wand of Mage Armor, though.

Feat suggestions: Raging Vitality (unless you pick unchained Barbarian), Power Attack, Chaos Reigns (bonus attack!).
Rage Power suggestions: Superstition, Lesser Fiend Totem (extra attack!), Greater Elemental Blood (Air) and prereqs.

Aleister VII wrote:
It means you can grab the dragon totem instead which eventually nets you the ability to fly when you rage (at the cost of extra rage rounds).

Greater Elemental Blood (Air) is better anyway.


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First question: Why Fighter?
Second Question: Does it have to be Fighter?
Third question: What books are allowed?


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Well, you didn't exactly explain the full situation, but if they get a rule that fundamentally wrong, and take my joking 'demand' that shows the folly of their misruling by evoking logical thinking as 'antagonizing', the person is clearly unfit for the job anyway.

Take 10 wrote:
If I were going to be playing with them on a regular basis? sure, try to correct rules errors (best done away from the table in a non-confrontational way) - and maybe even learn if I'm the one doing it wrong. That's the best way to learn the rules... are at least the most enjoyable.

Normally, I'd agree. Except a) you absolutely knew you were right, and b) learning basic rules like that should definitely come before becoming a judge (or any GM, for that matter). This isn't some minutia, this is ground level stuff.

@DungeonmasterCal: And for ability checks, but the rule are in the skills section and written for skills, and are only explicitly also applied to ability checks.


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I actually made something like that for the Zen Archer in my current group, to speed up the player's turn. Check the last tab here. No sound effect, sadly.


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Slim Jim wrote:
Just because something is cool on Naruto doesn't mean in works great in Pathfinder.

If these boards had signatures, this would go into mine right now!


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Kaouse wrote:
I never said that driving around with a busted tire wasn't a problem. You're attacking a strawman and then immediately resorted to an ad hominem (saying that I refuse to adhere to logic).

Stop lying. You said "If a fix makes something worse, then it's completely unnecessary."

I didn't make an ad hominem either, because that 'offending' statement, even if you take it as offensive, was not part of any argumentation. I'm not saying "I'm right/You're wrong because you don't adhere to logic", I'm saying "I'm won't further argue with you because you don't adhere to logic".


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Kaouse wrote:
On the contrary. If a fix makes something worse, then it's completely unnecessary. If you take your car to auto shop to fix a busted tire and the thing comes back with 4 broken windows and no working signal lights, you're not gonna be okay because the tire is fixed, are you?

No, no, no, no! Your argument is utterly absurd. To keep with your metaphor, you're saying that because the repair shop made it worse, the busted tire was never a problem, and you could have just ckept drivign around with it, no problem. That's just plain ridiculous.

I could argue every single point you make in your post, but if you completely refuse to adhere to logic, I think that would be a waste of my time.


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Why would the bite get 1.5xStr to damage? Unless special abilities say otherwise, you only get that if you have but a single natural attack. Following, the power attack ration isn't 3:1 either.

BAB +15 results in a -4 penalty from Power Attack, and a damage bonus of +8 for primary attacks, +4 for secondary attacks.

Result:

Bite +20 (2d8+21)
Tentacles +15 (2d6+10)


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Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I think it is possible for a PC to be good at a couple of things.

Being "good at a couple things" is on thing, being good at two completely different martial combat styles is another. I'm a proponent of hybridish characters, and of broadening out your character to avoid being useless in combat situations, but not having any actually good combat option doesn't help there.

On one hand, you need either a pretty large amount of feats or some feats and some other source(s) of bonuses for archery to be good, because the initial damage per shot is pretty low. On the other hand, when you have no ability to move and full attack, you need to invest quite a lot to make melee worth loosing that round it takes to close the gap. Now, you could opt for focussing mainly on a bow and switching to melee when the enemy is adjacent, avoiding two of a melee fighter's biggest problems at the same time, but the issue is that at that point, simply taking a single feat (Point Blank Master) is way cheaper and way more efficient.

Fighter has nothing that applies to both playstyles, meaning everything you invest into one playstyle is something you haven't invested in the other. One might think that the larger number of feats means you have plenty to spare, but that is not really the case - the class is designed so that you need to use a bunch of them to make it fully functional (an utterly stupid but sadly common design principle), and you need at least to for the weapon switch to work at all (Weapon Finesse and Quick Draw).


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I get where your GM's coming from, and it's really written badly (it should be tagged as a double weapon, not as a reach weapon), but the description says "while in fortress mode you (...) gain reach" - you can't possibly gain something you had all along, which means in meteor mode, it cannot have reach, or that whole section would simply make no sense.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Barbarian is the only martial with access to pounce that doesn't require a rube goldberg machine that includes size considerations.

Can you please stop repeating this crap? Shifter has access to pounce, Vigilante has access to 'pounce', Metamorph Alchemist has access to pounce, Azatariel Swashbuckler has access to 'pounce', anything unarmed has access to 'pounce' via Pummeling Charge, any catfolk has access to pounce via Claw Pounce. None of these are even remotely complicated.


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Note that these issues almost exclusively kick in at around double digit levels. CaGM is 12th level, Greater Elemental Blood maybe 11th, Rage Cycling can be done at 8th level but is more commonly done after you have pounce (and without it, Spell Sunder is notably worse).
Meanwhile, temp HP are better against HP damage than a temporary con boost (and it saves healing!), unBarb has an accuracy booster that doesn't lower AC (Accurate Stance), and has better overall saves against spells (unSuperstition stacks with the Will bonus from unRage, resulting in a -2 to Fort saves but a +2 to Will saves on a strong fort progression weak will progression class).
Archery Barbarian wants an archetype in any case, and Primal Hunter works just fine with unBarb.
Two-handed weapons lose at most 2 points of damage, and definitely only 1 before 11th level.
Lastly, being incompatible with Raging Brutality but not needing it either is an upgrade.

Yes, unBarb can't really compete against a rage cycling cBarb. That's intended. But at least you can now roleplay your character, instead of being a f!%@ing joke: "AAAARRRR, I'M SO ANGRY!!! No, wait, I'm totally calm. ANGRY AGAIN, RAAAA!!! I'm cool, I'm cool. GRRRRRR!!!" and so on, in about the same timespan you just read this. Yeah, that's real good roleplaying with a relatable character...

Kaouse wrote:
While some of you may think that race cycling was cheesy, it's also important to note that rage cycling was literally baked into the class as a level 17 class feature when the Barbarian gets Tireless Rage.

Tireless Rage is copied from 3.5, where Barbarian's did not have any Rage Powers, so rage cycling wasn't a thing. The Pathfinder devs didn't write Tireless Rage to give them the ability, they just didn't foresee the interaction. Indeed, the existence of the unBarb proves that rage cycling was not intended, as remove thing is the main reason to 'unchain' the class.

As I've previously said in this thread, "unBarb is a much better made class than cBarb, with a higher floor (i.e. better at low optimization levels) and lower ceiling (worse at high optimization levels). Ragecycling was always a cheezy abuse. The class could do with a) a rage power to fly, and b) some way to enter a Rage Stance as a swift or free action, though."


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You don't seem to understand what Slim Jim and I are talking about. We are evaluating specific aspects, while you seem to fixate on complete builds. Which also partially explains your tendency to post advice that I consider not fitting for the respective thread, you have good experience with the full build, but fail to recognize that individual parts may be weak, and thus not good advice for someone who can't or won't duplicate the entire build.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Derklord wrote:
The important part is "low-level character" - mathematically, Power Attack is not a good feat for early levels, not even on a 2H weapon. Attack roll bonuses rise faster than enemy AC, and enemy HP rise faster than damage bonuses. At early levels, thanks to overkill damage, attack roll bonuses are more important than damage bonuses.
That’s a lot of generalizations that might be true. I showed you my build. Show me yours, and explain why yours is better than mine.

We aren't discussing builds, we're discussing Power Attack. Not that I've seen a low level build form you. Seriously, we're talking about levels 1-3 here.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I’m having a bit of a problem comparing, here: The character ubils I proposed doesn’t take Vital Strike until level 8.

Why would you want to compare your build to mine? What part of my post made you think that I was comparing builds against each other? I was adressing your statement of "I think that it may well result in a higher DPR to take a single attack at your highest BAB while doubling your damage dice rather than take extra attacks with severe penalties." Comparing builds does not in any way help check that statement. Comparing a full attack and a Vital Strike within a build can do that, and that's what I did.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:

8d6~ 28 + +4 Strength + 1Weapon Training + 1Freebooter’s Bane + 2Weapon Sepcialization +1Magic Sword +6Power Attack +2 Inspire Courage = 45

His Attack Bonus is +8BAB-1Size+1FBBane+1 Weapon Training +4ST + 1 Wfocus +1Magic Sword + 2Inspire Courage = +17
vs. AC 18: 18 – 17 = 1, so a .95 probablility of hitting, so 42.75

Let's see - for this character, against an average CR8 enemy (see below), full attack damage is 57.0, Vital Strike damage is 49.2. So my claim that "The math proves you wrong" is correct, even for your pet build deliberate made for VS, making a full attack is mathematically better when possible. Which was all I was talking about.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
What do you reckon the mean AC for a CR 6 Monster?

19. That's what both the Monster Creation Rules (Bestiary pg. 291), and my spreadsheet of all different Paizo monsters ever printed say (a more up to date version of this). Average AC for CR8 is 21, by the way.


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Meirril wrote:
But 4 is a convenient level to be able to switch out a feat.

I think 6 would be a more convenient level, with the first iterative attack gained, Haste becoming aviable usually between 5th and 7th level, and the plenty of feats with a BAB +6 requirement.

Meirril wrote:
I would swear you could retrain every level.

Well, spontaneous casters can swap spells known once for every spell level gained, so obviously the overpowered Fighters had to be toned-down in comparison so that the poor poor weak casters have a chance to compete. At least that seems to fit the rationale of Paizo developers back then.

Quixote wrote:

I'd also make an argument for Vital Strike down the line.

I don't think it's worth building a whole character around, but there are plenty of situations where you can't make a full attack

No doubt about that, but is it worth the investment? Take the OP (falchion), Vital Strike is +5 average damage. A charge would be +2 to attack rolls, and going by the usual 1:2 ratio between attack and damage rolls, that doesn't make the feat worth it when you can charge, and it's obviously useless when you can full attack. It's not like the feat was useless, it's just " too situational" as I said.

Broading out the character is a good thing, hence my point #1, but Vital Strike doesn't really do that, it's just a bit bonus damage. Which means that even if you can use the feat, it often doesn't have any effect because you end up doing more damage than necessary with your killing blow (or killing full attack!) anyway.


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Sūmokichien wrote:
Im not sure I can agree with that statement based on the FAQ, as well as knowing the Titan Mauler archetype exists with Jotungrip.

While using Jötungrip, the weapon "is treated as one-handed when determining the effect of Power Attack, Strength bonus to damage, and the like." This means that you also treat it as one-handed for TWF and hands involved, and your off-hand (both real and methaphorical) is still free.

Yes, that FAQ is weird and not really clear because it doesn't explain itself, but it's still there.

Joey Cote wrote:

I disagree because armor spikes say, (...) You can also make a regular melee attack (or off-hand attack) with the spikes, and they count as a light weapon in this case (...)

Which indicates if you use them to strike, you need hand free to do so. As if you are doing a forearm bash. No, you don't use your hand, but you need an limb free to strike with. And in Pathfinder we strike with hands (excluding natural attacks and unarmed attacks, which armor spikes are not).

Objectively wrong. Boot blade says "You can use a blade boot as an off-hand weapon.", which proves beyond any doubt that you can make an off-hand attack without any physical hand involved. There is nothign in the armor spike description that says you need a free hand.

Joey Cote wrote:
Swinging two two handed weapons isn't any additional attacks

Not for the number of attack rolls, but for the "hands of effort" thing, it is.

Basically, you have two units of attack per round, each hand involved in an attack spends one unit. You can use them for two individual attacks (TWF), or combine them for one two-handed attack. Vestigial Arm never grants additional units of attack. You might recognise the system from how you can combine your standard action and move action into a full round action.

Normally, you can't TWF a two-handed and a one-handed weapon. With vestigial arm, you can't either, because doign so would be an additional attakc compared to the normal state.


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Most important things were already said, but to summarize the important stuff:
1) Shore up your weaknesses - doing awesome damage is worthless if you fail every saving throw.
2) You can't reasonably invest all your feats into more melee damage. See #1 instead. More situations in which you can use your main shtick is better than slightly improving it.
3) Archery heavily rewards focussation - if you want to be good at it, go all-in. At as early as 5th level you can have Point Blank Master, which makes switching to a melee weapon redundant, even if you're toe to toe with an enemy. Right now, you may be reasonably good at both melee and archery, but once you start to gather magic items, you have to decide which of the two to focus on. A backup ranged weapon is indeed a good idea, but investing too much into it isn't.
4) Cleave is crap, because it's too situational to compete with the full attacks that you will be making later on. Just as a precaution, Vital Strike sucks as well, for the same reason.
5) Reach is pretty good, for both defense and offense (once you can make full attacks, 5th to 6th level). Even without Combat Reflexes, although you certainly have the feat slots for it.
6) Don't overvalue critical hits. You need over 40 (critable) average damage on a regular hit before a falchion is better than a greatsword.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Pathfinder was created with the intent to multiclass. One of the first things they changed from 3.5 when they wrote the Core Rulebook was to remove the XP penalty for multiclassing unevenly. Easy multiclassing is literally fundamental to Pathfinder!

I call bull s#&% on that. The biggest change they made was to strengthen staying in-class, as compared to 3.5's rampant prestige class (ab)use. If you want to claim that "Pathfinder was created with the intent to multiclass", please post proof for that.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
You are recommending Reach or Range where OP is saying he is playing a Front Liner and wants to pick up a shield.

He didn't say that. Plus, a reach build is still a frontliner; indeed a better one when it comes to protecting the other party members.

Quixote wrote:
The hardest to play? Or the hardest to play optimally?

One of the hardest for a beginner to build so that it doesn't suck (which usually leads to frustration). Well, there are plenty of worse offenders (*cough* Rogue *cough*), but it's indeed not a good class for beginners.


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Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:

The main issue of secret identities is that you have to be pretty much locked into a single location and have lots of non-work friends/family/jobs with significant screen time for it to mean anything.

For the most classic example, remove Clark Kent's family, job at the Daily Planet, Jimmy Olsen and Lois (etc.), and you'd have him be basically Superman all the time. Clark Kent is Kal-el's attempt to be normal and that only works if he's actually interacting with mortals.

This. The secret identity stuff makes no sense to exists, because no one drives across town and sits down at a table to watch someone play Clark kent at the Daily Planet. First, the part where superheroes are in their civilian identity is the part that we don't normally play out in Pathfinder (downtime, basically). The secret identity exists to ground the characters, because being Batman 24/7 drives you crazy (Yes, he tried that. Yes, he got crazy.). And second, whole secret identity thing doesn't work at all unless it's either a solo campaign, or every single member of the party is a Vigilante because if Bruce Wayne hangs around with the entire Justice League sans Batman, even someone with an Int score of 5 will make the connection.

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

You might say "hey, Batman does a lot of work in his bruce Wayne identity!", and you're right. But not only is that a construct and not his real self, but practically everything he puplicy does as Bruce Wayne is only relevant because Bruce Wayne is a billionaire. Which means this is either completely irrelevant in a game, or your character might as well have "recieved the Nobel Peace Prize, the Vulcan Order of Gallantry, and the Tralfamadorian Order of Good Guyhood" in their backstory. To add insult to injury, if you want to roleplay out Bruce Wayne at the fundraiser, you need to focus on a single character, while the other players are watching from the sidelines.

The whole secret identity thing (and especially the Renown chain of social talents) only works in a game if it steals the spotlight. I think that spotlight stealing, party splitting, and creating a Mary Sue should not be mandatory to make class features work.

You know what the real irony is? Switching the social and vigilante identities around makes the class better, because now you can have the "high society" identity without the need of a Mary Sue character.

*) For the record, I call it "badly written" because lots of stuff just isn't covered. For example, what if my social identity (that I announce on the village square) is "Bob the veteran sellsword", am I still in risk of exposing my vigilante identity when I use Shield of Blades in my social identity? What if the observer has never seen or heard of my vigilante identity, do they still figure it out somehow when I use a vigilante talent in social identity?


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And this is why you should say what you actually want in such threads/posts. Because "use some Dimension Door style ability and make attacks with a big weapon" can be done in a multitude of ways.


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The way to improve natural attacks is to make more of them.

I'm not kidding here, if you want to improve a natural attack character, it's not about damage dice (super rare cases like Cave Druid notwithstanding). Weapon damage dice are way overrated most of the time, but especially when it comes to natural attacks, because you don't usually have just one type. A virtual size increase for a feat sounds good, but certainly isn't if it only affect two attacks out of five. Static damage increases, like from getting more strength, are significantly better.

And get pounce, of course - Melee in PF1 means the most valuable thing is the ability to move and full attack.

My three co-posters gave you some general tips, but to really help your player, we'd need some more information - mostly, what classes we're talking about, or if that's not decided, what the goals are. Because "natural attack character" can be just about anything, form a a Draconic Bloodline Sorcerer who uses their claws at early levels when there's nothing better to do, over a Barbarian who has a bite attack alongside their sword attacks, to a polymorphing killing machine that pounces and shreds everything in sight with 6 primary natural attacks plus haste (before items and multiclassing).

Do they want to always attack in combat? Do they want spells? Do they want extracts? Do they want a large number of natural attacks or is 3-4 enough for them? Do they want to be single class or is multiclassing OK? Is relying on certain magic items OK? Is polymorphing OK?


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Starcomet wrote:
My GM has already told me to let the issue go, he will not change the fact that a week went by before my cleric noticed it was gone.

Doesn't matter. Look him in the eye, preferable with the other players present, and tell him "I've known you for 8 years and you ran fun campaigns, but right now, you're being a dick, and this is not fun for me. Either you stop that, or I'm out. This isn't Pathfinder, this is bullying."

If they care more about their little PVP than your fun; or worse if they laugh at your complaint, they're a+&~#*#s and bullies, and like it or not, you're finished with that group, period.


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This is not an ingame problem. Don't even try to fix it with ingame means!

Seriously, talk with the GM. There is no way a Cleric doesn't notice their bonded holy symbol missing. You wouldn't even need to make a perception check, you'd notice that the very first morning - it is, after all you, most priced possession. The Cleric should have noticed it, and demanded a strip search of every single party member. Although I find it weird that your character apparently doesn't keep it on their body when sleeping?

Ask the GM why he is completely crippling your character. Ask the GM why he is apparently supporting PVP. Tell the GM that this is not what you (presumably) agreed to play.


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DRD1812 wrote:
it's a deliberately different design style calculated to make life hard for players.

And that is exactly the issue - it's designed "to make life hard for players". Players, not characters. The characters apparently weren't in any danger and spend no recources. It was not hard on the characters, it was hard on the players.

I call that a design failure.


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The most important secondary book to allow is Unchained (classes section only), followed by Advanced Player's Guide, Advanced Class Guide, Ultimate Combat, and Ultimate Magic, in about that order. Lastly, Weapon Master's Handbook, especially when combined with Magic Tactics Toolbox and Inner Sea Intrigue, fix the Fighter.

Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
Not a lot of power creep? Just use the CRB.

Never, ever do this! CRB only is the most unbalanced state you can play the game in.

Apart from very few select options (one feat and one Wizard archetype spring to mind), there is almost no true power creep - the strongest classes didn't get notably stronger (almost all the strongest spells are in the CRB, and the CRB class Wizard is still the strognest overall class). The weaker classes did get much stronger, but that is not power creep, but rather improved balancing.

Also, most CRB only martials are so boring (in addition to being weak) that disallowing the material that makes them interesting drives more people towards full casters. It's the same as low wealth or low point buy: The end effect is that more people play the stronger classes, so the party's power level will actually be higher instead of lower.

Lelomenia wrote:
I doubt that’s the conventional wisdom though.

I don't know about "conventional wisdom", but overall yes, ACG is a rather good book, and the flak these classes get is unwarranted. Swashbuckler and Brawler are rather weak (although not as bad as CRB-martials), but everything else is in a pretty good spot.


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There are only two things that change natural weapons from primary to secondary or vice versa:

a) You only have one (type of) natural attack, in which case it's always primary.
b) You use natural attacks alongside unarmed strikes or manufactured weapons, in which case they're always secondary.


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They don't not stack because they accidentally happened to have the same bonus type, they don't stack for balance reasons.


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Ok, so ~15 minutes of the other players not doing anything each time, for one or two rounds (so probably very little effect), and it did get him killed. I'm not sure if you did it on purpose (you did say you mostly agreed with me upthread), but you're rather bolstering my argument here.

Quixote wrote:
Multiple waves of opponents. Changing priorities. Distance and terrain.

Not one of these things favor hit-and-run tactics, especially not for a "one character out of a group" case. The opposite is actually true (again) - against multiple waves of opponents, you want to kill them quickly lest you become too heavily outnumbered, changing priorities likewise mean you want to kill someone quickly for some reason, and distance/difficult terrain can outright prevent stuff like Spring Attack very easily. Being surrounded, or surprised, can also severely hinder the playstyle, as can poor visibility.

Quixote wrote:
When one of my players chooses a mechanically inferior option, I just change it until it no longer feels inferior.

Sure, if you're interested in rewriting half the game, I guess you can do so.

SuperJedi224 wrote:
If you're playing at mid-to-high levels, the Mobile Fighter archetype might be a worthwhile choice for this.

If anything, I'd go with Warrior Poet Samurai.


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For that, you'd need to be a Gun Chemist - not technically a bomb, but close enough.


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Quixote wrote:

That plus a wounding weapon, clever use of terrain, maybe Nimble Moves and/or Wind Stance...you'd be pretty tough to pin down in most situations.

That's what rangers and rogues should feel like. Quick, mobile, slippery. But because they have abilities that boost the damage of every attack, most people end up planting their feet and spending full attacks with two weapons whenever possible. Certainly not what I envision.

The problem with that technique is that while you're doing it, your party is suffering - you're contributing very little to the combat (per round), and thus your party is basically short one man. Same problem as those "I'm not geared towards combat" type characters ('skillmonkeys', badly done 'healbots', etc.) - the game is expecting you do to contribute a certain amount to combat each round, if you aren't, the CR system can get screwed up.

Guerilla tactics only work when the whole group is doing it. So unless your entire group plays similar characters, and you're all fine with combats lasting multiple hours in real life, it just doesn't work. It's not something Pathfinder-exclusive, even - in most games with a HP system, "get in, do some damage, get out" type characters just don't funktion properly in group fights/group play (and often not even in solo play). If they can take down enemies quickly, they're overpowered, and if not, they're neigh useless.


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'Yes' on the bonuses: "Bonuses without a type always stack, unless they are from the same source." CRB pg. 208
'No' on the concealments: "Multiple concealment conditions do not stack." CRB pg. 197


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Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
It’s all very well and good to start with a concept and work out, lovely, that’s the idea, but if your concept is to be a competent hero and your highest stat is 9 then something is going to seem off.

OK, I'm confused here. You seem to be disagreeing with me, but you basically say the same things. My entire point was that a character creation method that results in "your highest stat is 9" is bad exactly because you need to make rolls.

If you make crappy choices, that's your fault, but if decide to play a "master swordsman who never lost a duel", and the character generation method makes it so that you can only produce a character who "can’t actually hit anything they fight in a duel", that house rule breaks the core promise of the game, and thus the resulting game is not really Pathfinder.

Sure, it would require very large amounts of optimization to reliably win fair duels, i.e. CR+4, but that's not how the game is supposed to be played ("The value of APL +3 should be a fairly hard limit for difficult encounters", GMG pg. 41). Real life actually matches that - those boxers with a 56-5 win ratio don't get those from constantly doing 50:50 fights.

@pauljathome: Two words: Martial artist. You cannot make a competent martial arts style character with but the CRB. I'd also argue that you can't make a competent "backstab" type character.
Of course, the whole issue is tangential to the thread topic.


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Reksew_Trebla wrote:
So your wife wants to play a bard mechanically without ANY of the fluff. That’s... not a good way to play a roleplaying game, imo.

Whoa there. "sing or play instruments" is not the fluff of a Pathfinder Bard. It can be, but it's not be default - the description does not emphasize these performances, and is fairly clear in that you can use any performance subskill (as showcased by the "performance with visual component" ruletext).

In addition to archetypes like Archaeologist, Busker, or Dawnflower Dervish, I want to highlight the Stonesinger Bard - the performance is "a subsonic vibration", so no one hears or sees anything.


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Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

This argument is reductive.

(...)

If you play pathfinder by sitting in a room talking in character with your friends and literally never roll a dice to decide if you character succeeds or fails, then you have a point. If not then I don’t think you do.

I think you're actually wrong here.

Because Pathfinder is not merely any kind of roleplaying game, but it's specifically "a tabletop fantasy game in which the players take on the roles of heroes" CRB pg. 8, and "your character can become a master swordsman who has never lost a duel, or a skilled thief capable of stealing the crown from atop the king’s head. You can play a pious cleric wielding the power of the gods, or unravel the mysteries of magic as an enigmatic sorcerer." CRB pg. 5. Furthermore, "From the sly rogue to the stalwart paladin, the Pathfinder RPG allows you to make the character you want to play." CRB pg. 14

If your method of character generation does not allow you to become a "master swordsman" or "skilled thief", it goes against the very basic concept of the game. The game even explicitly tells you "When generating a character, start with your character’s concept." CRB pg. 14, something I think we all agree doesn't work for rolling in order.

Of course your concept has to be within reasonable limits, both from a power viewpoint (a Mary Sue isn't really a hero), and flavor wise (it's a sword-and-sorcery game, as shown by the examples). You can't expect to be able to play Son Goku, but you should be able to play something smilar to Legolas. If you aren't, it's not really Pathfinder you're playing, but more a "losely based on" game.

Interestingly, the same argument also works against severely limiting books because the CRB actually fails to deliver in many regards.


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Scott Wilhelm wrote:
If you want to be maximizing damage from Sneak Attack, (...)

I don't think that's the case.

Slayer does TWF better than most, but it still has issues. Unless you're a Warpriest with Greater Weapon of the Chosen, a Cave Druid, or somthing ragey with Furious Finish (which doesn't work with Improgved/Greater VS), Vital Strike is a trap option. Cleave is always a trap option.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
The cheapest Speed Weapon out there is going to be +4, which is 32,000gp + the cost of the sword. (...) you aren't going to be getting that Speed weapon any time soon.

True, but the OP's basic argument is still sound, because Boots of Speed (or Haste/Blessing of Fervor from a party member) exist.

ViConstantine wrote:
hurtful package?

I'm sorry, but I laughed way to hard at this. It does sound like a cool feat or ability name. Arachnofiend did actually capitalize the feat names to differentiate them form regular words, though.


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joefro wrote:

15

15
7
9
13
15
Wanted to play a paladin going in and can't believe the dice rolled so well in favor.

Looks like a Summoner to me. Either you replace your crappy physical scores via Synthesist, or you stay safely behind, possibly invisible and/or flying, while your Eidolon grabs all the attention.

avr wrote:
7, 10, 6, 12, 8, 10. Openly stating my plan to fight suicidally did get a reroll.

Looks like a Summoner to me.

Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:

3d6 ⇒ (5, 6, 6) = 17 Str

3d6 ⇒ (2, 2, 3) = 7 Dex
3d6 ⇒ (5, 1, 3) = 9 Con
3d6 ⇒ (5, 3, 3) = 11 Int
3d6 ⇒ (2, 3, 3) = 8 Wis
3d6 ⇒ (3, 4, 4) = 11 Cha
Guess I could play a dwarf fighter, maybe.

Looks like a Summoner to me.

MrCharisma wrote:

1+1+3= 5 STR

3+6+3= 12 DEX
2+1+2= 5 CON
5+6+3= 14 INT
2+2+2= 6 WIS
4+3+3= 10 CHA

Looks like an Elf Wizard to me (the CON's already bad enough that the penalty won't matter).

Looks like a Summoner to me.

...

I'm sensing a pattern here.


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Waldham wrote:

The character has six secondary natural attacks (...) and so with morphic weaponry, he can form two primary natural attacks in addition to the secondary natural attacks.

Is it right ?

No, it's not. Because "The total number of natural attacks an oozemorph has at any given time includes those gained via her current form." If you have 6 natural attacks from polymorphing into an euryale, that's 6 natural attacks from your current form, and you can't use Morphic Weaponry at all until the polymorph ends.

Ignoring how you'd get access to Monstrous Physique, and the issues with non-standard natural attacks.

Waldham wrote:
Can these primary natural attacks take the shape of a claw, bite ... ?

No. Basically, you have a unique type of natural weapon. It doesn't count as anything specific.


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Just note that Shield Brace is notably nerfed in PFS, treating the weapon as a one-handed one.

@Magda: Please don't get me wrong, it wasn't really a complaint. I do disagree a bit on the real life side (no sparring can possibly simulate actual combat with lethal weapons), and personally think that you overemphasize certain aspects just a bit (or underemphasize others, if you will, e.g. the value of first strikes), but overall, I think you do much good, and I certainly wouldn't want you to stop!


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Evilserran wrote:
okay then, so saying i am willing to ignore my want to have a B/S weapon, does pretty much everyone agree i should go two handed then? With a reach weapon?

Yes, absolutely, especially for a Stonelord. Shields are pretty underpowered in Pathfinder (for martial characters at least) anyway.

Magda Luckbender is sometimes a bit overenthusiatic about reach weapons, but the basic statements are still true. Especially for dwarfs in combination with classes with martial proficiency - you don't even lose average damage, because Dwarven Giant-sticker (or Dwarven Longhammer) are 2d6 weapons, which is about as good as it gets. x3 crit stats are worse than 19-20, but not by much.


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Claxon wrote:
Derklord, I'm not sure that's accurate.

The part in quotation marks was copied from the PDF.

CRB wrote:
Hide in Plain Sight (Su): At 8th level, an assassin can use the Stealth skill even while being observed. As long as he is within 10 feet of an area of dim light, an assassin can hide himself from view in the open without having anything to actually hide behind. He cannot, however, hide in his own shadow.
Claxon wrote:
But then we would need to clarify why AON and d20pfsrd are incorrect.

I can actually do that: The change isn't listed in the errata notes. Since both these sites only update their rules according to these errata notes (the official SRD did it too), such "stealth updates" are usually missed. Not the only such case, by the way. Reincarnate springs to mind, both sites still list the costly oil as a divine focus and not a material component, which was also fixed in the 5th printing.

And now you know why I check the actual PDFs for almost every rule issue. I had actually written a text defending the "shadow" wording (8 levels in a very crappy prestige class vs. a single level means the Assassin's HiPS has a right to be better), but I checked the PDF before posting and promptly deleted it.


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joefro wrote:
We put the power gaming aside and decided as players to take our stats 3d6 straight down

This doesn't prevent powergaming, quite the opposite - it practically enforces powergaming. Because there's a good chance that you need to powergame like there's no tomorrow to make a functionable character out '3d6 in order' rolls.

Powergaming means getting the maximum out of a situation. In other words, it is always relative to the foundation*, so changing the foundation cannot change whether you can powergame or not. What changes is the incentive, which clearly gets increased when you hamper the character creation.

*) In this case, Summoner would very likely create a martial entity way stronger than any PC, and it's also one of the best classes to compensate for 7 Con.


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Rman88 wrote:
But in the end your not a giant humanoid made out of bugs. If that was the case you wouldn't have 0 range. Nor would you be able to occupied space as you would technically not be a swarm.

Ok, first, you're. Second, You don't have 0 range, the ability talks about your reach and says you don't increase it, which means you keep your normal 5ft. And third, you "can occupy the same space as a creature of any size" because the ability explicitly allows you to. You don't get any actual swarm abilities other then what the ability grants you, because you don't have the swarm subtype. Without the subtype, "swarm" is not really a mechanical thing.

Rman88 wrote:
Regardless thou this dose not answer what natural attacks dose my Vermin aspect form grants me.

Oh, but it does. Because since it isn't a polymorph effect, the answer is "none, but you keep your existing ones". RAW you can't activate Shifter's Claws (which includes the alternative antural attacks) after activating Vermin Aspect, but you keep the attacks form a previously activated Shifter's Claws.

Rman88 wrote:
Lastly, i am talking about the shifter wild shape.

I thought this thread was about Swarm Shifter...

Seriously, Swarm Shifter does not have Wild Shape, it does not have something related to Wild Shape, it doesn't have anything that allows you to polymorph.

Rman88 wrote:
A snake shifter couldn't use claw attacks for the sole reason she doesn't have hands.

Er, no? A Shifter in Snake major aspect form doesn't have claws because the aspact doesn't list claws. The Shifter's Claws class feature only works in natural form, where the Shifter does have hands.


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Rman88 wrote:
Vermin Aspect is a form of wild shape.

Wrong, it a completely unrelated ability. Swarm Shifter doesn't have Wild Shape, or anything similar. Indeed, as written, Vermin Aspect isn't even a polymorph effect, so you keep your equipment (which gets enlarged as well), as well as natural weapons.


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OmniMage wrote:
A question of my own. If you polymorph into something like an elf or orc, do you count as being a member of that race for the purposes of using magic items?

No, you're still your normal race (and creature type). You'd also still count as your normal race for effects like Favored Enemy.


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It's too much when it diminishes another player's fun. Special campaigns notwithstanding, I think a character unfit for working well in a team is a character unfit for play. Thus, I would not say something in-character that I wouldn't say to my friends.

On a different note, I think the drow is better dressed and all-around more fashionable than the bard.


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Wonderstell wrote:
The archetype is honestly a design failure. You get everything worth staying for at level 4, which means you should just multiclass the moment you get your Hybrid form.

I disagree. It's not the archetype that's a design failure, but the class! Because while it is true that Weretouched is dead after 4th level, vanilla Shifter is dead after 5th level, so the archetype doesn't really change much there. You don't need more than two major aspects unless you expect aquatic combat (one combat form with pounce, and one flying form), and everything else is small numeric bonuses. The next level where you actually gain something that changes how you play (and not just how high a bonus you add to some roll) is 15th level (14th with retraining), when you can take Chimeric Master.

Here is an in-depth analysis copied from another thread:
What's wrong with the Shifter?
*takes a very deep breath*

There's a section in the ACG about designing classes. Some extracts and how Shifter breaks them:
"While the rules for a class can share some similarities with those of an existing class, each new class should have something that makes it unusual, giving it a means to interact with the game, and the game’s world, in a new and interesting way."
Every single Shifter class feature was copied from another class (mainly Druid, Hunter, and Monk), and it's supposed novelity of spell-less shapechanger was already done by Metamorph Alchemist and Beastkin Berserker Barbarian - the later even has the exact same "select one form each at 1st/5th/10th/15th/20th level" feature.

"Look for a way that the class can perform its role without coming in contact with the rules of another class. If the rules are too close, you might end up with a class that invalidates (or is invalidated by) an existing class’s mechanics in a way that makes it unappealing to play."
Shifter is completely overshadowed by Druid (plus the two above mentioned archetypes).

"There are a number of questions you should ask yourself.
• Does the class have a novel concept and rules niche?
"
Without a single new class feature in sight, it's no big surprise that the answer is "neither".

"As a general rule, (...) you want to avoid dead levels—acquiring new and improved abilities is part of the fun of leveling up!"
Half the levels only grant increases to small bonuses, and sometimes nothing at all, so plenty of dead levels.

­­
The problem is not power level - Shifter is already doing relatively well when it comes to raw damage - but it's versatility. In short, what the Shifter is lacking is what I call Character Shaping Choices™.

Spoiler:
Almost every Pathfinder class requires you to make character shaping choices. These choices not only dictate how varied multiple characters of the same class can be, it also effects versatility and power level. Fixed class features are generally mediocre (or bad), while selectable class features (including spells) have both good and bad options. This is a mandatory design principle to avoid having everyone with that class be super powerful (and have every character of that class look the same). As a result, you can make a Wizard good or bad by making good or bad character shaping choices, but you can't make a class good if there are no character shaping choices.

Such character shaping choices come in three forms:
1) Daily: Mostly spell preparation and the Medium's spirit.
2) On levelup: Spells known, rage powers, etc., doesn't have to be every level up
3) One time: Domains, bloodline etc., mostly done at first level

I don't count feats, skills, and equipment because it should be obvious that options that literally every class can take have to be relatively weak (otherwise almost every character would take them, cf. Leadership for what happens when this rule is broken). I also don't count choices that don't affect playstyle and only grant minor numeric bonuses, such as a Fighter's weapon training.
Archetypes are technically one time choices as well, if these are included depends on what we want to compare.

Naturally, the more choices you can make, the more you can (in general) shape your character. Also, the more often you can make choices, the more flexibility the character can have. Daily choices don't add power over on levelup choices, but they add a lot of flexibility.

The following classes are generally accepted to be the weakest ones in Pathfinder: Fighter, Brawler, Rogue, Cavalier, Samurai, Gunslinger, Swashbuckler, Monk.
Apart from the Rogue *, you'll notice that none of these classes have a daily or on levelup choice **. Cavalier and Samurai have a one time choice at first level, while the others don't get to make any character shaping choices at all. It's also noteworthy that there are no classes lacking daily or on-levelup choices that are generally considered good.

Now, choices don't automatically contain strong options (few rogue talents are better than feats), some fixed class features are fairly powerful as well (like rage), and there are options that offer choices to make on the fly, like wildshape or a Summoner's SLA (not character shaping by definition, but can be very powerful). But if you look at both power level and flexibility, there's almost no getting around having class features that allow character shaping choices fairly often.

*) Whoever thought that a pure martial with medium BAB, no accuracy increasing abilities, d8 HD, and the worst possible saves a PC class can have was a good idea?
**) Fighter got on levelup choices with AAT and AWT, while Monk got on levelup choices with UnMonk's Ki Powers and Style Strikes.

The Shifter get's to make one such choice every five levels, and quite frankly, it's just not enough. Since many aspects are very similar, after the second (combat form + flying form), you basically only get the minor form bonuses, and those aren't even remotely character shaping. The class description say the Shifter can "fuse [forms] together with devastating effect", so where is the class feature for that? A limited use Skill Focus is not helping me be devastating!

We already have "can turn into one type of creature all day long" with Druid and Metamorph (and Agathiel Vigilante), and "can turn into one of the few previously selected animals multiple times per day" with Beastkin Berserker.

On a side note, the oft heared 'solution' of "just give it Druid style wild shape" leads to a class that is a strict downgrade from Druid, i.e. a class that completely breaks the other class design guidelines quoted above.

­­
It is possible to turn the Shifter into a powerful, flexible, and interesting to play (all for a martial, of course) class that abides by the "designing classes" guidelines even with keeping the current chassis (of pre-selected minor/major aspects). One of the biggest complaints about the Shifter is that it's basically a Druid focussed on Wild Shape, but then Wild Shape got nerfed, without gaining anything in return.
That means that if the choices for Wild Shape are limited for Shifter, the individual choices should be stronger, i.e. granting things not normally aviable to a wildshaping character.

Step 1: Make something cool and unigue out of every major form (like Wolverine's rage+powers).*** There's no reason to limit the major forms to what the Beast Shape spells grant.
Step 2: Make the minor forms worthwhile. Can mostly be done by granting a slightly limited form of the unique thing the major form grants.
Step 3: Grant some cool class feature that aren't copy pasted from the druid to increase versatility.****

***) Abilities could be something like Blindsense (short range for minor, larger range for major) for Bat, Pounce for Tiger's minor form, unique poisons (that are actually worth it) for Snake, and so on. Minor forms could also grant movement types.

****) Example: "At 12th level, the Shifter can turn into a major form not selected once per day. Staying in such a form expands one hour of wild shape as normal, after which the Shifter reverts back to her base form. At 17th level, she can use this ability twice per day."
One could specialize their Shifter according to their campaign, and the new ability can help out for that moment where you really need a burrow speed or something. Might even have a lower version for minor forms granted at 7th level.
There are a lot of levels that could use new class features once you stop counting crap like "+1 average damage to one of your attacks". Even the new Shifter's Fury explicitly made to fill dead levels is useless to multiple forms and builds.

MarkWIII wrote:
I planned on taking a two level dip into Barb or a single level into Furious Guardian for the lesser Atavism Totem for the extra improved bite damage.

That doesn't work, because both Lesser Atavism Totem and Improved Natural Attack are what's called effective size increases, and multiple of those don't stack according to this FAQ.

MarkWIII wrote:
Other than that I can't really see other many other multiclassing working.

Why not? I can see dozens of classes working, depending on what you want to develop your character into. Multiclassing doesn't have to increase your damage per round, there's plenty of other things that can be gained from multiclassing (like being better at non-combat stuff).


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It's not just about AoOs, it's also about beign able to attack enemies with reach without provoking an AoO first.


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Cavall wrote:
That doesn't make him an a$&&#+@ for roleplaying his character the way he wants to. Hes absolutely right to say he doesn't feel his character would help someone stab another person in the back.

No. It's his character, with his choices. If he needlessly constructed the character so that it prevents another player from having fun, he's an a#~@%%+ (or acting like one, if you prefer). It's exactly the same situation as some cliche Rogue stealing from or working against party members because "that's what my character would do". Exactly the same situation as the Barbarian ruining every possible diplomatic situation that other players looked forward to play out by attacking because "I'm a Barbarian, and I don't talk, I smash".

This is a team game. You are responsible for your character. If you made your character so that they can't work together with others, you failed at creating a proper character.

The player went way beyond the Paladin code, which means this is not in any way needed to play a Paladin. It has absolutely nothing to do with a class. The only result of the player-made decision to expand the code is that he makes another player have less fun. That's a dick move, plain and simple.

Maybe we come from different backgrounds or something, but I do not believe that refusing to help your teammates in life-or-death situations (that's what comabt is) is lawful or good.
Sure, I wouldn't literally tell another player "you're an a%*!$$#" out of the blue, but I would make it clear that his hostile behaviour is boykotting the game.


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baggageboy wrote:
That interpretation is reasonable, but the limitations on mystic bolts don't say that they are intantaneous, just "imperminant" the only listed limitation is no applying spells that target a single weapon.

The ability says "the bolt appears only briefly, so a warlock using mystic bolts has a free hand any time she isn’t attacking with a mystic bolt."

Free hand means no bolt, which means any time the warlock isn't attack, there is no bolt.

baggageboy wrote:
It makes no sense that using a gladulius one way you're an amazing swashbuckling boss, but used to cut instead of stab you become inept

It totally makes sense. Your whole trainign is about stabbing motions, slashing motions require completely different training. The Precice Strike deed is about stabbing where it hurts most, that's not something you can do while doing slashing or bludgeoning damage.

That Versatile Weapon, which no sane Swashbuckler ever takes anyway, mostly doesn't make sense in-universe should not affect the ruling.

The "most reasonable interpretation" is to do what the CRB says, the damage you try to deal in an attack defines what type of wweapon it is for that attack.


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baggageboy wrote:
Weapon versatility doesn't require any action to activate so it would work just fine...

"When wielding a weapon with which you have Weapon Focus, you can shift your grip as a swift action (...)"

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