I love dumping Wisdom. I usually play headstrong, naive characters (with good intentions) because they suit my personality and they are really useful for pushing the narrative forward. Also it's funny to report that you rolled a 0 on your Perception check.
For many melee fighters I like to have either a 14 or 18 in Strength in order to get the most out of any 1.5ing I might be doing thanks to two handing or Dragon Style or whatever.
Also, I'm sad about all the flack SC gets for the boobage. While I wouldn't call the series innocent, it is far better than a lot of fighting games. I'd go so far as to say that in this regard, SC is pretty standard for the triple A market. While there are notable outliers like Ivy and Sophitia, most of the cast is very modest.
In fact I think SC is a lot better on the gender equality front, as they sexualize men just as much as women. Look at Voldo. Look. Even aside from him, seriously look at the SCV roster. I reckon there are more pretty boys with bare chests than there are women with oversized breasts. I mean sure, some of them are for male power fantasies (such as Astaroth) but the general tendency towards sleek bodies and soft smooth faces much more closely resembles something out of a female fantasy like Ouran or Twilight than a testosterone fest like Gears of War or God of War (uh, except for the time Kratos actually did show up).
Green Smashomancer wrote:
You dont need to be dumb to be a barbarian, but you do need to fight with "precision" to get sneak attack, and uh, that aint the word I'd use for nightmare. You may also note that his entire style revolves around brutally crushing his enemies, which is definitely Barbarian territory, IMO.
I think his moves are as precise as any 2hander rogue.
Again, it's hard to see but his style is very sneaky and rogue-like. A lot of his character is designed around baiting in an opponent with a big slow looking attacking (such as 66B or 1[A] if you're familiar with the competitive terminology) and then punching them in the face.
Another big part of his game is his excellent oki (fighting vs prone opponents). If you've ever played a really good Nightmare you know that he gets very, very scary if he scores a knockdown. Taking advantage of prone opponents screams Pathfinder Rogue to me.
Also, consistently across games he has always been very good at taking advantage of his surroundings with some of the best wall combos and ring out options.
I could maybe see a dip in Barbarian (Jotungrip in particular) but to depict him as anything but a cunning opportunist would be a mistake IMO.
Man, seems like we're seeing this come up every week.
Anyways, one option that I think is notably absent in these discussions is the Spell Dancer Magus. With swift action Dim Doors for 1 Arcane point you only need Dimensional Agility to really go to town. There are a lot of unique problems with this path but I think it's worth consideration.
Since childhood, Valienna felt out of place in her small fishing village. Having nowhere else to go, she endured it until her 14th birthday when news of an arranged marriage caused her to flee her home in a fit of tears. Alone and unskilled, Valienna wandered into a band of hungry goblins who slashed her throat with little trouble.
The lost young girl resigned herself to death, but this was not the end for her. She awoke some time later, her wounds healed and the bodies of goblins scattered all around. In the distance she caught a glimpse of a beautiful prince chasing after the remaining goblins. As he rode off, Valienna was filled with a feeling of purpose. She vowed to become just like her shining knight.
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I wish my players weren't so damn "creative" I think that they feel they are somehow being "bad roleplayers" if they don't write grand two page back stories and make small talk with every cabbage vendor they see. Honestly, I don't think that s* is worth the time. I don't care what grand history your character had, I care what they do now.
In fact I think this whole back story phenomena is really telling of a greater problem in the roleplaying culture. There is this obsession with who the characters are, rather than what they actually accomplish. Yeah you're a half fiend half orc half angel darkfondle dragonlicker prestige class alternate archetype but what have you done? I'm reminded a lot of Skyrim which really terribly feeds this need to be special and unique. In Skyrim it's a trivial issue to become a vampire werewolf archmage inner circle companion head of the thieves guild. All at once. On top of being the amazing special unique chosen cool awesome dragonborn.
This is getting super off topic but I think this is due to this culture created by modern marketing wherein everyone is brought up believing they are special and unique without ever having to accomplish anything to earn it.
Honestly I'm fine with people coming up with simple characters like "I'm a farmer who got bored with farming" or "I'm a hunter who's looking to make a little more money off his skills" or "I'm a northern barbarian looking to see the world". Then I also won't feel so bad if they die to a kobold 30 minutes later.
I think Tetori might be super fun, if not entirely optimized.
First you poop on their CMB/CMD with Enforcer Rime Frostbite, then when you're all done with the foreplay you give them a nice big Shocking Grasp charged hug.
On the Magus side, Hexcrafter might be really fun for taking advantage of Hex Strike. You could even go Hexcrafter/Bladed Scarf Dancer to retain the Int to AC.
Flowing Monk is another possibility. The sickening from Redirection will inflict a juicy -2 to saves. Combined with Enforcer and Hex Strike Evil Eye (if you choose to go that route) that's a total of -6 to saves. Flowing Monk also gets even more dodge bonus to AC, so you could potentially have twice your Wis to touch AC.
Also check out Hungry Ghost Monk and Drunken Master for easy Arcana regeneration (thanks to Ki Arcana) and crit fishing synergy on the Hungry Ghost side.
For starters I would treat them like adults. As a youth, there's nothing I hated more than adults who didn't give me the chance to earn their respect as an equal human being. I reckon that a lot of the time younger people act immature is simply them chafing under the oppressive expectation that they will act immature.
I mean, you'll eventually run into some unbearable little s!~&s, but that's the same hazard you run into with adults.
One problem you might run into is that they might be hesitant to really engage with the game. I know when I first started it took me a while to shuffle off a lot of the negative connotations associated with the game. This is probably a problem with a lot of beginners but I think the younger you are the more seriously you fear showing preference for the wrong things. I think that if you are deft and sneaky you could do a bit of a bait and switch- to introduce the game emphasize the mechanics and similarities to hack n slash video games. Then as you get them in, you can stealthily hit them with the things that make the game so much more.
1. Rid yourself of the notion that a GM "tells a story". A game is not a book or a movie. The point of a game is for the players to have agency, the ability to decide their own path. If you want to tell a story, tell your friends to sit down as you read a book or something.
Don't prep plots, prep scenarios. Not only will it be more fun and engaging for you and your players, but it will also be a lot less work. If you think of the game like "ok, the players will go here, then this will happen, then they'll do this, etc. etc." you open up so many possible failure points where the game will run off your railroad. What happens if the players don't decide to interrogate that person? What if they miss that clue? When this happens you'll not only be lost but all your work hammering out the rest of the railroad will be wasted.
2. Figure out what matters and doesn't matter to you and your players and spend your time appropriately. Like think about travelling in a dungeon vs travelling in town. Travelling in dungeon is interesting business so pratically every step is played out, but for walking around town most people just say "ok you wanna find a tavern? Right after 10 minutes of walking you reach x generic tavern". I think in this specific example most people do it automatically but I think it really needs to be applied to more situations. For me, all speech is done in the third person and quickly settled with roles unless it is a genuinely important dialogue. Honestly, who wants to hear small talk with fruit vendors. But if it is the players trying to convince a mad scientist not to unleash his monster against the townsfolk that shunned him, then hell yeah every inflection of every word will be played out in full. Think about the time/effort cost vs the fun payoff with every element of your game and it will improve dramatically.
3. Give your players enough information to make informed choices. If you have the choice between Door 1 and Door 2 but you can't discern any difference between them, it's not a real choice and is less fun for you and the players. Don't just spring that wolf attack on them, let them see tracks, hear howls, etc. This not only makes it more fair (the players can never blame you for trying to kill them as they knew what they were getting into) but creates lots of yummy drama. Sure it's cool if the adventurers decide go into a forest to fetch that magic sword and at some point they bump into monsters, but it's more interesting if they are already aware of the monsters in the forest and have to weigh their desire to get the sword vs their desire to not get eaten. Making sure there is enough information available also allows players to plan things out, which can lead to some really elaborate, really awesome scenarios that wouldn't be possible if all conflicts were simply sprung on them.
4. Let them fail. If your players are simply looking for a power trip then there are many video games offer this in a much more convenient format. Removing the possibility of failure (as many GMs do) they remove meaning from the player's choices. I mean, if you're going to succeed no matter what, why should you even bother thinking about what you're going to do next? My mantra is that if the choices aren't meaningful then the players aren't engaged. And if the players aren't engaged out come the IPhones and the "oh yeah of course I'm having fun... No really, I am."
The Magus is hands down my favourite class in Pathfinder, no others even come close. IMO the class is super versatile and very fun to play with the insane action economy and all the options you have in combat.
While the forums often recommend the same Dervish Dance build over and over again, the Magus has so many options.
In addition to being big damage dealers and sky-high AC walls, Magi can
The really fun thing is that you don't have to choose, and can do nearly all of these things at once.
You can also get really creative with dips like
Asian gods are represented in Pathfinder, I don't see why Allah or whoever shouldn't be allowed.
Here's my take on a couple of the most popular versions:
New Testament God
Old Testmanent God
I think this god could be really interesting roleplay wise by making it so that a central part of his worship is the belief that he really is the one true god, and that all others are somehow invalid or fake.
If you really want to take advantage of Deathless Initiate, Pain Taster might be an option as you are continually eating your own health with Masochism anyways.
If you can get the alignment issues wavered, a Paladin/Pain Taster sounds like a super fun idea, role-playing wise. Like a holy flagellant kind of character.
Alternatively you could dump Con and hurt yourself below 0 every day in order to benefit from the Zealot bonus. Monk, Monk/Kensai, or Ninja would be really useful for AC and/or access to spells like Mage Armour and Mirror Image. Obviously not the most secure idea but it could be a lot of fun.
I think a couple levels of Oracle would be pretty fun for this. Like, you're so devoted to your allies that you keep giving your HP to them to the point where a normal person would die. Combined with Barbarian for Raging Vitality and you have a pretty neato character imo.
You could also skip the whole feat chain business by taking the Never Stop Shooting trait.
If you're really mean, let the players keep getting away with it for a while, then have them run across a very high CR squad that hunts people that misuse magic, or are something like a magical secret service. That's when the other shoe drops, the squad should not be pushovers, and there should be every indication that even if defeated, more will look for the group, striking when they split up or sleep.
The more I think about this idea the more I like it. Even if one could think of complete defense against every form of magic, actually implementing this kind of setup would be prohibitively expensive and highly impractical for every day use.
What's even better is that this doesn't prevent heists from taking place, but simply adds additional elements to the adventure: covering your tracks and dealing with retrieval squad. In fact that itself would be a pretty fun campaign. CSI: Sandpoint!
I think it's mostly a semantic difference. Based on the OP's explanations it's clear that he wants his players to enjoy the experience, he just prefers to accomplish that with tension rather than feeding player greed/ego. Of course, either one could be described as "fun", it all depends on how a given person perceives the word.
I don't mind my player's egos being fed. I mean, they're my real life friends- I want them to succeed. I cheer (inside my head) when they accomplish their goals. But I just feel that to give them the best game possible I need to draw upon more kinds of experiences. I do want them to "enjoy" the session overall in the sense that they are glad its a part of their life, but I explicitly want to include elements that they won't enjoy. Think about spicy food. I think most people probably enjoy a little bit of heat in their food at least once in a while. But the funny thing is, there is no such thing as a flavour receptor for spiciness. "Spiciness" is just pain.
Anyways I'm really derailing this thread now. *blush*
Vatras, I think you play the same kind of game that I'm trying to play. That last paragraph in particular. Another thing I really value is there being enough information to make informed decisions. It's becoming clear to me that magical defenses are the answer but it's difficult for me to envision how players would be able to detect and interact with them. How do you do it?
Re: Fun. This is another really sore spot for me... I think this preoccupation with fun is really restraining the growth of games as an art. What would movies be like if film makers limited themselves to making films "pleasant"? What would the state of cuisine be if chefs only tried to make their food sweet?
That's not to say I hate fun. I love fun, just like I like candy bars. But candy bars don't make a meal, and simply "having fun" doesn't make a real engaging and enriching experience. This is a bit tricky as "fun" is such a nebulous concept but I think that if you look closely you'll realize that the best parts of your games are not just the fun parts. Just as I said in the previous post what I love to see is not just my players shouting in triumph, but also in despair. On a basic level you need struggle to have real triumph, ie the sorrow only makes the success sweeter but I think that there is something delicious in pain as well. Though obviously having all sadness and no fun doesn't make for a successful game either. Just like a good chef you have to present an interesting and nuanced blend of flavours.
My players are not hardcore, in fact the farthest from it. Most of them have about the same amount of experience as me but without the hundreds of hours studying the games and contemplating its design. Generally they don't know what adds to their roll when they make an attack and they sometimes forget what class the are. But that's ok, because that's not what's important to them. When I tell them that they smell a funny smell as they enter the house, the remember exactly how I described it. When I tell them they find a scrap of cloth caught on a branch, they remember exactly what colour, pattern, and material it is. And when their back is up against the wall and they have 10 zombies and an alchemist in front of them and 6 angry guards behind, you can bet they're putting every ounce of mental energy they can muster into thinking of a way out.
The tricky thing is is that I don't presume to know what is fun for them but I provide an environment where they can make their own fun. Think of your favourite moments from playing video games. I don't know about you guys, but for me and everyone I've talked to the best and most memorable times weren't that big high-polycount boss or that amazing fancy sword with many bonuses that the game designer placed specifically to wow and excite me, but it was the creative things I did, that I came up with on my own.
Again it's kind of tricky to explain as I'm not very eloquent and these are tricky concepts but I think that the way I make games fun is by not trying to make them fun. So like, I give them a fishing rod and make sure the lake is full of fish, but I'm not serving it up to them on a plate.
And aaaalso my world is not fully fleshed out, in fact the style I'n really trying to nail down is to improvise everything on the spot. That's why I'm so concerned with making things logical, because if I have all the logic down I can just plant a few seeds like "this guy is a greedy mage" and "this lady is a clever rogue" and when you toss in the actions of the players the story writes itself. All I have to do is think "well so and so has this disposition and this set of tools, so logically they would take this action".
Short answer: You're the GM. It's your privilege to pull stuff out of your wazoo
This may be well and fine in your games, but these ideas are antithetical to my style of play. My games operate under two basic principles.
1. The players are not special. Sure they might have some fancy class or a couple of levels over your run of the mill villager- but their enemies are typically even greater than that. The world does not revolve around them. It does not need them. It does not care about them. I do not fudge rolls or make special exemptions for them and they are free to die face down in a ditch like any other shmuck.
2. As a DM, I am not god. I am not the author, director, curator, or any of that s!@%. I am physics. I am not responsible for the players success. I am not even responsible for their fun. Sure I create a world and the evenings scenario, but once my friends sit down at my dining room table, cheap dice quivering in their dorito coated hands, my only job is to make sure the world acts in a logical manner. I write no special destiny for my players, I simply create a world and then try to figure out what happens when they f$&% with it. I never think about how they might "win" the game, all I do is lay out the canvas and stand back to let them paint.
I am extremely new to this hobby, I've probably played in fewer than 20 sessions and DMed in less than half of those. But I am already sick of these disgustingly linear games where the player's only role is to guess what the DM had in mind for the next part of their precious plot.
I am not great at this. Not yet. I stutter and stumble and forget important details. I screw up rules and make mistakes. But I can already tell I`m on the right track. The look of intense engagement on my players faces as they frantically plan their next move. Their victorious shouts. Their heartfelt cries of sorrow. The fact that there isn`t a single f*~#ing cell phone in sight. This is the game I want to play and see played. One where the path is not simply found by the players, but created by them. When I play like this I am genuinely on the edge of my seat, excited to see whether the players live or die, whether they can evade the patrolling guards, whether they can make sense of this clue, and ultimately whether they`ll die sad and forgotten or overcome all odds and save the day.
So please, don`t me that I should just `pull something out of my ass` or that its the players right to run roughshod over the world like some sort of juvenile power fantasy. Hell don`t even tell me that it`s the PC`s job to be heroes. They are free, free to be thugs, low-lifes or villains. They are free to become the stuff of legends, or just another bunch of prats who bit off more than they can chew. They are free to earn these successes or fail despite their best efforts. Because that`s what real agency is and that`s what games should be about.
Well my games anyways. I`m sorry for the hostility but this is something I feel really strongly about. Too many nights have I spent drowning in linear corridors and `puzzles` that will only accept the DM`s one ordained solution. Drowning for hours with the beautiful experience this game could be just beyond my fingertips, almost blinding me with its brilliance yet invisible to everyone else.
I've been thinking about this a lot and reading up on the rules and I don't think dogs really works out either. Dogs counter invisibility by smelling out the intruders, but it counters mundane sneaking equally well. In fact it only shifts the game further in benefit of magical thieves as they'd have more tools to deal with them.
I was thinking maybe something without great eyesight but exceptional hearing, but then the spell Forced Quiet also exists.
What I'm thinking now is that I simply need to pile on a lot of different things that can all be beaten by mundane stealth but that each require different spells to bypass magically.
Now that I've considered it more that Hallow idea is really good. It also adds a lot of interesting politics. I only wish that Hallow had a shorter duration, maybe like a week or two. That would players could makes plans to delay the weekly hallow maintenance guy.
Dazzling Display looks amazing - do I need Weapon Focus and proficiency, or is it one or the other? Desidero, would you still recommend the Archaeologist, or is there another Bard archetype that would work better if I'm focusing on support? And uh... for Enforcer, is that nonlethal in terms of like, an attack with a weapon that deals lethal damage that doesn't kill, or a weapon like a sap that specifically deals nonlethal damage?
You would need both the prerequisites for Dazzling Display. If you choose to pick it up make sure to check out Shatter Defenses as well. Maybe even Deadly Stroke if you end up really high level.
Re: Enforcer: Neither. Any time you do non-lethal damage. This can be with a weapon that specifically deals non-lethal damage such as a Whip, or by any other means of doing non-lethal damage (Blade of Mercy Trait, Bludgeoner feat, Frosbite Spellstrike, etc).
Taking a dip in Archaeologist is pretty good if you have the Fate's Favoured trait- especially good for you as you're pretty low on both to-hit bonuses and static damage. On the other hand, it does eat up your swift actions and delay your Ninja progression... So really either way is viable.
All of the advice you've received so far is really solid, anything you choose would end up pretty good. There's even some wackier stuff you can do like take two levels of Paladin for massive bonuses to all your saves and some Lay on Hands (make sure to take Reward of Life).
Archaeologist is a very strong dip, but it loses the bard's ability to really boost the whole party, which I think is what you were looking for. If you want to really help your team I recommend looking into Intimidate feats such as Enforcer or Dazzling Display. This would really help your team out and allow you to get Sneak Attack off more easily.
Secondly, remember that at level 2 vanish is lasting for only 12 seconds. That is hardly enough time to get through an entire mansion!
Definitely not enough to go around the entire mansion, but 58 feet is still a pretty considerable distance. Maybe it's not too much to get worked up about at this level but the problem will only get exponentially worse as we play higher level games. A fifth level bard would be able to travel 145 feet per casting and be able to use it nearly twice as much! And the bard is not even a full caster...
That said you guys have given some really excellent tips here. Hounds and doors with little bells will almost certainly be making frequent appearances in my games from now on.
The magic against magic is logical but is something I'm struggling with for different reasons. While I don't want magic users to have free reign, I don't want them to feel cheated out of their class features either. Something like guard posts and doors are impediments to stealth based characters, but its something they can struggle with and overcome. A lot of the anti-magic options seems all in or all out to me. Furthermore, some of these options (like alarm and arcane eye) then make magic a necessity in order to do any kind of infiltration.
But again, good ideas! Keep 'em coming!
In your world, how are mundane locations like manors and banks protected against magic? Like, the other day I was running a pretty funny game where my players were attempting to sneak into a manor. The manor was really simple, just a big house with a couple of guards and servants milling about, yet the players still had to rack their brains to bluff, distract and knockout the guards while evading detection. And sometimes they failed, which lead to even more fun.
But halfway through a player (a 2nd level Bard) realized that he had spells. I allowed him to pick his spells right there and he chose two uses of Vanish, which easily allowed him and an ally to bypass a large part of the manor.
I have no problems with my players succeeding, but what I do strive for is the creation of a logical and coherent world, and it seems really inappropriate that a wealthy person's home is not outfitted with protection from a 1st level spell.
So how could people's homes be protected against thieves using stuff like vanish, disguise self, or wild shape? Hell, I can even see 0 level spells like Spark and Mage Hand causing loads of trouble.
If you're going to spend a large amount of time at level 15+ I think a Knight Errant Luring Cavalier or Dune Drifter might fit the bill.
At level 15 Knight Errants can make one roll an automatic 20, once per day.
Luring Cavaliers can add twice their level as damage on a single attack roll in exchange for one challenge use.
Dune Drifters get a tonne of cool gun stuff, including access to Dead Shot.
I don't think this is even that bad of a combo.
I would go Sohei Monk/Wis Sorcerer/Eldritch Knight and then a level of Cleric with some nice domain powers.
Then I would take Channel Smite and Guided Hand. Congrats, you now have Wisdom for AC, attack, arcane casting and divine casting.
Your GM better be using fractional BAB though.
You could also go Soc 1/Cleric 1/Monk X for Arcane Strike, Enlarge Person and Crusader's Flurry.
Maneuver Master 1/Madness & Tyranny Cleric X
1. Improved Trip, Combat Reflexes, Vicious Stomp
1. Use Flurry of Maneuvers to trip, provoking an AoO with Vicious Stomp.
If everything went well, you've inflicted a penalty to attack rolls and saves equal to 4 + half your level. Next turn, Dominate Person or something.
You can also go Devil and Tyranny for a flat -6 to saves, and a more cohesive theme. You might even be able to go Devil + Madness for 6 + half your level.
Hexcrafter Magus can also do this with Evil Eye. They get a lot of really nice goodies but their spell list is lacking and the legality on hexcrafters qualifying for Hex Strike is kinda iffy.
1. Do you threaten above you? Like if a bat was sitting on your head, then went to fly away would it provoke an AoO?
2. Can you use Ki Throw to toss someone in a square above the ground?
3. Since prone specifically calls out someone lying on the ground, would they still be eligible trip targets?
4. Using Vicious Stomp could you juggle someone in the air repeatedly?
Even more relevant is the Civil War comic book event where Captain America is a willful outlaw fighting against the United States government. To my knowledge they weren't even controlled by some supervillain or anything (though knowing super hero comic books, this moral ambiguity probably doesn't last long).
You could make a classic situation of good vs law, where the marshal can only choose one.