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We recently had our first session run by a DM I’d never played with before. I was surprised to find that he house rules that all “out of combat” healing is basically maximized (like Maximize Spell). This applies even to Channel Energy, which made even our 1st level Cleric’s channels pretty great. I kind of look forward to not needing to roll so many d8s and track lots of wand charges in that game. I guess I might be able to look forward to the same in PF2E though I might also need to be more careful about recklessly taking damage (I'm already pretty carteful with most PCs)

I’m not sure yet if PF2E will really have a built in assumption that you enter a lot of fights without full HP, but if so maybe that would help some DMs limit their tendency to try to make every fight a deadly challenge. I guess it could also just mean that experienced players won’t lecture newer ones about how inefficient it is to buy wands of higher level Cure spells. It seems like you might get enough Resonance to heal yourself pretty well as long as you have appropriately leveled wands. I guess that could be reduced by the magic items you have, but presumably they’d help you do better in fights and take less damage to begin with.

Since potions are going to be limited by Resonance too I hope they’re a little more effective than they are now. It already often doesn’t seem worth buying and using them in 1E beyond the lowest levels or to have certain utility spells available.

I'm just now reading most of the PF2E news, so it is possible I'm not well informed...

Anyhow, I think the Fighter preview sounded interesting. Moving around, and performing maneuvers could be nice, and using shield without a huge magical AC bonus effectively might give my next Viking themed PC a better reason than RP commitment to stick with sword & board.

I don't see how an extra base damage die without modifiers would be better than a second attack at -5 in PF1E since that's basically Vital Strike, which usually isn't very appealing unless you have really big base damage dice (great for Huge Druid whatever). I guess that if the penalty to hit on the second attack produces a greater chance of missing in PF2E then the New Power Attack might be pretty nice though.

I guess there's also the Playtest, so if Power Attack really sucks maybe it will get changed. I kind of wish the new campaigns I've started recently had started in August - alas...

The feathered hat reminded me of the Mage Knight "Dwarven Swordsman". I'd kind of meant to make a PC based on that mini for a while but never got around to it.

Have you ever tried customizing minis with 'green stuff' epoxy? It is actually pretty easy to get results which are good enough for tabletop play, especially if you're willing to do some "surgery" combining parts from different minis.

LN worship of Asmodeus as a deity of contracts, Law & Order, etc seems like it could make some sense. Big A cooperated in locking up Rovagug, so his cult might similarly be able to work along with those of Good and Neutral deities to achieve common goals. I’d imagine that LN worshippers of Asmodeus might be fairly common in Cheliax. Perhaps some of them like to be as nice as their religion allows - at least until there's some law or contract to enforce, when it might be more like, "Sorry, but the Law says...". I'd imagine that willingness to enforce the harsh rules of some Evil deity might be enough to make an otherwise Good creature Neutral.

I once made up an NPC named Chef Diobari (an anagram of the original spelling of Boyardi) who worships Urgathoa as a goddess of hedonism and feasting but downplays her association with Evil. He might try to tempt folks into feasting on forbidden foods, but he’d present it as “just for the taste of it” rather than as a way to corrupt their souls.

Since Adventure Paths tend to end around levels 15-17, so I'd guess that a lot of campaigns based on them do too.

I'd say that most homebrews I've played in aim for level 20 but sometimes fizzle out around 15-18 as preparation becomes more difficult and the amount of real time which passes frequently results in multiple players changing jobs, moving to other states, etc. The highest level I've run a game to is 17th though that one is still being playing sporadically.

One local DM ran a 3.5 game to 24th level and later a Pathfinder game to 20th level with 5 mythic tiers. He seems to use a bunch of custom monsters but had way more quests than we were able to complete in 20 levels. I'd guess we could have another campaign based on just the adventure hooks we never followed up on.

I’ll echo the suggestion that a Bard would work well. He or she could be great for social interactions, gathering information, etc and also potentially useful in combat if that ever comes up. However, I think that an interesting variation on the tried and true cohort could be to make the cohort a Skald instead.

Through rage powers the Skald might be able to add some interesting abilities to the PCs as well as the other cohorts and followers. The Skald would also get Spell Kenning, which allows you to cast some Cleric or Wizard spells - potentially great for utility, especially at higher levels. I kind of imagine your whole team growing claws or horns, gaining the ability to Bull Rush foes with Knockback, using Intimidating Glare, etc. There are a ton of rage powers to choose from, and you'd still get a basic boost to Str and Con too.

I saw a mostly Ranger based AA in play around levels 13-20 in a Mythic game with tiers equal to around level/4. Unfortunately she spent a lot of her actions casting energy damage spells most of our amped up foes were resistant or immune to, but her mix of almost full BAB and a decent number of spell slots was good for the party, especially since by higher levels she could cover some serious buffing and utility. I suppose a regular game wouldn't have Mythic Heroism, but surely even the regular version could come in handy.

To be clear, this was more like a Ranger who could cast some spells than a Wizard who could shoot some arrows. The player in question was not a skilled optimizer, so I'm pretty sure a lot more could be squeezed out of the build (especially on the archery side since she didn't have all the typical archery feats). Perhaps Fighter would be a better base to squeeze in an extra feat or two.

My most recent generation of PCs includes a Tripper, a Shield Slammer, and a Grappler. The Tripper is also a Dirty Trick Fighter who can take anything without a super high CMD out of combat by spamming Dirty Tricks (though honestly I only use that once in a while since “Haha, you don’t get a turn!” could get old quickly)

Overall I’d say that Trip is a great trick for those who have enough feats to afford it. You will dominate trippable foes and make them easy for your allies to finish off, but enemies will still be able to fight back in theory, unlike if a maxed out Grappler pins them or a Dirty Trick Master applies more conditions than they can remove in a round.

Moving folks around with Bull Rush (my PC did so exclusively with Shield Slam) can be the most satisfying maneuver when you get the chance to push somebody off a cliff, out of a window, or perhaps down a well (sorry, Timmy). Whether or not Shield Slamming a flying creature against a wall should result in it crashing is probably a DM decision made table to table (my DM allowed it), but trippable creatures can be knocked prone with Shield Slam too, and once again there’s a certain satisfaction in bouncing somebody off a wall, tree, etc onto the ground to get beaten some more. Depending on the casters in your party some options like “Push enemy back through Wall of Fire” might exist too.

Apparently the hidden purpose was to enable thread necromancy.

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What is a GM screen? Is Chevy making computers now? Surely GMs don't bother hiding stuff from the players anymore - "Come and see!"

I really like intimidate, but for a change of pace certain monsters can get pretty scary with the Vital Strike chain, especially combined with Improved Natural Attack.

Combining Greater Trip and Vicious Stomp is also really wonderful. The fact the Vicious Stomp can trigger Enforcer and potentially Hurtful is the extra gravy of delicious damage. Stay down and be ineffective or stand up and get smacked again - up to you, PC...

I think that DR is likely to be better in a published adventure (say PFS especially) where the monsters come out of the book and do what they do, almost ensuring the appearance of some monsters which don’t do big one hit damage. In a homebrew game DMs might (intentionally or not) begin adjusting to a PC’s DR by using heavy hitters, energy damage, etc more often.

Certainly I've seen Ablative Barrier with the “double healing” option work pretty well for an Alchemist in Council of Thieves. On the other hand, DR5/- from armor mastery didn't help my 20th level Viking much, especially since his AC was often 50+ to help avoid getting hit multiple times to begin with (DR being best against lots of smaller damage hits)

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I don't think that giving a guideline about how many actions it might take to shift somebody's alignment is terrible in and of itself even if aligned spells being aligned acts is somewhat controversial in the gaming community. The idea that you could somehow atone for casting Evil spells by casting Good ones seems somewhat odd, but the idea that somebody could start "slipping into darkness" by summoning devils or creating undead seems thematically appropriate for a lot of stories (at least to me)

I sometimes wonder if maybe a lot of people secretly or not so secretly dislike Paladins and therefore want to make up reasons for them to fall and be ridiculed. The DM who had an Evil NPC give the Paladin a coin could be in that camp. I guess he could also just be the Jerkmaster General or somebody who feels very clever and wanted to provide an "interesting" quest for the Paladin to regain his powers.

Moving on from disliking farts and over to version preferences - I prefer 3.5/Pathfinder to the older editions since it is easier to make your PC different on a mechanical level rather than just through RP. For instance, in many older editions Fighter A and Fighter B would tend to be mechanically quite similar whereas in Pathfinder their capabilities could be very different (like the grapple you to jelly guy mentioned above - whether or not you like that particular tactic - could just as easily be somebody who decides to push people around with Shield Slam, demoralize them, etc...)

Something I don't like as much about Pathfinder is how easy it is to develop overwhelming offense and end encounters pretty much instantly (I guess what some call "rocket tag"). I suppose there should be some fights which are quick and brutal, but a good battle with a struggle for tactical advantages appeals to me too (and that might involve some use of CMB to debuff the enemy)

@pjrogers - I'd think that a black leopard should like grappling

@Fuzzy-Wuzzy - Step Up let you follow an enemy who 5 foot steps away and has some follow up feats

I’d think that a properly focused Rogue could function as a frontliner, especially with a little multiclassing. Paladin is a great frontliner, especially if the DM won't decide that all the bad guys become Neutral just to thwart you.

Anyhow, what sort of “out of combat” things are you looking to accomplish?
-Find/Remove Traps - This is generally a Rogue ability, but anybody can put ranks into Perception and Disable Device. If you want to remove magical traps you’ll need to pick up the trapfinding trait (which various archetypes and a few classes offer)
-Diplomacy - Anybody can put ranks into Diplomacy. If your game uses traits you can probably get it as a class skill too. Even without many ranks you can participate in roleplaying.
-Travel - Even a Fighter can have a boat, wagon, etc
-Climb - class skill for most martials
-Knowledge checks - You’re probably not the party’s sage though you might know a little about certain things, maybe enough to aid another
- Other Skills - If you use Background Skills from Unchained I find that can really help flesh out the “personality” of low skill point classes.

Since it sounds like you’re willing to play casters so long as they can handle melee there are tons of options really. A Summoner or a Monster Tactician Inquisitor could work out pretty well. With minute per level durations your Summon Monster ability can be useful from 1st level, especially if you're a human who picks up Augment Summoning. With medium BAB the PC should do OK too, and the MT gets Bane at 5th level.

Still, my martial PCs have plenty of personality and do plenty of RP. Even if your skills don't cover all areas you can help plan and organize the group's efforts.

*Maybe some of the seafood could be magically chilled. You could also include

*If you think people will argue/worry about the safety of the clam game maybe you could just make it opening the clam to get a pearl (yeah, I know those usually come from oysters). Maybe besides just forcing the clam open there could be an option to influence it with Handle Animal or Knowledge (Nature). Maybe the winner gets to present the pearl to a leader and/or attractive villager. Perhaps this leads to a dance or maybe (perhaps on a coral and seashell altar while the whole village watches - could be time for some Diplomacy to avoid offending the village if you don't want to follow their ancient custom)

*Octopus butler with many serving platters

*Squids with multicolored ink create billowing plumes of color which the PCs can swim and dance through. Perhaps the ink is slightly magical or has psychoactive properties.

*Lighting is provided by phosphorescent organisms like jellyfish etc. Maybe there could be a dance hall where flashing fish swim around among the dancers creating a strobe-like effect.

*Hippocampus race (hippocampus race track’s 5 miles long, doo dah, doo dah?)

*Poison from various sea creatures could be used as a drug to enter an "ambient" dreamlike state (Hope Sandoval with gills sings a weird underwater song)

*Perhaps there's a "dark secret" near or under the village, the lair of an aboleth who sometimes influences the villagers. With Veil and other spell-like abilities it could fool them into thinking it is a secluded sage/oracle or perhaps even a priest of Gozreh. In the latter case perhaps the festival has been warped by the monster's influence and the PCs or others could be in danger of being selected as the annual sacrifice.

Are your abilities something which wouldn't work with unintelligent undead?

@SmiloDan - I’ve changed certain spells and effects like Greater Forbid Action and Dazing Spell to allow a new save every round. In the case of Fear the subsequent saves are to reduce condition to shaken for the duration.

My most recent Paladin liked Brothels (even after they got changed to Dancehalls) and built one in every town. Immunity to disease and the ability to remove it can really come in handy. He also had a bunch of necromatic spells and powers. I guess none of that really breaks the Code though I did worry about his monkey familiar's potential interaction with the line "A paladin may accept only henchmen, followers, or cohorts who are lawful good" since I'm not sure if being a familiar changes an animal's alignment. On the other hand, familiars aren't explicitly mentioned there.

It kind of amuses me that using poison should make a Paladin fall since I wonder if Paladins can use insecticide and rat poison or if they must shrink down and go confront all their household pests in honorable combat. I'm not sure if the quick-fall Paladin's decision to toss back something an enemy tossed at him really seems that dishonorable in the same sense as lying or cheating. It certainly isn't a planned act of subterfuge at least.

I'm also not sure if a single violation of the latter tenets of the Code should lead directly to a fall or if that should be reserved for the top section's "ever willingly commits an evil act". Tossing a poison dart (which you might or might not know is poisoned) back at somebody who just tossed it at you would rarely qualify as Evil IMO. I guess there could be corner cases like you mind controlled the person and forced them to throw the dart...

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Out of game, I used to kind of hate Buffy, a show I never watched, because at least an hour or two of most game sessions would be devoted to people discussing it. Later on the same happened to a lesser extent with Firefly, which I eventually watched and enjoyed. Finally I got in on the conversation with Game of Thrones, but honestly I’d rather play if possible.

Several people mentioning sensitivity to the smell of foods makes me wonder what foul smelling foods other players are bringing. I personally don’t mind most foods, but I hate it when people fart, especially when they fart during meals in groups which eat together. Some of the time they use excuses like, “It’s natural!”, but others they clearly fart just to offend me. I guess it is my fault for letting people learn that I don’t like public farting much, and here I’ve just posted it for the whole Internet to see - alas!

In game there are lots of things to hate though most of them are minor enough that maybe I just “dislike” them instead. As a DM I hate how quickly encounters can end since it means I’m never sure whether I’ve prepared enough of them or if the time spent preparing them will be close to wasted. As a player I kind of hate Will saves since they can often lead to sitting around bored or even worse fighting the other PCs. Touch attacks can be a pain on either side of the table since most PCs and monsters are highly susceptible to them.

I saw mention of a Viking, and I played a Viking in a Mythic game. He eventually got up to 20th level and 5th tier on the Guardian path. He wasn’t particularly invulnerable from a DR perspective, but he probably could have been with different feat and Mythic ability choices. He was still pretty tough for most foes to take down though since his shield bonus eventually got very high and Mythic Shield Focus allows you to apply that to your touch AC, providing some much needed protection against attacks that can otherwise be pretty tough to avoid.

For RP reasons I used heavy shield and TWF mostly with light hammer. That required an enormous investment of feats along with Mythic Power Attack to keep damage output good. Using Shield Brace would probably be a better plan. If you want to go with Stalwart and Crane Style I guess even just fighting with a shield in one hand and nothing in the other could work out pretty well. Shield Slam is pretty cool and becomes even better if your campaign uses Combat Stamina. Our DM made it available as a feat at one point, and after that it was pretty fun when foes with weapons would show up since you can use Come and Get Me / Taunting Stance to get an AoO and potentially Trip or Disarm an enemy before their attack is resolved.

It just occurred to me that maybe a campaign based on Greek myth might still not be a Mythic campaign. Even if that's the case Shield Slam is pretty cool and could be combined with Crane Style if you wanted lots of AC or possibly pretty good AC and DR.

When "should" the Paladin use Detect Evil? Is quitting cold turkey the only way to end the addiction, or can you still Detect Evil "socially" on occasion?

Is the Paladin's Detect Evil ability maybe intended more to help friends and allies check to make sure that they haven't slipped over some moral precipice? "Sorry, Larzak, but I think when you summoned the Shadow Demons in our last encounter you might have slipped into Evil. If you don't get an Atonement and give some gold pieces to charity we'll have to break up the party."

Maybe your group could try Hero Points. They work pretty well for us, and if people really like things riskier they can always spend the Hero Points on silly stuff and showing off.

Yeah, I know, Hero Points are for wimps, but some groups find it less unseemly than lots of Raise Dead (which really sits wrong with some folks)

I think there's a lot of space to interpret how bad a normal humanoid needs to be before they qualify (and detect) as Evil. I mean, the typical devil from Hell is Evil, but is a merchant who cheats on weighing products (as suggested above) really Evil? I don't know. Maybe it is up to each group. Maybe it depends on whether his cheating is inflicting great suffering. Maybe it depends on whether he's doing it out of greed or there's some sadism mixed in.

Some might say that even being a murderer might not be enough to make you detect as Evil in many cases. If you worship a deity of murder and devote your life to a philosophy of murder and wickedness that's Evil, but if you just fly off the handle one time and kill somebody would you show up on the Evil radar? I don't know. The fact that you need to be 5 HD tall to register implies to me that maybe it is supposed to take special and powerful Evil.

In the case of special, powerful Evil I'd agree that some reflection upon whether or not you can defeat this particular Evil might be wise. If the party caster offers to Plane Shift your 11th level Paladin to the Abyss so he can go nuts slaying Chaotic Evil demons is that a good plan?

Once a DM (perhaps foolishly) showed our party of around 2nd or 3rd level PCs a Balor or Pit Fiend as part of a roleplaying encounter. The party's Paladin really wanted to fight it. I'm not sure if he was just roleplaying or maybe thought that surely the DM wouldn't let us meet anything we weren't supposed to kill.

I don't know of any official changes which have been made to Leadership, but I can think of some homebrew changes which might be interesting (haven’t tried them yet)

#1 - It might be nice if cohorts were less powerful but more survivable:
A cohort which works more like a high HP familiar might be nice in some ways. I’ve thought about whether it might make sense to slap a simple class template on an animal companion chassis (or maybe that would be a terrible idea). Alternately you could lower the level of the cohort but add some survivability perks, maybe something simple like letting the PC spend HP to keep the cohort in action and/or a cohort version of Hero Points (amazingly your sidekick fell off the cliff and survived yet again)

#2 - It might be nice if followers were more survivable, especially in groups:
I’ve thought of maybe using something like the Troop creature type to represent the crew of a pirate or viking ship in a way which might not end up with all of them dying the first time an area damage effect goes off.

Sometimes the standard Leadership rules can work pretty well though. For instance, people often complain that certain classes aren’t well rounded, and the cohort can really even that out. In general if I take a cohort I go for one who will buff and support the party rather than a frontliner or primary caster. A Bard seems (somewhat ironically) less likely to steal the spotlight.

If there's a problem it might be that the +1 or +2 seems insignificant to many players at lower levels. Once you've got +4 and +5 shields they make a pretty noticeable difference, especially if you have some other ways to avoid being hit (say Mirror Image)

If you're using a shield and one-handed weapon it can help to have some ways to boost damage, but the biggest problem my shield focused PCs have faced over the years wasn't with damage output but accusations that their AC was "too high".

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If the prophecy can be stopped by a 1st level PC deciding to kill a baby it seems like a pretty weak prophecy.

Prophet: "Oh no, the world will end unless you kill that bunny!"
Hero: "That one over there?"
Prophet: "Yes, or any bunny you'd like really. It is you morally compromising yourself which is important here."
Hero: "It isn't immoral to kill a bunny."
Prophet: "Some vegans would disagree, but alright then, how about you kill a BABY!"
Hero: "That's morally unacceptable. Think of the children!"
Prophet: "It is a grim and gritty world. If you don't kill that baby a cosmic train will run over millions of other babies!"
Hero: "I think you're full of crap."
Prophet: "Aren't we always?"

If the DM will let you use a "regular old meat cleaver" but enchant it later then the "Rough and Ready" trait could be tough to beat. It would basically give you a +1 to hit most of the time at the cost of still being very unlikely to find your special weapon in treasure hoards or for sale at the local magic shoppe (at least until your butcher is so famous that people start crafting magic cleavers in homage to him). R&R would also allow you to use other butchery implements as weapons. Maybe you throw knives or use a cutting board as a shield.

I wonder what magical properties your apron should have. If you'd be willing to go with a goblin instead of a half-orc maybe the Feral Gnasher archetype could be fun. The idea of a small PC with a big axe/cleaver/etc kind of amuses me at least.

I don't really know of a good product which covers followers, but I've often thought that I'd like to see a different sort of Leadership which gives you a group of reasonably survivable followers who could act as a ship's crew or maybe some "merry men" without dying the first time a Fireball or siege weapon goes off. On the other hand, it might be nice if cohorts were less powerful (though perhaps not less survivable)

I once thought of a system where sneak attacking would either expand your crit range or just always be a crit threat. Combined with early access to various crit feats this seems like it could potentially be pretty powerful. The groups I play in also use crit decks, and gaining access to extra crit cards could be powerful too (though obviously not all groups like the cards)

I'd actually like it to be harder rather than easier to achieve sneak attack. Conversely the effect when you do accomplish it would probably need to be greater to make it worthwhile. I'm not sure if that would be easy to work into the average game though since sneaking around and taking out enemies with complete surprise might not happen that often compared to just flanking or feinting.

In a thread which has gone on this long I'm surprised that nobody has yet asked if 4 mirror armor is helpful against medusas and basilisks.

I think you got the rules right, but if somebody questions the flavor of it I guess you could say that since a troop is a group of creatures maybe some of the individual creatures were still able to see. Either way, if there's no attack roll there's nothing to apply the miss chance to though I guess you could house rule it as a chance to reduce or avoid the damage (house rule if you wanted to use it - not RAW as I understand it)

Getting the Grab ability somehow would give you a +4 to grapple.

@GM Rednal - Sure, like I said, somebody could come up with a points based system. To me using that sort of system seems like more work than just looking at the existing lists, but it could be nice if somebody wants a very specific weapon or capability and the GM doesn't want to make a judgment call on what seems "fair".

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A Summoner (unchained or otherwise) could use Charisma for spells and certain abilities plus help maintain an "extra-planar" feel. A "party girl" Evangelist of Cayden Cailean could summon extra-planar help too and maybe keep everybody alive with tons of Channel Energy.

Depending on the game a Mysterious Stranger Gunslinger could be fun too. With super high Charisma the Swift Aim + Dead Shot combo could become a pretty impressive signature move. Killing somebody with a single shot from a lady's derringer could be fun, and maybe you could have a special demon slaying double hackbut with a humorous name. Even firing it with a -4 and falling prone afterwards seems like it could be amusing somehow.

I'm sure you could come up with a points based system with perks like a better crit range or the disarm ability. It could be basically a more flexible version of the existing Pathfinder system, or the GM could just allow any combination of weapon qualities which seems "balanced" without worrying too much about the exact name. For instance, a Martial one-handed weapon which can trip and disarm and does 1d8 damage seems reasonable. If it had 19-20 crit range too maybe it should only do 1d6 damage or be Exotic.

Another option could be a more narrative system where you can claim bonuses (+2 on this or that) by describing how your weapon helps you achieve the goal (a chain for disarming or tripping, a shield for bull rushing, etc)

I guess you could take a couple of levels as an ursine Wildsoul Vigilante and re-skin the bear claws as dragon claws. They'd be "on" as long as you were in your vigilante form. I'm imagining a craven little kobold merchant or scholar who "transforms" into a murderous mini-dragon sometimes.

I don't mind the GM asking a player to roll to be given a hint or idea. Forcing the player to make a roll so that the PC can be "allowed" to have a "smart" (or even "common sense") idea which the player already came up with seems a little oppressive though. If a GM feels like there's a player with 16 Int coming up with too many genius level ideas for a PC with 7 Int and Wis maybe there are some roleplaying or metagaming concerns to address there, but needing to roll to think of stuff you've already thought of sounds kind of frustrating.

Sometimes the group can think of a way for a player's smart idea to get expressed in the party even if that player's PC is stupid (divine inspiration, "one time at band camp", "Master Algathor once said...", Rain Man has an idea, etc)

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My fun is usually based more on the personality of the PC rather than the class. I'd say that the class I've liked least so far was Cleric, but that particular PC had a (rolled) Str of 7 and was discouraged from summoning due to another player who asked me not to play a summoner (and then when his 1st PC in the campaign died made a summoning PC to replace him)

I had a lot of fun playing a Fighter recently since he had a lot of options in combat. In the past I've also enjoyed the Druid, largely due to mobility options.

Shield Slam can be pretty fun, especially if you have Combat Stamina. If you use a light shield you can wield it with Weapon Finesse. With 3 levels in Unchained Rogue you could even do decent damage with it. At 4th level you'd get some buff/debuff ability too. I'm guessing that the best way to make monsters attack you is probably to inflict reasonable damage on them.

The bonus from BWG ends after the opponent makes an attack on you, so subsequent attacks from the same creature on the same BWG user wouldn't trigger an AoO until the bonus is "reset"

While Paired Opportunists allows you to make an AoO when an opponent triggers one from an ally I think you still need to have an AoO available to use. It might be nice for the companion to get Combat Reflexes too.

It sounds like the PC could find out that he has a demonic, devilish, or vampiric bloodline.

Anyhow, is the blood from dead demons, or is a living fiend letting the PC drink its blood to infuse him with Chaos and Evil? If the latter that seems like it could be more interesting to me. Maybe there could be a succubus named Honeyblood (or something slightly more subtle) who tries to corrupt the fellow. She could give him a profane bonus etc. If she could cast Undetectable Alignment and used her disguise abilities the party might not realize what she is.

Perhaps you could kind of give the PC the equivalent of a free Leadership feat with the succubus as the cohort (or ask if the player is interested in taking Leadership or the Mythic ability which grants a cohort). On the other hand it could be something less permanent or maybe a nastier sort of demon for the party to confront and defeat.

My mythic PC was originally CG. He found a telepathic Pit Fiend skull which was needed to unlock a Mythic treasure vault (long story) and decided to wear it as a helmet (even longer story). It whispered dark secrets to him, urged him to kill, and made him very deceitful (max ranks in Bluff with an extra +10 bonus). Eventually the party managed to get the thing off him in an anti-magic zone, but his alignment had more or less "evened out" at Neutral.

It looks like Vengeance Strike triggers when an ally is HIT rather than when an ally is just attacked (and hopefully missed). Being an AoO also lets BWG work with Paired Opportunists, so you and the companion would both get the free attack. Since the AoOs resolve before the enemy's attack there's a good change you can kill or otherwise disable the foe before the attack completes.

Bodyguard isn't exactly a debuff, but it can have a similar effect by making your PC harder to hit (perhaps the PC would return the favor with Mounted Combat)

Broken Wing Gambit + Paired Opportunists (perhaps shared via magic saddle) could be fairly strong and might give you a fun way to punish foes who try to make an AoO on the animal during Upending Strike.

Your GM might be "coddling" you because he's also creating encounters that are too difficult for the PCs to win on their own if the monsters fight in a tactically sound manner. In fact, based on some of your comments in this thread and the one about the magic ring I'd say that sounds likely.

A GM using "homebrewed" material should probably be able to challenge an average party with mostly encounters of CR = APL, especially at the lower levels.

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Barding Stitches seem cruel, so I'd rather just see the magic armor work.

I've got a PC with a bunch of levels in Dirty Fighter and the Dirty Trick Master feat. Being able to full attack (hasted even) with Dirty Tricks allows him to disable many if not most corporeal foes. I generally go for Entangle (which lowers enemy CMD) then Pin. After that I decide whether the foe in question is worth applying another trick to so that they can't get free in a single round.

The group I play in allows any dirty trick effect to be removed as a standard action, including pinned and nauseated - else it would be way too easy for a Dirty Trick Master to take enemies out of combat for multiple rounds with just a couple of attacks. I know it isn't "official", but I had a previous conversation with the guy who wrote the feat, and he agreed this is reasonable.

Since Dirty Tricks are tough to use effectively at lower levels the PC started out as more of a tripper. There isn't much which can still be tripped at 17th level, but when a sucker shows up it is fun to be able to take advantage of it.

avr's True Strike idea is solid for boosting CMB. My girlfriend used it with a past PC to trip with a whip almost without fail (sans wand but still quite effective). If you can't perform multiple tricks per round you're likely to be a debuffer rather than a full on disabler though, so having some other debuffs to apply would probably make some sense. Hex Strike for Evil Eye might be useful, for instance.

The Eldritch Guardian or other "pet" options could help out with the number of Dirty Tricks per round, and if you have the pet wait until the PC has applied a particularly crippling trick and perhaps another debuff that could help out with the pet's potentially lower CMD.

It sounds like maybe you want to explore what terrible things you can get a party of Good and or Neutral PCs to do for the purpose of stopping some greater Evil, kind of an "ends justify the means" exercise like "would you switch the train from the track with 10 helpless victims to the track with 1 helpless victim?" but nastier.

If the players don't take the moral decisions of their PCs seriously this could likely descend into silliness. If they do it could potentially descend into bitterness. Maybe some people would really like it though. I guess maybe you know your own gaming group best.

If you're going for shock factor I guess you could make some of the trials more graphic, require self-mutilation, etc. I guess at the end the PCs could also find out that rather than stopping Evil from coming into the world their participation in the "trials" actually acted as a ceremony that helped to summon it. I guess that could kind of set up a lecture about how it is "wrong" to break your moral code for reasons of expediency and a "truly" Good PC would refuse to commit Evil acts no matter what.

On the off chance that your players would stand for all that maybe you could have it all turn out to be an illusion created by a Good NPC or deity to teach the PCs a lesson on sticking to their morals no matter what.

I think I've played all Core classes at some point except for Rogue, which I've never had more than a few levels of (and those not since the 3.5 days). Unchained Rogue seems like it could be interesting though since my latest "generation" of PCs was 3 martials I might want something more magical if and when a new Pathfinder game arises.

Some of the newer classes could be fun to try too though I can't say I've really been meaning to get around to them.

If you've already got the morale bonus that's great. Haste or some other buff could work just as well. If you can get stuff like Blistering Invective out to debuff the enemies too that's also helpful in changing the math of the encounter. There must be at least a dozen potentially useful wands here.

Lantern Archons plus Discordant Voice, Haste, and morale bonuses can stack up to absolutely stupid damage totals. That can be fun as a one off stunt, but if it is your day to day plan it could end up seeming a little over the top. If you don't care about seeming over the top I've always wondered what it might be like to summon a bunch of augmented aurochs or bison and have them all trample.

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