DirkSJ's page

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I'm surprised I haven't seen this one more: Lizaaaaard You can purchase a combat trained one for 550gp from Animal Archives.

I believe, based on my reading of the purchase guidelines, you can buy this after your first game (most level 1's give about 550). Large mounts are annoying in some scenarios, sure, but even if it has to squeeze all the time it will be fine. Nothing like a CR 5, 7 HD monster as your mount starting with your second game.

Also the: Vulchaaaa is allowed. Though substantially weaker and more expensive, it let's you fly. At 1125gp you can still scrape together the money before level 2.

If you are going for pure output glass cannon cheese: Tiga! Tiga! For only 500gp you can have a moderate example that lovely pounce/rake kitty your druid friend loves so much and that he hast to wait until level 7 for. It's AC is terrible; it will die, but you bought it for the alpha.

When you are done messing around and would like your forever friend you pick up: BFF Hello +16/4d8+18 charge. Hello trample. Hello +15 perception/scent. Hello 79hp/diehard. Goodbye 3000gp.

Note, with all of the above, prepare to have your GM force handle animal checks and/or ride checks. Consider picking up a War Saddle (and saving a bit of money since you don't need to buy combat training). If you are not a melee type and thus have a free belt slot the Equestian belt will serve you even better and is cheaper.

If you are not planing to ride then the Collar of Obedience is likely your goto item instead.

Also an option, if you are using a wayfinder, is the Turquoise Sphere and slot it for +5 ride, +2 handle (stacks with Collar).

For a generalist Occultist is it worth devoting your first two feats to Spell Focus (Conj) and Aug Summoning?

I am going with a fairly aggressive stat build (8, 16, 12, 20, 10, 7 with mods) and Wayang race for darkvision, size bonuses, and the wonderful stats. I am taking Reactionary and Pragmatic Activator to shore up my lack of CHA.

If I do take summoning feats I won't get much in the way exploits for quite some time. I could focus on conj spells like create pit, however, and put the focus feat to some use. I'd rather have Potent Magic, though, I suspect.

If I don't take the summoning feats it opens up taking extra exploits. Several interest me: Potent Magic, Dimensional Slide, Consume Magic Items, Familiar, Quick Study, and Counterspell being the top ones. Maybe the new shifter or Spell Tinker as well.

Note this will be a PFS character so concerns about anything over level 12 are not relevant. This is why I want to be generalist...With random players I cannot guarantee others will be able to support and protect a blockbuster or other specialized caster. This is also why I favor Consume Magic Items as there are "throw away" magic items that the adventure gives you all the time to eat.

As I wont be hitting very high levels I'm not sure much metamagic or metamixing are really ideal. If I'm wrong there, let me know.

How long is the usual turn around for these types of books to be allowed in PFS? Not sure the normal timeline...Fencing Grace actually makes Inspired Blade useful now.

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Also from the new book: Eldritch Aid feat can be selected as an exploit.

Orfamay Quest wrote:

If you want this, you've already lost. Single bosses don't work because of the action economy.

I don't even need counter spells. A barbarian will do just fine; just ready an action to hit the lich mid-spell. The lich fails his concentration check due to 30+ points of damage. So easy counterspelling doesn't make much difference. A wand of magic missile can do the same thing.

First off, why would the lich let the barbarian get to melee range straight away?

Even if they do, 5 foot step back, cast spell. Barbarian cannot attack and wasted an entire turn. If the barb has Step Up there are other ways to slip away that don't provoke like the teleportation school ability. Party has an archer on ready-action-interrupt? Precast/contingency/staff windwall. There are easy answers for setting up a big bad solo wizard to be a fun and fair fight.

If counterspells are made too easy and automatic then there's nothing the GM can do to have this kind of encounter. The only answer to easy counterspells is hand-waving and saying "he cant be countered because REASONS" which is lame.

Was anything ever decided on this?

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:

Besides, nothing wrong with easy counterspelling, after all spells per day are limited, thus it becomes a tactical choice of countering a spell or saving resources to use later, which has always been the point of limiting spells per day anyway (use the spell energy now, later), otherwise, without that choice between using your resources now or later, what would be the point in not allowing a wizard to cast their spells at will? So where is the "forcing" coming from?

So long as a an option has limited use but with many more opportunities then uses, there will be an element of strategy about when and how to use...

The problem with easy counterspells is just...well what if as a GM you want to have a big bad lich be the final boss? And you aren't planning on having a pile of extra super strong minions all over?

If the party caster can easily counter everything the lich does then the boss is not at all a threat. One guy stands around and counters, everyone else pounds on him.

To some people that is fine and balanced. These are the same people that think the Cape of Feinting* is fine and balanced. These people are wrong.

*Cape of Feinting allows a swashbuckler of 7th level or higher to stand in one place using his standard action to remove DEX to ac from a target and daze it for one round. Daze means it can take no actions, not even free actions. There is no save or attack roll. And they can do this every round forever.

The item should have been reworded to add the daze only when the cloak ability (which is 3/day) is used by a swashbuckler with the superior feint deed. As written it triggers every time superior feint is used...and that ability has no cost. It would still be an amazing item. But at least not a broken one.

Thelemic_Noun wrote:

Since it's only situationally useful (whereas EVERY spell can benefit at least a tiny amount from a boost to either its caster level or its save DC), the counterspelling exploit can't be blue. But it isn't red by any stretch of the imagination. Whether it's orange or green is really a matter of your DM's table expectations.

In a campaign revolving around dragons, rakshasas, or cults of divine spellcasters? By all means pick it up. In a campaign about stemming the tide of an invasion of giants? Not so much. (Although I suppose the final encounter in Rise of the Runelords would be hilariously anticlimactic if the party arcane caster were a counterspelling arcanist.)

I suppose. If "SURPRISE SPELLCASTER" is a common motif your GM uses then having a counterspell ready whenever could be gold.

I'm mostly looking at this from a PFS standpoint. There will likely only be one or two spell casters in a given PFS scenario, only 3-5 fights, so you should have enough spare spell slots to counter a few things, especially if you went school savant.

Also you should change the bit about Slashing Grace. Blade Adept can't really use it to any worthwhile effect. Dervish Dance just always wins.

Arcanist counterspelling is basically an AOO. It's an immediate action without needing to ready. That's why I think it's very underrated in this guide.

Arcanist seems prestigable...after a bit you don't really NEED any more exploits. If you are willing to lose a bit of your AR pool and shore it up with eating magic it seems viable.

Loremaster and Bloatmage look like options. Thoughts? Other prestiges?

I'm not big on any caster prestige that loses any casting levels...especially since you are already behind by 1 level because you are spontaneous.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:


You forgot the rapier. It is also a non-light, finesse-able weapon.

The ability to ready an action is less for a straight up combat and more for unusual circumstances where you are waiting for something specific, like the classic "waiting for them to come around the corner" trick.

Honestly, no matter you look at it, I really hate their counterspell rules. Doesn't make one iota of sense.

Rapier is not slashing therefore Slashing Grace doesn't work.

The rapier is not great for a blade adept as they have a Black Blade and will not be able to exchange a +1 for Agile. I suppose at 11th level they could use alter enhancements but that's a big draw on resources and doesn't last that long.

You hate their counterspell because it's OP, UP, or you hate them for thematic reasons? Being able to counterspell at a moments notice in any situation seems amazing to me.

Saint Bernard wrote:
DirkSJ - Don't forget about the Aldori Dueling Sword.

Sure, I guess, but that will cost you an extra exotic prof feat to allow finesse on the dueling sword. So you spend one extra feat just to be the same as a Dervish Dance scimitar.

No matter how you slice it DD always works out better than SG if you are not a swashbuckler.

Under Blade Adept you say "Dervish Dance is sometimes preferable to Slashing Grace"...this is wrong.

DD is always preferable to SG unless you are a swashbuckler. Only the whip and elven curve blade are non-light slashing finesse-able weapons and curve blade is 2 handed so SG doesn't work with it. Whip is certainly not worth the exotic proficiency feat...it's terrible.

So while yes you could run a scimitar and SG you would get your DEX to dmg but no DEX to hit...so...yeah...that's bad.

I suppose you could use a light slashing weapon like a kurki. But they are all terrible.

I'm not sure why you have the counterspell exploit so low ranked. Your argument about the party archer just doesn't hold water. The archer readying does NOT help kill the guy faster...it slows the kill down by a ton.

Situation 1 -
Party archer readies an action to shoot if they cast a spell. Enemy caster obviously notices this and either casts from behind something to stop line of effect, uses a magic item, or something else that is effective. Archer thus never fires as ready trigger never happens. Archer wasted primary attack, iteratives, rapid shot, and manyshot...massive damage wasted. Even best case where they do fire they wasted iteratives, rapidshot and manyshot.

Situation 2 -
Party relies on Arcanist to counterspell. Every party member has a normal full action. Arcanist uses 1 AR and 1 spell.

I just don't see how it's more of a waste of party resources to skip all that damage. Optimized archers do piles of damage. Standing around wasting turns will cost you at the very least some extra cure spells after the fight when it takes an extra couple rounds due to the loss of damage.

Theryon Stormrune wrote:

Arabian Nights, myself.

Legends was interesting.

I have a complete set of Arabian Nights in my closet. I wonder if it's worth anything :).

I played back in Alpha a little, mostly Beta+.

JBiggs78 wrote:
If you do that, then you might as well give wizards and sorcerers readily available healing as well.

In the RPG they already do have healing. Infernal Healing is overall more efficient than CLW. Greater IH is similarly more efficient than CCW.

There is the evil descriptor on the spells but these are arcane casters. They don't have to answer to a god for what they cast. I suppose a paladin would refuse to allow it to be cast on them, though, or a very stodgy good cleric. But everyone else should be fine.

So is the thought that there will be errata slightly altering the char? Or a massive overhaul? Or just leave the char as is and ban him from Organized Play?

Home games self-balance. If the char is too overpowered or annoying a home game will just not play him. So really the only problem is in Organized Play.

nondeskript wrote:
While it is true that the larger party will find more use for the cards they acquire, they have a different problem. With 2-person party there is a 50/50 (or better, depending on skill overlap) chance that any card that is useful to the party will be encountered by a character that can handle the check to acquire. With a 6 person party, those odds are much lower. Those high power Arcane spells that Ezren and Lem wanted when we were playing weren't getting acquired when Kyra encountered them or vice versa for Divine spells. At least not without risking failing the scenario by throwing multiple blessings you need to explore at the check to acquire.

The biggest problem for us wasn't not acquiring things the other guy wanted. With Kryasiel you have swipe in one char and evade in the other. So you are pretty much fine. In low player parties the value of swipe goes up massively.

The real issue was just not even having a chance to acquire things. With only 4 decks there might not even be any armor, or like 1 armor, across all of the decks. So your chances of getting the new hotness from a deck you just started are very small even if you are prepared for acquiring it with anyone. Bit worse for us, even, as we threw in the character add on pack which diluted things further (we wanted some of the cards from it).

isaic16 wrote:
Makes sense. We actually pay 3 characters each, so there's no waiting for 5 people, which makes it a lot more palatable. With only 3 or 4, it feels like the blessing deck is almost pointless, since there's so little chance of running up against it.

At 6 you only get 5 turns per char...I'm not sure I would like that. You may or may not even get any or your good cards, can't get a good cycle going, etc. Must be really different.

Orbis Orboros wrote:
Mechalibur wrote:
Edit: I just realized I play the game a bit differently though, that probably has a lot to do with it (for example, I usually play so blessings don't stack, and I tend to shy away from the really powerful characters like Lini or Lem who can add bonuses to everything)
Another big difference. That would indeed do it. (I raised the difficulty by altering bane ratios, so I didn't alter blessings in our games.

Try our version: Blessings only work on yourself.

We totally did that on purpose to raise the challenge and not because we completely failed at understanding they were global range and helped friends too. Honest. I swear. Really my fingers are not crossed you're just seeing things.

S&S with global/multiple char blessings has been a cake walk. We may have to go back to our old way.

Orbis Orboros wrote:

Now, if we look at, oh, 90% of all the allies, you may be right. Take the blessings. But I find there are a lot of allies that are better than blessings (and let's not even get into the Lini's and how they want allies).

I would take another Poog over another blessing any day.

All that being said, I like a more or less even split.
<snip rest to save space>

I did say obviously excluding anyone that has is Ally based (e.g. Lini). :) Ezren too, but simply because he can't have them.

I do agree that some Allies are good. But there are so few good ones that you pretty much put them in the Ally slots you started with at level 1 and you are set to go. You get to have all the really good ones already, pretty much, so why add another slot there when you could add another Blessing?

I didn't have Poog :(. So I don't know what he does. I bought all my RotR from other vendors and signed up for subcrip for S&S.

isaic16 wrote:
2) If you do hit the Henchman or Villain, you can comfortably put them on top, effectively saving you multiple explores you would've used digging for them.

On TOP? Sacrilege :). All boons must be obtained! On top loses some boons! I suppose in your 6 man party though scrying them to the top is probably required. You still only have 30 turns to win and you have a lot more locations to go through. I have not played full 6 man.

pluvia33 wrote:
Yeah, I'd figured most people would still try to temp close, but the emphases on "free blessings" gave me the impression that the group purposely wouldn't temp close and made me question if Dirk was actually taking the blessings from the deck when failing. I could be wrong, but it's just the feeling I got from the statement.

Yes we did take them from the blessings deck. But with a 2 man group it's only 3 turns lost and we rarely were even close to running out of time with our explore-heavy strategy. If you aren't in danger of running out of time then they are still "free".

It's sort of like what the expert MTG players say when talking about life points. It's a resource. The only life point that matters (and the only card that matters in the blessings deck) is the last one. Yes the given scenario impacts things a lot (e.g. if some location/etc can burn the blessings deck or you are playing vs red in MTG) but as a general rule it stands.

Blanket statement presented as fact but is actually a call for discussion: Ally cards in RotR are overall terrible. One should never spend a card feat on an Ally slot as long as you have Blessing slot feats available. Obviously this is excluding any character that is based around Ally cards and has a bunch of supporting powers.

There were a few good Ally cards. The healer guy from the base set was my one and only ally for Kyra for the entire game. Eagles are nice. The shamany guy is cool. Some of the fighting types are ok...But regardless they are just what you use to fill the deck slots you were given at level 1. There isn't really a call to get an Ally slot when you could get a Blessing slot.

Ally cards are just really bad Blessing cards. They generally let you explore and give a smallish bonus on one specific skill. Blessings let you explore and give you a good bonus on any skill and a huge bonus on a specific skill. Plus they have global range and can help your friends.

Does anyone disagree? Ally cards in RotR never impressed me. We would open each new set, read them over, and go "meh" and not worry about whether we got them or not.

S&S seems to have made Ally cards a bit better. The parrot, for example, has an ability that is hard to get otherwise. It seems like they really rethought Ally cards in general.

Mechalibur wrote:
Exactly, it's easier to handle when you have more people. It makes you more likely to have the tools or blessings to deal with barriers. With only a few people (and kind of bad luck finding the boons we want), being able to send them to the bottom is extremely useful.

I still think it applies to 2 man though I will grant that with Mer as my partner that did help a lot. She could take almost any barrier and if she hit something she couldn't deal with she could just evade. If you have no strong dex class at all I'm not sure what you do other than both run masterwork tools and hope it works out.

I had to take everything to the face since I couldn't evade and didn't scout (Mer would scout for me with spyglasses sometimes if he was feeling generous). But masterwork thieves tools are extremely reliable up until deck 6. In many cases barrier fails are either a monster which I had no trouble with, or damage which I also had no trouble with so it wasn't too scary to just explore into them. If it was one that shuffled back in I would just leave and Mer would come do that deck for a while until I got my tools back online.

It's not that I hate scouting. I love spyglasses. I think a spell slot is just way too important to waste on scouting with Kyra that only gets 5 spells max. Item slots cannot be used to generate explores and most of the +check items are extremely limited affecting only one check you may or may not even encounter all scenario. So item slots are definitely worth using for scouting. (Though not Kyra's...she only gets 2 max so there really isn't room after tools and some of the great loot items.)

Vyvyan Basterd wrote:
2) More often than not, they prevent battles against the villain before we have characters in place to temporarily close all other locations. I *hate* wasting resources to "beat" the villain, only to have him scurry off to another deck. And if I don't spend resources to beat him, he tales them anyway in the form of time from the blessings deck.

Conversely we almost never closed on henchmen. And if we hit the boss early we would consider failing on purpose so that we didn't lose a full deck of boons (plus you get free blessings for failing!). If we hit the boss deep in a deck we never temp closed, more free blessings! RotR is very stingy with blessings in the locations so we really wanted to push for as many as possible.

I think it's sort of a cascading effect really. If you are always closing early then you get less boons and monsters are very scary since you are undergeared. This then leads you to always try to close early in later decks as well because hitting big monsters may hurt, etc, etc.

Orbis Orboros wrote:
Ha, although I probably still won't use them, I am looking forward to playing as Alahazra, the scouter of scouts. Although I probably won't play them there simply because she has built-in pseudo Detect Magic (kinda) and pseudo Eagle.

Her stargazer ability is really amazing. She can look across all the decks and either encounter or autofail (if no one wants it) any boon. When she doesn't hit a boon at least now we know what's coming and the best guy for the job can go there. Do it all before your move and she can take whatever fight is the safest for her as her standard explore.

I'm not certain it's really "better" than the RotR route we both took of just mass exploring and not caring about what you hit, though. It's less efficient by quite a lot as you will recharge a blessing and see a monster and that's that instead of encountering it and progressing. Still a strong ability though and makes her a very safe char to play.

I just wish her first 4 feats weren't so terrible :(. Other than the hand size none of them are worth taking but you will be forced to pick up 2 others. I guess the fire might be useful if this set has a lot of trolls. None yet though.

Nefrubyr wrote:
DirkSJ wrote:
Kyra's 1d6+2 melee is fine really. It averages the same as a flat 1d10 with a higher minimum so it's more consistent. You will need blessing until you can put more into STR and get magic weapons.

I found Kyra's 1d6 + 2 Melee acceptable at the start, as you say it's comparable to a d10, but it was when Blessing of Gorum only added 2d6 rather than 2d10 that I found myself wishing I'd gone the spellcasting/Pharasma route for combat.

I was playing Kyra in a solo game and by AP4 she was struggling to beat combat checks with her paltry pile of d6s.

I went straight STR, only popping stats in WIS when I ran out of STR slots. With a heavy STR investment and decent weapons I never had too much trouble. My flat modifier plus one per die often nearly won and I only needed to roll a moderate number. Really heavy combats saw me dropping a swipe for the extra 3. Once you get Mok's club (end of 4 I think?) you are set forever.

Kyra will never be a top tier melee person, obviously, but I didn't fail too many fights really.

The problem with spellcasting Kyra as your primary monster slaying technique is that you won't have an attack spell most of the time. She doesn't have a way to put her spells directly back in her hand (like Lem) or force-draw them (like Ezren) or have a power-spell (like Seoni). Plus she just doesn't have very many spell slots. You will have a lot of scary turns where you have a weapon but no +STR/Gorum, and no attack spell coming up for several turns. Top it with the fact that Divine just doesn't get many "boom" spells in RotR and...I'm not seeing it work well.

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Orbis Orboros wrote:

It's not that I can't make them work. It's that I tend to get better use out of other spells. We plow through the location decks fearing no banes and knowing exactly what boons we're looking for - if we don't want it, we don't acquire it. Rather than set up the perfect encounter, we just plow through - very rarely do we encounter a boon that we both want and cannot acquire with the help of blessings and other cards. Usually* a scouting card merely lets us choose the order of three encounters that we are going to have anyway; in such a case, the scouting spell is better off being a Haste, or a combat spell, or what have you. And this is saying nothing of the waste that occurs when you send something to the bottom and then the location deck gets shuffled.

It should be said that I do see the value in these cards. We always acquire Scrying and Augury when we find them, they just often don't make the cut for the deck. If we could have any number of any card type in our decks, then I would run these anyway (probably - a ton of blessings for a deck is pretty good I imagine). And if we're talking items it's a whole different story - they're competing with a different set of cards for deck space. Those Magic Spyglasses and Revalation Quills definitely get used. So does the Eagle. And once in a while Shalelu actually gets recharged (usually, more than 90% of the time, we just encounter it, but there are exceptions).

So, long story short, in RotR anyway, it boils down to just not needing them. We know they're good, we'd just rather take other things because they were'nt needed.

+1,000,000, said it way better than I've been trying to say it. Exactly our style. Aug is fun. Sometimes it lets to mess with a deck in powerful ways. But if I had a cure or a swipe then I am guaranteed to have an advantage in cycling or acquisition. Guaranteed is better than sometimes in limited card slots when you are not afraid of banes.

Orbis Orboros wrote:
What we really need is a topicless thread to just babble on about whatever. A chatbox, so to speak.

+999,999 :)

philosorapt0r wrote:

The value of detect, however, isn't just a chance at an explore---you should be casting it at times when, depending on what you see on top, you'll do better (expend fewer resources or acquire better cards) by going elsewhere so that another character can come by on their turn to more easily make the check.

Think of it this way: any time you hit a card with Kyra's first explore that requires you to play a blessing so she can make the check, but another of your characters wouldn't need it, then Detect (or whatever scouting) would have saved you an explore by preserving that blessing.

That's why you run Swipe. It doesn't matter what you found; Kyra grabs it for the party. Plus Swipe has a global range "reduce difficulty by 3" to help others...the spell is insane.

You still suck at Arcane spells but every char sucks at something. Taking a spell to shore up checks a single card SUB-type really isn't worth it. Spells aren't that common and Arcane ones are only halfish of them.

Dave Riley wrote:
We burned the hell out of decks. If you weren't discarding, you were wasting time. Though I'm loving Damiel/Jirelle in S&S, Kyrasiel is still my first true duo love. :D

<3 Kryasiel :). For S&S we decided to all change up our play a lot and the Lem player is with us for all games now. Players changed from/to: Mer->Alahazra, Kyra(me)->Feiya, Lem->Jirelle. So we are all a vastly different playstyle than RotR. Our first two seem like late bloomers, really, but Jir is already a monster.

isaic16 wrote:
I was going to go to bat for my pals, Augury and Scrying, but I think you covered it here. I have saved so many potential explores by scrying monsters to the bottom, or henchman to the top. Easily the most useful spells in RotR, ime.

Henchmen to the TOP? Sacrilege :). Mer ran a million spyglasses. This may have devalued Aug/Scry for me more than for you.

Captain Bulldozer wrote:
I personally can't see a decent line of reasoning to NOT take the healer roll, except if you were soloing with only Kyra (and even then I wouldn't be convinced).

The only thing healer role gives you is 1 extra card on default heal (and later a draw that MIGHT save you the cost by drawing a blessing) and a bonus to acquire divine that you don't really need. And an 8th card that you don't need.

Exorcist gets the much better Serenrae top-deck and a heal on killing undead of which there are tons (later you can add outsiders, there aren't enough of them to really matter though).

Turning a 3-6 heal (which both have) into a 4-7 heal is a trivial difference. The exorcist abilities are simply better. Serenrae on top is disgustingly good. With the undead heal and Mokmurian you don't need to heal yourself much at all.

Swipe and dominate in the last set are really the only spells worth taking (outside of cures). The detects are extremely unreliable. Often times you cast them to no effect. Consider: Every time you cast a detect you MIGHT get a free explore from it. If that card had instead been a cure you just DEFINITELY saved yourself a future skipped explore. It's just flat out better to run cure than detect.

The scry/aug are not much better, really. Commonly only 1 of the cards is even what you asked for unless it's a very heavy one sided deck. And if it is you probably didn't find what you were looking for since it's so one sided. I had that book you can bury to get 3 random spells every scenario and scry/aug were almost always a big waste of a cast.

If there were better divine spells (and I'm hoping there are in S&S) then things would be different. But all the attacks were garbage and the rest of the utility spells were inefficient, ineffectual, and/or random.

Mechalibur wrote:
As someone who encountered literally 0 blessings of Sarenrae, I think Healer was actually the better choice for Kyra. The higher hand size was nice, and I played with her healing power in mind, having the first character burn a lot of cards for extra explores, while she pretty much negated the damage in a single turn.

I just popped downstairs and checked my Kyra deck. I only ran 3 Serenrae. They weren't really core to my strategy with her at all. I liked to have a lot of flexibility with blessings.

We both burned hard. He ran the two healing staffs on Mer and that one shamany sorta guy that kept him cycling. By mid game he would fall behind and almost always need a heal. Basically I just healed him whenever mass cure came up. Before I had that I would have to sometimes skip an explore for him if he got unlucky and I didn't draw a cure that turn. We kept to ourselves though (as Mer always wants to do). Every cure I drew, though, I cast immediately on one of us.

In general it worked out far better being split up as a ton of things hurt everyone at the location. Being together is quite a penalty in this game. When we played 3 man with Lem in the end we split up there as well. It just hurt too much to stack.

Mechalibur wrote:
This thread is not intended to say there's only one to play any of the characters. All discussion regarding possible strategies are welcome, including disagreeing about which way is optimal.

I use hyperbole a lot but...yeah. I don't think I have ever said there is one way to play. I have just made arguments that my way is best and that other ways being touted are bad.

This game is easy enough that you can play all sorts of characters in all sorts of inefficient ways and still win.

Flat the Impaler wrote:
I know... I tried to stay away, but comments about Kyra being useless got me annoyed enough to chime in. ;)

Er...no. Kyra is amazing; she is a powerhouse. It's just Healer spec is useless and her first power is mostly useless (though a good backup).

Flat the Impaler wrote:

1) I don't need to actually have a Cure spell in hand to heal someone.

2) You can use over half your deck as a healing implement (Holy Water, Token of Remembrance, Inflict, etc).
3) You can upgrade it to 1d4+2/3 (3-6 or 4-7 cards) with Role.
4) You can give her spells other than just Cure.
5) If my Cures end up in my discard (or bury) pile, I can still heal.

#1,5 - Of course. They were the backup plan if I was super unlucky too.

#2 - You maybe have one spare item IF you skilled it...you have to run thieves tools if you want any chance of beating barriers. Inflict is a terrible spell eclipsed by the very first tier weapons. The only divine spells that are effective at all are the cures, swipe, and the scouting spells. The scouting spells are very unreliable, though.
#3 - All Kyras will have the +2 coming out of Deck 3 as the undead +1 dmg power feat is just bad. So really it's just the +1 extra heal you are talking about. Which is nothing to die for, really. Major Cure already effectively does the same healing as the +2 heal and Mass Cure tops it by a ton.
#4 - See #2, there aren't any other spells to give her. Two Swipes was plenty. Divine attacks were all terrible compared to melee weapons.

Flat the Impaler wrote:
I don't mind running a character sometimes with a heavy Cure spell list (Alahazrah, etc), but I feel I'm limiting the character.

Running a lot of cures doesn't mean you are filling the role of healer. Cures are just a mechanic to keep her deck cycling when you are spending 2-3 blessings every round exploring and discarding like mad to make sure you can get more blessings, get Swipe back up, get Tools back up, etc as they get used.

It's not really viable to just run all Serenrae blessings if you want to chain explore. You will need Gorums to fight and in a small party (which mine were) you will need the "close location" blessings as well to shore up weaknesses.

Andrew K wrote:

As for Dirk's comment about never skipping explores unless it's an emergency -- if too few explores is a problem often enough for you, instead of telling other people they're playing wrong by skipping explores, you should probably wonder why we're able to skip all those explores without issue, but you can't.

I've had a few groups, none of which ever failed more than 4 or 5 scenarios in the whole path due to time, and if we didn't run out of time, we weren't even close to doing so. Running Kyra and Valeros as a pair, I never ran out of time. It's not bad to skip explores. It's bad to skip them without need. You shouldn't be healing so often that it causes a problem. I usually healed 2, maybe 3 times in a scenario, and I always tried to have an extra blessing or two to keep myself from spending a turn to heal.

Two man Kyra and Merisiel(sp?) we never lost a single scenario. We reran 3 man adding Lem as well and never failed. We played blessings as self-only (incorrectly) so it was kinda hard-mode. We only ever got close to losing on some of those late scenarios where it was a really hard INT check to close and we had no INT to speak of. If we only had realized blessings were global lol...

The idea of running divine combat spells in RotR is just bizarre. Melee is far more effective and repeatable. If you want to do 3-4 explores each turn a weapon is really the only option.

Consider the cost of cure vs heal power this way: Blessings are explores. To use the power you have to display a divine card. If you display a divine spell then that's a total waste, it could have just been a cure and you wouldn't lose an explore. If I display a blessing then I am losing TWO explores.

You were probably closing locations when you hit henchmen. We never did unless the location was annoying and made you bury cards or something. We went to the bottom of every deck to get all the loot. We would even intentionally fail the boss encounter sometimes if we got him too early.

Gedd wrote:
We've encountered the henchman in the deck several times, but have been unable to close the location because neither of us has the cards (or luck) to get by the Intelligence check.

It's very important in the later decks to have the blessing that gives 2 dice on close location attempts if you are running a small party with weaknesses on certain stats.

I would consider rerunning some prior high blessing adventures to get those or rerun something that lets you banish out a blessing and make sure not to acquire any new ones so you can go to the box for it.

You should be fine with one of those and one random blessing from the other player.

NOG the Demoralizer wrote:

An even more attractive option would be for Paizo to ship a handful to every VC so that we don't need to purchase them on our own, but as stated, I myself don't mind a few bucks if it makes the community stronger.

Remember, the vast majority of people who buy this game aren't going to be going on to message boards to try to figure out ways to create over powered characters if PFS play is a reasonable analog... I have played dozens of PFS games with extremely underpowered, no concept, ineffective characters seated at the table. Power-gaming outside of home game PFS scenarios is actually not usually a problem in my experience.

To the first why not just hand them a PDF printout in that case? I know cards are nice but...isn't really needed. You can even print it out card size and give them a sleeve if they aren't running sleeves.

To the second that varies a lot by location I suspect. I mean sure you will always get a few really bad characters at any location but the relative ratios of bad/avg/overpowered have got to be wildly different at each site. Most tables here have pretty strong characters with a few exceptionally powerful ones. You get a random terrible char sometimes to drag along with you but it's not common.

csouth154 wrote:
DirkSJ wrote:
Hawkmoon269 wrote:
I don't think it is really over powering either. At least not anymore than the statstones themselves are. Since both cards are going to get recharged, to make it works requires you to have both cars in your hand. So it still probably isn't worth it any more to hang on to a card that adds to a skill you don't have listed banking on the fact they will both get drawn at the same time.

The only problem with them is that I think they are entirely too powerful for base set cards. Unless there are "same but +1" or something versions in later sets it's going to be impossible to replace. Every class with a 1d12 pretty much will run one forever. For chars with limited item slots it's kind of sad to not be looking forward to any new items in later decks.

For base set I wish they had been bury, in a deck or two a same thing with discard, and in the late decks same but recharge. Maybe even add some pluses on the later ones. Reveal obviously is wildly overpowered and shouldn't exist.

I don't necessarily disagree, but I think the fact that they have to take up space in your hand until you get a chance to use them serves as a factor that could mitigate their desirability, especially for characters with a small hand size. I think it will be common for people to recharge them on checks that they might n ot REALLY need them on, just for the sake of cycling through their deck, only to come upon a check that they really need them on before they get it back in their hand.

Yeah potentially. And as Hawk said perhaps if your party is really good at scouting (and with Alhazra around it can be) the statstones might be safely dropped.

nondeskript wrote:
DirkSJ wrote:
Her heal power was terrible in RotR and is still terrible in S&S. It's too expensive. You should never be skipping explores unless it's an emergency. I think in all of RotR I used the skip-heal maybe 4-5 times and we would have lived without it.
We used that much more. I think it depends on party make-up, size and playstyle.

Huh. I just don't see why you would. Cure spells are far more effective for no real cost.

I ran 3 cure spells (one of each kind) and 2 swipes. I played around with augury a few times but it mostly wasn't worth it. I burned through decks spending massive piles of blessings. Every time I pulled a cure I cast it, letting me reshuffle my spent blessings back. Decks went down fast.

Late game I considered dropping a heal. I had that loot mace that heals you when you kill things, Serenrae recharge, and the heal on kill undead power. I mostly used the cures to top off others or when I really got a giant discard pile.

nondeskript wrote:
DirkSJ wrote:
To help others they have to have survival, as you say, which really is extremely limiting. If they have survival they probably have a decent die for it and a decent bonus so...
They don't have to have Survival. Any character can roll a d4 for a Survival check. And 3d4 > 1d12.

When you get this power you are on at least deck 4. At deck 4+ a 3d4 will not cut it; 3d4 averages 7.5...that doesn't even make deck 1 checks reliably. And if you need a 12 you have a far better chance of rolling 12 on a d12 than 3d4.

A 1d12 is also far better than 3d4 because you and others can throw blessings on them to give them lots of 1d12's. Even at 1 blessing 2d12 is better than 4d4.

Calthaer wrote:
Mechalibur wrote:
Seltyiel gets less use out of a stat gems than any other character, and he only has 1 item slot to put it in. It simply is not worth it for him.
These definitive statements ("is not worth it") of opinions are really rather out-of-place for a game that has numerous and multifarious paths to victory.

Er, no they are not out of place at all. With only 1 item slot and no dice over d8 you really shouldn't run a stone. Your most useful item in the base set+deck 1 will be the masterwork tools. There is really no valid argument for anything else (other than "someone else in the party already has it") in which case you should probably take the regular tools.

If you fail to get some boons so be it. It sucks but people can throw you blessings if they really want you to try. It's not much different than Val encountering a spell and failing, really.

There are two kinds of bane: monster (you kill them easily) and barrier. The tools deal with most barriers without even having to roll anything. Without them you are going to be a constant drain on the party whenever you hit a barrier. If you go marauder you MIGHT be able to ditch the tools. I'm not convinced though. It's a lot of feats that you really want to put on other powers for only 2d6.

There are a few monsters that have only non-combat checks to defeat. Other fighter types have just as much trouble with them as you do so this isn't a huge weakness. You will need blessings for these but Selt has a healthy number and others can help too.

Unless you go marauder you will be a drain on the party every time you hit a ship. A lot of chars have trouble with ships though. So it's not that different/bad.

Hawkmoon269 wrote:
DirkSJ wrote:
Johnny Chronicle wrote:
On another note, Kyra or Heggal are looking like really good choices for OP...
New Kyra is quite nice. Wastelander is beyond useless...I have no idea why they put such a poorly thought out spec on her. Fireflower is a powerhouse though.

How so? Survival checks seemed fairly common in RotR, especially late in the adventure path. And they seem to be even more common in Skull and Shackles. So that 2d4 power seems very helpful. And Wastelander can also bump her heal up the most and go to an 8 hand size. I don't see anything wrong with those powers.

Even the bonus for Survival to other characters at your location seems like it might be useful. A fair number of characters have Survival. And even those that don't would be better off getting help from Kyra and rolling 3d4 than 1d6 Wisdom. Couple that with another character that has the "X blessing always adds d12" and it works out really well.

Her heal power was terrible in RotR and is still terrible in S&S. It's too expensive. You should never be skipping explores unless it's an emergency. I think in all of RotR I used the skip-heal maybe 4-5 times and we would have lived without it.

You really don't need 8 cards; in general it's not going to do much for you. Yes it's neat, but it's really a wasted feat. I guess that's a reason then, it fits the theme of "waste"lander.

She already has 1d10+1 for survival and has piles of blessings. I'm not sure what they changed the Serenrae blessing to be (since all the non-combat ones got an extra stat) but I would not be surprised if it was now CON/WIS so you'll have 3d10+1, plus more if you put any points in WIS. You should be fine with a regular blessing even. The power adds more dice to something she really doesn't need more dice on.

To help others they have to have survival, as you say, which really is extremely limiting. If they have survival they probably have a decent die for it and a decent bonus so you're better off recharging a Serenrae blessing to give an extra d6/d8/d10.

If they don't have survival they are certainly better with 2d6 (possibly 3d6) than 3d4 on most checks, especially mid-late game when you will be trying for 10 or more. Chances of 10+ on 2d6 are much better than 3d4. Honestly late game they will likely need blessings from others as well and will certainly not want to drop down to d4 with 2-3 incoming blessings.

So really another waste. More "waste"lander.

Hawkmoon269 wrote:
I don't think it is really over powering either. At least not anymore than the statstones themselves are. Since both cards are going to get recharged, to make it works requires you to have both cars in your hand. So it still probably isn't worth it any more to hang on to a card that adds to a skill you don't have listed banking on the fact they will both get drawn at the same time.

The only problem with them is that I think they are entirely too powerful for base set cards. Unless there are "same but +1" or something versions in later sets it's going to be impossible to replace. Every class with a 1d12 pretty much will run one forever. For chars with limited item slots it's kind of sad to not be looking forward to any new items in later decks.

For base set I wish they had been bury, in a deck or two a same thing with discard, and in the late decks same but recharge. Maybe even add some pluses on the later ones. Reveal obviously is wildly overpowered and shouldn't exist.

nondeskript wrote:
Not considered equal does not mean not fun or potentially successful. I don't know if they did it in the S&S playtest but I know Mike has mentioned that in the RotR playtest players successfully soloed the game with every character.

I wonder if by "successfully soloed" they had to just refuse to explore and restart the scenario when they hit a wall. And I wonder how often that happened.

If they soloed with Siwar even by that method then...just wow. You have 3 spells, no weapons, and no way to get those spells back fast. You probably have to run at least one cure since you have no cycle mechanic and can't fight and you have to pray that your 1d12+1 recharges it and that you can find a way to shuffle to get it back near the top.

I suppose you can run the melee damage ally to help you fight but blessings are going to give you a whopping extra 1d4. Your first card feat will have to be a weapon but you wont get that until after 10(!) scenarios. How you will survive those I simply do not know. If it happened it must have taken multiple tries on every scenario and an extreme amount of luck.

Vic Wertz wrote:
If we cared if Jirelle were *on* the ship, we would have said "When you are on a ship, reduce Structural damage to it by 1."

We pretty much assumed that just as you wrote it: If you had meant "while commanding" or "while on" you would have said it.

Blanket statements are used a lot in this game. Like blessings say "any check" and other cards say "your check" or "at your location" explicitly.

That didn't stop us from incorrectly using blessings as self-only for all of RotR but...we are at least doing it right now in S&S :).

csouth154 wrote:
One of the cool things about this game is that fun and success can be had with ANY combination of characters.

That is actually not true. The rulebook says it explicitly, especially in single player games. Try to play a solo game with the new bard Siwar. It's not going to work. Run a two player game with her and Ranzak. Good luck.

Johnny Chronicle wrote:
On another note, Kyra or Heggal are looking like really good choices for OP...

New Kyra is quite nice. Wastelander is beyond useless...I have no idea why they put such a poorly thought out spec on her. Fireflower is a powerhouse though.

Heggal I don't rate very highly at all. He is a one trick pony with his reveal allies for 1d4 thing. I mean sure it's one trick that works on every check you ever do in the game, which is fun, but he doesn't really have anything else going for him.

He doesn't start with enough weapons to really be a melee combatant and has very limited spell and blessings (and limited potential for them). No d12's either for statstones. His power feats after specialization are all just really bad except "life of the party" going to 1d4+3.

I guess if you are looking for an all-rounder that doesn't shine anywhere he's not a bad choice but that doesn't sound very fun to me. And every time you get a power feat you are going to sigh and and either bump the 1d4 again or try to decide what depressingly bad power you want this time.

philosorapt0r wrote:
But if it remains true that 90%+ of combats don't require the overkill that Seltyiel can offer, then you can instead go Spellblade, grab the +Int-to-combat for your everyday fights (up to a free d8+4), and fill most of your spell slots with whatever the best non-combat spells are (with an attack spell or two for when you feel like soloing Hirgenzosk, or w/e). You even eventually get to toss those excess weapons in your deck to recur your best spells.

I reread your post and had to reply to this bit. I had never thought about that for Selt. It's quite true though for most combats you don't need the full combo so just skill up all +INT from the start and try to use "play spell, recharge weapon" mostly until you get to deck 4. Immediately pick up +INT to Swords and switch back. Your stat bonuses still flow into all your combats.

You can now just be a regular weapon guy with a free 1d8 on every attack which compares favorably to any of the other primary weapon users who have to expend resources to get their bonus die. You can focus on utility spells or even go into more items or blessings with card feats. You keep a few attack spells because they are fun, have traits you may want, and so you can really blow up giant turtles when the party needs a giant turtle murderer.

philosorapt0r wrote:
The notion that Spellblade is a trap pure-combat role, and Marauder is for utility is backwards---Marauder has a power to make an overly combat-focused Seltyiel deck not useless to the party, while Spellblade has a power to enable a more utility-focused deck by in effect replacing his starting combat power with an even less resource-intensive one.

Marauder does have one other extremely useful effect on him: He can now ignore STR and skill up stats for his weaknesses.

If you are planning to go Marauder you should never put a single point in STR...just load up INT. It will make the first 3 decks a little tough but you can rely on the slightly less efficient "play spell, recharge weapon" angle to mitigate it. Always pick up one handed ranged weapons in preparation for when you hit deck 4.

By then you will have maxed INT and your attack string can switch back to "play weapon, recharge spell" and assuming a similar 1d8+2 light crossbow at:

1d8+6(ranged)+1d8+2(weapon)+3d6 = 2d8+3d6+8

You lost a die but you are still in the silly range. You have a much better chance to recharge your spells now in case you do want to cast some.

If you stick with the "play spell, recharge weapon" route you can focus on swashy weapons and create a nice feedback loop drawing 2 cards every time you recharge the swashy weapon. (This is assuming there are no swashy attack spells...that would be hilariously great).

Down side: with Selt you REALLY have to decide which spec you are going before you get your first skill feat.

Mechalibur wrote:
DirkSJ wrote:
Once you get exorcist (because the other class is terrible) you can destroy a location deck in a couple turns with Serenrae blessings. Don't overdo them though. You will still need a couple Gorums to beat people with and one of the one that helps you close locations.
Nah, Healer role isn't terrible. Especially if you're like my group and literally never encountered a single blessings of Sarenrae in all 6 adventures (like, seriously, what were the odds of that?). The huge hand size is awesome.

Terrible was somewhat hyperbole. But not too much.

If we examine powers in healer:
- Add +1 more default heal, add card draw
Her healing ability frankly just isn't very good. It's a fallback for when you botch all your cure recharges or need to emergency heal a teammate and don't happen to have a cure handy. Skipping an explore is simply too expensive.

- Add 2/4 to acquire Divine
Er...who cares? You really have no trouble acquiring Divine things by deck 4 when you are picking your specialization. You pretty much auto-acquire blessings and none of the late deck divine spells are worth running.

- Blessing power
Almost as good as exorcist equiv power. But not as good.

- One extra card
Frankly you just don't need it. Even at SIX cards she's a raging power house that destroys location decks in a couple turns without anyone's help.

The "free 1 card heal when you kill an undead" feat is better than all of those combined. It keeps you cycling and even more importantly it keeps you shuffling.

If you didn't get Serenrae blessings I blame you, mostly. You should force more blessings until you do...RotR is very stingy with them...S&S seems a lot better in that respect. Use spyglasses and augury's to find the boss as soon as you can, don't close if you run into any henchmen, kill the boss, and don't temp close so you get lots of extra blessing pulls. Use those same tricks to make sure you don't encounter him again until you've looted your extra blessings.

When you are running Kyra you have all the time in the world in most scenarios. You should make sure to get (or at least see and decide you don't want) all the boons in all the locations. Unless we were pushing for more blessings (as above) we were always really sad whenever we saw the villain. We considered house ruling that the auto-close for villains was a "may" instead of a "must" because we just felt robbed. Several times we botched our villain defeat rolls on purpose, not playing weapons, etc, just because we didn't want to close the place. The reward was great: more blessings in the decks!

Unless it was a really annoying location or we already had all the boons from that deck we wanted we never attempted close after a henchmen either. Kyra is just so good at burning through location decks.

Oh, and I forgot. We played "hard mode" and it was still never a challenge, really. Somehow we didn't realize that blessings could be played on other chars. Seriously. We thought they were self-only.

We played the entire game this way.

Now that we started S&S and we understand that blessings work on friends and moreover are global in range...it's almost trivial to beat the bosses in a three man party with a blessing from everyone and a few random powers or spells. I sort of wish the villains scaled with number of players. Most banes in general aren't as threatening, really, as someone can always help out.

Mike Selinker wrote:
I expect that these will now and forever be referred to as "statstones" by the dev team.


I hope there are more and better statstones like there were better "headband of charisma" reveal-for-bonus type items in RotR. I am not sure I can ever get rid of it from my deck...It's just too useful.

With that and my masterwork thieves tools I may never have space for another item in all 6 adventures haha...

Vic Wertz wrote:
Fire on boats is nasty. Just saying.

It would be in real gaming, sure...but as far as mechanics in the card game...no :).

Unless the next two decks have piles of monsters that are vulnerable to fire or require fire...it's a very "meh" feat.

None of her first 4 power feats are really great. Hand size 7 is downright dangerous with a 15-16 card deck. Maybe you hit that annoying drake, fail the save, and roll a 4 on it's breath and then roll badly on your attack and that may be the end of you. If you had discarded anything else on prior turns you may not be able to draw 7.

Light armor and alternate deck peeks are just...terrible wastes for her. I wish they had given her more exciting power feats before deck 4. Getting power feats is pretty fun for everyone else.

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