Sunlord Thalachos

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Has anyone had any luck at all in locating any more of the Scarwall maps? I have a dim memory of the Guest Wing also existing in an unfinished form before the crash on rpgmapshare, but I don't think the full floor plan was ever finished by anyone...

I'll post back here if I decide to have a go myself.

NobodysHome wrote:

I think it's something about the way Paizo PDFs their maps, because I have the full subscriptions and get the "real" interactive map PDFs, but when I upload them to roll20 I get the same exact behavior; their maps aren't "perfect" grids, but rather skew in various areas.

I suspect they're amalgamating multiple maps onto a single PDF page and the combining algorithm isn't perfect.

I can't count the number of times I used to encounter this kind of headache with tile-based map images that I created myself. I don't know exactly how it happens, but I've noticed in working with maps I create myself that if I export from GIMP to a JPEG, even if the lines were perfect in GIMP they are not in my VTT. If I export to PNG, the grid remains perfect.

I believe that the issue arises because of the compression formatting that is involved in the images. Most images (JPEGs, PNGs, GIFs, etc.) are compressed in one way or another to save on file space. (BMPs and TIFFs are usually not, and also usually gigantic compared to other format types.) PDFs have their own compression mechanism as well as that based on whatever the filetype for the image was when the PDF was created.

I think this has to do with the compression algorithms used: PNG compression is lossless - that is, the image produced when you ask your system to display a PNG file will always be the same. JPEG compression is not lossless, which is why JPEGs tend to seem to degrade over time if you repeatedly open and re-save them. I don't know if the PDF compression is lossless, but I suspect not; also, the image format that is exported to can have an impact on the potential for skew as well.

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Doskious Steele wrote:
Still haven't been able to locate Scarwall Section C, though I recall finding it on RPGMapShare a year ago when I went looking, so hope remains...

Scarwall First Floor - Garrison and Kitchen ("C" key)

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Duamatef wrote:
Helel13 wrote:
Yea would love angelrobles maps if anyone can reupload :(((( I had used them for books 1-3 and loved them, would like to use them for the rest of the campaign if possible.
Try these..... RPGShare

RPGMapShare had its gallery engine replaced, which is what caused the links to die, and while some of the maps are available in the linked search, not all of them are there.

It seems that the download engine from the old RPGMapShare site is still working, though, so I've managed to piece together the following links to individual content:

Edge of Anarchy
Fishery 1
Fishery 2
All the World's Meat
Eel's End 1
Eel's End 2
Eel's End 3
Dead Warrens

Seven Days to the Grave
Goitorris Toys
Lavender and Vendra Apartment
Carowyn Manor 1
Carowyn Manor 2
Wererat Sewer
Grey District Graveyard
Hospice of the Blessed Maiden 1
Hospice of the Blessed Maiden 2
Temple of Urgathoa
Temple of Urgathoa (Inner Sanctum)

Escape from Old Korvosa
Vencarlo's Home
Artist's Lair
Pilts's Palace
Arkona Palace Ground Floor
Arkona Palace First Floor
Arkona Dungeon 1 - Upper Caverns
Arkona Dungeon 2 - Lower Caverns
Vivified Labyrinth 1st Floor Map Key
Vivified Labyrinth 1st Floor Original
Vivified Labyrinth 1st Floor First Rotation
Vivified Labyrinth 1st Floor Second Rotation
Vivified Labyrinth 1st Floor Third Rotation
Vivified Labyrinth 2nd Floor

A History of Ashes
Acropolis of the Thrallkeepers 1
Acropolis of the Thrallkeepers 2
Moon Ruins 1
Moon Ruins 2
Shoanti Camp
Cinderlands Generic Encounter (Road)
Cinderlands Generic Encounter (Dry River)
Cinderlands Generic Encounter (Cliff)
Cinderlands Generic Encounter (Cinder Cone)
Cinderlands Generic Encounter (Thassilonian Ruins)
Cinderlands Generic Encounter (Plains and Great Tree)

Skeletons of Scarwall
Barbican Gate 1
Barbican Gate 2
Barbican Gate 3
Scarwall First Floor (Key Map)
Scarwall First Floor - Main Gate ("A" key)

Three Rings Tavern (First Floor)
Abadar Temple - Key Map
Abadar Temple - Second Floor
Abadar Temple - Ground Floor
Abadar Temple - Dungeon

Still haven't been able to locate Scarwall Section C, though I recall finding it on RPGMapShare a year ago when I went looking, so hope remains... If anyone else knows where to locate any other CotCT mapping content, I'm all ears!

What is the round-by-round action economy impact of activating a spell-trigger item to cast a spell with a 1-minute or longer casting time? Specifically, can the activating character take any other actions between activating the spell-trigger item and the conclusion of the casting of the spell?

The rules regarding this, when examined closely, appear to me to be murky at best and downright contradictory at worst...

Using Magical Items (Core rules) wrote:
Activating a magic item is a standard action unless the item description indicates otherwise. However, the casting time of a spell is the time required to activate the same power in an item, regardless of the type of magic item, unless the item description specifically states otherwise.

In the same section, Spell-Trigger items are detailed:

Using Magical Items (Core rules) wrote:
Spell Trigger: Spell trigger activation is similar to spell completion, but it's even simpler. No gestures or spell finishing is needed, just a special knowledge of spellcasting that an appropriate character would know, and a single word that must be spoken. Spell trigger items can be used by anyone whose class can cast the corresponding spell. This is the case even for a character who can't actually cast spells, such as a 3rd-level paladin. The user must still determine what spell is stored in the item before she can activate it. Activating a spell trigger item is a standard action and does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Contrast this to the entry immediately prior to Spell-Trigger items regarding Spell-Completion items, which calls out a specific exception to the activation time for Spell-Completion items:

Using Magical Items (Core rules) wrote:
Activating a spell completion item is a standard action (or the spell's casting time, whichever is longer) and provokes attacks of opportunity exactly as casting a spell does.

This juxtaposition would seem to indicate that while the activation time necessary for a Spell-Completion item is dependent on the casting time of the spell, the activation for Spell-Trigger items is absolute.

When we examine the sections detailing specific rules for Wands and Staves, though, there's additional confusion:

Magic Items: Wands (Core rules) wrote:
Activation: Wands use the spell trigger activation method, so casting a spell from a wand is usually a standard action that doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity. (If the spell being cast has a longer casting time than 1 action, however, it takes that long to cast the spell from a wand.)
Magic Items: Staves (Core rules) wrote:
Activation: Staves use the spell trigger activation method, so casting a spell from a staff is usually a standard action that doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity. If the spell being cast has a longer casting time than 1 standard action, however, it takes the full casting time to cast the spell from a staff.

These segments make it fairly clear that the spell it being cast from the wand or staff, and that the effects of the spell are not produced before the full duration of the spell's casting time. When we look at what is involved in casting a spell with a casting time in excess of one round, we discover the following:

Magic: Casting time (Core rules) wrote:

A spell that takes 1 minute to cast comes into effect just before your turn 1 minute later (and for each of those 10 rounds, you are casting a spell as a full-round action, just as noted above for 1-round casting times). These actions must be consecutive and uninterrupted, or the spell automatically fails.

When you begin a spell that takes 1 round or longer to cast, you must continue the concentration from the current round to just before your turn in the next round (at least). If you lose concentration before the casting is complete, you lose the spell.

This raises the question of what a full-round action to cast a spell entails. For this, we turn to the Combat section:

Combat: Full-round Actions: Cast a Spell (Core rules) wrote:

A spell that takes 1 minute to cast comes into effect just before your turn 1 minute later (and for each of those 10 rounds, you are casting a spell as a full-round action). These actions must be consecutive and uninterrupted, or the spell automatically fails.

When you begin a spell that takes 1 round or longer to cast, you must continue the invocations, gestures, and concentration from 1 round to just before your turn in the next round (at least). If you lose concentration after starting the spell and before it is complete, you lose the spell.

The Combat section also provides information about spell-trigger items, but only under the header of Standard Actions (apparently under the premise that the vast majority of magical items one can activate take a standard action):

Combat: Standard Actions: Activate Magic Item (Core rules) wrote:

Many magic items don't need to be activated. Certain magic items, however, do need to be activated, especially potions, scrolls, wands, rods, and staves. Unless otherwise noted, activating a magic item is a standard action.

Spell Completion Items: Activating a spell completion item is the equivalent of casting a spell. It requires concentration and provokes attacks of opportunity. You lose the spell if your concentration is broken, and you can attempt to activate the item while on the defensive, as with casting a spell.

Spell Trigger, Command Word, or Use-Activated Items: Activating any of these kinds of items does not require concentration and does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

So, there is positive verification from the rules that Spell-trigger items do not require extended invocations, gestures, spell-finishing, or concentration.

Concentration cannot be lost on the casting action because it is not required due to the spell being cast from a spell-trigger item. Similarly, there are no gestures or utterances to persist, again due the the source of the spell being a spell-trigger item. If concentration were required, there would be an ironclad case to be made that the execution of other actions (combat, spellcasting, drinking a beer, whatever) would break that concentration and prevent the spell from being cast.

Since that is not the case, though, it seems to me that the action economy for using a staff to cast a spell with a 10-minute casting time would be: Round 1: Standard action to activate staff and start the casting of the spell. Rounds 2-100: Maintain the staff's non-sundered status and continue to hold the staff, while taking any other actions desired, potentially including other spellcasting. Round 101+: Enjoy effects of spell cast from staff.

If this is not the intended action economy for this kind of action, it seems to me that a clarification to that effect is necessary in the rules regarding the activation of spell-trigger items... That said, based on a number of rulings I've encountered regarding spell-trigger items in the past, I believe that the above conclusions are in line with the intended use of this class of item...

Gauldin wrote:
angelroble wrote:

Uploaded my own version of the Abadar Temple, and Artist's Lair


I'm starting to prep to run CotCT, and I'm LOVING the maps you created for this! I'm hoping you finished the rest of Scarwall Castle, and can point me to a link. I got section A from here, and also found your section C on, but I can't find any of the rest of it.

Thanks in advance!

I second the hope that the rest of Scarwall was completed at some point, as I am also preparing to run the AP... All of the original maps by angelroble are stunning, and it would be just great to have the rest of the gigantic castle in the same style!

Sarta wrote:
LazarX wrote:
For Alter Self what you get nothing but what the text below specifies. If it's not here, you don't get it.

General disclaimer: I agree with you. However, there is confusion that I personally feel will only be resolved by an official clarification.

This confusion stems from this sentence regarding the various polymorph spells, of which Alter Self is one of:

Core Rule Book - Magic Chapter - School Descriptions wrote:
Each polymorph spell allows you to assume the form of a creature of a specific type, granting you a number of bonuses to your ability scores and a bonus to your natural armor.
The players in question are very used to alter self granting natural armor in 3.5. Their reading of the polymorph school description is that all polymorph spells grant natural armor and attacks by default and then the specific bonuses listed under each spell.

I feel that this (the 1st post) should be flagged for FAQ, with the understanding that the appropriate solution could be as simple as adding a disclaimer to the Alter Self spell explicitly indicating that (as an exception to the otherwise general truth) Alter Self does not improve Natural Armor.

Some call me Tim wrote:

I read "ambient natural light" to be what would be present without any 'artificial' light sources i.e. torches, sunrods, light spells, etc. So, the normal light level for underground is total darkness.

So, darkness would indeed cancel the light spell and the area would be in total darkness.

While this interpretation is the most common, and a very simple one (and as such may be sufficient for most gamers, who should feel free to stop reading and carry on with whatever else they were doing), the actual visibility and light rules that Paizo has published seem to me to be substantially more complex and robust than this.

While the interpretation I'm about to present is not simple, it does address the robust mechanics of Paizo's Vision and Light rules, and how various bits of magic interact with them. (It should be noted that the old 3.5 Vision and Light rules were similar in presentation but vastly different and very poorly defined in application, and as such, the Pathfinder rules are a dramatic improvement both in terms of robust application and in terms of making stuff clear and useful.)

Vision and Light: ( ight)

The keys to understanding the functionality of this system is the recognition of a well-defined scale of lighting levels (Bright light, Normal light, Dim light, No light (darkness), and Supernatural darkness*) and that ALL light sources are now defined as having TWO radii in which they produce slightly different lighting effects.

The radius listed in the table (accompanying the Vision and Light rules) as the Normal radius is the radius of primary illumination - in all table entries except where explicitly noted, this is a "lit radius" of normal light. The measure listed in the table under the column heading "Increased" defines an area outside the lit radius in which the light level is increased by one step (on the given scale of lighting levels), in effect defining a doughnut-shaped zone of secondary illumination outside the central zone of primary illumination.

In cases of overlapping areas of primary illumination, the strongest source providing primary illumination determines the base light level within its radius, with any non-overlapping regions deriving their base lighting level from their source of primary illumination.

So for instance, if you have two torches right next to each other, they jointly provide exactly as much light as a single torch.

Once the base light level is determined for a lit area, any light sources that generate areas of secondary illumination (as most do) that overlap other areas of secondary illumination or the primary area of illumination may cause the light level in the areas their secondary illumination zones overlap with to increase by one step. This is determined by the description for the various applicable source item(s) or effect(s), for example, torches and sunrods do not increase the light level in areas of Normal light or Bright light.

As an example, in an otherwise unlit area (darkness), if you have two torches exactly 40' apart from each other each torch has an area of primary illumination that produces a lit area 20' in radius in which the base lighting level is Normal light, and the overlapping zones of secondary illumination that lie between them each increase the light level by one step, from No light to Dim light and from Dim light to Normal light. In the case of two candles immediately next to each other in an otherwise dark area, while neither provides an area of primary illumination, both provide a 5' radius of secondary illumination, resulting in a 5' radius of Normal light from two candles.

So far, so good. Lighting effects are well-defined and complex, but manageable to administer, as almost all sources of light indicate the conditions under which their secondary areas increase the light level.

Now we come to the magical bit about light (and darkness (the spell, now))...

Most Core spell effects that bear the [light] descriptor have clearly defined primary and secondary areas. The darkness spell, however, is worded in a nonstandard fashion. The initial statement, that the spell "causes the illumination level in the area to drop one step, from bright light to normal light, from normal light to dim light, or from dim light to darkness," is very clear, and easy enough to deal with as it interacts with the existing system so far. The secondary statement in the spell is what gives everyone kittens, however: "Nonmagical sources of light, such as torches and lanterns, do not increase the light level in an area of darkness. Magical light sources only increase the light level in an area if they are of a higher spell level than darkness."

The key word is increase, which is important due to the easily misunderstood use of it here in a technical mode as opposed to in a descriptive-flavor mode. Inasmuch as all light sources defined in the core rules have mechanics defining an area in which they increase the light level, and the use of the word increase is consistent, to the point of being the heading of the column in the table for Vision and Light, increase is used here in that same sense, and not in the more general (less technical) sense that lighting a torch in a dark room increases the lighting level in the room or a deposit into your savings account increases the balance in the account. Both of these remarks are true, but neither is germane to the technical mechanics of the darkness spell.

The latter statement in the darkness spell indicates that secondary areas of illumination generated by any nonmagical effect or source, or by any magical effect of equal or lower spell level than the spell level of the darkness effect, are negated within the area affected by the darkness spell. Areas of primary illumination, however, being described in the absence of the technically-defined notion of increasing illumination (in that they directly illuminate a given area), continue to directly illuminate their given areas, with such illumination being subsequently diminished by one step by the effects of the darkness spell, as described in the initial statement of darkness.

Thus, a darkness effect centered 20' away from a torch in an otherwise dark area will cause the area of overlap between the torch's area of primary illumination and the darkness effect to be lit with Dim light, the area of overlap between the darkness effect and the torch's area of secondary illumination to be dark, and the area lit in either fashion by the torch to remain unchanged. A darkness effect centered on a torch, however, will fully blanket the torch's area of primary illumination resulting in Dim lighting conditions, but will have no effect on the torch's area of secondary illumination, as that area lies wholly outside the area of the darkness spell.

This procedure is further supported by the clarification about the spell deeper darkness, which operates as darkness except in that the radius of effect is 60' and the light level is diminished by two steps (to a minimum level of Supernatural darkness; (*)this is the only place that this lighting level is mentioned or defined in the core rules).

In essence, my interpretation recognizes that the primary area of illumination contributes to the determination of the "ambient natural light" and only the secondary zone of illumination may act to increase the ambient lighting conditions with which it overlaps.

To address the OP's questions:

1) It depends on where the darkness is centered as to what exactly happens, but generally the torch (or other equipment) will shed light in its designated primary area at its designated intensity (Normal for a torch), with any area in the primary area that overlaps with the area of the darkness being diminished one step (to Dim light for a torch), while the torch will continue to increase the ambient light in its secondary area unless that secondary area is overlapped by the darkness spell in which case the torch has no effect on the ambient light in that area.

2) As the light spell is a cantrip and darkness is 2nd level, the results obtained would be identical to those for (1), unless the darkness spell was specifically used to dispel the light spell, which would end the light spell but would not cause any area of darkness to come into being.

To address the implied question of what the heck Jason Bulmahn's FAQ entry means, personally I think that he (like so many other gamers) interpreted the text at the end of darkness in the non-technical descriptive mode, rather than as a technical term. This, however, leads to unnecessary hair-splitting about what is and is not a valid source for ambient light (examples raised include "the Sun", "phosphorescent mold", and "forge-light"). I maintain that my interpretation is a legitimate one, as well as the only one that makes sense in every application.

I present it here for whatever it may be worth (probably not much).

Quantum Steve wrote:
Some call me Tim wrote:
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
Tirq wrote:

Example of not working 2


It should be noted that if you haven't taken a move action so far this turn, you could take a 5-ft step after striking the closer foe and continue the cleave into the further foe, since you can take a 5-ft step at any time including during another action.
I'll be honest, I've never seen anyone allow that. While you can take a 5-foot step during actions, do you really qualify for the extra attack because cleave allows you get the extra attack "against a foe that is adjacent to the first and also within reach." If the second target is not within reach when you use cleave then you wouldn't gain the benefit of a second attack. Simple solution is to take the five-foot step first.
Or use a reach weapon.

Most reach weapons specifically note that they threaten at reach but do not threaten the squares immediately adjacent to the wielder. Of course, lots of people overlook that in play, but there is a feat (Short Haft) that allows a reach-weapon-wielder to shift from adjacent threatening to reach threatening (or vice-versa) as a swift action, but that brings us back to the question of swift/free/other actions during the standard action that is Cleave (remember, Cleave starts with "As a Standard Action...").

Swift actions are identified as being able to be taken "whenever you can take a free action" but are limited to one Swift action per round. An indication of when Free action(s) can be executed is not explicitly defined anywhere (that I can find), except that speaking briefly is identified as a free action that can be taken even when it is not your turn. Thus, the ability to use Short Haft in between Cleave attacks is up to each individual GM as a case-by-case determination.

However, in the definitions for a 5-foot step, the rules explicitly identify that "You can take a 5-foot step before, during, or after your other actions in the round." Thus, the 5-foot step in the middle of a Cleave attack is a legitimate way to address the listed example, RAW. (To address the question of "is the farther target within reach?" raised by Tim, since the 5-foot step can be taken during the standard action, and the feat makes no mention of both targets needing to be within reach at all times, the conditions that both targets be adjacent and that both targets be within reach are both satisfied - at some point - during the standard action.)

Resorting to grammar to provide insight, the sentence structure of the initial sentence where the "ally" is designated has the target of the spell as the subject of the line, as it can be re-written as "The target immediately disengages from its current course of action and rushes to provide aid at the sight of an injured ally." This construction remains ambiguous, inasmuch as the spell is an enchantment (compulsion) [mind-affecting] effect and therefore could still be talking about the caster's ally in an example of very poorly presented text, but this phrasing is perhaps slightly less ambiguous in referencing the concept of an ally as originating from the target of the spell rather than the caster.

I will say that, in addition to the uses I mention originally, the availability of this spell as a took for villains to inflict on PCs for improved dramatic effect (or other nefarious ends, like clustering for AoE damage if targeted against multiple PCs over several rounds) is not without attraction.

Still, as far as I know, this remains (officially) an unanswered question. The FAQ section for Ultimate Magic has no entry as of yet for Compassionate Ally.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
The entire system has been built around the more common reading of the FOB rules: NPCs, feats, archetypes, and monk weapons. Just make the common reading official, and nerf whatever equipment it was that was going to rock the boat.


That would be so nice!

Talonhawke wrote:
I wrote that from the assumed standpoint that the off-hand will be clarified to mean simply that a monk adds full str no matter which attacks are used for unarmed strike.

Such a clarification further erodes any relevance of the TWF feat to the Monk's Flurry, as the TWF feat clearly requires an off-hand weapon distinct from the primary hand weapon. Given the adamance displayed by certain developers regarding the application of TWF restrictions to Flurry, I feel that your assumption my regretfully be optimistic. (Certainly I think that the affirmation of your assumption would highlight the irrationality inherent to the situation.)

zagnabbit wrote:
Unfortunately in SKR's example he points to a Monk with ONE of his unarmed strikes augmented by Magic Fang.......

I've never bought that example as anything close to legitimate, due to the absence of any definition in the rules of what did and did not constitute an Unarmed Strike other than a general definition that provided uniform damage metrics and provided for the uniform determination of the lethality of the unarmed strike. I would be very interested to see a demonstration that a creature possesses more than one Unarmed Strike, though such a demonstration would need to be in a general form rather than in the format of a specific example - a punch or a kick is an example of a descriptive mechanism for delivering Unarmed Strike damage, much in the same way that a lunging thrust or an overhand slice is a descriptive mechanism for delivering Longsword damage. In the end, regardless of how the damage is described as being delivered, you only have one Longsword and you only have one Unarmed Strike.

To be fair, I do not think it is unreasonable to restrict casters from applying Magic Fang to just a Fist as opposed to the whole of the Unarmed Strike; in the case where Magic Fang is applied to the fist alone, the fist is clearly treated as a Natural Attack, and in the absence of Feral Combat Training (fist), the creature would be unable to make use of the enchanted fist in a Flurry of Blows attack in accordance with the way that FoB and Natural Attacks interact. Contrariwise, if the creature *does* have Feral Combat Training, he can apparently (according to SKR, quoted above) use his natural attack for all of his Flurry attacks.

<.< Or so the dictates of logic tell me.

Talonhawke wrote:

It is now man.

Its True now if you have anything going on that makes the attacks different then you can't take them all with the same weapon.

Got one sword? 1/2 your attacks max with your sword.

Got a Spear? 1/2 your attacks max with your spear.

Got a crossbow? 1/2 your attacks max with your crossbow.

Got just your body nothing else? you can use it for all your attacks.

Got MF cast on just your right fist? 1/2 of your attacks max with your right fist.

The interpretation of "just your body can be used for all attacks" may be what SKR *said* but is not at all supported by the rules that he tries to apply to everything else, which clearly call for a different weapon to be wielded in the off hand - for monks, the Unarmed Strike, of which all creatures have but one and cannot therefore be wielded in two places at once, is never an off-hand attack, and therefore cannot be wielded in the off-hand regardless. Thus, without abrogating some of the TWF rules or conjuring previously non-existant rules that define what an unarmed strike is and how a creature can have more than one, some of the Flurry or TWF attacks must be made with some weapon other than an Unarmed Strike.

In connection with this, as there are no rules that provide the ability to distinguish one delivery method for an unarmed strike from another in a mechanically and functionally meaningful way (see my earlier post in this thread - #93), if one has Magic Fang cast upon one's Unarmed Strike, it must necessarily apply to any Unarmed Strike one makes, regardless of delivery method.

Baka Nikujaga wrote:

Shouldn't that be reflected in a change to the actual feat?

Not that I can see. The feat tells you that for the selected Natural attack, you can make use of any feat that has IUS as a prerequisite in conjunction with that attack. (For example, Elemental Fist or Scorpion Style could be used by a Dragon with Feral Combat Training (claw) with either claw attack.) The feat also tells you that any effects that augment an unarmed strike can also augment the selected natural attack (so if that Dragon was also Monk 8, his claws could deal 1d10 damage if he were medium sized). Finally, the feat (and associated errata/FAQ/clarification) tells you that if you are a Monk, you can use the designated natural attack as a monk weapon incorporated with FoB.

Nowhere does the feat identify the selected natural attack as an unarmed strike, it merely indicates that features that are used with an unarmed strike can be used with the selected natural attack as well. (Much like the acquisition of an adapter for my phone that allows it to use an iPod charging cable does not turn my phone into an iPod, but merely allows it to use the same charging cable as an iPod.)

master arminas wrote:
WWWW wrote:
master arminas wrote:

Yes, it is the Feral Combat post/errata from UC, originally found by Talonhawke (whose search-fu exceeds my own greatly).


Feral Combat Training (page 101): What does “with” in the Special line for this feat mean for monks making a flurry of blows?

Normally a monk who has natural attacks (such as a lizardfolk monk with claw attacks) cannot use those natural attacks as part of a flurry of blows (Core Rulebook 57). Feral Combat Training allows you to use the selected natural attack as if it were a monk weapon—you can use it as one of your flurry of blows attacks, use it to deploy special attacks that require you to use a monk weapon, apply the effects of the natural weapon (such as a poisonous bite) for each flurry of blows attack, and so on.

The feat does not allow you to make your normal flurry of blows attack sequence plus one or more natural attacks with the natural weapon. In other words, if you can flurry for four attacks per round, with this feat you still only make four attacks per round... but any number of those attacks may be with the selected natural weapon.
—Sean K Reynolds, 02/15/12

The locked thread

Master Arminas

You might want to bold the "allows you to use the selected natural attack as if it were a monk weapon" section as well.

Done! Thank you WWWW.

Master Arminas

possibly also the bit that says "apply the effects of the natural weapon (such as a poisonous bite) for each flurry of blows attack"

Note, if the conclusion I reach about each creature possessing only one Unarmed Strike is valid (which it logically is), that would be the explanation about why this feat identifies the natural attack as a monk weapon rather than as an Unarmed Strike, as the latter identification would shatter the singularity and uniqueness of the Unarmed Strike as a concept.

Baka Nikujaga wrote:
Please stop inserting things arbitrarily into what I've posted for the purposes of creating an argumentative point, thank you. I said, by the text that you've provided, a character with a monk dip using Two-Weapon Fighting (not Flurry of Blows) would not receive his or her full strength bonus because the wording provided by Unarmed Strike is no longer available.

I believe that in the event the dipped (dippy? ;) character was using an Unarmed Strike as a component of the TWF sequence, the Unarmed Strike would receive the character's full strength bonus. In the event that the character was not employing an Unarmed Strike, and was not executing a Flurry, then the character would not benefit from their full Strength bonus to off-hand attacks.

Of course, if you accept my logical conclusion that an Unarmed Strike is singular to a character and for a Monk cannot be used as an off-hand attack, the character with a dip in Monk would be unable to use the Unarmed Strike as an off-hand component of TWF and would therefore always benefit from the full Strength bonus anyway, when including an Unarmed Strike as a component of TWF (because it will necessarily be the Primary Hand component).

To further complicate matters, there is no indication that any individual creature has or even can possess more than one "unarmed strike" - the designation of an unarmed strike as a light weapon notwithstanding, nothing defines what kind of object an "unarmed strike" is, just that all unarmed strikes deal nonlethal damage based on size, unless one has Improved Unarmed Strike, and unless one is a Monk of sufficiently advanced level. Inasmuch as nothing identifies any means by which a differentiation can be made to identify multiple Unarmed Strikes a creature might possess, it seems impossible to conclude that any creature possesses more than one "unarmed strike" regardless of how the creature implements the unarmed strike.

(The reasoning behind this conclusion is clear: regardless of how the unarmed strike is delivered (punch, kick, headbutt, knee-to-groin, elbow-to-solar-plexus, bodyslam, etc.) the damage that results is always between the same values (determined by Size and Monk level) and is of uniform lethality (nonlethal, unless the creature takes a -4 penalty, or, possesses the IUS feat and decides to deal lethal damage). As an object, therefore, the unarmed strike is a singular object possessed by or inherent to all creatures.)

This being the case, it should also be clear that in order to flurry in accordance with the TWF rules, since the Unarmed Strike is a singular object, it cannot be wielded both in the primary hand and in the off-hand, and therefore Monks *must* use some sort of weapon in their off hand in order to Flurry with Unarmed Strikes.

Baka Nikujaga wrote:
Ideologi--what? I'm not behind nerfing the monk at all and I've stated that in the other thread (though, chances are you haven't seen that post of mine) - if anything, I'd like to see the monk rise to a tier 3 class. However, that isn't the purpose of this discussion, is it? The purpose of this discussion is to discuss how the rules work, as written, and what that implies.

Apologies, then! ^_^ The other thread is somewhat lengthy and I admit I have not read it fully.

On additional reading, however, and the rigorous re-examination of the rules text as written under the harsh and unforgiving light of symbolic logic, I can only conclude that the phrase "any combination of unarmed strikes or attacks with a special monk weapon" is modified by "as if using the Two-Weapon Fighting feat," as opposed to Master Arminas's suggestion that the former modifies the latter.

I cannot, however, disagree with his assertion that the text in the Unarmed Strike that identifies a Monk's Unarmed Strike as unable to be off-handed is meaningful, as it would otherwise not have been included, since the full Strength modifier for Flurries is already addressed in the Flurry section. It does, however, strike me that if a Monk with BAB 6+ executed a non-Flurry attack and elected to attempt a Disarm combat maneuver with his first melee attack, was successful, and elected to retain the object he took from his foe in his hand, that the identification of the non-off-handedness of his unarmed strike would be usefully applicable in adjudicating the damage of his second iterative unarmed strike in the event that it was successful in connecting.

That being said, it cannot be denied that the designation of the Unarmed strike as something that is not an off-hand attack exists, and on that basis I am forced to conclude, surprising even myself, that a Monk's Unarmed Strikes cannot be off-hand attacks, and therefore any Flurry sequence involving a weapon must logically relegate that weapon to the off-hand role if the Flurry also includes Unarmed Strikes. (Rather torturous, I know, but that is the logical implication.)

I don't believe that any of this was intended to be nearly this complex or restrictive, but there we are, as you say, it's how the rules are actually worded. (Which makes me wince.)

Clearly these rules need to be cleaned up. Ideally, imo, they should be cleaned up so as to make the Monk capable of being better at TWF (with Monk weapons) than other classes *can* be. But that's just my opinion...

Baka Nikujaga wrote:
Flurry of Blows and Two-Weapon Fighting are not one and the same (hence why there's language separating the two). And, it's more a case of too many bad ideas being placed in a vacuum for too long. The monk is working [because we're ignoring what's wrong with it], fine, just don't cry harm or foul when someone points out a mistake.

I'm not sure I understand the underlying premise of the argument in favor of restricting a Monk's Flurry away from making all Flurry attacks with a single Monk weapon. Other classes are *better* at things, why is it necessary for the Monk in this case to not be better at this with Monk weapons? (An example: Fighters are better at wearing armor than characters of any other class are able to be.)

The text as written seems to suggest (as indicated by Master Arminas) that Monks ought to be better at making Flurry attacks than other classes can be at wielding multiple weapons. Where is the ideological basis that justifies opposition to this notion? (Basing the literal objection on the specific wording of the class ability is an insufficient defense of the ideology that supports the interpretation-away of this Monk feature.)

Just to add my 2 cents to the discussion, I concur with the lengthy analysis posted by master arminas (above).

In addition, I take exception to the assertion that the TWF feat requires a character using it to make any attacks with more than one weapon.

TWF feat wrote:

Two-Weapon Fighting (Combat)

You can fight with a weapon wielded in each of your hands. You can make one extra attack each round with the secondary weapon.

Prerequisite: Dex 15.

Benefit: Your penalties on attack rolls for fighting with two weapons are reduced. The penalty for your primary hand lessens by 2 and the one for your off hand lessens by 6. See Two-Weapon Fighting.

Normal: If you wield a second weapon in your off hand, you can get one extra attack per round with that weapon. When fighting in this way you suffer a –6 penalty with your regular attack or attacks with your primary hand and a –10 penalty to the attack with your off hand. If your off-hand weapon is light, the penalties are reduced by 2 each. An unarmed strike is always considered light.

{Table omitted}

The Fluff flavor text (that we are free to omit or ignore for consideration of the feat mechanics) indicates weapon-centric restrictions. The actual Benefit Text talks about hands.

Consider this: Fighter 8 with TWF and Quick Draw starts his round holding two daggers (light weapons, so his TWF penalties are -2/-2). He executes his first attack with the dagger in his primary hand. He takes a free action to drop the dagger in his off hand, a free action to shift the dagger in his primary hand to his off hand, and a free action to quick-draw another dagger into his primary hand. He then (in the proper order of attacks) executes his TWF attack with the dagger in his off hand. He takes a free action to drop the dagger in his primary hand, a free action to shift the dagger from his off hand to his primary hand, and a free action to draw a fourth dagger in his off hand. He takes his third attack (2nd iterative) with the dagger in his primary hand. At no time has he attacked with more than one weapon, and at no time has he broken the rules.

Note, the justification for the shift being a free action hinges on Quick Draw as well - the feat fails to identify what constitutes "drawing a weapon" and thus the fighter draws the dagger with his off-hand from his primary hand. Hair-splitting rules nitpickkery? Sure. Does it make sense? Sure. QED. TWF does not intrinsically require attacks to be made with more than one weapon.

Additional Note: Yes, the "Normal" text identifies weapon-centric behavior, but as the feat's Benefit text does not, this is immaterial.

So the Monk isn't breaking anything, he's just sensibly not required to take Quick Draw to achieve the same benefits, since his Unarmed Strike cannot be drawn or put away. I can see the justification for requiring the Monk to take Quick Draw to be able to execute all Flurry attacks with a weapon as opposed to his Unarmed Strike.

LazarX wrote:
PCGen automatically takes care of page count with it's spellbooks. It'll even let you know when you're out of room.

Thanks very much! I confess, I don't use PCGen, and therefore did not think of it as a potential solution.

Do you happen to know if it also addresses the Words of Power option from Ultimate Magic in a similar fashion?

Some Random Dood wrote:
A spell takes a number of pages equal to it's spell lv, 0 lv spells take half a page I believe. So all you really need to do is some basic multiplication (# of spells known per spell lv x spell lv) and addition to figure out how many pages your spells would take.

Yes, I know this. In fact, cantrips are explicitly called out as taking up one page, but it remains a simple calculation.

I find it tedious, however, to undertake this calculation multiple times and to track the changing page count in the process of developing a character, especially if the character's spell list varies in composition over the process of creation. Knowing something about programming, this feature is something that should be almost trivially easy to implement in any computing application where spell levels are identified in relation to spells. As I have no access to the source code for the various tools that I have been able to find, I have no ability to make this modification on my own, and therefore asked if anyone else was aware of an application that would automate this simple but tedious calculation for me.

I'm not an idiot, I just see no good reason that I should take time to do manually what a fairly complex program could easily do automatically in effectively zero extra time. (Yes, I regard the absence of this functionality as a bad reason to waste time summing the products.) I'm sorry if that was not clear from my initial post.

The other reason I'm interested in this question (aside from the triviality of implementation) is that most spellbooks hold 50 or 100 spells (traveling and standard books) and have associated costs. If my Wizard is going to start play at 8th level, I need to know if the free spells and the spells I pay to copy from other books will require me to purchase one or more extra spellbooks, and if so how many, so that I can properly account for my expenditures based on WBL.

So I'm looking at creating a Wizard of moderate level, and I'd like to make sure that I accurately represent the number and nature of his spellbooks. Is anyone aware of any kind of spellbook creation utility or application that will provide a page count based on the spells I identify as known by my character?

I know that several options exist to generate spell cards and simple lists of spells known, but none of them that I've found appear to offer the (very simple) functionality of displaying the number of pages in a spellbook that would be necessary to contain whatever spells are selected.

I would greatly appreciate any assistance that could be offered, as I would like to avoid the need to develop my own (kludgey) solution using a spreadsheet or something similar, in favor of something that would hopefully provide more than just a page count (such as spell names/descriptions).

mdt wrote:
The breadth guy would be able to go into a lot more situations and be useful outside of combat though. In fact, I see the guy with breadth as the grizzled old veteran guy who never got above sergeant in the army, but he's dang good at teaching raw recruits, and he usually get's more out of them. Breadth of knowledge making him a better teacher, but not as good a warrior.

"Those who can, do. Those who cannot, teach." ?


It might explain the horns, but the real question that springs to my mind is, "Do you have to pass a bar exam in Baator before you can land that gig?" ^_^

Back on topic...

Jeraa wrote:
The problem is that, from a skill-base point of view, everyone should be 1st to 5th level. If the NPCs are higher then that, then you start getting to the point where what are considered world records in the real world are being exceeded by everyone and their brother. Half the people with ranks in knowledge skills would qualify as geniuses in our world.

With respect, I'm not sure I accept the legitimacy of the underlying premises pertaining to this remark.

A high modifier in a Knowledge skill represents the depth and breadth of knowledge possessed by the individual in the specified field. This means that a character with Int 18 and 3 ranks in a class-skill knowledge category can be expected to have the same level of knowledge as a character with int 10 and 10 ranks in the same category that isn't a class skill for the second character. The first character must be a minimum of 3rd level, the second a minimum of 10th. However, the first character is much closer to being a genius than the second character.

This system includes an appropriate divorce between having knowledge and being smart - the second character had to work a lot harder at becoming knowledgeable, to be sure, but this does mimic real-world learning styles. One thing to remember is that the knowledge skills are incredibly broad in scope to ensure that sufficient granularity can be maintained at higher modifiers. For example, I'm a mathematician. I'm fairly smart (above average to be sure), and I've been studying it for over 10 years. There are lots of things that I know that the average Joe wouldn't, but the are plenty of specifics to the various branches of mathematics that I know next to nothing about that are well known to more skilled practitioners.

As far as world records, Jump is usually the go-to skill for this argument, which ignores the fact that the original 3rd edition jump rules included restrictions for believability that were recognized as too cumbersome for ease-of-play, and were dropped. Thus, the Jump skill (or Acrobatics rules governing jumping now) shouldn't be held up as realism-breaking, as the game is designed with that knowledge implicitly entailed in the skill.

Climb is actually a good candidate to support the 1-20 argument, as climbing an overhang or ceiling with handholds but no footholds is listed at DC 30, and is something done by non-record setting climbers. To take 10, a character would need a +20 modifier. Assuming that we have a fairly strong character (str 14) with skill focus (climb) and climb as a class skill, that means that 8 of that +20 modifier comes from innate talent. Thus, the character must be at least 12th level to take 10, and at least 2nd level to have any chance at success. Considering that world record climbers routinely attempt climbs regarded as more challenging than this (usually involving fatigue penalties), I don't see Climb checks as a source of inappropriate record-breaking.

Most skill checks are made against non-static DCs and thereby entail the virtue of scalability in use against more talented opposition, some of which ought to come from intelligent and potentially peaceful "monsters" that interact with NPC society from time to time. Granted, not every escape artist should be able to wriggle out of bonds tied by an Efrit, but in a world as big as Golarion, one or two who can should be expected, I would think...

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mplindustries wrote:
Jeraa wrote:
Er, why would I need the barmaid's stats? In that scenario, I'd clearly have some sort of agenda for even running such a scene. If the PCs don't step in, she's going to die (or whatever bad thing I have planned), obviously, and the PCs get to feel horrible for not helping. If they do step in, I want her to either survive to make the PCs feel heroic and awesome, or die regardless to make the PCs feel the brutality of a particular location and drive them to make it better. I don't want to have no idea if she'll live or die and leave it up to chance--that serves no thematic purpose.
Some people prefer to not hold their players to a script. Let the dice and the PCs actions tell the story, not whatever the DM wrote down last night. Some people prefer a more open game then that.
No, my version is the one that let the PCs actions tell the story. In the other version where you bother rolling out Barmaid stats, random chance tells the story.

As much as I respect that perspective, and have implemented it in the past, I feel obliged to point out that in the absence of stats for the barmaid the only thing that is resultant from that absence is a means of resolving any actions involving the barmaid in an equitable manner compared to the manner of resolution for actions not involving the barmaid. That is, if the barmaid has stats, and the PCs attack her assailants, the resolution of their attack rolls will be the same as if the barmaid does not have stats, but if instead the PCs do something that provokes a will save from the barmaid, for example, or fail to identify themselves as her saviors before attempting to Combat Maneuver: Reposition her, then having stats means that the GM has a means to fairly determine how the barmaid reacts, whereas in the absence of stats the barmaids reactions are governed exclusively by GM fiat.

In either case, the PCs actions will be resolved with an element of chance, per their mechanics, and if the GM has done their job correctly, the story will be told by a blend of PC actions and chance, as is (in my opinion) appropriate.

mdt wrote:
TOZ wrote:
The rakshasa is not proficient with it's own spit, and thus takes a -4 penalty to hit. Combined with enough range penalties, the mewling kitten PC should be safe.
Creatures are always proficient with their natural attacks and weapons. :)

Yes, but only those natural attacks detailed in their stat blocks, I thought, or natural attacks that deal nonlethal damage. Has there been an update to the Rakshasa stat block to add spit as a natural weapon that I've missed? (If so, I feel deprived of significant plot potential, as there was recently a situation in one of my games that Rakshasa Spit would have been a handy ace up the bad guy's sleeve. ^_^

TheRedArmy wrote:

I completely agree ashiel.

90% of the world is a first level character. The oracle at delphi is over 10th. Arthur of camelot is, and possibly merlin. Maybe 20 people are 20th level. You put too many people that are incredible and suddenly the pcs aren't special.

Again, while individual campaign settings might vary, the Pathfinder setting contains intrinsic assumptions that contradict this way of thinking in a fashion that wholly avoids the diminishment of the "specialness" of the PCs. (Note, while of course stat blocks are applicable to any campaign setting run under the Pathfinder rules, the Paizo team freely admits to the publication of statistics that are designed to fit ideally within their own published setting.)

The Pathfinder setting presents a world large enough and turbulent enough and full enough of adventures that more than just one group of adventuring characters can stand out as special. The premise in the Pathfinder setting relies not on uniqueness of the PCs as the only significant adventuring group, but that the stories that result from the undertakings of the PCs will be more than sufficient to easily render them as "special."

From a properly equitable simulationist perspective, in fact, it's easy to demonstrate that a scenario where the PCs are incredible, remarkable exceptions from the normal gamut of characters is in fact not particularly simulationist, as it contains the intrinsic and necessary assumption that the PCs are by definition *different*. This assumption is entirely unjustified by any rationale, and simply exists as an axiom to be accepted, which seems to be wholly unrealistic and destroys the verisimilitude of the campaign setting. If the PCs can obtain "phenomenal godly powers" in under a year, and no explanation for why NPCs are unable to similarly attain such powers, that presents as rather a huge and unexplained discrepancy in the game world. If, however, other characters (NPCs) who belong to the same minority of motivated (and perhaps slightly crazy) individuals as the PCs are similarly able to advance in power (via adventuring and PC levels), the world continues to maintain logical consistency. In light, then, of the logically necessary not-insignificant population of NPC adventurers, a non-adventuring population that exhibits more level diversity than the 1-5 range is a logical necessity to provide proper support structures for the adventuring world. (In Golarion, a number of these NPC adventurers would be members of the Pathfinder Society, for example. Since the Pathfinders have no moral or ethical requirements, the probability that several of these adventurer NPCs will be unscrupulous approaches unity, which implies that there must be shopkeepers capable of resisting the wiles of these unscrupulous NPC adventurers, which further implies that other NPCs would need to be fairly high level in order to preclude the potential for these merchants to dominate the economy, and so forth, rippling across society.)

It's important to recognize that the game world presented in the Pathfinder system differs significantly from the (flawed) world structures that preceded it in the D&D system - the socio-economic structures depicted in the Pathfinder setting describe a consistent world that contains a myriad of NPCs across all levels, interacting in well-structured harmony around the PCs, and even in their absence. This shifts the paradigm from PCs that are axiomatically different without explanation (as in previous versions of the game) to PCs that are special and significant because of their actions, which is arguably *more* meaningful than being special due to some kind of plot-demanded fiat, as it emphasizes the work that makes the PCs special.

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In response to the notion that everyone in the world who are not "superhuman" must be at most 5th level, on the basis of certain correlations between the mechanics of the game and observed real-world metrics (as in the Alexandrian write up), I'm afraid that I must respectfully disagree. Some of the arguments presented as supporting the thesis of the Alexandrian article are well-grounded, such as the door-breaking and the encumberance, however these segments have nothing to do with character level. Those segments that do rely on level-based construction are guilty of the error that the earlier segments explicitly avoid: the failure to acknowledge a convention of abstraction for the sake of playability. In one case, the abstraction is the correlation of HP gain and level gain. Recognizing that HP gain as a result of leveling up is an abstraction, just as the entire HP system is, means that the basis presented for the breakdown of a 20th level Einstein is a specious straw man. In the case of the jumping rules, the original 3rd edition rules capped standard jumping for reality based on move speed and height, but these restrictions were axed for 3.5 and remained axed in Pathfinder, on the basis that the realistic rules were too complex for usefulness in play. The article recognizes ease-of-use as a legitimate reason for innaccuracies in encumberance correlation between the game and reality, so there should similarly be no objection to the lack of correlation for jumping. For base stats, the article remains a worthwhile study, but any conclusions about realistic level approximations are, sadly, inappropriate.

On the flip side, there are any number of skills that have wholly justifyable applications by NPCs at levels higher than 5th, especially with the alterations to skills introduced in Pathfinder that result in better scalability across 20 levels. Sense motive, diplomacy, many knowledge skills (based on the context of the world at hand), and perform skills all scale very well, as well as Acrobatics and Climb. Aside from that, one difference that the Pathfinder setting includes is the explicit idea that while the PCs are above average, they are not the only ones who are above average adventurers, and that other adventuring companies and individuals are active in the world. Thus, the PCs are not expected to be "once-in-a-generation powerful heroes" but rather just powerful heroes.

This being the case, having NPCs in the world that have skill sets capable of dealing from equal or near-equal positions with higher level heroic adventurers, PC or NPC, is not an unreasonable proposition. Pathfinder did and does represent a substantial departure from the previous contexts for D&D Heroes, where the presumption was that the PCs *were* by and large the only Heroic characters active in the game world.

As far as "usable NPCs" as a concept goes, your recognition of Pathfinder as appropriate for simulation, or simulation-lite as you expressed it, is key to understanding the interrelations involved in these stat blocks. The Foot soldier whom you decry as being easily mugged by the beggar is a raw recruit, without much in the way of experience, whereas the beggar mugging him has lived for many years in his station, honing his skills. The barkeep who calls for the guards (whose response unit might contain a smattering of NPCs drawn from the following stat blocks: Foot soldiers (CR 1/3), Guards (CR 1) and Guard officers (CR 3)) might be of equal life experience as the Guard Officer, but has developed his skills along different (less combat-centric) lines; also, the Guards are multiple whereas the Barkeep is a single individual. He and his barmaids might be able to keep the fight from escalating, but probably wouldn't be able to contain it the way that properly equipped guardsmen can.

And so it goes - generally speaking, it seems reasonable to me that those NPCs presented as being higher level are usually older as well, and thus have had more time to earn their experience. To be sure, this perspective relies on an expansion of the non-combat related methods for gaining XP to include things like negotiating a trade agreement, persuading a village to accept higher taxes, getting adventurers to spend money on ale and mead but keeping them from molesting the barmaids, and so forth. NPCs can and should earn XP for the jobs that they do, typically at a substantially slower rate than PCs experience; most campaigns don't need anyone to really recognize this fact, and as a result it hardly ever gets mentioned. It is, however, essential to a simulationist presentation of the Pathfinder rules. A Gamist presentation doesn;t care if the NPCs get XP for farming or merchanting, as it's not central to the story, but a Simulationist presentation that includes a substantial number of recognizable NPCs must recognize that NPCs earn XP and can level up over the months or years. This is precisely why a human farmer (age 34) is a better farmer than he was when he started his farm (at age 24) - he's had 10 years to get XP from dealing with farming issues, and has placed his skills in a fashion to improve his ability to be a farmer.

The NPCs presented in the Gallery all seem to me to make sense from this perspective. Your other issue seems to be, roughly, "if these are average members of the population, why are my adventurers necessary?" The answer to that is one of personality, and is best illustrated by example. Yes, mechanically, the local beggar, prostitutes, and town drunk are statistically capable of fighting off basic goblins that attack their town. However, if the local beggar, prostitute or town drunk were any of them the kind of person who saw marauding goblins and thought to themselves "I can take 'em!" they wouldn't be a beggar, prostitute, or town drunk, they'd be an adventurer. Just because they could doesn't mean that they would be so inclined, or that they know that they could. Also, they have no good basis for assuming that the goblins are just basic goblins, since a basic goblin marauder looks a lot like a goblin marauder with 3 levels in Rogue in the middle of a surprise nighttime attack involving fire and rubble. Looking on the situation from our elevated position where we can see all the cards, it's easy to say "those NPCs can take those goblins, why are the PCs necessary?" but what that overlooks is that there's no way for those NPCs to know that, thus necessitating the intervention of PC heroes who are brave (or insane) enough to be unconcerned that for all their characters know, one of those goblins has the ingame skills that constitute a +12 to stealth and a +3d6 sneak attack.

Ashiel wrote:
I mean, the section could have been useful, but the majority of the NPCs aren't worth anything in an actual campaign. They don't fit in Golarion, nor Greyhawk, nor Forgotten Realms, nor Mystara, or even Planescape.

When I read through the gallery, I had a similar initial reaction. But I took a step back, and considered the purpose and motivation for publishing such a gallery, and I eventually remembered a snippet from one of the developers (in a blog, a forum post, or an Adventure Path introductory comment) to the effect that a handily common GM trick was to take a published stat block (for a Troll, say) and use the bulk of its statistics while describing the creature that the party sees as something entirely different (a mostly-white lump of mottled flesh with two skeletal limbs (of different structure) that extend out of the lump to attack, and retract back in). And perhaps you tweak some special abilities to additionally disguise the monster's mechanics (in this case, perhaps the regeneration is only overcome with acid or electricity, or whatever). Presto, a new "unique" monster that some wizard created to defend his secret lab, made up with roughly 30 seconds of actual work.

That's when it hit me. Statistics blocks published by Paizo are *not* creatures -- they're templates for creatures (and I don't mean templates like the Vampire template, I'm using the word in its general English context). In a programming environment, they'd be classified as default structures or somesuch, but as in advanced programming situations, they can be altered in their specific incarnations - the monster encountered by the PCs need not exactly match the monster in the Bestiary. Thus, the NPC Gallery doesn't describe **every** Beggar, Footsoldier, Mayor, Barmaid, Brigand, Doomspeaker, or Baron, it describes any of those characters (possibly with names swapped around) that might suit your campaign, for your PCs to interact with. The NPC Gallery doesn't present people who *do* exist, but people who *might* exist at the discretion of the GM, who naturally will come up with inventive and creative reasons for their class structure.

The Gallery presents options that I, for one, (having realized this) greatly appreciate - it's always nice to have more of the work done for me, so that if my 12th level PCs decide they want to investigate the rumors of banditry in the neighboring barony, I can decide to make the bandits a level-appropriate challenge *if I want to*. ^_^

WPharolin wrote:

Let us suppose that you approach a blacksmith's apprentice. He has an average intelligence (10 - 11) and 4 ranks in Craft (arms and armor). You ask the young man "Could you craft a chain shirt for me?" To which, he replies "Why yes, my master has taught me enough that I could fashion an effective chain shirt for you."

Now let us suppose that you approach another apprentice at another place and another time. He has an average intelligence (10 - 11) but has been less than diligent. Much to the dismay of his master, he has no ranks in Craft (arms and armor). You ask the young man "Could you craft a chain shirt for me?" To which, he replies "Certainly. I haven't studied particularly hard but I'm smart enough to understand the basics. It might take me a bit longer but I could do it if I wanted to. But I don't want to."

Apprentice A tried hard to do what he thought he should, only later as he made the transition into adulthood did he realize that you can't please everyone all the time. He leaves his master behind and becomes an adventurer. A player character with this background has a logical reason for having ranks in a craft skill.

Apprentice B was always a daydreamer. It was clear to him, even at a young age, that he was meant for more. He was strong, skilled with a sword, athletic, and brave. Over time those around him begin to see it too. His destiny clearly lay elsewhere. As he enters into adulthood he becomes an adventurer. A player character with this background has a logical reason for NOT having ranks in a craft skill.

The OP has expressed a desire for players to take sub-optimal choices in order to better fit into society. My question would be then, why does Apprentice B not fit into your world? Why does being sub-optimal make you somehow fit in better?

cranewings wrote:
Then come the player characters - the murderous hobos - who can't perform any task or job a normal member of the society can be expected to.

Another point related to WPharolin's post that addresses cranewings' complaint: the PCs, provided they don't have negative modifiers for Intelligence or Wisdom, are generally capable of execution of tasks of average difficulty or challenge (DC 10) or crafting tasks of almost any difficulty (up to DC 20) given sufficient time. The acquisition of one or more ranks in any parenthetically subcategorized skill is the mark, not of a character able to perform "any task or job a normal member of society" could, but rather of an individual with specialized training or experience pertaining to the specific subcategory. Generally speaking, any PC without a negative Wisdom modifier can take 10 to cook food that won't kill the people who eat it - cooking a tasty meal (DC 15?) might require multiple participants (Aid Another bonuses ftw!), but can still be done by cooperative PCs. For other mundane tasks that take place outside of stressful situations (as would be expected to pertain in the performance of the task by a normal member of the society), PCs should be similarly capable.

If, on the other hand, the setting for a game has a non-standard definition of a "normal member" of society that includes the ability of a normal member of society to perform certain tasks under stress or extreme stress, it seems to me that the appropriate method to address the inclusion of this cultural trait for PCs originating in that culture would be to include, above and beyond the usual skill points or traits available to PCs, the features necessary for a PC to appropriately fit in with a culture without restricting the options available to the PC in terms of the creation of a unique and interesting character. If a GM really wants all of his players to be from a seafaring culture where even the most incompetent member of society can belay a line, the GM should not present Profession(Sailor) as a skill in which ranks out of the PCs class-derived skill points are a requirement for fitting into society, but should rather recognize the alteration of the local notion of "normal" and make additional skill points or traits available to Players to allow them to construct appropriately normal characters while still retaining the unique and individual potential that the Pathfinder game assumes is invested in each PC. This is the counterpoint to WPharolin's point that not every reasonably capable character needs to have skill points in a parenthetical subcategory.

I like the rationale for the spell list, I like the class abilities, I like the overall fell of the class except for the reliance on spell slots (though I recognize the design choice as an attempt to comply with Paizo's tentative and limited statement of potential intent). While I feel that, along the same lines as the justification for the inclusion of "clericy" spells...

Which brings us to the question about why are all those darn clerical healing spells on the list? Psionics is about knowing ones body and mind; and in myth and legend powerful users of the mind are often able to purge their body of disease and poisons and heal wounds. They can't do it as effectively as a cleric, but they can still do it. And so, I added them. Pretty much three levels after a cleric gets them, but they have them.

To me, the implementation of a less restrictive casting mechanic for Psionics directly ties into this concept as well - the ability to use one's available mental power as a Psion to cast whatever combination of spells one finds necessary (as opposed to the spell-slot system as it stands which implements severe limits on the ability to cast higher level spells while lower level spells are progressively less restricted) seems to me to be a primary feature intrinsic to the degree of self-knowledge that has thematically been associated with Psionicists heretofore.

If a class feature was included for this class that allowed two or more lower-level spell slots to be merged and allowed to fuel additional castings of higher-level spells, that would go a long way towards addressing my perception of the thematic nature of the Psion. I should say, however, that such a system would almost certainly either be incredibly wasteful of resources (spell slots) or fairly complex, if not both. >.>

I like the majority of the class concepts and structure; if a less restrictive daily use mechanic were included I would be seriously pleased. As it stands, in the abstract, I would play this class happily.

RE: Altered Spelling of D&D Non-Open Monsters:
Actually, the reason that the Balrog/Baalrog gambit works is because Tolkien never provided explicit and specific combat statistics or similar expressions, so as long as Baalrog is substantively different enough from the Balrog depicted in Tolkien's work, it's not infringement.

With the classic D&D monsters, on the other hand, since their names *and* their combat statistics, strategies, ecologies, tactics, and overall mechanical implementations are all covered by copyright, in order to develop Pathfinder implementations of these monsters, not only the names but also the abilities and pretty much everything that makes the monsters recognizable and unique would need to be changed, which pretty much defeats the purpose.

Which is sad.

Abraham spalding wrote:

Well as soon as you actually look at the economy you realize the entire system is making wealth from nothing and giving your opinion on what it is worth.

This is exactly what happened during every speculation bubble bust (in fact is the definition of what causes the bubbbles -- people assuming wealth in something that has nothing to back up that assumption).

Isn't there an underlying assumption that the mechanics of the Profession skill describe an easily-implementable method for determining the outcome of Profession-related activities taken as part of a complex, fully-functional international economy, complete with trade routes and serious mercantile concerns?

(I mean, yes, that is the definition of the cause of bubbles, but in this case, the mechanics are detailed in the individual frame so the fact that a larger perspective isn't explicit doesn't mean that the dwarves are magicking up money out of nowhere.)

14 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 1 person marked this as a favorite.

In the spell Compassionate Ally, what does it means by "ally"?

Does "ally" mean an friend of the Caster (e,g, a party member/NPC), or a friend of the spell target?

On the face of it, the text seems to frame the notion of an ally as an ally of the target creature, with no indication that this spell alters its perception of allegiance. I suppose that the spell could be moderately useful in this context, to occupy a dangerous creature for several rounds or to set up a better enemy positioning for AoE effects, but it seems to entail an intrinsic disadvantage in that if the target of the spell has healing items, those items will be used on an injured creature that most likely opposes the PCs, prolonging the fight and depriving PCs of potential healing resources.

On the other hand if the context of "ally" is an ally of the caster, while this interpretation makes the spell rather more useful, it is woefully unclear from the text of the spell alone. That said, with Charm Person being a 1st level spell and having a longer duration and a substantially greater potential impact on the behavior of a target creature, it seems to me that the fact that this spell is a 2nd level spell should entail a slightly more powerful spell. I would expect a spell that compels the target to aid another creature on its side of a fight to be first level, not second, since Charm Person has the same capability to induce a target foe to come to the aid of a caster's injured ally, but requires a shared language (or good pantomime) and an opposed charisma check. It seems appropriate to me that a second level spell should be able to compel a specific action directly out of a failed will save with a substantially reduced duration.

(Quotes from Rules Questions/ready To Charge? What Do You Mean I Can't Ready A Charge?)

james maissen wrote:
nosig wrote:

In PF, can a character Ready a charge attack?

Depends. At my table I would allow it, as the rules need to be consistent and make sense.

If your PC were reduced to only being able to take a standard action (surprise round, slowed, you're a zombie, etc) then yes you could make a partial charge, and you could ready that partial charge action as a standard action.

It doesn't make sense to me that a PC could not voluntarily elect to reduce themselves down to just having a standard action. Thus as a DM I would allow it if they forgo the rest of their turn.

Straight RAW? I don't think it's allowed.

However, the idea that you would be MORE capable when slowed or the like is untenable for me. Thus I conclude that the only thing preventing one from doing so is that the writers felt the verbiage for its allowance was either too convoluted or was self-evident.

Thus I'd allow it, and really would have liked PF to 'patch' what I consider a flaw in the RAW,


Jiggy wrote:
DigitalMage wrote:

Presumably you could ready a charge in a surprise round yes?

And would you need to take that readied action in the surprise round or would it carry over to the next, full, combat round (so basically the readying character loses a while rounds worth of action just to have a charge or ready)?

That's actually a good question. I'd probably allow it (that is, allow the readied surprise-round charge to carry into the first normal round) as doing otherwise would seem awkward and it doesn't seem too unbalanced.

This issue about Charging has been a bone in my craw since before Pathfinder existed as a rules set. Like James, I was really hoping that PF would present different rules that made more sense, as I also cannot square the thought of Zombies being able to do something natively that Humans can't (without taking a feat).

The issue at the root of this conundrum is that allowing readied charges breaks the concept of restricting a charging creature's movement in a round in which it charges. If it was possible to ready a charge, under the existing rules, a creature could take a move action prior to readying the action to maneuver to a more advantageous position, and then ready an action to charge as soon as another creature starts to act.

While I'm uncertain that this is as game-breaking as has been suggested, two potential options present themselves:

(1) A creature can ready an action to charge or charge as a standard action by sacrificing (not taking) its move action for the round. The creature gains the standard benefits and penalties associated with charging.

(2) Add the following action: Standard Action: Short-Charge. A creature that Short Charges executes a Charge as a Standard Action (as opposed to a Full-round action), and takes a -2 penalty to AC until its next turn. The Short-Charging creature gains a +1 bonus to hit, however, rather than the +2 normally gained by charging. This action can be readied, as usual for standard actions.

therealthom wrote:
'PRD' wrote:

Rapid Shot (Combat)

You can make an additional ranged attack.

Prerequisites: Dex 13, Point-Blank Shot.

Benefit: When making a full-attack action with a ranged weapon, you can fire one additional time this round. All of your attack rolls take a –2 penalty when using Rapid Shot.

My reading -- Rogue8/Fighter1 has a BAB of +7/+2. So with rapid shot he makes attacks at +5/+5/+0.

Smarter people may have different readings.

The only difference in my reading is that I would express the rapid shot attacks (at +5/+5/+0) as explicitly predicated on the Rogue8/Fighter1 making a full attack with a ranged weapon.

Note, there may be a distinction made between "ranged weapon" and "thrown weapon" in the rules, I'm afraid I don't recall.

It seems to me that the rules published in the GameMastery Guide about Chases could be used to represent the scenario of PCs trying to flee from NPCs.


Considering the variety of circumstances that PCs might elect flight as the best response, it might be worthwhile to allow PCs (the pursued in this scenario) the ability to attempt to create obstacles where none exist or increase the difficulty of an existing obstacle. Perhaps creating an obstacle where none exists could be an action that is itself treated like an obstacle - if the PC beats a minimum DC, their actions (dropping caltrops while on the run, yanking down half-rotted support timbers, overturning minecarts, closing doors, etc.) create obstacles for their pursuers.

A mechanic exists for handling chases and the notion of pursuit, but in the absence of the ability to obfuscate their path while on the run, the PCs often are legitimately better off hoping that continued assault will get lucky (minimum 5% chance to crit with every attack) rather than devoting their actions to attempting to get away. I think that (1) if the Chase mechanics were better known, and (2) a part of those mechanics involved a process by which the pursued could make the chase harder for their pursuers, more parties might elect to flee since they would feel like that had a chance at being successful in doing so.

2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.
Krome wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Quandary wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Yes, but the wording was tweaked fairly recently. Did you not hear about that? Read it closely; there are some small but clarifying wording changes compared to how it read when it first went up.

Yeah, I noticd a thread about that recently...

I´m not sure exactly how it was changed, but I´m pretty certain that it used a Longsword in the 1st iteration as well.
I didn´t see anything in the new version that seemed like a functional difference to the 1st version,
but I´m also in the set that saw (pre-FAQ) that a 100% valid and possible reading of the RAW was that you didn´t need Trip Weapons to deliver a Trip. /shrug
It was changed, primarily, to mention the longsword example more than once and with clearer grammar. It clarified the rule to show it to be in line with your original position.

While the FAQ seems to make it clear that you can wield a long sword and still make a Trip Maneuver but not gain its weapon related bonuses, this new "clarification" states that you do in fact get to use the weapon related bonuses. So now a +5 Longsword adds its +5 enhancement bonus to Trip, Sunders and Disarms.

The FAQ seemed pretty clear before, but this just changed everything!

Perhaps I'm being obtuse, or applying Occam's Razor too zealously, but it seems evident to me that in light of the FAQ and this blog entry, weapons lacking the Trip special quality are not "suitable" for tripping and therefore shouldn't apply their bonuses.

I'm aware that this interpretation can be viewed as a contradiction of the blog clarification: "Disarm, sunder, and trip are normally the only kinds of combat maneuvers in which you’re actually using a weapon (natural weapons and unarmed strikes are considered weapons for this purpose) to perform the maneuver, and therefore the weapon’s bonuses (enhancement bonuses, feats such as Weapon Focus, fighter weapon training, and so on) apply to the roll."

However, these remarks are general, collectivized remarks. Later in the blog post, the following statements are made: "For other maneuvers, either you’re not using a weapon at all, or the weapon is incidental to making the maneuver and its bonuses shouldn't make you better at attempting the maneuver. ... ... If you’re using a weapon with the trip special feature, and you’re attempting a drag or reposition combat maneuver (Advanced Player’s Guide 321–322), you may apply the weapon’s bonuses to the roll because trip weapons are also suitable for dragging and repositioning (this also means we don’t have to add “drag” and “reposition” weapon properties to existing weapons)." (bold emphasis mine)

The bolded phrase implies that these weapons (with the trip special feature) *are* suitable for trip attempts, which in turn implies that other weapons are not. Coupled with the FAQ that explicitly indicates that trip weapons can, as a benefit of possessing the trip special quality, add their associated attack bonuses to the trip attempt, and I arrive at the conclusion that only weapons with the trip special feature should add their bonuses to trip attempts.

Of course, as neither unarmed strikes nor natural attacks are identified as Trip weapons (inasmuch as it's usually impossible to drop them on a failed attempt), this reasoning would, by itself, imply that unarmed strikes and natural attacks would not be eligible to allow the contribution of associated attack bonuses, were it not for the fact that the original rules text states, "These bonuses must be applicable to the weapon or attack used to perform the maneuver." Considering the mundane methods that exist in everyday life for me to be tripped by other people (intentionally or not) and animals, I would regard these modes of attack as suitable for tripping, and thus able to allow the contribution of attack bonuses to trip attempts made via natural attacks or unarmed strikes.

In my opinion, the portion of the blog entry that identified natural attacks and unarmed strikes as "weapons for this purpose" was a serious mistake, and should be removed. Assuming that my interpretation is the intended one, I might have presented the paragraph as follows:

"Disarm, sunder, and sometimes trip are normally the only kinds of combat maneuvers in which you’re actually using a weapon to perform the maneuver, and therefore the weapon’s bonuses (enhancement bonuses, feats such as Weapon Focus, fighter weapon training, and so on) always apply to the roll for disarm and sunder attempts, and apply to rolls made in trip attempts if the weapon has the trip special quality. (The restriction on trip is due to the fact that, unlike disarming and sundering, not all weapons are suitable for use in trip attempts - those that are have the trip special quality.) Note that for these kinds of combat maneuvers, natural attacks, while not weapons per-se, should still allow the contribution of any applicable attack-related bonuses when the natural attack is the agency by which the maneuver is performed. Of course, as with all combat maneuvers, unarmed strikes also allow the contribution of any applicable attack-related bonuses, since an unarmed strike is usually the default method of executing a combat maneuver."

That text might need some polish, but I think it's what was meant. (Of course, I'm entirely open to the notion that I'm mistaken, since it means that my Dual-wielding ranger can use his +4 longsword to trip at a bonus... ^_^)

Tertiary question: Why do Earth Elementals have eyes? They are described as having gemstones that glow for eyes, but if the Earth plane is solid, what use could they possibly have for a visual sense?

Diego Rossi wrote:

Note that the terrain make a lot of difference. When I speak of grass I am thinking of my home country, where the grass cover is tick and you need to do some work to pass its root system.

If you are thinking of some Arizona like territory where the grass cover is sparse it will be very different.
20 cm (8 inches) of intertwined root system aren't something that you easily bypass. It would be like attacking through a mattress.

This implies that clever adventurers at low level in a dungeon with earthen floors could stand on their shields (for example) to get some substantial protection from the submerged elemental, which is also appropriate and thematically fitting, I think.

I like making attempts to think beyond the human constraints on senses, so the notion that an Earth Elemental (or anything else with Earth Glide) can execute attacks against creatures in direct contact with the earth without emerging is an idea that I can get behind. However, the question of how these attacks are adjudicated is a different matter. In the case of the Earth Elemental with Tremorsense, while I like the fluffy implications of allowing the Elemental to ignore the earth-surface-barrier as a source of concealment, I have to agree that Tremorsense as written merely pinpoints a creature and does not negate concealment. (I have a strong issue with the fact that the Concealment rules are heavily viso-centric while creatures that use sensory modes other than vision as their primary sensory mode exist.)

That said, I would rule that the Elemental could make called shots (at the listed penalty, ref. Ultimate Combat) at the specific body parts making earthly contact without a miss chance due to concealment, but that would be a house-rule.

As for why the Earth Elemental should be able to execute attacks (however badly directed) while submerged, consider the wording of the ability: "A burrowing earth elemental can pass through stone, dirt, or almost any other sort of earth except metal as easily as a fish swims through water." (Italics added for emphasis.)

I don't think that anyone would have an issue with an aquatic familiar swimming over to a water-walking target standing on the surface of the water and executing an attack while remaining submerged (for all practical purposes). If this is true, then surely the same should be true for creatures with Earth Glide with respect to the earth that they can glide through. The issue of the accuracy of their targeting is a separate one from the issue of the reasonability of the attempt to attack.

Wraithstrike wrote:
They are not gliding through grass though, but I see your point. That is a very literal interpretation, and if I have to use that to stop an ability it probably wasn't meant to be.

I find fault with this reasoning applied to the effects of an Extraordinary ability.

To stop a sword swung at me, I interpose another physical object between the blade and my skin, such as armor or a shield. This is a very literal interpretation that is clearly meant to be used to "stop an ability". (Stopped abilities: Power Attack, Cleave, Vital Strike, etc., all Extraordinary abilities.)

To protect myself from the sneak-attacking arrows shot by my roguish opponent, I can dart into a bank of fog or dash behind a hedge, thereby granting myself the benefit of concealment and precluding the ability of the rogue to apply precision damage (under most circumstances). This is also a very literal interpretation that is clearly meant to be used to "stop an ability".

I agree with the notion that giving watered-down magic to non-magic users is not the answer.

Merkatz wrote:
-Make Fighters master of all things battle- not just the master of hitting things with a weapon hard. How about making "Fighter Level Checks" to learn about the tactics a group of enemies may make? This wouldn't work against some wild animals, but a good Fighter should be able to make inferences about what kind of strategy and tactics a disciplined group of enemies will be making based on things like their formation and gear.

This suggestion particularly reminded me of a character named Elliot on the TV show Leverage, who is consistently identifying possible enemy combatants based on specifically identified traits: "It's a very distinctive {hairstyle/gait/sound (referencing bullets)/stance/posture/etc.}"

This would be a good feature for Fighters to be able to develop.

Evil Lincoln wrote:

The more I think about it, the more I want to just use the differential between (modified) Stealth and (modified) Perception.

If the differential is a positive number: multiply by 10 to get the distance where the perceiver normally becomes aware of the hider. The hider may approach even closer, but can no longer take 10 on his Stealth check. If hider and perceiver are both aware when combat begins, use normal initiative. If either party is unaware, use a surprise round.

If the differential is a negative number: the hider can "sneak up behind" the perceiver. This means the hider does not need concealment or cover to hide in for one round.

Request For Clarification:

Differential = {Perception modifier} - {Stealth modifier}?

(Note, from your phrasing, while this seems implied by the results indicated, the mathematician in me is stuck thinking "but the difference *between* two integers is always positive!" ( |a - b| ))

Or were you using the word "differential" in its more formal mathematical mode (in which case I'm totally lost as to your meaning and intention).

Charender wrote:
Having a 38 point swing means that being succesful at sneaking is more lucky that skill. I am definately in favor of something that removes some of the luck involved, but removing both rolls seems a little extreme.

In a number of cases, I've given modifiers (sometimes substantial modifiers) to characters who manage to observe the creatures they're trying to Stealth past or up to. Obviously, that's only situationally appropriate, and only if players are willing to be patient. Also, usually I only give large modifiers for this if the creature(s) that might spot the sneaking character are not particularly vigilant.

Stealth is frustratingly situational.

wombatkidd wrote:
Doskious Steele wrote:
stuff. Like, just now. Up there.
Sure, it's all about context. I'm talking about taking it because you can, or just because they didn't spend resources to protect it, or just because you want to teach them a lesson, or for any other petty reason like that. If there's a story coming from it, go for it, but that's a different thing.

^_^ I figured, but I wasn't sure, since on my first reading, you appeared to be making a unilateral remark condemning GMs who messed with spellbooks. ;D

I agree, "just because it's there (and I can)" is an equally insufficient reason to climb mountains, steal diamonds, eat ice cream, and mess with spellbooks, as well as a mess of other stuff.

wombatkidd wrote:
I'm the one who said that and I stand by my opinion. Going after a wizard's spellbook is a unique kind of screwing over a character. A wizard without it is useless, and has to expend large amounts of gold and time to replace it. I would not stay in a game if I felt my DM was trying to screw me.
Evil Lincoln wrote:

I already posted my thoughts as a GM.

As a player, though, I recall that one of the best games I've ever been a part of involved losing my spellbooks for an entire session.

If a GM was obviously taking it away to be petty or to attempt balance, that would be quite unwelcome. But in a simple prisoner scenario, it's completely legitimate. Every bit as much as taking away the martial PC's weapons and armor.

On the whole, I tend to agree with my favorite villainous president on this subject. Not that I'm saying that all GMs are fair and that none of them ever try to screw with their players - GMs are people too, with flaws and failings and whatnot. I think that the key here is to differentiate between "the GM screwing with me" and "the GM taking away my spellbook(s)" - as Evil Lincoln points out, they're not always the same.

To be sure, if I was planning a campaign twist that involved the actual destruction of a PC Wizard's spellbook, I'd be very careful to ensure that the impending destruction was foreshadowed more blatantly than Smaug in The Hobbit (giving the Wizard ample time to take appropriate precautions), or that there was another resource the Wizard could use to replace his book that he would be certain to encounter shortly after his spellbook was destroyed (and also probably that other significant equipment from the party's arsenal was similarly destroyed). (Naturally, I'd want to try to foreshadow or outright warn the players ahead of time of the possibility of such an event.)

Vestrial wrote:
"Tough love" is a term that denotes meting out harsh punishment to instill a lesson. I'm not running a game to teach my players to play the way I want them to, or the way I think they should. That's the adversarial method. And if it works for you, and your players enjoy it, more power to you. It's just not my style.

If I'm not mistaken, "Tough Love" can also refer to the choice to not prevent an event that the object of one's affections has prepared themselves for poorly. In that sense, since the GM is the person responsible for making the choices for how the NPCs (including those that oppose the PCs) behave, the GM can choose to prevent an action that makes sense for a particular NPC to do (steal/destroy a spellbook) or can choose not to prevent that NPC action. Provided that the action makes sense for the NPC, the GM is not punishing the player or the character for a "bad" decision, the GM is only faithfully adhering to the persona of the NPC and the mechanical description of that NPC's abilities.

In general, as a GM, I don't view myself as an adversary to the players and the PCs. On the other hand I am called upon, in my role as the "player" for all NPCs, to embody and direct the actions of NPCs who are adversaries to the PCs. If I am to undertake this direction and embodiment properly, I must consider strategies and options of a nature that is adversarial to the PCs.

Another thought occurs to me...

While the Wizard played by a person who specifically addresses how the Wizard's spellbook is protected is explicitly taking precautions (and spending the appropriate gp), there's something to be said for the notion that not everything the character does needs to be identified and can be implied by virtue of familiarity and common sense of the character.

In exactly none of my games have my players specified when or how they go to the bathroom, for example, or how they go about eating a meal, or make any special note about sheathing or securing their weapons. In my games, it's assumed that they do these things - relieve themselves, display proper table manners (for the situation - table manners in the common room of a dwarven inn are not the same as table manners at the elven court), take care of their weapons, etc - as a matter of course unless something is explicitly called out as different (the oafish fighter specifically mentions his rough table manners while dining at the elven court, the sorcerer makes a special note that he has no sheath for his dagger, etc.). Actions appropriate for the characters can be implied by their skill set and the fact that they have had training and/or experience.

If one is running a game with these kinds of conventions, it seems entirely reasonable to assume that all wizards, by and large, are just as careful with their spellbooks as rogues are with lockpicks and fighters are with weaponry. If a wizard hasn't mentioned anything exceptional, I usually do assume that he's keeping his spellbook in his backpack, protected, hard to get at, etc. just not with any special measures above what's included in the standard cost of a spellbook.

Black_Lantern wrote:
I agree for the most part but remember this is a roleplaying game. Not a party vs overlord game like dark descent.

Sure, whatever assaults on the various character weaknesses are implemented need to be made by foes whose knowledge of those weaknesses is justifiable in-character knowledge.

That said, by the very nature of some foes, they will have resources the players are 100% unaware of, or will be in a position to realize something about PC(s) that doesn't seem like it should be immediately apparent.

Essentially what I'm trying to say is that, yes, the GM should exploit character weaknesses, provided that such exploitation is in-character for the in-game vehicle the GM uses to execute the exploiting.

For example, an INT 2 panther shouldn't go for the Wizard's spell component pouch (unless specifically trained to do so on command), but an INT 10 Rogue with some background exposure to wizards and how they cast spells (i.e. common knowledge for that character, therefore a DC 10 Knowledge (Arcana) check, which can be made untrained) should be able to decide to take the Spell Component pouch (or Handle Animal to get his pet panther to do so).

Regarding Spellbooks specifically, I think that it depends on the nature of the foes that the Wizard faces - if there's a recurring villain who will take off-camera time to research the PCs, I'd be upset if an attempt to steal/destroy the spellbook was *not* made at some point. If the PCs are traipsing from one site-based dungeon crawl to the next with no interconnectivity, then it's less reasonable, unless they're faced with an opponent who is skilled with Knowledge (Arcana) and perhaps has a penchant for collecting spellbooks (random encounter with something having Wizard class levels anyone?)...

What the GM actually does to exploit specific, individual weaknesses is very situational, but I do think that consideration of the weaknesses possessed by the PCs, and how any particular opponent would know of, or find out about, those weaknesses (for exploitation purposes) is part of the GM's job at all times.

Anguish wrote:

I'm going to agree that this is a complicated situation.

The way I see it, if a player hasn't made any overt in-game effort to protect his character's spellbook, there's no reason to attack it. Unless you're the sort of DM who has bad guys constantly watching the PCs, and unless you're willing to have periodic theft of clerics' holy symbols and fighters' weapons, this is a class-specific screwjob in the works. Unless your rogue gets his thieves' tools pick-pocketed from time to time, or your sorcerer's staff of access to twice the number of good spells (ie. any) keeps getting stolen while he sleeps, or your bard's musical instruments turn up smashed every morning, your talking about a class-specific screwjob.

That said, if your players do make efforts, your job is to make those efforts worthwhile. Not necessarily by defeating them, but by challenging them.

If I have a party without Trapfinding, I have a game without traps (mostly). If I have a party without a divine caster, I won't throw a bunch of situations that need divine casting. If nobody picks up fly, I won't make many situations that demand it. On the other hand, if a player maxes out Acrobatics, I'll try to give him plenty of opportunities to tumble or balance.

Our job as DM is to enable our players' characters to do what the players want them to do. The magic is to make it not look like success is a given.

Yes, but isn't it also the job of a GM to provide challenging obstacles in the way of the accomplishment of the players' goals?

Also, I would hope that a carelessly attended weapon, holy symbol, musical instrument, spellbook, lockpicks, etc. would each see roughly equal treatment in terms of being taken/destroyed/boobytrapped/etc.

Certainly if a fighter is wielding a Silver Longsword, the Werewolf (after getting struck once or twice perhaps) might try to sunder it rather than just attacking the fighter. I'm not saying that providing adventure that avoids gaping holes in party capability is bad or wrong, but it also seems to lack verisimilitude - the Heroes conveniently possess exactly the right skills and abilities to tackle obstacles they encounter, and never have to turn back to get something to deal with an impediment they can't circumvent? Individually, each encounter seems reasonable. As a group, it starts to seem less so to me...

Aspasia de Malagant wrote:

That's interesting, but not how the feat is worded.

Empower Spell:
You can increase the power of your spells, causing them to deal more damage.
Benefit: All variable, numeric effects of an empowered spell are increased by half.
Saving throws and opposed rolls are not affected, nor are spells without random variables.
Level Increase: +2 (an empowered spell uses up a spell slot two levels higher than the spell's actual level.)

Variable numeric effects specifically implies a dice increase, not a flat +50% to what is rolled.

It depends on how you interpret "variable, numeric effects"...

The argument in favor of increasing the number of dice rolled goes as follows (and is entirely legit): The spell indicates an effect of dealing Xd6 damage, where X is a variable number, thus the number of dice is a variable, numeric effect and should be increased by half to determine damage output.

The argument in favor of increasing the damage value returned by an unmodified roll of Xd6 goes as follows (and is entirely legit): The spell indicates an effect of damage dealt valued in HP. The damage id obtained by way of a mechanic, in this case rolling Xd6. Rolling Xd6 returns a variable number, thus the damage value should be increased by half to determine damage output.

(There is a certain rationale that says that both of these arguments ought to be applicable, but this argument is commonly regarded as hax. ^_^;)

It all depends on what you consider to be the variable numeric effect of the spell. In my opinion, the second argument is better to use than the first, if only because the *reason* that the X in Xd6 can be considered "variable" is because it's based on Caster Level, which can vary. However, it doesn't always vary - a Shocking Grasp spell cast by a 1st level Magus on Tuesday will deal the same number of dice in damage as a Shocking Grasp spell cast by the same 1st level Magus on Friday, so while it's clearly a numeric effect, it's not always variable (based on caster level).

(Similarly, if a spell dealt 1d6+(1 per caster level) points of damage, would the (+1 per caster level) be increased by half, would the (1d6) be increased by half, or would the sum be increased by half (if the last solution is valid, it implies the correctness of the argument I labeled as "hax" earlier)?)

However, the result of a die roll is random and therefore always both variable and numeric. Thus, the logic for accepting the rolled damage value as the value to increase by half-again is, to me, more sound.

wombatkidd wrote:
Dennis Baker wrote:

And they sparkle.

Da rulez wrote:

Creating a Vampire


AL: Any evil.

There are no lawful good sparkly vampires in Paizo's game rules and certainly none in my campaign. I'm all for house rules but this is one you can keep.

I wasn't even thinking twilight, so thanks for assuming I'm a teenaged girl.

Actually there are. "Always evil" means mostmonsters of that type are evil. Just like it did in 3.5. There's not such thing as a monster race who are *all* evil.

the bestiary wrote:

The alignments listed for each monster in this

book represent the norm for those monsters—they can
vary as you require them to in order to serve the needs of
your campaign.
It's not houseruling. I can't blame you for confusing "things in RAW I don't like" with "houserules" though. Happens all the time.

Ok, so I'm curious - if "Always Evil" means that most monsters of that kind are evil, what does "Usually Evil" mean? Also, what about Evil Outsiders and Dragons?

As far as I'm aware, the only exceptions to evil members of monster races flagged as "always evil" are exceptions constructed under Rule Zero (aka GM Fiat, Plot Necessity, or Fooling Players 101). Granted, since Rule Zero exists, technically everything is RAW (in the frame of reference of a particular GM's game). That said, I've been given to understand that relying on Rule Zero for justification of the validity of a point in a forum discussion (which by its very nature is almost certain to include people from different gaming groups, and therefore different Rule Zero derivations) is considered somewhat bad form.

As far as the question of the use of a magical item to produce a spell effect tied to a spell with the [evil] descriptor is concerned, in my own games I feel that while each distinct instance of such an act is evil to some degree, there are other factors that could pertain that mitigate or negate the evil effects of the spell being cast. Also, I firmly believe that higher-level spells with the [evil] descriptor are ... more evil ... than lower level spells with the [evil] descriptor. In conjunction with that, I think that the degree to which a character's alignment should be effected by casting [evil] spells should very based on character level and spell level, as well as other factors. That is, a first level character would get a more significant impact from casting a lvl 1 [evil] spell than a 12th level character would, and I don't think that I would allow repeated castings of a low-level spell to substantially alter the alignment of a high-level character unless the castings were accompanied/complemented by other alignment-shifting actions.

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