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0gre wrote:

Doug Bragg 172 wrote:
But if I look at the school powers and it's levitation (eh), fireball with a crappy Save DC (eh), and Mage Hand + (eh)... I'm going to look for prestige classes.
Maybe some of this has to do with the fact that you chose the generalist school? Incidentally if you'd chosen generalist in the core rules you would have no school bonus abilities, the abilities you are panning don't exist at all. The choice in core for the generalist was not mediocre abilities versus PrC it was nothing versus PrC.

I used to play specialists in 3.5 more than generalists... looking at the pathfinder schools, the abilities that the univeralist got looked better than any of the other schools. That's why I took it. If I wasn't interested in testing those abilities, I'd have taken a prestige class at level 6 or gone specialist and taken a prestige class at level 4.

Obviously whether the powers make the wizard class worth taking up to level 20 is personal opinion. So far, my personal opinion is, the idea of taking a prestige class is still a pretty easy decision. On the one hand have a set of powers that seem lackluster on the other hand, benefits of a prestige class which often are more than a bit interesting. We'll see how the rest of the game goes, but right now, it feels like I'm not really gaining anything with the powers.

I'm sorry if I suggested in my post above that we fully and completely tested high level play, or that I took careful notes of what all the other player was doing with their characters.

On a whim, two guys I play with decided to run a group of 4 v. one baddie... just to see how that would go. And that's what I reported on.

The tarrasq was supposed to be one of several monsters attacking a city, but the DM was advised on various boards that the tarrasq was too difficult by himself to add anything to. Hindsight being what it is, that was bad advice (at least as this DM ran it).

I agree that neither of the encounters I described are the perfect litmus test for how these characters perform at higher levels... but it's what I had to report. Has anyone else run a level 20 encounter or series of encounters to test Pathfinder classes at higher levels?

Oh... the magic, my understanding is that the limits on magic items is based upon slots and cost - with no item being more than 200,000 gold. Pathfinder has rules to combine ability bonuses and other magical bonuses on a single item. So, we used that (or at least I did with the Wizard and Rogue). Pathfinder also has more slots for magic items, although I didn't find that I needed any.

The original poster asked whether the saves being based upon charisma was a good idea. I do not believe the purpose of this thread was to discuss all of the school powers, but the ones that have save DCs.

I've tried to limit my discussion to that.

As it is, I'm playing a wizard, I'm not DMing... in fact, I've never DMed a DnD game in my life. So, I'm not intimately familiar with how many hit points an ogre has or a bugbear or even what the appropriate levels those encounters are.

All I can tell you is that in the last game, we came across a room full of priests/cultists and I dropped a fireball in there (the SLA version)... and I didn't kill any of them. They charged out, and it took a few more successful hits per priest/cultist to drop them.

I figure a room like that was bound to have "redshirts" in it, as we were level 6 and it wasn't the big boss fight of the dungeon.

I think you misunderstand my criticism about keeping up with the splat books. I'm not saying that the Wizard core class needs to be more powerful than the prestige classes available... what I'm saying is that the class abilities, whatever they are, need to be pretty solid or interesting enough on their own to make someone want to stick in the class to gain those abilities.

The instant metamagic is a nice ability in that it grants options generally not available. Is that more powerful than some of the other options via prestige classes? My guess is you could go to the char op. boards on the Wizards forums and find some other, more powerful, options.

But if I look at the school powers and it's levitation (eh), fireball with a crappy Save DC (eh), and Mage Hand + (eh)... I'm going to look for prestige classes.

Yes, it's true, there are a number of Wizard powers that aren't tied to saves... but this discussion is about those that do have saves... and my personal play-test experience has only gone so far as to test out the Fireball... and I've not found it to be particularly useful. The metamagic trick at level 8 - yeah, that's fantastic! Levitation? I've yet to use that one. Shield is nice, I admit. Hand of the Apprentice I use... but I hate feeling like a fighter every time I do it. So, out of the Universalist School powers from levels 1-6, my play testing experience is that 2 are useful (but 1 not wizard-like at all), and 2 aren't.

Thus, for me, if I wasn't play testing Wizard... the question is is the Metamagic trick at level 8 worth staying in the Wizard base class that long?

0gre wrote:

First, this is a deliberate attempt to balance the Wizard by making him a little bit Multi Attibute Dependant. Yes, your Wizard bonus powers are going to suck a bit if you stat your wiz out like you did in the Core rules.

As I already said... Wizards are already multi-attribute dependant! They need Int, Dex and Con already, with at least no negative to Wis. Fighters need Str and Con, with a decent Wis. if they want a Will save... maybe a Dex. So, comparatively speaking, Wizards aren't any more 1-stat. dependent than Fighters.

Throwing a requirement for a high charisma into the mix. isn't necessary, and guarantees mediocre to lousy save DCs across the board, or just the SLA save DCs being lousy.

0gre wrote:

The big problem with your argument is that you overlook the fact that while the DC is CHA based it is = 10+ 1/2CL + CHA bonus.

Where did that come from?

Alpha 3, p. 81 wrote:
The DC for any save is equal to 10 + the spell’s level + the caster’s Charisma modifier.

Per Alpha 3, it's the same as the DC for a normal spell, just subbing charisma for intelligence.

0gre wrote:

Even so, you use the right tool for the job. You use the SLA for blasting the bad guys redshirts and the spell if you are trying to do some serious damage. Sometimes even doing half damage is enough.

As I found in my play test, using the SLA Fireball to blast the redshirts accomplished exactly nothing. Didn't kill any of them, and did enough damage to maybe upset them. I'd have been better off firing magic missile at one of them.

I just don't see this as a means of making these tools the better tool for a wizard than special abilities granted by prestige classes.

Selgard wrote:

Given the great issue involved here (a core, low level item that every wizard will deal with) I'm surprised the Dev's haven't piped in on their thoughts.

Or have they, and I just missed it?


Jason's answered 2 questions on the boards about the bonded item that I'm aware of. First, the choice of Rings as bonded items was based upon LotR (surprising tidbit, I know); and that 1/2 cost to make is 1/4 the market price. The only other clarification was in the rules... Alpha 3 clarified that the items are Masterwork (but not how they get that way).

The rest of the questions... well, we've been talking about them since Alpha 1, and seem to be going in circles.

As for the lack of developer response... I agree, it's both surprising and frustrating.

lastknightleft wrote:

Okay and now for my counter argument, in 3.5 I am playing an enchanter level 2, my party got knocked out and are sitting in a jail cell in our rags. With 3.5 I am now useless (I used my spells in the big fight that got us captured and I have no spellbook to reprepare. In Pathfinder even though it's suboptimal to my normal spellcasting and would therefor not be as useful in the fight, now that I'm in a cell with no spellbook I sure am wishing I had those pathfinder SLAs to come to my rescue.

Not sure how this is a counter argument.

My argument: Having spell like abilities tied to charisma is next to useless, and will not serve to discourage me from leaving the Wizard class at the first prime opportunity (such as getting into the Master Specialist Prestige Class, or pick a wizard prestige class).

Your argument: Charisma based spell like abilities are better than nothing.

O.k. Yeah, it's better than nothing. Although, in your example, I would find the cantrips (such as mage hand) infinitely more useful than a charm person that won't work. In which case, it's not the SLA that are the life savers, it's the cantrips. I'm not complaining about the cantrips - I love how they are now at-will. This makes tons of sense to me and is a welcome change.

But, I go back to the point of the Spell-like abilities... give the wizard class something to discourage multi-classing or going into a prestige class. Do they succeed in that design goal? Not for me, for a couple reasons. First, I don't like the loss of choice. In 3.5, I had an extra spell per level per day of my choice as a specialist. Now, specialists have no more spells than anyone else (strike one - the benefits for specializing are now specialist powers that are generally not nearly as nice as 9 extra spells per day). As a universalist, I have levitation as a spell like ability, even though my character doesn't have this spell in his spell book and has never cast it. This makes no logical sense. The school powers should either benefit the wizard in some other fashion (x/day knowledge arcana check to increase DCs of saves, change energy type, bonus on caster level checks, something) or allow the wizard to pick the spell (maybe a choice of several options?)

The second problem is that the saves are charisma based... which, as I've said, makes for some really less-than great results. If I have to choose between staying in a class for a 1/day Fireball that will do half damage versus entering a prestige class that will allow me to pick any spell in the player's guide and cast it as though I prepared it for the day... I'm going for the second option.

The rules as written say you bond to an object... not 1/2 of an object. A staff is 1 object. I agree that each end is enhanced separately. But, as the Staff of Power shows us, a staff can be enhanced as a weapon and as a magical staff... it's still 1 object, with different enhancements on it. What basis is there to draw a line between one enhancement and another? And when I say what basis, I'm asking for citation to the rules showing me what I've missed.

As for the fighter... he can fight with a mundane weapon at level 1. A Wizard, particularly at level 1, needs the bonded item. Which a masterwork anything is going to add 150 to 300 gold to... which is going to be out of the price range of a level 1 wizard (particularly after you get the spell component pouch and the spellbook).

Perhaps the rules should have said, "the object is considered masterwork for purposes of enhancements." - so the wizard can purchase it at the same cost as a fighter can buy his level 1 sword or whatever... and then never really get the masterwork bonus.

Takes care of the cost issue.

The problem with the suggestion that a wizard can just trade out his bonded object is that we don't know what "replace" means here. Does it mean replace the lost item with a new item of the Wizard's choice? Does it mean replace the lost item with an exact duplicate of what was lost? Does it mean replace the lost item with an exact duplicate of what was lost, but without enhancements?

If the Wizard's replacement ritual doesn't allow them to change from one item to different object... then a wizard could never bond with a masterwork staff or other object. Clarification on the replacement ritual is thus somewhat important in this discussion.

My group ran two level 20 encounters... 4 v. a Colossal Red and 4 v. a Tarask (sp?). Both at Alpha 2 stage.

The Barbarian rage points seemed too few for the one encounter with the Red Dragon while also serving to be way too many points to easily keep track of. (The Barbarian player had a calculator to keep track of them, and even then needed others to remember a few numbers for the calculations). That being said, the Barbarians rage abilities seemed quite useful. Although, the Barbarian was the first (and only character) to go down.

The Wizard's bonded item worked great for my wizard... casting Mage's Disjunction twice (having prepared it only once) worked fairly well to take down the Dragon's buffs (it would have worked better had the DM not ruled Mage's disjunction to be no more powerful than a normal dispel magic).

The Cleric... don't remember what the cleric did.

I also played the Rogue... and the new version of mobility was a lifesaver. Also, using the Rogue's ability to deny a dragon attacks of opportunity helped the Barbarian charge in a couple times. The DM had the Dragon shape-shifting a lot which cured the bleed damage and ability damage from sneak attacks.

As it was, the Dragon was defeated by a spell reflection effect on the Cleric's shield... the Dragon failed its save and was reduced to an Int, Wis and Cha. of 1. At that point, the DM threw in the towel.

The Tarrask encounter I ran the cleric and wizard, another player did a fighter type and rogue. I've never run a cleric before, so this cleric didn't do anything other than wait for people to need heals. As it turned out, that wasn't necessary.

The Fighter and Rogue did a fairly good job of running up and beating on the Tarrask, but they didn't appear to effect it much. The Rogue's bleed was nullified by the Tarrask's fast healing.

I had prepared Horid Wilting once that day... and since it was one of the few magic effects that Tarrasks aren't immune to, I cast it.. using the Universalist's free metamagic points, I maximized/empowered it. Did the same thing next round with the bonded weapon... and again with my Pearl of Power 8. 3 castings of a spell I prepared once. Not bad.

Then I stumbled across a better idea... I put myself right next to it (flying w/ mobility for no attacks of opportunity), and cast prysmatic sphere. It attacked me (er, the sphere), and became insane... next round I stepped out from behind the sphere, cast an another random spell that may have done a d6 damage, and then I used the rod of quicken spell to cast time stop to move back into the sphere (we were doing core only, so no mobile combat casting feat). The Tarrask attacked me, as Insane creatures must, and failed the save to avoid being sent to another plane.

No deaths in the fight, and the wizard/cleric team came out mostly unscathed. The Rogue and fighter type got hit a couple times, but not badly.

For equipment, the Wizard made most of his own stuff... which was nice to have a bit extra to put into the bonded item (staff of power, plus defending).

SirUrza wrote:
Not to mention you can just give your staff to the fighter to break over his knee when you come across a better item.. which you will likely come across before 8th level.

Hmm... so what's better than a staff with +4 enhancements on both ends? (+2 Defending & Spellstoring / +2 Spellstriking & Spellstoring) staff for 1/4 market price? At level 8?

LazarX wrote:

Answering a whole bunch of your questions by your first one. No. the masterwork item has to be paid for as normal. BTW familliars weren't free either, a lot of beginning first level wizard/sorcerers put off that 100 gold expenditure until later.

Just curious, but do you have a source for this? Because, the Alpha Rules state:

Alpha 3, p. 49 wrote:
Arcane Bond (Su): At 1st level, wizards forge a powerful bond with an object or creature.... These objects are always masterwork.

Masterwork for weapons adds 300g to the cost.

A Wizard's starting gold is what... 150g? At most (couldn't find this in the SRD). So, even though at level 1 you forge this bond with a masterwork item per the class ability, there is no way you can actually afford it.

Then we have the SRD's explanation of familiars, which does include a 100 gold piece summoning ceremony. This ceremony isn't in the Pathfinder rules on familiars (and most noteworthy is there is no reference to a 100gp cost for a familiar).

My interpretation of the deletion of the 100gp cost for familiars is that the bonded object/familiar is now a free class feature at level 1.

LazarX wrote:

The price to replace the bonded object gives you back the bonded item plus the arcane bond enchants purchased for it. It does not return any other enchantments that were not part of the arcane bond. So if you have a Staff of Power which you are arcane bound and added additional qualities to it with arcane bond. and mr. Joe Fighter in a bit of pique tosses it into the River of All Consuming Flame. the replacement ritual returns you a lookalike masterwork quarterstaff with your arcane bond and the powers added through arcane bond. Period.

Now that's an unanswered question. Does the bit about "replacing" the bonded object mean you get back exactly what you lost/destroyed? (In which case the idea of bonding to a staff, then having the fighter break it over his knee so you could bond to something better wouldn't work)... does this allow you to bond with a new object? Does this recreate the same object without enhancements? So far, there really isn't any guidance on what you get back after spending 200 gold / wizard level.

Celric wrote:

My first Bonded item was a staff (@ 2nd level) that I made into a +1/+1 staff for 1000gp, sucking all my gold at that level. I got cocky because I had a magic weapon and the fighter didn't (yeah, I played him to have a complex), waded into battle, and then had it sundered after "casting" a spell out of it.

Technically, I don't think you could have done that with your staff until level 3 (you need to have a Caster Level 3x the enhancement bonus). Thus, a limit other than cash.

Celric wrote:

I found that playing a wizard costs money. Money for spells, money to write those spells into your book, money to create magic items, money for spell componants. If I balance all this out against the fact that I can only cast one extra spell that I know once per day of adventuring... Yeah, I find it balances nicely.


pennton wrote:

We're about to incorporate the Alpha 3 Pathfinder rules into my current campaign as most of the players needed to make new characters anyway. The new players will be starting at 10th level.


The same question pertains to a wizard's Arcane Bond. Should a new 10th level wizard be able to enchant his Arcane Bond at 50% the normal cost before entering the game?

Since the Arcane bonded item can't be bought... the player would only ever pay 1/2 the cost to make. I don't see a basis for charging full price for this.

As for the rest of the gear... I could see it going either way. I guess it depends upon how close the other players are on character wealth. If they are at or above the recommended character wealth, then I'd let the caster craft (or craft 1/2 of the stuff)... if the rest of the party is below that level, then the gear other than bonded item cost full price.

SirUrza wrote:

Or don't use the Wizard's CHA as a dump stat. :P

Yes it's intentional and CHA being used for abilities makes sense.

How high would the Wizard's charisma need to be to have a decent save DC for spell like abilities? At level 6, when you get fireball as a universalist... my Int. was 19 (so +4). In this game, I hadn't yet been able to get any Int. boosting gear, but assuming we were keeping up with expected character wealth, I should probably have had a +2 to my int. from a headband. So let's say 21 (+5).

Fireball normally is a 10+4 or 5 (int) +3 (spell level) = DC 17 or 18. And I've had monsters/NPCs easily make this save in the game.

Charisma at 8 = -1 for a DC of 12. (as my DM said, hope they role a 1).

Charisma at 10 = DC 13
Charisma at 11 = DC 13
Charisma at 12 = DC 14 (monsters quacking in their boots yet? No, didn't think so).

Charisma 14 = DC 15 (ooh... scary.)
Charisma 16 = DC 16 - this, to me, would be the bare minimum for having an effective save DC... and even then, it's 1 to 2 points lower than a normal spell (which npcs/monsters are already making their saves against).

So, in a 28 point buy (which is what my group normally does), you need 10 points in Charisma (sorry, I'm not up on the pathfinder point buy system... but my recollection is that it works out to about the same). 10 points on Int. and you have 8 points left for Dex and con. 12 Con, 12 Dex.

That leaves you with the following stats:
str 8, Dex 12, Con 12, Int. 16, Wis 8, Cha 16.

Congrats, you have a low AC and to hit, a hit to your will saves, and a mediocre Int score for a Wizard (meaning you can forget the save or x spells... and you'll take a hit to spells per day, and to skills)... but darn it, when you get o 6th level, you're spell like fireball will only be moderately difficult to save against.

If you're charisma isn't 16 or higher, it may as well be an 8, imho., for purposes of the save DCs.

As I said before... having spell like abilities tied to Charisma makes them useless. If it's a useless bonus ability, then it fails the purpose of encouraging people to remain in the class.

Raymond Gellner wrote:

I like the arcane bond, but I agree with this assessment. The DC on the check should be changed to 15 + the spell's level.
Concerning the half normal cost to add enchantments to the bonded item, I would keep this but have a maximum limit per level of the caster that can be added.

Since the Bonded Object blurb in the Alpha rules only gives a Wizard a pass on the feats and on 1/2 the cost, I would interpret that as keeping the caster level limits from crafting in place.

Thus, an enhanced weapon has to be 1/3 the Caster level. A bonded object that is a wondrous item usually has minimum caster levels for creation. In addition, these things usually have spells associated with the crafting that further limits the ability of wizards to enhance their item. If they don't have a particular spell, they'll need to acquire it first. Then craft.

And since the bonded Object doesn't advance automatically like a familiar does, the Wizard has to improve the bonded object in his down time. In a recent game, we advanced from level 5 to level 7 without much in the way of downtime. My wizard was able to get 1 day's worth of crafting done in all that time. Which means the bonded item wasn't all it could have been in those last fights at level 7.

If a DM wants to limit the bonded item, it's easy enough to minimize the downtime for the Wizard. I wouldn't suggest using that tactic all the time, but going a couple levels before downtime wouldn't be unreasonable.

Power Word Unzip wrote:

Plus there's keeping all the various rules straight - "What does Skirmisher do?" "Skirmisher? Wait, is that a feat or a talent?" "Oh, it's a Scoundrel class talent, let me find the page..."

*cue the dying of all game momentum*

So, uh, your criticism of Saga is that it has different abilities that the players weren't smart enough to keep track of on their character sheets?

I've got the same problem with pretty much every RPG I've ever played. For the first 10 games I ever played of DnD, the Cleric would cast bless and at least one person at the table (often the cleric) would ask "What's bless do?"

Honestly, there are spells I have on my wizard character sheet I still find myself looking up... and that means remembering what book it's from. Pain in the rear.

And Pathfinder certainly hasn't changed that... now we're looking spells up twice, once in the SRD, once in Pathfinder for changes (just to be sure it didn't get changed).

The fact that an RPG has mechanics players are unfamiliar with is always going to be the case until the players are familiar with what their characters can do.

For what it's worth, I converted my Star Wars game to Saga a year ago, and in the beginning my players were confused by some of the changes, and many criticized the system as being "written by monkeys". But we're still playing the system... and as we've gone on, they've gotten more familiar with the mechanics and it has moved much faster.

As it is, the mechanics in Pathfinder aren't especially difficult for experienced players, because it is so similar to 3.5. But, we're still looking things up.

lastknightleft wrote:
Brett Blackwell wrote:

Personally, I find it rediculous that the wizard's natural spellcasting abilities pale in comparison to his normal spells. This will be one of the first things I talk my DM into changing when we start using the Pathfinder rules.

So I learn to warp reality with my mind, and I do it so much so that after a while I begin to be able to do it without all the equipment, I can litterally pull things from nothing with no focus because I've gotten so good at it and I should be as good or better at it?

It's like arguing that after tons of choping wood, I should be able to do it barehanded and be just as good as if I have the axe in my hands.

If it's not near as effective as what you can cast off your spell list, then why bother having it as a class ability? Yeah, I cast fireball using my school power... why? Because Jason wanted play testing, so I tested. Was it useless. Yes, pretty much. Result: I won't be relying upon Fireball to do anything in the future, and will consider it a last option.

If the idea behind school powers is to encourage players to not multiclass... then the school powers need to be useful. As it is, basing saves on a wizard's charisma is useless. This won't stop me from multiclassing.

As is, the only reason I'd prefer a Pathfinder Wizard over a 3.5 Wizard is the bonded item as it currently is. Otherwise, a 3.5 Specialist is by far a better choice.

I've play tested the Wizard at 1st through 6th level, and 10th-11th level and 20th level (twice).

To begin, I usually play specialists in 3.5 (because of the extra spell per spell level per day). When I saw what they were doing with the Wizard in pathfinder, I was most excited about the bonded object.

Squirrelloid wrote:

I discovered this while playtesting a Wizard at various levels (1,4,7,10) in 3.P.0.2 rules, which don't seem to have changed notably for wizards in 3.P.0.3.

The problems:
(1) The wizard was already really good, it didn't need the help

True, the Wizard was already good... and his power level got reduced and increased. Overall did the Wizard's power level go up or down? The loss of 1 spell per day per spell level is a significant loss. The new school powers don't even come close to replicating that (first, there's no choice in the school powers, second they are based upon charisma, so the saves aren't going to be near as good).

The Bonded Object gives the wizard 1 spell/day of the Wizard's choice. That's great! But it's only once a day. If you rely upon this to get you out of a jam, you'll find yourself needing it more times than you can use it.

We did 2 level 20 encounters in my group. First was against a Red Dragon. I used the staff to repeat Mage's disjunction (which my DM took as being the same as casting Dispel Magic (not greater dispel magic, but dispel magic)) to debuff the dragon. Ultimately, it was defeated by casting a spell at the cleric who was holding a shield enchanted to reflect spells... the Dragon took his own spell, and that was it. The bonded item really didn't do much. Even if disjunction had worked as it should, all I would have accomplished was removing more of the dragon's buffs. He was still a fight.

The second fight was against a Terask. I forget what spell I used, but I found a spell that could damage the Terask, and I used the staff to pull that off one extra time. Then I used a pearl of power to do the same trick a third time. Of course, it wasn't the staff that stopped the terask. I used a Prysmatic Sphere and Timestop to give myself mobile casting to cause the Terask to attack me inside the sphere... and thus sent it to another plane.

In the level 10-11 use... the staff has been helpful in casting lower level utility spells I didn't prepare... as well as giving me a second shot with a higher level damage dealing spell (lightning leap). But this was a specialist wizard who lost 1 extra spell per day per level... so the gain of 1 spell per day isn't a gain at all.

The 1st through 6th level wizard is also using a bonded staff... and with gold hard to come by at those levels, without the 1/4 cost, I doubt I could afford to have enchanted my staff much at all. There have been days in that campaign where the staff hasn't been used. Others where I used the staff in one encounter, and had my friends asking me to cast this spell or that in the next encounter when I just couldn't... even with the staff, I couldn't prepare every spell.

Squirrelloid wrote:

(2) The versatility of grabbing any one spell you have in your spell book is crazy good. Its like always having the right spell for any situation. This vastly increases a wizard's power at low levels by making them less reliant on careful planning, and lets them basically have a free floating spell slot at higher levels which, while less important to their overall power, means they can focus their spell selection more than otherwise.

But, see above re: my experiences. This only works once a day... and if you blow the unprepared spell too early and were relying upon that flexibility when you prepared your spells or made your scrolls, you could be in serious trouble later on in the day. Careful planning is still needed... in fact, you need to be more careful, since you've lost a spell per level per day if you're a specialist (and at low levels that hurts).

Squirrelloid wrote:

(3) The ability to craft at *half normal crafting cost* (1/4 market price) is obscene.

First, there are restrictions, only the wizard can use the item, and I don't believe it can be sold. There are also restrictions based upon caster level. I personally do think there should be limits on what you can put on a particular item. I don't think a bonded staff can also be a staff of Int. +6. But, even if it could, the caster level restrictions should help to balance out the power level.

Maybe it's from playing pathfinder, but it seems like the first 6 levels of a campaign (from two different pathfinder games) include very little loot (in one game, the DM just gave us a pile of gold because we were so far behind the expected character wealth). So having the ability to enchant cheaply does a couple things. First, it cuts down on the time spent enchanting so the bonded item can be improved more quickly. Second, it balances out against those games where the gold just isn't there.

There are still some questions here... can an item be re-enchanted (can you turn a staff of fire into a staff of power?), what happens if you lose it (does your bonded staff of fire return, or do you just bond with a new item and start over from scratch?).

Wizards aren't single attribute characters to start. They need Int., that much is obvious. But they also need Dex and Con. No Dex, the Wizard won't last long in a fight (and yes, I know the wizard shouldn't be front and center, but I have had wizards get hit from time to time). Furthermore, no Dex, no ranged touch attacks. No con, and you won't last long in a fight (used to be you needed the con for casting defensively).

Then we have the saves... Wizards have rotten Fort and Ref saves... so Dex and Con again. Still, a decent Wisdom doesn't hurt either.

Then there's the CMB... Strength only so as to give Wizards a better chance (don't ask me, that's what Jason said). So, yeah, now a Wizard needs to think about his strength score a little bit.

So, a wizard needs a high Int, a decent Dex and Con, and is better off putting something into Wisdom and Strength.

And now we have spell like abilities for Charisma.

How high does the charisma have to be? Well, in my experience, monsters and npcs make their saves about 50-70% of the time (the bigger the threat, the more likely they make their save, the lower the threat - and thus less reason to actually waste a spell on them - the better the chance they'll fail the save). That's with an Int. starting at 18.

So a Charisma score of less than 18 isn't going to be worth it. But a charisma score of 18 will mean sacrificing the wizard's ability to survive or hit (less points, if any, for con, dex, and wisdom).

If the problem is Wizards having an 8 in everything and an Int in the 20s... there's an easy fix. Force the to make Fortitude saves... have them be ambushed (for failing that spot check) by a couple rogues and with the low hitpoints and AC, watch them die horrible deaths.

The Far Wanderer wrote:
Selgard wrote:

Two: Bind a Ring. Wear it on your pinky. It isn't a "magic item" until and unless you "enchant it" Until then, it's just a ring.

Is this true - a bonded item doesn't count as a magic item for the purposes of item slots?

Per Alpha 3, a wizard's bonded item is considered masterwork. Not magic until/unless you enchant it. So yes, I'd say that is true.

Although, it'd be cheaper to enchant it than to buy another ring (although then someone might steal it).

Squirrelloid wrote:

In addition to listening at the door...

Clairaudience/clairvoyance - S/W 3
Detect Thoughts - S/W 2
Augury - C 2

In order of usefulness from best to worst.

Only detect thoughts allows a save of those three on the Cleric's part, and the save doesn't prevent you from detecting there are thoughts there, just from reading those thoughts.

But none of those spells tell you what's behind door #3! They show you that someone is behind door #3... and you might be able to guess at class levels... but is a cleric in full plate going to look different than a fighter in full plate or a paladin in full plate? Detect thoughts only gives you number of beings, not location, and a chance to stun the caster. Using any of those methods, we would have known that someone was behind the door... we would still have opened the door, the cleric would still have charged up and surprised us with a Slay Living spell.

Edit: Just noticed Clairaudience is a 10 minute casting time... there's no way you're going to use that before every door you come across. Forget any buff spells of minute based durations. And what happens if what ever is on the other side of the door hears you outside casting the spell!?!

Bonded staff is hardly useless. It can be enchanted as a weapon starting at level 3... then at level 8 you can start enchanging it as a staff. I don't know if you can swap charged spells out of it over time. I don't know if it's lost if you only end up replacing the exact item lost, or if you can bond to a new item and start over.

But, we do know that it starts masterwork now. So, that's something.

SirUrza wrote:

I don't like the negative to a score either. A lot of people didn't.

I would get rid of the negative score and make it so wish can only be used once per level to increase an ability score, that includes other characters.

So a Wizard can either do it to himself or to someone else and then he can't do it again until next level. That seems a better compromise to me.

But in order to bump up a stat more than +1, you need to cast wish in rapid succession. Your method means no more than +1 to any stat... and a wizard will only be able to bump up 4 stats in his pre-epic career.

At least with the Pathfinder version you can cast it 5 times to bump up a particular stat (say Int.), even at the cost of 5 points (say 3 to strength and 2 to charisma)... and are closer to where you would have been in 3.5.

For what it's worth, I vote for going back to 3.5's version of wish.

Tessarael wrote:
I strongly agree. Spells automatically working where skill do not sucks. Find Traps, Comprehend Languages, Knock, Levitate and Fly replacing the Climb skill, etc. These spells should give some basic level of ability (more at higher levels), which does not increase too much with caster level - a high level Wizard should not be able to auto-replace a Rogue's Open Locks - not unless the Wizard had chosen to put some points in the appropriate skill. In that respect, I'd like to see Knock give some bonus to skill, and be something where the Wizard can help the Rogue by giving them a bonus, rather than just replacing them.

So... the party goes into the dungeon and comes across a locked door. The DC is just high enough that the Rogue needs to roll a 16 to pick the lock. He rolls a 15. The DC is now 21 above the Rogue's ability to pick the lock. If Knock is no longer auto-success, the party may as well call it a day.

If Knock is only an "aid another"... and gives the Rogue a +2... well, great, still not going to help for those times when the Rogue doesn't roll particularly well.

Then there's the problem of dimension door or teleport. Should those spells go away since they can get you past a locked door?

I think the reason these spells exist is because you're not going to have every skill needed maxed by every party... so this allows for a sub-optimal Rogue Build to not 'cause the party to call it a day early. What's wrong with a little flexibility in party building? I've never run into a problem as a Rogue or Wizard using utility spells to get out of a jam and having the Rogue feel undermined.

Actually, as a Wizard I've been criticized by Rogue players for not having Knock ready when they fail to pick a lock!

Arnim Thayer wrote:
Is it a mistake that CHA is the main attribute for School Powers? Doesn't this force a multiple attribute dependency on a Wizard? Just a thought.

Yes, it's a mistake.

As a level 6 Wizard, I used my spell like ability to cast fireball last night. My DM asked the DC, and I said "12". Yes, that's right, 12. 'Cause I'm a Wizard, and if the Int. isn't outrageous the save DCs for my normal spells won't be worth attempting... and the bonus spells are tied to Int... and if I want skill points, I need Int., so bumping my charisma to even a 10 wasn't worth the points.

My DM laughed.

And I did 1/2 damage to a group of NPCs... and yeah, it was only slightly better than not doing anything that round.

And no, I'm not going to waste the resources to bump up my charisma for a better spell-like fireball. It's just not worth it. Honestly, if I wasn't interested in play testing Wizard, I doubt I'd stick it out in the base class past 8th level (the free metamagic seems the only school power that really pays to get - although wish isn't bad either).

Squirrelloid wrote:
Skjaldbakka wrote:
...especially since the save-or-lose spells aren't being changed, and are just as bad.
And there's the real problem. Otto's Irresistible Dance might as well be a save or die... correction, a die spell (no save allowed). There isn't any real difference between being dead, and being incapable of actually participating in combat while things can still do stuff to you to make you dead.

As a player, it's fun to cast them on BBEG from time to time... but, I agree, not a particularly fun spell for an interesting encounter. (at least not after that initial chuckle)

Squirrelloid wrote:
Doug Bragg 172 wrote:
Y'know, sometimes, you don't know what's behind door #3. This seems to happen a lot to my gaming group... we'll have a rough idea of what we're getting into, but the specifics of what level or what classes the bad guys have aren't known until we get into the fight. At that point it's a little late to say "Yeah, I could have countered it."
Somebody hand your group a divination spell or four. Seriously, not knowing what's behind door #3 is a failure on the players' part.

There aren't any 3rd level divination spells that allow you to see through a door (that I'm aware of anyway). And, as far as I can tell, Scrying would be the best hope... but that requires knowing the creature behind the door. So, if you don't know who is behind door #3, you won't find out with scrying.

Arcane eye is fine... but requires a hole for the eye to pass through. And, it's limited on the information it provides.

honestly, I just don't see much use in divination prior to level 7 in this case. And, as my group was level 6, we had no way of knowing what was behind door #3. Unless someone can point to me a specific spell that would have worked in this instance (against a cleric with a high will save, btw).

As a wizard... I know the knock spell... but at best, I'll have a scroll of it, just in case. I don't waste the second level spell slot on it, since there's a Rogue in the party that should be able to open the door.

Knock works great for those situations where the Rogue tried and failed (it happens), and where the Rogue has ventured off, leaving the rest of the party alone (had that happen once... the Rogue climbed up and over a wall, leaving himself in a room with a bunch of ogres, and the party outside a locked door... the rogue couldn't get to the door without getting killed). Or, if the Rogue is unconscious/dead, and you need to get past a door.

So, I like knock as is. I just think the Wizard in your case was a bit wasteful with his spells.

Twowlves wrote:
For just about every Save or Die (or Save or Suck) effect, there was a countermeasure built into the game. Know your enemy and be prepared, or get ready to have your big rock covered with an even bigger sheet of paper. To me, if you get to the point of even having to roll that save, you've failed.

Wow. Guess my group failed last night. We went into the lair of a "physician" who we expected to be a wizard/necromancer type but turned out to be a bard... and then we found a wizard/necromancer type... and then we opened a door into this room we couldn't scout out before hand. Had no way of knowing what was behind door #3... and lo' an' behold, there was a cleric who rushed our fighter with a Slay Living spell.

Y'know, sometimes, you don't know what's behind door #3. This seems to happen a lot to my gaming group... we'll have a rough idea of what we're getting into, but the specifics of what level or what classes the bad guys have aren't known until we get into the fight. At that point it's a little late to say "Yeah, I could have countered it."

As it was, I convinced the GM to download Alpha 3 so he could use the revised Slay Living spell... and so saved our Fighter from an instant death.

During the time we were waiting for the download and confirmation of what the new slay living does, we talked about our own experiences with save or die/suck spells. One of the guys recalled a game session where he drove 30 minutes to get to the location, then in the first round of combat was trapped in a Force Cage (no save, no ability to do anything) and spent the next 6 hours on the couch twiddling his thumbs while the rest of the group gamed. (I noticed that Force Cage now has a saving throw).

Brett Blackwell wrote:

Hmm, well see here is a difference in gameing styles. I guess I'm in the minority, but my desires for the game should be just as valid as yours. I like the gritty games where there is a very good chance your life could depend on a single (or couple) dice rolls.

I didn't mean to say that your gaming style was invalid.

However, I think you can have tension/suspense/danger in a game w/o save or die. I had a Wizard killed in the prime of his life by a giant who got a little too close with a club. 1 or 2 rolls and the wizard was dead.

Yeah, it was a little suspenseful as I waited to see if he hit or worse, what the damage was. But, I had more control in that case. I could have chosen to play more cautiously... thus my death was my fault. Where a lot of spells have ranges of hundreds of feet... there's no player choice.

But on the bright side, Jason did answer some of the questions about the bonded item.

And, seriously, bond to a ring or something you're not likely to lose unless dead and don't worry about it. Problem solved. Then enjoy the benefit of 1 spontaneous spell / day from your spellbook (still an open question of whether you can cast a spell higher level this way than what you could prepare though).

Just to add my own two bits here...

Having been on the receiving side of a save or die... my first thought was wow, that's lame. My second thought was what's on t.v.

I've seen other players get hit with save or suck or save or die effects and go off to play video games for the rest of the gaming session.

At that point, you're not having fun playing the game, because you're not playing the game.

As a player, sure it's fun to prepare spells that can really make an encounter much easier... but I can't forget a game we played where it was a 1 night deal to go after a Gargantuan Black Dragon... and my wizard on his Phantasmal mount flew up to the Dragon (having the "hide from dragon" spell active) and cast Irresistable dance... and the GM looked at me and begged me not to do it, since I would pretty much ruin the entire night's game session with 1 spell (how much of a challenge is it killing a dancing dragon? none).

Although it seems like most of the time the monsters saves are too high to really be effected by the Save or Die stuff (or maybe my GMs just don't like their monsters going down that way)... in which case, they are only really a tool for the monsters to use against the PCs.

Personally, I think it was a lousy idea to ever put them in the game, and I applaud Paizo/ Jason's efforts to remove/minimize their use.

The gnome's spell like abilities mean Charisma is important to them. My first D&D game included a player as a gnome bard... he was charismatic and silly and a bit of a trickster and it worked just fine as a gnome. I don't see halflings/hobbits in that way (most of the hobbits in LotR seemed a bit on the serious side).

But, gnome alchemists and inventors are also out there... which suggests Int.

So there's the problem with coming up with racial stats for any race... members of any given race will be all over the place with their ability scores. Some gnomes are smarter, some are more charismatic.

Where does that put the race generally? No idea. Up to me, I think I'd scratch the ability modifiers for everyone.

However, it's a game, with ability modifiers used to distinguish races... so what works best for the gnome? The charisma obviously ties in nicely with the racial spell like abilities. It also works well with going bard (something that feels appropriate from my own gaming experience). Nothing is stopping a gnome from bumping up his int. He's just not naturally going to be smarter than your average human.

What about halflings? Charisma doesn't play to any particular halfling strength I'm aware of. Halflings are small, often rogues, wanderers, and clever (skillful) types. That suggests an Int. bonus to me. Wisdom also works. But charisma? That's basically asking halflings to become gnomes w/o the spell like abilities.

I know, everyone has their own view on this... and the designers can't please everyone. So the question is, from the perspective of game design, what makes the most sense for distinguishing races from one another. What mechanically makes a halfling not an elf and not a gnome? Is there enough of a distinction to justify having both races in the book? If there isn't, then either the crunch behind the races needs to be changed or a race needs to be dropped. Dropping a race is out, so that leaves distinguishing them.

vagrant-poet wrote:

I would much prefer if halfling's got their +2 intelligence back, and got the favored classes rogue and wizard.


Anyone happen to agree with me? :)

I agree with you. There's another thread in this forum on this very issue.

Basically, halflings getting a bonus to charisma makes them too similar to gnomes. And gnomes are the ones you think of when you think of bards, not halflings (well, at least not me). The halfling characters I see played in my group have been either wizards or rogues... and once, we had a wizard/rogue/arcane trickster. I've seen gnome bards... but never a halfling bard. But, that's just in my group.

Edit: Uh... what happened to the post I was responding to? someone had written up a brief critique of the halfling in Alpha 3, complaining that the Charisma bonus and bard class preference were essentially duplicating the gnome.

--- my comments ---

Personally, I really liked the halflings in alpha 2. Halflings are your typical rogues, so Int was a logical choice (regardless of whether it was redundant). I can certainly see Wisdom being a good choice for the common sense/practical nature of them.

Charisma and Bard feel wrong to me... that's a gnome, and really that's what distinguishes a gnome from a halfling.

As for favored class... I liked the wizard. Primarily because I play halfling wizards a lot, I admit. But the race and class do work very well together. Halflings don't strike me as crusaders or entertainers generally, so I'd vote no to paladin and bard. I don't typically play a druid, so I really don't have much of a thought on that either way... although it does seem closer to the wild nature of halflings than a cleric. A ranger might also make sense for the same reason.

Navior wrote:
I reach the conclusion based on previous precedent and personal bias, which makes it an unreliable conclusion, I agree. But my point is that no conclusion is truly reliable. You might be right. I might be right. Without clearer wording, we can't really reach a definite conclusion.

(emphasis added).

I think the basis of the disagreement here is entirely based upon those two things, not the language used. You want the conclusion to be no BAB to damage, therefore you read it that way and stretch to avoid the obvious meaning of the words used.

Navior wrote:

The general rule for prepositional modifiers is that they modify only what they are directly beside; however, as with anything in English, there are exceptions. The word plus is the vague part. If it were an and, your interpretation would be right.

Hold on here... plus is not a vague word. It's just not used as a conjunction in grammar. As we are dealing with a numbers based rpg, math terms are used frequently. In math, "plus" has a specific meaning. And since we are talking about adding two numbers together, "plus" is likely a more technically correct word to use than "and".

Navior wrote:

As it is, it is probably not intended to mean that you add BAB to damage. But it might mean that. Clearer...

So how do you reach the conclusion that it was not intended that you add the BAB to damage? Unless Jason has commented on this, all we can do is work with what was written (and compare it to other similar spells). If you look at the Persistent Blade spell in the Spell Compendium, it lists the attack bonus and then discusses damage separately. Seems to me that if the intent was to separate these two, it could have been done fairly easily. Instead, it was written to add BAB and Int. Mod to both attack and damage.

Sorry about the delay in getting back to the discussion here...

SirUrza wrote:
Doug Bragg 172 wrote:
SirUrza - Is there a downside actually relating to the crafting while bonding that I'm missing? Setting aside your chicken/egg issue for the moment, what problems does my interpretation create for the game?
The chicken/egg is the biggest issue. It gives Universal Wizards masterwork longsword where a fighter has none. A Universal Wizard now starts with the same BAB (because of masterwork) that a fighter has.

As a general point, I hate the idea of the Hand of the Apprentice, for exactly this reason - it turns the Wizard into the Fighter. A Wizard should be using magic to dispatch the bad guys, not swinging a sword around!

However... we have the problem of how does a Wizard get a bonded item beyond being mundane? Our options include:
1) Start with Mundane, then lose/destroy it and "replace" with a masterwork item.
2) Start with a masterwork item.

If we lose/destroy, then the issue of what is lost? Also, the question of what does replace mean... do we get the same item back, or do we get to bond with something new? If it's the same item back, then wizards will never be able to enhance their bonded item (clearly not what was intended in the rules).

Starting with a bonded masterwork item would allow for the intent of the rules to be used (enhancements later on, and grow with 1 weapon/item over time).

SirUrza wrote:

The rules have to be applied by the literal meaning. If they're intended to be bent so a Wizard can start with a masterwork item, they need to say so. If a wizard by bonding with a non-masterwork item, now qualifies that item for enhancement.. but it's not masterwork, they need to say that. If the item can't be passed to others, they need to say that.


These are all rhetorical questions that JASON and ONLY Jason needs to address before August 2009.

I don't believe they are rhetorical questions (we do want an answer)... but I agree, that Jason is the only one that can give an official answer to these issues... and that this one ability is filled with unanswered questions. The problem is, play testing a wizard using this ability, we (the players) have to have some answers to go forward.

fliprushman wrote:
I would also like to know why the Necromancer is picking Sleep over any of his normal necromantic spells. What's the point of specializing if you are still going to pick a majority of another schools spells? You should have just gone generalist. Also, sleeps casting time is a round so most of these encounters would be harder than you list them as.

I think it's fairly safe to say that no two players are going to pick the same spells or feats in building a wizard.

Although, the idea of having an area effect spell prepared makes sense and, if you look at the necromancy school, there are no area effect level 1 spells in the SRD.

Personally, I would have had Mage Armor prepared, and likely gone with color spray. The necromancer doesn't really work well with a party at higher levels (oh, look, the cleric can't heal you!).

I imagine that if the wizard had something other than sleep prepared, the fight against the elf wizard might have gone differently. (A good use of cause fear, perhaps?)

This is what it is... 1 person's attempt to play test a wizard in various circumstances. If others think it was not a typical demonstration, I don't see anything wrong with putting out other builds and testing those under similar conditions. Perhaps try an abjurer against those same trials. Or a generalist?

Kaisoku wrote:

Doug, you can easily add a comma in that sentence and it would no longer add BAB to damage.

Hence why a call for clarification would be good.

Uh... I don't see how adding a comma anywhere in that sentence would change the meaning.

You'd have to remove the word "both" to change the meaning. I presume (maybe incorrectly) that when Jason used the word "both" he did so intentionally and knowing that it was giving the wizard a slight boost in damage (keep in mind a Wizard's BAB progression is the most pathetic in the game, but it keeps up with the +1 / 2 CL of other first level at will abilities for other wizards).

SirUrza wrote:
You guys are funny.

And something positive has come from this discussion after all!

Aberrant Templar wrote:
Doug Bragg 172 wrote:

Alpha 2, p. 112 wrote:
The creator’s caster level must be at least three times the enhancement bonus of the weapon. If an item has both an enhancement bonus and a special ability, the higher of the two caster level requirements must be met.

So... a +1 staff requires Caster Level 3. Not 5. A +1 Defending Staff... is also Caster Level 3. A +1 Defending/+1 Spellstriking is also a Caster Level 3 staff.

Right idea, but your math is a little off. You are correct that a staff with only a +1 enhancement bonus would require a minimum caster level of 3. The +1 Defending Staff, however, would require a caster level of 8th.

The enhancement bonus is only +1 (CL 3rd), but the Defending special ability, as described on page 224 of the DMG, requires a minimum caster level of 8.

So the question is, does the Pathfinder crafting rule establishing caster level requirements based upon the bonus trump the Caster level requirements in the DMG? If you say that you go with the minimum caster level from the DMG, then the minimum caster level set out in pathfinder becomes meaningless (regarding special abilities)... I don't think it was intended as a meaningless rule, so my interpretation is that it trumps the caster level in the DMG.

Yet another aspect of crafting in general and bonded items in specific that needs clarification, I guess.

Joey Virtue wrote:
Wouldnt the wizard have one more hp d6 max plus 1 for his con so 7 HP instead of 6

Halflings have Wizard as a favored class, so that's +1 hp. Con for +1, and the hp in pathfinder have a number of options to start, my group's preferred being 3x max at level 1.

So, the wizard here should have between 8 and 20hp to start.

Second, I noticed that the wizard never attempted a perception check to avoid surprise. Halfling's have keen sense (sound)... so unless the Orc's had a really good stealth check, the wizard might have been able to avoid the surprise round.

I think it was the sturges fight that the OP said they couldn't use sleep because they were too close. Sleep has a 10' burst from any point 100' away or more. I think you could easily locate a sleep burst to hit things next to you without hitting yourself. That, and Color spray would work well in that case.

SirUrza wrote:

Except that doesn't make sense. How can you be bound to an item that doesn't exist until you're done making it?

There's no arguement that'll convince me that you can bond with an item while it's being created.

If the item exists already, someone paid the 100gp. Then you can bond with it.

And if you can bond with an item while it's being created, then the bond item rules need to be revised so that Wizards can't selling their bond items at a ridiculous profit at a lose of non-existent ingame time.

I run a starwars game... and I think of the bonded item to be similar to a Jedi's lightsaber. The Jedi gets a bonus to using his own lightsaber - no one else gets that bonus - because the Jedi is uniquely attuned to the lightsaber because he made it that way.

If a Wizard makes his own bonded item, and bonds with it as he makes it, I don't see a problem with that. It solves an obvious problem - how does the bonded item get to be masterwork? And it doesn't create any new problems (other than perhaps needing to increase a wizard's starting wealth a touch).

The upside to this approach is that a wizard doesn't need to spend 600gp to use a class feature at level 3. (not to mention take that dear bonded item he has and chuck it in the river to start over. So much for growing with a weapon through the game, I guess). I don't see a downside to it.

The issue of wizards being able to sell their bonded item at a significant profit exists regardless of whether they can bond to a masterwork weapon that they are making. The profit from a masterwork item is 250 gp. The profit from a +2 defending quarterstaff is going to be much higher.

The real question is: can others use the Wizard's bonded item and gain the benefits of the Wizard's enhancements? My thought is no - the Wizard is particularly attuned to the object in a way no one else can be. So, to everyone else, it's just a mundane whatever. That solves the sale exploitation.

SirUrza - Is there a downside actually relating to the crafting while bonding that I'm missing? Setting aside your chicken/egg issue for the moment, what problems does my interpretation create for the game?

DM Jeff wrote:

Yes they will be unbalanced, they always were.

Of course, this only comes from seeing all three classes in play and the mess they made of the games they were in. So it's just an opinion.

-DM Jeff

I've played characters out of this book without being unbalanced. Of course, that same game used a Hulking Hurler build and a Druid... so hard to call anything unbalanced in that mix.

As for working with pathfinder, the biggest issue is going to be re-inserting concentration as a skill, I think. Otherwise, the hp should stay the same or move up to be in line with the pathfinder hp - BAB approach. Skills lose multiplication, and you're done.

The classes should work fine.

What I did was take the bonded item at level 1 as a MW staff (going with craft rules, it's 1/3 the cost for the masterwork component... so 1/3 of 300gp is 100gp. As a bonded item, it costs half of that, so 50 gp at level 1 for a mw bonded weapon). It left me as a fairly broke level 1 character, but I had a staff I could enchant.

As for level...

Alpha 2, p. 112 wrote:
The creator’s caster level must be at least three times the enhancement bonus of the weapon. If an item has both an enhancement bonus and a special ability, the higher of the two caster level requirements must be met.

So... a +1 staff requires Caster Level 3. Not 5. A +1 Defending Staff... is also Caster Level 3. A +1 Defending/+1 Spellstriking is also a Caster Level 3 staff.

At least, that's how I read it. But, as evidenced by the 5 separate threads on how these things work on this board, there are more guesses and unanswered questions with the bonded item than answers at this point.

Gimpus wrote:
No-one, EVER, IN ANY CLASS, gets to add their BAB to damage rolls, unless using POWER ATTACK by the old rules. And even then, they had to subtract it from the attack roll... Hand of the Apprentice, no matter how unclearly worded, does not let you add your BAB to damage... Weapon damage + INT bonus only... As a DM, I find this clear as day... Remember, if it's your game, it's YOUR game... You adjudicate any discrepancies that your players might come up with... I think it's a great way to keep the mage in the game after his spells are used up...

I agree with you on the "it's your game, your rules" thing... you're certainly welcome to houserule whatever you want.

However, for purposes of playtesting, shouldn't we play the game as written?

And how is this ability written?

Alpha 2 p. 69 wrote:
Hand of the Apprentice (Su): As a standard action, you can summon a ghostly hand to do your bidding. This functions like mage hand with the following changes. When summoned, the hand can draw a weapon on your person as a free action. The hand can be directed to make a single attack against a foe within 30 feet, using your base attack bonus plus your Intelligence modifier for both attack and damage.

(emphasis added).

I don't hold a degree in english grammer by any stretch... but I feel fairly comfortable with my grasp of certain basic ideas.

First, plus means adding (yay First grade math). So... we know that we add the Int. modifier and base attack. That's step 1.

Step two, we use that number (Int. mod. + BAB) for "both" - Both means "one and the other" or "two together" (check if you like). Well, what two things use that Int. Mod + BAB? The sentence continues and tells use we use it for attack (no dispute on this one) "and" damage.

Now, this is the part that confuses me. The word both is not vague. The word "and" is not vague. The word "plus" is not vague. Clearly, the Int. Mod + BAB is applied to both attack and damage. This is only vague because it goes against the general rule (outside of power attack). But, it is a clearly written exception to that rule.

As I said, DMs are free to house rule this all they want, but I don't think we do Pathfinder any services by not playtesting the rules they've proposed.

Thammuz wrote:
Or, if not lengthen the duration, it should be a quicker action to activate ... a move action at least would allow the caster to do something else that round (or a swift action to position closer to allies before enacting it?).

If I were to fix it to something worth writing on my character sheet... it'd be either an increased duration based upon caster level or an immediate action, so you're not guessing whether someone close to you will get hit in the next round and thus wasting your turn. In either case, the bonus should average higher than the expected Rings of Protection bonus for the level.

Navior wrote:
Does this ability have a duration? It's a standard action to activate, which suggests it's not always active, but there's no duration mentioned.

There is a duration...

Alpha 2, p. 65 wrote:
Protective Ward (Su): As a standard action, you can create a 10-foot-radius field of protective magic centered on you. All allies in this area receive a +1 deflection bonus to their AC for one round. This bonus increases by +1 for every 5 caster levels you possess.

(emphasis added)

Which is to say, it's useless.

Moff Rimmer wrote:
SirUrza wrote:
I like the power increase. It's definitely an incentive to get all the way up there.

Why? If you don't get to use it much, then what is the point? You could provide a patch in the module that says "I made it!".

I really don't care either way. I guess that I just want it to be acknowledged for what it is -- the proverbial carrot and little more.

But then, if you are going to have a system where every class has a "capstone" or "carrot", then have EVERY class have an equal "capstone" or "carrot". They are not all equal in that regard.

I agree... if you don't get to use it, any 20th level gain is about useless. Which is why, in my own games, if I'm running it to 20th, I want to make sure that I have something to wrap up the storyline after the group achieves level 20 so they can use those abilities.

I can't say what Pathfinder is going to do with their games... but hopefully if they design something to go through level 20 that it includes some play after you hit level 20.

But this isn't a class design issue, it's a campaign design issue.

Shadowborn wrote:
Hmm...a rule that makes the character rely more on the character and less on the magical Christmas decorations on them...can't say I dislike it.

I don't believe that's what this rule does. Nor do I believe that any rule can do that and still be backwards compatible.

I'm fairly certain the designers at WotC have admitted multiple times that magic items are required at various levels for characters to be able to go up against appropriate challenges. So, eliminating those magical items and relying more on the character's class abilities and feats might sound all nice and good... I think it'd result in more character deaths and player/gm frustration than anything else.

Besides, looking at what Alpha 2 did... there are more slots for magic items in the SRD (bracers and bracelets, gloves & gauntlets). And the idea of restricting stat boosting gear to 2 slots was to allow characters to use more... magical... gear in those other slots without feeling restricted to the same choices every time (must boost stats, must have ring of protection, must have cloak of charisma, etc.)

Granted, the easiest way to accomplish this is with the second aspect of the magic item rules presented... which is to simply allow those common bonuses to be put onto anything (in an appropriate slot)... then you can have your boots of spiderclimb/Dex +2 and have something a bit more magical.

But the christmas tree effect will allows be around, I think. At least in 3.5

As someone who plays a caster somewhat frequently, I have to disagree with the premise of the OP.

A Wizard will want a high Int. Also, a bump to Wisdom doesn't hurt (Will saves are nice to have bonuses to against things like Mind Fog and other nasty spells). Then for the physical attributes, Con is a must, but so is Dex. No armor means Dex is important. In addition, ranged touch spells require Dex (and a low BAB means bumping Dex up is important).

So 2 physical and 2 mental bumps. Granted, this is still better than my rogue who wanted a bump to 3 physical and the 2 mental (although just a bump to Wisdom is all that's necessary). And yes, I've play tested this and it worked fine.

Here's the part of the alpha system I don't understand. You can modify equipment by adding stat bonuses or other bonuses to things. (Similiar to the MIC rules, but more expensive). If you can add +2 Dex to gloves of Storing in Alpha rules... they why do the ability boosting items need to be limited to 2 slots? Just don't hand out ability boosting gear and let the players customize as they want to. What's wrong with a Monk's Belt with +4 Con? Or a Robe of the Archmagi with +2 Int?

The limitation to only 2 locations is completely unnecessary in allowing players to use both stat boosting gear and other more interesting pieces of equipment. For example, I have a level 11 Wizard/Master Specialist/Iot7V with 3 veils from the MIC... one has a bonus to Int, one has a bonus to Con, and another has a Natural armor bonus added. I also have bracers of entanglement (also MIC) with dex added to them. My character has all sorts of interesting abilities from the magical items he's carrying, while not suffering from being underpowered by not having ability scores high enough to keep up with the challenges of the game.

That system works well, imo... alpha seems to go overboard on trying to reach the same result.

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