My group does Gestalt for about 25% of our campaigns. We find it a refreshing change of pace, a way to change things up without really having to deal with a new set of rules.
It's not like the GMs don't rev up the foes, or that just one player gets to be gestalt. (Well, mostly. We do have someone playing a normal paladin in a gestalt game, but that was what they player wanted, and no one objected).
It's just another dial you can turn, like point buy, starting level, exp chart, wealth per level, and so on. It's a fast and easy way to make characters who are more potent, without immediately being able to do everything.
We even have a gestalt mythic game now. :)
I know Owen Stevens has done tie-ins between Kobold stuff and Genius stuff before (Spell-Less Ranger). Any chance you can convince him to write an addendum on your Path stuff, so it ties into the brilliant Talented pdfs?
1) What's an Edge vs. what's a Talent doesn't always seem to make sense. For example, the Swashbuckler archetype's proficiency in a single martial weapon is designated an Edge, while the Ninja's weapon proficiencies are considered a Talent. Edges generally feel like they should be more than Talents, but this seems the other way around.
That's actually one of the things I liekd about this design. Picking up a bunch of thief-like stuff from another culture (ninja proficiencies) is easy. Picking up a two-handed sword, land, or great-axe (martial weapons thieves don't already get) is the same as burning a feat. You can DO it, but it takrs a bigger resource.
2) It's very easy to build the Core Rogue with this system (you just need to spend the 20th level Edge to buy a talent. Otherwise, everything is one for one.) The Ninja, as printed, however, ends up missing out on two talents' worth of stuff, by my count.
Well, first your talented ninja ends up proficient with hand crossbow and rapier for free, which *my* ninja players love. (Hand crossbow is an awesome poison-delivery system).
Secondly, if your player's ninja has no interest in (draws breath) Ambush, Bravado's Blade, Expert Acrobat, Freightening (to go with Bravado's Blade), Misdirection, Roof Running, Scout's Charge, Trapfinding, Accuracy, Distraction, Master Poisoner, Sneak Stab, Spring-Up, or Tumbling Descent, then let him play a core ninja. (Or don't -- youre right, this is proof they aren't balanced against rogues). But if any of those appeal (and that's JUST the list of things a ninja can't get normally, and I didn't even both with advanced talents), then they'll be happy to have the more flexible build given here.
Heck, one of my ninja players went crazy-happy because he could build a Ninja with Ki based on Int, rather than Cha. He didn't WNAT to be a dashing, loveable rogue. He wanted to be a keen-thinking, cold assassin.
All that being said, I definitely don't regret the purchase as there is plenty of great stuff in here (I like some of the new talents) and as I said before, the concept itself is golden.
So far in my experience, no one who in my games who has access to this and wants to be sneaky or sly at all isn't thrilled. :)
Also, it means I can have some players make "ninja" and some stick to rogues, and no one complains. :P
I wouldnt have though it was POSSSIBLE to make the cavalier a flexible, interesting class usable for a wide range of concepts. I am THRILLED to see I would have been wrong!
While I'm also really looking forward to more things like Cup Bearer, I have to say the options as-is are great. I'm writing up a king, his royal guard, and his hawk-keepers, and the cavalier is great for ALL of them!
I vote Cavalier/Samurai for the next talented class, and if you think you can make that more awesome by adding Paladin/AntiPaladin that's great!, but I don't know how you'd do it.
But I don't know how you got fighter and rogue to be so awesome either, so do what makes sense to you, and we'll buy it!
And when you DO get around to talented spellcasters, make sure they are Spell Points compatible? I now run a spell points/talented fighters and rogues game, and it is SO much more awesome than core rules, and still works with all Pathfinder material!
The fact you think we misread the rules suggests you have no idea how either sympathetic pain or fear effects work in play. If it didn't have so many limitations, it would be way, way OP. It is, in fact, MOST powerful at high level. It's a game-winner at 20th level.
Yes, there is a touch attack. Those very rarely miss even for wizards, and the DM has a better attack bonus.
Now, take a 20th level DM. Let's say he has an Int of 4. So the save DC of this power, which takes two hands to use, is a pathetic 17. Let's further assume that no foe fails a save against it ever, in the history of the character.
It's STILL his most powerful option.
Round one, peg a foe with sympathetic pain. It makes its save, obviously. It is now shaken for 5 rounds. This is because the duration is 1 round/2 DM levels, and a target that makes its save HALVES THAT DURATION.
I pointed this out above, very carefully.
Round two, DM hits the same foe with sympathetic pain. It saves. It takes a new shaken effect. Oh, but what happens if you take a shaken effect while already shaken?
Becoming Even More Fearful: Fear effects are cumulative. A shaken character who is made shaken again becomes frightened, and a shaken character who is made frightened becomes panicked instead. A frightened character who is made shaken or frightened becomes panicked instead.
So, the old shaken runs 4 more rounds, the new one 5 rounds, so for 4 rounds the target is frightened. And what does that mean?
"Frightened: Characters who are frightened are shaken, and in addition they flee from the source of their fear as quickly as they can. They can choose the paths of their flight. Other than that stipulation, once they are out of sight (or hearing) of the source of their fear, they can act as they want. If the duration of their fear continues, however, characters can be forced to flee if the source of their fear presents itself again. Characters unable to flee can fight (though they are still shaken)."
Even a measly 8th level DM can now keep a target frightened forever -- just keep hitting it with sympathetic pain which EVEN WHEN THE FOE SAVES runs 2 rounds.
But you wanted to see what happened to a 20th level foe. Well, on round 3 the DM uses sympathetic pain again, and AGAIN THE FOE SAVES, so its shaken for 5 more rounds. But it's already frightened! What does that mean? Panic!
"Panicked: Characters who are panicked are shaken, and they run away from the source of their fear as quickly as they can, dropping whatever they are holding. Other than running away from the source, their paths are random. They flee from all other dangers that confront them rather than facing those dangers. Once they are out of sight (or hearing) of any source of danger, they can act as they want. Panicked characters cower if they are prevented from fleeing."
The target's saving throw bonus DOES NOT MATTER. Heck, immunity to mind-affecting effects doesnt matter, because the totem power isn't one (both because it doesn't say it is, and because it's a Fort save). SR doesn't help, because it's a supernatural ability. Only immunity to fear can save you.
Two rounds to force nearly any foe to flee you. By 12th level, in three rounds you can panic targets even if they make every single saving throw.
Now, since you said hexes are a better option, how about you show me the witch built that can even come close to being that useful?
Having played and GMed a few death mages, I can say that run properly they are extremely effective!
Dance macabre, by itself, makes them the better non-evil necromancers than any core rules character. That may not matter to other people, but it’s a big deal for us.
Also, fetishes are universally accepted as superior to any other option at our table. And I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I want more fetishes!
The light armor proficiency doesn’t exist to the death mage can pretend to be a magus or cleric. It’s there so the death mage doesn’t have to waste a round casting mage armor or something similar.
Pump Cha and Dex. Don’t worry about Wis and Int any more than you would for any character (Perception and Skill Piints are useful, but it’s not a big deal)
At 1st and 2nd level you don’t have fetishes anyway. Prep dance macabre and cause fear. Cause fear is awesome at low level, and since you automatically know all death mage spells there’s no reason not to use it. Like a sorcerer you fall back on a weapon if you run low on spells, but instead of a crossbow or dagger, you can take a falchion (and have a better attack bonus and hp than our theoretical sorcerer). Your arcane options are more limited than the 1st or 2nd level sorcerer, but either dance macabre or cause fear is always useful.
At third, you take fetishes, and gain two fetish powers. If you want to maintain melee as you back-up, you take death mask. (If not get a spiked gauntlet so you threaten so rogues can flank with you to sneak attack, and otherwise ignore weaponry). Death mask is flat superior to instrument of death, since you can do it as often as you lack and it lasts for hours and doesn’t cost anything.
Also for melee take deadly blow now and warding spirits at 5th or vice versa, depending on if you want to start with offense or defense.
A note on attunement. In our experience in a published adventure by 5th level you will be attuned to 90% of what you will run into for the rest of your adventuring career. Attuning isn’t expensive, doesn’t take long, and you can do it between encounters. Assaulting a drow stronghold and you’re not attuned to them yet? Hit a scout group, take a moment, and you’re good to go forever. It’s an awesome roleplaying consideration, but not a major power limiting factor.
If you aren’t making a melee death mage (and you don’t have to), ignore death mask for now. Warding spirits is still a great option (at 3rd level you may have the best AC in the group), but death focus, healing spirits, and sympathetic pain are also great choices.
Sympathetic pain, by the way, is one of the most powerful things SGG has ever released. A successful save just HALVES THE DURATION. Of a fear effect! Once you are 8th level, if a target *saves* they are shaken for 2 rounds. Next round you hit them again and EVEN IF THEY SAVE they are now frightened. And if you want, you can keep them frightened, no matter their saves, as long as you want to take the actions to do so.
No limit to how often you can do it. We’ve had AMAZINGLY effective death mages with this power alone. It’s the “save and flee” build. It’s SU, so SR does not apply. GMs learn you need to not depend on a single foe against a team with a Save And Flee DM.
And about being a one-school pony? It turns out that makes Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus *awesome* choices, since they affect your most powerful spell at every spell level. Combine with your high Cha and death focus, and you may have the highest save DCs of your party.
About the time cause fear is useless? Scare. (And if you are a Save and Flee build? You pick off your Scare victims with sympathetic pain.) Scare gets too low-level? Take a break from fear effects and use ray of exhaustion. At 7th level, go back to fear effects with, well, fear. At 9th you have some options – magic jar, waves of fatigues, but if you are a Save and flee build just pick up Heighten spell and stick to fear. At 11th you may want a circle of death in your pocket for hordes, but otherwise its eyebite. (Sicken a foe a round as a swift action? Let’s see your debuffing cleric manage that!) Also, you melee types now get harm, which is suddenly a real threat.
All necromancy, the only school with major spells with Fort and Will saves, so you can target the effects based on whether the target looks wise or tough. Again, this allows the death mage to get a higher DC than most spellcaster, and thus his limited selections are effective more often.
Just ignore the Int & Wis question of fetishes. Healing spirits is worthwhile EVEN if you only have a 10 Wis. Don’t feel you need to boost it, it’s emergency healing not your main focus. But it’s a MOVE action, so you can get your reduced healing in AND make an offensive action. The cleric can heal more, but not without failing to help drop foes. Even the paladin can’t heal someone else and hit something. AND it's ranged! Those little details are obviously WHY it’s based on Wisdom – it’s healing based, and if you could do it all damn day based on your pumped CHA it’d be OP. You think of it as MAD, but I have seen it in play. It’s balance, and its brilliant.
(You CAN build a death mage to be primarily a healer. Lots of temporary hit point buffs before or early in fights, and lots of Wis for healing spirits. Ive seen it done. It's a lot like trying to make your bard the priamry healer.)
Same is true of sympathetic pain. If its save DC was based on CHA, it’s be WAAAY overpowered, As it is it’s extremely effective if foes NEVER make their saves!
AND the death mage has double the spell points of a cleric.
It is also a GREAT "fifth character," when the roles of cleric-type, rogue-type, fighter-type, and wizard-type have been filled.
The death mage is extremely effective AND flavorful as-is, and can easily hold its own against other character classes.
That it doesn't work well as a fighter-caster hybrid. I thought i explained this pretty well.
Yes, you did the first time. The the designer said:
Owen K.C. stephens wrote:
It's not really true that I expected a reaper mage to function as a true fighting-caster hybrid.
And then you *quoted* that (so clearly youd seen it), and then you replied with:
The problem with the reaper mage as a true fighting-caster hybrid is that it has no way to increase AC and one means of increasing damage (reap), in addition to MAD.
Ignoring that you are wrong (see the designer's post about, for example fetishes for people who want those options; or consider the benefit of buffing with temporary hit points in advance instead of healing afterward), the designer told you it wasn't *supposed* to be a fighting-caster hybrid, and you responded by complaining you still don't like it as a fighter-caster hybrid.
It's a full caster. A single ability in one of its optional builds does not make it an attempt to recreate the magus.
(Nevermind that it significantly predates the magus)
So since you have been told it isn't supposed to do what you are complaining about, we're all a bit confused you continue to complain it doesn't do that thing well.
Even though, with fetishes, it does. (It can even heal itself, in case tones of temporary hit point options isn't good enough for some reason)
It's be like complaining the the minor and major magic talents don't make rogues good spellcasting hybrids, since *obviously* that's what those talents are designed for, and then continuing to harp on it after being told the talents *aren't* supposed to do that.
Since it's come up a few times, let me say I would NOT want to see talents sub-divided into trees, for many reasons. The most important is that it would be much more difficult to look up a talent during play, which is when time is at a premium. With everything being a talent, advanced talent, or grand talent, I can just list the talent name with an (a) or (g if needed, and look it up alphabetically. If they are broken into trees,I'd have to either check every tree, or write down what tree every talents on a character sheet came from, which crowds me badly.
Its the same objection many people have to the short feat descriptions being broken up by prerequisite -- a straight alphabetical listing is *always* fastest for look-ups. And since when creating a character either you know what you want (in which case it doesn't matter how it's organized) or you're looking for options (in which case you want to read everythign anyway), I wouldnt be saves any time by talent trees then either.
The standard paizo method is MUCh better IMHO.
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
If there was a strong cry for it, I could do fighter talents sooner than expected in the form of a #1 With a Bullet Point, perhaps with twice as much content as the usual one page, for $1.
It's the #1 Pathfinder pdf on RPGNow. Is that cry enough? If not, add my voice to the demands for more fighter talents!
Alexander Augunas wrote:
I was specifically referring to the ranged attacking talents. Most of them still specify crossbows or firearms. There are few (if any) talents that help an archer or a thrown weapon fighter, for example.
you say that, but then you quote the deisgner when he points out that there are only five ranged talents that DON'T apply to archers, and more apply to all ranged than don't.
Penetrating shot, quick sniper, safe shot, trick shot, greater trick shot, meteor shot, and volley are NOT limited to crossbows, while only deadshot (& improved and greater) and return fire are limited to crossbowsd/firearms.
So your "few if any" reference ignores that MORE THAN HALF apply to any ranged weapon.
The utility of Vital Strike is, like a LOT of things in Pf, dependent a great deal on play style.
How often can you make a full attack? With some groups GMs like to have a lot of swinging from ropes, scabbing out of quicksand, or dodging battlefield conditions that makes full attacks much less common. for example i play under a GM who who *often* has things like the fire jets from princess Bride's fire swamp in battlefields. an area gives some kind of warning, and if you are still in it after your next round you take damage. Sometimes a lot of damage. These battlefields are often not steed-friendly. Mobility is important.
She's an extreme case, but there are lots of factors that can make mobility more important.
How common is DR/-? One of the things Vital Strike does well is increase your maximum damage output, and that's good for punching more damage through a foe who has DR you can't bypass.
What are the common play levels? Games that hover near 6-8 level for a long time stay closer to the hp totals that make vital strike useful, while not reaching the levels with many of the pounce options.
How often do you fight in tight, twisting spaces? Pounce works on charge, and charge must be in a straight line. Lots of dungeons make that fairly rare as an option.
I see a lot of people run charge wrong. You must move to the closest space from which you can attack the opponent. If this space is occupied or otherwise blocked, you can't charge. If any line from your starting space to the ending space passes through a square that blocks movement, slows movement, or contains a creature (even an ally), you can't charge. If you don't have line of sight to the opponent at the start of your turn, you can't charge that opponent.
No charge, no pounce.
How often do fights have 4-8 foes? There are some very effective Cleave, Cleaving Finish, Furious Focus, Great Cleave, Power Attack, Vital Strike builds that do an awesome job of hammering one foe so you can drop him and Cleaving finish into another foe (who often ISN'T adjacent to the first foe, and thus not a legit target for normal Cleave).
One of our powerhouse characters in a current game is a human fighter with all those plus Weapon Focus and Weapon Finesse, and a few I'm not thinking of. (Devastating Strike, maybe?)
And while Fiery Dragon created great d20 products, they have even less Pathfinder experience than Green Ronin.
I'm afraid this is a big part of my concern too. I can do a workman's job of converting to Pathfinder... what I need is brilliant conversion work I'd never think of on my own. People like Christina Stiles and Owen Stephens have lots and lots of Pf experience. And Mr. Stephens has done awesome work for GR before (though maybe never on Freeport? I dunno).
Why not get expertise like that on this book? Hearing Christina and Owen were on it would make me much more interested.
More than half of the characters in the games I run and play in who are considered "alpha" characters (the ones who define a game, take center stage, and are the most effective) are single-class fighters. true in games from 1st to 17th level. (I haven't had any 17th+ level games in a while). No other class hit the sweet spot of flexible, survivable, and effective anything like as often.
I sometimes wish I could sit in on the games of people who feel fighters are underpowered so i could actually see the problem they are experiencing first hand.
As GM, one of my roles is arbiter of how the world works. I try to make that clear when I am meeting players for the first time. Within that role, I do require some reason for player class choices.
Now, I'm pretty flexible about that. I've only ever had it be a problem once n all my games. I had a player who had been specifically dismissive of divine powers and gods, and in the middle of a dungeon he wanted to take a level of cleric of a deity that matched his alignment, while stating he disliked the god.
The player explicitly stated that since "no one could stop him" from taking a level of cleric he could prove gods were stupid. Either he'd gain his powers dispite maligning his god -- in which case gods are chumps -- or he wouldn't -- in which case gods are bullies.
If he'd selected a trickster god, or perhaps a god of logic or irony, I might have let him do it and run with the consequences. But his plan was clearly going to be disruptive to the game. The other players didn't want to spend time listening to him debate theology with himself, and I saw no reason he should be able to pick up cleric levels with a background of despising gods.
So I flat told him he couldn't take the level. He claimed I "didn't have the authority" to do that, and that obviously he could write whatever he wanted to on his sheet. Which eventually forced me to come to "I will not run your character if that's what you decide to write."
That player showed up at the game with a level of cleric, and the group as a whole decided not to play that night. We did a boardgame instead. We invited him to play it with us, but he refused. Even spent about half an hour "playing" by himself, declaring that he was killing other players and rolling dice, and stating that since no one was stoping him he could loot their corpses.
I honestly think we had a more serious disconnect than his class. A couple of years later he apologized, and we sometimes play card and mini games with him again.
If I run a game where I state all wizards must take years of schooling, you need a cover story to take a level of wizard. If paladins are blessed by the gods you need to play a character who could gain such a blessing (though Jim Butcher has what I'd call an atheist paladin in The Dresden Files, so I try to retain my flexibility). If sorcerers are presented like mutants whose powers kick in at puberty and your character is 45, we need to work together to find a way for your story to make sense with the campaign world's story in order to add a sorcerer level.
But my players *want* me to present a world with rules they can explore and depend on... so as I said it's almost never been an issue.
In MOST cases you can wait until the end of an encounter to restore hit points. However, if you end up dealing with poisons, instant-onset diseases, curses, and massive debuffs from enemy spellcasters (especially witches), having someone who can undo debuffs can be crucial.
Also, if you end up out of your depth (CR +3 encounters, back-to-back encounters, hill giant with a Large pick crits your wizard) you can need in-combat healing to make an escape. Victory may be out of reach.
Also, I have found if you use the Critical Hit deck, you are MUCH more likely to need in-combat healing.
Owen has a tendency to experiment with pushing the power curve every now and again so some of it might seem a bit much (Eldritch Godling - AKA Sorcerer++)
I actually find the eldritch sorcerer as balanced as all their other options -- which is to say very balanced!
You know one of my group thought the eldritch godling was a sorcerer-but-better, and decided to play one to prove how overpowered they are. It didn’t work. Here’s why.
First, eldritch godlings have no favored saving throw. That’s a 2-point save difference at 1st level and it grows to be a 6-point save difference. If an eldritch godling wants to resist the spells most likely to take you out of a fight – Will saves – she has to put some resources into it. In play, running an eldritch godling and a sorcerer side-by-side, the sorcerer is much more resilient to save-or-stop-playing spell effects.
Eschew components. Sorcerers get this as a bonus feat at 1st level. Eldritch godligns don’t. This pretty well counterbalances the advantage godlings have in avoiding concentration checks and their spells being more likely to keep working in the face of dispels. In-play, the sorcerer’s ability to ignore digging up material components came up right about as often as the eldritch godling ignoring concentration checks.
Spells per day. This one is huge. An eldritch godling gets one less spell per day at every spell level. Especially since casting spells with you maximum saving throw is generally the most effective thing a spellcaster can do (and you higher-level spells are clearly your most useful) this is a *major* check to eldritch godling power. By 9th level (a fairly typical “sweet spot”) the eldritch godling gets 10 fewer spell levels/day to cast. When that means you are both one black tentacles short of the sorcerer in the first fight of the day, and one lightning bolt short in the second, and it only gets worse as resources dwindle, it shows how curtailed an eldritch godling can be. Of course if you run games where spellcasters never come close to running out of even their highest-level spells this may not come up much, but in that case your fighters are going to be pretty unhappy too. (Unless your spellcasters are just being cautious, in which case it DOES come up, since the eldritch godling must be MORE cautious).
And while it is true an eldritch godling can pick up some bloodline powers with divine traits, ANYONE can pick up some with eldritch heritage.
Eldritch godlings are cool, and we’ve had a few in our games. But they’ve never proven overpowered, and we still have more sorcerers, wizards, and oracles than godlings of any type.
I am a big fan of SGG. So much so you might actually want to disqualify my opinion on the basis I am biased.
I find their stuff to be both the most interesting AND the most balanced of all 3pp. In general I think it's better balanced that Paizo's support material.
There are a very few things I've modified for balance concern, but the ratio is actually lower than for the core books (there's nothing as bad as Antagonize, for example).
Is there a specific book or line you are considering using? It sounds like a lot of us would be happy to give you directed feedback if we knew what you were looking at?
What I'd really like is a book on how to add any and all of your classes to existing adventures. Adding godling ideas to typical plotlines, replacing types of bad guys with armigers and magisters, and how to support those classes for PCs (who gets the paladin rewards if there's a templar in your group, does a magister get cleric rewards or wizard rewards?).
For everything you seem to want, I find Super genius has a few good options.
My favorite rogue replacement is the shadow assassin, from the Genius Guide to the shadow Assassin. It’s a cool darkness-manipulating stealth class.
I’m also a big fan of the Wolf Head, from Ultimate Options: Power of the Ninja. It’s a ki-less ninja archetype that has no Asian flavor.
For monk my new favorite is hands-down the Master of Arms archetype from Anachronistic Adventurers: The Tough, which can do monk-like tricks unarmed or with weapon groups. You can add it to the tough class from the same book, or to the enforcer from Anachronistic Adventurers: The Enforcer, or using the rules from the Genius Guide to Martial Archetypes you could add it to the fighter or even the monk itself (for an, in my humble opinion, “better monk.”)
For swashbucklers or many classes, including fighters and monks but also the magus swashbuckler the Picaroon, and the monk swashbuckler archetype the Seaswain (which was my favorite monk option until the Master of Arms came along!), I recommend Advanced Options: Fight Like a Pirate.
I do have this one and i love it, but i have a question.
When using the group Diplomacy rules to influence a town or city's attitude, do you always have to use some mechanism to get their attention? The rules for debates and rallies are cool, but I couldn't decide if they were mandatory, and if not when you have to use them?
The Questioner wrote:
KTFish7 and Endzeitgeist; while it is true that the content of your reviews baffles me, I meant it quite sincerely when I stated that the bewilderingly-positive nature of the existing reviews could not be a matter of dubious authenticity. I was speaking quite literally and I meant to insinuate nothing. I do not question your integrity as reviewers! It is equally true, however, that I would absolutely suspect the existing reviews of being more or less blatant corporate propaganda if I had never heard of your names before, or if I did not have access to your established body of reviews here on the forums.
So, to be clear, you do NOT mean to suggest these two reviewers have the bad ethics to BE shills, but you DO believe SGG has the bad ethics as a company to hire shills.
Since, if these reviews were from anyone else, that is what you would believe.
That's still pretty insulting.