Ecidon's page

38 posts. Organized Play character for Mekkis.

I've noticed that you're now charging sales tax ("GST") on purchases by Australian consumers.

However, one thing that you're selling - Gift Certificates - are also attracting GST.

This is incorrect - the sales tax should be only charged on redemption of the gift certificate.

I understand that international taxation is difficult, but hopefully this is only a minor issue.

Reading the Sabotage feat has made me unclear about how it is supposed to work at all.

Supposedly, "Damage dealt by Sabotage can’t take the item below its Break Threshold."

But the Broken condition only applies when "damage has reduced its Hit Points below its Broken Threshold." So Sabotage can never actually break an item.

What gives?

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+1/level is a symptom, not the underlying problem

The have been countless threads on this forum about issues with the +1/level system. And every time it comes up, well-meaning people suggest replacing it with +1/2 levels, or removing it entirely. I don't believe that this will achieve anything meaningful.

The underlying problems will still be there. What +1/level has done is replace advancement with inflation. Removing it doesn't solve the lack of meaningful advancement, it simply removes inflationary advancement.

Back in March, I outlined that clear and meaningful advancement is one of the most important things I'm looking for in PF2. Unfortunately, meaningful advancement is only achieved when a character comparatively improves when compared to the challenges they're expected to face.

The concept of "level-appropriate challenges" breaks immersion pretty hard. The inclusion of table 10-02 is the kind of thing that already raised red flags. A good fighter should be able to hit most of the time. A good diplomat should be able to convince an adversary most of the time. A conman should be able to pull off a scam more times than not.

A second, equally concerning factor is the tight equivalency between all the relevant rolls. Your attack bonus, skill bonus, armour class, saving throws, and perception modifier are so tightly coupled that it is believed that the system will break down if a character ends up Really Good at one thing. This is at odds with many of the published literature, where we do see characters Really Good at such a thing.

Pathfinder has solved this problem by making it possible for a character to be Very Good at certain aspects without causing the system to break down. Admittedly, maybe it's too easy to get too good at too many things (especially with more non-core options being printed), but by and large it succeeds.

There needs to be a method to allow advancement in some aspects to exceed increased DCs. Adding +x to both is nothing but inflation.

I've been looking at the PRD, and it seems to be missing the introductory text at the start of each chapter.

I understand that the Flavour that appears on the two-page spreads is obviously Product Identity, but my question is regarding the pre-section information:

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook p178 wrote:

In the wild parts of the world where monsters hold
dominion, a sharp sword and sturdy shield are a far more
effective means of communication than words. Combat
is a common part of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, and
the following rules explain this crucial process.

Each chapter of the Core Rulebook seems to have these sections, but they don't appear in the PRD.

Are these paragraphs OGL?

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In preparation for some homebrewing, I've been taking the PRD and running it through a bunch of scripts and hand-editing to create a LaTeX version of the Pathfinder Reference Document (basically, an 'OGL core rulebook').

So far, the content should be all there; I'm working on improving the formatting (convert to two-column layout, deal with tables too wide or too long etc). But if there's anything that's OGL, in the core rulebook, and missing, I'd appreciate it if you let me know.

(I'd appreciate it even more if you made a pull request yourself).

You can access the source on my github.

I'll try and keep the compiled PDF up at my website.

Most of the time in my Playtest comments, I've highlighted issues that I have with the system, and how it fails to meet expectations in one way of another. I've typically avoided posting "fixes" or "solutions", as most of the proposals seem to only remedy those particular aspects of the system.

This is not one of those posts. But it does touch on issues that have come up here.

There have been complaints that Pathfinder-style multiclassing has gone. That certain classes (especially the cleric) are required for a party. That certain feats being locked to a particular class makes playing some concepts difficult, ineffective or impossible. That a given class' build is the same as every other build from that class. And that PF2 doesn't have any points in its favour to attract players over using other systems.

I propose a solution: 3.5e-style gestalt characters. By default. For everyone.

What does this give us?

Characters suddenly have much greater scope: You can play an effective battle cleric (fighter//cleric). You can play a gish (fighter//wizard (or sorcerer)). An arcane trickster is also opened up (rogue//wizard). If you have an issue with too few spell slots available, playing a sorcerer//bard gives you twice as many, bringing you back in line with the number of spells available to a Pathfinder character.

Under this system, many of the Hybrid Classes or their facsimiles can be created.

The limitations of class feats would feel less restrictive. And with the multiclassing archetypes, you can focus on your "main class" while still splashing around.

This also allows characters to get around the "unskilled fighter" trope.

It's something that would be unique to PF2 - that it offers as a point of distinction over other systems.

What would need to change?
In general, class hit points would need to be lowered. Probably by about half. Some classes might need to receive fewer skill trainings.

How would it work?

Characters would begin with a total number of HP equal to their Race HP, their two class HPs, and their constitution modifier. They would have trained skills equal to the sum of their two classes' skills, plus their intelligence modifier. They would gain all of their initial proficiencies.

They would get one class feat from each of their classes, and all the other abilities of their classes, as well as the first-level abilities from each of their classes. Similar abilities would, of course, overlap rather than stack.

As they level up, they would continue to receive both classes benefits (with the exception of skill feats, ability boosts and skill increases, which wouldn't double-up).

What are the downsides?

I can see two main downsides to this: It would somewhat - but maybe not excessively - increase the power-level of the PCs. Given that the monsters at the moment are in need of some rebalancing, I wouldn't be too worried about this: they need to be fixed anyway. And it will unfortunately make character creation a little more complex. I'm hoping that a lot of the character creation difficulties will be resolved by a revised rulebook layout, and ultimately, it should remain manageable.

Aren't those rules WotC Copyrighted?

The Gestalt Rules are OGL. There shouldn't be any licencing issues.


I've travelled a bit, and across four continents where I've played PFS, there seems to be a popular opinion amoung experiences players and GMs:

"I typically use GM credit to skip level 1"
"My group speedruns evergreens to get to level 2"
"I don't like level 1 play"

I believe that this is bad for the campaign. The end result is twofold:
New players are typically seated together, and don't get guidance from more experience players. In the occasion where a more experienced player does play, they're outshining the new players by playing a higher-level character.
Scenarios, typically written by people with experience, tend to not be balanced (even at tier 1-2) for a table full of level 1 pregens. This causes obvious issues and is a big discouragement for new players.

I'd like this to not be the case in PFS2. There are some ways to handle this:

Giving an immediate level-up after the first scenario a character plays to bring everyone to level two quickly might be an option.
Requiring everyone to play their character at least once each level.

I understand that this stance might be very unpopular due to the number of people engaging in this.

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After reviewing the Pathfinder Beta and Pathfinder Alpha playtest documents over the past week, I downloaded and flicked through the Pathfinder Playtest.

The first impression was the layout: simply put, it's terrible.

The spells section is just a flat list of spell names, without the Short Description that's available in Pathfinder - and D&D3.x.

The spell descriptions - and power descriptions - are intermingled - which makes it frustrating to find what you're after. And in their descriptions, there is no indication as to which classes - or which spell lists - are able to cast them, so you need to flick back to the spell list section.

Realising that this was a similar issue with 5e, I tried to look up something that will doubtlessly come up in play - how does one jump?

Looking at the Index, there was no entry for Jumping. (In 5e, there's a slightly more useful note saying, "see movement, jumping"). Under movement, there was nothing either.

Okay, time for some Ctrl+F. Jump appears many, many times. Finally, I find myself looking at the Athletics skill, that explains that it is a DC30 check to perform a high jump of 5'. What?

Eventually I look at the table under it, which explains that no, on a success you get the 5', on a critical success you get 8', and on a failure you get "what you would get on a Leap".

Time to Ctrl+F "Leap". Except that there are about 100 results. Back to the index - which leads you to the Movement section and lets you know that you can do a long jump of 15' or a high jump of 3'.

This is unusable.

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A followup to my last thread, where I discussed other aspects of the playtest, and the thread before that, where I discussed what I liked about the playtest. Three weeks ago, I was able to play the PF2 playtest and was able to ask Jason a few questions about the system.

This post has been much harder to phrase.

There are two big concerns I have of the system as described in the playtest.

Aspects of the system seem artificial

Some aspects that we've seen of the system feel that the design framework is being laid bare, without any flavour around it.

One big strength of the Pathfinder system is that in-universe, a character's "level" or a monster's "challenge rating" is not known to the universe's inhabitants.

Even entry to prestige classes never directly references level. Nor do prerequisites for almost every feat. PF2 bucks this trend by giving literally everything with a formatted description a level, at least as far as material released by the blogs. Somehow, Sleep Poison is "level 3" whereas a smokestick is "level 1". Just reading this makes me feel straitjacketed by the system.

Bonus types have been changed from descriptive terms such as "enhancement", "circumstance", "insight" to the horribly bland "item" or "feat" bonus type. (This is exactly what D&D4e did).

The fact that Death Saving DCs are based on the enemy who knocked you down also feels artificial.

The mathematics have been completely overhauled

Let's address the elephant in the room. This is the biggest change - and what I feel the designers should really be explaining much, much more.

For starters, it's what prevents direct, simple conversions from Pathfinder to PF2. If the mathematics weren't overhauled like this, then converting existing Pathfinder content (both player options and published adventures) would be much, much easier.

Looking at the aspects of the system that I like (the action system, the handling of initiative, the layout of some of the classes), they are all aspects that do not require the mathematical overhaul that seems to being pushed in.

By changing the mathematics, it is effectively obsoleting all existing content. If Paizo wants to do this, and retain their existing customer-base, they need to explain why this is necessary.

It is clear that modifiers are going to be tightened up. The Flat-Footed condition is applied under a multitude of circumstances, and none of these stack:

  • Having not acted yet in combat
  • Being flanked
  • Being prone

This is exactly the same as the Combat Advantage condition in D&D 4e, up to and including the +2.

This means that there is not much of a reward for good planning, good training, and good coordination. Rather, the random component is much more pronounced.

In Pathfinder, one feels that one can attempt anything - even if it would normally be nigh-impossible for someone to succeed at it. But with an appropriate tailwind (magical assistance, multiple people aiding you, myriad circumstantial bonuses), you are able to achieve it.

Take Honour's Echo. It calls for a DC35 Diplomacy check at level 1. But it supplies ways of increasing your modifier sufficiently to make it achievable. This is an example of something that the new system appears not to elegantly support.

The more I've looked at and played with the "four tiers of success", the less I like it.

With modifiers so tightly bound to level, it appears that all else being equal, higher level enemies will both do more damage, and also be more likely to critical. This is going to cause combat to be largely more deadly. With so many abilities riding on pulling off criticals, I can see this being unpleasant.

In addition, what they have shown is that more powerful effects are being gated behind "enemy must critical fail or you must critical hit". Take Quivering Palm: to cause the advertised effect you must start by hitting, then follow up with taking an action to force a save, which needs a critical failure to cause lasting effect. The fact that you can try again (assuming the enemy didn't succeed the saving throw) the following day will so rarely come up that the entire ability seems more of a lemon that the Pathfinder Monk's Quivering Palm was.

It feels that the amount of effective daily resources available to PCs is also being really tightened up. With spells no longer scaling with caster level, but rather requiring them to be cast (and maybe prepared?) from higher spell slots, many of these will be less effective as levels rise (this isn't like D&D4e, it's like D&D5e). Not having bonus spell slots available from high ability scores also cuts into the amount of resources available. Resonance is another obvious indication of this.

One question I asked Jason about was how long he thought the adventuring day should be. The 3.5e concept of "four to five encounters per day" hasn't been officially a thing in Pathfinder, but seems to keep coming up. By limiting daily resources, maybe the dynamic has shifted the other way. Jason stated that this is really group-dependent. Which raises more questions than it answers.

I know that this post sounds rather doom-and-gloomy. I'm hoping that these issues aren't as pronounced as they appear, or that they will be fixed during the playtest.

I'm also hoping that we get a more detailed explanation of how the mathematics of PF2 work, and why these changes are needed. Preferably without the "marketing hype" tone that we've seen in other blogs (full of lots! of! exclamation points!)

A followup to my last thread, where I discussed what I liked about the playtest. A fortnight ago, I was able to play the PF2 playtest and was able to ask Jason a few questions about the system.

This is the second of three posts (so that the subjects don't cause too much noise).

What I'm ambivalent about

The idea of using "whatever skill you're using that is 'appropriate'" to determine your initiative is fine. I don't really have any preference about it. But then again, I'm not a player who tries to max out my initiative. At the end of the day, it comes around to "how good is a player at fast-talking the GM". And the difference between probable skill modifiers probably isn't enough to worry about. (I was able to claim that because Merisiel was up in the trees, acrobatics would be as good as stealth - it was a moot point because her modifiers are the same).

It doesn't look like Traits are a thing anymore. With the number of "feats" that players are choosing from at first-level, I don't think that this is an issue.

What I'm unclear about

The character sheet had something like "Items at ready". I was unclear what this meant - it didn't seem to make the time to use the item any faster. This made throwing daggers rather punitive (action to draw dagger, action to throw).

We didn't get to see crossbows (or bombs, or firearms) in action. My table avoided the goblin like the plague. It's disappointing that Tengu isn't making core.

Valeros now uses a shield. I was interested how this interacted with two-weapon fighting. It might not really be a thing.

One thing that I wanted to try was using combat manovures - it seems that for a rogue, it might be a good strategy to use your first action to attempt a trip attack, then follow it up with sneak attacks. But I don't know whether I'd be taking the penalies on the first attack.

The combat did seem rather swingy, but this is probably an artifact of first-level play. I'm hoping that at higher levels it will be more consistent. In every edition of D&D I've played, including Pathfinder, 4e and 5e, it seems to be the case.

Some of the math on the character sheet was unclear. It seems that there is no AC breakdown, nor is there skill bonus breakdown. I tried to reverse-engineer Merisial's Athletics modifier of +0, and concluded that she Probably has a -1 armour-check penalty, but this isn't clear. It does make working out modifiers for Other Skills difficult. In addition, it's not clear whether it is a fixed attribute associated with each skill or not.

(If anyone can clear this up without breaking an NDA, it will be appreciated).

Hopefully I'll have my third post, What I'm Concerned About, in the next forty hours or so.

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I look forward to seeing rules regarding the availability (or otherwise) of Plane Shift foci forks.

At UK Games Expo, I was able to play a playtest session and ask Jason a few questions.

I'll be splitting this up into three posts, to allow each section to be debated separately.

Now, first-level play isn't really representative of how a system plays out - the scenario was largely exploration, followed by a combat. Naturally, we weren't allowed to take copies of the material.

The most favourable change that I encountered was the way initiative is handled when a character is brought to Dying: her initiative is dropped to just before the enemy's. This is a good change from Pathfinder as it gets around those strange situations where a character might be forced to make a death check before and of her allies have a turn to help.

I can see how the three-action system can make the system easier to explain - explaining a double-move in Pathfinder can be daunting with new players. It might be simpler this way. It also opens up design spaces for abilities like the fighter's charge (move twice speed and attack once in two actions). The counterarguement here is that some actions that are possible in Pathfinder for any character are now gated behind feats/class features.

In addition, the action system's strengths are really highlighted with the way the zombies were acting slowly: they only get two actions each round. I see this as an improvement to the staggered condition in Pathfinder.

The way resistances and vulnerabilities are worded tends to make more sense, although it was still unclear whether the skeletons were less vulnerable to certain magical attacks. This could also be due to the fact that we failed our knowledge (lore?) checks.

I liked the feel of the rogue; it seemed more in line with "what a new player thinks of when they choose to play a rogue". But what happens as she levels up is, of course unknown.

Occasionally, people are trying to explain things visually, and on these forums, they resort to using ascii-art.

For instance, when describing Alice being flanked by Bob and Charlie (with a reach weapon, on a diagonal), they might post something like:



In addition, some coders amoung us might want to display how they generated some data, like:

RumpinRufus' super-janky Python code::

import pandas as pd
import numpy as np

# For each attack routine, define each attack bonus, normal damage, and crit damage

# Level 1 character with 18 Str and Power Attack
Bonus = 5
DiceDamage = 6.5
BonusDamage = 4
PowerAttack18Str = [[Bonus, (DiceDamage*2)+BonusDamage, (DiceDamage*3)+2*BonusDamage], [Bonus-5, DiceDamage+BonusDamage, (DiceDamage*2)+BonusDamage]]

Bonus = 5
DiceDamage = 6.5
BonusDamage = 4
Str18 = [[Bonus, DiceDamage+BonusDamage, (DiceDamage+BonusDamage)*2],[Bonus-5, DiceDamage+BonusDamage, (DiceDamage+BonusDamage)*2],[Bonus-10, DiceDamage+BonusDamage, (DiceDamage+BonusDamage)*2]]

# Level 1 character with 18 Dex and 12 Str, attacking three times with a 1d6 agile deadly weapon with an attack bonus of 1.5xDex
Bonus = 7
DiceDamage = 3.5
BonusDamage = 2
BonusCritDamage = 5.5
DexNimbleDeadly = [[Bonus, DiceDamage+BonusDamage, (DiceDamage+BonusDamage)*2+BonusCritDamage], [Bonus-4, DiceDamage+BonusDamage, (DiceDamage+BonusDamage)*2+BonusCritDamage], [Bonus-8, DiceDamage+BonusDamage, (DiceDamage+BonusDamage)*2+BonusCritDamage]]

Routines = [PowerAttack18Str, Str18, DexNimbleDeadly]

ACs = range(10,26)

Damage = np.zeros((len(ACs),len(Routines)))
Crits = np.zeros((len(ACs),len(Routines)))
Hits = np.zeros((len(ACs),len(Routines)))
Fumbles = np.zeros((len(ACs),len(Routines)))

index = 0
for routine in Routines:
RoutineDamage = np.zeros((20,len(ACs)))
RoutineCrits = np.zeros((20,len(ACs)))
RoutineHits = np.zeros((20,len(ACs)))
RoutineFumbles = np.zeros((20,len(ACs)))
for attack in routine:
AttackDamage = np.zeros((20,len(ACs)))
AttackCrits = np.zeros((20,len(ACs)))
AttackHits = np.zeros((20,len(ACs)))
AttackFumbles = np.zeros((20,len(ACs)))
for roll in range(1,21):
for AC in ACs:
Result = roll + attack[0]
if (Result >= AC+10) or (roll==20):
AttackDamage[roll-1,AC-ACs[0]] = attack[2]
AttackCrits[roll-1,AC-ACs[0]] = 1
elif Result >= AC:
AttackDamage[roll-1,AC-ACs[0]] = attack[1]
AttackHits[roll-1,AC-ACs[0]] = 1
elif Result <= AC-10:
AttackFumbles[roll-1,AC-ACs[0]] = 1
RoutineDamage = RoutineDamage + AttackDamage
RoutineCrits = RoutineCrits + AttackCrits
RoutineHits = RoutineHits + AttackHits
RoutineFumbles = RoutineFumbles + AttackFumbles
Damage[:,index] = np.sum(RoutineDamage, axis=0)/20
Crits[:,index] = np.sum(RoutineCrits, axis=0)/20
Hits[:,index] = np.sum(RoutineHits, axis=0)/20
Fumbles[:,index] = np.sum(RoutineFumbles, axis=0)/20

index = index+1

np.savetxt("Damage.csv", Damage, delimiter=",")
np.savetxt("Crits.csv", Crits, delimiter=",")
np.savetxt("Hits.csv", Hits, delimiter=",")
np.savetxt("Fumbles.csv", Fumbles, delimiter=",")

Note how difficult to read this is. It also might not copy properly because python is white-space aware.

Can you throw us nerds a bone and give us a [code], [verbatim] or [fixed-width] tag?

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So, we've been teased by various blog posts, revealing a few of the new mechanics that will be (might be - possibly - depending on playtest feedback?) in Pathfinder 2.

The list of bullet points on the main page doesn't give any real information. So:

What problems in Pathfinder is Pathfinder 2 trying to solve?

What features does Pathfinder 2 provide someone who enjoys playing Pathfinder?

Without knowing the overarching goals are, the snippets of information that we're receiving seem nebulous at best.

So, it's been announced. And although it's claimed to be "evolutionary", much of the messages that have come out appear to be more revolutionary than evolutionary.

Regardless, the playtest will be out in August, and the standard I'll be judging it against will be:

Does the new system provide a framework that allows me, as a player, to create a character with the same capabilities as a character I could create in the existing system?

Does the system provide clear and meaningful advancement to a PC as it advances in levels?

Does the new system provide a framework that allows me, as a GM, to create a world with the same internal consistency that I can create in the existing system?

When it comes to a new system, I care a lot more about the crunch than the flavour. I do not doubt Paizo's creative team's ability to come up with fantastic flavour, regardless of the ruleset. However, if a ruleset invalidates a certain playstyle, character type, or world, no amount of splatbooks will be able to fix it.

Ideally, I'd like to see more avenues opened up, but I'd be happy with the status quo.

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One line in the FAQ has made me very concerned:

The FAQ wrote:
All of the varied systems and formulas for determining your character's bonuses and statistics, like saving throws, attack bonuses, and skills, have been unified in a single, easy-to-use proficiency system based on your choices and your character's level.

This kind of system is very attractive, in that it makes the expectation of character's power-level tightly coupled with the character's level. Which makes balancing much, much easier.

The problem is that then, in the name of this balance, DCs scale at the same rate in comparison with CR.

And we end up in a situation where it doesn't matter what level you are: the entire random element of the game has been "unified" to "If you're proficient, roll 8+. If you're not proficient, roll 13+".

The most insidious part of this is that this doesn't make itself clear when sitting down for a single session playtesting the system. At low levels, the static differences (generally calculated from ability modifiers) and the randomness of the d20 maintain a similar "feel" to low-level Pathfinder. In a single session, the lack of progression or improvement isn't obvious.

When the proficiencies are fixed at character creation, it largely prevents a character from improving at anything.

Please, let's not buy into this hype. I'm fine with skill points and class-based base saves and BABs.


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I have been trying to phrase a post like this for a while, especially since the last Adventurer's Guide updates, but I figure putting something out rather than trying to be perfect is probably warranted.

I've been playing Pathfinder Society since 2009, and it's obvious that there has been significant player growth in that time. There have been several distinct times when rules have changed, and how these rules changes have been handled.

However, one thing that is strange is that the handling of these changes has been getting stricter, and definitely more of a burden to the players affected by them.

In the beginning, there was 3.5. When the Core Rulebook was released, everyone was forced to rebuild with a fixed player wealth. This did mean that players who were consistently playing up were slightly disadvantaged, but back then, there were fewer than 10000 players, so the number of affected people was pretty low.

Fast-forward a few years, and Ultimate Magic was released. It included several archetypes that were considered by Paizo too disruptive to remain in the game, most notably the Synthesist Summoner and the Vivisectionist Alchemist. At this point, a free, full rebuild was mandated to handle this.

With the release of the Inner Sea World Guide, several items and prestige classes were no longer available. These were grandfathered in for characters who had already taken them.

Shortly afterwards, Ultimate Equipment was released, and with it, the staves in the Advanced Players Guide were made unavailable (as they were incorrectly costed). However, characters who already had them were able to continue using them, without paying any surcharge.

When items later changed (some after a temporary hiatus, like Bracers of Falcon's Aim), they were able to be sold back at full cost.

The release of Pathfinder Unchained offered several options: partial (class-level-only) rebuilds were offered to characters of the Summoner, Rogue, Barbarian and Monk classes, while grandfathering was available to Summoners who had already advanced past their first level.

In each of these cases, the impression that Paizo was portraying was "If you've legally built a character, we won't disadvantage you when new material becomes available". I'm not sure whether or not this was the officially stated, but I personally trusted them on this. There are, even now, a few options where two printings have different rules text, and they are currently both legal.

As an aside, there is often the statement that "People who visit the messageboards are a vocal minority amoung Pathfinder Society players". This may be the case, but these same people also get cast as bearers of bad news when Campaign Leadership does something unpopular. We should not be ignored because "we are a vocal minority".

The release and subsequent rulings regarding changes in the Adventurer's Guide throws all of this out the window. We have several archetypes (including an archetype that is flavoured to be Pathfinder Society-specific) that are getting substantially changed and several items are being weakened. And the handling of this by our Campaign Leadership seems to be harsh, almost punitive, leaving players with characters that are in some cases ineffective, in some cases significantly weakened from no fault of their own.

I do not feel comfortable going to my local group and telling them that the characters who were previously legal now need some leadership-decreed modification, and I am worried that future changes will be similarly handled.

Is it possible for our Campaign Leadership to let us know if this handling of changes will be the new norm? Or better, to reverse their decisions regarding the Adventurer's Guide and officially state what they had previously implied: "If you've legally built a character, we won't disadvantage you when new material becomes available."

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I believe that this is PFS related, because errata has a much more pronounced effect when one is required to abide by it. (If it isn't, feel free to move it).

This is a feeling that I've had for the past few years, and the recent printing of Ultimate Equipment finally made me post it.

Paizo staff are human, humans make mistakes.

When a published book has an error in it, errata is the only way to properly correct the error. An FAQ might 'clarify' the material (and even change it), and the Campaign Coordinator may choose to disallow it if it is a class or item, but the only way to really fix it is with errata.

And this is where the problems start occurring.

In my time playing PFS, the two most pronounced sets of errata have been the Ultimate Combat changes to various feats (like Crane Style), and these recent Ultimate Equipment changes.

Because of Paizo's policy of "we only errata when we reprint", many of the changes appear rushed, more for the purpose of ensuring that the rules are not abused than resulting in a balanced fix.

This also comes up with further issues with some of the fixes having unintended consequences, such as the Ring of Inner Fortitude negating polymorph spells. And since the second printing has already been typeset and probably sent to the printers, it's unlikely to be properly fixed in the next two years.

I understand that Paizo is not a large company, and that there are always development pressures, but as it stands, there is currently no good method to correct an error.

What we need is a revision of way the errata is issued. It should be decoupled from the release of new books, making it more easily modified and giving a better chance for it to be applied to less popular products. When a new printing of a book is needed, it can be applied and typeset.


I've played bonekeep 1, I've run it, and I've prepped it several times.

I've also heard people talk about playing it, and running it, and have witnessed it being run by other GMs.

One thing that I've noticed is that it seems that there are some rulings and effects that don't appear to have been consistent between these runnings.


  • I have heard some GMs claim that the knowledge required to gain information about the Rat Demons as anywhere from "DC = 15 + CR" (the way I have run it) "DC in excess of 32", and even "there's no way anyone could know about this thing".
  • Similar knowledge DCs for the golem.
  • I was told that there is an effect that prevents extradimensional spaces (specifically create pit) from functioning: which doesn't appear to be in the scenario.

In the interests of providing "an even, balanced experience to all players" (as stipulated on p32 of the Guide), can someone please explain the meaning behind these effects, and how it should be run?


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My irritation with drawing boxes on reporting sheets to represent reporting conditions finally resulted in an evening of coding, and yielded an online reporting sheet generator that's more in line with the requirements of Season 5.

Assuming that the backend hasn't brought my webserver down, it should be accessible with a very minimalistic interface at

Any feedback would be appreciated.


I am cursed with a rather good memory for scenarios - I still remember the plot, enemies and complications that occurred when I played my first scenario, back in 2009.

I have always been of the opinion to play a scenario before I GM it, or if I'm required to eat a scenario, to not play it subsequently. Until around 2011, I believe that this was official policy, although now it's been degraded to a 'strong recommendation'.

Recently, a situation has arisen where I have been assigned to GM a scenario at a local convention, literally one hour after playing it, and I'm unsure about how to handle this situation. I can either read it prior to playing it, thus spoiling it for myself, and possibly the rest of the table, or I can avoid reading it, and end up running the scenario on one hours' prep, which given the complexities of Season Five scenarios, seems to be a bad idea.

What should I do in this situation?

Grand Lodge

I was reading through some chronicles recently, and I cannot fathom how stupid we have become.

Three years ago, we were betrayed from within. It seemed that some Pathfinders had taken it upon themselves to split off and damage our Society's good name. After loyal agents contained the assault on the Grand Lodge in Absalom, the Decemvirate's damage control seemed to be haphazard and halfhearted, eventually getting the situation under control by making a deal with the person responsible, initially for the movement.

The fact that it took a good six months or so between his identity being known to the Qadiran intelligence forces is one thing, the fact that his intelligence was still being relied upon subsequently is another.

During those years, it was hard to tell which venture captains were reliable - who could be relied upon to follow the Decemvirate's orders, without pursuing their own sinister ends. There was mistrust. There were needless deaths of Pathfinders, and of bystanders.

Yet, after all was said and done, no internal review was performed. We have no guarantee on the trustworthiness of a given venture captain now, as we did back then.

Even last year, as we were wrapping up our business in Varisia, the real person responsible for the issues had been released from prison, and forgotten about. Yet her associate was still trusted to hand missions to pathfinders. And he betrayed us.

Yet, the Ten still have not undertaken checks. To even enter the Taldan Lion Blades, one's loyalty is tested. To attain any rank, tests for conflict of interest become more and more stringent. If a corrupt, decadent, failing empire can achieve this, for even their junior members, why cannot our trusted Venture Captains be trusted?

We keep being reminded of this, year after year. This year, all of Golarion is under threat from demonic invasion, because a Venture Captain has been associating with an enemy of the society and betrayed us. We had known that there were issues with him for years. The signs were there, but the Ten saw fit not to take action, or to undertake further investigation, but to simply ignore the problem, until it blew up.

Loyal and hard-working Pathfinders are taking increasingly difficult challenges to clean up this mess, yet the underlying problem still exists. It is inexcusable. Think of how much more exploration we could be achieving, how many more artefacts we could unearth and study, if we did not need to clean up our mess, and waste precious resources on this new crusade.

Just recently, a group of Pathfinders were dispatched to prove that the aforementioned venture captain was treacherous, notwithstanding the already existing evidence pointing that way.

To be clear: I am NOT advocating a Torch-like split within the lodge - that sort of divide solves nothing. What I am advocating is a complete, internal audit of the upper echelons of the Society, to ensure that our Venture Captains are trustworthy, and that any of the treachery never happens again. I am sure that we have no shortage of inquisitors and lie detection at our disposal.

3 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

This has been raised before, but the FAQ response was 'question unclear'.

Here is the question I want answered:

Does the First World Summoner's Summon Nature's Ally ability have the same restrictions and durations as the Summoner's Summon Monster ability?

It's not clear whether the ability can be used while the eidolon is out, or whether the ability lasts rounds or minutes per level.

I've noticed this issue a bit in the past, and I'm not really sure how the rules work with it.

Let's use a Hezrou as an example. He's standing next to Bob, the raging barbarian with an AC of 13 and a CMD of 24.

He starts his full-attack. His bite hits, doing some damage and grabbing him. He and Bob both gain the Grappled condition.

Question 1: Now that they both have the grappled condition, can he continue his full-attack? He still has two claw attacks he hasn't used.

Bob's turn comes up, and he (sensibly) quick-draws a longsword and full-attacks the Hezrou (at a -2 to all attacks due to the grappled condition).

It's now the Hezrou's turn. What are his options?
Must he either use a standard action to maintain the grapple, and potentially do standard bite damage, forfeiting his ability to use his claws?
Or drop Bob as a free action, full attack, and grab him again?

In the situations I've described, it seems that it's in Bob's best interest to remain grappled, simply because it prevents him from suffering three attacks.

Is this really what the designers intended?


My group has just finished the Devil We Know IV scenario, and my GM and the whole table were rather perplexed at the secondary success conditions: There is no point where it is even prompted or implied.

When I run this scenario, how can I prompt it?

Liberty's Edge

I have been a loyal pathfinder for over four years, and have been also a loyal citizen and representative of Andoran.

There have occasionally been conflicts between the will of the society and my affiliation, but these have been minor, and have generally been resolved to our mutual benefit.

I have been completing tasks assigned by the Society's Venture Captains, while managing to spread freedom and democracy around the Inner Sea. For this, the citizens of Andoran appreciate my services, and my influence and contacts within my faction have grown.

Imagine my surprise to learn that, starting last month, my faction must obey the Society's wishes and bend over backwards to serve the Society's desires, without the ability to further its own goals, yet still be required to give its members a reward for nothing.

This is an affront to the sense of fairness that every sentient being is entitled to.

It seems that over the past year, you have managed to chase away the Lantern Lodge, assimilate the Shadow Lodge, and demote the factions into a "silent observer" role.

Congratulations, Grand Lodge.

Congratulations, Ambrus Valsin.

Just be warned, that not all Pathfinders, political entities, and groups will appreciate these actions.

Have fun while it lasts, because I'll be having less.

Silver Crusade

Greetings, those who consider themselves 'good'.

Recently, I was told by Amara Li, may our ancestors guide her soul, that I am no longer to try and spread the ideals of wisdom throughout the Inner Sea. This has come to somewhat of a shock to me, but I will continue onwards.

I understand that the Silver Crusade - in my brief exposure to its leader, seems to be about spreading goodness.

However, I am concerned that its leader might be too law-abiding for one with such a prominent fey ancestry as myself.

Is this an issue I need to worry about?

Situation: A 20th level druid has a bird companion, and the Andoren Falconry feat.

What are its statistics: I understand that table 3-8 in the Core Rulebook (p52) only goes up to 20, and believe that the effective druid level in this instance would be 21.

You know the secret Andoren arts of falconry developed by the Novotnian family of Darkmoon Vale.
Prerequisites: Cha 13, Animal Affinity, animal companion class feature, Andoran affinity.
Benefit: You improve your affinity with birds of prey of normal size (Small or smaller), such as eagles, falcons, hawks, and owls. You gain a +4 bonus on Animal Handling checks made to train or control birds of prey. In addition, if you have class levels only in classes that grant an animal companion (druid and ranger) treat your effective druid level as 1 higher for the purpose of determining its bonus HD, natural armor adjustment, Strength and Dexterity adjustment, bonus tricks, and special abilities.
Special: In order to gain this feat, you must spend at least 1 month in Andoran learning its techniques from someone who already possesses it. An illustrated tome that explains the theory and practice of Andoren Falconry is rumored to exist in the library of the University of Egorian, in Cheliax.

About a month ago, I wrote a document on how darkness and light spells interact in a dungeon setting (where prevailing light conditions are "dark").

Given that two questions are still awaiting FAQ clarification (FAQ links are here and here, I have made several assumptions (see the back page).

The document can be accessed from my website here.

Please give any comments, corrections, and please click the FAQ links here and here.

4 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

I've been trying to make sense of the myriad of Darkness and lighting issues covered in the rulebooks.

Does 'magical darkness' refer to the Supernaturally Dark lighting level, or to any darkness effect created by magic?

Reading the rules has had me believe that it is the latter, so that in order to raise the lighting level above the ambient natural light level, you would need a Daylight spell to negate the darkness, followed by another light source to then raise the lighting level.

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

The FAQ entry at states that "an animal specifically designed to be ridden (such as a horse or dog) could be purchased with Light Armor Proficiency as one of its feats (swapping out Endurance or Skill Focus respectively) for the same cost."

This entry was made in 2010, over two years before the Animal Archive was released.

Two questions:
- Would this extend to other animals in the "Riding Animals" section of the Animal Archive (p14)
- Would this extend to other animal feats on page 18-19 of the Animal Archive.

An official ruling would be appreciated, as this has come up in PFS in the past.

If I'm trying to charge an enemy, and there's an ally in the way, is it possible for me to use Charge Through to overrun the ally, and give them the option to avoid the overrun, or does the fact that Improved Overrun states:

prd wrote:

Targets of your overrun attempt may not chose to avoid you.

eschew them the choice to do so?

Silver Crusade

I've been wondering: can a familiar be kept in the wizard's (or witch's) backpack and thus be rendered unaffected by any area-of-effect spells that might be affecting its master?

Is this how rules are intended, or is there anything actually stating this?

I would imaging that being in a backpack would provide the familiar a cover bonus to reflex saves, coupled with the Improved Evasion that they get at level 1, but I'm not seeing anything that says that they can be entirely immune.

Is this correct?


I have a cleric of Erastil, who's just reached level 4, and is entitled to an animal companion. I understand that there's a lot of things about animal companions from additional resources not being available to non-druids.

Anyway, I feel that getting a deer would be most appropriate. What's the closest legal choice for this character, or should I give up and find a different animal to bond with?

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

This came up in a recent PFS game, but it's a simple rule question.

When a creature is under the effect of a Transmutation [Polymorph] effect, (let's use Beast Shape II as an example), does its TYPE change.

Case 1: A human wizard casts Beast Shape II, assuming the form of a leopard. A colleague then casts Enlarge Person on him. Does it work?

Case 2: A human druid wildshapes into an Earth Elemental. He then dons a Hat of Disguise. Does this allow him to disguise himself as a dwarf? What about as a Water Elemental?

Can I get a reference on this sort of thing?


Table 4-2 in Ultimate Equipment includes entries for Metamagic (+2 spell level), minor 9,000 gp.

Would it be legal to spend 9000gp on a Metamagic Consecrate Rod, lesser (Consecrate spell is in Blood of Angels, page 25)?

Could a character use Focused Spell with an Illusion (Figment) spell, for example minor image?

Would the caster be able to choose one of the enemies when casting such a spell to have the heightened save DC?

Focused spell says that the spell "affects or targets more than one creature". It seems that "affects" isn't actually defined. Would the fact that there are multiple creatures who might be required to make a save class as them being "affected"?


I've occasionally had a player turn up to the table with an obscure feat, trait or item that is legal, but that they do not have the requisite printout/book at the table, and that I suspect that they do not own them.

What is the correct procedure to deal with this? If it turns out that they do not own the resource, can I allow them to replace the feat/trait with one from the Core Assumption, or from a resource that they do own?

One of the players I've had the pleasure to DM (in Pathfinder Society), has built this character that has an interesting array of abilities.

Basically, it works with using a bladed weapon (often a scimitar) to do nonlethal damage, combined with the Enforcer feat to allow a free intimidate check.

After succeeding the intimidate check (taking into account skill focus and several other things), then use the Frightening ability of the Thug to turn it into Frightened for one round.

First question (aimed at this forum): Is this kosher?

Second question: Should it be?


One of my characters is considering a change of faction. He's currently second level, with 4 prestige and 6 fame.

If, hypothetically, he decided to give Ambrus Valsin the middle finger, and apply for Shadow Lodge membership from Grandmaster Torch, what happens?

"So, I've decided that the Ten doesn't care about the lowly members of the Pathfinder Society. I'd like to help expose the Decemvirate's ploys and work for the benefit of the members /of/ the society."

Torch.. "I'm sorry. It seems that the Grand Lodge doesn't owe you enough favours. You'll need to work for them more before I'll allow you to tear up your membership card and join us. Oh, and you should do it quickly, before you get more experienced in your skills: the membership fee is higher, you see... See you around."

Is this really how it plays out?

The Cracked Gamboge Nodule allows "Immunity to One Kind of Poison".

Could it be used on a poison such as ethanol (alcohol).

What about Cloudkill?

What about the sting of a Bone Devil?

Is there any canonical reaction that the average NPC (with no ability to identify what spell is being cast) to someone who starts casting a spell in a city or town in Golarion?

Something mundane like Prestidigitation to clean one's boots before entering a building, or Message to speak with companions over the loud background noise of a tavern, or even Identify or Detect Magic to ascertain the quality of goods being sold?

Would a suspicious or violent reaction be justified?