eric kim's page

*** Pathfinder Society GM. 13 posts. No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 43 Organized Play characters. 1 alias.


I like the story, however, there are many things I think that need to be worked on for this scenario. My comments are based on playing it, and not GMing it or reading it.

First of all, organization of the social mechanic needs to be clearly organized. Many GMs reorganize it on their own--which is additional work on their part, which make it a bit better. Writing the rules is different than teaching it, explaining it, or playing it. One should look at the top board games and see how they organize their sequence of play. Chase mechanics have this problem as well. While I agree that these mechanics ATTEMPT to make characters more diverse, I think it makes playing more difficult and more frustrating...which overall is bad for the game (email me if you want to debate this, because I'm sure there is a lot of incorrect rationalizations).

Second, the ways to influence the participants are quite limited. Most of them skills are trained only, and may not be ones that people have as a class skill. Some of the skills are secondary tier skill such as knowledge nobility, history, or engineering. These are secondary things like spellcraft, knowledge arcana, or knowledge local. In previous scenarios that were similar, one could always use a charisma check. This was not offered, and based on the GM, it was either absent or difficult to find in the scenario.


I ran into a problem the other night with tiers and character levels. The characters levels were 7,5,4,4,4. The total is 23. The APL is 4.6. Normal rounding rules round to 5. The mod was a tier 3-4 and 6-7.

As I read the rules, the GM read the rules, and another experienced player read the rules, for a 5 person table, we are required to play up (page 31, second column, under determining subtiers, August 2013, version 5.0). So, we are following the rules.

To say nonetheless, 1 person died, two ran away, and had the other 2 bodies "recovered" after the second encounter. I knew this was a problem going into the mod when only 1 person was in tier and 4 were below tier. Statistically, averages distort the true nature of the data (or party average in this case). The classic example is Bill Gates walks into a bar, and the average income of the bar is a millionaire.

Even though I was pretty sure that this was going to be over very shortly, it is very difficult to back out of a mod when the other players want to play and the judge worked hard to make the table work. You just don't back out. It isn't good manners, and we were playing by the rules. With so many people below tier, you run into problems with a too high fireball, cloudkill or blasphemy or even a forbiddance.

My point is that you should never be forced to play up when only using an APL as the determining factor since by definition an average is only a small part of the data (you would look at variations like standard deviations, but you can't calculate that very easily). This isn't very fun for the players and very frustrating for me who understands the rules and CRs.

I don't have the second version of Pathfinder in front of me, so I don't know if this has been addressed.

Not only is there the 5 lb. limit to mage hand, but I believe that you can only manipulate non-magical items. This, in my opinion will limit the ability at higher APLs.


I apologize for coming late to this topic. I don't know if this has been addressed, but I didn't directly see it.

I'm going to simplify the situation for the purpose of illustration and divide the world into fighters type (barbarians,paladins, rangers, fighters, and related Prestige classes) and casters (clerics, druids, wizards and sorcerer and related PrCs)

Fighters primary ability is BAB. Fighter types can take different base classes and prestige classes and not really worry about losing any power as long as their class gets +1 BAB/level (A fighter/Paladin/Ranger/Swashbuckler has a BAB of 4). This can make their fortitude saves REALLY big since they only need to take "1 level of a different class" (I'll acknowledge that Pathfinder tries to reduce this by making level 15+ abilities really good to make multi-classing less attractive).

Casters primary ability is full caster levels. Cleric/Druid levels don't add caster levels and wizard/sorc don't add caster levels, they are kept separate. The only way to increase your caster level is to stay in your base class or add a prestige class. This limits your choices quite a bit. In addition, there is a strong incentive for arcane casters to take 2 levels of a single prestige class instead of 1 level in two prestige classes since they lose BAB and thus harming things tied to BAB (ranged touch attack, touch attack, sense motive and grapple. I can't recall if Evards is BAB based). Casters have more limits on "splashing".


I've been looking at the elves. In my 5 years of playing Living Greyhawk, Elves always seemed to be a rare entity. They didn't get much (compared to dwarves).

In Pathfinder, the major changes are:
they get +2 int, +2 dex and -2 con and (all races got essentially a +2 gain)
+2 to spell penetration checks.

While +2 to spell penetration checks is awesome, it only is useful as a spellcaster (clerics/wizards/sorcerers/druids, to some extend bards). Elven racial ablities naturally bias them toward rogues (passive secret door search) and the +2 spell penetration. Their racial abilities are less useful globally, unlike some other racial abilities. Neither of these really help barbarians, fighters, bards (unless they get search), paladins, monks, rangers

I'm not sure exactly what to think. At some level, some races should be awesome at some classes, and just not very good at other classes versus some classes are okay in every class.

This isn't a monk school issue, but more of something that to me seems like a problem for monks. In 3.5 monks, they pretty much can't use an armor slot or shield slot, thus unable easily bump their AC or use crystals in the MIC.

I'll admit to not playing a monk beyond 2 levels, but it seems that not being able to use those slots puts monks at a disadvantage...especially at lower levels, so my comments are based on what seems to be a challenge for pure monks.

To some extent their weapon slot isn't that useful either since their unarmored damage increases, but at least they can use magical weapons.

I've played sorcerers and wizards in the Living Greyhawk campaign (I state this so people know the perspective I'm coming from). I am in the camp that most people here say is that sorcerers are underpowered in a Living Greyhawk 3.5 campaign. If you check the site and do a player search on wizards versus sorcerers, I think it is like 2:1.

Other campaigns, they might not be that bad. If you focus only on combat and limited role playing and limited situations, then sorcerers aren't that bad. Also, if all you've faced are sorcerer opponents, then they really kick a party's butt. However, NPC sorcerer's job is to destroy PCs. They don't have to be diplomatic, they don't need knowledge arcana, they don't need spellcraft, they don't need Craft Wondrous Item, they don't need balance checks, they don't need to breathe underwater, etc. I state this to address some of the counter arguments.

What are the limits of a sorcerer/wizard in 3.5?
1) poor BAB
2) one good save
3) d4 (in 3.5) HP
4) 2 skill points per level

What are the problems a sorcerer has compared to a wizard in 3.5
5) limited spell selection
6) delayed spell progression
7) slow metamagic application
8) limited prestige class qualification
9) charisma as a primary stat (it doesn't gain you much as a class and effectively gives them fewer skill points compared to a wizard)
10) no class abilities/feats
11) almost all magic items are designed for wizards and work better for wizards than sorcerers.

What are the strengths a sorcerer has compared to a wizard in 3.5
12) can use their spell slots for any equivalent level spell or lower
13) can apply metamagic feats "on the fly", with an extended casting time (this makes quicken spell not an option)
14) at levels 7 and above, sorcerers have more spell slots (though pearls of power negate this ability)

Most of these statements are essentialy more factual than opinion (#11 has my opinion thrown in there, but most people should be able to come to the same conclusion).

After looking at the strengths and weakness, in my game play experience, these weakness of the sorcerer don't balance out that of the strengths. The question is how to balance these out--especially in Pathfinder since these listed items are changed (d6 HD, the bonded object is great for a wizard, sucks for a sorcerer because it effectively gives them one more highest spell slot, where a wizard can cast ANY spell they know).

Part of the direction forward is the vision Jason has for Sorcerers. I think he said spell progression, BAB, are going to be unchanged. I do like the idea of the bloodlines as flavors to distinguish them from wizards. However, are sorcerers suppose to be an "equivalent" arcane caster, a weaker arcane caster, a stronger one? If you add cool bloodline abilities, I'm am personally fine with sorcerers being a weaker arcane caster. HOWEVER, the bloodline needs to balance out the for the listed weaknesses compared to a wizard.

Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Stephen Klauk wrote:

Sudden thought:

I realize that some folks would really like to see their progression change. Right now, I am not willing to make that change. The sorcerers benefit has always been more spells, just at a slightly slower progression. You may disagree, but right now, I am sticking with this concept.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

I partially disagree with the statement [The sorcerers benefit has always been more spells...]

Under 3.5 rules, if you assume a 16 intelligence for wizards and 16 charisma for sorcerers, and DON'T count level zero spells, the statement "sorcerers has more spells" isn't true. I don't count zero level spells due to their relatively minor role in the game. If you count zero level spells, then the statement is true.

Let's count them

Level 1 spell availability
Sorcerer = 4* winner
Wizard specialist = 3
Wizard generalist = 2

Level 2 spell availability
Sorcerer = 5* winner
Wizard specialist = 4
Wizard generalist = 3

Level 3 spell availability
Sorcerer = 6
Wizard specialist = 7* winner
Wizard generalist = 5

Level 4 spell availability
Sorcerer = 11 * winner
Wizard specialist = 9
Wizard generalist = 7

Level 5 spell availability
Sorcerer = 12* tied as winner
Wizard specialist = 9
Wizard generalist = 12* tied as winner

Level 6 and beyond, it is true that sorcerers have more spells. Before that, at level 3, sorcerer's don't (due to their lag in spell level) and are tied for the most at level 5.

The next question is does having more spell slots with limited spell selection translate to being better or more powerful. Some considerations to think about would be "Is it a big deal to have those slots when your spell selection to fill them as a sorcerer are limited?"

How do Pearl of powers change the situation (my Living Greyhawk cleric can cast more spells with his pearls of power than the sorcerer)

K wrote:
hogarth wrote:
Souphin wrote:
If the Sorcerer Tax is too high then what should be the adjustment for casting spontaneously and casting more spells than a wizard. OR what should be the adjustment for casting spells a level behind a wizard is casting?

I don't think there's a problem with having one sorcerer tax. But there are at least four:

-metamagic is slower to use
-many fewer spells known
-get new spell levels later
-no class features whatsoever (Pathfinder has changed this one)

In return they get two advantages:
-don't have to pre-memorize spells
-get one or two extra slots per spell level

For the 3.5 sorcerer, the "taxes" outweigh the advantages. The Pathfinder sorcerer is getting closer, but I don't think it's perfect yet; Ride-By Attack as a bonus feat (from the Celestial bloodline) is mighty tempting, though... :)

I'd add to that list:

-Fewer spells known makes them objectively worse crafters.

-Fixed spells known means that they can't learn a spell to fix a circumstance. Example: Finding out that you need to defend a castle, the Wizard can learn guards and wards. Of course, since he'll never use it again its no problem.

-Fixed spells known means that some spells that are only used once a day are objectively worse. Example: mage armor.

Also add to the sorcerer tax in 3.5 rules is their difficulty to access prestige classes due to their smaller spell selection (eg. argent savant), smaller skills (where can one get knowledge planes!), or feat availability (loremaster comes to mind).

When sorcerers lose a level, it hurts them much more than wizards. Sorcerers either lose their single highest level spell known, or they lose lots of spells and a few slots. Wizards either lose their capability of casting their highest level spells, or a few spell slots.

Charisma versus intelligence. There are more intelligence based skills than charisma that you can benefit from and high intelligence gets you more skill points. High charisma gets you nothing.

I apologize if some of this ground has been covered. I haven't read all of the posts. In general, I believe that 2 skills per level are too few. One difficulty in playing LG or home campaigns is that quite often if you don't have the right class mix, no one can make that skill/knowledge check. It frustrates players and DMs. Pathfinder has addressed some of those issues. I

I definitely believe wizards should have more skill points. I believe that rogues don't need anymore, and sorcerers and bards should have more. In my opinion clerics need more as well, but this detracts from my proposal.

Anyway, I haven't checked the past messages as an option, but how about classes recieving 2 skill points per intelligence modifier? An intelligence of 12 gets 2 additional (instead of one), an intelligence of 14 gets 4 additional (instead of 2). This would resolve part of the issue around the bard and wizard. This would also make intelligence less likely a dump stat.

Eric Kim

Coming from a Living Greyhawk 3.5 background, I agree that certain stat ability boosters had problems.

One thing the new system has (one slot for physical, one for mental) on the surface seems good, but it almost makes it impossible to do a mystic theurge or arcane heirophant who needs two mental stat boosters.

3.5 monks need both strength and dex. Bards can benefit from both charisma and intelligence. If Pathfinder does favored souls or warmages, they need charisma and intelligence.

Unfortunately, I am not sure what the best path forward is.

Eric Kim

I do like the changes to the sorcerer, however, I still believe they are underpowered. I don't know about the other people, but I have played both wizards and sorcerers. There are small circumstances in which sorcerers can be better, but the rest of the circumstances, wizards are better.

There are two 3.5 comparisons.
Wizard to sorcerer versus
Cleric to favored soul

Wizard gains in pathfinder and
Sorcerer gains in pathfinder

In 3.5, if you look at the transition of an arcane to a prepared caster to a spontaneous caster, wizards are much better. This is especially true with pearls of power. Wizards gain feats and can actually use more spells (and can cast more spells at odd levels) and has better access to prestige classes due to more feats and skill selection.

In Pathfinder, the sorcerer gains are small (4 bloodline feats and 5 bloodline powers) over 20 levels. The wizards gain much more (arcane bond, cantrips at will--sorcerer cantrips are limited, scribe scroll, 11 school powers, 1 school ability and 4 feats) Sorcerers got better, wizards got much better and in my opinion, sorcerers were always lagging compared to wizards. Not only are sorcerers limited by their spell selection, they are behind a spell level, AND they are stiffled by metamagic feats. Rapid metamagic in 3.5 allows my sorcerer to quicken spells. Quicken spells and metamagic feats are where arcane casters really shine.

If you compare the transition of arcane prepared to arcane spontaneous versus divine prepared to divine spontaneous, the favored soul gains much more than the sorcerer.

Eric Kim

I was hoping much more for the sorcerer. Maybe more skill selection, one more spells IF there were no changes to wizards. I think these would make sorcerers on par with 3.5 wizards. If you check to see who plays what PCs, wizards are far more likely than sorcerers.

I may not have entirely read the school specialist class feature of the wizard correctly, but there are 11 opportunties to gain a power of a school specialist, but there are only 8 schools?

Is this an error? Can you take a specialist power more than once?