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VMC gives you a specific effective oracle level, but wouldn't that only replace oracle level in the equation for determining curse strength?

The idea that you get 50% twice, but are only receiving duplicate abilities that don't stack does make sense though.

VMC Oracle says:
"At 1st level, she must select a curse. She gains all effects of the curse, treating her effective oracle level as equal to 1/2 her character level."

This at first appears to give you exactly what it says 50% of normal curse advancement. However curse says:
"An oracle's curse is based on her oracle level plus one for every two levels or Hit Dice other than oracle."

Since VMC is giving you an effective oracle level for curse progression, and suggests no other changes to the curse ability, it seems like you'd be getting both 50% curse progressions.

I realize that if I'm reading this right, it's simply an error, but it's also possible I'm missing some other rule that would prevent this from happening.

All archetypes that trade away hide in plain sight also trade away favored terrain with the exception of horse lord which trades away hunter's bond.

Those two abilities give you decent benefits in increasingly common situations as you level. They aren't ridiculously potent or reliable, but they are useful.

I guess replacing both abilities with inspire courage while your death vow is in effect would seem appropriate.

So if you want to go that route, I guess you'd need to worship valani for that sweet gargantuan elemental form. May as well make use of your size by getting that bullrushing weapon modifier (driving) and the feat that does your unarmed damage when your target runs into something while you threaten them(crushing impact), and smashing impact to keep knocking them through walls.

It'd be silly if the gargantuan elemental chose to shoot you with an arrow at point blank range, but it probably fits the requirements of the build request.

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I get stuck in that same problem. I'll give the players lots of room to make choices, some will do something that moves the story in an interesting direction, others will want to do something that would take months and be essentially meaningless. I've sort of cut into this by promoting delegating certain tasks, and giving my players incentive to hire adventurers when they aren't needed, but I'll still occasionally get someone who wants to go grocery shopping.

I still sit there thinking, from time to time, "what if I think grocery shopping is boring because I have a lower opinion of the person who wants to do this."

The metagaming problem is really weird. I frequently reskin monsters and the players manage to guess a few of their abilities based on their description. If it's regenerating, everyone tries fire, if it's metal people will try electricity, if it's small people will try cold iron. If someone fusses about these things I have to assume they're against the players. I'm always pretty stoked when my players are being smart.

It would probably make more sense to compare Castle Nathria to raids people hadn't been running for over a decade, with available speed run videos, and 4 months of raiding the prior raid tier. Naxx originally took 90 days, middle of the pack for vanilla WoW. The shortest being Onyxia at 69.

Castle Nathria took 36, falling just short of Magtheridon's 40 days. That's 10 bosses in the time it took to defeat the 2 bosses in Gruul's and
1 in Mag's. That sure sounds streamlined at the very least.

That said, time to kill probably isn't the best measure. How severely is the group punished for errors, what's the spread between a good player and a bad player, or a good player and the best player, that sort of thing. Lots of games, for better or for worse, want to narrow the impact of a skill gap. That decision is annoying to those of us who enjoy climbing up skill levels.

Having said all that, pen and paper games aren't really skill based, and having the gap between characters be too broad, without some pay off for lower ability, is just bad design. Pen and paper games that don't utilize alternative pay off options do tend to feel boring though.

It looks like an ideal race to me, it should work for most things small+dex+darkvision is always good.

Without knowing what the race is, and just looking at their abilities and guessing, maybe a dreamthief rogue?

The Vizier Mesmerist can make it look like all his powers come from someone else. Pick up a familiar to blame your powers on and call it good.

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I treat it as altering information about an object in a coterminous plane (The Plane of Names). You're opening up a portal to the information about that specific object and putting things in that portal to change the object's identity. I use the same device to explain mending spells knowing what something is meant to look like.

The materials shift as time passes, quickly becoming unrecoverable as the object changes states and passes through time.

The inability to use improved familiar and archetypes together is why I like the First World Caller, the familiar gains a template rather than becoming an improved familiar.

The first world caller wizard archetype gives your familiar the fey-touched template, which includes one humanoid alternate form. If you have "ties to the fey" you can make your familiar fey-touched at 3rd level with improved familiar. I can't imagine you're too far away from having ties to the fey if you want a cat that turns into a human.

There's also the "Changeling Familiar" feat which grants one alter self form to your familiar, though it requires your familiar have the change shape ability already. I think that sticks you with a Pooka if you want something that could be a cat and a human; but who doesn't like bunny girls with drunk dust? The main problem is it comes up really late in the game.

If I were running a game where someone played a shifter, I'd probably just let them have the limbs. A character could just as easily "alter self" into a canopy troll, a couple of extra limbs on a shifter's natural form aren't hurting anything.

My response to GM favoritism has been to run experiments in the game to see if the favoritism is real, then treat the favoritism as a real in world effect if it exists.

The only time I ever really had a problem with it was when it was irregular. A DM who isn't part of our regular group singled out a party member for either extremely lenient or extremely strict rules decisions based on how he was feeling at the moment. One session the player could ignore negative modifiers and have access to abilities that were usually locked behind feats, and the next game she'd lose access to class abilities that had worked fine before because now they didn't make sense. My character and her character had substantial overlap in abilities so it was obvious when the DM flipped the switch.

More typically favoritism results in my characters having superstitious beliefs about how things should be done. I had a DM who had it out for one of the other players, and this meant my spells were much more effective if they hurt him. The DM would boost the DC or give damage bonuses explaining that the room was too small to successfully save or that water became electrically charged or something similar. This resulted in my character believing that the other PC was some sort of magical conduit and referring to him as such. It's also been fairly frequent that a DM will only allow successful social skill checks from certain players, or from NPCs, but you just learn who is "good" at those checks and push them to the front of the group.

Shielded Gauntlet attack and ascetic strike

This is one of those cases where the usually cheesy Chuspiki familiar option ends up balancing out the classes limitations somewhat. At the very least you have a fully leveled kineticist attack coming from your familiar to backup your otherwise lackluster abilities. You could also take a homunculus and dump all your money into it.

You also have the option of picking typically lackluster familiars as your lower level options. The Sin Seeker has some unique abilities but is typically not worth the feat, and the Coral Capuchin has a curse that requires a con check to resist, which should be lower than targeting a save.

But really, you're losing an awful lot of a summoners power for a secret identity.

"These alternate natural attacks modify only the damage type of the shifter’s natural attacks and otherwise function exactly as the shifter claws class feature."

It just changes the damage type. I don't think that's what they wanted to say exactly, and it's a disappointing way to run the feature, but it seems like it does between almost nothing and less than nothing. In this case your claw would go from piercing and blunt, to just piercing.

Cosmetically, your arm could look like a stinger, or the stinger could come from your wrist. But I wouldn't expect you to receive extra limbs to combine with claws you may already have.

Could you get an amulet of mighty fists with the transformative ability, turn your tentacles into hands, then those hands into claws?

No, I was thinking of gaining it through the wasp familiar feat. I could have phrased that better, sorry. I'd never seen the rule allowing for changing familiar feats, with that being the case, the scorpion gaining the feat isn't that big an issue.

Minigiant wrote:
We haven't discussed Eldritch Guardian. Is there any Samurai combat feats that Shared Training could exploit?

Aether elemental improved familiar with some grapple feats including bushwhack and throat slicer? If you're playing with a DM who rules that TK grapple moves the target adjacent to you, then you have a 600ft bushwhack coup de grace combo as your aether elemental grapples the dude, he flies next to you, gets pinned, and you finish it off.

The samurai nonlethal option combines well with the merciful takedown feat if you'd rather not teleport kill everyone.

Yeah, I guess you're right.

I'd be hesitant to allow a freely selectable feat to a familiar regardless of how the rules decision went. Particularly the green sting scorpion since it's available with a single feat. It's already a level 2 flying mount for a halfling wizard or shaman, I'm sure I could come up with a good feat to slap onto it. It's just a mess of exceptions, one more probably won't make it worse.

The "retains the [...] feats of the normal animal it once was" line seems to say that no it doesn't gain any new feats from this.

I like dogs as much as anyone, but they are bottom tier negotiators who give you their entire life and key to their happiness for 2 meals and head pats, and have a tail that betrays their bluff checks. They also have difficulty with use magic device for anything activated by a means other than removing all the fluff.

avr wrote:
Penalties tend to stack. As to why not magi? It's a second level spell which isn't on their spell list, is mind-affecting, can't take out an enemy (can't reduce a stat to 0), and may not have a combat-significant effect on many goons.

It looks like while they do tend to stack, they don't stack in this case.

common terms wrote:
Stacking: Stacking refers to the act of adding together bonuses or penalties that apply to one particular check or statistic. Generally speaking, most bonuses of the same type do not stack. Instead, only the highest bonus applies. Most penalties do stack, meaning that their values are added together. Penalties and bonuses generally stack with one another, meaning that the penalties might negate or exceed part or all of the bonuses, and vice versa.
combining magic effects wrote:

Stacking Effects: Spells that provide bonuses or penalties on attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws, and other attributes usually do not stack with themselves. More generally, two bonuses of the same type don’t stack even if they come from different spells (or from effects other than spells; see Bonus Types, above).

Different Bonus Types: The bonuses or penalties from two different spells stack if the modifiers are of different types. A bonus that doesn’t have a type stacks with any bonus.

Same Effect More than Once in Different Strengths: In cases when two or more identical spells are operating in the same area or on the same target, but at different strengths, only the one with the highest strength applies.

Same Effect with Differing Results: The same spell can sometimes produce varying effects if applied to the same recipient more than once. Usually the last spell in the series trumps the others. None of the previous spells are actually removed or dispelled, but their effects become irrelevant while the final spell in the series lasts.

Touch of idiocy appears to fall under a couple of the headings that prevent stacking.

They sound neutral evil to me. All of their motives and their perspective are selfish, so I don't see any shift out of evil here. The fact that the character has a short list of those whose well fare he is concerned about, isn't enough to change anything.
Their disregard for order sounds incidental, and their need to please other people makes it seem as if they'd narrow the scope of their impact for the sake maintaining their personal appeal. I'd go chaotic evil if their cult attraction interests are strong enough to pull people out of their families and leave them entirely reliant upon him.

They sound fun, and appealing, and I'd happily have such a character in a game I was running, but they're evil.

It'd probably work out alright to allow the person to keep the golem arm for upgrade and replacement rules, and just apply the constructed pugilist modifications on top of that. If someone was trying to do this at my table, I'd let them combine the arms, or make each arm the golem type arm since I'm not sure exactly how functional the prosthetic is meant to be.

It sounds like the prosthesis is meant to allow a tentacle or something to function more like a hand, but I'm not really sure.

It seems like it'd be easier to fulfill all of your lifestyle needs with magic items than to rely on mundane means of acquiring things. An at will polymorph any object thing, a once per day magnificent mansion, and you're good to go, right?

I wonder how fast you'd tank the gold market doing that. I'm not sure how appealing it would be to sit around making money all day, I imagine most people would use their magic purchases to not be doing that with their time.

The appeal of a use active antitech field spell seems fun. You wouldn't need to worry about non-explosive modern weapons, cars couldn't touch you, fun stuff.

I suppose it does require that effective druid levels for the purpose of animal companion count as druid levels when counting the "any" druid levels that combine with totem spiritualist.

There's a possible reading that totem spiritualist doesn't stack with effective druid levels for the purpose of animal companion, but with druid levels regardless of whether or not those druid levels have an animal companion.

Knowing there's a barbarian in the party, I'd feel compelled to go with anger inquisition to use the amplified rage teamwork feat without all the usual fuss of getting a raging ally through pets or summons.

May as well pop a level of totem spiritualist on the iron bound samurai/fighter for a fully leveled phantom as well.

The abilities don't stack, you also aren't stacking the abilities by having the damage granted by both abilities stack. If the abilities stacked, you'd be combining the class levels to get an effective sneak attack level.

Usually abilities wouldn't stack due to being the same type of bonus. However, precision damage inherits it's type from the triggering attack, and is thus neither untyped or typed damage.

If it's causing problems, take a level of vivisectionist alchemist, their sneak attack has this line: "If a character already has sneak attack from another class, the levels from the classes that grant sneak attack stack to determine the effective rogue level for the sneak attack’s extra damage dice". This makes your slayer 3, rogue 1, vivialchy 1 a 3d6 sneak attacker.

He seems like a Ranger with the Dandy archetype

A snowfall orb will let you make 1d4 hours of heavy snow fall per day, and heavy snowfall is 1d4 inches of snow per hour. This is over a 1 mile radius. Snow fall is 2,715 gallons per inch of snow per acre, and 1 mile radius is 2010 acres.

So 1d4²*5,457,150 gallons per day for 14,000gold. If you really want to add water, this is the way to go. Adding cold water is... well, it could be a big problem if you tried to use it in places that don't typically have cold water.

It could be more useful to have an unlimited use climbing beanstalk spell item. Making a 15 foot tall food producing tree every six seconds is probably not too bad for 10k.

10 x ushabti of the willing spirit 39,000
1 x The Master's Name 25,000
1 x golden carriage of gaspar longfellow 114,000
1 x periapt of health 7,500
1 x chest of keeping 9,000
1 x quarterstaff of entwined serpents 5,050
1 x mantle of immortality 50,000
1 x Sihedron Ring 35,000
1 x Apprentice Cheating Gloves 2,200
1 x lyre of building
1 x +5 intelligence tome
1 x +6 intelligence headband with perform(string), diplomacy, sense motive

That makes a bit of a dent in that mess of money.

Gamblers tend to gamble for the gamble itself, taking risks for the emotional high and thinking of losses as an acceptable risk. They should be very justice minded, though without the somber pastiche of a typical lawful character, they want there to be risk so cheating or being cheated are out of the question.

I think a Daring Champion Cavalier/Warrior Poet Samurai, with the order of the flame would work nicely. You issue your challenge as a wager, and go double or nothing for your glorious challenge.

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The archetypes are meant to retheme characters somewhat. Between archetypes and a DM that's fine with refluffing mechanics, you can usually get by alright. The only ability I've had to replace for a character was a vivisectionist who didn't want the furry maker ability. I don't think a character's theme is an important measure for min/maxing, you can support a character's theme in the same way with every choice or not.

Modularity is one of those things that can be good or bad depending on what the rest of the game looks like. If your modular chunks are too small, then you end up with many useless decisions. If they're too big, players will feel like they don't have that much choice on what their character is. If the modular pieces are all meant to be equally valuable, then you can end up with situations where each choice seems pointless and may as well be randomized.

As a player, I tend to accept the non-thematic ability for what it is. In real life I have skills I don't need and don't use, but come up from time to time. I don't like talking about the history of scientific movements, but I sure read and wrote about them in college and can't just ignore what I know. I'll grudgingly bring out the tool if it seems necessary as both a person and when playing a character. If it's something flexible, I'll stick to theme. I won't memorize spells that are outside of the character's theme just because they're the best or whatever, but I will memorize them when they are specifically needed.

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I've had a few npcs wear glamered armor made to look like sexy fantasy armor. It usually gets groans then a chuckle after the reveal. Things that people seem to think are offensive tend to go over well enough as long as you're self aware and they fit the context and audience.

As for the topic, I tend to get pushed into investigator type roles just to keep the party moving, and I'd like to try something else. Playing a mundane meat head could be appealing for awhile, but I haven't done so in a game that lasted terribly long.

My standard is a non-heroic support type character, or a stealth/wizard type. I played a melee occultist which seemed like a big deviation from type, enough that the people who played with me forever seemed a bit baffled. He'd charge ahead in combat, break down barriers, argue against stealth options, become argumentative to instigate fights to justify attacking evil people, and so on. I loved playing the character, but had to be sure that the other players knew I thought his ideas were bad, and had to make unpersuasive arguments to emulate his poor social skills and dumped wisdom score. The object reading ability made it so he was the investigator for the group even though that wasn't my intent with the character.

Next time I'll get it right. No investigation, poor memory for past events, just a brutish goon of a thing palling around waiting for initiative to get rolled. Some day.

Typically, yes. One of the DMs at our table always uses NPCs as traitors or hostages though, so when he's running we all tend to play characters who are less interested in relying on NPCs. Yes, it's metagaming, but it seems justified since all mechanical means of combating either traitors or hostages tend to be arbitrarily blocked.

In the game I'm running currently, I've made an effort to push enough tasks onto the players that they feel the need to delegate. The party has a few adventuring parties that work with them and those parties are made up of people they've helped along the way, who have aligned interests, or who were recruited specifically for the purpose. Even though the PCs are overtly evil, their need to recruit and retain leverage in negotiations means that their brand of evil manifests in a narratively useful way.

It's a huge pain in the ass, but it's been fun too and I'll try something similar next game.

I think you could dimensional anchor yourself to avoid summoning. I'm not sure if that would protect you from being summoned by summon nature's ally though, since that one doesn't specify that the creature is extraplanar.

You went from a heavily multiclassed character to a single class character, and enjoyed the single class character. Is it possible that it was the multiclassing itself that made the character's ability set harder for you to navigate?

People don't dislike shifter on it's own, it's better than many other classes, it just doesn't compare well to druid if you want a shifting focused character. They're still fun, and effective, they just are in the bad spot of being compared with a 9th level caster.

I agree with everyone saying slayer. They don't need to constantly look at whether or not their bonuses stack, their action types are easy enough to juggle, and you can select universally valuable bonus feats pretty easily.

Kineticist has your "base power goes up" requirement, but the class isn't very streamlined. You'd probably enjoy a kinetic knight or elemental annihilator, but burn makes it needlessly complicated. It's probably fine if your DM knows the class.

warpriest requires greater attention to action economy than many other classes, I wouldn't recommend it if you have trouble keeping track of what you can do.

All that said, try the cleric. Maybe it was just the multiclassing thing that was causing problems.

You know about trolls, vampires, and dragons due to legends and such. I'd continue on that theme for knowing about other creatures. Use either local or history to know what stories are told involving creatures, but I wouldn't expect to ever get from that starting point to real practical monster knowledge without first hand experience, an expert, a library, or a spell that gave you knowledge like Akashic communion.

I was thinking Battle Poi and the feat Weapon Shift made for the best fire themed druid, but this does look pretty good.

It's interesting that Green Scourge doesn't specify that the spells spent on flame blade need to be druid spells, just prepared spells. I can't think of build that could use that 1 level dip for buffed flameblade, but it could be fun.

There's the devolver druid method. Though I don't know if reducing people to an animal state is as satisfying as removing their will while they retain their humanity. And you aren't granted any particular ability to dominate things other than humans.

Having a parasite familiar would be convenient, as you'd have a second dominator.

Socothbenoth has a similar evangelist power, though it's restricted to lurid acts. There's also the freeform polymorph effect so you can change your thralls into something more useful, adding extra limbs of your choice and so on.

I assumed it was something like a job or a trade. Extra planar day laborers, they eat the spell energy of the spell used to summon them, or something like that. It would be sort of cool if summoners were seen by other planes the way the material plane sees wish granting genies; warning one another of the risks of accepting a summon invite.

There's certainly ways to shape the world that make summoning more or less exploitative. I've been running a game where summons are all contract based, and the contract is worked out as part of memorization. The players are frequently summoned in that game, so there needed to be more to it. I usually just hand wave it as there always being some willing creature in the infinite planes, though I do house rule alignment restrictions, but it could be more rigorously worked out.

Halcyon druid. They trade out their wildshape for some wizard spell choices, and they spontaneously cast from the good domain rather than summon natures ally. They aren't as focused on nature based benefits, so they don't lose a bunch of class abilities in urban or other planar environments. They get a bonded object instead of a pet. And their 13th level embody mask ability gives you some pretty cool and shorter term transformation options. My preference is draconal but there's plenty of other good choices.

Honorable mention to:
Leshy Warden for Green Man form at 6th level
Feral Shifter for access to planar focus feat
Goliath druid for being able to wild shape into forms that don't lose their equipment.

An instant spell is no longer active as a spell once it's effect has taken place, it can't really expire. You would need a reference to all effects of the spells expiring not the spells themselves.

I don't think the effects of instant spells end when they disappear. Expire typically means somethings time has ended, and the term is only used rules wise to refer to expiration of duration. Using tattoo attunement to extend spells cast by summons is a common enough strategy, but I wouldn't expect to need it for instant effects.

If an instant effect ended on its own eventually, I could see an argument that the effect expired at the end of the summon.

Algarik wrote:
Taja the Barbarian wrote:
This is a fundamental issue with most of the gaming industry:[list]
  • If you don't create and sell enough books, you will go broke.
  • If you do publish enough to stay afloat, eventually the game becomes bloated and a degree of diminishing returns starts to set in (Old rulebook sales decline because there are already a lot of copies in circulation and new books tend to have narrower audiences because you presumably already covered the more popular topics).
  • The more bloated the game becomes, the more intimidating it becomes for new (and some old) players.
  • If you try to clear the bloat by issuing a new edition (or even a 'half-edition'), people get upset because they have already invested (emotionally and/or financially) in the current edition.
  • While this is all very true, i feel like there would be way to release new books and new editions without necessary bringing drastic changes to editions that makes them completely incompatible.

    It's a problem for most types of iterative release games. The most successful strategy seems to be a series of releasing and invalidating like you get with games like MtG. It's not as viable in table top gaming since games often last long enough that new material would need to be released before games were finished if the company intended to survive. And the main mechanism for invalidating is writing overpowered abilities that displace the old versions, then invalidating them in the next release. It's not satisfying long term and makes it hard to jump back in.

    Swapping between genres could make it work better, and that seems to be the Paizo strategy, so we'll get to see if it works out. I'm not sure a sci-fi/fantasy swap is enough of a delay, you'd probably want 3 or 4 for a cycle. Maybe modern to get people some real world analogues, then plane hopping or time travel for rule/option consolidation.

    There's a technology artifact.and there's a golem modification that lets you wear it.

    I submit, using the overwatch style feats with kinetic blast. Without the restriction to a weapon, wielding, or any of the other typical restrictions on ranged feats, overwatch vortex lets you ready 4 blasts as a full round action.

    Similar exploit with master sniper.

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