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Shadow Lodge

Magic is a very diverse mechanic that can function like many things in the real world. I always think of it as volatile. Very very few understand it and those who do cannot truly explain how it works. Alchemy, the "science" of magic, is known in golarion primarily for bombs created by it which harness it with the precision of a rampaging elephant. Wizardry, the study of magic can define it by school, and outline what each school does, but trying to explain how leads to the glazed eyes of the commonfolk. Sorcery and Bardery(?), the art of magic, can explain it as well as an artist can explain inspiration, another artist or enthusiast understands and the rest politely nod to avoid offense.

So trust probably varies as wide as the field of magic itself does. If I manage a low scale tavern in the sketchy parts of Absalom, I don't care if the wizard casts a spell, he's probably one of the uncharismatic types cooling his cheap beer with ray of frost, and probably isn't more dangerous than the guy juggling knives for his dayjob.

If I am a rich and experienced trade prince dealing with a well renouned bars, I will be offended if he doesn't try magic to grease the wheels. I have money enough to protect from most harmful spells, and authority to arrest him, so am I not good enough to use one of his cantrips?

If I am nobility hosting a dinner party, I expect the highest nobles to have abjurations, glamors, and other such things up before they enter. The richest man in town doesn't show up to a party without a bodyguard, or show up in his pajamas. He also shouldn't change in the bathroom or pull his guard's weapons for show though, so the spells should be precast.

If I have a mundane job though, like farming, I disallow unexplained magic. In the seconds it takes to cast spark my entire livelihood could go from my most prosperous year yet, to crippling povery because of a madman casting spark to burn down my wheat fields or blow up the silo.

Shadow Lodge

Zwordsman wrote:
What do you mean on the familiar? It's a normal familiar you can expand with normally. Except it has it's own "secret identity" so unlike other familar, you can't be identified via scrying for it etc.

True, scrying is an issue, but considering that there is no penalty for having your familiar quite a ways away, whistles are cheap iirc, and the unavailability of talents, I think a case could be made for a vigilante who lets his familiar hunt while in social mode and calls it back as part of the costume change. Or vice-versa. After all, feats can be obtained by some simple level-dips.

As an aside, I think a good number of the problems with talents could be solved if there were an extra talent feat, or even if there was simply a feat to increase casting a bit instead of only talents for this. Maybe something you could take at 7th level (to be on-level with the other casting classes), and again at 13 or something. Its still not great, but it could free up some more talents.

Shadow Lodge

So, I recently saw vigilante round 2, and had some thouhts on it. Only going over warlock, as that is the most interesting one to me.

Social Talents: Well, its an interesting set, but I don't like that you pretty much have to take renown. I'd like to see talents that open up skill unlocks for thematic skills (bluff, diplomacy, disguise, stealth, etc). I like that changing costumes is quicker sooner, and that it isn't mandatory. Also I like that no abilities are put on lockdown, because of how little sense that made thematically.

Appearance powers: Hey look, invisibility is an even more powerful spell now. I hope that startling appearance becomes a rogue and a slayer talent.

Arcane Training: It didn't change. As is I doubt I'll ever go past 3 or 4, because I don't play high levels a lot and most of the spells I really like are 2nd or 3rd. I think there should be options to have other types of casting (like an alchemical route in the specialization giving alchemist extracts, expanded discovery talents, and better bombs; or a spontaneous casting path with some sorcerer abilities and better mystic bolts). I also still don't see why they can't build in armored casting. I still don't like that there is a talent tax to do what the class is supposedly good at thematically, but it seems like we might have to live with this. As a side note, I do like modular casting, but I think spells/day need to scale, and that there need to be package bundles of 2&3 4&5 and 6 or something.

Caster's Defense: This seems a bit needless to me. Warlock should already be able to cast in light armor IMO, but as it stands, I'll take an extended mage armor+wand of shield over this any day. Or heck, even an armored coat.

Mystic Bolt: Wow thats a lot of text. I think its definitely a cool ability, but I don't think its as good as a lot of posters seem to. I mean, its only 1 talent, it does low damage, and it seems to want you to take all sorts of feats to make it work. I'll still probably take it at 6th level on my warlock, and would like to see it as a base ability option that comes with additional effects or damage types though.

Bombs: This, to me, seems like the talent to take when you don't want to focus on spells and you don't want to focus on bolts. Take discoveries to give utility (cloud ones, dispelling, a few debuff ones like concussive bombs) and enjoy being a fake alchemist. It certainly won't be more powerful than the alchemist, but it might be interesting still.

Arcane Striker: Personally, I don't like this ability. It is on-par with a feat for 11 levels (most of the game for a lot of folks), and then is only barely better for another 4. I'd rather take arcane strike as a feat and take cooler talents with my small pool of them. I like the theme, but mechanically its nothing special.

Tattoo Chamber: This is hands-down my favorite part of the playtest. This one ability. Its a unique ability that is difficult to mimic with feats, spells, or other abilities (which is rare with some archetypes these days), and it gives an interesting yet balanced way to work around restrictions in a variety of games. Maybe I'm overestimating this, but for me having hammerspace that can keep spellbooks safe, hide lots of objects (more with shrink item) unfailingly, store magical blaster items like the quarterstaff of the entwined serpents or a wand of (insert spell), and much more is a very promising ability. I'd like to see more things like this in terms of design.

Shadow Jump: an interesting alternative to 4th level spells for me, as dimension door is the only spell I'd really really want for the builds I have in mind.

Familiar: I like that they explained how familiars work with dual identity, and I know that the extra actions are a big deal on the boards, but personally it might be easier for me to take EH(arcane) and have it be a familiar than spend a talent if there isn't an extra X feat option coming out. Of course, this wouldn't be for a feat-intensive build like the twf rapid shot arcane striker build thats been floating around.

Signature Spell: Eh, its still a powerful yet boring ability. Probably worth it for enchanters or blasters, not so much for conjurers or caster-lite builds.

Concealed Casting: Another cool, thematic, and useful ability, but I don't see why Zealots cannot get this too. Not sure if I'll ever pick it up but its definitely an interesting option to have out there.

I'm probably forgetting a few things, but these were the most memorable things I saw. Any thoughts on the above ideas/review?

Shadow Lodge

Orfamay Quest wrote:
EvilPaladin wrote:

Months prior, the rogue built strong underworld connections, and through her blackmarket ties was able to get all needed magical items at 1/2 price.

A few weeks prior to the raid, the rogue and the ranger go scout out the tower. Naturally, the rogue is able to bypass every trap, sensor, and guard.

Scouting out the area, the rogue gives the ranger a foolproof disguise in seconds, and constructs a disguise for herself that can even trick lifesense and divinations.

The team then sneaks into a laboratory after some time, needing to slay the undead guards and bypass over 100 traps, and to their infinite surprise find a grotesque collection of cadavers, all identical to the wizard. Upon closer inspection, the ranger notices that they don't just look like the wizard, they seem to be identical. The rogue then finds the instruction manual and realizes that these must be his clones. They stuff one in a bag of holding and coat it in the ungent of revivification just in case they need to bring him back alive, and then proceed to sabotage the rest of the clones. The rogue at this point uses his intricate knowledge of anatomy to put small cuts on each clone, inpercievable by most, that would instantly slay them if they started to move.

Then, just as they are leaving, the wizard starts his daily role call (to keep adventurers out), but the rogue is able to trigger a few dozen alarm traps which gives them enough time to escape. But, as the wizard gets near them (to see to the problem), the ranger notices something. He is familiar with humans, knowing how they look, smell, sound, etc. and realizes something is off about this guy. He quickly then takes the scent of the clones, compares the two, and learns something invaluable: the wizard is really on another plane. This is just an astral projection.

Regrouping, the fighter and brawler are irritated that the plan they'd had for months was just shot, but aren't surprised. Wizards are usually smart after all. The fighter,


Ah, sorry. I spent so much time catching up to this thread I forgot about that.

Shadow Lodge

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Months prior, the rogue built strong underworld connections, and through her blackmarket ties was able to get all needed magical items at 1/2 price.

A few weeks prior to the raid, the rogue and the ranger go scout out the tower. Naturally, the rogue is able to bypass every trap, sensor, and guard.

Scouting out the area, the rogue gives the ranger a foolproof disguise in seconds, and constructs a disguise for herself that can even trick lifesense and divinations.

The team then sneaks into a laboratory after some time, needing to slay the undead guards and bypass over 100 traps, and to their infinite surprise find a grotesque collection of cadavers, all identical to the wizard. Upon closer inspection, the ranger notices that they don't just look like the wizard, they seem to be identical. The rogue then finds the instruction manual and realizes that these must be his clones. They stuff one in a bag of holding and coat it in the ungent of revivification just in case they need to bring him back alive, and then proceed to sabotage the rest of the clones. The rogue at this point uses his intricate knowledge of anatomy to put small cuts on each clone, inpercievable by most, that would instantly slay them if they started to move.

Then, just as they are leaving, the wizard starts his daily role call (to keep adventurers out), but the rogue is able to trigger a few dozen alarm traps which gives them enough time to escape. But, as the wizard gets near them (to see to the problem), the ranger notices something. He is familiar with humans, knowing how they look, smell, sound, etc. and realizes something is off about this guy. He quickly then takes the scent of the clones, compares the two, and learns something invaluable: the wizard is really on another plane. This is just an astral projection.

Regrouping, the fighter and brawler are irritated that the plan they'd had for months was just shot, but aren't surprised. Wizards are usually smart after all. The fighter, a genius tactician, is able to spend the next hour thinking like the wizard. He knows a lot from months of spying, and is able to picture where the wizard is with an accuracy no diviner could match. In his private demiplane surrounded by simulacra tarrasques and balors. After buying a few scrolls, they are ready to move.

They plane shift there, landing exactly where they wanted thanks to the rogue's incredible skill with magic items. Here, the brawler steps up, and starts throwing monsters left and right. She picks up a tarrasque simulacra and throws it into a bound greater fire elemental, melting the former into water that extinguishes the latter. With a swift series of kicks she is able to fell a pit fiend copy, leaving it too stunned to retaliate.

The ranger meanwhile has been slinging arrows left and right, breaking spells and melting sno-cone copies. He is able to shoot with such incredible timing that an arrow seems to puncture an enemy throat right before they cast a spell. The fighter meanwhile is able to slay enemies with a single swipe of his mighty blade. When he can't get to one, he glares so fiercely it breaks the enemy's loyalty, even if they have no free will, causing them to drop down, either dead or faking. Wading througb, they get to the wizard and plane shift him back to the astral plane.

They then set up the clone they captured, binding it in chains that are unescapable by any means thanks to the brawler's immense strength, and for good measure they delicately remove the wizard's vocal cords. Nothing regeneration can't fix, but it'll be a while before he casts spells. Then they coup de grave the astral wizard, and he wakes up in a clone and is given to the authorities for a quick execution.

Shadow Lodge

Caineach wrote:
EvilPaladin wrote:
2: Taking 10 isn't always an option. If you are distracted or endangered, and don't have one of a few specific abilities, you can't. Like if you are, say, surrounded by enemies that are all trained military officers that you are trying to sabotage. Most GMs I play with say that qualifies as being 'endangered'.
If they aren't actively hostile, you can take 10. That is the entire point of taking 10. And why would you bother going anywhere near enemy commanders if your trying to sabotage an army. They don't visit the supply lines :)


The rules simply state that it is impossible to take 10 when distracted or endangered. This is left open-ended for GMs to decide. I often find people thinking that endangered simply translates to "if I fail, this is gonna hurt" making it difficult to do anything but parlor tricks and making stuff. Others I have seen have been so liberal as to allow it in combats when someone had been removed (by a pit trap).

Of course, the same is true if you are invisible and flying, but no matter how many stealth checks or fly checks are forced, at a certain point the DC's don't matter as much. Especially of you waited to be invisible until there was a good chance of failing a simple stealth check (like if you recognize someone else)

Shadow Lodge

Caineach wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
Caineach wrote:

#1) Take 10. DC30 to climb paper walls, so if I'm in an oriental style place the most I will ever need in climb is a 20. Fighter or Barbarian has that by around level 10. Lvl 7 or so you can start taking 10 on pretty much any other surface, easily hitting the DC25. Lvl 3 characters can hit the DC20 on most walls.

#2) Thus wasting a second level spell, at minimum, that he likely had to prepare for in advance.

#3)I take 10. No generic guard can perceive me, even if they roll nat 20, but they should be taking 10 as well. If I do get found, I bluff past them, also taking 10. I don't even need to spend significant points to climb most walls, as the DCs are pathetic.

#4)And then defensive magic reveals an illusion and transmutation aura and the entire fortress is put on alert. Your plan is fooled by a 1000gp CR1 alarm trap with arcane sight. Not to mention that you have only a handful of minutes unless you recast. I fear skill monkeys more than casters as a GM. The skill monkey can infiltrate days in advance and never get caught.

#5) I had a player poison the food supply. Spent a couple days infiltrating the camp, scouting, and then poisoned the water and food. A couple dead animals will poison a well. Its trivial to sabatoge the karts moving the food. See above where stealth, disguise, and bluff will easily allow you to blend in as a camp follower. Worst case scenario, he ties up all of low level casters in the army. He was way more effective than anything the casters could do, and spent far fewer resources doing it. Decimated the army and destroyed their morale. An army marches on its stomach.

#6) Love how enemy armies never have their own caster support or counters.

#1) wasted skill points on climb, or point buy points on intelligence

Oh no, I spent a couple points on a skill that is highly useful.


#2) if you don't have open spell slots on a prepared caster you're playing them wrong
Sure. Your still wasting slots. At the...

I do agree with a lot of the ideas in this general post/thought chain, but some considerations:

1: Wizards get skill ranks too. Lots of them. After all, Int is a priority. They get more than a fighter does usually, and can compete with rangers without breaking a sweat. All of these tactics are useful, but the fact that they can easily be used is what makes casters great at them. They, unlike martials can augment their skills if they need to, while also keeping up with martials.

2: Taking 10 isn't always an option. If you are distracted or endangered, and don't have one of a few specific abilities, you can't. Like if you are, say, surrounded by enemies that are all trained military officers that you are trying to sabotage. Most GMs I play with say that qualifies as being 'endangered'.

Don't get me wrong, I fully agree that a skilled martial can contribute to most problems, but there are really very few options that aren't available to casters and that have meaningful narritive power.

Shadow Lodge

blackwaltzomega wrote:
Some people will be quick to point out Mr. Wizard isn't so tough when you catch him unawares and he doesn't go first, which is why it kind of irks me that the ability to never be surprised and pretty much always go first is a wizard class feature and not a martial one.

I'd like to take a moment to point out how utterly ridiculous this truth is. A first level diviner with a 16 dexterity, a familiar, and a single feat can have a +12 to initiative. Make him an elf with a race trait and an alternate racial trait and this becomes a +16. This is already higher than most characters will obtain for a lot of classes. And it scales with level. Add in the fact that they always act in surprise rounds, and they effectively can counter-ambush anyone by around 7th level assuming they prepare a few basic utility spells daily (I like to try having fly, a scroll of blur, invisibility, and dimension door myslef).

At higher levels? A ranger ambushes an equal-level wizard matching the one above loosely at seventh level or higher and is shut down in the first round by a 2nd level spell (invisibility). 2nd round? When the ranger could have, in theory, pinpointed the wizard? The wizard could have dimension-doored out of bow range, encased the ranger in a hemisphere of ice, made a wall of wind that fully stopped all of the ranger's attacks (if ranged), or any number of other things without breaking invisibility and losing its huge stealth bonus.

Reverse the situation (with the wizard ambushing the ranger) and the outcome is even more unbalanced. Because the wizard, even without knowing he was targeting the ranger in his favored terrain right after the ranger prepared his spells, as the first favored enemy, could have a bunch more defensive buffs, and start with something like a cloud spell or wind wallbto further the disadvantage.

And lets not get started on what problems a fighter would have instead.

Now, these situations may not come up too much in one game, but situations where the party can prepare for an ambush v. most martials are usually going to end betternor quicker than one v. many different full casters because of the basic principles demonstrated above.

Shadow Lodge

Freesword wrote:

Regarding your assessment of the Arcane/Divine Training talents, I feel your harsh judgment of them is being unfair to them.

You are judging them in terms of a tax on something casting classes get for free. As such, you are correct in seeing them as weaker than a feat.

Now let's look at those automatic increases in spellcasting as other classes get as automatic bonus feats (that non-casting classes simply cannot qualify for). By this standard these talents are equal to feats.

Now let's go a bit further - would a feat that gave a non-casting class access to levels of casting be better than any other existing feat? Without a doubt.

Most arguments against the Arcane/Divine Training talents are based on being locked into the caster/non-caster paradigm - the "have"s and "have not"s. This is a "sacred cow" to many, and the reason for the pushback.

What these talents really need to be seen as is giving spellcasting to non-casters. This is hugely powerful. But the way it is implemented is so limiting compared to the way the casting classes work that you end up falling somewhere between a casting class and non-casting class if you choose to go that route.

I agree that in many cases, a feat chain granting 6 levels of arcanist-style casting would be very powerful, and equal to or most likely better than a regular feat, but this isn't simply something like that. Its not simply a feat chain to give you spellcasting, its a feat chain a 1/4 of a class can take to accomplish what it is described as being. Warlock is where I have the biggest hold up here, because they are listed as thematically being "skilled arcane casters" in their role and yet, the only way for them to do this mechanically is to spend 1/2 of their abilities that are useful in a combat. Assuming these talents are equal to feats, that would mean we now have a class that is required to take a feat chain five feats long to measure up to what it is apparently designed to be. And they still have less spells than their 'skilled arcane caster' peers the magus, bard, and summoner. That is a problem to me because feats aren't supposed to be required to make a class work how it is said to work thematically.

Shadow Lodge

This is an interesting idea.

I'd like to add a few thoughts to these comparisons. Spoiler'd for shortness

Why spellcasting talents are worse than feats:
Simply put, because feat taxes are boring, restrictive, and overall limit flexibility. Regular feats, that give a character a concrete reason to take over other feats, are great. Feats that you are required to make a certain class/fighting style effective, are much less so. Combat expertise, for example, is a meager feat overall but is also the prerequisite for a lot of cool thematic feat paths like whirlwind attack or most combat maneuvers.

Now lets take this idea that feat taxes are bad, and apply it to vigilante talents. Assuming that the specializations are supposed to mechanically represent the iconic 4 man party but all with 2 personalities, warlock needs to take all 5 to mimic the "wizard" and zealot needs to take all 5 to mimic the "cleric". While there is more to a balanced party than the iconic party, this does seem to be the class goal overall. So, in order to do what the class portion is designed to do, you have to spend 1/2 of your class features. Personally, that alone seems like a problem (compared to stalker/avenger who get to effectively mimic their role more or less with just the base ability).

Compare this to the oracle, another class with specializations, limited talents, and different roles. Flame mystery does not make you spend 1/2 of your revelations to be a decent blaster, it gives you blast spells for free and gives alternative options as revelations for utility effects if you don't want to focus a lot on that. Battle mystery may have a couple of taxed revelations and spells, but still comes with a good amount of buffs baked in at various levels to help and has a much lower 'tax' since revelations are easier to come by and you only need 1 or 2. Same with spells, you have more and need less simultaneously.

So in my opinion, even though there isn't a feat chain that gives you spellcasting (or one of equivalent power) it still is worse because on the other hand, feats are not usually required to make a class perform its thematic function. Or ifnthey are, they are baked into the class. Swashbuckler/unchained rogue gets free weapon finesse, brawler/monk gets free unarmed strike feats, fighter gets tons of free feats for whatever type of fighter you make, etc.

That said, great job on the comparisons, QuidEst. I'd like to put in that IMO Mad Rush is better than an average feat, but still seems roughly equal to pummeling charge. Mad Rush gives the same mechanic (as charge, not style), and for Avenger it comes online earlier, but it includes a hefty AC penalty in exchange for applying to all weapons and having less prereqs. Also I think blood armor stacks with mage armor for bond of blood, as mage armor does conjur up a pseudo-armor, so thats nice.

Shadow Lodge

The truly maniacal plan to killing the tarrasque:

Tools you will need:

Max ranks in profession (psychologist), along with maxed wisdom, skill focus, and any other bonus you can work in.

Maxed ranks in stealth, ring of invisibility, and a good dexterity. Mix in some greater shadow armor and other bonuses as well.

Reliable means of casting extended negate aroma.

Ring of sustenance

Ability to speak aklo

20 levels in any PC class that can accomplish this (iirc, druid can manage fairly well).

Lenient GM.

The Method

First, hide yourself near the tarrasque for a long period of time. Stay invisible, stay stealthed, keep yourself from being scented, and if you are a druid be a tiny-sized animal all the time. Use your profession (psychologist) to analyze the tarrasque's psychological weaknesses. Do this for days, months, even years (works best as elves, who could easily go decades).

Then, when you feel ready, target that weakness. Prove that its life is meaningless, that nobody will miss it when its gone, that it is only being forced into a life of pointless suffering so that its daddy can sleep all the time and still fulfill his goal. Make sure you stay well-hidden and constantly out of reach (possibly using spells to aid you).

At the same time, convince your GM to let you use your profession psychologist to sway the tarrasque.

The Results

Either the tarrasque sees the error of its ways, and you successfully manage to get it to get a passive, productive job (like baker or maybe demolitions expert), not actually vanquishing it but killing its.fighting spirit.

Or it becomes chronically depressed and seeing as it can't speak, can't get treatment for its depression. After a while it will see that suicide is a valid option and will continue to kill itself every 18 seconds until some merciful cleric casts suffocation on it and it willingly fails its save.

Or, it becomes incredibly angry with rovagug, and through careful negotiation with local clerics on your part and incredible diplomacy checks on their part, you plane shift it to rovagug's prison where he procedes to eat the tarrasque.

Shadow Lodge

Its because the vigilante isn't just someone who can put on a mask and fight crime, anyone can. The vigilante is someone who needs to fight crime without being discovered. As a result they learn to separate the part of their mind which fights and the part which doesn't. They don't simply pretend to be a masked hero, they become a masked hero. They spend time coming to terms with whatever moral codes they have to break for the greater good/evil. The side effects of such a mental shift include making them much, much better at mundane disguises than even masters of the craft, making them too complex to fit into a single alignment in the regular system, and making it so that even the most intricate, difficult, and expensive magic can't relate the two to eachother because they are effectively 2 different people.

Shadow Lodge

Up your sleeves, perhaps?

Shadow Lodge

Hello all.

I recently playtested the warlock at level 1 in anall vigilante party, and noticed a few things.

I realize the devs have said they are working on buffing the social side and fixing the change time, so I'm only going to say that we had to handle ID swapping with a certain degree of care, since we don't know about eachother's IDs. I noticed that at level one the only change was a narrative one (when we caught up to the BBEG we had changed IDs and was wondering who we were).

Beyond that I noticed that as a warlock I ran out of spells fairly quickly, and didn't really have much to do. Spellcasting looks like a lesser feature due to low spells/day (which isn't a problem for classes like bard because they have useful non-spell options) and beyond that I was just a skill monkey in a party full of them. I still had lots of fun, but this seems like its certainly a flaw.

and now some armchair speculation:
I haven't had a chance to play around with most of the toys in the class, but here are some of the things I noticed looking into the later levels.

Mystic bolt looks neat, but it needs a bit more oomph for something low-grade resistance can defeat. Maybe a save effect like on the aranist exploits. Or letting TWF work.

Although I like the idea behind the casting talents, I don't like having half of my talents drained by spellcasting. Even if I stop at level 3 spells, I've burned a fifth of my combat abilities to gain mediocre spellcasting. I'd like to see some fix where warlock/zealot get scaling casting and avenger/stalker get bonus talents. Rewarding you for playing martials instead of punishing you for playing casters.

I feel like the cool melee abilities (arcane striker, bond of blood, mystic bolt) should have more power. Bond of blood for example, is only 1/hour, and later is contingent on taking a certain type of damage. Arcane striker is only better than a feat at level 12, and is another ability that energy resistance can significantly weaken.

Elemental battle armor I think should be able to be turned off, because it might have RP problems when you are always walking around on fire, but overall is a really cool ability. I'd like to see it show some synergy with mystic bolt though.

Finally, dual-identity. I'm going to try not to rehash what everyone has been saying, but instead to give the positives. Immunity to divinations is definitely awesome, if situational. Awesome for NPC's or all-vigilante parties. And the narrative power of having another name to pin all of your crimes on has potential. With some buffs to the social I could easily see this being a very powerful ability in all campaigns.

All of that said, the class definitely needs a buff. I'd like to see a pool system implemented that both aspects could draw on some (but not too much). For instance, a pool of 1/2 level+cha or int mod that would let you double social graces bonuses, change IDs quicker, raise spell DC's or durations, augment attacks, etc. would be cool. Or alternatively each specialization could have a different pool (grit for avengers, arcane pool or resevoir for warlocks, Fervor or something new for zealots (like a zeal pool), and then a ninja-esque ki pool for stalkers) and then give them abilities at certain levels that changed between specs like bloodline powers.

I realize that there is some dislike for pool powers, but they are consistant ways to buff a class and still keel it 'on-par' with others.

Thoughts anyone?

Shadow Lodge

So, assuming I discharge the bolt before weapon attacks, could I TWF with dervish dance and this?

Shadow Lodge

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LazarX wrote:
Rynjin wrote:

So the Vigilante by its very nature forces:

-The campaign to be a heavily social campaign
-The campaign to be primarily set in a single city.
-The campaign to almost never have social situations devolve into...anything else.

But wait! Now we have a choice:

-The rest of the characters in the party to hang around the Vigilante's social persona in everything he does.


-The Vigilante to be in his own little solo game apart from everyone else.

And you don't see anything wrong with this?

No I don't... The Vigilante isn't a character I'd have a player make for a standard orc busting dungeon door campaign. I expected that you would have the wisdom to realise that the playtest only covers a tip of the iceberg that is Ultimate Intrique and that the class would make sense in the context of a campaign created UI style. It's a bit absurd to knock it down because it's a bad fit for standard dungeoneering.

Quite frankly, if I were to have Vigilantes in a campaign, it would be one where all the players are Vigilantes. The ideal campaign for this is much 30's noir strip heros as 4 color comics. That said I think there are a few PFS scenarios that are ideal for this use... the Blakros social events come to mind.

I agree about the tip of the iceberg, but that doesn't make the current feedback irrelevant.

1: Saying the class is poorly designed because it only works in a certain type of campaign is a problem. If a class needs to be catered to, archetype bandaged, or needs to ignore a major selling point to be effective there is a problem. Which is the question "Why not play another class with disguise and bluff as class skills and flavor it as a vigilante?"

2: What we have to work with indicates that the class is stronger in dungeon adventures. In social adventures, you trade a decent bonus to a few skills for all of your usefulness in a fight beyond extra target and flank buddy. So if a social encounter goes.wrong (by failing skill checks or an ambush having been set), you need to have your friends keep them at bay for five minutes to do anything other than swing like an expert and maybe aid another. If the bonus were huge and to all skills, maybe this wouldn't be as much as a problem but as it stands the bonus means you are only really better than the less MAD classes if you really pump charisma, which you can't do as easily because of the MADness of the class. In a dungeon adventure you might have to give up the main point of the class, but at least you are less likely to be useless.

Also, while we do know the class is getting buffed socially, this is a playtest. Pointing out the weaknesses that need to be buffed up is part of the process. Saying 'its getting better' isn't helping the people making it better improve it. Saying 'this needs an improvement based on what we have now' IMO, is. If we can't see the other 1/2 of the class we should probably assume that this is all even if it isn't so we can say with authority what UI needs to help the class.

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My personal fix, since we've been told that social talents will be released, would simply be to re-write the change time. Start at a full round action, then @ 5 change to a standard (a vigilante sbould be at least as good as a bard) then a move action around 7-9ish, a swift at about level 13, and then in the endgame give it an option to make a stealth check (maybe w/out cover or concealment) to change unnoticed.

Also, I think it might be neat if they eventually could spend a free action once per round/minute to change the mindset of the social to the vigilante, getting the vigilante stuff instead of the social stuff,and then could make bluff/disguise checks to cover up the fact that clark kent just shot lasers (mystic bolt [fire] reskinned) out of his eyes. Not nessecarily the most powerful option, but I think its thematically appropriate.

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Part of the problem is people. If they are making fun of you too much, ask for them to tone it down because you aren't having fun playing. They might see it as being playful and not realize its effects on you. Most of your problems seem to be bad luck and annoying people.

Personally, I try to make sure when I build silly characters to include some gimmicks that are flavorful and fun, but also are really useful as utility effects and I don't let myself revolve around situational abilities. For instance, the moonlight bridge revelation was in a certain character of mine, and with some creative usage I was able to break scenarios by completely re-shaping dungeon floors. But I still was useful in tons of games that I could't use the ability because there were other things to do. That guy I still get mocked for (it was a leprechaun-themed silly character), but it was still highly requested at tables and one of my favorite and most useful characters ever.

The moral to the story is try optimizing to things you find fun instead of the norm. Look for spells or powers that are flavorful and powerful. Sure your GM might mock your bard, untill he sees you beat DC 35 diplomacy checks no problem. Maybe your eldritch knight gets heckled, until you pop out a giant fiendish dinosaur or maybe an undead roc (funnest table I ever GM'd) to deal with them, while wearing full plate.

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I recall the warlock's bomb talent not saying whether it is Int based like the alchemist class feature, or cha based like the PDF says the default for talents is (although perhaps I am misreading it).

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Gisher wrote:
You mean by keeping a wand or two in there?

Yeah, and burning a few charges when that extra damage/debuff is especially helpful (such as v. things with vulnerabilities, or rage that neess mitigating, or when you feel like 1d6+level is too little and a spell slot is too much). It costs some money, but the talent IMO is worth it even without ever using wands (swift-action scrolls or weapons or other items is geeat, and it lets you smuggle things past security), and first level wands can be dirt cheap.

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Gisher wrote:
DebugAMP wrote:
What about using a melee Mystic Bolt to deliver a held charge from a touch spell like shocking grasp?

This should work. Since a Mystic Bolt isn't a spell, using it won't end touch spells. The combo that I've been working on is Frostbite+Rime Spell with Mystic Bolt (acid). Each melee Mystic Bolt touch attack will cause:

1. Mystic Bolt: 1d6+level (acid)
2. Frostbite: 1d6+level (non-lethal cold) + fatigued
3. Rime Spell: Entangled (1 round)

I like Frostbite better than Shocking Grasp because Warlocks have so few daily castings and Frostbite grants 1 charge/level rather than the single charge of a SG. At higher levels you can cast it once and use it for several rounds.

Could add in Tattoo Chamber with either frostbite or shocking grasp to have more uses throughout the day, and then semi-nova for big fights.

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I think such a feat should absolutely exist. Yes, it would usually be more powerful than your average feat. But most of the extra ___ feats are and IMO should be. These abilities are something fairly unique to your class. I see them as something that are more powerful than feats because everyone gets feats, but only a specific group of people get these abilities. That is the balancing act that makes them on-par with feats. That you have to be a member of a certain class to get them. A class that comes with features you (hopefully) have to incorporate into your character flavor and mechanics.

Mechanically the only balancing factor in limiting them would either be multiclassing implications (specifically dipping for an powers you can make super OP with other classes) or being vastly more powerful than comparable feats.

And in this instance, none of the unique abilities are more powerful than say, a revelation. Yes, the casting talents are powerful, but for a single-classed vigilante they are a heavy drain on talents (making a demand for such a feat), and for dipping they all are dip-proofed because the really good ones need 8 levels to come out. As far as being more powerful than a feat, buying this with a feat is essentially paying to have more of your only really useful class features (talents). You are already behind on features when held up against Magus/Inquisitor, and now you are behind on feats because you tried playing catch up.

Mystic Bolt might be strong, but it has a level requirement and scales with level, making it an unsavory dip choice. And even after that all it does is add a neat damage ability that low-grade resistance makes meager at best.

Those seem to be the strongest ones people have been mentioning. As for others, many are bonus feats+a little, which makes since for a feat that a relatively small percent of characters can choose, and most are level dependent (with either scaling damage or DC reliancy or new abilities at higher levels. So the only huge probelem is now that they are more powerful than some feats (and some of them like Armor silence are objectively weaker). The ones that are more powerful than feats don't look much more powerful than the Extra Revelation feat.

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I personally want an archetype that makes you're dual identity wildshape.

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Grundolker Shall Not Rule This City! He needs to get to the orphanage to apologize for splattering the orphanage's pet Gelatinous Cube all over himself to turn red. Those kids really loved old Jerry.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
I think that the argument "this feat is not as good as using a 700 gp item from the core rule book thats been in the game for 15 years" is about as good as its possible to make in favor of the option NOT being over powered. High strength, two handed weapon and guy with bow are not overpowered options, they're the standard.

I'm not sure that comparing Unarmed Strikes to Composite Longbows is an entirely valid argument. While I agree 100% that your statement is correct, it is ultimately comparing melee with 1 very unique light weapon to ranged combat with another fairly unique ranged weapon. The two-handed weapon comparison is a bit closer, but I think the best comparison is to compare Pummeling Charge to another feat with similarly intensive prerequisites (specifically, another style feat, which can also be "abused" via MoMS), and with benefits to the same type of character. Or more specifically, I think it should be compared with a Style feat that helps an unarmed strike focused combatant in combat. So, I will submit this as my thoughts of why Pummeling Charge is not broken compared to other similar combat options.

Pummeling Charge v. Dragon Style:
Pummeling Charge is, in my opinion, equally balanced with Dragon Style. First, lets look at them separately.

Pummeling Charge:

  • Gives you a "full attack" at the end of a charge.
  • Restricts your "full attack" to one target.
  • Restricts you to making your "full attack" with unarmed strikes (which are a very weak weapon, being hard to enchant, having a poor critical hit profile, and not being inherently made of a special material).
  • Can be accessed by most single-classed characters at levels 12-13 or higher
  • Can be accessed by certain single-classed characters by level 8-9 or higher.
  • Can be accessed by anyone willing to multiclass, or 1 type of single-classed character by level 2.
Dragon Style:
  • Gives you the ability to charge, run, or withdraw at full speed through difficult terrain.
  • Gives you a bonus on saving throws versus a variety of conditions
  • Gives you slightly more damage on your first successful unarmed strike each round.
  • Can be accessed by any single-classed character by level 3 or higher.
  • Can be accessed by 2 types of single-classed characters, as well as anyone willing to multiclass, at level 1.

Now, lets look at this. Pummeling Charge only gives any benefits to a character who uses unarmed strikes, while Dragon Style gives a save bonus and the ability to charge/run/withdraw through difficult terrain to anyone, including a character using a 2-handed weapon or ranged weapon. The main combat bonus for each (the only benefit for Pummeling Charge, and the damage bonus for Dragon Style) only applies to one creature each round. You cannot use Pummeling Charge if you cannot charge, but you can still use Dragon Style in almost any situation (any situation with difficult terrain, with saving throws versus Paralysis, Sleep, or Stunning effects), or with a creature you can make an unarmed strike against).

In my opinion (its hard to say factually which is better), having both an offensive and defensive benefit, and one that can easily apply in every round of a fight, is roughly equal to having a single, focused offensive benefit that will most likely only occur once in a given fight (the round you can charge in).

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If you are going for a dex-based melee build, consider taking Form of Flame as your 3rd level revelation. It will help you hit more, raise your AC, give some free damage/fire effects, and if nothing else, darkvision (or more specifically, the lack of darkvision) is one of the big weaknesses of humans and Elemental Body I or higher solves that. Its also suitably non-clericish, as your typical cleric will not be shapeshifting into living campfires. Other good and non-clerical revelations include Wings of Flame and Cinder Dance.

For level 1, I'd go with the 16 in Cha and Dex. For weapon choice, for a slightly stronger and equally thematic attack, you could use a Cestus. Better crit range, more damage types, same glove feel. If you do play this in PFS, I'd spend some of that 40gp on an Oracle's Kit and Grappling Hook, and optionally a Crowbar (a surprisingly useful object to not appear in any of the standard kits).

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Another benefit from this FCB is that it seems to combine with Close Weapon Mastery.

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Seems legit. Keep in mind the Dark Tapestry revelation says it functions as Greater Polymorph. Which when used to take the form of a Magical Beast works like Beast Shape IV. Which means you can gain these benefits from being Bokrug:

  • Darkvision 60ft
  • Low-Light Vision
  • Grab
  • Constrict
  • Poison
  • Resist Energy 20(Acid, Fire)
  • Swim Speed 120ft
  • +6 Strength
  • +2 Constitution
  • +6 Natural Armor
  • -2 Dexterity
May have missed some, but for the most part, that's all of Bokrug's abilities that Beast Shape IV can grant.

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Buy 2 Elixers of Sex Shift and cast Form of the Dragon long enough to lay the eggs. First drink one so you can give birth, then drink the other afterwards, assuming you still want to play a male.

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"THE" Poog of Zarongel Shall Not Rule This City, because he is secretly Destructive Smurf.

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Greater Flaming Sphere might be neat if you are fire-based, giving a control option on top of blasting away.

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Evilgm wrote:
Cevah wrote:

You list Witch hexes. These are only available to a Shaman (Unsword Shaman), not to other Shamans.

There's a Witch Hex option available to all Shaman:

"Witch Hex: The shaman selects any one hex normally available through the witch's hex class feature. She treats her shaman level as her witch level when determining the powers and abilities of the hex. She uses her Wisdom modifier in place of her Intelligence modifier for the hex. She cannot select major hexes or grand hexes using this ability. The shaman cannot select a witch hex that has the same name as a shaman hex."

The issue here is that they treat their Shaman levels as Witch levels when determining the powers and abilities of the hex and not for the purpose of prerequisites.

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In the Core RuleBook's weapons table, Armor Spikes and Shield Spikes are both listed in the "Martial Weapons" table.

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MacGyver, a Human Investigator with Fast Learner, Improvisation, Improved Improvisation, Racial Heritage(Halfling), Well-Prepared, and Catch-off Guard.

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  • Should get Perception (Because fighters could easily represent tower guards, bodyguards, lookouts, town watchmen, etc, and would want to know how to see things as part of their training).
  • Should get all physical ability score based skills, as they might easily represent being physical paragons of agility or strength.
  • Should get heal, because when you live alone in a monastery many miles away from civilization for many years of your life, pushing your limits both physically and mentally, knowing first aid is an important thing.
  • Should get Survival, for similar reasons (living alone, isolated from civilization, without any convenient grocery store nearby)
  • Should have Intimidate to put the "fear of god" into evil.
  • Should have Knowledge(Local) because they would want to learn about any corrupt town they enter so that they can help show the citizens the light of (insert god here).

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If you are willing to play a halfling, or take Racial Heritage(Halfling) on a human/half-human race, you could take Risky Striker for a pseudo-power attack with the penalty going to AC.

As far as dips go, 1 level of Warpriest and 1 level of Cleric both will give you a nice pool of spells with which you can prepare a bunch of Divine Favors(more if you stock up on Pearls and Runestones), which combined with Fate's Favored can give a decent buff. Wise choices of domains would also help. Growth Domain would be a recommendation, but it does come at an attack roll penalty. Law, Travel, Liberation and Luck are all fantastic as well. For blessings, Law, Travel, Liberation, and Luck are all good still, as well as Destruction.

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theshoveller wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Fomsie, let me flip that around for you. This feat is very much FOR the newbie. Experienced players are already familiar with how the rules for moving and fighting interact with high level play and either know how to avoid that trap or how to muscle through it one one big honking weapon of ULTIMATE POWER. Its the people that don't plan out their characters with 20 year life plan, flow chart and venn diagram that really start to need the feat after level 6.
I see where you're coming from, but I'd be wary of dubbing something a newbie option when it's published in [hardback character options book #6].

If it weren't for Three separate websites that give free access to this sort of feat, I'd agree with you.

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So, I'm confused, how does this interact with abilities that "replace" x ability with y ability? For instance, Fury's Fall+Agile Maneuvers? If I have a 12Str and an 18Dex, does using Agile Maneuvers(while I have Fury's Fall) actually lower my tripping CMB?

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Well, if you will be playing in a fashion common to your typical PFS scenario(as far as content, not play base), then the Improvisation line for humans might be worth pursuing. In a lot of PFS scenarios there is a random skill check you need to make, and having that +4 bonus can help, along with saving you from needing to put ranks in the lesser knowledges. I'd probably do something like this

Handy the Bard:
Human Bard 5

1Fast Learner
3Improved Improvisation
5Lingering Performance

Class Features:
Bardic Performance 15/day
*Inspire Courage+2
*Inspire Competence+2
Bardic Knowledge+2
Versatile Performance(Dance)
Well Versed
Lore Master

Use Magic Device+11
Knowledge Arcana+12
Knowledge Planes+12
Knowledge Nature+12
Knowledge Local+12
Knowledge Dungeoneering+12

Spells Known:
0:Detect Magic
0:Read Magic
0:Dancing Lights
1:Cure Light Wounds
1:Heightened Awareness
1:Comprehend Languages

MWK Shortbow +6(1d6)
Cestus +3(1d4)
MWK Longspear +4(1d8)

In combat, try to buff allies with performance and spells, throw out debuffs/control spells like Grease, and move to flank allies with your longspear(or shoot far away enemies).

Out of Combat, you can make every skill check at a decent bonus, all knowledges you don't have trained have a +8, you can make any obscure craft or profession check with a better bonus than most, and you are a good party face to boot.

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Just break into Asmodeus's office while he is out doing something, find his contract, and steal it. Transmute it to paper, dispel any abjurations on it, and then burn it.

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A MoMS2/SF18 would probably be up there, if not at the top. Combine Righteous Might with Divine Power and fuse Pummeling Charge with Dragon Style.

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Might consider a few archetypes on top of Qinggong, as Qinggong stacks with everything, and with the rest, you can pretty much never need a class feature you don't want. I recommend one of the following:

  • Drunken Master gives you the option to get a bunch of extra ki points, by simply buying alcohol. I believe there is a magical Item (Horn of Drinking Valor or something), that gives you infinite alcohol, so you are only limited by how much you can drink before you suffer from problems (1+double Con modifier, IIRC).
  • Ki Mystic also gives you a bunch of extra ki points, but has less of a cash/Con investment, and means that if you put 1 point in each knowledge skill, you can probably get a pretty nice bonus to all of them. Also gives some nice powers for party buffing(specifically, rerolls), which can help your allies.
  • Monk of the Sacred Mountain gives you bonus feat Toughness and +1 AC at second level, which would save you a feat you were going to take and help with your AC problem. Stacks with Barkskin. Also gives you some neat defensive buffs and DR.
  • Flowing Monk gives again a little bit of AC, and then it also gives some nice control abilities that can help you work enemies into flank with allies and a defensive ability that can help you soak up more hits.
  • Sohei gives you the best damage, giving a scaling bonus to attack and damage and access to gloves of dueling, which means that you can eliminate that flurry penalty. Also gives a huge initiative buff and lets you flurry in light armor making you less MAD.
As far as your stats go, I'd personally take Dual-Talent Human and put the +2 into Con if you take Monk of the Sacred Mountain(double up on those hitpoints). 12 isn't very good for anyone who will be up in melee in PFS, especially Monks if you have a (relatively) low AC.

For items, consider buying a Pearl of Power on the off chance someone in the party can cast Mage Armor(you offer it to them each day so they have an extra slot to cast on you), and stock up on potions of it. Also, the Jingasa of the Fortunate Soldier is one thing you want at around levels 5-9 to get you the +1AC and the ability to ignore 1 crit/day(one of the best magic items for its price IMO).

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On Pummeling Charge and MoMS dips: IMO, it isn't broken, even if it is pounce. See the bottom for ways to block a charge. Also, at most, before level 8 you will get 3 attacks as opposed to one. This is good, yes, but that is assuming someone has cast haste and you TWF. That is literally all that this feat is doing. And its not even doing that, its giving you the chance to get the damage to apply to one target 2 more times, its not like real pounce that lets you stop once you've killed the first thing and target his buddy standing next to him. It allow Monks, Brawlers, and other Unarmed Strikers to be mobile. Now, whether or not Pummeling Style is broken is a completely different matter as the feats, while related, do completely different things.

On Pummeling Style and Brokenness: Again, IMO it isn't broken. It is in a bit of a grey area as far as the rules go, (How does it interact with Sneak Attack? Chill Touch? True Strike? etc) but in the early-mid level PFS games, its going to give you a critical hit profile that, at best, with a haste effect up, will compare to a keen falchion(30% crit chance). Its still unarmed strikes, that cost a lot to enchant, can't be made of different materials, and aren't "two-handable" for more damage. The DR interaction is sweet, but IMO it just balances that even for Monks and Brawlers, unless you are specific archetypes it takes forever to get past basic DRs like Cold Iron, let alone things like Good.

On ways to block a charge to the boss:
  • Difficult Terrain
  • Walls
  • Pits
  • Wall Spells(for environments w/out walls)
  • Pit Spells(for environments w/out pits)
  • Obscuring Mist
  • Fog Cloud
  • Entangle
  • Black Tentacles
  • Ray of Exhaustion
  • Stinking Cloud
  • Cloud Kill
  • Invisibility
  • Smokesticks
  • Having mooks in the way of the boss
  • Elevated Terrain(such as a platform 5ft above the rest)
  • Creative use of Spider Climb
I've seen a lot of these things in a lot of PFS scenarios. All of them can block a charge lane, and a lot of them are beneficial to the boss for other reasons(Such as debuffs, higher ground, defense against sneak attack, distancing self from PC's, etc). And I guarantee that there are more than just these as ways to block a charge.

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If in this case you are considered to be your own ally And you consider that being in you square implicitly counts allies as being adjacent you you(because it works for enemies explicitly), Then yes, you do get your own Blundering Defense bonus.

Now that that is answered, lets see how much of the above is true.

  • Are you adjacent to yourself:Maybe. On the one hand, the rules say that enemies within 5ft of yourself are considered adjacent, which might imply that allies within 5ft of you are adjacent to you, implying that allies within 5ft of you are adjacent to you. On the other hand, because the rules explicitly state that you are adjacent to enemies within 5ft of yourself and do not make such an exception for allies, allies in your square aren't adjacent to you.
  • Are you considered your own ally in this case:Well, the rules say that you are unless doing so would be senseless or impossible. Which is entirely based off of the written fluff(IMO). So, GM discretion is advised...and...maybe?

Conclusion:Ask your GM, or the GM at each scenario if you are in PFS, and don't build your character around this bonus to yourself unless you know your GM will allow it.

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Chao Yin Shall Not Rule This City because

Secretly, he is a ...:
Clown made entirely out of old cities.

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Andrew Christian wrote:
Mahtobedis wrote:

Given the nerf to pummeling charge I don't think it would be game breaking to include it in the game even with MoMS.

Pummeling Charge's damage output is limited by two pretty big factors.

The first is that it now requires the use of unarmed strikes, and even though you can make it so all your hits crit if one of them unarmed strikes are still only a times 2. Many builds that use 15-20 weapons crit effectivly every hit for times 2 as well.

The second way Pummeling Charge's damage is limited is in the number of attacks produced. Lets assume a worst case scenario and a person dips into MoMS or Unarmed Fighter to get the feat early. At best this means they can get two attacks on a charge as opposed to one. So at the low levels we are worried about they get an extra attack once a fight and only if they themselves are not charged. As the character progresses in level they will eventually pick up two more attacks (level 6 or 7), but then they are also at the point where NPC's will be better equipped to wheather the damage and do some punishment in return.

I created a Brawler (mutagentic mauler) / Bloodrager 2nd level character. When raging and mutagen enhanced I get two claw attacks for 1d6+7.

If I dipped MoMS at 3rd level and took Pummeling Charge, I could do 4d6 +28 damage on a crit.

Does that sound like the damage a 3rd level character should be doing?

And this isn't even super optimized. I am only starting at a 16 Strength. How gross would this be if I started with a 20 Strength? And had Power Attack? And then at 4th level dipped Cleric of Gozreh with the Growth Subdomain and upped the claws to 1d8 +14 or 4d8+56 on a Crit.

This can snowball pretty badly if you make choices simply for damage output instead of just making a character that's decent at what he does.

I realize this is late to the party but:

1.)As has been stated already, 4d6+28 damage or its equivalent(about 42 damage) isn't too terribly difficult. Simple Falcata Barbarian with a Large-sized one(suboptimal I know), 18 starting strength, rage, and power attack will crit for 4d6+36, and will threaten a critical hit as often as a pummeler. At level 1.

2.)This isn't a problem with pummeling charge. The feat doesn't actually add any damage. This is an issue with Pummeling Style alone, and in and amongst itself, not a reason pummeling charge should be banned. Now, you might have a case if you were talking about a character that was able to wipe up entire encounters(often there are only 2-3 real threats in a fight), and due to this speed was breaking a game, but even then, the number of ways to shut down a charge is really quite staggering.

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Imbicatus wrote:
Undone wrote:
The thing is I can't envision a party where the reach WP is the only front liner. If you are the only front liner you'll likely suffer a lot considering how soft your AC will be with just full plate.

PFS. I can't tell you how many times my monk was the only front liner.

On the flipside, I have also played in PFS as a reach wood oracle and had four other melee fighters blocking my AoOs.

Reach weapons work very well when you are in home games and know your party. In PFS, you take your chances that there will be people that work well with your tactics. In those situations, you might be better off with a standard THF build than a reach build, because it's easier for you to do your thing without relying on other people to not mess you up.

That said, if you have a bite and worship Aspu, or simply worship Irori or Korada, you have a nice close reach backup weapon that is always available, so you can threaten and attack even if something gets inside your range.

Eh, the only real difference in terms of design between standard Greatsword Fighter and a reach fighter is Combat Reflexes, and maybe a higher Dex. Its not too terribly hard to swap between Reach Tactics to Stand Still and Kill mode.

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Dwarf Steelbreaker/Mutagenic Mauler with Stunning Irruption. AKA The Kool-Aid Man.

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Might consider adding new Ki Powers for each vow. For instance, a Vow of Cleanliness monk might get a Ki Power prestidigitation to clean himself and his gear for no Ki, a power that gives him a bonus to AC v. "Unclean attacks"(such as ranged spells that aren't rays, like Acid Splash and Mudball), a power that gives him a bonus on saves v. "unclean" forced saves(such as stinking cloud), or a power that gives a bonus v. poison saves, because you have incredible personal hygiene.

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They know you have an illusion up, but they don't know what. With a high enough bluff, I know I'd allow a PC to simply try and pass it off as something else, such as a way to hide an embarrassing scar or something equally impolite to speak of in public.

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