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I like the travel domain powers (Dimensional Hop at level 8 is really good). As for spells to prepare, I like:

0: Light, Detect Magic, Read Magic, Stabilize

1: Comprehend Languages (good out of combat for translating clues, first thing you dump in combat for a cure spell); Command (don't use it on anything with a high will save, or that can't understand you, so situational); Hide from Undead (also situational, as it only affects undead); and Protection from Evil (more general, but not all monsters are evil, so keep that in mind too). I would also use Longstrider as your Travel domain spell every day and cast it to get the extra movement for 1 hour/lvl. I would also wear light armor in order to not lose any move rate due to armor encumbrance. Combine that with the extra 10 ft you get as a domain power and you're getting 50ft (10 squares) per round. That's REALLY fast for not having Haste on you.

2: Hold Person, Silence, Lesser Restoration, Bull's Strength, Sound Burst (useful against stuff that get's a low Fort save, like spell casters, as it stuns if they fail); Zone of Truth. I also like Grace out of the Advanced Player's Guide, at least until you get Dimensional Hop later.

3: Bestow Curse, Inflict Serious Wounds, Dispel Magic, Invisibility Purge, and Speak With Dead. Fly is a good domain spell here too.

The combo of Speak with Dead and Zone of Truth is pretty good. You can literally kill first and ask questions later, and they have to answer the questions truthfully if they fail some will saves. You could even cast Owl's Wisdom on yourself in there to make the DCs higher. People write off Hide from Undead as being bad, but if you cast it on yourself, you can sneak up behind an undead guy and cast Cure Serious Wounds for damage with no attack of opportunity from the badguy, and a better chance of hitting due to being invisible to them. Against any all-undead fights you get into, you can use it to move around freely and heal people every round without being attacked easily. Stabilize is a must and is arguably your best Orison. It doesn't heal any HP but it can be used at range and auto-stabilizes someone. The way my DM runs monsters, if a PC is down and not moving (i.e. unconscious) they don't generally get attacked if there are other "hot" targets, so stabilizing someone WITHOUT healing them enough to regain consciousness again is often better than a big heal, especially when the target is still in melee range of the monsters.

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I like just "Chaser" as a name. It's a pretty good pun, right? People give horses names like "Charger", so I like "Chaser" for the pun value.

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Some spells are good early on and get worse with age, others are bad early on and get better. For example, Magic Missile is pretty bad when you're a level 1 wizard and you only get a few spells per day. At that point you're better off firing arrows at a guy with a shortbow. At least with the bow, though you might miss, you can have more ammo than a level 1 wizard get's for Magic Missile. At level 9 however, Magic Missile gives you 5 unerring 1d4+1 missiles which do "force" damage (I think) and can be shot at different targets simultaneously, so it's one of your better low level spells at that point.

On the other hand, Sleep is pretty broken early on, and useless once the badguys you fight out-level it's level cap.

Lastly, some spells are considerably better in the right party mix or dungeon context and worse outside of that.

Honestly, this isn't all that different from what you'd get if you had a decent Cleric at higher levels. With Speak with Dead and Zone of Truth you can kill the badguy bosses and then interrogate them in a lot of cases.

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Here's what I would do (assuming 20 point buy):

Alignment: any Good
Race: Human
Domains: Healing and Travel
Str 12
Dex 12
Con 14
Int 7
Wis 18 (16 buy + 2 racial)
Cha 14

Notes: I left 5 of the stats in a state where you can just ignore them when you get level-up stat points (at level 4, 8, 12 etc) and just put those points into Wisdom instead. If you want, you can instead give yourself maximum flexibility to bump stats up one point each when you hit levels and go with the 13,13,13 split in the physical stat numbers. You could also take a 14, 13, 11 spread if you feel that helps you do what you want to do. Remember you may be able to find a belt that raises one score to a pretty good level, but buffing more than one state via a single item beyond that gets really expensive. I personally don't find attacking melee clerics to be all that great a damage dealer as compared to other classes (which are actually designed for it better). As such I like higher Con and Dex and not so much Strength. That said, you don't want a negative Str mod because it will adversely affect your chances to hit with melee touch spells, like Bestow Curse. I don't recommend ever going below 12 Con with a cleric, since you'll be near the front a lot (you have to touch allies to cast cure spells on them). Dex is a stat that you either try to maximize with a belt or completely ignore and dump a low number in. I like having higher initative and touch AC so I generally go the high-dex route, plus if you want to Searing Light any undead it's nice to have some Dex. As for the Cha, I don't recommend putting any more points into that, despite the amount of Undead you may face. In fact, a 13 might still be more optimal, when you consider that you'll be able to cast Eagle's Splendor on yourself when you need to (even a wand of that wouldn't be a bad way to spend your money). If you do put a 13 in Cha, you can then up your Str and Dex to 13s as well. That said you'd want to put a level-up point into Cha eventually. At lower levels, channel energy is pretty weak as an attack against undead anyway, especially if there's only one undead guy to attack at a time.
The domain combo of Healing and Travel is not allowed by any deity in the main book, so if you MUST pick a deity from the big book, you'd have to go with something else, maybe Sarenrae for Healing and Fire or Sun or something. Note that the Empowered cures you get from the Healing domain do not cause your cure spells to do more damage to undead. Despite this, Healing is probably still the best domain anyway. I personally love Travel, but I can see taking Fire or Sun if you have to. In any event, casting curative spells on undead is a pretty decent way to reliably hit them in melee and also make them take a very respectable amount of damage. Most bosses will make most saves, but your higher damage spells vs undead are your highest DC to save against too, so you've got a puncher's chance. As for the demons, the Cleric spells you get that affect outsiders (like demons) suffer from basically the same drawback as everyone else's spells, namely that demons have Spell Resistance. For this reason you should probably try to eventually work Spell Penetration and Greater Spell Penetration in as feats, but they're not important at low levels. With those feats, you ought to be able to nail demons with all of your great anti-demon spells, which are in the book. Note that they tend to have high saving throws too, which is why we're concentrating level-up points into Wisdom and why we're going to prioritize getting a wisdom-enhancing headband. You might even want to make a Wand of Owl's Wisdom instead and then jump straight to the Headband of Wisdom +4 once the wand runs out.
With the Travel domain, you get a lot of extra movement (you get an extra 10ft at level 1 just for taking the domain and you get the level 1 spell Longstrider which can increase it beyond that). As such you want to stay in light armor (or better yet, magical Mithral Breastplate...) in order to keep your mobility maximized and to not have to worry about a max Dex to AC limit imposed by heavier armor. Longstrider is has a duration of 1 hour/level and with it in effect your move rate is 50ft/round (10 squares!). Increased movement like this can let you cure people who need it during combat as well as get around to flank if needed. At higher levels, the Dimensional Hop ability is awesome.

Feats I recommend include:
Extra Channel Energy
Improved Initiative
Craft Wand
Craft wondrous Item
Scribe Scroll
Craft Magical Arms and Armor
Selective Channel
Spell Penetration (and later Greater Spell Penetration)
Quickened Channel

You don't have to take all of the item feats yourself, and your DM might just outright disallow them entirely, but party-wide, your first priority would be Craft Wondrous Item. If nobody else takes that (and the arcane caster probably should) then you might need to. Scribe scroll is nice for those spells you get that are nice to have, but that you don't want to have to prepare every day, like Remove Paralysis, Remove Curse, etc. Quickened Channel is in one of the Ultimate books, I forget which.

Here's how I would have handled it (spoiler alert, I'm not a parent):

Smebulok: I hit Grognar. (rolls die, get's a natural 20)
Me as DM: You miss. (With a deadpan straight face.)
Smebulok: What?!?!? I rolled a 20!
Me: I know. You missed. Do you want to try again? MISSED AGAIN! (Without even looking at the die or even waiting for it to stop rolling this time, glaring at Smebulok the whole time). We can keep doing this all day if you want. Are we having fun yet?

Here's the human cleric I made for my current campaign, which is a great "Walking Ambulance" build, I think.

(20 point buy)

Str 12
Dex 12
Con 14
Int 7
Wis 18 (16 as bought +2 human racial)
Cha 14

Domains: Healing and Travel (no deity in the book has this domain combo, so you have to go "domains a la cart" to do this).

I picked Chaotic Good as my alignment, but that's more out of aesthetics than anything else.

At level 1 I took Extra Channel and Improved Initiative. This gives a total of 7 channel energies per day, which is plenty. Added Initiative is nice when casting buff spells.

The Travel domain gives some great stuff. For one, you get an extra 10 feet on your move speed, plus you get the level 1 domain spell "Longstrider" which gives you ANOTHER 10 feet while it lasts, which is 1 hour per level, so by level 6-8 you've got it pretty much all day. Just wear light armor (or Mithral Breast Plate) so you don't lose any mobility from aromr penalties to movement. The Travel domain also gives you the ability to ignore difficult terrain a few times per day, which is nice at lower levels, and at level 8 you get the BEST domain power EVER, Dimensional Hop. Just read Dimensional Hop, it really is that good. Travel also gives your cleric some good utility spells that the wizard won't need to bother learning now, like Fly, Dimension Door, and Teleport.

The Healing domain is also awesome, since it lets you prepare healing spells in your domain slots (freeing up others slots for better stuff) and at level 6 your "Cure" spells get "Empowered" for free (but only when used for healing the living).

According to the book, you'll get (2+Int Mod) skill ranks per level. This combined with your Int mod of -2 adds up to zero, but then there's a rule that says "If this adds up to a number less than 1, you get 1". On top of that you get an extra skill rank at each level for being human and you can put your favored class point into a skill rank if you need it, so you have as many as 3 per level, or you can take 2 and put the favored class thing into Hit Points instead, although with the Con of 14 and the ability to heal yourself, you probably won't need to.

I made this guy with the intention of putting all my level up stat points (at levels 4, 8, etc) into Wisdom. If you're not worried about that, you could make the Con or Cha a 13, then that gives you two points to up the Str and Dex to 13 as well (this would give you Str 13, Dex 13, Con 13, Int 7, Wis 18, Cha 14 for example). That approach gives you the ability to upgrade individual stats at levels 4, 8, and 12 as you like.

Banjoman87 wrote:

So I think I decided to "split the baby" as far as allocating points goes. My point buy will be as follows:

STR 14 (5), +2 human racial (total of 16)
DEX 13 (3)
CON 14 (5)
INT 10 (0)
WIS 16 (10)
CHA 12 (2)

This leaves some wiggle-room, since at level 4 I can either put the point into DEX or into CHA if I find that I really do need selective channeling.

Best of luck to you. I can realistically understand why you probably don't want to have to roleplay a PC with an Int of 7, but I personally believe in having a "dump stat" if you can find one, and for Clerics, I believe Int is it, unfortunately.

I don't know what kind of foes your campaign is known for, so keep in mind I'm not "metagaming" this build at all. That said, I personally would take Healing as one of your domains, it's just too good. It let's you use Domain slots for healing spells, which is a good place for them, since you can pretty much guarantee you'll need to cast a few every day. They also damage undead in combat situations. For the other one, I like Fire, because it allows you to cast (and maybe make a wand of) Fireball. If you you're not married to the idea of being a Sarenrae cleric, you could go "indie" and take Travel and Healing, which are probably the two most powerful domains period. Travel, in addition to making you incredibly modile, also gives you a few utility spells that the Sorceror will then not have to bother taking, like Dimension Door, Teleport, and Fly. Whatever domains you choose though, I'd stat it out like this:

Str 16
Dex 13
Con 13
Int 7
Wis 16+2=18 (human racial)
Cha 13

This build is exactly 25 points and will meet minimum requirements for a lot of feats out-of-the-box, and it has the potential to get you some goodies when you hit levels 4 and 8 (you can either put a point in Dex or Cha or Con and get buffs that way or go long-term and put them both in Wisdom). You'll be able to wear a headband of Wisdom and a Belt of Strength, so I wouldn't put level-up points in those stats, I'd use the point at level 4 for Dex, the one at level 8 for Cha and the one at level 12 for Con. Your low Int will cause your skill points per level to be zero, but there's a catch. Depending on how your DM interprets the rule that says "everyone get's at least 1 skill point per level" you either get just that one skill point or you get that one plus the one for being human plus the one for adding a level in your favored class (though you might want the extra hit point instead anyway).

Feats I recommend include Improved Initiative, Toughness, Extra Channel, Selective Channel, and probably Craft Wand or Craft Wondrous Item (if nobody else takes them). It you do take Item Creation Feats, make sure you keep your Spellcraft skill maxxed out.

As a spell caster of buff spells, it should help you to take the Improved Initiative as a feat, since you want to cast buff spells BEFORE the party attacks more often than not. Even just to buff yourself before you have to attack this is pretty key, I feel. Toughness is a feat I'd take even if you decide you want a Con of 14 at level 1, but it might not be entirely necessary early on.

Last but not least I would ask your DM how he or she would rule on the following question: "If I cast Eagle's Splendor on myself, my Cha modifier goes up by 2, do my Channel Energies per day also go up by 2 or not?" My DM ruled that if I temporarily raise my Cha, I can channel energy two more times, but it only works one time per day. In other words, we keep track of daily channel uses and as long as my number of used channels in a given day is less than my current Cha modifier, I can channel again. This allows for the possibility that I might have used 2 MORE channels than previously allowed after I come down from the Eagles' Splendor, but my DM ruled that it's ok. This basically gives me the option of using Eagle's Splendor once per day as a way of squeezing two more channels per day into my cleric.

Ok, so where it says "powers gained from his bloodline" it DOES NOT mean "bloodline powers" and only "bloodline powers" it means "bloodline powers, bloodline spells, and anything else that has the words "bloodline ____" as it's description. Thank you all.

You get the extra skill point or hit point at every level, including level 1. At least that's how we always play it. It's certainly not earth-shattering to get it at level 1, so why take people's toys away from them?

the description of the Dragon Disciple prestige class gives a class ability at level 1 of Dragon Disciple that reads:
"Blood of Dragons: A dragon disciple adds his level
to his sorcerer levels when determining the powers
gained from his bloodline. If the dragon disciple does
not have levels of sorcerer, he instead gains bloodline
powers of the draconic bloodline, using his dragon disciple
level as his sorcerer level to determine the bonuses gained.
He must choose a dragon type upon gaining his first level
in this class and that type must be the same as his sorcerer
type. This ability does not grant bonus spells to a sorcerer
unless he possesses spell slots of an appropriate level.
Such bonus spells are automatically granted if the sorcerer
gains spell slots of the spell’s level."

Now, I took a level of Sorceror with the Draconic bloodline (red dragon type), then two levels of Dragon Disciple. According to the above, I clearly count as a "level 3 red dragon bloodline" guy (or whatever) for the purposes of determining my bloodline powers, which means I get the lvl 1 claws and the lvl 3 natural armor and the fire resist 5 deal. Do I also get the lvl 3 bloodline spell, Mage Armor, or do I have to wait a level for my effective spellcasting class to hit 3 before getting that?

Assuming you mean that you're playing a magus and using your scimitar to deliver a touch spell, then yes, you'd get the weapon bonuses etc. It's also worth noting that when you use a weapon to deliver a touch spell with a magus, you're rolling to hit against the target's regular AC, whereas when you simply deliver the touch spell "bare handed" you're rolling against Touch AC, which is usually lower (and never higher, as far as I know).

So the weapon bonuses count, but the target's AC is better.

Edit: Raising your Strength and/or Dexterity would help your rolls to hit in melee and ranged attacks, respectively. Also, there are a number of situational bonuses that you can angle for. Flanking with a buddy in melee will get you a +2 to hit (or +4 if you and your buddy both have the Outflank feat), charging into melee will get you a bonus +2 to hit, but you take -2 to AC for that round. If the target is on the ground (prone) they get a -4 penalty to AC against melee attacks but they also get a +4 to AC against ranged attacks. If you want to become more accurate with "ray" spells, you are allowed to take the "Weapon Focus" feat and pick "ray" as your "weapon", that get's you a +1 to hit with any and all "ray" spells (a spell counts as a "ray" spell if it is described as "ray" in its description).

To give a somewhat modern take on trying to answer the OP question, consider this:

Engineers are really smart. Medical doctors are really smart. One devotes his or her time to the study of bridges, engines, electronics, etc and the other to medicine. It's not that one would have been incapable of learning the other's trade, it's that he or she simply didn't want to.

A wizard is a wizard, and doesn't learn healing because he or she doesn't want to. If they did, they'd have become something else. Go to arcane school, go to religious instruction, it's a career choice. That's how I see it anyway.

The Bard, admittedly, is a jack-of-all-trades (and master of none) type of class, and in my opinion was intended as such. Frankly, if I had my "druthers" I'd rewrite the class to make it less melee (which is to say, no melee) and less healing (again, no healing) and more straight arcane, but with a musical slant. Trying to make any sense of the Bard class in or out of the DnD context is frustrating and pretty much pointless. How can a guy heal through music? Why it's MAGIC! But wait, the Wizard is the MASTER of magic and HE can't heal using magic, singing or no singing. And the Bard class isn't really a religios calling, at least not in the flavor text I've read. So what gives? The class was basically written to be a class that could do a smattering of everything, (and by everything I mean melee, healing, and magic) but not any one thing really well.

Personally, I refuse to accept any argument for rolling stats (and/or hit points) which appeals to the law of averages. The law of averages doesn't mean jack squat when you only care about ONE character's stats (your own). If you want to use the law of averages, just give everyone an 11 in every stat. You've done them a FAVOR, right? On average, half their stats would be 10 or less, so what do they have to complain about? Hogwash. To be invested in a PC, the player has to have a hand it that PC's creation, in my opinion. There's nothing worse than being dealt a lousy poker hand and being told you MUST play those cards. You look at your cards and say "Well, if I gotta win, I gotta bluff". Only in Pathfinder, you can't bluff the dragon into taking damage from your sword. You just miss. (or you roll bluff and fail because you have a +0 Cha mod).

You should give them both a +2 morale bonus to saves versus fear effects generated by pumas (and puma-men, if your campaign contains them). Also, their melee weapons should be made of sodium.

I personally would not have agreed to any rolling of ability scores, period. But that's just me, I firmly believe that some numbers in the game should not be randomized, ability scores and hit points being chief among them. I CERTAINLY wouldn't agree to rolling different score sets for different people either, because that leads to some people getting awesome ones and others getting awful ones, etc. As DM I always use either a point buy system or some kind of set array. Flavor wise, I feel that most PCs would not be "meh" characters at whatever it is they've benn training their whole lives for upto the point where they got a level in their first class. Is a level one Fighter going to have a mediocre Strength? I doubt it. He probably spent a lot of time fighting and exercising and training to become pretty strong, because strength lends itself to being a better fighter. That said, he's probably not have spent that time reading books about religion or magic. Thus whatever numbers he has in Strength ought to be better than (not equally as crappy as) his numbers in Intelligence and or Wisdom. I would expect him to have some numbers that are good, representing the things he did to train himself for his life as a fighter, and other things to be low because he neglected those things while focusing on fighting. The point buy process, to me, models or simulates that formative part of the PCs life when he had to make choices about what he wanted to do "when he grows up" etc. Ad as far as hit points go, I just give player half the number of sides on the die every level. Gives you something to rely on. No Fighter should have to suck it up and deal with getting three or four 1's in a row on consecutive level-ups due to fickle dice. The monster books NEVER give monsters random hit points, why should the PCs have to roll for it?

Bad news, I just doublechecked the wording in the MAgus class, and I quote:
"Spell Combat (Ex)
At 1st level, a magus learns to cast spells and wield his weapons at the same time. This functions much like two-weapon fighting , but the off-hand weapon is a spell that is being cast. To us this ability, the magus must have one hand free (even if the spell being cast does not have somatic components), while wielding a light or one-handed weapon in the other hand...."

So no Spell Combat with two-handers, period, from what I can tell, DM fiat notwithstanding.

Edit: ninja-ed

I don't know of one, but you could attack with the sword then drop it and do the touch attack bare handed. If you're holding a charge, you could deliver it with the greatsword, the drop the sword, then do a fresh touch spell bare handed. Of course, you'd have to probably Quickdraw another weapon next round or something. If you COULD wield a two-handed weapon and still do Magus stuff, you'd want the Elven Curve Blade instead (for the added crit threat range), wouldn't you? Of course that requires a proficiency Feat I guess.

A friend of mine is playing a rogue 5/sorceror 1(red dragon bloodline)/dragon disciple 1 currently, after reading the dragon disciple and deciding it looked really cool. The DM is letting him change some feats around, because he's new and the dragon disciple thing is a kind of a recent, last minute new direction for his character.

I guess the character biggest issue is that at character level 7 he has a BAB of only +3. He already has Weapon Finesse (and a Dex of 18). Are there any feats he could take that would help his chances of hitting in melee? At some point the Dragon Disciple strength bonuses will probably put his bade Str (which is 14 now) on par with his Dex anyway (and then a magic belt would put him over the top).

FYI the DM is allowing him to just have the dragon claws all the time meaning he has to hide them in towns to avoid scaring the townsfolk, but get's 2 claw attacks in combat, which the DM decided was fair enough to make the character fun to play.

This is maybe more a rules question now but, in the description of "Weapon Focus" it doesn't specifically mention Natural Attacks (like claws and bites) but it does say you can apply it to rays and to unarmed attacks. If I were DM I think I'd allow it, but I wanted to see if there's any precedent or strong opinion about that.

I guess one nice thing is that the natural claw attacks don't get -2 to hit like TWF attacks with weapons would, but with having to take level 1 in so many different classes that do not give +1 BAB at level 1, his roll to hit numbers have gotten pretty diluted.

Spellcaster is blind (either by the spell Blindness/Deafness or by some other means) and then tries to cast Lightning Bolt.

The best answer I've ever gotten about this is "DM fiat."

The short answer is "No."

The caster level listed for an item is not considered a "requirement", except in the case of some items which specifically list it as such in the "Requirements" section of the item's entry. For example, to make a +X weapon I think you have to be caster level 3X or something like that. Ironically, some of the blandest, most boring items (weapons and armor) have this drawback and some of the strongest, most broken ones do not (Belts and Headbands, etc).

Some DMs will house rule it to be a requirement anyway (I do that). But even if you do make it a "requirement", there's a rule that says "you may ignore a requirement by upping the DC to make the item by +5" so even if it is a "requirement" by house rule, it's still possible to actually get around it mechanically.

By RAW, a level 5 Wizard with 5 ranks in Spellcraft, the Craft Wondrous Item Feat, and a +4 Int mod will get a total of +12 to his spellcraft skill checks. For him to make a Headband of +2 Intelligence, he needs to make a spellcraft roll of 5 + the caster level of the item, so 5 + 8 or 13. If he rolls a "1" he makes it :) and that's without spending any other feats on crafting, like skill focus(spellcraft) for example.

Of course that assumes he knows the spell "Fox's Cunning", if he doesn't, he can still try to make the item, he just has to up the DC by +5 (the penalty for not meeting the requirement of knowing the right spell), and thus he would then need his skill check to hit an 18, so he needs to roll at least a 6. If your DM houserules that the caster level counts as a requirement, then he'd need an 11, because he's trying to circumvent TWO requirements now, and the penalties stack. (5 + CL of item + 5 for not knowing Fox's Cunning + 5 for not being 8th level = 23, that minus his +12 spellcraft skill bonus is 11, so he needs to roll an 11).

Just to clarify my original post, I never meant to imply that the Extra Channeling feat would get you as much extra healing as the Phylactery would give. I only meant to say that the Phylactery uses up a more valuable slot (the headband slot) than the Feat would (although, there are a decent number of feats you could take too, so it's not like you have infinite feats either...).
I would also like to point out that there are ways of doing more healing that don't require a feat OR a headband, Wand of Cure Light Wounds being the main one there. For a measly 375gp, you get 50 charges of 1d8+1 cure each. You are allowed to artificially set the caster level of a wand you make to whatever the minimum would be for the spell in question, which for CLW is level 1. It makes the DC lower, but in the case of cure wands, that doesn't matter, as long as you don't intend to attack undead with it. And you can probably afford to make 2 or three. It's a small price to pay for the amount of healing you get, and doesn't require a body slot but does require a feat. If someone else in the party already has Craft Wand, you can collaborate with them to make wands of your spells, and if you have Craft Wand, you can team up to make wands of other people's spells for them you use. You could even give a cure wand to the Rogue, or anyone who has Use Magic Device skills, making them the emergency healer for occasions when you get knocked out or fail a save etc.
As for Extra Channeling, I think in your case (Cha bonus of +4) you're fine with the 7/day you currently have. I said that parenthetically above, but I'm more solidly in favor of NOT taking Extra Channeling now that I've thought about it more.

I like Reach Spell too, "plus one" that idea. You can use it to turn Bestow Curse into a ranged attack (thus using your Dex to hit instead of Str, which is relevant, because a belt of Dex or wand of cat's grace would up your ranged attacks, AC, and Initiative). I personally wouldn't make a wand of Longstrider. It's your best level 1 domain spell, so just cast it once every day. When you're level 6, it will last for 6 hours.

At level 5, you'll get access to "Bestow Curse" which is a really good debuff touch attack spell. As such, I think you'll want to finally get a belt of strength +4 to rid yourself of the -2 to hit you're currently suffering from. A combination of that and Divine Favor might get you back to "respectability" in terms of your roll to hit using touch attacks. A wand of Bull's Strength would be a decent substitute also, but remember they don't stack. The wand would give you the Strength for less money, but will eventually run out of charges. A belt for +4 Str would cost a lot more than the wand, but would be permanent. On the other hand, a belt uses a belt slot, which you might want to use for something else (like Con, or Dex). So it's a tough call. If crafting feats are allowed, I would encourage your entire party to make sure that the PC with the best Spellcraft skill take Craft Wondrous Item at level 5. The vast majority of the really good stuff is Wondrous Items. Cloaks of resistance, boots of speed, all the belts and headbands, the ioun stones, and myriad of other class-specific stuff. To some extent, you'll find decent magic weapons and armor, though you may have issues with who needs what type, etc. Wands are nice, though expensive for a consumable item. As a cleric, you may want to take Craft Wand if nobody else has it. It allows you to make a wand of Cure Light Wounds and/or a wand of Lesser Restoration, both of which would serve you well. The cure wand replaces most of the spell-based curing you'd do during the adventuring day, and Lesser Resoration is an out-of-combat spell, but a good one. You might not need 50 Lesser Restorations by the time the campaign is done, but you'll be happy to not have to prepare it ever again. I also like Quickened Channeling in that it allows you to Channel twice in the same round and take a 5 foot step if needed. Or channel and attack, but I don't know how much attacking you'd be doing. Still Channel + cure spell (or wand cure) is pretty good too.

The Phylactery is a good item, but it takes up a headband slot, which should probably go to a headband of wisdom. Plus you could just take Extra Channeling as a feat instead, if you need it (with a Cha of 18 I think you're fine as it is). Another feat I'd look into, though not at level 5, would be Heighten Spell. This is a metamagic feat that allows you to prepare a low level whammy spell (like Hold Person or Silence) in a higher level slot, thus increasing the DC of the spell in the process. Like I said, not for now, but maybe as a feat at level 9ish or later. Being able to blind, silence, sound burst, hold person, etc with higher DCs isn't bad. That and there aren't a truckload of GREAT level 4 spells for those slots anyway, although Blessing of Fervor is "da bomb" as the kids say, especially if the party doesn't have a caster who can cast Haste. A spell heightened to level 5 would compete against Flame Strike, but could be useful against targets the area attack would likely not bother (hold person a badguy rogue, for example). The 1-round stun you get out of Sound Burst can be really big if the DC is high enough to make it stick, especially against enemy spellcasters with bad Fort saves (I think its a fort save, gotta check that). Even something as useless sounding as Hide from Undead can be awesome if they fail the save against it. Heightened Zone of Truth could be useful out of combat (the old Zone of Truth combo with Speak with Dead is pretty good, but even better when the deceased fails their roll to save against ZoT).

Another feat I feel has its moments for Clerics is Scribe Scroll. The cleric list has a several spells on it that are only situationally useful (like Stone Shape, or the aforementioned Hide from Undead, etc). Scribe Scroll allows you to create a backlog of these sort of spells so that when the opportunity to use one arises, you can go "OOH! I have just the scroll for this! I read a scroll and cast Remove Paralysis."

Kazaan wrote:

Even with normal TWF, the system doesn't care which you take first or how you alternate them so long as each hand obeys the "highest to lowest bonus" rule. If you have 2 iteratives at +6 and +1 and Improved TWF to allow you your normal off-hand at +6 plus an additional at +1, you could do any of the following:

1) Main-Hand +4, Off-Hand +4, Main-Hand -1, Off-Hand -1
2) Main-Hand +4, Off-Hand +4, Off-Hand -1, Main-Hand -1
3) Main-Hand +4, Main-Hand -1, Off-Hand +4, Off-Hand -1
4) Off-Hand +4, Main-Hand +4, Off-Hand -1, Main-Hand -1
5) Off-Hand +4, Main-Hand +4, Main-Hand -1, Off-Hand -1
6) Off-Hand +4, Off-Hand -1, Main-Hand +4, Main-Hand -1

Ok, but when you are doing normal TWF, you have to actually wield TWO weapons (one in each hand), and, as I understand it, if you're wielding a longsword and a dagger, you may not take ALL of your attacks (all 4 of them) with the longsword. With Spellstrike + Spell Combat, you are apparently allowed to take what would be your "offhand attack" with your "main hand" weapon, as long as you're using it to deliver a touch spell. That does seem a little strange, doesn't it?

I mean, I'm no stranger to the idea of a full round attack progression, or how TWF works, but neither of those would normally let you take two consecutive attacks in the same round with the same longsword you're wielding in just your right hand, (left hand empty) with full BAB on both (or even full BAB -2 for TWF), would they?

Can a level 4 Magus do any of the following:

1. Full round attack action: First attack with sword, then second with sword + Shocking Grasp.

2. Full round attack action: First attack with sword + Shocking Grasp, second attack with just sword (and delivering the now-held Shocking Grasp if the first attack missed.)

3. (while holding the charge of a previously cast Shocking Grasp) Full round attack action: first sword hits, delivers held charge, then sword a second time with a NEW shocking grasp cast (as the second Spell Combat attack).

I think a person COULD interpret the rules to mean that you CANNOT make two attacks in the same round with the sword, but you MAY deliver one held shocking grasp then cast and attempt a second one (albeit with the bare hand).

That would sound something like this:

1A. Full round attack action: First attack with sword, second with bare handed Shocking Grasp. (this is essentially "regular" Spell Combat)

2A. Full round attack action: First attack with sword + Shocking Grasp, and if it misses, the charge is held briefly and discharged by the second attack with bare-handed Shocking Grasp. (This is essentially Spell Combat now with Spellstrike TM).

3A. (while holding the charge of a previously cast Shocking Grasp) Full round attack action: first sword hits, delivers held charge, then second attack with a NEW shocking grasp cast using the bare hand only.

I'm not saying the "1A, 2A and 3A" scenarios are "right" just that one could interpret the Magus rules that way. In any case, as a DM I wouldn't really consider the second weapon attack "broken" but very out of the ordinary. That said, a lot of effects give you a second attack at full BAB (Haste, Blessing of Fervor, Ninja ki pool, etc).

The final answer would have to come from your DM and his or her better judgement. As DM, I personally would rule that, going by the wording of "Entangled", the watery orb does constitute "tethered by an opposing force" in a broad sense and thus it DOES "prevent movement" at least voluntary movement of the orbed creature, at least until the creature makes a successful save to get out, following the rules in the spell. That would seem like the most fair interpretation to me.

Is the listed duration for Chill Touch given as "Instantaneous"? I thought it was 1 round/level or something. The "charges" don't last forever after you cast the spell, you have to use them all up before the spell expires, or else lose them, or so I thought (don't have book on me atm).

Cyrad wrote:

When leveling up my Strength magus to 2, I realized I'm not eligible for the Power Attack feat I took at 1st level. Now I need to pick a replacement. Problem is that I'm extremely fickle!

My stats are STR 18, 12 DEX, 12 CON, 16 INT, 10 WIS, 7 CHA

As a human, I have Extra Arcane Pool already. The feats that I'm interested are...

Toughness: My head tells me to pick this one because I have a 12 Con.

Extra Arcane Pool: My heart tells me to take this because I like being a spellcaster and having an insane amount of arcane pool points means being able to use Shocking Grasp 10 times a day at level 4 thanks to Spell Recall. And there's the Magus Arcana. Admittedly, this is probably insane...

Arcane Strike: This looks like a good replacement/supplement for Power Attack and stacks with my arcane pool. Thus, it does use a swift action, so I can't use it if I take an immediate action last round.

Improved Initiative: My initiative is +3 (thanks to a trait), so increasing that might be a good idea. However, I'd want to act last anyway to wait for the tank to charge forward and let the ranged fighters take a shot.

What's your thoughts? Any of you have trouble deciding things like this?

I think any of the ones you mention here are pretty solid. I personally do not like spending a feat on weapon proficiencies of any kind. I agree that the weapon you ought to use is the scimitar or anything else you already know how to wield that has an 18-20 crit range and is able to take a Keen Edge spell, scabbard of keen edges, or have +1 Keen enchanted on it. Since the spell damage uses the weapons crit threat range and only ever gets X2 damage (regardless of the weapon's multiplier) this is the way to go, in my opinion.

As for what I would take, of the options you list, it depends on the party. If you're expected to bear the sole responsibility for being the party's melee tank, I'd take Toughness, if not, I'd go with Extra Arcane Pool (can't be bad) or Arcane Strike (also can't be bad). Improved Initiative is really nice, but IMO not as good as the other three (for you). But that's just my opinion. In some ways I feel like you're going to end up taking more than one of these feats eventually anyway, so it ends up not being a question of whether you take them, but in what order.

I think someone above mentioned taking Craft Wondrous Item, and that's not possible at level 1 of Magus, as it has a minimum level of like 3 or 5, I forget.

The ability "spell blending", as written, I'm confused what it is supposed to do. Am I to understand that this ability allows the magus to learn a sor/wiz spell that is NOT on the normal Magus spell list?

It might be worth considering not the entire breadth of the Bestiaries but only that subset which one might encounter in one's campaign. Even if you're wondering about the "overall" picture, you're far less likely to fight an angel, for example, unless you're an evil character. What is probably more relevant would be the resistances of demons. That said, a DM can always put together a badguy with a lot of acid resistance if he wants to.

Also, don't forget about "sonic" and "untyped".

What they're saying is this:

Say a thing does 5 damage. And there are 2 different effects that tell you to double it. What happens is, the first effect adds 5 and the second effect adds 5. So "double it" is really short for "if it would do X points of damage, it does an additional X points as well" When there's only one such effect in place, the net result is the the damage goes from 5 to 5+5 (so 10). Thus it seems like doubling the damage. When there are two effects "doubling" something, each effect adds damage equal to the original unmodified number (so you don't double the double). Thus 5 turns into 5 + 5 + 5 = 15 when there are two doubling effects.

It's like that because that's how the rules writers want it to be. It's less prone to abuse and makes things less imbalanced, or so you'd think.

Given all the moving parts and other complications that the game has at level ~20, I don't think the SR rules as written were to blame for any one encounter at that level not going like some might have thought it should. That's just my opinion. It's also my opinion that the game is so inherently overpowered by about level 15+ and things just go haywire somehow, eventually. Encounters at high levels are difficult to balance and often very one-sided, making them harder to construct in the first place, and the party makeup has a lot to do with that too. Also, if the party members know how spell resistance works (which they should by level 18) then any trouble it caused in that particular fight should have been nothing new to the PCs. I mean, was this the first encounter where they had SR to deal with? If it wasn't, then they ought to understand how it works by now and be able to adjust accordingly. Even if they did know how it works, and had a plan, and executed the plan, it is my opinion that they still could have gotten party wiped or won easily based solely on the dice rolling.

Also, I want to point out that I play clerics a lot, and one pet peeve of mine is that (and I think this goes way back to the Gygaxian era as well) the cleric seems to get a lot of stuff that doesn't work as-advertized, after you read the fine print. Look at spells like Smite Evil (or Holy Smite, or whatever it's called). It's an AoE damage spell that does d6/lvl damage against evil outsiders. In other words, it's a spell you're supposed to use against demons, right? So you prepare it, you go into a fight against a demon and what happens? Your DM explains to you that you're not likely to encounter a large group of demons all in a big mob (so the AoE nature of it is less appealing because you're usually just fighting one big bad evil demon) and that virtually ALL evil outsiders have something called "Spell Resistance" which makes your anti-demon SPELL a lot less powerful (because it allows SR). It's like they handed you a gun called the "gun for use against bullet proof enemies" and when you pull the trigger you find out it doesn't actually pierce the bulletproof armor and any special way. The cleric spell list is rife with examples of this sort of stuff. In a game where people take turns moving, Magic Circle against Evil is permanently disabled for a PC the FIRST time they move out of the 10ft circle. This means the entire party has to huddle together and inchworm its way around the place one 5ft step at a time. The list goes on. The point I'm making is, there's LOT of stuff in there that doesn't work the way one might want it to, and that's intentional on the part of the original writers. I'm personally convinced some spells are just in there so that badguys can use them against the party (why else would Hold Person be level 2-3 while Hold Monster is higher level?). I think others are just plain bad and not worth using at all. I don't always agree with all of it, I strongly dislike some of it, I even houserule some of the stuff I dislike when I DM. That's ok, it's your game as DM, you can do that. I'm not telling you not to. I'm just saying that in my opinion, though the SR rules might seem "bad", I think they actually add to the challenge and fun as they are and would make the game less fun if houseruled otherwise. If you disagree and want to change it, go right ahead. I've houseruled stuff, and I considered the question of houseruling SR, but I decided I liked it better the way it is, in this case. Your mileage may vary.

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I've played and DMed this rule as written and I believe it is fair, as written (please pardon while I duck the rotten tomatoes being thrown at me).

My reasons:

1. Not all healing requires a spell being cast at the recipient by someone else. This causes certain other options to look a little better than the usual boring Cure Light Wounds.

2. Spell resistance will often prevent the damage you would have taken anyway.

3. It's been around a long time (meaning, I bet Gygax or whomever invented it did so just to make monsters tougher with no thought that any PC would ever get to use it).

4. You CAN lower it, which makes for interesting strategic choices during combat, thus adding to the fun.

5. Not all spells allow SR to be used against them in the first place.

6. In places where it is applicable it's REALLY good.

7. I don't have the books in front of me, but frankly I'm not sure that a caster is considered immune to his own SR. If he is, that is probably logical, but still really good too.

In my opinion as a DM, playing it any other way is like having your cake and eating it to. Anything that powerful should come at a price. I mean, if your DM allowed you to just say "Ok, I walk into the dungeon and kill the dragon. What's for lunch?" then the game would suck. The fact that you CAN'T have everything the way you'd ideally want it makes the game more fun, not less fun. It may be frustrating at times, but an "easy win" with no real work involved is a hollow waste of time, whereas a "challenging puzzle" gives a sense of accomplishment after negotiating it. SR with no drawbacks would be too easy.

I'd take the Fire domain and make a wand of Fireball asap. Even after reflex saves, a 5d6 fireball probably still averages more damage than a single arrow, given that the fireball potentially hits more than 1 monster per casting).

I don't think there's any great reason to take the bow feats. You're still only shooting ONE arrow at a guy, so I'd sooner take the negative energy channeling and use THAT as a ranged attack. Also, a bow and arrow guy needs Dex and Str (for composite bows, which are better than the non-composite kind). That's a lot of ability score points.

If you don't intend to be close enough to use touch-ranged healing spells, you may want to take Reach Spell as a metamagic Feat (turns a touch spell into a short range spell, I forget where I saw it, useful for Bestow Curse as well).

To the problem of blindness being too powerful because it can shut down a spell caster, I disagree, because there are spells you could cast that don't rely as much on vision as Lightning Bolt. Also, Silence is a level 2 spell for clerics (if memory serves), and that spell is generally more effective as such. For one thing, you don't have to cast it on a person who then get's to make a saving throw, you can cast it on an arrow, or a coin, then shoot the arrow at the intended target or dump a bag full of similar coins on the floor. For another, Silence prevents the casting of all spells with verbal components, which is almost all spells period, and (I think) acts as a barrier against sonic attacks (e.g. even of someone tries to cast Shout at you from outside the Silenced area, the area stops the Shout at the border).

As for the "just roll a die and fudge it" idea, I'm trying to avoid that, or more accurately, I'm trying to do something like that which at least a few people find reasonable in order to lend some credibility to the idea that it wasn't just my ad hoc brainchild, but it does seem to be the way this is ultimately going to end up.

As for the "I say affect, you say effect, let's call the whole thing off" argument, I apologize if my vocabulary was incorrect, and if it wasn't, I apologize for the unnecessary apology. :)

In my campaigns (meaning, when I DM) I have several rules about the alignments of PCs. One of them is that the PCs cannot be True Neutral. I reserve that alignment for animals, oozes, plants, constructs, and anything else that is physically incapable of having an opinion. All attempts I've seen by players trying to play True Neutral fail in the sense that people generally either get greedy and use their neutrality as an excuse to act evil (and I don't allow evil as a PC alignment either) or else they're just acting good most of the time but calling it Neutral in order to gain the mechanical advantage of being able to wield an Unholy weapon or something (and for that matter, I also give any non-evil creature trying to wield an Unholy Weapon the negative levels, etc).

Another bad scenario that can happen is that the True Neutral player thinks that True Neutral means he should just alternate between good and evil in turn, arbitrarily saving one damsel in distress, killing and robbing another, etc. In my opinion the only things capable of really role-playing True Neutral are things that act on instinct alone, or programming, or stimulus-response, or some such.

While we're on the subject, I also treat all undead as Evil creatures, including mindless zombies, etc. The exception to this is some ghosts, which are generally only there in the NPC storyline function (like Obi-Wan in The Empire Strikes Back).

To Grick's point, I guess you would have to rule it that way, otherwise anyone who currently has Mage Armor, Resist Fire, Protection from Arrows, etc would count as "being affected by a spell" and it seems silly to make a spell caster make a save under those circumstances. I wonder, if a human (non-undead) wizard is about to cast a spell and you use a readied action to cast Cure Moderate Wounds on him, does that wizard then require a concentration check to get the spell off? Is the answer the same whether the wizard is a friendly or an enemy NPC?

Getting back to my original point, I still would like to hear more from the pros out there in terms of what your group does to handle the situation of a blinded spell caster trying to cast Lightning Bolt. It seems like I either have to disallow it entirely, for simplicity's sake alone, or else come up with some kind of really detailed scheme for handling it which is not in the book. Both options seem undesirable to me.

As DM I would allow those as options.

One noteworthy thing: a PC whose type is "outsider" does not count as "human" and is therefore not a legal target for a spell like "Hold Person".

For the sake of argument, the same questions apply if the caster is in a Deeper Darkness area and can't see through it, or even if he's in a Fog Cloud, etc.

Do you think that simply not allowing Lightning Bolt, Fire Ball, and the like when the caster is blinded is overly harsh? I mean, in a real pinch, the caster could drop a fire ball centered on himself (if he had Protection from Fire going at the time, might not be a bad thing). What about simply not allowing blindness?

When I DM I generally don't allow the "cross-creation" of items at all. In my campaigns, you will encounter three types of items: 1) Items that have to be there to drive the storyline, 2) items which you find in treasure (which are always determined by dice randomization) and 3) items party members make for themselves and each other.
I also make players pay full base price for most items they create, except for potions and scrolls which are still made at "cost". I allow anyone with Brew Potion to make the "Elixir" items in the Wondrous Item list, and in general I try to allow armor-like Wondrous Items (i.e. boots, bracers, etc) to be made by people with the Craft Magical Arms and Armor feat. Craft Wondrous Item is by far the most useful of the item creation feats, so making some of the other ones more attractive doesn't hurt, in my opinion.

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A few thoughts:

1. There's an entry in the book that states if you are being affected by a spell and you try to cast a spell of your own, you have to make a concentration check. The DC for this is the DC of the spell affecting you plus the level of the spell you are casting. I take this to mean that being blinded by the SPELL blindness forces this concentration check, but non-magical blindness (someone gives you a pie in the face, thus blinding you) does not. This also means that the effect would be the same if you were deafened OR blinded.

2. I personally tend to think that being blinded (magically or not) would cause you to to be more likely to mess up somatic components. I mean, grab a paper and pencil and close your eyes, turn around two or three times, sit down and try to write the word "Lightning Bolt" correctly, with all the i's dotted and t's crossed, etc. It's not going to look as good as it would if you had your eyes open. Writing, like somatic spell components, requires "precise movement of the hand". In my opinion, there ought to be some spell failure percentage for being blinded, but none exists in the RAW, so as DM I'd have to house rule it and make up a number for it.

3. Players often tend to measure the exact placement of spells like Lightning Bolt and Flame Strike with unrealistically high precision under normal circumstances. Counting squares to avoid hitting allies, while maximizing affected monsters, etc. I don't think, as DM, the blinded lightning bolt caster ought to get to draw the 100ft bolt line like that, even if they make the concentration check AND roll the spell failure percentile. I would expect some randomness in the line's placement under the best case scenario. I'm willing to grant that the caster can choose which corner of his own square it would originate from, but beyond that, I don't think he could direct the bolt line so precisely that it hits one creature 100ft away and misses the three party members that he want's to avoid in the process. Not to mention the problem of missing high or low. You could easily aim the bolt such that it terminates at the floor before it hits the intended "target" or else shoot it over his head.

4. All of the above discussion assumes that the blinded caster is still facing the direction he was facing before he went blind, and that the intended targets are still standing where they were standing. Give it one or two combat rounds, and none of that will be true, probably.

asthyril wrote:

yes, the travel domain and longstrider stack, for a total +20 to your base speed.

if you look here you can calculate what your reduced speed would be based on the chart.

so for instance your cleric with 50 base speed would have a 35 speed in medium/heavy armor or encumbered.

it is on page 170 of CRB in lower left corner.


I wizard is blinded, either by a spell or some mundane means. He tries to cast, say, Lightning Bolt. What happens? What if it's a cleric casting Flame Strike, any difference at all? Thanks.

A human cleric with the Travel domain get's a granted domain power at level 1 of "+10ft to base move speed" and also gets the spell Longstrider as a level 1 domain spell. Longstrider grants a "+10ft enhancement bonus to movement" for land-based walking type movement only. Since Longstrider's bonus is called an "enhancement" bonus and the domain power is not "enhancement" type, I believe they stack, is that right?

Secondly, how does one compute this character's movement speed while wearing light/medium/heavy armor? The table in the equipment section only lists the resulting speed in armor for medium creatures, assuming the usual base movement speed of 30ft. This could be interpreted in different ways, all of which lead to questionable results:

A) The "strict" interpretation: the medium creature (human) has a speed of 20 ft in medium or heavy armor and a speed of 30 ft in light armor, despite his base speed increase from the domain and Longstrider, because the table simply states that his speed in armor is what it says on the table that it is based on the kind of armor he wears (30ft for light, 20ft for medium or heavy). Thus a Travel domain, longstridered-up cleric in breastplate armor would have a resulting speed of 20ft. In a chain shirt he'd have a speed of 30ft. He only gets the bonus movement while not wearing armor at all.

B) The "subtractive" interpretation: The effect of wearing medium or heavy armor is clearly that it reduces the wearer's speed by 10ft while in armor, so therefore the travel domain, longstridered-up cleric will have a base speed of 50 ft in no armor, a speed of 50ft in a chain shirt, and a speed of 40ft in breastplate.

C) The "scalable" interpretation: The effect of wearing medium or heavy armor on the table is clearly that it reduces the wearer's speed to 2/3 of the base, therefore the travel domain, longstridered-up cleric will have a base speed of 50ft in no armor or chain shirt, and a speed of 33.33333ft in medium or heavy armor, because you're supposed to take the 50ft base speed and multiply it by 2/3 to get the resulting speed in armor. This interpretation requires you to round the result (up or down?) to the nearest 5ft increment to determine the number of squares you can move in combat.

I can't find anywhere in the book that clearly stipulates which of the three options above is correct, if any of them are. Is this errata-ed anywhere? Is it just a DM call? Is it in the book and I just missed it somehow? Please help. Thank you.

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My thoughts on Prepared Casters (Wizard vs. Sorcerer specifically):

1) The Wizard is Int-based, and Int is a somewhat useful ability, in that it gives you extra skill points to throw around and languages known.

2) You get Scribe Scroll as a bonus feat which allows you to write some scrolls to use in circumstances that don't come up often.

3) When the party finds randomly generated scrolls as treasure, you can use them to learn new spells (you may end up getting more out of this approach than finding other casters' books, which happens less often, but is a bonanza when it does).

4) You may encounter an NPC wizard that could be Diplomacy-Skilled into swapping spells, especially if the NPC in question is lower level than you are but just happens to know some low level spells that you don't. ("I'll teach you Levitate if you teach me Fox's Cunning..." )

5) There are a lot of spells that you'll find a use for every day, like Haste, Scorching Ray, Disintegrate, etc.

6) The cleric has a lot of the same spells as you, but the ones he get's are mostly non-offense and more situational, so you can leave it to him to be the one casting spells like Resist Energy while you prepare pro-active "bread and butter" stuff like the aforementioned Haste, Fireball, etc.

7) You get access to a lot of "utility" spells that the sorcerer doesn't usually have room for in his spells known list, like Identify, Floating Disk, etc. Things that make life easier for the party but require you to know the spell.

8) Wizards are the best magic item crafting class. For one thing, you can learn any of the spells you need to know to make almost any item, and for another you get a ridiculous amount of bonuses to the spellcraft roll you have to make. Spellcraft is a class skill for the Wizard (natch) and it is Int-based, so assuming you have maximum ranks in it (and why wouldn't you keep it maxxed, you have a lot of skill points to throw around), you ought to have at least a +12 to the spellcraft rolls you make at caster level 5. Since the DC to make something is usually 5+CL of the item, you can make items with CL well above your current level with relative ease. At the very least you owe it to yourself to take Craft Wondrous Item just to make Cloaks of Resistance for yourself and others, as well as belts and headbands for raising ability scores (including your own Int!).

9) While the Sorcerer's flexibility and extra spells per day are nice, you can make an effort to learn something about the type of monsters you might encounter, so as to be better prepared. This of course depends on your DM. The difference is, you may have a spell that is useful against the monster du jour, simply by chance. There's also the possibility of the DM specifically giving the one monster you defeated a scroll of s spell that, if you use it or learn it, can be used against another monster later on. The wizard can, and should, have a spell up his sleeve (in scroll form in some cases) for every type of monster he might face. Even against very magic-resistant monsters like golems you could still find something to do to help the party, while a sorcerer might have to just throw his hands up in the air and quit.

10) There are multiple different angles of attack on a monster, do you want to try to attach it's armor class, reflex save, will save, fort save, or maybe affect it indirectly, like with a Wall of Stone or a summoned monster? Wizards can make themselves able to use the right tool for the job in that sense. This is harder for a sorcerer sometimes.

I've been jotting down different house rule ideas for the next time I take the reins and DM a campaign. Here's some of what I cam up with, as it pertains to the races. Let me know what you think. Oh, and FYI I want to go with a 20 point buy, with some added rules and options. The added rule is that your 6 ability scores, after all racial modifiers, cannot have any score lower than a 6. With some races and point allotments, a 5 was possible, and to me that's too low due to possibility of ability score damage becoming too big a problem. Also, I think a 5 in anything is ridiculously low and to role play some very low scores properly is either too difficult or too annoying for very long. I mean it just get's old fast.

That said, the racial house rules are:

1. Races from the bestiaries are allowed, with some exceptions. For one, Merfolk are not allowed unless we're doing an all-underwater campaign,which I have yet to ever do. Any non-humanoid race will cost you 5 build points, this is because a lot of them have better ability score adjustments that the core rulebook, not to mention energy resistances. Drow is also 5 points (they get SR). Drow Noble is 15 points (they're just loaded with goodies).

2. I don't allow PCs to be of Evil alignment or to be true neutral, so the more evil-aligned races are tricky. I allow them, but in any civilized area you'd probably have to disguise yourself, so put some points in that skill. Also, you're still not allowed to be evil, even if you are a drow, or Orc, or whatever. Note that only races that have a "PC's of this race" entry in the bestiaries are allowed.

3. Dwarves: Since I don't see the need for the Appraise skill, I just drop the dwarven racial bonus to it and in exchange make the Hardy ability work on all saving throws, not just the categories given in the description. Ninety of the saves one has to make are against spells or spell-like abilities anyway, so this way the Dwarves out these can just write a static +2 to all saves on their sheets and be done with it, it makes life easier for everyone.

4. Half-Elves: By RAW, except the +2 to one ability score must go into Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma. Alternatively, a half-elf PC can forgo the +2 to one score and instead put +1 point in each of Int, Wis and Cha.

5. Half-Orcs: By RAW, except that the +2 to one ability score must go into Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution. Alternatively, a half-orc PC can forgo the +2 to one score and instead put +1 point in each of Str, Dex and Con.

6. Humans: By RAW, but in addition, human characters have the option of taking either the usual +2 to one ability score, or taking +1 to any three different ability scores instead.

7. Aasimars: Aasimars who take levels in sorcerer may not take Abyssal, Infernal, or any other “evil” bloodline, due to their celestial lineage. Aasimar clerics must channel positive energy.

8. Tieflings: Tiefling sorcerers cannot take the Celestial bloodline or any other “good” aligned bloodline, due to their fiendish lineage.

More responses:

1. I'm aware that Summoned monsters last 1 round per level by RAW, I simply meant that my rewrite would turn that into a flat 1 min, not turn it into 1 min/level, that was, perhaps, unclear on my part and I apologize.

2. I like Haste a lot too, but it's value is dependent on what you've got to work with vis a vis the other party members. If you read the Advanced Player's Guide, there's a level 4 cleric spell in there called Blessing of Fervor, which I absolutely love. But those spells are best used when you've got two or more melee or archery guys that can take advantage of them. It's a good spell, but again I feel like team buffs should be more the cleric/druid/bard's job. Also, Fly, Haste, and Slow are not, all by themselves, going to damage a badguy. Indirectly affecting the party's chances of winning is great (more of a druid/bard/cleric kind of thing to me, but great nonetheless), but wizards and sorcerers get spells like Scorching Ray, Fireball, Disintegrate, etc and clerics/druids/bards not so much. It's true spells like Flame Strike and Call Lightning exist, but they're at higher levels or are less effective for a reason. The arcane guys should be doing the lion's share of the blasting, battlefield control (i.e. wall of force, etc) and the healers should be doing the healing and buffing, in my opinion.

3. Any argument that begins with "well, if you add it up over 10 rounds, spell X is better than fireball..." doesn't really move me to prepare those other spells, because a lot of fights simply don't last that long. If they did, a whole bunch of spells would be significantly better than they actually are (e.g. Call Lightning). Also, the summon spells take up a full round to cast, so that's one round of fighting you don't get to use the leopard for.

3. As a lvl 5 Wizard, you might be better off with the leopard, if in fact you manage to actually summon it in the first place. Unfortunately, as written, that takes 1 round to do, so as soon as the badguys see you start casting it, they're liable to start shooting at you, which means making one or more concentration checks. If you fail any one of those, you lose the spell entirely with nothing to show for it. Fireball, a standard action that deals 5d6 fire damage at 400ft, looks a lot better to me than that because at least you can reliably cast it most of the time. Also, the thing about summon spells is, I find that I only ever prepare the highest level summon spell available to me. I mean, as a lvl 10 wizard, you could Summon III a leopard, which may not have a snowball's chance in hell of ever hitting the big badguy even if you're successful, or you can do 10d6 fire damage to an area up to 800ft away, as a standard action. Most people who DO want to summon a monster there will want to use Summon V instead, which leaves you wondering what to prepare in the level 3 slots.

4. I knew people would bring up the issue of "What about all the other spell casting classes besides Cleric and Wizard though?" and my only real answer to that (and I know this is somewhat disappointing) is to reiterate that if it were up to me, absolutely every core spell casting class would have it's very own set of unique spells that only exist for that class. Now, within the framework of the game, there's a lot of room for diversity and a lot of places where the effects of one class's spell to overlap another's. I'm fine with the EFFECTS of some spells being very similar, I just wish the spells themselves were tailored exclusively to the classes that get them. I mean really, if magic can heal wounds there's no really mechanically sound reason why a wizard couldn't heal somebody, but those spells aren't available to the arcane casters mainly because the two classes need to be good at different things in order to have their own identities in the first place.

5. Pigeon-holing, to me, is a negative-sounding tag to put on writing classes that are different from each other in terms of their ethos and their mechanics, which in my opinion is the hallmark of writing a good set of classes. If there are going to be classes, those classes MUST work differently for there to be any real difference between them. If there are no differences between them, then the classes themselves are irrelevant and unnecessary. I mean, each class should be recognizably distinct from the others, otherwise what's the point of having classes in the first place? If you can make a pure spell caster that's as good in melee as a fighter, then why would anyone roll up a fighter? For that matter, why would anyone every build a multi-class PC? If your pure wizard has spells that allow him to find and disarm traps as good as or better than a rogue, then what's the point of the rogue class? At that point you may as well just let everyone buy class abilities a la carte and do away with classes entirely. The more well-defined the individual classes are (especially the core classes), the more interesting they are. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to take away all diversity within the classes, but I think they ought not get abilities that step on each other's toes too much.

6. In your "There isn't always a fighter" example of the cleric doing the tanking for the party, in my opinion the party that has no real tank should feel the glaring lack of a tank when it get's into fights. If the cleric is relegated to tanking because he's the best option, he should probably feel outclassed and be a less desirable option in that role than a fighter/barbarian/monk. Clerics should be good at being clerics (whatever that means) and bad at being fighters (whatever that means). Otherwise what's the purpose of a fighter in the first place? They can't heal damage and undo curses and ability drain like a cleric can, why should a cleric or anyone else be able to do what they do as well as they can?

7. As for the issue of the summon monster tables, I just think each class should only be able to summon things that fit that class's flavor. The good cleric should be summoning "heavenly" things like Archons etc, the wizard should be summoning "magical" things like elementals, the druid should be summoning "natural" things like dire wolves. Maybe it's just me. Plus it's just simpler and involves less looking up and templating of monsters if you just make every summon spell more specific.

8. If your opinion is "Don't move Fireball because evocation is bad enough as it is." then how do you feel about Shout at level 4? If Fireball is "mediocre" with it's 400ft range and scalable damage dice, isn't Shout "bad" with it's 30ft cone and flat 5d6 damage? Even by the "Fireball ain't all that" theory, it's still better than Shout isn't it? That theory therefore would be in FAVOR of switching the levels of those spells for power reasons, I would expect, since it would at least rank the spells in order of power level among themselves. And note, I'm leaving Lightning Bolt at level 3.

9. Thank you (seriously) for the "You're wrong and here's why..." comments. I only get to really kick the tires on these sorts of ideas when I get feedback. I want to thank everyone for all of the very constructive thoughts so far. And again, all of this is just what I think I'd do if I were in charge. In places where my vision differs fundamentally from anyone else's, all I can say is that reasonable people will still sometimes disagree.

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