Abra Lopati

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puksone wrote:
Some people mentioned items that boost the caster dmg. What items are available? Haven't looked to much into the caster items and wanted to do some dpr analysis.

I personally like dual-wielding wands of manifold missiles. 1 action cast for magic missile, but then you get a free 1 action casting of magic missile every turn after that for 1 minute as long as you are holding the wand. If you have two, you can activate both and get 2 sets of missiles per turn. Or I suppose you could use the full 3 action casting variant on turn 1, and the same on turn 2, but the efficiency falls off that way.

At 11th level, its pretty easy to afford 2 of those wands at the 3rd spell level, so that 4 magic missiles per turn after the first (14 average extra damage per round). Alternatively mix with 2 casting magic on the 1st and 2nd round. The more rounds they're active, the more efficient they are.

Staff of divination gets you potentially a whole bunch of extra castings of true strike for spells that require attack rolls.

Gaterie wrote:

Fun fact: the system doesn't allow that.

If the scout is stealthy, he won't see the trap. This is how exploration mode works: either you're stealthy, either you look at traps. Do you know how the rules work?

Well, you could enter encounter mode so the rogue can both stealth and search down the corridor of limited length.

Alternatively, the GM is allowed to improvise a new activity (page 498), and alternate Sneak and Seek. Search is already alternating Stride and Seek. All it means is you would move at 1/2 your normal search/sneak speeds, so 1/4 your base speed, and would not cause fatigue.

Edit: Which for a stealthy Elf with a base speed of 40 from Nimble Elf and Fleet, combined with a level 2 longstrider casting is faster than some characters in heavy armor searching.

You make some good points. The option to say trip or disarm with two different agile weapons is something someone might want. And certainly rangers potentially benefit more with their reduced MAP options combined with two agile weapons as opposed to 1 agile and 1 not. The fighter's two-weapon flurry also benefits more from two agile weapons.

Not sure how to take the drunk developer comments though.

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If shields were intended to be the same as all other weapons in terms of rules, why did they put "shield bash" on the weapon table and simply not "shield". They didn't use the term "Greatsword swing" or "Hammer bash" on the weapon table. Shields were singled out for some reason in the developers mind.

My best guess is they thought it was a balance consideration. Consider the level 4 fighter feat Twin Parry.

You can either spend a feat to get +1 AC, or +2 AC if you're wielding a particular 1d4 damage weapon - or you could just buy a spiked shield dealing 1d6 damage for a couple gold and an agile short sword and just raise your shield instead of taking an action to parry to get +2 AC. Grab reactive shield, and on turns where nobody is provoking you can swap your reaction for +2 AC and use your 3 actions for other stuff.

Now I agree you probably should be able to use the shield in a double slice, but it does make the Twin Parry->Twin Riposte->Twinned Defense line look sub-optimal to me when compared to the Reactive Shield->Quick Shield Block->Paragon's Guard line.

Edit: I suppose for rangers Reactive shield or Paragon's Guard are not options, so perhaps I should shouldn't be comparing them in that case.

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Out of curiosity, why is the caster generally assumed to have no offensive magic items in these comparisons? Fighters are always assumed to have the best weapon and runes, and presumably a backup ranged weapon for when they can't engage in melee.

As far as I can tell, the most damage efficient magic items per action in the game over 4 turns are the Wands of Manifold Missiles. You can use a pair, one in each hand. Spend 2 actions on the first turn, and for the rest of the fight get 2,4,6 or 8 even extra magic missiles every turn for no effort. Its like haste for wizards.

At 6th, you can afford 2 of the 1st level spell versions, at 10th you can afford 2 of the 3rd level spell versions, at 14th you can afford 2 of the 5th level versions, and at 18th you can afford 2 of the 17th level versions, instead of keeping your melee and backup ranged up to date in terms of runes.

Assuming a 4 round boss fight against an enemy level+2, going nova with both wands is like 28 damage at 6th, 56 at 10th, 84 at 14th, and 112 at 18th. If it goes long, say to 5 rounds, they simply get more efficient.

Alternatively, mix them in with 2 action cast spells on the 1st and 2nd turn to boost overall damage with that 3rd action instead of making a strike with a bow or whatever.

Mathmuse wrote:
That same elf, back at 1st level, solved a math puzzle. I am still embarrassed about that bit of using my own abilities instead of the character's abilities. The GM running The Burning Plague had exaggerated the terrain and put the bad guy not on a rock in an shallowunderground pond, but on a stone spire in an 60-foot-wide underground pond that had too much current to wade across. No-one in the party knew how to swim. One six-foot-tall barbarian tried to wade across and was almost swept away into the underground tunnel that served as an outlet (the inlet must have been an underwater spring, since no stream flowed into the pond). But I knew what to do. My elf borrowed 50 feet of rope, tied it to his 50 feet of rope, secured one end, and walked around the pond with his rope. When he reached the opposite side, the rope was pressed against the stone spire. He secured his end, so that party members could use the rope to pull themselves to the spire. It was a trivial puzzle for a mathematician, but would a cleric have thought of it? This elf cleric had Int 16, so maybe.

Apologies for going off topic, but you've got me. I don't understand what part was the "math puzzle" that required significantly above average character intelligence that you should be embarrassed about. Perhaps I'm missing something.

I'm pretty sure eyeballing the distance across a pond and comparing it to the total amount of rope you have on hand doesn't require a modern graduate math degree when viewed in character. In character it'd be like:
"We need something to hold on to while crossing since we can't swim."
"Well, we've got a 10 foot pole and two 10 pound ropes."
"Hmm. We can walk around the pond, so we might be able to string the rope across. Although my rope doesn't look long enough. We can use a double fisherman's knot to tie my rope to your rope, and then I'll use a double loop bowline to secure one end here to a conveniently large stalagmite, or perhaps we have hammer and pitons to create a temporary anchor point, and walk around"

Strikes me as a perfectly reasonable answer to a problem that many average or Int 10 characters might come up with. Especially those used to traversing the outdoors, climbing, spelunking or simply used to using rope. I think it would have been obvious to your typical modern boy scout, let alone fantasy adventurers used to relying on that equipment for their livelihood and their lives on a daily basis. I feel like you might be underestimating the average human (or above average elf in this case), and I don't think you should feel bad to have suggested it in character.

Although perhaps experienced outdoors type characters might have thought of using a 3rd rope (assuming they had it and willing to cut it into 4 or so pieces) to tie themselves to the rope once strung in case they lost their grip on the wet and slippery rope during the crossing. Presumably there was an athletics or strength check even with the rope's help.

More on topic, many tactics may become obvious to lower intelligence characters or monsters when they see others using them successfully, or simply through trial, error and experience. If they've successfully fought 10 battles, even a low int character is likely to have learned something about tactics, and what does and doesn't work for them.

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Out of curiosity, for those DMs who encourage their PCs to play to their ability scores, how do they deal with high int and wis PCs (Like a 20 Int and 18 Wis Wizard around level 10) in and out of combat? Are they not allowed to take sub-optimal actions and the group suggests better options? Or simply don't allow people with less than perfect system mastery to play such a character?

If you are willing to tell a player that the action they're taking is too "smart" for the character, are you also willing to tell another player that the action they are contemplating is too "dumb" for the character? Or does this kind of thing only go one way?

In any case, I'd argue wisdom is probably a better stat to use instead of int for determining what a character or NPC can or cannot do in combat. Common sense, awareness and intuition strike me as more important in a chaotic and fast paced combat which can be over in 6 to 24 seconds, then say your ability to learn and reason. Reasoning takes time and 6 seconds is not a lot of time to think.

Here's a somewhat related question. Is the heightened level 3 version affected by the various Leap feats (as well as class feats which affect or use the Leap action).

Does Powerful Leap essentially change the distance you go when under the effects of jump and take the Leap action increase it to 35 feet?

Can you use the 30 foot jump distance as part of a fighter's Sudden Leap? If so, do you fall immediately after the strike (using the feat's rules) or do you fall after your next action (using the spell's rules) and allowing a 2nd strike for example. Do you somehow increase your maximum distance of your jump to double your speed (using the feat's rules) or just use the spell's rules and go 30 feet?

Does a character with wall jump feat allow you to jump with the spell, jump with the spell to a wall, and then wall jump up a 3rd time using the rules of the feat?

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

Realistically, what GM is going to run a combat via "the monsters attack once and run away, using their superior speeds"?

If this was a PvP game, the OP's concern would be reasonable, but it decidedly is not.

Well, they might put the enemies at the top of a sheer 90 foot cliff from the players though, pelting them with longbows. Or have flying enemies, like a Grig. CR 1 flying 30 foot enemy with a ranged 30 foot attack. Its certainly not going to fly into melee with the dwarf to deal 1d4-2 damage. Staying 30 feet directly above the dwarf seems like a good plan.

I mean, in such a scenario, the dwarf simply loses without a ranged attack.

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SuperBidi wrote:

Very easy to calculate. You need 22 d20 rolls for a +1 to be statistically significant 90% of the time, and 11 for a +2.

If it's an attack roll, if we consider 2 attacks per round, and 4 rounds of combat, you have it statistically significant after 3 fights with 90% chance. So, just one session.

All the variance calculation in this thread is just plain wrong. The 5000 rolls are just a maths mistake. A +1 is very quickly significant.

There are two different questions being asked, which have different statistical answers.

You're correct, in answering the question: After having made X d20 rolls, when will have I seen a +1 bonus make at least 1 difference 90% of the time.

We assume critical success and critical failure in play, so a +1 bonus matters on 2 values of the d20 (say turning what otherwise would be a 9 into a hit, or what would otherwise be a normal hit with 19 into a critical against a DC 10). There's a 18/20 = 0.9 chance that you don't roll those two numbers. 0.9^22 = 0.098. So 9.8% chance you rolled no 9's or 19's. 1-0.9^22 = 0.902. So over 90% chance you'll have rolled those two numbers once or more in those 22 rolls.

However, the question that other people are asking is, given the number of successes I observe, can I identify what my bonus X is in 1d20+X? How many rolls would I need to make before an outside scientist, knowing nothing of my character sheet, only the GM's descriptions of success and failures and the DC you're rolling against, be able to know what X is to 90%.

If I tell you the DC the player rolled against was 15, then had 11 successes on 22 rolls, can you tell me with 90% confidence what X is? The answer is no.

Or in other words, if someone looked back on your session, or level, or entire campaign, and didn't know what was written on your character sheet, can they tell what your bonus +X was to 90% confidence? For some people, if you couldn't be confident that you had a +5 or +6 bonus in that sense, then perhaps, it shouldn't matter significantly to them.

In order to answer this question, requires looking at the probability distributions, or if they are normal distributions (in the mathematical sense), the mean and standard deviations is sufficient.

These are two very different questions to ask of statistics. Neither calculation is wrong, but they answer different things. One answers will you be able to tell it happened (I had a +1 since I rolled a 9 and saw the difference), and the other is perhaps more philosophical and asking more along the lines of does my personal luck matter more than a +1 bonus. In the short term no, in the long term, possibly or probably, but that number is closer to 400 than 22.

Some people are saying of course DPR tells you what is better (which is true), while other people are saying essentially variance tells you if you care if that better is meaningful to them or not because they wouldn't be able to tell statistically they had a difference written on their sheet (which is also true).

And thats not even including corner cases like picks with fatal and katanas with deadly.

So I claim everyone is correct in their answer, but asking different questions. :)

LadyLightning wrote:
There is also Eschew Materials as a Wizard feat that can be taken through the multiclass archetype!

Eschew materials sadly doesn't remove the need for a free hand. It just removes the need for a component pouch. Only really useful if you're captured or somehow deprived of the pouch.

Bardic Dave wrote:
Also of note: if you start with a 16 in your main stat, you’re only behind by one *some of the time*, so I think your calculations likely lend credence to the idea that it won’t be statistically significant (in that particular case at least)

Believe me there's a whole host of things I've ignored if you want to fully simulate attack rolls through a campaign. As you note I've ignored level ups. Crit successes can have a large effect on combat. My estimate of the number of rolls is very rough, no consideration to secondary benefits of a higher combat stat (+1 to hit and +1 to damage), and so forth.

So all the graph is saying is if you roll 900 rolls with the threshold of 10 or higher vs a threshold of 9 or higher, you'll likely be able to tell that there was in fact a 1 point difference. Does 5% more hits make the difference between overall success and failure in a campaign? I personally don't think so. At least for most APs.

Nor does this even begin to look at the trade offs one makes for a +1 to hit. Presumably, you'd have +1 to some other rolls, or more hit points which could potentially be more important than 5% more hits. At 1st level, 2 more Con for a human fighter is ~5.6% more hit points, plus a better fort save. Is 5% more hitpoints worth 5% more hits over the course of a campaign? Maybe? Depends on the player?

I also agree the way stat boosts work every 5 levels, they favor a more even spread at 1st level and make MAD characters much more viable than PF1. I've personally played characters in Starfinder with a 14 in their primary combat stat at 1st level, which has a similar stat upgrades by leveling. It worked out fine.

I figure over the course of a campaign, smart tactics and average builds will trump perfect optimization and poor tactics. I feel that was true even in PF1.

At the end of the day, DPR is just a piece of information, which players can do with what they want. Doing a simple DPR or DPA calculation is better than walking in blind and realizing after the fact the melee staff wizard is not working out as the melee gish build they thought it could be.

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Bardic Dave wrote:

2) You don't make an infinite number of rolls in a campaign. With a limited number of rolls, it is quite possible that the variance in your rolls will render the theoretically higher average result of a +1 bonus irrelevant. A lot of people are saying "Sure, but that's just bad luck. You can't account for that mathematically", but what they aren't getting is that you actually can, thanks to the magic of statistics.

You're right. We can calculate it. Lets do it.

How many rolls do you think you make with your primary statistic in a campaign? I'll assume we have 12.5 encounters per level, with approximately 2 equivalent level enemies. Call it 6 successful attacks per enemy, maybe 12 attempted attacks per, so 24 attack split between 4 players for an encounter, so 6 rolls each? That means 75 attack rolls a level and assume a 1-12 level campaign for roughly 900 attack rolls with your primary attack stat.

900 factorial is going to be a bit rough to do for exact combination counts, so I'll switch over to simulation.

So I've thrown up a simulated plot for 1 million sets of 900 rolls in the same google doc I had a plot for 40, again with a 60% versus 55% success chance. The google doc is here: Google Doc. Second page has the 900 roll plot.

The big thing to note is that as you add more rolls over the course of a campaign, there is less and less overlap between the distributions - making it easier to tell the difference if you had a +1 bonus or not.

With 40 rolls, you have a 75% chance of there being no difference in your success ratio (i.e. the overlap between the distributions). However with 900, you have only about a 13% chance of having the exact same number of successes. Sometimes it might only be a 1 roll difference, but the two peaks are pretty distinct. The most probable outcome is that you've gotten 45 more successes out of 900 with that +1.

Another way to phrase it, is the standard deviation goes down as the square root of the number of the samples. So if you're requiring the bonus to be larger than twice the standard deviation to be significant, if you play the character long enough, +1 will become statistically significant. At the point you're doing 400 rolls, you're looking at a +1 being roughly the same size as the standard deviation. So noticeable. By 900 rolls, twice the standard deviation in the parlance presented here is +/-3.4%. +1 is equivalent to 5% and thus larger.

This isn't disproving anything about the OP's assertions of course.

All I'm saying a long campaign has a sufficient number of rolls that a +1 would probably be statistically noticeable if you went back and looked, all other things being equal. It probably won't determine the overall success of the campaign as a whole, since encounters usually have some slack to them. Its also not saying about what getting +1 to a different stat buys you, which might be more in terms of survivabilty or out of combat success.

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ofMars wrote:
Magus with curve blade? How will cast spells and attack on the same turn since it's an action to put your hand back on your weapon now?

If a spell only has somatic and verbal components, you can cast it with your hands full. Only material component spells require a free hand. Or using a wand or scroll.

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I think I see what you're trying to explain, but you're using terminology incorrectly.

Mathematically speaking, variance of a set of numbers is the mean of the squared difference of each number from the mean of the set of numbers. What you're using here is twice the standard deviation (which you do note at one point but then change your terminology for some reason).

You're trying to give people a feel for the probability distribution, but that is not quite the same thing as saying the chance of a particular event occurring. You can integrate the probability distribution to determine the chance of a particular threshold being met for example, but saying 65%+/-15% "chance of succeeding in healing their party at each break" doesn't make much sense to me, again, mathematically speaking. The +/-15% only makes sense if you don't know the odds of your dice (or the true probability distribution) and all you have to go off of is an experimentally determined series of numbers.

But the fact is we do know the actual chance if we assume fair dice.

The chance of rolling an 8 or higher on a fair d20 is 65% for example. That is literally the definition of a fair die. That there is equal probability of any given face showing on a roll. If it that is not true, then it is not a fair die.

Or in other words, any mathematician who heard you say you have an 80% chance of rolling an 8 or higher on a d20 would point out you are cheating with weighted dice. :)

What you're talking about is the 2 sigma region (also known as plus and minus twice the standard deviation) around the mean of the probability distribution function. You're basically saying 95% of all 40 d20+7>=15 roll sequences would be consistent with a ratio of success to failure of 0.5 to 0.8. And of course, 5% of all 40 d20 rolls sequences will actually fall outside those ratios of success to failure.

Anyways, I suggest plotting the probability distribution functions for 40 d20 roll sequences as that will make it clearer to more people reading this thread. If you overlap them in two different colors for 1d20+6 and 1d20+7 you can see the amount that overlaps and the amount that doesn't. An interesting number might be ratio of the probability distribution that doesn't overlap over the sum of the two probability distributions (which would be basically non-overlaping density /2.0).

Already at 40 rolls, you can distinguish a 60% versus 55% chance pretty well, with approximately 25% of the probability distribution not overlapping. For example: Google doc with plot

Edit: I also suggest perhaps using free (as in beer and speech) software when giving code examples to other people. Not everyone has access to a MATLAB license already. I'm personally fond of numpy/scipy combined with matplotlib in python.

Edit 2: I can apparently do plots, but not basic arithmetic. Odds of 8 or higher on d20 is 65%, not 60%.

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krazmuze wrote:
Sure but my point is you cannot do that unless someone gives you the DPR+/-variance. It turns out for the specific medic example (I will post histograms later) that most people will not see the benefit of the +1. The thing to realize is that average means half the people do worse, half the people do better.

I feel like there's some confusion on this point. A DPR calculation is not intended to compare how lucky two different people are, or how lucky a given person is at two different point in times. No one in this thread is claiming that if a DPR calculation says you get are expected to get 10.5 damage in 1 round with that build, that when they sit down at the table and start rolling dice they're going to do 10.5 damage on that 1st round. They'll readily acknowledge some fights the build will do literally 0 damage because the player can't roll higher than a 3 that fight. I've certainly seen it happen.

I agree distribution is important. I have read some threads where I feel picks are being over sold because of how much of their average damage is coming from 5-15% of their rolls. Although often times someone will pop in to such a thread and point out that spikiness and that a good portion of that damage might be wasted when the enemy is low on hit points, or if you don't happen to get a crit that particular fight. Simulations or simply calculating the exact damage distribution would probably help .

Something like a histogram of how many rolls produce X damage on the horizontal axis might be useful in conveying that, and seeing the few rolls producing excessive damage for picks. A pick's median or mode damage is very different from its mean damage. To be honest, even the 1 sigma +/- probably doesn't tell the whole story for that, so a graph is good.

However, it doesn't mean the statistical analysis is worthless or that people making a DPR calculation are spreading misinformation. Generally they'll say the expected or mean damage is X per round. And that has a statistical meaning. Just as much as saying the mode or median. Or drawing a probability distribution graph. As the OP notes, it might not be telling the whole story, and that perhaps you might want to care about more than mean damage per round, but they are valid statements, and still useful for quick general comparisons keeping the assumptions and statements about what it is in mind.

Not everyone wants to spend several hours writing up a full game simulation and producing multiple graphs as opposed to just playing the game. Or spend hours looking at charts, so boiling it down to a single number is sometimes useful.

I generally view DPR calculation as trying to understand the relative effectiveness of builds all else being equal. Among those "all else being equal" assumptions is that the rolls of the player don't change between build comparisons. It is a hypothetical what if we could go back in time and swap this character sheet for that character sheet, but the player's rolls stay the same. We're trying to isolate player luck from the comparison, to get at just the build itself.

It is possible people are in very violent agreement, and perhaps misunderstanding what the other side is saying.

krazmuze wrote:
The half the people that do worse with the +1 are not doing better than half the people doing better without the +1. That is the gamblers fallacy that people fall into when they think that if they follow DPR advice that they will always do better with the bonus option, that is simply not the case!

I'm trying to figure out who you're aiming this comment at in this thread. No one has said if you roll a d20 and add 7 and then roll a different d20 and add 6 that the d20+6 is guaranteed to be lower. What I think has been pointed out in this thread is if you roll a 3 on a d20, and then add 7, its bigger than if you add 6.

A player's rolls are in some sense independent of what is written down on the character sheet. Having a d20+6 versus a d20+7 doesn't change the fact I rolled a 3 on the d20 for example. I personally care about the effects of the build, not the effects of the player or their luck. I can't change the player's rolls or luck. So combining the two muddies the water.

Or another way to put it, I don't know what rolls I will roll tonight in my game. Given any given permutation of say ten d20 rolls is as likely as any other permutation of ten d20 rolls, what character sheet gives me the largest ratio of successful permutations over total permutations. What gives me the best odds of success before I know what my rolls are. While non-trivial, given some assumptions, that kind of thing is calculable, and what a DPR calculation is trying to do just for attack rolls, with a bunch of caveats thrown on top to make the whole thing not be a PhD thesis.

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K1 wrote:
It is simply stupid and forced wanting to consider shields not weapons in a fantasy scenario. Imagine consider only the spikes part of a shield the weapon.

In real life, I agree a shield can be used as a weapon, and probably should be considered a weapon.

However, this is a made up shifting magic rune with made up restrictions. You can turn a bastard sword into a whip, but not a rope. You can turn it into a club or hammer, but not a shovel. It can become a dagger but not a shuriken. It can become a complicated flickmace thing, or an articulated gauntlet, but not a suit of armor. You can make it become a larger and more massive 1-handed weapon than some 2-handed weapons (dwarven waraxe is a bulk 2 one-handed weapon while a spiked chain is a bulk 1 2-handed weapon).

There are many "forced" restrictions on magic in general that would otherwise let logically inclined characters break the setting.

You are of course free to change how it works in your own campaign. But the current rules are pretty explicit on shields not being weapons and not being able to be inscribed with runes. Shield spikes and bosses are weapons, can be inscribed with runes, and you can turn your shifting bastard sword into a shield spike and then attach it to a shield with a check and 10 minutes of work if you want.

Its partly to future proof against items and weapons they might want to introduce, and partly to separate the material types of the shield and the attached spikes/boss. Note the hit points of the shield spike/boss is separate from the shield hit points, given they can be made of different material, and that you can salvage the spike/boss even if the shield itself is destroyed. By simply preventing it, they don't have to deal with a bunch of weird rules interactions. If the shield portion is destroyed, but not the spike, is the shifting bastard sword destroyed? What happens when you try to shift into a tower shield with spike attached from an adamantine bastard sword? There are no adamantine tower shields in the rules.

If they add armor spikes in some book down the line, with the attached to armor trait, would you let your bastard sword turn into full plate? Same type of rules.

The attached trait is clearly designed to be able to be used with other attachments, and I'm sure someone at Paizo was thinking about that kind of thing when they introduced it the way they did. Bayonets perhaps, armor spikes, and so on.

K1 wrote:

Which means "A brand new shield can't be enhanced with runes. First you have to mod it with the dmg you prefer ( P or B ), then you can enhance it"

The fact that it says "To make it a more pratical weapon" implies that you mod a weapon, and the mod ( unless removed ) becomes part of it.

So you can enhance a shield, but first you must choose between boss and spikes. After that, your attack will change ( will be enhanced ), and your shield/weapon will improve and will be able to receive upgrades.

For starters, it like a spiked glove vs a gauntlet.
But since there are 100 shields and just 1 spiked glove and 1 gauntlet, it is easier to leave the shields apart and allow players to mod them after.

Or ofc will be possible to craft a shield with a default boss or spikes. It is normal.

If they ever print armor spikes with the "attached" trait, this could be quite amusing turning your bastard sword into a suit of full plate.

Assuming your interpretation is correct, let's say you have a +1 adamantine shifting bastard sword.

You shift it into adamantine shield spikes + adamantine tower shield (same object so presumably same materials). You now take 10 minutes and make a DC 10 craft check to move those spikes over to your spare wooden shield (per rules on page 282 for the attached trait). What happens?

Can I then shift that adamantine shield spike and wooden shield into an a +1 adamantine shifting bastard sword? Have I successfully turned a wooden shield into an adamantine tower shield for the cost of 10 minutes of work? Can I repeat this with another wooden shield?

I guess what I'm saying is that the shield spikes and shield boss have the "attached to shield" trait, meaning they are in fact not the shield since they can always be separated from the shield and moved to a different one.

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K1 wrote:

Not sure about it, since:

- shield bash is the attack you do with a shield
- shield is in the weapon table
- shield has its weapon critical effect
- shields are among the weapons you can select as a fighter ( specialization )

So, as a weapon, a shield should be able to have enchants.
Dunno about spikes and boss, but the shield itself ( which attacks with shield bash ) is a weapon.

You can't put armor runes on a shield, that's right.

However, simply take a weapon ( sword, hammer, etc ) and enhance it the way u want + shifting rune. When you transmute it into a shield, if you won't to consider the runes legit, you simply don't add em.

PS: if you want to consider a modify on a shield not part of it but something else apart it is also possible, but you can avoid using both boss and spikes as explained before.

Also, you can't attack with a spike or boss alone ( they need to be attached to a shield ), so they are not a weapon. They are part of it.

It's not a question of does it act like a weapon. There's a specific rule explicitly saying you can't. Page 277, right side under the header "Attacking with a shield".

CRB, page 277 wrote:
A shield can't have runes added to it. You can also buy and attach a shield boss or shield spikes to a shield to make it a more practical weapon. These can be found on Table 6-7. These work like other weapons and can even be etched with runes.

Edit: I suppose if you shift a normal weapon into a shield (which is unclear to me if valid, but lets assume it is), it is now a shield, and all the runes go dormant since none of them are valid on it. Shifting rune indicates property runes that can't apply to the new form are suppressed until the item takes a shape to which they can apply.

So it either immediately reverts, or is stuck in shield form and can't change back depending on your GM's interpretation of what a suppressed shifting rune does.

K1 wrote:
About dropping your shield in combat, just simply enhance it with a shifting rune and use 1 action to transform it in a spiked glove ( free hand, but no shield dropped nor stowed ).

You can't put a potency or property rune on the shield itself. Only on a shield boss or shield spike attached to the shield. So a shifting rune can't be put on the base shield in the first place to transform it. You could transform the boss or spike, although I'm not sure how that would work. It probably just falls off the front of the shield and you can then pick it up and use it. Check page 277 of the CRB.

K1 wrote:

I like it!

Didn't know about the wand of longstrider lvl2 ( mandatory with any character I guess ).

I was thinking, did you consider about a returning rune on the staff instead of a longbow? Let's say you transform your weapon into another one with thrown range, then you should be able to benefit of the bespell weapon at a low/medium range.

Well the wand is for any character that either casts primal or arcane spells, or takes trick magic item and arcana or nature trained. Its self only, so its not technically for everyone, but somewhat easy to get access. Either a single class feat (to get an appropriate casting multiclass dedication), or 1 skill choice in arcana/nature and trick magic item but with the possibility of failure for that day until fairly high level.

I prefer the bow for longer range (100 feet vs 10-20 feet for example) plus elven weapon expertise at 13 gets you legendary bows proficiency along with sword.

Basically, if they're within 10-20 feet, its much easier for this character to not spend the action to transform the weapon and simply walk or jump the distance and hit them with the sword form. Assurance + Sudden leap at this level gets you a 25 foot vertical jump guaranteed which will let you swing at people 30 feet high. At longer ranges, the bow can come out.

On the other hand, if you were doing the dwarf version, I could totally see doing that though (especially if it doesn't have the same mobility focus). Plus at 13 you can get legendary picks and legendary axes at the same time. Dwarven axe, pick or hatchet as needed.

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albadeon wrote:
It's a roleplay issue, not one with set mechanical penalties. That said, as a GM I would take issue with not playing a champion along the lines of your chosen deity, and that includes using their chosen weapon whenever feasible. No, you don't have to take a longbow into melee, but if ranged combat arises, you had better not grab a crossbow. And I'd expect a champion of Erastil to regularly go for ranged combat. Similarly, if you pick a deity with a melee weapon, I'd expect you not to regularly use another one just because its damage die is better.

I'll point out there's a lot more to a deity than just their "favored weapon" line.

They actually have portfolios and edicts (none of which are "use my favored weapon"), and presumably prefer their servants be effective at carrying out those edits.

Imagine a champion who had lost one of their arms in the service of Erastil. Would you have them lose their status simply because they can't use a longbow with only 1 arm?

The first tenant of a good paladin is do not commit acts anathema to your deity. In the case of Erastil that means abandon your home in its time of need, choose yourself over your community, tarnish your reputation, or tell lies.

Standing 30 feet or more behind your allies with a longbow while they are taking the hits for you sounds suspiciously like choosing yourself over your community.

The 2nd tenant of a champion is includes "never knowlingly harm an innocent, or allow immediate harm to one through inaction when you know you could rasonably prevent it". Sometimes its easier to stop a swing at the innocent villager with retributive strike and shield warden instead of standing 100 feet away with a longbow unable to take any reactions.

I personally think a champion or Erastil using a 1-handed melee weapon and shield most of the time makes perfect sense. Especially if they have a low dexterity. In game the character doesn't get to pick their stats (thats done out of game by the player) and so you can't blame a champion for doing poorly with their deity's favored weapon, and deciding to use their most effective methods available to them to carry out their deity's real concerns.

Anyways, this all depends on the individual GM, and so talking with them is best, but I personally wouldn't see any issue with it at all.

Syries wrote:

Out of curiosity, exactly how many times can you cast True Strike with Jensen? By my count I can get to 8/day: Your highest spell level you can cast is 3, so the staff starts with 3 charges; you then expend your single 3rd level spell slot for 3 more charges, and prepare your single 1st and 2nd level spells to True Strike. Total of 8 castings of True Strike.

Am I missing anything?

Also, is Felling Strike included in your feats and features as the feat chosen through combat flexibility? I assume it is, because otherwise I don't see how you have that and Bespell Weapon.

I love the character; it never occurred to me you could put shifting on a staff to allow you to cast spells through it AND use the actual weapon you want.

Also, great backstory, I love it :D

The Ring of Wizardry (Type I) on her sheet adds another two 1st level spell slots.

Given Power strike and other 2 action attacks, haste is probably worth more than an extra casting of true strike, and I'd guess the 2nd level slot with enlarge is more likely to be sacrificed to the staff. Or maybe none. 6 castings of true strike is still quite a lot.

For comparison, here's what I was considering, raised up to level 11. An old school 2nd edition elven fighter/mage/thief. Middle age, having seen and done more than a typical human will ever get a chance to.

Their fighter class provides their combat contribution, leveraging combat buff spells for some synergy. They're highly mobile, with typically 50 speed and jumping options. When all else fails, there's fly. They are better at melee but still a solid ranged threat.

Out of combat they can use scrolls and wands for utility (fly, invisibility, alarm, etc), as well as being reasonably good at a smattering of skills. They're a good trap spotter/disabler and lock picker, and if they are not rushed, basically can't critically fail against disarming any level appropriate trap or lock.

Trick Magic item plus Ancestral Longevity lets them use nearly any magic item after daily prep.

Anyways, here's an example stat block using the Bespell Weapon option in a build.

Elf Martial Disciple
Cavern Elf Fighter 11
Perception +19 (+21 for initiative), Low-light Vision, Darkvision

Languages: Common (Taldane), Elven, Sylvan, Draconic

Skills: Acrobatics +17, Arcana +19 (Master), Athletics +20 (Expert), Medicine +15, Society +15, Stealth +17, Survival +15, Thievery +21 (Master), Warfare Lore +15
At Daily Preparation pick 1 skill to be trained, pick another to go from trained to expert

Str 20 (+5), Dex 19 (+4), Con 14 (+2), Int 14 (+2), Wis 14 (+2), Cha 10 (+0)

Items: +1 resilient breastplate (508 gp), +2 striking shifting staff of divination (1455 gp), +1 striking composite longbow with 40 arrows (120.4 gp), ring of wizardry (type 1) (360 gp), gloves of storing(360gp), spellbook, wand of Longstrider(2nd)(160 gp), scrolls (fly (70gp), haste (30 gp), enlarge (12 gp), invisibility (12 gp), alarm (4 gp), fleet step (4gp)), adventurer's pack(0.7gp), bandolier (0.1gp), healer's tools (expanded) (50gp), thieves' tools (infiltrator) (50 gp), grappling hook (0.1 gp), writing set (1 gp), 27 silver pieces

AC 31; Fort +19, Ref +19, Will +17
HP 149

Speed: 50 feet (40 feet without longstrider)
Melee: +2 striking shifting bastard sword +24 (two-handed d12), damage 2d8+8 slashing
Ranged: +1 striking composite longbow +20 (deadly d10, range increment 100 feet, volley 30 feet), damage 2d8+4 piercing

Arcane Prepared Spells DC 25, attack +15;3rd (1 slot) haste, 1st (3 slots) true strike (3)
Note: 2nd level slot given to staff of divination at prep

Cantrips (6th): shield, prestidigitation, light, ghost sound

Ancestry Feats and Abilities: Darkvision, Nimble Elf, Ageless Patience, Ancestral Longevity (B), Expert Longevity

Class Feats: Power Attack, Wizard Dedication, Basic Wizard Spellcasting, Basic Arcana (Expanded Cantrip), Advanced Arcana (Bespell Weapon), Disruptive Stance

Class Abilities: attack of opportunity, shield block, bravery, fighter weapon mastery, battlefield surveyor, weapon specialization, combat flexibility (typically Sudden Leap), juggernaut, armor expertise, fighter expertise

General Feats: Fleet, Ancestral Paragon, Toughness

Skill Feats: Quick Jump (B), Cat Fall, Powerful Leap, Assurance (Athletics), Trick Magic Item, Recognize Spell

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K1 wrote:
Gratz wrote:
2) I'm sorry but I still don't see how combat flexibility interacts with multiclassing, so maybe you could give an example of how you think this would play out?
2) Check my example in the post above yours ( I answered another user ). The example I made shows what I meant.
K1 wrote:

It allows them to avoid the problem of "choose between a class talent or another class talent".

In terms of multiclassing is everything.

a) I decided not to take feats A and B, and instead go for multiclass feats Y and Z.

b) I went for multiclass feats Y and Z, but I also took the 2 talents i wanted. And if the situation requires different talents, i can swap both of em to become more efficient, or simply to change my gameplay.

I don't know how you cannot see its potential.

2 extra feats, from your fighter class, per day.

The comparison I would do is:

Non-Fighter multi-class
a) I decided not to take feats A and B, and instead go for multiclass feats Y and Z. I also get class abilities O and P which let me do cool things.

Fighter multi-class
b) I went for multiclass feats Y and Z, but I use class abilities O and P to get feats A and B. And if the situation requires different talents, I can use O and P to swap both of them to become more efficient, or simply to change my gameplay.

Compare also to the single class fighter.

Fighter single class
c) I went for fighter feats C and D, but I use class abilities O and P to get feats A and B. And if the situation requires different talents, I can use O and P to swap both of them to become more efficient, or simply to change my gameplay.

Are you saying that the fighter class in general is nonsense, since every single 15th level fighter gets to pick 2 fighter feats to use each daily preparation?

Out of curiosity, how do you feel about 15th level wizards who can change around at least 28 abilities (i.e. spell choices) per day?

I guess my point is, you're trying to compare feats and class ability (i.e. combat flexibility) against just feats of another class, when you should really be comparing to that other classes' feats and class abilities.

A 15th level multiclass fighter who spends all their feats but 1st on archetype feats has 1 fighter feat, 7 archetype feats, and 2 floating fighter feats (plus 2 general feats in the form of shield block and attack of opportunity).

But lets compare to a 15th level multiclass champion, who has 1 champion feat, 7 archetype feats, 1 general feat (shield block), champion's reaction, divine ally, divine smite, and exalt.

They might not be as flexible, but those champion abilities are really good and likely to be used most fights.

I mean what is the fighter's equivalent to Champion's Reaction, Divine Ally, Divine Smite, and Exalt that the Champion doesn't get? Fighter is going to have +2 higher weapon proficiency, but the Champion gets +2 higher armor training so I call that a wash. What they get is combat flexibility.

So if all you're doing is looking at feats, then yes, the fighter looks better because that is the only thing they get. If you look at the whole class, then things look a lot more fair when multi-classing. Also if you value feats more than class abilities (which is subjective or dependent on circumstances), then fighters will also tend to look better.

Ravingdork wrote:
I actually paid for a 12 hour wand, and just forgot to write the spell level on the character sheet. Thanks for catching that! It should be fixed now.

Getting a bit off topic, but I thought continuation wands required the duration to be between 10 minutes and 1 hour. A wand of continuation longstrider [2nd] I don't think is legal. Check the crafting requirements on page 598.

The alternative is simply 2 wands of Longstrider [2nd], which is only 320 gold pieces, and gets you 16 hours a day of speedy movement.

Ravingdork wrote:
Using the build suggestions in this thread, I put a character together. You can preview her in my Crazy Character Emporium thread.

Very cool write up.

I have one minor suggestion. I think a wand of heightened longstrider [2nd] cost the same as the the wand of continuation longstrider [1st], but provide 8 hours duration instead of 1.5 hours, while also only taking 2 actions instead of 3 to activate. I think both are 5th level and cost 160 gold.

Its one of those buff items I was considering for my version of the character build, at least later when low level spell items become relatively cheap. At 8 hours its basically an entire adventuring day buff.

Staves, Core Rule Book page 592 wrote:
When you do so, that staff gains a number of charges equal to the highest level of spell you’re able to cast.

I'm pretty sure RAI was they meant charges equal to highest level spell slot. There's also a RAW argument to be made depending on how you read the cantrip section of the wizard class.

There's near identical verbiage in the cantrip section of each class:

Cantrips, Core Rule Book page 204 wrote:
A cantrip is a special type of spell that doesn’t use spell slots. You can cast a cantrip at will, any number of times per day. A cantrip is always automatically heightened to half your level rounded up—this is usually equal to the highest level of spell you can cast as a wizard. For example, as a 1st-level wizard, your cantrips are 1st-level spells, and as a 5th-level wizard, your cantrips are 3rd-level spells.

It doesn't make sense to say "this is usually equal to the highest level of spell you can cast" if the cantrip itself is counts as the highest level of spell you can cast - they clearly intended highest level spell slot you have in that phrasing in the classes. "Usually" would have been swapped with "always" or the line probably would have been left out entirely as a tautology.

Or another way to say it, "usually" implies that there are exceptions, and so there will be exceptions where a cantrip heightened to half your level round up is not equal to the highest level of spell you can cast as a wizard. Such as when you're using a multiclass archetype.

Tendentious wrote:
Ancestral Longevity - I original thought that it meant that each day you can pick a skill and become trained in that skill, so you could change the skill every day. Considering how Expert and Universal Longevity work, I now take it to mean that when you select the Ancestral Longevity feat you also select a single skill to which it applies. In effect it gives one extra trained skill with limitations (not counting as a prerequisite).

I read it your original way.

"During your daily preparations, you can reflect upon your life experiences to gain the trained proficiency rank in one skill of your choice."

Your choice is made at the time of your daily preparations a skill. Not at the time you pick the feat. So its definitely intended to let you to pick a new skill every day. The other way makes it half as weak as many other feats which give you real permanent training in two skills.

Tendentious wrote:
Expert Longevity - First paragraph, fine: when you select this feat you pick a skill in which you are trained. During your daily preparations you become expert in that one skill (and trained in you Ancestral Longevity skill). All good.

Same thing as above. You pick your skill to become trained in with Ancetral Longevity during daily preparations, not when you pick the feat. So you pick a skill you have training in (which could be any you got at any level) and it increases to expert.

Tendentious wrote:

Second paragraph - so you can retrain a skill increase. Does that mean it can't be used on any skill that you had at 1st level? For example, if a character is trained in Arcana at 1st level then they can't become untrained in Arcana to become trained in their Ancestral Longevity skill by retraining. That seems odd, and also means you need to keep track of initial skills vs skill increases.

Also, and it doesn't say it, I assume that if you do retrain, then you need to select a new skill that will apply to the relevant feat, now that you are actually trained (or expert) in the skill that was attached to the feat.

By selecting the skills at daily preparation time, it clears up the confusion with what skills you can use with Ancestral Longevity after retraining nicely, since you just pick new ones at daily preparation time.

Skill increase vs any skill. It does look to limit the retraining to skills you've gained or increased from the skill increase class feature (i.e. the increases at 3rd, 5th, 7th, etc levels). Don't have much to say about the complexity of that limitation. Given no class can start with expert in a skill at 1st, you do need to just keep track of your starting skills (and if you retrain them the old fashioned way to other choices).

From the targeting section of the core rulebook:

"Some effects target or require an ally, or otherwise refer to an ally. This must be someone on your side, often another PC, but it might be a bystander you are trying to protect. You are not your own ally. If it isn’t clear, the GM decides who counts as an ally or an enemy."

Glimpse of Redemption does not work on yourself.

So 1) is No.

2) It uses a reaction (normally 1 per turn) and its a Shield of Reckoning reaction so just your standard one. Shield of Reckoning is neither Shield Block nor your Champion's reaction. Its effects are to activate those reactions for free.

3) Default is probably no. Although its really up to the GM. The text doesn't say anything about the source of cover taking extra damage. GM might rule it does, just as they might rule a wooden wall you're hiding behind takes damage from a fireball, as well as the floor, and that enough of them might destroy your cover or burn a hole in a wooden floor.

4) You must satisfy the conditions for Glimpse of Redemption as normal (i.e. triggering ally is referenced in the rule). That means yes, the enemy needs to be within 15 feet of you.

Best to get up close with the enemy wizard along with a fighter friend who has Disruptive Stance.

5) Given Glimpse of Redemption doesn't work on yourself, a shield is an excellent investment when all the enemies attack you first to prevent you from using Glimpse of Redemption on your allies when they attack them.

azjauthor wrote:
Maybe I am missing something here, but I thought the whole point of differentiating Exploration and Encounter mode was that time is more flexible in Exploration mode. It seems like a lot of people are treating Exploration mode as if it should have the same 3 action economy as Encounter mode ... and it seems that is definitely not the design or intent. You have to declare what action you are primarily doing so that the GM can know what needs rolled, but nothing about that suggests you can't motion for your magically bonded familiar to follow you.

Its because Exploration mode actions have been more rigidly codified than in the past I think. The rules surrounding exploration mode seem to suggest it. For example you can only keep recasting a cantrip that takes 2 actions or less and still move at half speed. If time is flexible, why can't I recast non-stop a cantrip that takes 3 actions?

I agree that your minion following is very sensible. The question then becomes, if you can motion for your magically bonded familiar or well trained companion to follow you, what else can you have it do during exploration? As far as I can tell, a minion simply following their master is not actually written down in the rules (although perhaps I missed it). Its a reasonable assumption, and some GMs will make that assumption - but then, what other assumptions will GMs make about what a minion can and can't do in exploration mode?

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Ubertron_X wrote:

Well if exploration mode is the same as encounter mode for familiars is there anything in the rules against continuously commanding your familiar while conducting your own exploration activity?

I mean I can also sustain a spell and keep spamming detect magic every round, or can't I?

Actually, if exploration mode is the same as encounter mode for all minions, wouldn't that imply at low levels:

1) You need to Handle animal every round for your animal companion to stay with the group? No action, no movement.

2) Since your animal companion only ever gets 2 actions in 6 seconds, that is exactly the same number of actions left over from any other activity, like sustain a spell, implying the animal companion only travels in exploration mode at half speed.

3) If you do spend your 1 action for 2 minion actions, you only have 2 actions each round, just like if you were sustaining a spell, and presumably also only ever move at half speed and could never take another exploration activity and still be moving at half speed.

With that interpretation, a GM at a society table is arguably within their right to say you either move at half speed and the companion also moves at half speed, or you leave it behind and can now take other exploration activities as you move.

Which seems swinging the pendulum way in the other direction from pet classes get way too many actions and rolls than non-pet classes (PF1) to pet classes get fewer actions and rolls than a non-pet class. I don't think the developers intended to go quite that far.

My guess is they were aiming for 1 player gets 1 exploration action for their "character and minions". Whether its the minion or the character probably doesn't matter - so flying scouting out 1 mile is great, but that'd be your character's exploration action while moving at half speed.

Of course that guess doesn't actually help society play at all though. Clarification is definitely needed or you will see the above half speed or leave companion behind happen at some tables.

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graystone wrote:
The key here is nothing states the command actions have to be words.

Actually, given at base familiars don't understand language, command actions by definition cannot be words. I'm not sure how they could take manual dexterity and lab assistant and somehow know exactly which item you want them to create without understanding words, but by the rules they can.

Presumably, it has something to do with the 1 mile range empathetic communication link the master and familiar share. Its certainly not through Handle Animal or speech. If we take the liberal view of "communicate empathically with you" meaning two-way communication, then I'd guess you can command it from a mile away as well.

SpaceWhale42 wrote:
If you shift the Staff of Divination into a Pick, can you still cast spells with it, or do you have to shift it back first?

I don't see any reason why you can't cast spells through it while its in a different weapon form. The base object that the magical staff is made from, namely the staff from the weapon table, doesn't have any special rules associated with it that lets it cast spells through it any more than the pick from the weapon table does.

Similarly, the Shifting rune has the rules:
"The weapon takes the shape of another melee weapon that requires the same number of hands to wield. The weapon’s runes and any precious material it’s made of apply to the weapon’s new shape. Any property runes that can’t apply to the new form are suppressed until the item takes a shape to which they can apply."

It doesn't say magical effects of the weapon are suppressed - only property runes which can't apply to the new form are suppressed.

So I don't see any issue with this particular combination.

Phntm888 wrote:

Just saying - for Basic Arcana, instead of cantrip expansion, you could take the Hand of the Apprentice feat, which gives you the Hand of the Apprentice focus spell. That gives you both a focus spell and a ranged attack option with your primary weapon, just in case.

Hand of the Apprentice requires Universalist Wizard, which sadly a multiclass fighter doesn't qualify for. Otherwise, I'd agree it'd be a cool option.

There's a possibility that some more martial oriented low level wizard feats might come out in later books. Something that let you cast shield a significantly expanded number of times a fight would be cool for example.

shroudb wrote:
The pick allows a shield though, as opposed to two handing a bastard sword, so there's this upside. I generally really like shields.

Gotcha. I agree shields are really good. Of course, a turn of True Strike + Power Attack is eating all 3 actions, which precludes raising a shield normally (even with haste). I suppose Reactive shield + Quick Shield Block would work, but it definitely rules out Bespell weapon as an option in the mid-levels.

1) Power Attack
2) Wizard Dedication
4) Basic Spellcasting
6) Reactive Shield
8) Quick Shield Block

is totally doable. And on turns where you don't True Strike, you can power attack + raise shield and shield block twice. That is actually a lot of damage mitigation for as long as your shield holds out. On the other hand, that complicates switching to a 1-handed plus something wizard-y in the other hand.

Consider 2-handed grip switching to 1-handed grip is free (let go with other hand), interact to pull out an item is 1 action, and then generally most spells are 2 interactions (such as a wand of haste).

The same thing while holding a weapon and shield becomes, 1 action to stow the shield, 1 action to pull out the item, and only 1 action left to cast - which usually isn't enough.

I do plan on using the shield spell as long as it lasts, as that works with a 2-handed weapon until you use it to block. So I can pick between +1 AC for the rest of the fight or 10 less damage now.

shroudb wrote:
Nevertheless, haste is almost as good, since it allows a power attack+true strike even on rounds you have to move around.

Agreed, haste was my plan as well for the 3rd level spell slot.

shroudb wrote:

True strike+Pick is <3

Don't forget that you can sacrifice a spell slot at daily prep for extra True Strikes.

And a Power attack crit from a Pick... Well, let's say it hurts.

I admit those pick critical hits are scary.

I'd probably do something like a bastard sword (or dwarven waraxe if I could find a good way to get the max proficiency with it) myself.

At 8th, assuming a striking rune, true strike + bespell, basic power attack (no crit) on the two handed bastard sword, is 3d12+1d6+7 (30 average) versus 3d6+1d6+7 (21). Or even just a normal strike is 2d12+1d6+7 (23.5) versus 2d6+1d6+7 (17.5). So a 6 to 9 point swing in favor of the bastard sword.

The crit version is 6d12+2d6+14 (60 plus flat-footed for allies) versus 7d10+2d6+28 (73.5), so the pick clearly wins in the critical case by 13.5 points, and is certainly a lot of burst.

I guess the question for me is, even with the true strike, whats your ratio of critical hits to normal hits in a typical combat?

shroudb wrote:
I was debating Bespell, but feats are kinda tight to pick it up as a mc feat.

Yeah, its kinda hard to justify the 2 extra feats for just 1d6 occasionally. If it scaled with striking runes, then yeah its probably worth two feats, but as it is I'm having a hard time justifying both Basic and Advanced Arcana feats for it. Another martial wizard feat in the level 1 to 2 range, or perhaps some more martial themed cantrips might also help. If you could cast shield and block for every time you prepared it - i.e. preparing shield 4 times would let you cast and block with it 4 times per fight might make the cantrip expansion feat worth it to a fighter/wizard.

shroudb wrote:
Access to heroism, even if limited times per day, helps keeping the pick crits consistent even against boss AC.

Out of curiosity whats your source of heroism? Ally caster in the party? Trick Magic Device and some Occultism or Religion?

puksone wrote:

Does the wiz gets something that a sorc doesn't get for teh build?

I am planing to play a fighter/sorc.

I happen to like the benefits of a 14 intelligence more than a 14 charisma (plus I'm already playing with a 16 charisma champion and a 18 charisma Sorcerer). As noted, prepared spellcasting gets me more 1st level spells from the staff, and there's a lot more flexibility in choosing my daily spells, while getting exactly the same number of castings per day as the sorcerer.

On the other hand, Sorcerers can pick any spell list, as well as have some interesting focus spell options. A focus spell for flight at 12th level while a little late is still useful for a melee build.

The Gleeful Grognard wrote:

Remember that focus spells also count and are generally single action affairs (to help pad out your bonus damage each fight)

And yup, you have it right. Anything that isn't a cantrip and is cast by you is fair game :)

Only issue I see with that is that to grab a focus spell requires another wizard archetype feat.

As it stands, class feats for the build go like:

1) Power Attack (or other 1st level fighter feat)
2) Wizard Dedication
4) Basic Wizard spellcasting
6) Basic Arcana (Cantrip Expansion? - don't see any good options here)
8) Advanced Aracana to grab Bespell Weapon

At some point I'd like to take a second fighter feat. I suppose at 9th I get the flexible fighter feat, but still.

I'm still debating with myself whether the two Arcana feats are worth the 1d6 after casting a spell plus whatever minor 1st or 2nd wizard feat I pick.

As it was, the idea was to be a sort of old school Elven fighter/mage/thief. Grabbing Nimble Elf at 1st and Fleet at 3rd for a 40 foot move, combined with an 18 Str and 16 Dex for switch hitting ranged to melee. So highly mobile melee or move, move, shoot options.

By taking Elven weapon familiarity at 9th and then Elven Weapon Expertise at 13th, I can have legendary proficiency with bows and melee weapons at the same time (along with advanced Elven weapons, not that any exist). Probably would pick a different 9th level feat and then retrain at 13th though.

14 Int means you start with 7 skills + 1 lore skill. Grab stealth and thievery with 2 of those 7 and you've got a decent dip into thief like behavior. At 5th level, combining 18 Dex, Ageless patience, and expert thievery gets you a +15 check to disarm that doesn't critical fail on a 1 in exchange for taking 4 actions instead of 2.

I'll also note 40 foot speed plus Ageless patience combines quite nicely in exploration mode to basically get a +2 bonus to any skill while moving as if you had a 20 foot speed.

Lastly, starting at 2nd you get wizard cantrips, and access to using scrolls and wands. At 4th you start getting real spells (with True Strike being one of the better arcane combat buffs). Its too bad wizards don't seem to get a status bonus to attack rolls spell like heroism.

I've been playing around with building an Elven Fighter with Wizard dedication feat, aiming to use wizard spells for combat buffs, with a stash of scrolls/wands for utility.

I was looking specifically at the Bespell Weapon feat (Wizard 4) to see if I could get some additional synergy in the mid-levels, and trying to figure out how to get a significant number of single action cost spells to actually make it worth while to take the feat. Most spells cost 2 actions, limiting the number of attacks you benefit from it in a round.

So assuming 8th level, and the basic wizard spell casting feat you have a base 3 slots (1 1st, 1 2nd, and 1 3rd). 1d6 three times per day doesn't really seem worth a feat. So I looked for ways to increase that daily usage by the time I can take the feat.

Ring of Wizardy I was the obvious first option which adds two 1st level slots and is technically in level range (level 7 and 360 gp).

Three True Strikes, Enlarge and a Haste, for 5d6 to 8d6 extra damage a day is starting to sound better, although still not sure if its worth it.

However, looking through things I came across staves, and was wondering if I am correct in understanding, "cast a non-cantrip spell" also includes using scrolls, wands and staves?

At which point a +1 Striking Shifting Staff of Divination sounds potentially interesting. If I understand the shifting rune properly, that lets the staff become any 1-handed weapon, such as a whip, bastard sword or short sword.

At 8th level, a staff would have 3 base charges (max 3rd level casting), and I could trade my level 2 spell in for 2 more charges, giving a total of 5 charges, plus my other 1st level slot plus a 3rd level slot, for 7 total spells, applying the bonus 1d6 damage to 7 to 12 attacks per day. The rune and staff themselves are 6th level (total cost of 35+65+230+225=555), and thus within reason for an 8th level character to aim for I think.

By 9th you could probably get the Ring of Wizardry as well, putting you at 8 castings of True Strike plus the casting of Haste in the 3rd level slot. That is potentially applying 1d6 mental damage 8 to 16 times every day. Plus those True Strikes are providing double rolls to see if you hit, certainly increasing your odds of a critical.

Or is trying to leverage this just not worth it, and taking a more straight forward +1 striking bastard sword with thundering (or other 1d6 elemental damage) going to be better while grabbing a more traditional level 8 fighter feat?

sabata00 wrote:

I’m super nervous about running the prison break in.

My party consists of an uplifted bear, a goblin, a kasatha, and a phentomite. Passing with a disguise plan is not likely to work. I don’t want to force them through and endless and deadly series of repetitive combats, but I’m worried it will work out that way.

Assuming they do make it in without getting found out, I’m still unsure of many ways the security actually functions. How do the players disable cameras without said cameras seeing them?

I second holoskins, although they don't negate size penalties to disguise I believe. When I played through this book, my party had a Human, a Vlaka, a Tiefling (Human stock), and an Astrazoan.

We pulled the Wookiee gambit, and had the Astrazoan shapeshift into a Vesk, and had used a glamour fusion to make a laser pistol look like heavy manacles. The other 3 were disguised as Azlanti soldiers (either full face helmet heavy azlanti armor from a previous book or holoskins).

We also had a mechanic trained in stealth which seemed to help with hacking cameras.

You could alway pretend the large bear and the small goblin are prisoners, with two medium sized "Azlanti" guards (using holoskins or the like). Announce yourself as prisoner transfer from Cell Block 1138.

I know a Solar Weapon Solarian in a home campaign that grabbed heavy armor proficiency at 1st, and then power armor at 5th. They started 14 Str/14 Con/14 Cha, and bumped Con/Int/Wis/Cha at 5th, and got a personal upgrade to charisma.

Interestingly in that case, a 1 level dip in Blitz isn't that good, as the only thing you get is +4 initiative (plus weapon proficiencies, but being low dex means thrown is generally better for them anyways). Soulfire plus maxed Charisma and power armor strength hits for quite a bit. I think when everything is up and running at 5th level (Photon mode + plasma sheath) its like 1d6+4+1+2+4+5+1=1d6+17? Bumps to 2d6+4+2+2+4+6+1=2d6+19 at 6th level, still with a 1st level solarian crystal.

They've gone Stellar Rush + Plasma sheath (move action activate shealth, standard charge). I believe they're planning on going balanced again at 6th by grabbing Defy Gravity, to provide mobility while using power armor, since as far as we can tell, it makes you fly the power armor speed (and then you fall if not on the ground, but still).

Here's my related question:

Does a character using a move action to move need to see the destination square before they move at all? Or a variant: Does a character need to know their destination square exists before they move at all?

In other words, is a move action a single, monolithic action with all decisions made at the start, or is it a series of sub-decisions made after each 5 feet traveled which we generally handle loosely, but occasionally interspersed with a GM's "Stop in that square! Suddenly a ..."

Anyone gots some rules pages to reference for that?

It seems to me its a very similar question to the trick attack question. Is a trick attack a single monolithic action with all decisions made at the start, or is it a series of sub-decisions made sequentially.

If you don't let an operative choose their target of their attack in a trick attack after they move, do you not let them change which squares they move along as new information pops up, such as spotting enemies present who could take AoOs as they pass by the cover they are stealthed behind?

Hawk Kriegsman wrote:

Interesting idea here. To be honest my players usually blow through a caster without resorting to using an offensive ready action.

Its more like this:

Player 1: I shoot the guy in the back who is protected by the guards.
Player 2: I trick attack the same guy with a sword cane.

Me (At Best): The caster blasts the entire party for 32 points of fire damage Ref 17 for half. The 4 mooks move up to each one of you and strike for 15 points of damage each.

Player 3: "Ha it is a caster" I take a guarded step back and shoot the caster.

Player 4: Casters dead?
Me: Sigh.....yes.
Player 4: Great I take a guarded step back and blast the mooks with fire I will spend a resolve point to un-target friendlies.

Me (If any mooks left): ok round 2...

That strikes me as a bit of an exaggeration. 32 fire damage sounds like Explosive Blast (3rd level spell) at the very least, although the reflex save seems a tad low for an NPC spellcaster (unless you're using the combatant or expert arrays - but then their hit points would be even higher?). In any case, at CR 7, a typical spell caster array enemy would have around 90 hit points.

Assuming the party is 4 level 7s, what you've just described was a single shot, a melee +4d8 trick attack, and a single shot that took out the caster. Assuming it was two Soldiers with heavy weapons and an operative, and they all hit (not a given), that's maybe 2d8+7, 2d4+4d8, and 2d8+7. That is like 55 damage on average assuming they hit every shot against something like EAC 18 plus soft cover from the mooks. Even if they rolled max damage (but no crits), that is only 86 damage. Also, if mooks are acting as body guards, how is the operative getting in close to the caster without suffering AoOs?

An equal CR caster "boss" shouldn't go down until round 2, round 3 more typically with average to hit rolls and saving throws. Crits can change that, and perhaps multiple optimized melee attackers (an optimized 7th level Solar weapon Solarian can dish out 3d6+22 fire damage 1st turn with plasma sheath + stellar rush). I suppose your players might be very lucky every session, or I'm somehow under estimating their optimization.

Also, if the players are focusing fire, then intelligent enemies should do the same. If you focus all 4 of those mooks on the operative who went up solo into melee range, they should be getting flanking bonuses and potentially dealing that 60 damage to a single target, while still giving soft cover to their caster ally. ~92 damage at level 7 should put the hurt on an operative who might have a total of 49 stamina (12 Con) and 46 hit points.

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In terms of savings of solar weapon vs solar armor, while you can get away with not buying a weapon, you still need to invest in fusions and solarian weapon crystals if you want to keep up in terms of damage. In addition, solar armor means saving on the credits needed for a thermal capacitor armor upgrade at levels 5, 10, 15.

Are you going to grab heavy armor with solar weapon? If you do, then you're implicitly trading away mobility. Now you may or may not notice if you take stellar rush (it is that good).

I have run a Solar Armor Solarian in SFS up to level 5 so far, and it wasn't a max Dex ranged, or a natural weapon fighter. 14 Str/14 Dex/14 Cha starting stats. What it did do was Weapon Focus and Fleet at 1st level using a tactical pike.

That is a 50 foot threat range at level 1 (move and still attack), and 130 foot threat range at level 2. The reach also means forcing enemies to either take an AoO or stop ranged attacking. Compared to a heavy armor solarian which might threaten 30 or 35 feet at level 1. Or 65 to 80 feet at level 2. The enemy is also still free to guarded step and shoot if their ranged or spell options are better. The extra 2-3 squares on a move action also sometimes matters for getting to that unobstructed charge lane for stellar rush.

Throw on climbing suckers at level 2, and you've got some silly 3-D maneuvers you can pull off at low level. At higher level, equipment can even the speed difference out, but thats still trading credits for movement which the solar armor build doesn't necessarily need to spend.

I'll also note the Constructive Interference revelation from the armory and the enhanced resistance feat means at level 5 you have the option of 5 fire or cold resistance combined with 5 (or 10) electric or sonic resistance, combined with DR 5. It is a surprisingly tanky combination, even without any armor equipped at all.

Edit: I guess in summary what I'm saying is Solar Armor can lend itself to a more mobile, acrobatic Solarian combat style even without focusing on how exactly you maximize damage. Still focusing on photon mode usually, but 10 electric/sonic resistance in Gravition mode is handy to have in your back pocket at low level, making some enemies unable to damage you.

There's always the option for the player (given the character in game isn't asking questions - it is a metagame interaction between player and DM) to ask for what the DM thinks the most important piece of information the character should know about a given monster. If they get another question, ask for what the DM thinks the second most important piece of information is and so on.

Or mix and match. Ask what the GM thinks the most important thing is first, then ask about your particular tactic (Soldier asking does it have DR?)

As noted earlier, the character isn't asking a question, they're simply recalling information. Exactly which piece is determined by the DM and the player in any way they are both comfortable with.

Declaration happens before the actual action. You don't need to declare all your actions at the beginning of your turn, but you must declare the action before you do anything associated with it.

So before you can even move out of your square, you must already have declared the action that is letting you move out of the square, because in some circumstances that matters. And if it matters in some circumstances, then to be consistent, you must treat all situations the same and make the declaration at the same point.

Imagine the GM has an invisible enemy adjacent threatening you, without you or your character being aware of it. You move away to the next square. It matters as soon as you move that first 5 feet (which could equally be a guarded step, a normal move, a run, or a class specific action).

So you must declare the type of action that moved you. In that situation, a guarded step is going to behave different from a normal move action, which is going to differ from a 10th level operative trick attack with improved uncanny mobility, which is going to differ from a Solarian using Blazing Orbit to move. And thats on the very first square.

So in essence, because the trick attack movement potentially has benefits a standard move lacks, they cannot be assumed to be the same up to the point where you've simply moved your speed. They have different rules associated (like avoiding AoOs).

As I noted earlier, I personally have no problem with an operative declaring they are making a trick attack and then just move up to their speed without attacking if nothing presents itself. I also have no problem with a character declaring they will always use trick attack to move unless otherwise stated. Same as if a Solarian declares they always use blazing orbit when moving.

I do have an issue with moving a mini, the GM advancing game state (i.e. telling you the invisible enemy takes their AoO), and then after the fact determining what actual action was used. If you wouldn't let a Solarian suddenly change their move to blazing orbit after the first square of movement (for 20% miss chance), then I wouldn't let an operative change a move action to a trick attack after moving to a corner.

I think it should be on the player to make sure the GM understands what their intentions are. A good GM will check when unsure, but GMs tend to have the most to keep track of so spreading the responsibility around is helpful.

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Claxon wrote:
Strongly disagree. If you read the ability the way you suggest it's a full action to do nothing.

If the player chooses to do nothing with the declared action, then yes, I suppose you might interpret it as nothing. However, I argue there is nothing inconsistent with my reading of the rules and the game doesn't break if you use my interpretation.

However, I view it as a full action which lets you move up to your speed (which includes 0 feet as an option), and then gives you the option to make a special kind of attack, and when combined with feats and exploits adds additional effects, like ignoring attacks of opportunity. In my book that is a full action that potentially could do nothing, but generally does do something.

However, that is just like declaring a move action, and choosing to move 0 feet. Consider the situation where you decide draw a weapon while moving, do the weapon drawing first, then an adjacent invisible enemy has a readied action to disarm you if you draw a weapon, they become visible after attacking with the disarm, and then you now realize moving from your square will provoke an attack of opportunity.

I mean, you don't need to get that convoluted as the above, but I feel not moving after declaring a move action is a valid choice. Zero feet is equal to or less than your move speed in all cases.

Do you have an issue with a player declaring a move action and then not moving out of their square?

You can trick or startle a foe and then attack when she drops her guard. As a full action, you can move up to your speed. Whether or not you moved, you can then make an attack with a melee weapon with the operative special property or with any small arm. Just before making your attack, attempt a Bluff, Intimidate, or Stealth check (or a check associated with your specialization) with a DC equal to 20 + your target’s CR. If you succeed at the check, you deal 1d4 additional damage and the target is flat-footed. This damage increases to 1d8 at 3rd level, to 3d8 at 5th level, and by an additional 1d8 every 2 levels thereafter. You can’t use this ability with a weapon that has the unwieldy special property or that requires a full action to make a single attack.
Claxon wrote:
Both the movement and attack say can. So if I follow what you're saying, it's a full action to do do nothing, but you can move and can attack.

Yes. Just like the run action, or the move action or any number of other actions which include the "can" phrasing. Similarly, you can declare a valid charge, and then not make the attack at the end of the movement at that time (like say, you realize the illusion of the bad guy is hiding a bomb that will explode once hit).

Claxon wrote:
So you can't say it's a full action to move anymore than I can say it's a full action to attack, and allows the other action to also be done. Except, I lean towards saying it's an attack because it's in the name. Not strong evidence, I admit, but more than you have. It's not called Trick Moving.

My apologies, I'm having a little difficulty parsing the above statement.

I'm not saying its a full action to move only. I'm saying its a full action which then gives you the option to move, and then the option to attack (or with feats a whole host of other combinations, like attack then move, or move without provoking attacks of opportunity). If a player wants their character to use it just for the movement portion, that is fine.

As far as my evidence, I present the fact that use word can for both the move and the attack, and then explicitly reference the case where you do not move: "Whether or not you moved,"

So, my question is, why is the "can" in "you can move up to your speed" different from the "can" in "you can then make an attack"?

As for name implying rules, perhaps the question is why isn't it called "trick moving and attack"? Clearly, the name by itself does not tell you the rules associated with it. The reason they call it trick attack and not "trick moving" or "trick moving and attack" is it sounds cooler and is a short hand for the rules text themselves.

Claxon wrote:
I'm not saying you have to select a target in advance, I'm saying you need to be capable of selecting a target, which you can't do if there are no enemies.

We'll probably just have to disagree then. I read the rules and find no support for a requirement that there be a valid enemy around to declare the full action trick attack.

For a bit of philosophy beyond this debate, I'd also probably go farther and let character's declare attack actions (which probably automatically fail) even when enemies are not around, even the trick attack's attack option. That is a classic illusion, mentally affecting curse, or invisibility situation. I feel it would be even more metagame-y if you did not let characters make attacks when enemies are not around in cases like that.

As far as I'm concerned, any action you can take in combat, you should be able to take outside of combat. Otherwise, somehow, the characters know when hostiles are around (not players), irregardless of the perceptions or mental states of the characters, which really throws me out of the narrative. For example, I'm not a big fan of the Solarian stellar mode rules from a game design perspective.

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Claxon wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Claxon wrote:

It is metaknowledge, but not based on something that you and your character don't know / wouldn't be aware of.

And what do you mean moves around every corner like that?
Do you mean by just deciding to declare a trick attack for every round to move?

My response would be that you're not allowed to declare a trick attack without a target. I understand that the rules are written saying "you can attack". So you could make a pedantic argument that it's not required. And my response will be "It's called Trick Attack, if you're not attacking you're not making a Trick Attack. And if you don't have a target to attack, you can't attempt to make a trick attack."

In my opinion, you are going too far away, Claxon. For example, if I full attack, I will just declare my first target, and declare the second one after the result of my first attack. So, stating the action at its beginning is necessary, but stating all the variables of an action at its beginning is too much. You can declare a trick attack, and move to the corner. You may end up not doing your attack, but it means your character is moving to the corner in a "trick attack style" (stealthy, bluffy, sense motivy or whatever type of trick attack he's doing).
I'm not asking people to declare every target of an attack in a full attack when the initially declare a full attack. But I am saying you can't make an attack if you have no one to target, and thus can't make a trick attack.

The trick attack action explicitly does not require an attack and thus does not require a target. A trick attack action at its base is use a full action to move your speed. That is the core of the action. It happens to have clauses that let you do other stuff if you want (can versus must), and those other clauses can include targets, but at the end of the day, it is "As a full action, you can move up to your speed." In order to use certain exploits, like Uncanny Mobility, you do need to declare your target before hand.

Uncanny Mobility wrote:

When you make a trick attack, if you choose the target of your attack before you move...

However, that exploit also makes clear it must be possible not to choose the target of your attack before you move using a trick attack.

I agree with BNW at least this far. If a player wants to describe their operative as going around a corner ready to trick attack, I let them. It is just the same as a soldier deciding to single move instead of double moving or using the run action around the corner so they can stop and shoot if they want.

I mean, I feel it is completely out of line for the GM to tell a player that no, their character has chosen to run, guarded step twice, or double move instead of a single move to go around that corner. If they want to play a cautious character, that is completely up to them. If the operative has their weapon out, then in my mind that is sufficient justification that the character can choose to be cautious when turning corners, since by my definition having a weapon out is an unusual situation.

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How to have a "spoony bard" armed with a spoon in SFS:

1) Start with high charisma.
2) Take at least one level of solar weapon solarian.
3) Declare the general shape of your solar weapon manifestation is that of a spoon.
4) Proceed to defeat enemies with a spoon.

SFS approved and rules legal. No re-skinning necessary.

Sorry, I'm used to seeing inclines sufficient to change your elevation by 5 feet labeled as difficult terrain, but you are correct they are two separate rules definitions and you could have an incline that isn't difficult terrain.

For a closer reading of the force sole rules, I'll note:

Force Soles,Armory,page 92 wrote:

The maximum upward angle possible is 45 degrees, and you move at a rate equal to half your normal land

CRB, page 248 wrote:

If any line from

your starting space to the ending space passes through a square
that blocks movement, slows movement (such as difficult
terrain), or contains a creature (even an ally), you can’t charge.

I interpret "move at a rate equal to half your normal land speed" as slowing movement. So even though you might be able to charge up a non-difficult terrain incline (say a gentle 5 degree slope or something), the explicit rules for force soles make you slow down as long as the angle is greater than 0 degrees.

Given in a single move action you could move up at an angle of 45 degrees, moving 5 feet forward and 5 feet up (diagonal) costing 10 feet of movement. Then forward 10 feet, and then back down at angle of -45 degrees costing another 5 feet of movement for a total of 25 feet.

That is the equivalent of simply moving in a straight line over a small 5 foot tall hill on a battle map I think.

In SFS play I'm having fun with a Str 14/Dex 14/Cha 14 starting solar armor solarian (created before the armory came out and thus before soulfire was a thing).

Recently made it to 5th level, and have become surprisingly tanky with DR 5 (Enhanced Resistance feat), Fire or Cold Resistance 5, and Electrical or Sonic resistance 5/10 and reasonable AC in light armor. Fleet + Stellar Rush + reach weapon makes for a highly maneuverable melee striker with a bit of area control at low levels. Bought Climbing suckers at level 2 for some extra fun before jet packs become common.

Damage is less than an armory enabled Solar Weapon Solarian, but still does melee damage. Plan to transition to an Icestar Staff around 7th with Multi-weapon fighting feat combined with Flashing strikes for EAC targeting full attacks at only -2 to hit. The full attacks at least should put out close to expected damage to a Solar weapon Solarian using soulfire, depending on enemy AC.

In a campaign I'm playing in, there's another player focusing on charisma first, then constitution, then strength to be a "tougher" solarian (more resolve + more stamina + power armor eventually). It is working out well (certainly they were standing in situations where the more traditional 14 Dex would have been taking a dirt nap). Although we have a Mystic the party, we just brewed up a batch of 20 Mk I healing potions just for him.

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