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Basically any combination of human, half-orc and charisma-based casting will always appeal to me. Just returned to PFS with half-orc Oracle of Lore, in keeping with this theme.

Some combos that seem fun and I'd like to play sometime:

Kobold Sorcerer (orc bloodline)

Dwarf Goliath Druid.

Dwarf Mounted Fury/Mammoth Rider.

(Yes, I like the idea of 'normally he's small, but is currently very large)

I know you never said they were - I was not trying to put words in your mouth, merely an observation that I felt was worth noting in a discussion on said 'sacred cows.'

Basically, that even the fundamentals of the mechanics are not fundamental to playing or enjoying the game.

Kthulhu wrote:
To be quick, if it didn't exist before 2000, I can't consider it a sacred cow. As such, none of these really count for me.

But... wouldn't that means that sacred cows are not necessary for your enjoyment of the game?

Things like experience level progression varying by class, original flavour mult-classing (Half-elf Cleric/Ranger style), THAC0, the dreaded bouncing lightning bolt - absolutely integral to AD&D and 2nd Ed. But playing Pathfinder either means setting those 'sacred cows' aside, or using a welter of houserules and gentlemen's agreements to bring them back.

Playing a d8 class (or two) with 10 CON and melee combat?

I recommend against it. Melee means you'll be putting yourself in harm's way for attacks and for any damage-dealing bursts. You'll be able to deal with one hit or Burning Hands reasonably well (Without evasion, a high reflex save is nice, but you'll still get hurt), before you have to start fearing for your life - and with a low Fortitude save, your chance of stabilising and not forcing the party to re-task to rescue you from death is low.

You said yourself, 10 CON with mixed d12s still died twice.

10/18/10/13/14/12 - (I'm assuming after racials) you've got the intelligence for many skill ranks, including Charismatic face skills (which are class skills) - why not go 10/18/12/13/14/10?

Get 14 INT at 4th (which will only help with the skill point deal), work up to 20 DEX at 12th.

Edit - you've just said your 'why do I have to be melee bit' - I had assumed melee from Weapon Finesse and Unchained Monk.

I could see an 'alternate edition' - perhaps labelled as an Unchained Edition, as a sort of Core plus Greatest Hits Collection streamlined into a second core.

A Second Edition, especially a Second Edition that isn't backwards-compatible, seems much less likely.

Zardnaar wrote:

1. Disparity of 6 points between a good and bad save.

2. Sacking spell DCs with the level of the spell and then adding the spellcaster modifier to the DC (when you require XYZ amount of ability score to cast the spell in the 1st place).
3. Being able to easily buy magical items.
4. Wands of Cure Ligth Wounds and similar wands existing enabling very cheap healing.
5. Multiple attacks decreasing in accuracy eg. +16/+11/+6/+1
6. The natural spell feat existing.
7. Disparity of +/- 6 skill points between the classes eg 2 for fighters, 8 for rogues.
8. Auto scaling buff spells you can stack together eg divine power, divine favor, righteous might etc.
9. Feats existing full stop. Would you play a 3.x/d20 game with no feats?
10. Ability scores scaling up as you level and uncapped limits on ability scores.

Largely, this is a list of 'non-sacred', with a side of 'profane, get it out, kill it with fire' for (3). (9) and (10) share between them the option of ongoing customisation, which I like, but aren't a sacred way of producing them.

Bill Dunn wrote:

1. Vancian casting model

2. 6 stats, ranged 3-18 on a bell curve
3. healing is divine magic, not arcane
4. paladins are primarily designed around their LG model and fight evil
5. humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, gnomes, half-elves, and half-orcs are core PC races
6. level based advancement
7. class based abilities
8. fighters fight, rangers track, rogues find traps, wizards use spells, clerics heal, monks use martial arts styles - each of these may do a bit more than those options, but those options are core features to those classes
9. Dragons come in good metallic and evil chromatic varieties
10. Characters have saving throws as last-ditch defenses against things that would normally have no defense

1)Not sacred, even in the current game design.

2)Also not sacred.
3)Same again.
4)Sacred in the game design, to an extent, but not a sacred cow for me.
5)Setting stuff, and not sacred.
6)I'd prefer a scaling skill tree to levels, but I'll happily use a level system.
7)As above, but I'll happily use a class system.
8)Not sacred even in the current game design.
9)I love the mischievous/dangerous yet good metallic and the honourable yet cruel chromatic - and the game keeps on bringing in new kinds of dragons that lack shared moral compasses.
10)...that's not what a saving throw is.

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
you just hate fun, don't you?

Are you saying the prospect of a party of young goblins being slaughtered isn't fun?

If they are getting Small size and PC class levels, then go crazy... seriously, going crazy is obligatory for such a party.

Ah - haven't used or seen those rules in a while - I was using the Young creature template... wait a second...

The PRD wrote:
A young character does not have access to the same classes as adult characters... As such, you can select only NPC classes while in this age category, beginning play and advancing in level as an adept, aristocrat, commoner, expert, or warrior, according to your interests and social background.

That means they'll be wandering around with NPC class levels, no bonus feats, hardly any class features worth a damn. Unless their twelfth birthday is coming up real quick, they'll be slaughtered.

Why does his ability to lead have to be mechanical?

Make him the leader - give him a reputation and a set of deeds that makes his army look up to him. He doesn't have to lead by being the most Charismatic - in a wild civilization, being the toughest combatant is likely to mark him as a viable leadership candidate.

Give him powerful supporters - not just an army, but craftsmen and spiritual leaders - which can include casters - who back his claim. Once his people trust him to lead, the party can't displace him as leader simply by winning an opposed Diplomacy check.

Anyone trying to spread divisive rumours or dig up stories of failed raids where family members didn't come back has a hard time of it even without him being especially charismatic.

Also, he can still have max ranks in Diplomacy and Sense Motive even without high charisma.

-6 to Strength, -4 to CON. Miniscule damage dice.

The wording of Goblin Gunslinger explicitly deals with Medium-sized firearms, not any inappropriately-sized firearm, so you can't use big guns to make up for damage.

Even with dex-to-damage, a 1d3 Tiny rapier isn't going to do much.

The only way for martial Goblin babies to keep up is going to be Dex-to-Damage with additional damage dice that are unaffected by size - sneak attacks - Slayer, Mantis Zealot, suchlike.

Probably, the Goblin Babies are going to rely on blasting for damage and animal companions for muscle. Goliath Druid, Fire Bomber Alchemist, Draconic (red) Sorcerer, stuff like that...

And, depending on whether these are the goblin babies that the paladin orphaned and then raised with care and dignity, or whether these are the goblin babies that the paladin orphaned and left to fend for themselves, there has to be a Paladin or Antipaladin.

Fly speed doesn't come with an altitude ceiling, or really any penalty for going up and up beyond the mountain environment high-altitude rules, which are based around long journeys through the mountains, not flying around.

Bard (Arcane Duelist) and (Archeologist) are quite likeable. The Barbarian (Armoured Hulk) may not be the most effective archetype, but decent movement in heavy armour and excellent defenses against critical hits are useful, and they are fun.

Wildblooded Sorcerer, if you count it as an archetype, for bringing in neat variations on the standard sorcerer like the Sylvan, Sage, and Empyreal Bloodlines.

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http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/cleric/archetypes/paizo---cler ic-archetypes/cloistered-cleric, which turns the cleric from a mighty adventurer to an NPC.

Light armour, a handful of simple weapons, one domain, diminished spellcasting...for the other half of the knowledge skills as class skills, 2 skill points per level, bardic knowledge, and Scribe Scroll.

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If the dragon was trapped in a demiplane, it would have had a hard time getting the armour to its champion. Perhaps the armour is intelligent so it could get to the living Antipaladin, whether by animated movement, or by dominating weak-willed looters. 'Gift from the hoard' is atypical dragon behaviour, especially for such a distinctly evil dragon. Maybe 'Gift from the hoard' is just how the Graveknight and the Dragon now think of it, rather than the reality - that while alive the looter put on the armour, corrupted by it, linked to the dragon, molded into a suitable Antipaladin, and instructed (by a free-willed undead with a deity complex) as to how to become the perfect undying champion.

The armour is the integral part of any Graveknight, and how the living host bonds so strongly with his armour that it becomes the receptacle of his spirit in death should always be a question.
An armour that actively encourages such a bond to form, that instructs its wearer on the path to undeath, is more plausible than the simple 'it was the armour he wore when he died. It also helps iron out the 'why this particular guy' question when the circumstances of Graveknight creation are so singular.

Since Graveknights are Cold-Immune anyway (and white dragons), so your Cold-based Graveknight passed on Fire or Acid immunity, having the armour convey very good fire resistance would seem appropriate. Having it beef up his Undead Controlling (which is already damn powerful) would also seem like something that would work.

Not half-orc for TWF - falchion and greataxe proficiency are just too big.

The dwarf and the elf would work, though admittedly only for particular weapons.

Rogue? Be a Hobgoblin, take the FCB to reduce non-proficiency penalty, become fully proficient at level 4.

Not strictly banned - Unearthed Arcana recommends that they are not allowed, but doesn't state 'banned'. However, UA is fairly unequivocal on two prestige classes:

Unearthed Arcana wrote:
A gestalt character can't combine two prestige classes at any level.

A build with gestalted PrCs is either a theorycraft exercise or something that a particular GM has allowed, rather than a build for general use - if Gestalt characters could be described as 'general play'.

If, for instance, Niramour the Spontaneous was brought to an organised play game that featured gestalts - just a whole lot of nope.

When you get the Broad Study Arcana, you pick one and only one class, and you can use those spells with spellstrike and spell combat - you don't cast them as magus spells, they remain Oracle or Sorcerer spells.

Can't use both lists, can't select broad study twice, at least as it is described.

Shocking Grasp and electricity is Bronze - Copper is Acid.

Can't have Eldritch Scion/Kensai - they both replace knowledge pool and spell recall- if Canny Defense is the thing you want, and you're only using Eldritch Scion to keep the bloodline going... can't do it without reworking a lot of things.

Oslyth Guile is more limited than you are describing - it only works while fighting defensively/total defending, and it only works against one designated target's melee attacks.

What is your Oracle mystery?

Aethernaut wrote:
'cause no-one wants to eat your eyes.)

Actually, it's quite good on toast.

101. Break Whole. As Make Whole, complete with the 10 minute casting time. Deals 1d6 damage per level to an unattended object.

102. Raise Bread As Raise Dead, complete with casting time and material components. Any food preparation within one mile of the casting, is made easier by small, serendipitous events for 1 hour/level. The target of the spell remains dead.

...so, BAB Syncopation with the Inspired Blade. Taking Mystic Theurge at all, taking Dragon Disciple while crossblooded, qualifying for the mystic theurge on the basis of a SLA, taking two prestige classes together.. for 11 levels in four different combinations, doing caster level syncopation at 6 and 17, taking Eldritch Scion and Kensai together... which you can't do, stacking the draconic bloodline from sorcerer, eldritch scion (even though it is described as a bloodrager bloodline), evangelist, and dragon disciple... which you take together with evangelist at one point.

Did you roll those scores, or are you being given a 51-point buy?

1)You designate which of your non-magus spellcasting classes if affected by Broad Study. Given that it does not affect ASF, I'd suggest Oracle, unless you are fighting unarmoured.

2)Shortage of bonus feats favours Rime Spell over going down combat intimidation chains.

3)You drop relatively little BAB - fifth level, tenth level, seventeenth level, but it looks like +17 BAB, plus dragon disciple natural armour. You can wear bracers of armour and an amulet of natural armour to put AC through the roof. Situational self-buffing is still a thing, but your baseline attack and defence is pretty good.

4)If your GM is willing to allow this, why not ask him to name you as the beneficiary of his life insurance and will.

It's a Klar. As far as I know...


It's a big knife with a massive skull, skull-shaped piece of wood, or skull-shaped piece of iron that provides a handguard bigger than the knife itself. It's a weapon, so it doesn't benefit from armour enhancements, shield special qualities, or shield modifications. It's a one-handed single weapon, so can only be finessed with a feat or class feature that provides an exception to normal finesse rules, and can be two-handed whenever for the 1 1/2 strength bonus.

Klar wrote:
Benefit: A traditional klar counts as a light wooden shield with armor spikes. A metal klar counts as a light steel shield with armor spikes.

You ready it as a weapon, and it provides a +1 shield bonus to AC. If you attack with it, it stops providing a shield bonus, unless you have Improved Shield Bash, until the start of your next turn. It has all the protective drawbacks, such ACP and ASF, of a light shield given the description above.

The klar is mainly good at low levels for TWF or TWF Shield Bash builds when you don't have ideal feats or equipment, though it does move into the curiously loveable Thunder and Fang TWF fighting style. It used to be a light weapon, and is not quite the boy it used to be since it was changed to a one-handed weapon.

In a word: yes.

Both by the numbers and in play.
Human warrior 1 with greatsword and power attack: 4d6+12, average damage 26, minimum damage 16, maximum damage 36.

Human warrior 1 with greataxe and power attack: 3d12+18, average damage 37, minimum damage 21, maximum damage 54.

In the first session of my current campaign, our fighter, one-handing a Medium bastard sword, managed to one-shot kill a 1 HD goblin warrior, while our barbarian, two-handing a Small heavy flail, was able to do the same to a riding dog with more than twice the health. Just as you say - at very low levels, x3 weapons have the potential for overkill.

Where's their line? What wouldn't this person do - what would they feel obliged to prevent?

I GM more than I play, and that means lots of villain-building. Knowing the boundaries of what they consider acceptable makes them behave more realistically, can make for interesting and even sympathetic moments when they realise that they can't do something they've set out to do, and can make for fabulous moments of villain upstaging when they encounter a villain that can do things they can't - for reasons of personality as much as power.

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Armour bugs me - at times it seems like there's a unifying logic - but there isn't - the banded mail is cheaper than masterwork splint mail but vastly better, while the field plate is 800 gp dearer than masterwork banded mail - and 15 pounds heavier. The kikko is better in every way than scale mail but 20 gp cheaper, while the Do-Maru only wins on Max Dex and costs six times as much as scale. Steel lamellar costs the same as chain mail, but has lower ASF, higher max dex, and is lighter.

There's basically no attempt to make the cost of the armour actually reflect anything about the quality of the item itself.

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As regards the Hero footbows, (awesome movie, awesome scene) remember that they are crew-operated - one guy nocks the arrow, one guy draws the bow.

With that in mind.

Siege Bow. 2d6, 150 foot range, x3 critical multiplier.

A siege bow acts as a composite bow which adds 1 1/2 times the bow's Strength modifier to attack rolls, but requires a DC 15+(strength modifier requirement) Strength Check to load. It is possible to ignore this strength check by loading the bow while prone, holding the string with both hands and pushing on the belly of the bow with your feet. Aiming with the feet gives a -4 penalty to attack rolls.

It requires a full-round action to load a siege bow, but someone benefiting from the Aid Another action to reload can do so in a move action. This also reduces the penalty for aiming with the feet to -2.

It'd be an awkwardly unyielding weapon - not suited for expert marksmen with iterative attacks, but a more devastating weapon than the longbow or heavy crossbow if someone has the manpower for loaders and archers both. An expert archer could use one to make absolutely terrifying Vital Strikes if they wanted, though.

Shade Mantis

Not meant to be awesome, just meant to be a different TWF Warpriest from the obvious Sacred Weapons Kukri. Haven't geared up the build, but it uses Agile Sawtooth Sabres.

N Human Warpriest (Mantis Zealot) 12, Luck and Trickery Blessings.

15 pt: STR 12, DEX 15+2+2, CON 14, INT 8, WIS 15+1, CHA 7

20 pt: STR 10, DEX 16+2+3, CON 14, INT 8, WIS 16, CHA 7

Traits: Jenivere Crew (acrobatics as class skill)
Conspiracy Hunter (perception as class skill)

Focus weapon(sawtooth sabre)
6 feats from HD, 1 Racial feat, 4 bonus feats, 2 bonus feats from FCB.
1: weapon finesse
1: two-weapon fighting
3: two-weapon defence
3: combat reflexes
5: piranha strike
6: dodge
6: mobility
7: double slice (damn prereqs)
9: Improved two-weapon fighting
9: Two-Weapon Rend
11: Disorienting Maneuver
12: Critical Focus
12: Penetrating Strike

Sneak attack 3d6, sacred reflexes (uncanny dodge, evasion), fervour 4d6 9/day, Blessings 9/day.

BAB +9, 12d8+24, FORT: 10, REF: 8/9 (pb varies) WILL: 11

Tumble through enemy threatened areas, gain greater invisibility from Trickery blessing for full-round two-weapon sneak attacks. Luck domain major blessing is an immediate action, so why not Bestow Curse + Unlucky Enemy.

A few somewhat missing things:

1) Making both 4th-level ACG casters Barbarian-based was unnecessary, especially since the Skald ends up with the HD and BAB of the Bard to differentiate it from the Bloodrager. The herald, the minstrel knight, the warrior poet trope as a Bard/Cavalier hybrid with performances that incorporate bardic inspiration and cavalier tactics - partial casting, d10, full BAB.

2) A genuine 'cast from hit points' brute force mage, now that the Scarred Witch Doctor has been altered. Maybe a d12, 3/4 BAB, secondary caster with a witch-like spell list with added (level-appropriate) blasting, which can use hp as a resource pool for limited metamagic and some arcane-pool style abilities.

3) Powered Armour/Iron Man as a class.

An arcane or alchemical secondary or partial caster as a sort of construct builder, with a leveling 'Work in Progress' constructed familiar that it can upgrade, use in combat, and eventually wear. Archetypes or optional upgrades for the suit can include Iron Man tricks like Prehensile/Rescue Armour, which can split up (dividing its levels across multiple armours) and be directed to form around someone else, or Giantslayer/Hulkbuster, which allows the Iron Man to scale up to Large or Huge size.

As regards the shapeshifter -
I reckon - since you can get a Druid Animal Companion by taking Mad Dog Barbarian, that you could have some sort of Wildshaped Rager Archetype, for a sort of non-spellcasting Shapeshifter.

The Investigator would be a good chassis for an alchemically controlled doppelganger-type shapeshifter (a la Mystique, where shapeshifting is more concerned with disguise and camouflage than turning into a flesh-tearing dire bear).

Agree it would be difficult, partly because of the world setting fit, partly because of the sheer mass of detail, but also because of the way many of the characters are depicted.

For instance - Sam Vimes has a fighting style that runs the gamut of improvised weapons, unarmed combat, ingenious traps, crossbows, truncheons and varies from his street-fighting style - which suits 'studied target', to what is basically a berserker rage, which comes off a lot like a Barbarian. He's not a grandmaster sleuth, relying much more on persistence than leaps of intuition, but he's still a highly accomplished detective. He's a natural at Bluff and Intimidate, but a very mixed bag with Diplomacy. The breadth and depth of the character, and how those layers are depicted in Vimes's actions, are broader than most single class or archetype themes...

Hmm - maybe a low-level Sleuth/Barbarian (Urban Barbarian, maybe Superstitious Barbarian) gestalt.

There are Called Shot rules that give some numbers to the downsides of painful injuries to particular body parts. Treating the needle trap as a called shot to the hand would work, perhaps as a Critical Called Shot on a failed save and a Called Shot on a successful save, with Debilitating Blow for them totally blowing the save.

The save most associated with traps is generally Reflex, and if anyone in your group has Trap Sense (which helps Reflex saves versus traps), they might feel your trap was bypassing their trap-specific defences with a Fortitude Save.

Given that various professions stand in as the relevant skills under certain circumstances - such as Profession(sailor) when operating a ship, or Profession(siege engineer) being on par with K(engineering) for qualifying for siege combat feats - I'd say a Profession skill actually does give you the tools of the trade. The Doctor without Heal skill relies on his shop and his tools, and cannot do a Heal check under pressure, but Profession(physician/surgeon) gives him some medical training as well as covering marketing.

I generally rule it that someone with Profession skills has all the relevant trained skills to their profession under ideal circumstances... say Profession (trapper), can make Disable Device checks related to disarming an animal snare and Survival checks to forage for food in the wild on their P(trapper), but not general Disable Device and Survival checks.

Adding Profession(physician) or Profession(surgeon) to the list seems perfectly fair - Profession(midwife) and Profession(herbalist) are already there as particular medical professions.

Given the 15-point buy stats, I'd suggest as one alternative STR 14, DEX 14, CON 13, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 12 - with 11 CON he's just got the basic fighter Fortitude and HP for 4 levels, and he'll be pretty squishy.
Take the Goblin Alternate Racial Trait Tree Runner to get +4 Climb and Acrobatics, so you don't need the first-level rank in climb, and the Acrobatics will help avoiding AoOs. As regards Goblin racials, goblins do not have light sensitivity.

I like Intimidate builds, but be aware that you get a -4 penalty to Intimidate checks for each size category smaller than the target the Intimidator is. Also you won't really benefit from Intimidating Prowess, the character not being particularly strong. Basically, against a medium-sized target, your overall bonus to Intimidate is 0. For comparison, a fairly simple half-orc build would have +8 at level 1. I'm not saying don't build him as intended, but be aware he will be weaker in his intended role than some alternatives.

Also, you have the fighter bonus feat at level 1 on top of Weapon Finesse - Two-Weapon fighting seems a natural choice for getting more damage out of your Dexterity.

I've used Cavalier and Barbarian to create heroes with a definite Bronze to Iron Age Graeco-Roman flavour.

The Huntmaster and the Daring Champion cavalier seem like good candidates - the daring champion with a Trident as stand-in for heavy fighting spears with a shield, as the agile and charismatic single combat specialist. The Armoured Hulk Barbarian suits an Illiad figure like Diomedes.

I like Pathfinder. There's a whole lot of houserules that I run, and there's a lot of material that I leave out, but part of why I like it is because it still functions with these changes and omissions. A big part of why I like it is that I can run a campaign for people with an experience set anywhere between 'full immersion in 3rd edition and 3.5' and 'remembered liking Baldur's Gate when it came out' without anyone getting stressed or bored. And I have played and enjoyed a small amount of PFS, and the fact that there is an organised play option that Paizo puts as much effort supporting and regulating as they do (even though all the balance/nerf/letting options in and then ruling them out does draw criticism) is commendable.

If I was playing someone else's PF campaign, though, and they had every option on the table, I probably wouldn't like it very much.

So... a half-red dragon moss troll is immune to fire (unless you rule that immune and vulnerable cancel each other out to some extent), and fire remains the only thing that can disable its regeneration - but it doesn't lose the Moss Troll's default fear of fire. It's still shaken by being 30 feet from a handheld torch. Its own fire breath would be terrifying to it.

By the time someone put its head in a locked strongbox or drowned it, the poor thing would probably be relieved.

Not the most... practical application for K(Arcana), is it?

Situation 1:
Paul the Phrenologist: Allow me to study the subject.
Brian the Bard: You mean that guy over there - the young adult half-elf with the spell component pouch, the pet toad, the scroll case, and the festoon of rods and wands?
Paul: Male half-elf, thirty years old... decent fellow. I can't quite tell his avenue of training, his modus operandi so to speak.
Brian: Stop kneading the wizard's scalp, Paul. It's getting weird.

Situation 2:
Paul the Phrenologist: Ahh, yes. Before his corpse was reanimated by the dark arts, this zombie was a human in his early forties, by-the-book customer, probably an army recruiter or drill sergeant by these five levels of Warrior. Oh dear, my hands are filthy.

Situation 3:
Paul the Phrenologist: By the contours of your cranium, I have determined that you, Brian, are a twenty-year old human male and a Chaotic Good seventh-level Bard.
Brian's Player: Was that meant to be in character? 'Cause it sounded weird... and pointless.

Besides - knowing class levels in-game bugs me... I prefer the 'Symbol of Death' description where class level is an abstract.

So - what happened to Scion's original soul stone? Was it kept, lost, or destroyed?

The PC who sacrificed themselves so others could live - reroll suggests did not res, but did the party recover their remains...or their soul?

(And it's 'character' gave her life, not 'player'. Unless there's something you're not telling us.)

The demon lord currently residing in Scion's body, is it merely providing the motive power and the moral influence, or is it in control? How content is it to be a battery, if it is, and what resources might it bring to bear to escape.

Does the evil-powered Scion remember all the actions of the Scion construct, or all the actions of the demon soul, or merely all the actions of the evil-powered Scion?

Does Scion build standard golems, or is it attempting to recreate the soul stones and make similar constructs to itself? If so, might it use the kingdom's resources to bind demons to power the stones, and in doing so, mark itself as an enemy of the Abyss who harvests demons as resources for its own plan.

Did it take over the kingdom randomly, or does it feel that, as 'Scion' it is obliged to ascend a throne. Is 'Scion' more than a cool name, and either the construct or the original soul is linked to this kingdom, such as the original soul being a long-dead prince of the blood?

Giving the original soul a place in the narrative, and using the soul or remains of the sacrificed PC seem like steps I would take.

I'd prefer to see just a basic 'can they make basic skill checks, survive and succeed in a 4-encounter day at level 1' test, then pit them against a more varied range of challenges - skills, social encounters, gearing up like a party in progress rather than being built to WBL (coming to town at 10th level with 9th level WBL gear and enough valuables to pay for the transition - how's their haggling, their crafting, etc.), how do they deal with environmental encounters (traps and suchlike), before moving on to the 4-encounter day.

I'd like to see - much like the way iconics get their 1st, 7th, and 12th level builds detailed - a comprehensive 7th and 12th level challenge - the one I suggested based on Jolly's template was sort of angling towards 12th level.

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UnArcaneElection wrote:
Before we decide on a roundness test, shouldn't we figure out a roundness test for roundness tests?


Wait... I know! We can test the roundedness tests by putting well-rounded parties through them, that way we'll know if they're well-rounded.

Yes, since we had strawman so thoroughly discussed, I'm playing 'Know Your Fallacies.' I guess we'll have to rely on open critiquing and comparisons with alternative tests proposed by the thread. Then we'll have to design even more excruciating tests of roundness, so that the chaff of sufficiently well-rounded parties can be sorted from the wheat that is the most well rounded 4 man party.

Beef up the roundedness test:

King's City is under tyrannical rule. Objective is not to kill King, which would have disastrous consequences for the city, but to disarm him as an oppressor and restore balance of power. His ace in the hole in a dragon ally, that he can contact and influence by means of The MacGuffin.

1) Openly entering the city under assumed identities, and building connections with the authorities and the city's elite.

2) Covertly contacting freethinkers, radicals, spiritual leaders without blowing their cover or yours.

3) Researching the dragon and the MacGuffin.

4) Any extra/specialised equipment for the party - item creation, regular acquisition, black market.

3&4 require working in the city while maintaining cover.

5) Tricking or sweet talking the king into revealing his MacGuffin. Stealing it by whichever method you choose, bearing in mind great care has been taken to protect it, and that a replica that appears and detects as the same object must be left in its place.

6)Destroying the MacGuffin to break the King's connection with dragon ally. Magical countermeasures, difficult to destroy, dangerous consequences - treat the MacGuffin as a baby Artifact.

7) Discreetly leaving city and established identities to find and kill the dragon before theft is discovered and the dragon is alerted. All subsequent challenges must be done in one working day.

8) The entrance to the dragon's lair is concealed, and takes advantage of the dragon's racial advantages (e.g. buried under the sands, underwater, such like. The entrance is also trapped out the wazoo.

9) Dragon's lair is guarded by sub-10 Intelligence magical beasts, kobolds, and constructs.

10)Killing the dragon and reporting your success to the civic leaders discussed in (2)

N. Jolly wrote:
I'd also like to introduce another caveat in this roundness test: That each step include 3 party members contributing

Wouldn't a fairer caveat be to either demonstrate how a challenge can be resolved co-operatively, or if it can be soloed (which is not unreasonable as many non-combat skill challenges can be soloed, disarming a sophisticated magic trap, for instance), to also demonstrate the next-best option if the soloing character was unavailable.

Or an alternative like 'a character that soloes one challenge cannot solo another.'

Our sheet went from 10 by 10 (4 squares) to 20 by 20 (8 squares) in this latest update.

Enough to create a box with six squares that's divination proof, and can be coloured and textured (and air holed) to hide one member of the party from scrying that permits the sight of the caster or mundane detection. That gives you an ambush box for one.

Or, using the massed earth of the dungeon as your blocker on all other, enough to create 8 divination proof manhole covers in the floor. Enough to hide in, but also enough to set up more ambush goodness.

Question regarding the effectiveness of a Paladin - are the casters evil?

My party was fairly simple - not chosen for strongest, but for well-rounded where well-rounded includes simplicity and effectiveness from level 1.
Bard, cavalier, druid, oracle. No archetypes, goblin cavalier, human everyone else, archer bard, oracle with lunar mystery (seriously, just a really nice mystery)

N. Jolly wrote:

1. You have to learn about a dragon of a color you don't know, but you have to do it in a week, so lots of info gathering and such.

2. Now you have to either break into the king's vaults or sweet talk them and find the mcguffin that can defeat the dragon.

3. Making it through the dragon's trap filled dungeon that's crawling with monsters and other obstacles.

4. Actually taking down the dragon in a straight up fight while in its inner sanctum, most combat intensive.

1) Bardic knowledge, possibly legend lore, supplemented by Oracle doing Diplomatic research, trying to find people who may know more or repositories of information.

2)Sweet talk - Bard and Oracle take diplomatic point, attempting mundane diplomacy, with the option of using light social enchantment. The druid and the oracle keep shapeshifting into diminutive animals to steal the macguffin as a pocket option.

3)Infiltration. Careful scouting, some scrying, to identify the safest and most efficient path to the lair. Two animal companions, Medium sized tunnel-suitable cavalry, bard's inspiration, murderous bard archery, Druid SNAs with Oracle buffs.

4)Dragonslaying. Largely as above, plus communal air walk.

We may need to design roundedness tests for 1st, 7th, and 12th in this general theme.

KestrelZ wrote:
One can answer this with mechanical theorycraft, yet I will relate my practical experience with it.

Thanks. In-game experiences, rather than a by-design argument, is much more what I was after.

Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
This thread is a worse spinoff than Joey

Why can't Marshalls get nice things?

One of yours, I believe.

Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
Stay tuned for the Martial/Martial Disparity thread

Like this one or this one?

I cannot comment on Gary Marshall disparity, being unfamiliar with the Gary in question.

Now all we need is to take these suggested parties, and put them through the roundedness test to determine which is the most well rounded 4-man party...

We need a roundedness test.

LazarX wrote:
don't know where you're getting that from. Arcanists are just as spellbook dependent as wizards and magi.

Thanks for clarifying - when the Arcanist was first explained to me (maybe a bad explanation, maybe a playtest change, don't know) it was explained as knowing the entire wizard/sorcerer list, preparing individual spells from that list like a wizard, and casting spells as it liked from its prepared spells as though they were its sorcerer spells known. That change makes it much more reasonable. Still pretty powerful.

Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Examples do not a definition make, unless they're exhaustive.

Okay - where casters include primary casters - sorcerers, oracles, clerics, druids, witches - and any secondary, 6 spell level casters who are building their characters to rely primarily on their spells, their SLAs, and their Supernatural abilities that have spell-like effects, but not partial casting martials with delayed access to caster levels and only 4 spell levels, and not combat-focused builds based on secondary casters (Such as a Warpriest, or an Arcane Duelist Bard)... do people find as they play such a caster that the wizard's range of spells and feats enables the wizard to:

Outperform other casters in their specialty (even when that specialty is outside the wizard's own nominal specialty), so thoroughly resolve some encounters in early rounds that other casters find themselves not needed, address threats that other casters cannot, and, in the case of oracles and sorcerers, do wizards outperform them even on even numbered levels between 2 and 18, when their spell level access has caught up?

The direct aid teamwork thing is really a side issue.

Basically, people talk about the hypothetical well-played wizard as basically an almighty entity. I've seen people talk about wizards in the 17-20 range as being essentially literal gods, and it isn't because of a convenient acronym that the 'battlefield control wizard' is called the 'god wizard.'

With the wizard expressed like this, I'm curious about people's in-play experience of being a caster alongside a wizard.

I wrote:

So, at level 1, what happens to your four wizards when they have a 4-encounter day against CR-appropriate drow, or dwarves. Or regular elves with decent saves. Nothing special - warrior 1s or 2s, maybe a first-level PC with a warrior 1 for backup.
Orfamay wrote:
They die. The same as any other group when the GM goes out of her way to design a party-specific encounter to produce a TPK.

The situation I described hardly constitutes 'going out of the way' - drow, I'll concede are a stretch, but an evil campaign or an urban adventure in a cosmopolitan city could pretty reasonably throw the four wizards against elves or dwarves at level 1. That's so very little out of the way that a GM could throw them against the four wizards with no intention of producing a TPK.

The other situations - a goblin Rogue 1 with his racial advantages winning initiative and opposed stealth/perception to get two sneak attacks before the wizards can act, or a Barbarian 1 getting a relatively decent combination of initiative and saving throw to get a raged-up Power Attack or two in - were chosen as much for their ordinariness as their danger to wizards.

Orfamay wrote:
A well-rounded party doesn't mean an invulnerable one, just one with a high probability of success against a wide variety of foes.

4 wizards at level one, with 8 1st-level spells plus arcane bond items between them, not much AC to speak of and even less CMD, 8-9 hp on average, and no form of unprepared healing, are not well-rounded by this definition.

Orfamay wrote:
But if the GM is specifically out to prove a point, then there's little that any character can do against a jerk with limitless power.

I wouldn't design an encounter to be a TPK and never have. I wouldn't design encounters for first-level characters to be 'one of you will die' dangerous. But if the GM is out to provide a moderately challenging first day of adventure, four wizards are very dependent on favourable dice for success and survival.

'Sure casting' is a good find, and I admit I didn't know that one - I don't have that source for HLab, which is where I do most of my building. 'Borrow Fortune' can let you get a crucial spell through SR.
Things like Ill Omen, Mind Fog are a different kettle of fish. They exist, and I could find them, and they do allow for 'combined, focused effort' of multiple casters piling debuffs onto one target to let a key spell through, which is cool.

But its not the same as direct aid. The only caster buffs described are short-lived personal effects. There's a fair case that caster buffs are unnecessary, and I'm not trying to argue that they are, or even that they should be - its just that I like direct aid as a teamwork option and particularly like co-operative casting as a theme, and find it curious that such a party-oriented game doesn't include these even as suboptimal options.

Bob Bob Bob wrote:
That being said, the questions are easy.

They are meant to be - I'm not blinking in the dawn of discovering a wizard's Tier 1 status or trying to contest it, so the questions are straightforward. I'm asking if people who have set up their caster characters to be casters, rather than magically-aided combat hybrids, experience being overshadowed in their chosen specialty. Not the inescapable-in-theory gap, but if people find what I probably should have labeled the wizard/caster discrepancy an in-game frustration and how they work with it.

Bob Bob Bob wrote:
So, first off, the central premise is probably wrong. We don't even have a solid definition of "caster",

The wizard and the arcanist were directly mentioned, and I went on to mention divine casters, spontaneous casters, and secondary casters, and began by contrasting casters with martials. Not the most airtight definition of caster, but the bones of one are there and the reason I neglected to mention partial casting martials like the Paladin was because I didn't include them as casters.

...ahh, consensus. Always a good indicator of a well-trodden subject. I was somewhat more curious about tabletop impressions of it as a problem or not rather than design - I get the wizard/arcanist status as 'most powerful/most powers by design' - just wondering if people, when they see the Martial vs. Caster disparity phrased as the Martial vs. Wizard disparity, don't think: "Hey, I can recall being made tactically redundant by the Wizard playing my perfectly respectable caster."

And I just find it weird that there really aren't 'caster buffs' - there's feats, and items, and so forth, but you can't be reasonably expected to have all of them. But, as you say, no CL boost or vs. SR boost or save DC boost - no caster counterpart to True Strike or Greater Magic Weapon. When an enemy shows up with great saves and SR, rather than having one caster throw Righteous Clarity or something on another to try and beat the defences, Summoned Monsters get called up to mob the guy. Not a big issue - just a gripe that casters don't have direct aid style teamwork, when things like direct aid, pooled resources, multi-caster ritual spells all suit my idea of what a caster is like in fantasy literature.

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