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1,475 posts. Alias of John M Baker.

Shadow Lodge

I'm looking over the various ways to do get an unchained rogue access to firearms, and want to know your opinions. I'm less interested in a spellcasting method to do so.

1. The Firearms Training and Grit talents. Pretty intensive, gotta wait for level 4. Can reduce by taking the Amateur Gunslinger feat myself and avoiding

2. Dip into Gunslinger. Most gunplay available, least rogue synergy.

3. Dip into Swashbuckler (Picaroon). Deeds work better for the rogue, and free rapier-and-pistol fighting.

4. Dip into Investigator (Steel Hound). Doubles up on Trapfinding. Could trade out the alchemy for Sleuth, but that doesn't sound like a particularly good trade.

I'm just not sure what direction to take...

Shadow Lodge

So I'm considering making a Steel Hound Sleuth Investigator, and I'm curious how the various abilities interact.

A Steel Hound gets the Amateur Gunslinger feat for free at 2nd level, which gives him 1 grit point. A Sleuth gets a luck pool at level 1, and any feat, magic item, or spell that grants grit or panache can also grant the Sleuth an equal number of luck points.

So, at level 2, the Investigator gains +1 luck point when that grit point is gained, right? Does this raise the maximum number of luck points to Wis+Cha?

Extra Grit pretty clearly grants +2 grit and +2 luck (and +2 max grit and luck).

Then there's this bit under Swashbuckler:

PRD wrote:

Grit and Panache: The gunslinger's grit and the swashbuckler's panache represent two paths to gain access to the same heroic pool. Characters with both grit and panache class features combine the two resources into a larger pool of both grit points and panache points.

For the purposes of feat prerequisites, a character with the panache class feature satisfies the prerequisites as if she were a grit user, and vice versa. Swashbuckler levels stack with gunslinger levels for the purpose of satisfying Signature Deed's level requirement. For feats, magic items, and other effects, a panache user can spend and gain panache points in place of grit points, and vice versa.

However, this isn't present in the Sleuth description, so grit and luck are not considered the same larger pool, correct?

Shadow Lodge

I'm toying around with the idea of creating a PFS character that eventually goes into the Riftwarden prestige class. Right now, the idea is starting with a Dwarf Empyreal Sorcerer... but there are a few things that make me wonder.

Feats: I need SF(Abjuration) and Spell Penetration for the prestige class. Given the strength in counterspells, I'm planning to add Improved Counterspell and Heighten Spell to the list of feats. However, none of these feats are any good at first level. Any ideas?

Traits: No clue what to choose. I could go with Magical Knack for the long game, perhaps Glory of Old for save bonuses or Strength of the Land. Any other thoughts?

Shadow Lodge

What are people's opinions of taking Improvisation and Improved Improvisation for a Human Bard?

On the one hand, it means that between this and Bardic Knowledge, you don't have to put ranks in any knowledge and still come off like an expert. In addition, you've got a bonus to any skill you're not optimizing.

On the other hand, you've already got lots of skill points, there's the feat tax of Fast Learner (+3 hp, woo), and you've got Versatile Performance to cover your gaps anyway.

...Although you could use Versatile Performance in a Perform you don't have ranks in...


Shadow Lodge

So I'm designing an Inquisitor of Zon-Kuthon. I see a bunch of things that synergize with each other, but I worry that it just ends up with overlap, and I'd like your opinions.

The Night Subdomain looks interesting, with the Night Hunter power. The Heretic Archetype's Escape judgment and Lore of Escape look useful to boost Stealth. I'm considering a Half-Orc.

However, if the Night subdomain gives me an Invisibility power, will I need the high Stealth? Would the Half-Orc's Darkvision remove the need for the free Blind-Fight feat, much of the time?

Shadow Lodge

So I'm just getting back involved in this after... two years off, and I just discovered "Core Play" in the new PFS document.

What is this about? Why was it created? How/why is Core Play a thing separate from Standard Play?

Shadow Lodge

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I'm thinking about running an Apostae campaign--basically, an Advanced Race Builder based dungeon crawl. The more I thought about it, the more interested I am in it while realizing Apostae is a VERY different world.

First, there's the Ilee. One big race, nothing in common. Everyone is an individual, everyone is part of a group. I'd imagine that different languages are entirely based on physical location and not at all on any "racial" tie. In fact, since all procreation occurs in only one place, there might not even be any language barrier; everyone is born in the same place, and everyone will travel there during their lifetime.

Sex would be quite odd, and possibly nonexistent. No guarantee of compatible parts, and since everyone is so unalike, the Ilee probably don't even have any concept of gender--no male, no female, just Ilee. Thus, any other Ilee can be your partner for your child.

Magic is also a force that completely changes standard fantasy tropes. There is no multiverse. That means no summoning. No magic-granting deities. There is no sky, so the Ilee philosophy of existence would begin and end with the lands in Apostae. The Field limits you above, and the Worldheart limits you below. Because the Worldheart is in the center of Apostae, that means that at all times, the Worldheart is beneath you.

What do the Ilee eat? Probably other Ilee, those who don't end up with sentience, say. In fact, since an Ilee can be pretty much anything, then sessile plant-like beings could be Ilee, too. In fact, the very idea that some living being might not be Ilee would be mere speculation.

Any other thoughts?

Shadow Lodge

Do we know what the various languages look like when written out?

I'd imagine some of the basics: Keleshite is like an Arabic script, Vudrani is like Devanagari, Osiriani is in hieroglyphics (although maybe that's Ancient Osiriani and Modern Osiriani is Demotic).

Taldane? I want it Cyrillic. Specifically, like this.

Ulfen? Probably runic. Hallit, Varisian, Shoanti, Polyglot? No clue. Any suggestions for the tongues of other races? (What does Halfling look like?)

Hey, maybe Draconic should be based off Tibetan. Given the role of dragons in Tian Xia, that might not be so bad.

Scarab Sages

Musical Accompaniment

Shadows grow long as the blazing sun sets over the western mountains. Darkness descends on the tents and caravans of the Lower City of Katapesh. One small figure perched above a sea of canopies watches intently, looking for one stall in particular--a place that promises the possibility of buying anything.

Yet peel back that layer of canvas, I say, and all about is activity! Because here is Katapesh, and here, commerce is everything. The open-air souk brims with shopkeepers, stalls selling all manner of wares--food, tools, weapons, even the occasional slave can be found here. And there! Even the feral and bestial gnolls come here not to fight, but to barter, and in the case of one Shaggar, to watch and protect.

"Kitchikez, night has fallen. Open the tent. Wide, tonight. Others must see who we are, tonight. It is written in the stars." It is spoken by the mysterious Yin Hu, a frail old woman. Some say she is a gnoll, others an angel, others a demon. No one is sure what she is, but those that know her know that she can offer the best deals in all Katapesh, if you are not afraid of a little hard work. Yin Hu, swathed in dark fabric from head to toe, shuffles about the tent, arranging various bottles, pans, braziers, silks, cabinets, far more items than one might think she has the ability to watch.

A small distance away, there is a storyteller, Panchatantra. He has ducked into the tent of a brass-seller, a scrawny yet hungry fellow named Tawid. He examines a lamp, remembering stories of all manner of beings to be found in one. He rubs it for luck? For the hope of the story? Tawid calls back, "Careful!"

And thus, as if summoned by the lamp, our perched figure from the beginning, a young halfling named Javi, loses his footing and snags the tent canvas, tumbling to the ground and taking half of the brass-seller's tent with him. To the deafening clatter of falling plates, ewers, lamps, idols, and trays, Tawid bellows, "Ah! Thief! Thief!" swimming through the fabric to pick up a brass falchion.

The cry for alarm and the sudden brass cacophony startle a hungry, forlorn catfolk named Delahmbra, who loses step with the merchant's throng. His pack shifts, and out pops a beautiful ornate bottle, rolling forward, still intact thankfully, but threatened by a hundred customers traveling in every direction.

This does not go unnoticed by one passerby, a human named Maw'ud, desperately seeking Yin Hu for this bottle. Could it be? Would it be in the hands of a nomadic catfolk, and not held by someone of greater stature?

And this is when the ratfolk Kitchikez throws back Yin Hu's tent flap, down a tapestry-seller's alleyway, noticed immediately by those people I have named. For it is destiny that has brought these disparate people together, and you shall see how great that destiny is...

Scarab Sages

Welcome, PCs, to the Discussion thread! Before we get the game underway, let's take a moment to review everyone's character sheets, get the format down, and get prepared to start at dusk, in the Lower City of Katapesh, where treasures and perils await the bold and the lucky.

Scarab Sages

Hidden among the back alleys and tent stalls of Katapesh, there are tales of one Yin Hu. Precious few ever see Yin Hu coming or going, and her stall often moves throughout the bazaar. She is small--many say she must be some kind of gnome, although others describe her as looking like a stunted gnoll. They rarely describe her as that twice. Most of the time, however, she keeps herself tightly cloaked, looking like some kind of hunchback.

And yet, the various descriptions of her appearance, and the inconstancy of where her shop is located, increase the allure of her destination. Yet even though this is enough for the seasoned adventurer or dealer in chance, it is not all that make her sought out by noble and commoner alike. She is reputed to have some of the best deals in all of Golarion. This is because although she will accept coin, she prefers to deal in action. If you find something you like in Yin Hu's stall, and you haggle, she is likely to make you an astounding offer for merely a pittance! But for every deal, there is an action. She will require that some service be performed. Some of them are small, such as buying meals for the next ten beggars you meet, and some are great, such as slaying a local group of cultists to Rovagug. What will she offer? No one knows.

Character Generation:

Ability scores: 20 point buy.

Race: Human, gnome, halfling, suli, gnoll, catfolk, ratfolk. For the gnoll, we will use John Mangrum's version. Note that they get -2 Int, NOT -2 Cha. The catfolk and ratfolk are rare, but present. If you must try a different race, I'll listen, but don't think that this means you can let in anything.

Class: anything from the PRD will be considered.

Equipment: average starting.

Languages: "Common" in this case, will be Osiriani. Kelesh, Vudrani, and Polyglot will also be human languages of importance.

Traits: Choose 2 traits from different categories. I will give the chosen players a third campaign trait, based on how they will fit with the campaign start.

Basic background: The adventure will begin in and around the wandering stall of the eccentric Yin Hu, purveyor of odds, ends, antiques, trifles, and if the rumors are correct, services that seem to be impossible.

Questions, hopes, characters?

Shadow Lodge

I'm about to start a campaign based in Katapesh and involving extensively the Obari Ocean as opposed to the Inner Sea. One thing I'm working on is the PC races, and I'm thinking of a different set of races:

Human, Gnome, Halfling, Suli, Gnoll, Ifrit, Oread, Sylph, Undine.

I'm also thinking of beefing up the non-Suli races as follows (Sulis are fine as is):

Oread: Add Stability and +1 Natural Armor
Sylph: Add Vestigial Wings (not as real wings, but as an affinity for flight)
Undine: With a Swim speed, they're fine as is
Ifrit: Not sure, but not an attack form--don't want them to seem like fire-only Sulis!

For Gnolls, I'm not sure how I plan to do it. I like John Mangrum's version, though.

Thoughts? Potential pitfalls?

Shadow Lodge

(wrote originally in Off Topic, but since the campaigns were the greatest effected, I'm reposting here.)

I don't know where better to write this, so I'll write it here. About nine months ago, I was laid off, looked for new work, and suddenly had to rebalance my priorities. Among them was my participation here and elsewhere. Now, I'm remembering how important it is to me to keep my hobby as part of my life, and so I'm coming back now.

What I did that was wrong was that I left without telling anyone. Most importantly, I left a number of campaigns in the lurch, so people didn't know whether I was around. I should have at least left word, and I did not.

So in particular to Tark, motteditor, randall793, Ayrphish, Luke, and Hama, I apologize. To all the players in these campaigns, I apologize.

Shadow Lodge

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War Dogs, by Juno Reactor.


Shadow Lodge

What it says on the can. I like playing, but I've been a casual gamer more out of necessity than desire for a long time. I haven't seriously played in a MMORPG before. I did look around Ryzom when it was in open playtest (it looked like fun, but couldn't think to subscribe), and I checked out D&D Online at the request of a friend earlier in the year. That's it.

That said, the whole idea of a MMORPG seems interesting to me, but I'm not sure I'd know what to do in it. Unfortunately, I'm at the point where I don't know enough to know what to ask about. I don't know EVE from WoW, a sandbox from a theme park, any of it. So I don't even know what I'd like or what to look for.

How could I find out if PFO is something that would interest me, or not?

Shadow Lodge

So, I was looking through a number of oozes, and started thinking, what's the power that allows them to, you know, ooze? Can they secrete themselves through a crack in the wall? Oozes aren't given the Compression power by themselves, but they are described as being able to squeeze through cracks.

How about elementals? Can they seep? Air, Fire, and Water would all seem to be good candidates for that.

And... how can a PC become able to flow through a crevice?

Shadow Lodge

I was just thinking about the movie Legend of the Tsunami Warrior. The movie is filled with awesome, but one thing that makes it fun is that there are all sorts of little details and big ideas that you can use in my games. Want sea ninjas vs. giant Dutch cannonry vs. sonic shout masters? Watch this film.

I call that minability.

A minable piece doesn't even necessarily have to be top notch entertainment. For example, the anime Darker Than Black is, in my opinion, only so-so as far as stories go, with a few design drawbacks (the whole idea that the show's super-heroes, or Contractors, have muted emotional states), but they're full of all sorts of bizarre powers, and the whole idea that using a special power carries a price in the form of some action later that is completely unrelated to the power is very flavorful and useful in games.

So, what out there have you seen, heard, experienced, that's chock full of ideas that make for a good game?

Shadow Lodge

For a person who knows next to nothing about software for making maps for combat, or for moving counters on a computer map, what would you recommend?

Shadow Lodge

Hello! I'm working on a new campaign. I'm making it Arabian Nights style adventures, starting in Katapesh and spanning the Obari Ocean (and beyond). The central premise of the campaign involves the Bottle of the Bound. The fiends and horrors contained in the bottle are released in the first adventure, from where they scatter far and wide, and it will be the PCs' task to track down these abominations, and return them to the Bottle.

So I will need fiends. Lots of fiends. Lots of cool, bizarre, thematic horrors to unleash on the PCs. As I come up with ideas, I'll share them here, but do you have anything you'd like to share? Or any thoughts about the campaign as a whole?

Shadow Lodge

I commonly divide the abilities into two categories: offensive and defensive. The offensive abilities are Strength, Intelligence, and Charisma, and are used in attacks of different forms, dependent on class. It's also why they are usual first choices for dump stats; if you don't need it to attack, it hurts you less. The defensive scores are Dexterity, Constitution, and Wisdom--Dexterity gives you AC and Reflex saves, Constitution gives you hit points and Fortitude saves, Wisdom gives you Perception and Will saves.

Some builds use Dexterity and/or Wisdom as sources of attacks as well (archers, clerics, etc.). But what about Constitution? It's used for HP and Fortitude, and that's a lot, but where else does it get used?
Can a CON-monster be built?

Shadow Lodge

I'm curious about the ecology of Avistan compared to Garund (and beyond). Certainly, Garund is more jungles and deserts, and Avistan is cooler plains and forests, but I'm wondering more past that.

Humans have pretty well colonized the globe. How about halflings? Are they everywhere, too? Gnomes? How much rarer are dwarves and elves in Garund compared to Avistan?

Orcs seem to be more of an Avistani (Avistanian?) race (ultimately, they were just underground but since the dwarves finished the Quest for Sky in Avistan, that's where the largest number of orcs were pushed out). Gnolls appear to be only in Garund.

What other creatures are mostly only in one continent or the other?

Shadow Lodge

Does movement from the Step Up line of feats count as movement toward the required over 10 ft per round needed to activate the Scout's Skirmisher ability?

For example, I'm an 8th level scout with Step Up and Following Step. Mr. Cowardly Mook withdraws 10 feet, I follow. On my turn, can I just take a 5' step around the mook and full attack with sneak attack?

Shadow Lodge

Okay, so we all know that fiends get a LOT more love than celestials. This is because fiends are bad guys, so they make great villains, mooks, whatever. So we've got lots and lots of fiends everywhere, covering every CL from 2 to 20, so that they can get a lot of use and PCs can run into fiends all the time.

But why not also run into celestials all the time?

First off, of course, is that the celestials are good guys. Most of the time, they make bad opponents. But opponents aren't the only kind of person or creature or whatever you meet; how about patrons? Helpful NPCs?

So, here's the challenge for everyone: place a celestial in Golarion, and give him/her/it purpose. Make it someone adventurers will be happy to interact with.

(My allergies are messing with my creative juices right now, but I'll post something later.)

Shadow Lodge

I've got a PC with some extra cash (about 2000 GP) who's looking to invest it in gear. The PC is a halfling sneak-and-buff style summoner with a bipedal claw-monster style eidolon. My first thought was an Amulet of Natural Armor for the eidolon, but I thought I'd ask for other ideas, and open up the question more generally.

What would you want?

Shadow Lodge

I've toyed with redesigning the Sorcerer, with some of the updates seen from the Oracle. Here's a rough draft of the changes:

Remove Crossblooded, Wildblooded, and the Eldritch Heritage feat chain.

Change the sorcerer as follows:

No change to spell progression, cantrips, weapon and armor proficiency, and eschew materials.

Bloodlines change as follows:

A sorcerer must pick one bloodline upon taking her first level of sorcerer. Once made, this choice cannot be changed.
Filled with magical power that screams for release, sorcery is not so much a calling as a blessing—and a curse. Each bloodline includes a pedigree which grants the sorcerer an added bonus, but also a weakness inherent in the heritage.

Bloodline Spell
At 2nd level, and every two levels thereafter, a sorcerer learns an additional spell, derived from her bloodline. These spells are in addition to the number of spells given on Table: Sorcerer Spells Known. These spells cannot be exchanged for different spells at higher levels.

Bloodline Feat
At 7th level, and every six levels thereafter, a sorcerer receives one bonus feat, chosen from a list specific to each bloodline. The sorcerer must meet the prerequisites for these bonus feats. In addition to the list of feats specific to each bloodline, the sorcerer may also choose Extra Gift as her bonus feat, but may only choose a feat from her bloodline.

At 1st level, 3rd level, and every six levels thereafter (9th and 15th), a sorcerer taps into her bloodline and discovers a new power in her heritage. The sorcerer must select a gift from the list of gifts available to her bloodline. If a gift is chosen at a later level, the sorcerer gains all of the abilities and bonuses granted by that gift based on her current level. Unless otherwise noted, activating the power of a gift is a standard action.

Purity of Blood
At 20th level, a sorcerer becomes a paragon of her bloodline, granting her amazing powers and abilities. The nature of these bonuses depends upon the sorcerer’s bloodline.

Add the following feats:

Multiple sources of magical power are evident in your life.
Prerequisite: Bloodline class feature.
Benefit: Choose a bloodline other than the one you currently possess. You gain the Pedigree (bonus and penalty) of the bloodline. When choosing a new gift, bloodline spell, or bloodline feat, you may choose one that you qualify for from either bloodline. You also have the choice to learn a lower-level bloodline spell in place of the higher-level bloodline spell you would gain. You do not receive the Purity of Body of the new bloodline. Furthermore, the conflicting urges created by the divergent nature of your dual heritage force you to constantly take some mental effort just to remain focused on your current situation and needs. This leaves you with less mental resolve to deal with external threats. You take a –2 penalty on Will saves.

Extra Gift
Your supernatural heritage manifests in more ways than ever thought possible.
Prerequisite: Gift class feature, Skill Focus* (see below).
Benefit: You gain one additional gift. You must meet all of the prerequisites for this gift, and it must be chosen from your bloodline. You may choose a gift from a different bloodline if you have the Skill Focus feat for that bloodline’s skill. Choosing a gift from a different bloodline with this feat has a power at your sorcerer level -2. If you select a gift from your bloodline, Skill Focus is not a prerequisite for this feat.
Special: You can gain Extra Gift multiple times.

The bloodlines, of course, have to change considerably. Here's the list I'm working with:

Cacogenic – The foul ichor of a number of possible fiends course through your body.
Chthonian – The stones of deep underground are your servants.
Diabolic – Whether through dalliance, trickery, or contract, devils have enriched your soul.
Distorted – A chaotic taint causes reality to warp around you in unexpected ways.
Dragonsoul – You can claim the ancestry of dragons in your lineage.
Eldritch – By experiment, history, or design, raw magical energy courses through your body.
Feral – The natural world flowers forth through your soul, and aids you in your quest.
Glamorous – Otherworldly beauty is your arms and armor; the hopes and fears of others, your game.
Graveborn – Creatures from beyond death have imprinted their mark on your heritage.
Holy – Celestial beings have taken an interest in you and your lineage, and guide your hand through life.
Marine – Water is your blood, ice makes your bones.
Night – In the places where light is not, your power abides.
Nimbus – The subtle forces of the wind and the clouds is yours to harness.
Perfected – Through proper regimens, the stars are aligned just for you.
Radiant – Your soul burns with the intensity of a thousand fires.

Here's an example complete bloodline:

All the waters of the sea course through your veins. Whether this arises from elemental influence, a marid ancestor, or the tampering from fell underwater civilizations, the ocean responds to you in a way mere mortals cannot comprehend.

Bloodline Skill: Swim.

Bonus Spells: obscuring mist (2nd), slipstream (4th), aqueous orb (6th), geyser (8th), control water (10th), freezing sphere (12th), vortex (14th), polar ray (16th), tsunami (18th).

Bloodline Feats: Athletic, Brew Potion, Defensive Combat Training, Dodge, Mobility, Silent Spell, Skill Focus (Swim), Toughness.

Pedigree: Whenever you cast a spell that deals energy damage, you can change that type of damage to cold. This also changes the spell’s descriptors to match this energy type. You may cast spells underwater without a concentration check. Whenever you cast spells of the water type, your effective caster level is increased by one. You naturally avoid fire, and gain vulnerability to fire.

Gifts: A sorcerer with the Marine bloodline may choose from any of the following gifts.

Aquatic Adaptation (Ex): You gain a swim speed of 30 feet. At 9th level, you gain the amphibious special quality and develop a fat layer that grants a +1 natural armor bonus. When underwater, you gain blindsense 30 feet. At 15th level, you gain a swim speed of 60 feet and blindsense of 60 feet in water.

Aquatic Wanderer (Su): You can move across snow and icy surfaces without penalty and without leaving tracks. At 5th level, you can walk across water as if it were a solid surface. At 9th level, you can climb icy surfaces as if using spider climb. At 13th level, you can climb waterfalls as if they were solid and you were using spider climb. At 17th level, you can glide through ice and snow with a burrow speed equal to half your normal speed. You do not leave a tunnel or a trace of your passage when using this gliding ability.

Blizzard (Sp): You can create a savage winter storm centered on you. This gift acts as control winds, but in addition the entire area (not including the “eye” at the center of the storm) is affected as a sleet storm and all in the area are exposed to extreme cold. You may use this ability once per day. You must be at least 15th level to choose this gift.

Cold Steel (Sp): You can touch a weapon or up to 50 pieces of ammunition as a standard action, giving it the frost property for a number of rounds equal to 1/2 your sorcerer level (minimum 1). At 9th level, you can confer the icy burst property instead, but the duration of the power is halved. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier.

Freezing Spells (Su): Whenever a creature fails a saving throw and takes cold damage from one of your spells, it is slowed (as the slow spell) for 1 round. Spells that do not allow a save do not slow creatures. At 11th level, the duration increases to 1d4 rounds.

Ice Armor (Su): You can conjure armor of ice that grants you a +4 armor bonus. At 7th level, and every four levels thereafter, this bonus increases by +2. At 13th level, this armor grants you DR 5/piercing. In cold conditions, the armor bonus (and DR bonus) increases by 2; in very hot conditions it decreases by 2. You can use this armor for 1 hour per day per oracle level. This duration does not need to be consecutive, but it must be spent in 1-hour increments.

Ice-Heart (Ex): You gain resist cold 5. At 5th level, your resistance increases to 10. At 11th level, your resistance increases to 20. At 17th level, you gain immunity to cold.

Water Blast (Sp): As a standard action, you can fire a bolt of water at a foe within 30 feet as a ranged touch attack. The foe is knocked prone, and at your option may be pushed 5 feet directly away from you. A reflex save (DC 10 +1/2 your sorcerer level + your Charisma modifier) negates this effect. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier.

Water Form (Su): As a standard action, you can assume the form of a Medium water elemental, as elemental body II. At 11th level, you can assume the form of a Large water elemental, as elemental body III. At 13th level, you can assume the form of a Huge water elemental, as elemental body IV. You can use this ability once per day, but the duration is 1 hour/level. You must be at least 9th level to select this gift.

Water Sight (Su): You can see through fog and mist without penalty as long as there is enough light to allow you to see normally. At 7th level, you can use any calm pool of water at least 1 foot in diameter as a scrying device, as if using the scrying spell. At 15th level, this functions like greater scrying. You can use the scrying abilities for a number of rounds per day equal to your sorcerer level, but these rounds do not need to be consecutive.

Purity of Blood (Su): Upon reaching 20th level, your form flows like water. You gain a bonus on Reflex saving throws and your CMD against bull rush, drag, grapple, reposition, and trip attempts equal to your Charisma modifier, DR 10/piercing, you move in water as if you always have freedom of movement, you have evasion while you are underwater, and you are immune to pressure damage from deep water.

Okay, folks, let me know what you think! This is just a first draft, so I expect changes to be needed.

Shadow Lodge

In the Favorite Feat thread, people have mentioned Improved Initiative. In my experience, it's just a trap.

Some people have said that going first guarantees that they can change the scope of the combat. But if you can change the scope of combat going first, can't you change the scope of combat going second?

I have personally not been in a combat where going first meant the difference between success and failure. Furthermore, I would tend to think that an encounter that hinged on whether the PCs went first or second isn't particularly well designed, because it brings it down to the initiative roll--at which point, yes, Improved Initiative matters, but only at the expense of nearly everything else.

So, is going first that important? Should it be?

ETA: Some specific builds gain benefits from going first--rogues, sneak attacking the flat-footed comes to mind. For them, Improved Initiative is a good investment. But for everyone, in general? Not as much.

Shadow Lodge

So, let's see...

Sticking to Pathfinder only (I know there are plenty of tricks in 3.5), what methods are there of getting negative energy damage?

There are the Inflict Wounds spells, and Bones Oracles can get Death's Touch.

There's also Chill Touch. Is there anything else? Anything new in UM or UC?

Shadow Lodge

We've got lots of character options out there. So many that I'm sure each of us individually haven't seen them all in play. So... what haven't you seen?

Boreal Sorcerer?
Stone Oracle?
Spirit Ranger?
Monk of the Lotus?

I haven't seen any of the above, myself. How about you?

Shadow Lodge

So I've been playing around with magic items, and I think that the real issue with the costs of spell trigger/spell completion items stems from changes to the Use Magic Device skill.

In 3.0/3.5, few classes had UMD as a class skill. This meant that only the rogue and bard (from core) could actually hope to have a decent UMD skill. Any other class had to pay double the number of skill points, and was limited to a total number of ranks equal to half the UMD class limits. As a result, UMD remained quite closed to the other classes, and access to scrolls, wands, and staves was quite limited. Potions had plenty of utility because they went around this restriction.

In PF, anyone can have UMD as a class skill--if not by expanded skill choices, by a trait. Furthermore, you always pay 1-for-1 for skill ranks, which means that a high-level fighter can have a similar UMD as a high-level bard, Charisma being the main source of difference.

The upshot of this is that having a potion cost 3.33 wand charges is no longer a great economy. It's fine if you'll have to expend an average of 3.33 wand charges in order to get the wand to work (if you're able to get the wand to work at all), but if you're able to operate the wand even 50% of the time, you're getting far more utility out of the wand than a single potion, no matter what.

The effect of skill changes to Use Magic Device is precisely why the economy of potions, scrolls, and wands has broken down. The value of the potion is greatly reduced when the ability to coax a wand to life is common, instead of rare.

So... should UMD even be a skill? Does it serve a true thematic purpose? Or should it be a class feature?

(I'm not even going to touch elixirs yet--which really should be potions, too.)

Shadow Lodge

What does a good set of exotic weapons look like?

I'm thinking that there are three categories of weapons that can fit quite nicely in the exotic weapon space.

First, are the weapons that are strictly better than comparable martial weapons. These include the double weapons, for example, the waraxe, bastard sword, and curve blade. The falcata and meteor hammer might be going even too far here, but that can be a different debate.

Second, are the weapons that are supposed to be rare and unusual, but don't always require the spending of a feat to get them. The monk weapons are perfect examples. Yes, you can spend a feat to wield a kama, but it's not particularly useful. If you take a level of monk, though, you get the kama for free and can use your monk tricks with it, so that's a better solution. In this case, the spending of the feat acts more as a gatekeeper than a cost for an advantage; it reserves the weapon for the class without outright banning it from everyone else.

Third, are the weapons that do something very different from most weapons. The whip and the net are examples of this. In many ways, this is similar to the first category, as you can still use the weapons from the simple and martial categories, but if you want to do something different, you still can. The whip also has some second-category characteristics, too, because the bard gets it for free.

The problem then becomes any exotic weapon that doesn't fit any of these classes, like the PF spiked chain or the boomerang. Not superior to similar martial weapons, not granting a special class-specific ability, and not delivering a unique ability. I think that if these weapons can be redefined within this framework, then they will work well.

Here is a possible solution for the boomerang:

Alternate Halfling Racial Trait:

Warflinger: Some halflings, mostly from more primitive societies, specialize in thrown weapons instead of slings. This halfling is proficient in javelins and darts, and treats bolas and boomerangs as martial weapons. A thrown boomerang that misses its target returns to the thrower at the end of the round in which it is thrown, when it can be caught and wielded as a free action if the thrower has a free hand. This racial trait replaces the Weapon Familiarity racial trait.

Thoughts on the state of exotic weapons?

Shadow Lodge

Given all the Heirloom Weapon discussion in other threads, I thought perhaps we should be discussing traits in general. So... which traits are good traits? Which are bad traits? When is a trait too powerful? When is a trait too weak? What sort of design should go into each of the different trait categories?

Is the standard "+1 Skill and Class Skill" an appropriate point to judge things? Does the lack of a Perception trait in the APG cause problems? Is the Perception trait Just That Much Better or not?

How about, say, the Magic category? Is the fact you can only take one of Focused Mind, Gifted Adept, Magical Knack, and Magical Lineage a good or bad thing?

Let's start the discussion on these little things that are becoming so important to character design.

Has anyone taken the Additional Traits feat?

Shadow Lodge

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Hi! I mentioned that I'd like to see a guide for optimizing the different sorcerer bloodlines. So... I'm starting one.

So, everyone: Pick a bloodline and discuss it! How would you make it awesome? Or, critique other people's optimizations! Let's figure out how to get the most out of your bloodline choice.

I'll start at the beginning with Aberrant. (I don't have Ultimate Magic, so anything you've got can add to this.)

The Aberrant bloodline grants extended Polymorph spells, protection from critical hits and sneak attacks, decent Spell Resistance, a ranged attack, and Long Limbs.

Note that the range for Long Limbs is still within 30', which means that you will remain within range of melee or ranged sneak attacks. This is where the protection from critical hits and sneak attacks come in, but it won't be enough to just prevent death outright. Thus, ways to raise your AC will be helpful.

Furthermore, you will be spending more time in combat, so being able to transform into a number of different beings will prove helpful.

Feats that will be helpful to the aberrant sorcerer:

Toughness - If you're going to be closer to the front lines, you'll want more hit points. This is valuable for your entire career.
Combat Casting - Similarly, you'll find yourself in the thick of things, and you might not always have the 5' step you're looking for. Also, if you turn into a grappling form, this feat will let you continue to cast your touch attack spells and ground them into your grappled target. You can get it as a bonus feat, but you'll probably want it sooner than 7th level.
Still Spell - You're an arcane wild shaper. This, combined with Silent Spell, is your Natural Spell.
Silent Spell - The other part of the arcane wild shaper. You start with Eschew Materials and have no spellbook; with this and Still, you'll always be able to cast something, even when you're grappled or paralyzed or whatever. This is an excellent choice for your 7th level bonus feat.
Quicken Spell - Takes the Silent/Still spells to the next level. An excellent choice, and lets you full attack or cast metamagic in the same round.
Arcane Strike - If you're the sort to change into something and full attack with lots of natural weapons coupled with Chill Touch or Elemental Touch, then this feat is decent. If you aren't planning to do lots of multiattacks, then skip it.
Spell Focus(Transmutation) - You can choose spells to make this matter, but the big reason is to take:
Tenacious Transmutation - so that your polymorphs won't be dispelled.
Spell Focus(Necromancy) - Many touch attacks are Necromancy spells.

Not recommended:
Reach Spell - Long Limbs covers most of your needs here; save the feat slot.
Extend Spell - Your polymorphs are your major long-period buffers, and this will not stack with your arcana.

Since you're only taking three feats from your bonus feat list, my recommendations are for Silent Spell at 7th, Improved Initiative at 13th, and Iron Will at 19th. If you like the grappling route, but are unwilling to spend your feats to gain it earlier, then choosing Improved Unarmed Strike and Improved Grapple are good choices. But see if you can pick up a Grappler's Mask first.

Recommended Spells:
Note that there are lots of good standard choices, like Color Spray, Grease, etc. I won't touch on those, instead focusing on spells that complement the bloodline well.

Level 1:
Chill Touch - This will be a workhorse spell, since you can cast it and just keep on touching stuff for a long time. Note that if you've got a form that makes multiple attacks in a single round, you can Chill Touch for all of the attacks with a single casting.
Shield - It lasts less than Mage Armor, but you'll want to pick up Bracers of Armor or some other armor source quickly. The shield source is harder to come by. You can instead choose Mage Armor and swap it out once you have the bracers. Because you have so few spells known per level, I don't recommend getting both.
Shocking Grasp - Good at first, but quickly becomes obsolete. Great for the low levels, and remains good if you have Intensify Spell. However, once you get access to Vampiric Touch, that will be the replacement.

Level 2:
Alter Self - Your first polymorph. The Boggard and the Troglodyte will see a lot of use--the boggard has darkvision, low-light, a swim speed, and a ranged touch attack with the tongue, stacking with Long Limbs. The Troglodyte has a bite and two claw attacks. The Boggard is the Shocking Grasp build, the Troglodyte is the Chill Touch build.
Elemental Touch - A decent Chill Touch replacement, but note that the duration is in rounds and not touches; if you have lots of attacks that are likely to hit, Elemental Touch is better. If you need staying power and might miss your target, Chill Touch works better.
False Life - Extra HP will be important for you, even more so than most other sorcerers.

Level 3:
Twilight Knife - You will be attacking things. The knife might as well be attacking with you.
Draconic Reservoir - Elemental Touch and Protection from Energy in one. This is good versatility.
Beast Shape I - The basic "wild shape". Get more attacks and combine with your touch spells for damage. Use this and become an Eagle, and don't take Fly.
Vampiric Touch - Touch attack, AND temporary HP? Yes, please. Excellent Spell Storing choice.

Level 4:
Bestow Curse - It's a touch attack! Contagion is, too, but probably doesn't work fast enough.
Stoneskin - Another good protection spell for the frontline sorcerer, which can be used for everyone else, too.
Calcific Touch - In the Chill Touch family. Excellent debuffer, and if you can get someone turned to stone, it's a damage spell, too.

Level 5:
Polymorph - You need all the versatility you can, even with your polymorphs.
Permanency - You might want this on scrolls instead, but many of your bonus spells can be made permanent.

Level 6:
Fluid Form - Not a polymorph, but another source of protection, and reach!
Unwilling Shield - Well, if you're going to be in harm's way, someone should suffer for it, right?
Transformation - If you're wading into combat, friggin' wade into combat!

Level 7:
Greater Polymorph - Spell economy is king.

Level 8:
Giant Form II - More polymorph, and you get to keep your stuff. You'll get Shapechange, but this will let you use your 8th level slots.

Level 9:
Fiery Body - Mobility, fire protection, and extra-strong unarmed melee attacks. Stacks with everything else you've got running.

Good Magic Items:
Once again, I'll be focusing on items that synergize with the bloodline, instead of items that every sorcerer or adventurer will find useful.

Bracers of Armor - Good for any sorcerer, but even better for a frontline sorcerer. Similarly, Rings of Protection are important items.

Amulet of Mighty Fists - Adds to your melee touch attack rolls, and to attack and damage of natural weapons. The Spell Storing quality helps with the action economy a lot, especially with polymorph, but note that you won't be able to access the Spell Storing quality if you polymorph into a form that melds your gear with yourself. If you've got time before battle, polymorph then put on the amulet.

Grappler's Mask - If you're going to be grappling stuff with all the tentacles you've polymorphed, this will be useful.

Shadow Lodge

From what I've gathered, this is what appears to be the case:

Elves and gnomes are natives of the First World, which is a place that exists aside Golarion. I'm not sure if it's a full other plane, or just a pocket of the Material Plane, or even just an otherworldly pocket of Golarion and not other planets.

Dwarves are Golarion natives, having spent the vast majority of their existence deep underground until their Quest for Sky. Orcs are natives in much the same way.

Humans are... what? It seems that they were either first developed by the aboleths, or developed by another race, but it looks like there was some other mortal race involved in their creation.

Halflings? No clue. Up there with gnolls and goblinoids in a lack of detail. Giants? Dragons? What?

Shadow Lodge

Here's another curse I had in mind. Opinions?

Out of Time: Time, for you, does not move in step with others. When rolling initiative, roll twice and take the worse result. You cannot take the Temporal Celerity revelation. When you delay your action, your initiative does not adjust to when you act, but remains in the same time in order. At 5th level, your base speed is increased by 10’. At 10th level, add Blink and Dimension Door to your list of spells known. At 15th level, you are immune to Temporal Stasis and Maze, stop aging, and when in combat with someone who casts Time Stop, you are free to act during the caster’s extra rounds. Furthermore, you may cast a spell once per day as if it was modified by the Quickened Spell feat, without increasing the level of the spell slot required.

Shadow Lodge

If I ever get my GM cap on again in real life, I plan to run a campaign based on Razmir and his quest for godhood--if for no other reason than to allow himself to keep everything he's amassed so far. So he might be doomed to failure, but it'll be a rollicking good time in the process.

I'm on the hunt for everything that discusses Razmir to date. Modules, AP appearances, references. Would someone be able to help here?


Shadow Lodge

I was just looking this feat over again. You get a +10 bonus for impersonating a human.

Really? Anyone? So I could disguise myself as the human king and get a +10 bonus to disguise? If I pretend I'm a half-elf merchant, no bonus, but a human merchant... +10?

Shadow Lodge

I've got a pet theory on the Test of the Starstone, what I'll probably use in my campaign.

But I have some questions about it: How did Arazni become a demigod and then lose that status? Why did Iomedae take the Test?

In any case, here's the theory:


You can't want to become a god and become a god. Apotheosis requires a subsumation of a portfolio, and everything you want, are, and represent must be true to that portfolio ideal. Any desire or path that is different from that ruins the process. You can't be a god and want to become a god.

Therefore, only those people who haven't wanted to become a god have been successful. In fact, becoming a god only really works if nothing about you changes. Aroden wanted to save humanity, and only became a god as a side effect. Cayden Cailean didn't know what he was doing and hasn't changed one bit. Norgorber, who tries desperately to suppress knowledge about himself, wanted and wants only self-negation. As for Iomedae... I suspect she didn't want to become a god as much as she wanted to represent that ideal for Aroden.

Shadow Lodge

The power of the Oracle has left you disconnected from your fellows, and no longer experience the highs and lows of emotion. You take a -4 penalty to all Charisma checks except Use Magic Device. You gain a +2 competence bonus to Will saves. At 5th level, you are immune to the Shaken and Frightened conditions (but not Panicked). At 10th level, you are immune to charm and compulsion effects. At 15th level, you are immune to the Panicked and Cowering conditions.

So, thoughts?

Shadow Lodge

I've read some of the archive threads about using these together, but that was before the chakram was introduced.


If I've got Two-Weapon Fighting, Point-Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, and Quick Draw, I could full attack with a stack of chakrams, pilums, and/or javelins as -4/-4/-4? I specifically consider these weapons here because they're classified as ranged weapons and not melee.

It's a pity boomerangs aren't better weapons.

Shadow Lodge

"Ah, good day, and welcome! Yes, please, come in, you are always welcome at Talouf's Baths. It is the best place to come in Katapesh after a long, harrowing journey. Please do not consider me rude, but judging by the size of your purse, you must have had a spectacular and treacherous journey, one worth telling for the ages! And indeed, here in Katapesh is the best place in all Golarion to be, if you have money to burn."

I am recruiting for a sandbox-style adventure, starting in Katapesh. You are all freshly coming from some lucrative adventure of some kind. Basically, where we go is up to you!

Here are the rules for the game:

1. The sources are Core, APG, and the Inner Sea World Guide. PCs have 2 traits.

2. Starting PC level is 2.

3. Ability scores: After this post, I will generate 5 arrays. Arrange the scores as desired. Choose whichever array you like and create your PC that way. I will choose one PC from each array--so if one array happens to be more popular, it will be harder to get that particular PC. If you manage to negotiate with the other players who gets which array, I am willing to accommodate whatever deal you come up with.

4. Equipment: You have 150 gp to spend on equipment. Yes, that's it. However, you will also start with 2,000 gp in coins, gems, jewelry, objets d'art, or commodities. What exactly you have, and how exactly you came by it, is up to you.

5. Regarding background, how you came by the wealth will be important, clearly. But also, what you're thinking of doing with it will also shape the direction of the adventure.


Shadow Lodge

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I've been thinking about how to build what I'm calling the "Mist Assassin." It's a Waves Oracle/Rogue that specializes in stealth and cutting off single prey from the world before slaying.

It's a tough build, so I'd like to hear your advice.

The stats in order of importance are Dex>Cha>Str>Con>Wis>Int. I do not expect a full caster.

If we have a 20-point buy character, this is what I'm thinking:

Str 12
Dex 18
Con 12
Int 8
Wis 8
Cha 16

Race: Half-Elf. Choose Skill Focus: Stealth and Multitalented: Oracle, Rogue.

Level 1: Waves Oracle. Choose the Deaf Curse. Traits: Magical Knack (Oracle), Elven Reflexes. Feat: Improved Initiative. Skills: Acrobatics, Escape Artist, Stealth. Choose Inflict spells. Revelation: Water Sight. Spells: Create Water, Detect Magic, Detect Poison, Light, Inflict Light, Obscuring Mist, Shield of Faith.

L2: Oracle. Spells: Touch of the Sea, Mending.

L3: Rogue(Acrobat). Skills: 2 ranks each in Climb and Swim, in addition to Acrobatics, Escape Artist, and Stealth. Feat: Point Blank Shot.

L4: Oracle. Revelation: Fluid Nature. Spell: Doom. +1 CHA.

L5: Oracle. Spells: Slipstream, Guidance, Inflict Moderate, Silence. Feat: Reach Spell.

L6: Rogue. Skills as before, Fast Getaway. Deaf Curse improves.

I'm thinking Oracle, Oracle, Rogue from here on out. There's a lot of moving parts and a lot of choices to make. Main weapons are a ranged weapon and the longspear. Thoughts?

Dark Archive

I'm thinking of developing a Horizon Walker for PFS... Background: he's a Mauxi half-orc from Thuvia braving the desert.

Here's the basic look:

Half-Orc (Scavenger, Toothy)
Ranger 1 (Guide, Skirmisher)

Strength 16
Dexterity 15
Constitution 14
Intelligence 12
Wisdom 14
Charisma 7

Languages: Common, Orc, Abyssal, Polyglot
Feat: Two Weapon Fighting
Traits: Child of Nature, Dunewalker
Skills: 1 point in each: Perception, Linguistics, Survival, Knowledge(Nature), Knowledge(Geography), Climb, Stealth

Main weapon: Orc Double Axe
Feat chain:
Ranger 2: Double Slice
Ranger 3: Endurance, Power Attack
Ranger 5: Furious Focus, Rattling Strike (Skirmisher trick)
Ranger 6: Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
Horizon Walker 1: Shield of Swings
HW 3: Keen Scent
HW 5: Blind-Fight

Okay, feel free to start tearing apart!

Grand Lodge

So lately I've started looking at the Horizon Walker. It looks neat, but I keep thinking that despite the preponderance of bonuses, there just might not be enough "there" there. Some things I like: make all your weapons Good/Silver/Cold Iron/Whatever, get Fly for free a few times a day, never get fatigued or exhausted... all good stuff, but does it win encounters? It always seems like there are better ways to get this stuff, if that's what you want (except for maybe the exhausted/fatigued thing).

Also, it requires Endurance and Knowledge(geography). Can I somehow turn these to my advantage? Perhaps stack Fight On and Diehard? Combine Heroic Recovery with a monster Fort save?

What would you do?

(This somehow ended up in the Archives. Could someone please move it? Thanks.)

Grand Lodge

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How, exactly, does this work?

It says that a single "attack" gets reach. Do only natural attacks count, or can weapon attacks receive reach as well? It's not a "natural attack form" like Improved Damage, so if it's applied to claws, it only affects one claw and not the other?

Grand Lodge

I'm looking for general ideas, here, just to see what's out there.

I've got a L1 half-orc Aberrant Sorcerer, starting spells Shield and Chill Touch. Originally planning a straight Sorcerer progression, as a reesult of RP, his second level was as a Bones Oracle, with the Bleeding Wounds revelation (L1 spells Cure Light, Inflict Light, Divine Favor).

It's not optimal right out of the gate, I know. But, tough, that's what we're working with.
How would you advance this?