Here's one more for the road; again, Automatic Bonus Progression and half-wealth.
Magpie the Monk:
Magpie is a multiclassed Runesinger Fighter 1 and Street Fighter Monk 4 with a tattooed theme. Not only do the magical tattoos covering her limbs grant her rune powers, they also let her make her unarmed strikes at range by giving them the Sharding quality.
She takes the Strength and Lightning runes, using the former primarily to get a free-action Grapple off of an attack once per minute, and the latter primarily to zip around the battlefield without provoking. That free Grapple synergizes nicely with her ability to Clinch off of a Counter Punch. In fact, she can attack twice even while Counter Punching thanks to the Street Fighter's Flurry Strike, and each attack can separately cause a Grapple check if they hit. Hair Trigger lets her Counter Punch even at range while Deflecting Arrows, but she prefers not to, since that robs her of the chance to Grapple.
When she does Grapple someone, she deals her hefty unarmed strike damage again via Clinch Strike (and usually releases them immediately as a free action, so she can do it again).
The cherry on top is Practiced Interruption. By spending her martial focus, she can ready an attack against a spellcaster's next spell as a move action, likely disrupting their concentration. Since she can do this in the same turn as Counter Punch, it's easy for her to act as a disruptive presence to multiple PCs at once. This is really what the Sharding quality is for- it allows her to pull off this trick at range. Five-foot steps won't save them!
Lastly, her only Ki Power is Empty Body, which allows her to become ethereal for one minute. She can use this to seemingly materialize in the middle of the party, getting a guaranteed surprise round in which to mangle someone with her two Greatsword-like fists.
Have I got a couple for you!
Luminary the Construct Conscript:
Luminary is a human Conscript who spends most of her time as a four-armed construct via the Improved Transformation feat. She dual-wields swords, carries a tower shield, and keeps one hand open for grappling.
For her usual routine, she makes an offhand and a main-hand attack as a standard action via the Dual Wielding sphere, makes an additional main-hand attack against touch AC with Perfect Set-Up, then makes an additional off-hand attack against flatfooted AC with Three-Sword Style. For each pair of main-hand and off-hand attacks that connects, she makes a Reposition maneuver via Repositioning Routine, possibly activating Hammer by slamming her opponent into a wall. This provokes, but she can spend one of her seven AoOs on Active Defense via the Shield sphere to raise her AC to 30 whenever she's attacked, then use Forced Rebound to Bull Rush her attacker, possibly dealing Hammer damage again.
Lastly, whenever she succeeds at any of the above maneuvers, she may immediately attempt a Grapple or Trip maneuver against her opponent as an AoO thanks to the Conscript's Brute specialization.
Luminary is a very tough cookie, and will tend to lock down and melt anyone with mediocre AC and CMD, especially in a battlefield with lots of walls.
Martila the Just:
Martila is an entirely different caliber of monster- more a thought experiment than anything else. She's a level 18 Dhampir fighter who is very very good at mulching armies with her spear, and all but immune to anything that most mid-level characters can do. Anyone trying to cast magic at her or on anything within her reach has to hope she fails an MSB check against their MSD, using her class level and her weapon enhancement as her bonus, thanks to the Impossible Warrior archetype. This amounts to "rolling 1d20+23 against their levels in casting classes + 10", making it impossible to affect her for anyone level 14 or lower.
Martials don't have it much easier, since she can pseudo-parry the first 10 ranged attacks with her AoOs- not that her AC is any easier to hit. She's got just a dollop of spellcasting to give herself energy resistance, and uses Steel Braggart routinely to maintain DR 13/- on top of her ablative temporary HP from Berserking and her delayed damage pool.
For offense, everyone who comes within 70 feet of her must make a DC 26 Will save or become Shaken. She uses Burn the Chaff in conjunction with Cone of Death to make a ranged attack against everyone in a 1120-foot cone which auto-crits against anyone under a Fear effect and level 9 or lower; those characters must then make a DC32+ Fortitude save or instantly die.
She loses a considerable portion of her bite when not "punching down" against large armies of sub-level-10 characters, but is still a plenty formidable opponent for high-level parties, especially once she breaks out the Coiled Blade tension techniques!
Hiram Vandyke, Aged Armiger:
Hiram is a character from a modern campaign I'm running; his choice of firearm may not be appropriate for your game, but can be easily tweaked. He's only level 3, and Venerable age takes a big chunk out of his physical stats, but he can still be scary in the right hands. I've fudged a small bit on giving his animal companion feats it shouldn't quite have yet for thematic reasons, but you can change that too.
Hiram rigs the battlefield using his Shovel, which contains Trap sphere talents. He uses Augur of Combat to use his Intelligence to hit as long as he goes last, which is fine by him- he camps out hundreds of feet away, his animal companion and his traps between him and opponents, and picks away at them with Sniper abilities. If someone does manage to slip past his dog, he's got an old combat tool with Boxing sphere talents that he can ready against their charge with Brace and 2d6 damage to make them regret it.
SoP classes are built to about the same T3/T4 power level as the Paladin or the Ranger, and are generally more tightly balanced around that standard than Vanilla Pathfinder is. In the Armiger specifically, you should expect a tactically-flexible martial who can change significant parts of his kit to meet the situation and who will likely have decent out-of-combat utility. They will outshine vanilla T5/T6 classes like the Fighter, Rogue, and Monk, but not in any way that multiple Core classes didn't outshine them already.
In short, it won't clash with your regular game. However, I would recommend giving other PCs the option of accessing the Spheres of Might system's feats and other material even if they don't want to play a Spheres class, simply so that they won't feel left out and can pick up a few tricks from it if they feel inspired.
1. Nothing says that the Famine Spirit's space changes, so it doesn't. It is a Supernatural ability, so if you have trouble wrapping your head around how that works, you can imagine their stomach as being like an extradimensional space. That makes a lot more sense than "being unimpeded while lugging around a beer gut as big as you are", too.
2. RAW, nothing stops you from continuing to attack the swallowed enemy, but that's silly, so don't count on your DM to allow it. They are unambiguously still grappled as per the Swallow Whole rules, though, so you can definitely make Grapple checks to deal damage to them as a standard action.
For build advice, I would primarily recommend that you get the Constrict ability, which allows you to deal damage when you make a successful grapple check (including to maintain an ongoing grapple). The Anaconda's Coils are a good way to get it when you can afford them, but you might be able to find an easier way.
Since acid resistance is common on higher-level monsters, I would also suggest eventually finding a way to bypass or mitigate it.
Lastly, bear in mind that your build is contingent on making three consecutive checks against an enemy- one to hit, one to grapple, one to swallow whole. Focus on getting your accuracy and CMB as high as possible. Unfortunately, being big will hinder the former as much as it benefits the latter.
Livana the Mask, Clockwork Zealot is a devotee of Shivaska who has transformed herself into a gleaming porcelain-and-brass construct through the power of her infernal obediences. Though technically mindless, she has left herself the instruction to "behave exactly as I would in life", and acts in all ways as an eerie facsimile of her former self.
Unfortunately for everyone else, her "former self" was still a cultist of a demon lord. Livana acts as the dispassionate executor of her local cult's will, as her soulless shell retains its impeccable skill with a blade.
Mechanically, she has targeted herself with the Clockwork Doll ability, turning herself into a mindless clockwork construct. This takes away all of her feats and skill ranks. She uses the Evangelist class's bonus to untrained skills to still be competent outside of combat, dumps Con/Int/Wis to have superb stats otherwise, and has a permanency'd Enlarge Person cast on herself to reap the bonus HP from being a Large construct.
She's an X 6/Evangelist 4, and wants to use VMC to trade away half her feats so that losing the rest by becoming mindless doesn't hurt as much. When she's "slain" by reaching 0 HP as constructs are, her clockwork dolls revert to their prior state- which may (DM allowing) mean that when she hits 0 HP, she reverts to human and might potentially now survive the blow at negative HP. The Diehard feat lets her stay standing in such an event, giving her a kind of "desperation mode" as her human self.
Ichelsis the Redeemer, Qlippoth-born Vigilante:
Before creation, before the gods, before Good had been invented, the Qlippoth alone ruled the Abyss. When the material world came into being, the souls of the first mortal sinners became the first demons. The demons, in their endless numbers, dethroned the ancient Qlippoth from their rightful place as masters of that dreadful plane, and the Qlippoth have despised them ever since.
Ichelsis is a Qlippoth-born tiefling who wants to retake the Abyss in the name of her abhorrent kin. The best way to do that is to starve the demons of Evil souls... and so, to do that, she poses as a hero with a keen interest in redeeming villains to the side of Good.
Of course, should they decline her most strenuous attempts to redeem them, she happily decapitates them before their sins can further grow.
Ichelsis is built as a Serial Killer Vigilante who spends most of her time in her Social identity to hide her Evil alignment from the rest of the party. Her character motivations ensure that she gets along quite well with non-Evil party members- the NG cleric has gradually caught on, but "the enemy of my enemy", you know, wink wink, nudge nudge.
One of her long-term ambitions is to acquire a weapon capable of sealing away the souls of evildoers so that, even in death, they never feed the demons. Perhaps she'll have a new axe forged from one of the Final Blades of Galt?
Alright, fair dues. Titan Fighter 1/Stalker Vigilante 5 to get around problems with Oversized Limbs/Tiefling. Combined with Lead Blades and Enlarge Person that's now 20d6+3d8 damage base (16d6 crit + 4d6 vital + 3d8 hidden strike), or 80.5 damage average. OP assumes +7 Dex, so we'll assume +7 Str for our build; 2h that's +10(x4). +2(x4) weapon enhancement, +6(x4) Power Attack, and we're home free with plenty of room to spare ensuring that we actually get the surprise round and the critical confirm.
There's no actual reason we need Stalker Vigilante specifically for this; we've just got plenty of customization room left over, and I feel like the Social Talents make for a more plausibly competent assassin.
To me, "assassin" implies taking someone off-guard in a disadvantageous situation, perhaps even helpless (though we can't rely on that). You're not an open combatant; if you haven't taken your opponent by surprise, you've failed at your job. With that in mind...
Tiefling (Oversized Limbs) Stalker Vigilante with a Large Scythe, pre-buffed with Lead Blades and Enlarge Person, and a Cyclops Helm. Vital Strike from stealth and use the Cyclops Helm to roll a 20, then confirm it. You roll 16d8 plus quadruple your modifiers from the 4x crit, then 4d8 from the vital strike, then 3d8 from the hidden strike. You only need about a flat +10 to your damage rolls to kill from that point assuming average damage. +6 can come from Strength, +2 from enhancement level, and then Power Attack, and you're in business even with a below-average roll.
All told, that's roughly 23d8+60 damage.
Spend your Social talents and other feats on things that will help you get close and earn your surprise round. You only need the one attack.
Delaying the natural attacks would, well, delay the problem, but it wouldn't solve it. You're still stacking a frankly excessive amount of damage and CMB (from both Strength and size) on this character, significantly beyond what any but heavily-optimized Paizo martials can bring to bear.
At max level, a Fighter is making +20/+15/+10/+5 iteratives on his full attack. On your full attack, you are making +20/+20/+20/+20/+20/+20 (bite/claw/claw/wing/wing/tail) with comparable damage on each, assuming you haven't used magic items, feats, or buffs to acquire even more natural attacks than that. You still come out ahead at any level in between.
Making this class reasonable by 1pp martial standards would require gutting it. I very strongly recommend you play something else.
Not really. By introducing third-party material he hasn't approved, you are putting a burden onto him he hasn't asked for- that burden being "determining whether or not your character will be unbalanced"- and proposing further modifications to the 3pp material only makes that burden heavier by giving him more things to analyze, to scrutinize, and to weigh in a way that first-party material generally doesn't require.
That's the real issue here. If your DM hasn't asked for that kind of work, don't put it on him. If he's leery, don't wheedle or cajole- just take the L.
The race seems fine. However, the class does seem like it'll be significantly stronger than most first-party martials, especially as you increase in levels. The main issues are your high Strength adding a large amount of flat damage to your multiple primary natural attacks, and your enormous threatened area from your racial bite attack's +1 size special rule and your own naturally-increasing size. You'll be able to make more attacks than anyone else, at a longer range than any other melee characters, at (probably) higher damage than anyone else, and at a comparable attack bonus. This is closer to, say, a Beastmorph Vivisectionist than a Fighter in terms of balance.
Your DM is entirely within his rights to have reservations about this class. A Taninim Brawler- or perhaps a Bloodrager, with similar ability to enlarge from certain bloodlines- would be an easier sell.
My table runs Spheres of Power and Spheres of Might together, replacing traditional spellcasting completely. Campaign settings vary, but we tend to use original ones- the most recent campaign took place in a town founded in the ruins of a beached magical steamship with surviving construct crew.
In traditional PF, I've long felt that most characters only really got their wings at levels 5-6, and quickly became bloated or diverged in balance before level 10. SoP and SoM allow both magical and martial characters to feel more "complete" at earlier levels without making them bloated or clumsy at higher levels. I've found myself looking forward to building characters as low as level 3 now, and playing them up to level 12 or higher.
To give an example: I recently created a Spheres caster who found a mystical connection between fire and time while meditating on candles. She's discovered how to "burn" the future off of enemies to freeze them in place (Fire destructive blast, Time-thief's Admixture, Steal Time talent), time-stop incoming attacks with a readied action (Time Freeze talent), and even borrow time from the future to nova enemies (Shift Time talent), plus a few other tricks.
At level three. Level three, and she already feels like a slick character concept with fun tricks! It's amazing.
I don't like magic trivializing social encounters in my games, so I run pretty hard with the logic of Spellcraft and Spell Manifestations in a world where magic is common. Any level 1 Sorcerer can Charm Person you, so everybody knows that common magic can be equivalent to a mugging.
If you just try to cast Charm Person on an alert city guard in the middle of a conversation without warning in my games, they're going to notice the blatant Spell Manifestations, (probably) fail their skill check to identify it, assume the worst, roll Initiative against you, and (if they win) punch you in the face as an attack of opportunity.
If you want to use spells like Charm Person successfully without turning the social evening into a combat encounter, you have to make them think you're casting something beneficial on them and put them at ease first (with a Bluff/Diplomacy check), instead of doing the magical equivalent of pointing a pocket crossbow at their face.
I believe this has a positive impact on the game because it keeps social skills relevant and forces my players to be more creative. They seem to enjoy the scenarios it creates, too.
Why would you want to prevent them from "abusing" it? If they choose to do the evil and selfish thing, don't make their choice meaningless and arbitrarily take away the power you tempted them with in the first place.
Instead, make them deal with the consequences of their actions in an interesting way. What are they going to do with infinite gold? Like, really *do* with it? To take it to town, you'd need a caravan. Does the caravan get robbed? Does one of the hirelings sell out your secret? Does a local paladin find out about your atrocities and bring the church down on you? Does a cult form around the miraculous golden creature and try to free their captive god?
Don't head off the players' choices. Roll with them.
If the "bigger fish" doesn't make sense in the context of the world (e.g. sudden tarrasque ambush), it makes you seem arbitrary and vengeful. If it does make sense in the context of the world, it sends the players the message that they need to be stronger to compete, which makes the powergamer try harder. There are better strategies.
1: Identify the problem. Is the powergamer having fun? Are the other players having fun? If the answers to these questions are "yes", the problem isn't with the powergamer, it's with you. Many DMs have a kneejerk negative response to PCs being good at the things they've chosen to be good at. This is a bad attitude.
2: Talk about the problem. No excuses. Now that you've identified the problem, sit down and have an OOC chat with the powergamer. Explain to them how their behavior is disruptive to the game, and offer them a chance to rebuild and tone it down. Many powergamers worry that they won't be active participants in the story if they don't optimize; try suggesting ways to reallocate their feats and gold that you know will allow them to engage with RP opportunities.
3: Tone down combat. Let's say you've talked to the powergamer, and it didn't go well. They don't want to respec and you don't want to kick them out. Solution: dial back combat, either making it a smaller part of the game, or making it easier to win without making it trivial for the powergamer to hog the glory. This helps the other players not feel overshadowed, which the Ambush Tarrasque wouldn't fix in the least. (Some powergamers focus on other things, like crafting or diplomacy. You can still shift the focus of your game away from those things in response.)
4: Get the powergamer to help the other players. This is your last resort. If you're set on a tough combat-centric game, and your powergamer won't respec, see if the other players are willing to. When everyone is "overpowered", nobody is- just send higher-CR monsters at them, and you've got a suitable difficulty with nobody feeling like a sidekick.
Hope that helps!
This seems closest to the spells Ghost Sound, Ventriloquism, or Clarion Call, though it doesn't do exactly the same thing as any of them. Ghost Sound is a cantrip, while Ventriloquism and Clarion Call are 1st-level spells. I think calling this equivalent to a 1st-level spell is fair.
This is a "use-activated or continuous" magic item, so according to the Magic Item Creation rules, it should cost 2,000gp per spell level (so just 2,000 in our case).
You can reduce the cost to 1800gp by making it "command word activated", which makes it take a standard action to use. You can further reduce the cost by giving it limited uses per day, cutting the cost to 20% of the original plus 20% more for each additional daily use.
You can't really get the cost lower than that without crafting cheese. If you're okay with it being 1-2 uses per day, you could fit it in a level 1 character's starting wealth with the Rich Parents trait.
That's a rule specific to the Positive Blast ability, which you're not using- you're using a special blast which deals half fire and half positive energy. That rule doesn't apply here unless you specifically say it does in the description of the template, which you haven't. It certainly doesn't apply to Channel Cosmic Might, which bears no resemblance to any kind of Kineticist ability.
So, the stronger a template is, the wonkier it becomes with game balance- once the template is pulling more weight than the base creature, the monster's strength varies wildly depending on how well it synergizes with the template. I'd recommend, as a general philosophy, redesigning the Cosmo-Knight template as a +2 or maybe +3, and attaching it to creatures that are stronger in the first place to compensate.
However, given that you're trying to make it a +5 template, this needs a few fixes to work better. Its AC is going to be massively too high; between the Dex increases, the natural armor, and the +3 full plate, on a monster that wasn't intended to be wearing armor in the first place, its AC could be eighteen points higher than the base monster. By comparison, the Monster Creation Rules say that AC should increase by 5-7 points when CR goes up by 5. A character who hits a normal monster of that CR half the time couldn't hit a Cosmo-Knight at all.
By contrast, its saves are somewhat too low. Saves should increase by 3-5 when CR goes up by 5, but this Cosmo-Knight only gets +3 Fort, +2 Ref, and +2 Will, all from its attribute increases. You've created a monster that forces opponents to brainwash or save-or-suck it, and then CDG it until it dies. Not very exciting.
Its damage-dealing abilities simply don't work. Positive energy heals living creatures, so against anything with a pulse, "half fire damage and half positive energy damage" cancels out to zero damage (or heals them, if they resist fire)!
Adamantine lowers ACP by 1 not because of its properties, but because it's always Masterwork, and Masterwork armor reduces ACP by 1. This is also true of Mithral; Mithral inherently reduces ACP by 2, and reduces it by 1 further for being Masterwork. Therefore, a blend of Adamantine and Mithral would at best reduce ACP by 3, since it can't be "double-Masterwork".
The Cosmic Weapon bypassing DR as silver is redundant, because +3 weapons already bypass DR/silver. Also, the weapon and armor are enormously valuable pieces of treasure; killing a Cosmo-Knight at mid-levels could easily increase the party's wealth far beyond what level guidelines suggest.
Lastly, you should probably make sure the template is lost if the creature stops being Lawful Good or otherwise "falls". You say that Cosmo-Knights would never do certain things, but don't put any teeth into the enforcement.
Sorry for confusing Resilient Sphere and Emergency Force Sphere, but as ryric noted, my point still stands.
Wall of Force wrote:
Breath weapons and spells cannot pass through a wall of force in either direction, although dimension door, teleport, and similar effects can bypass the barrier.
Dimension Door and Teleport have no line of sight or line of effect requirements for their destinations as Walk Through Space does. It is not waiving line of sight/effect restrictions, only saying that the Wall of Force does not specifically prevent teleportation any more than any other solid object.
This does not work. Walk Through Space cannot get you out of an Emergency Force Sphere because transparent barriers still block line-of-sight.
Walk Through Space wrote:
When under the effects of this spell, you can teleport up to 30 feet as a move action. You must end this movement in an unoccupied space that you can stand on within line of sight.
Line Of Effect wrote:
A line of effect is a straight, unblocked path that indicates what a spell can affect. A line of effect is canceled by a solid barrier.
Line Of Sight wrote:
A line of sight is the same as a Line of Effect but with the additional restriction that that it is blocked by fog, darkness, and other factors that limit normal sight (such as Concealment).
This part, however, is not so much of a problem:
Especially at higher levels, where you may suddenly find yourself trapped in the resilient sphere with your enemy. At 10th level, it's a 10 foot diameter sphere, which encloses both of you.
You can always choose to cast a spell at a lower caster level. However, you could still have a Tiny enemy sharing your square...
Your player is right, but this isn't even that good of a damage-dealing spell. The casting time (1 round) kills it, because any damage that the caster takes between the end of their casting turn and the start of their next turn (when it takes effect) forces a concentration check. If it's unbalancing your game, just have an enemy or two try to attack them while they're casting.
Haha, I'm flattered! Witch lends itself very well to these sorts of things.
Except for 2 things.
1. You're correct that the brain doesn't wake up from too little oxygen; it wakes you up when you have too much carbon dioxide, called hypercapnia. Your body gets rid of carbon dioxide by exhaling. Hypercapnia, not a lack of oxygen, is what creates a feeling of suffocation. That's why breathing oxygen-less air, such as smoke from a fire, doesn't wake you up (and why carbon monoxide poisoning is painless)- you're still getting rid of carbon dioxide, so the alarm bells never go off. This is not true of "not breathing at all", which would allow carbon dioxide to build up, set off alarm bells in your brain, and wake you up rather quickly.
2. This does not conflict with how the spell calls out sleeping. It says you stop breathing while sleeping, but does not imply that you don't wake up. You must be prevented from waking up in order to die, such as via magical sleep or poisons.
People IRL wake up from natural sleep when they can't breathe (see: sleep apnea), and the spell says nothing to indicate this is no longer the case. What would kill them isn't a lack of air, but a lack of sleep, which takes weeks or months to murder someone. I hope you have a CL in the hundreds.
(One could argue that the rules don't say you wake up if you start suffocating. However, the rules also don't say you ever need to sleep, so this doesn't work by either real-world logic or hard RAW.)
Bill Dunn wrote:
I realize this is departing from the topic a bit, but this is a topic I find really interesting, so I hope you'll bear with me!
My perspective is that stories told by dice are fundamentally different from stories told by humans. In stories told by humans, narrative comes first and the random events work out however they have to in order to make the narrative work; Han Solo's million-to-one chance was never going to kill him, because that'd be a terrible ending.
In stories told by dice (without fudging), the random events come first, and then we create a narrative around them. In some ways this is more realistic and certainly less predictable, but it also limits our storytelling. 999,999,999 times to 1, Han Solo doesn't make the million-to-one chance, because that's how odds work. Maybe he's got a high enough Piloting skill modifier that it's really only a tense 50/50, but that doesn't have the same ring to it, does it?
I think characters are defined not only by who they are, but also by what they do, and the outcomes of what they do. If your favorite cool character appears in a new series and they try to do all their old tricks, but are humiliated and shown as incompetent at every turn, you wouldn't feel that that's a faithful representation. If Han Solo can't roll the million-to-one-chance with devil-may-care ease, he's not a faithful Han Solo.
This is a secondary point because a tabletop game could solve it, but I don't often see ones that have: (most) comic books have innate niche protection, and tabletop games have none. As soon as you give the Hulk stats, you'll notice that someone just a little more optimizeed, or a little higher-leveled, could be stronger than he is in every way.
Comic books generally don't do that. The Hulk is strong because Being Strong is his identity. If a problem needs solving with brute strength, he's going to solve it even if "the numbers" say he shouldn't be the best-suited for it- not as a matter of patronization, like the Wizard letting the Rogue sneak instead of casting Invisibility on himself, but because that's implicitly how things work. If the Hulk loses an arm-wrestling match, it's not because someone else had better numbers, it's because the plot needed him to.
Pathfinder is a system for modeling sword-and-sorcery adventurers, and it starts to break down in subtle and obvious ways when your characters get too far from that. It's not a universal system because it isn't meant to be. Only people who never play tabletops outside of D&D/PF think it's an adequate system to model arbitrary superpowers.
"Is Batman a full-BAB or partial-BAB martial?" is not a coherent question, the same way "is sweetness yellow or green" is not a coherent question.
EDIT: The above comment talking about "honest Superman" and "honest Batman" has hit on the core of the issue. Comicbook superheroes don't have stats. If they had stats, the stories wouldn't work. Trying to give them stats or extrapolate an "honest" version of them that obeys harder rules is against the fast-and-loose conventions of the genre.
Once you give them numbers, it becomes a fundamentally different kind of story, and they become fundamentally different characters.
A feat that has a prerequisite of Improved Unarmed Strike and requires you to keep a hand empty lets you free-action deflect a single ranged attack directed at you.
An ability that lets you ready an action to deflect a single ranged attack targeted at anybody would probably be worth one feat, sans prerequisites.
Spellcasters don't usually rely on AC for defense because the less AC you currently have, the less valuable another point is. Think of it this way: if your enemy has +10 to hit, going from 11 AC to 12 AC only shifts your odds of being hit from 95% to 90%, but going from 29 AC to 30 AC shifts your odds from 10% to 5%, which effectively halves incoming damage with only a single point bonus.
Instead, consider defensive hours/level or minutes/level spells that can be cast before a fight, like Mirror Image.
Honest question: What's the difference between dice fudging for enemies and non-dice fudging?
In practical terms, what's the difference between "fudging the Ogre's Reflex save" and "giving the Ogre 20 more hit points ad-hoc to replace the ones lost from Fireball"? What's the difference between "he saves against Phantasmal Killer" and "he dies, but reinforcements hear his scream"?
I'm against doing both, for the record, but I can't understand people who like one and dislike the other.
But both are still questionable, because they don't have autotargetting and there is no mechanic for you to conjure it exactly in the path of a projectile.
I agree with you that they don't (or shouldn't) work, but I disagree with your reasoning. You appeal to a lack of permissiveness by implying that one can't position a Prestidigitation'd object directly in the path of a flying arrow even though the rules don't forbid it, but then appeal to that same permissiveness you've denied a moment later by insisting that one must be able to react to events that humans can't react to because the rules don't forbid it.
I would personally say that, in mechanical game terms, the arrow is never "in flight". In one instant it is in the archer's possession, and in the next it is sticking out of your body. You may create an instant where the arrow is "in flight" by, say, stopping time, but this does not cause the arrow to not be an attended item in that artificial moment.
It's like insisting there must be a point in a horse's movement where it isn't in contact with the ground and therefore must make Acrobatics checks. Sure, there's scientifically a point in a horse's gallop where all of its feet leave the ground, but for game purposes there is no instant where it does not have solid footing.
Because it'd be overpowered.
Reach is very strong, and it gets better the more sources of it you have. A Medium creature that's enlarged via Enlarge Person now has 10 feet of reach. A Large creature that's enlarged via Enlarged Person now has 20 feet of reach. Anybody who wants to get adjacent to them takes three attacks of opportunity for doing so.
Add in Longarm, Lunge, and a reach weapon, and you can forget about enemies ever not being threatened.
If you want to build a race that has 10 feet of reach, you can do so with Large plus the Reach trait. But I'm not aware of any vanilla pathfinder races that do.
Can't think of a single cantrip that could be useful. What did you have in mind?
Prestidigitation or Scoop to create an object in the path of the arrow (Prestidigitation specifically creates a 'fragile' object, but you still can't shoot an arrow through it and hit something behind). Potentially Spark depending on how much HP an arrow has.
I would say that this is ridiculous in game terms, because readying an action to cast Shield in front of an arrow spell doesn't let you automatically deflect it- it just gives the normal +4 AC. You shouldn't be able to ready an action to block or grab an arrow because reacting to where the arrow is headed in the middle of combat requires superhuman reflexes (an arrow can travel 100 feet before a human can process that the drawstring's been released, much less cast a spell about it).
Reacting to the archer aiming at you by casting a spell that completely makes you an invalid target, like casting Wall of Stone between yourself and him, is vastly more feasible. But "intercepting" the arrow mid-flight isn't something normal humans can do, so it shouldn't be assumed possible without a feat or class feature letting you do it.
1. Irrelevant; there are other cantrips and first-level spells that can accomplish the same thing.
2. This is why you have a handful of level 1 hirelings all readying actions to interrupt the Nth arrow fired by the archer.
If you allow this, there are going to be very significant repercussions. For a couple thousand gp in wands of Mage Hand and some level 1 hirelings, you can shut down a level 20 archer completely. It's wholly imbalanced because it allows no save and no real cost-efficient counterplay. Deflect Arrows is different because it requires investment and, far more importantly, works only against attacks directed against you.
I could've sworn there was a spell description that specifically clarifies that projectiles are attended objects, but I'm still looking for it.
When you add class levels to a monster, the game advises you to add 1/2 CR for each class level that doesn't synergize with the monster's role. The generator is likely considering "a Half-Elf Bard 5" to be a monster, concluding that "Ranger" is not a class that synergizes with that monster, and counting its level as 5+2.5+3 rather than 5+5+3.
I'm not sure what the exact definition of "monster" is, but I'm 90% sure that that's a silly interpretation, and the multiclassed Bard should in fact be CR 11.
EDIT: Here is an official Paizo multiclassed NPC: Cleric 5/Wizard 5/Mystic Theurge 10, with CR 19. You can find others like that if you go digging.
Before I DM for anyone for the first time, I talk to them in private and ask them if they would want me to fudge a roll if doing so prevented their character from dying an anticlimactic and unlucky death. So far, everyone's said "yes", and I've honored that. If someone said "no", I'd honor that too.
That's the only circumstance where I'm willing to fudge rolls. In almost all other situations, it really does reduce players' agency and faith in the game.