Swan Maiden

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Mine is fine. Perhaps your local gaming store could help you get a new copy if you show it to them.

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At the moment, I'd say Strix. I love them, and I'd like more lore and feats to represent Strix that don't come from Cheliax, especially lower level feats not related to flight or hatred of humans.

Errenor wrote:
JackieLane wrote:
control spells you have to keep them far (entangle and such)
I'd suggest Grease, Rime Slick or maybe Web, because they've completely (almost) broken Entangle in this edition for some vague reason: it now requires already existing plants covering the area. Good luck finding plants in dungeons, caves, towns or buildings.

Ah, you're right. Entangle was just one example of what I meant by control spells in this case (as opposed to, say, Command), but it does have its limitations (which also existed in 1e). I've been running a game that is largely set overland in forest and swamps, so it's the first spell that came to mind. XD The primal spell list has a lot of those battlefield control spells, so it's good to pick whichever fit the setting and expected adventure best.

In terms of defense, yes, primal sorcerer is quite vulnerable (much more than druid). It will be important to stay far from enemies, use whatever control spells you have to keep them far (entangle and such), and hope your teammates can help in the cases when that doesn't work. Whether you pick up bracers or enchanted explorer's clothing, you'll want to raise your AC. I personally prefer getting Dex as high as I can on sorcerers for this reason, but some people instead get decent AC and maximize Con for the extra hp. Also, don't forget that, while you don't have the Shield Block reaction, you can always use a shield for the AC bonus.

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I'm looking forward to any non Europe-adjacent Lost Omens regional book (Golden Road, Tian Xia, Arcadia, Casmaron, mainly, but Darklands or First World would be interesting too).

As for the mechanical side of things, while new classes are always exciting, I'm most looking forward to new options for existing classes, such as witch lessons (priority to that, I want focus spell options that allow new thematically interesting choices), sorcerer bloodlines, barbarian instincts and feats for the classes, especially for caster classes.

Oh, and new skill feats with interesting effects.

I figure a caster vampire/dhampir would probably opt for biting willing, weak or incapacitated prey anyways, so you could use the bite mainly on weaker opponents and ones your group has managed to hinder (one grappled by the martials or stuck by your spells, for instance). And it can be a nice last-resort attack for when enemies decide to charge you. Even with lower accuracy, you should be able to bite weak or debuffed opponents. So no, it won't be the main thing, as you said, and it won't be the most efficient, but it can still be useful. You'll want to get some Strength for accuracy and might lack some in the early levels, but the stats should allow it fairly well with the boosts at every 5 levels.

The additional reach is only for casting touch spells : "During the duration, whenever you Cast a Spell, you can add an additional action to that spell's casting to temporarily extend your reach to 20 feet to deliver that spell." Reach for unarmed strikes is only ever extended to 10 feet. I think I'd allow grappling, but only with 10 foot reach.

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19 out of 19. Think of it like damage that can't be healed until you lose the drained condition.

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In my case, I give them a little extra information for free.

First, whenever players run into a haunt and notice it, I confirm that this does look like a haunt, which means positive damage and religion checks are likely to help with it (generic meta knowledge), but there may be other, easier, more specific ways to deal with it.

I also give more or less complex descriptions of the haunts (what the spirits are doing or saying, what it feels like), treating it kind of like a riddle or puzzle, so that players can try to figure out what might help, and I stay open to creative and interesting solutions if they make sense for the specific haunt. So players get to figure it out themselves or have their characters figure it out through rolls.

Of course, this may not be to every group's liking (it's challenging the players rather than the characters), and if you don't like it, I recommend allowing retries like others have said.

Onkonk wrote:

What type of damage is the splash damage from the Scatter trait? Also does it deal damage if you miss?

Splash is only defined really in the splash trait so it can be hard to tell how it is supposed to work outside of it.

Since it refers to splash and doesn't mention differences (apart from not being a thrown weapon), I would assume it works just like splash weapons, dealing the splash damage even on a miss, but not on a critical fail.

As for damage type, while the rules don't state it, it seems logical and coherent with every splash weapon so far that the splash damage is the same type as the main damage, so a blunderbuss would deal piercing splash damage while a flingflenser would deal slashing. After all, scatter just means some of the same ammunition is spread out.

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I'd probably let them do it.

Have them make stealth checks to see if the goblin notices, otherwise the goblin may call for help or lead them to a different location, which you can use to take them to whatever encounter you'd rather have them do.

If they manage to follow, give ample warning (hearing lots of goblin voices and such). Your players might decide the information is enough for now. They might also decide that they can pick a fight with 12 goblins at once or have some clever plan. Whatever they do, unless they die, it's not going to cause much trouble to the plot, so let them try. Maybe just have the Barghest be gone somewhere when they get there, since that would be far too dangerous (I actually removed him and replaced him with a higher-level goblin, since I just didn't like the idea of a barghest being on this island and just sitting there with the goblins while other powerful intelligent beings schemed all around). 12 goblins is already a lot for a level 1 party.

If you don't want the fight, you could also have the goblin stumble into some hazard or wandering monster, likely getting killed unless the PCs save them. Then, you'd get a chance to trigger an encounter and give the players a warning that some things on the island are very dangerous, and you would delay their finding the tribe. They might still just go looking for it, though.

There are a few effects, but nothing different from what a low-strength monk would get from wearing heavy armor. Pathfinder 2e did away with the whole arcane-spell failure thing that made it terrible for only arcane casters to wear armor.

If your character doesn't have proficiency with the type of armor they wear, they won't add their level to their AC, eventually putting them in very real danger. Also, you'd have to check the bulk (to make sure the character can still walk around), and if you don't have enough strength for the type of armor, you have the armor's stated penalties to speed and to dex-based and strength-based skills.

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I don't really have that feeling. Of course, there have been some weaker options (and some downright useless spells), but a lot of options have turned out to be very good, and most are pretty balanced with everything else (sometimes harder to play, but able to be just as good as core classes, and better in a specific type of situation).

The oracle is hard to play, but much better than a divine sorcerer, imo. The magus looks really good. I'd take a Forensics investigator over a healing alchemist anytime. The gunslinger is a better ranged fighter if you can convince your GM to let you have good firearms. I'll admit the witch feels "meh" to me, but it does it in the same way wizard feels "meh", by being powerful, but having little really unique and useful stuff. The witch is just a little worse because it hasn't been given extra options and it really needs more lessons to allow more variety in builds.

I feel like they are targeting the middle of the pack in terms of strength of the Core, and that's fine to me. Not everything needs to be "the best". I'll admit they hit a little lower than middle (especially in playtests) more often than they reach higher, and I'd like to see them a little more confident at times, but it's not so much that I want to keep to core options.

The thing is, they have to make something new, and when you already have the best possible to-hit (Fighter), the best possible buffing cantrips (Bard), the best possible multi-attacker (Ranger), the biggest amount of heal spells without drawback (Cleric) that you can get without breaking the game's math, it's difficult to hit that power without overstepping that niche or adding extra complications, because it needs to feel different. So new classes end up either being harder to play, being more versatile instead of specialized, or doing something weird and niche really well. Basically, all the most straight-forward, obviously good options were printed in the Core. Now, the good new content's strengths end up less obvious, which makes the bad options stand out more, but I think there is still a lot of good, cool stuff.

Khelereth wrote:

My players are diverting entirely from heading to Talasantri. They've decided to check out the islands just west and to the south of Ancorato to "cover their tracks and backs."

I know the following books take place on the larger island to the south, and there isn't a lot of info about the smaller center island. I've gone with a "Skull Island" parallel monster infested island there but am not sure how to approach them landing on the southern island on their way to Talasantri.

I'm not the type of GM to put up an impassable fog or wall of monsters, so I'm looking for any advice and/or trying to find out if anyone has ran into this with their own group.

As for me, since my players wanted to treat the whole adventure as a sandbox, I was very open and honest with them. I told them I'll be giving hints for things that might interest them and that I am prepared to run. If they go in some other direction just for the sake of exploration, that's fine, but (on top of me needing a few minutes to figure things out) they may run into something that's too high level for them, so they need to be ready to run sometimes.

At this point in the adventure, the players have explored the biggest parts west of Ancorato, so it's pretty safe. You could populate some of the islands based on the various adventure seeds in the books, as Ted stated, and most of them are vague enough that you can make them level appropriate (or slightly too easy or too hard, if you want extra realism). It can make for a few fun side quests, and it's a good time to add those in, since there isn't much time pressure between chapters 3 and 4.

As for the big southern island, it's been a while since I read the later chapters, but I don't believe they have any way to get into Kalas-ti, right? And the first encounters of the module won't be there since the final boss hasn't sent them to secure the island yet. So there would be a few of the bigger monsters (like the somalcygot) players will have to run away from, and you can seed a couple smaller encounters and points of interest on the island without spoiling the last chapter. Just make sure to give warnings about where they shouldn't go (near the somalcygot, there is probably suddenly no wildlife, not even the tougher monsters the players have had to fight before, something along those lines).

Of course, that leaves the matter of getting the players "back on track". Maybe give them some extra hooks and incentives to get to Talasantri or get prepared to run lots of sidequests based on what piques their interest and find a way to get them to the Tower later. What will work for that really depends on your players, though. They might hear rumors or find a half-destroyed mural showing a point of interest or impressive magic item with hints that they are in that area, for instance. Or if they are friends with the locathah, maybe one of them tells them about some terrible trouble in Talasantri that is making trade difficult (have one or a few of the bad events in Talasantri have already happened after the players ran around doing side-quests for a while).

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Yes, you do get +3 AC from your proficiency. Don't forget it increases at every level.

How much Strength and Dexterity does your character have? If you have a Dex bonus, you would have one more AC with Chain mail than your current calculation, since it has a max Dex bonus of +1. If you're waiting to get enough money for a full plate and don't have a Dex bonus, though, that is understandable. Also, depending on what you needed to buy at character creation, you may want to look into Splint Mail, which would give you one more AC. It is more expensive, but if you have the gold to spare and enough Strength, there are no drawbacks to having that instead of Chain.

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I'm kinda curious as to why you say you have low AC. At first level, it might not be maxed since you can't afford a full plate armor yet, but it should be pretty decent, and it will quickly become very good (considering in Pathfinder 2E, the math is made so you can't make a character that is almost impossible to hit). What does your AC look like?

As for your actual question about Retributive Strike, let's take a look at that. The trigger states an enemy has to damage (so successfully attack) an ally of yours, and they both have to be within 15 feet of you. Even if the enemy isn't within your reach, so long as they are in range, you can use the reaction and protect your ally.

As for the timing, since it says they gain resistance to all damage "against the triggering damage", it means they are protected right away, against this specific attack.

Finally, the last sentence of the description says "If the foe is within reach, make a melee Strike against it", so unless you have a reach weapon or some other means of getting reach, you can't Strike the foe as part of that reaction if they are on the other side of your ally (for now. I'm pretty sure there are feats to allow it if you want).

So in the situation you are describing, with a mefit attacking your ally while you are 10 feet from the mefit, your ally would take only 3 slashing damage from that Strike (and full damage from further Strikes if they happen later before you get another reaction), but you could not attack the mefit with your hammer.

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Errenor wrote:
Thaliak wrote:
Thanks to a post Gisher made in another thread, I now know that druids are the only full casters without Cantrip Expansion.

The thing is, almost any caster dedication is strictly better and gives these two cantrips. So now I don't see almost any value in this feat.

Even if this dedication is not based on your best stat, you could just take utility cantrips there and free main cantrip slots for something using your bonuses.

That may work, until there's an archetype you actually want for the full archetype and can't take it because you have to take two feats from the multiclass. Cantrip Expansion is certainly not my favorite feat, but it has its place.

dnjscott wrote:
BaronOfBread wrote:
Yeah I wonder this too because although there are lore books and rule books it also seems like there is more lore in the rule books and less rules in the lore books but I'm not sure if I'm just imagining that...

It largely depends on the books you look at. I don't have Guns and Gears, so can't comment much on that, and I really don't want to spend time checking exactly how many pages of content vs lore is in Secrets of Magic, but taking a look at the Lost Omens line, some books are almost entirely lore, like Legends and Absalom : City of Lost Omens, while others are more than 50% rules, like the Ancestry Guide. Quite a few of the smaller Lost Omens books actually contain large amounts of rules text.

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I'm pretty happy with how things are, personally. I'm always happy to get more rule options both as a player and a GM, but I love reading the lore. Sometimes I wish there were a few more new player options in some of the Lost Omens books, but they're generally a really fun read. If they need to keep it rules-light to avoid things getting unbalanced or broken, I'm fine with that. As for the rulebooks line, I'm currently reading through Secrets of Magic and it seems like a great ratio to me. I'll admit the little bits of story interspersed among the spells are making it much easier for me to get through a few pages at a time without zoning out, so I end up appreciating both more.

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If you want something that we know nothing about and never will, then it's the continent of Sarusan. (I've always wondered why people don't just homebrew instead, though. Genuine question.)

If you want something that you could get some information about the general region, but not about any specific landmarks, maybe make up an island in the ruined continent of Azlant? There are some islands that have been described in adventures and APs, but it used to be a whole continent, so it makes sense that some are not known, and it's a nice way to have a somewhat enclosed world.

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This all looks really interesting! While I didn't have time or opportunity to participate in the playtest, I read the documents and the changes announced sound compelling. I'll be looking forward to getting Grand Archive!

I'm a little confused about the Creature Echo feats, though. Are they meant to replace a class feat in the character progression? Or are they solely intended as a sort of boon, as an extra feat?

Temperans wrote:

Meanwhile here I am thinking that Attack of Opporrunity and Raise Shield should be feats anyone can take freely. Not gated behind classes. Or that it would be nice if a Witch could cast spells covertly so as to not reveal her abilities without needing to become a Wizard.

Or the fact that there are certain feats that almost every character can already pick. Ex: Sudden Charge and Effortless Concentration.

Not to mention that I would love it if Paizo were able to use the space from duplicated feats/spells for other things. Why do we need a feat to tell us to go to another part of the book for a focus spell when the feats could just tell us what it does? You would be surprised how many more items we could right with that saved space.

Your points are absolutely valid (though I'll admit I'm glad not everyone has AoO, because I think it would basically become a mandatory feat and hurt other really cool reactions, as well as make fights more static again, though not as much as PF1 fights). I'm just really confused by the shield part, considering Raise a Shield is an action anyone can do so long as they have a shield, and Shield Block is a level 1 general feat anyone can take, that some classes just get as part of their basic kit.

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I don't think the "movement cost" applies to Step, since the Step action isn't based on movement speed except for requiring that you have at least 10 feet of speed. My understanding is that the feat simply gives you the ability to essentially ignore difficult terrain when it comes to the Step action.

Is Kovlar small? Lost Omens World Guide presents it as a major settlement.

Anyways, I stopped by to let you know there's a PF1 RPG Superstar module called Down the Blighted Path that details another city : Davarn. It's described as an important trade-hub between the Five Kings Mountains, Druma and Andoran, if I recall, as well as a mining town. There are a few pages at the end with a map of the city and description of a few key locations, including information about characters and organizations in the city. The first part of the adventure also details an annual event to celebrate the beginning of Spring and opening of trade routes. Might be interesting for you.

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Cernunnos seems like the closest fit, although to my knowledge we don't know much about him, and he obviously doesn't have the "mother" part of the role, which is fine to me. And yes, Jaidi fits the Demeter role quite well. In fact, if you take that whole family as a sort of pantheon, it would work great : Erastil and Jaidi are the parents of Halcamora and Cernunnos.

As for gods of animals other than hunt-focused ones and Cernunnos, I recall something mentioned in Ruins of Azlant : There was a very ancient god of animals and travel at some point, but he was killed by Lamashtu, who stole his powers over animals and beasts and twisted them. Just found his name : Curchanus. It's in the description of a staff.

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HumbleGamer wrote:

It's an optional rule, so by default it's not considered when it comes to builds ( unless you specifically ask for it).

Personally, I happened to see that even though a character is still bound to its 3 actions + 1 reaction per round, being given more stuff could make the game easier.

- more skills
- more spells
- better saves/attacks
- too much versatility ( everybody being able to do anything, or being able to do stuff they normally couldn't because of "choices")

But fun is subjective, so if on the one hand somebody might find not appealing playing with a party with characters too versatile, on the other hand another person might find it more entertaining.

I think you're referring to dual classing, which is much more powerful than free archetype. Free archetype just gives extra class feats. It can be used for a few extra skills or spells with the right archetype, but it doesn't affect saves and doesn't allow one to do just anything.

To answer OP, I haven't tried free archetype because my players wanted to start playing the game without alternate rules at first so they could get a feel for it. Some of them think it will be far too strong and don't even want to entertain the idea. For my part, I've been enjoying the game without free archetype, but I'll admit it is compelling.

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Oh, I so want a shifter class that could fully use bestiary entries. XD

Things I'd imagine my perfect shifter to be :

- You can stay shifted basically all the time if it's a form somewhat lower than your level (no super strong constant abilities).
- Turning into your strongest forms is a focus power.
- You pick specific forms straight from bestiaries and gain their senses, base movement speeds, attacks and vulnerabilities (weakness or special vulnerability).
- To avoid people being able to turn into everything and solve every problem, you are limited to a few forms. When leveling up, you choose forms much like a spontaneous caster picks spells.
- There might also be a "sub-class" that you pick at the beginning which dictates what type of creature you can become, with feats allowing you to grab extra types of creatures. These sub-classes would also give you specific benefits from the start, so you might get better unarmed proficiencies if you select animal, a spell-casting proficiency or ability to cast cantrips if you pick fairies, etc. Initial publishing would include animal, plant, fairy, ooze and elemental sub-classes, with others like dragon, celestial and fiend coming in further books.
- You would use your own stats for proficiencies and bonus damage. That way, you keep your own skills, not the ones for whatever creature you picked, and you can build for a more caster-like shifter with shapes that grant spells or build for a more martial-like shifter with high strength and so on. This would make the class very versatile without making every shifter a perfect jack-of-all-trades that outshines everyone by just picking the right shape.
- Some feats give you extra focus powers or better regeneration.
- Some feats give you bonuses when interacting with creatures of a similar type.
- Some feats make you better at Recall Knowledge about creatures of your type (maybe you always get one extra info?).
- Some feats grant you access to turning into creatures other than your main type.
- Some feats grant you access to your creature's more special abilities, such as spell-casting, auras, unique actions, resistances and immunities, etc.

I'm probably expecting too much, but that would be amazing.

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There's plenty of dark stuff in 2E, but most of it is in the adventures. I suspect it's intentional, because that's where the majority of the scary dangerous things should be.

The Lost Omens books, while they include plenty of plot-hooks and some darker elements depending on which one you read, seem to bring more of a sense of wonder and amazement at a fantasy world you'll want to take a part in (and protect from the dark stuff in the adventures), which I absolutely love. I like settings that tell me about how the people live and all the cool things you can find. It helps me care more for the world and pick out the things I think will interest players or fit with my character in game.

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I'm sorry, I bristled a little when I read you tried to swap characters with a woman in this situation. Is it supposed to be easier for her because she's a woman? Actually, don't answer that, just ask yourself why you wanted to do that. Still, I'll try to be useful.

A few things to consider :

- First and foremost, respectfully and calmly talk to the rogue's player about the fact that you are uncomfortable with this and what your limits are, whether it's a hard limit on romance or just boundaries you won't cross. Not every romance has to be very showy, and not everything needs to be described. Also if the rogue's player is making you uncomfortable, he needs to know.

- You may want to talk with your group as well. In my group, while fights can be vividly described and somewhat gore, anything romance (it's rare in our group) is generally kept PG (not even PG13) as characters seek privacy for anything more than a very brief exchange or general attitude. It avoids hogging the spotlight for things that, while relevant to a couple characters, are not relevant for the whole party and for the main story. If you want to just do a brief summary of what happens without playing out the whole conversation or describing every detail, if it's not something you normally do for other situations, you can announce that you would rather keep it at that for parts pertaining to the budding romance.

- Is your character even interested? The rogue may well have an unrequited love. Manika sounds very gentle and caring, but she can still gently let him know she doesn't see him that way. Maybe she really does see the whole party as her family. Leave it to him to play the heartbroken character if he wants.

- You don't need weeks of "fade to black" down-time, just the moments you don't want to describe. Do you describe absolutely everything? Do you describe your character using the bathroom? Do you spend 24 hours irl roleplaying every conversation and action in a 24 hour in-game day? You can fade out unnecessary things even if the party is always gathered.

If you do decide to let the romance happen in game, you'll probably want to rp the initial conversation about it and there may be a kiss mentioned (with a reply letting others know whether your character responds positively or not), but you should feel free to put a stop to it when it has reached a point you don't want to go past. You can do that by describing your characters going further from the party and basically calling out "fade to black", by describing a general idea of what is being discussed/done without going into detail or full rp, or (especially if the rogue's player goes too far for you faster than you expected) just cut in and say "hey, let's put a stop to this". As rp-heavy as a group may be, it should never be so enforced that you can't respect your own limits.

Other than those key dramatic moments like the initial acceptance of romantic feelings, I generally like to make the romance show in simple, small details that don't take much time to add in. It may be a new nickname, a small attention like offering the other character a gift, a brief gesture, an exchanged look, a tendency to check on the other's wounds first when nobody is grievously injured, a comment about future plans/dreams as a couple. Little things like that can show the affection between the characters without turning into weird flirtation around the table.

*Edited to swap two paragraphs because I wrote "first" in my second one. XD

It's hard to say anything since the adventure isn't out yet, so nobody has read it, but my guess is the Occult spell-list would be very useful in a haunted house. Then again, I'm sure every class can find its chance to shine in the module. Do you know what kind of characters the other players will be making?

Wild Morph and Tiger Stance both give a specific attack, not an enhancement to pre-existing attacks. You can't use both at the same time or mix and match their traits and abilities. That would be like staying you're holding a dagger and club in the same hand and dealing both their damage with a single Strike.

It does work. Your GM won't necessarily let you keep the loop going though, not because they should rule against it, but because the enemy doesn't have to just stand there and take the hits. On top of what Thod stated, keep in my mind that if it can make you waste a couple actions (say by moving away far enough), it can disrupt the loop. It's still a very efficient build. Enjoy!

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Owl people? Absolutely would love to see them (and just find out more about Arcadia in general). If they are such a big deal, hopefully, a lot of them are not villains.

It does seem entirely redundant.

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I've only played lower levels so far (1 to 5), but my experience is similar. I think even at lower levels PF1 combat is slightly shorter, and it will only get better. Even with new players, it seems to be much easier and quicker. It certainly is easier and faster for me as a GM, as I have less things to track and less things to try and remember (you know, that pesky hidden info on PF1 stat blocks like what feats do and what "x creature type" means, which are now generally all written out in the stat-block).

Elemental assault specifically states that your Strikes gain the trait of the chosen element, so yes, they would be buffed by elemental betrayal. That's a pretty cool combo you found.

Basically, you have to look at the traits on spells, items and such (next to things like "evocation"). For instance, a Crystal Shards alchemical bomb has the earth trait, so it should work.

As for other abilities like elemental assault (usually from feats), you would have to check the description. If it mentions gaining the trait of the element you picked and it deals damage, it works.

Then, there's ice and fire damage that will work if you pick the corresponding element even if the effect somehow doesn't have the traits.

I hesitated after reading shroudb's reply, but I went back to check. This is what the Core says about effects : "Anything you do in the game has an effect. Many of these outcomes are easy to adjudicate during the game. If you tell the GM that you draw your sword, no check is needed, and the result is that your character is now holding a sword. Other times, the specific effect requires more detailed rules governing how your choice is resolved. Many spells, magic items, and feats create specific effects, and your character will be subject to effects caused by monsters, hazards, the environment, and other characters." So basically, anything someone does in the game has an effect, and everything that has the trait and deals damage should work.

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I mean, this is bound to happen. Sometimes, new feats have prerequisites that previously made characters don't have. Only some previously-made dhampir characters would be locked out of that feat, though, since the Straveika and Svetocher lineages are from the APG.

Still, if you want that feat, I'd talk to your GM. The main point of the prerequisite seems to be to avoid Ru-Shi and Adhyabhau dhampirs drinking blood (since their lineage doesn't drink blood at all). Some GMs might require that you have a lineage feat as a sort of tax, others might be open to letting you take the feat without it. You might also convince your GM to just let you change your 1st level feat. As The Raven Black said, just ask nicely.

That sounds about right, yes, assuming you meant "addiction" and not "affliction", which is a generic term for long-term problems that can get worse or better based on consecutive saves (including poisons, diseases, curses).

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I think there's been an errata. I just compared my first-print copy of the Core Rulebook to Archives of Nethys, which now states, for the druid dedication, that "You are bound to the druid's anathema" right beside you learning the druidic language, before mentioning picking an order and being bound to its anathema as well.

I don't know about Aswaarg, but I do like the idea of the Ancestors mystery, perhaps reflavoring it as not just your own ancestors, but simply deceased people from the place you are from overall.

There's also the Lore mystery which would be easy to present as just a medium reading minds (with the first focus power) or receiving information from spirits (with the other two).

I do think oracle is the best class fit for this concept.

Some other options to add to it :
- You could pick up the Vigil domain spells. They don't have investigative purposes, but they do fit the theme quite well.
- If your GM allows it, the Talking Corpse spell seems like an obvious choice.
- And again, if your GM allows it and if you don't mind minor spoilers (as in knowing the themes and new player-content of another AP), there is an uncommon archetype from a different AP that might be of interest. I'll put it under a spoiler tag just in case.

AP archetype spoiler:
The Ghost Hunter archetype from Ruins of Gauntlight is mostly about resisting undead and fighting them, but the right feats could give you access to extra occult spells (for the few things the divine list might not give you), bonuses when talking to incorporeal creatures and better chances of recognizing (and disabling) haunts as well as incorporeals.

Think of "proficiency" in Pathfinder second edition as mostly a rules term. All classes get weapon proficiencies as a basic, no matter if they have weapon or not. For instance, a cleric is trained in all simple weapons, so even if they have only used a crossbow so far, they can pick up a morningstar and use it with some efficiency.

The aldori sword is an advanced weapon, so it's much harder to gain proficiency with it. So far, only the fighter gets it without a feat, because they are trained in all advanced weapons. Other classes that are already trained with martial weapons could instead pick up the Weapon Proficiency feat (or unconventional weaponry, which gives access to the weapon anyway) and choose the aldori dueling sword, which might feel weird if they have never seen one, but is still possible within the rules of the game.

You can flavor it as the character having received training with this special sword (considering this weapon is specific to an organization), but only now becoming allowed to own one as an official Aldori Duelist. This is the description of the archetype itself : You have sworn the Aldori swordpact and study the art of Aldori dueling, a famed school of bladecraft which has been passed down for over a millennium from the teachings of Baron Sirian Aldori. One day, you hope to demonstrate your skill at swordplay in order to become acknowledged as a true swordlord.

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Welcome! I hope you'll enjoy your experience.

As for your question, you can't learn them in that way. To my knowledge, so far, witches can only learn one hex cantrip from their patron.

Basically, what you're describing with familiars and scrolls is the Learn a Spell activity, which specifies you can learn a spell from your tradition's spell list. Focus spells like hexes, however, are not on any of the four spell lists. Instead, focus spells are special powers that work much like spells, expect that they are only granted to specific classes through feats and features. I hope this helps.

Is the first individual in this scenario a swashbuckler with Opportune Riposte? Regular attacks of opportunity aren't triggered by critical failures on strikes, but if it is Opportune Riposte and the character currently has a reaction available, I don't see why they couldn't take advantage of that. I think the swashbuckler could riposte on that attack of opportunity.

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It does seem like you only get the senses and movement abilities. They have to specify a spell level for the sake of things like counteracting magic.

It has its uses and would be amazing for some characters (extra speed is good on anyone), but I'll admit it's not very impressive for an elven barbarian. Unless you absolutely want to turn into an animal for rp purposes or something, it might be best to pick some other feat on this specific character.

I couldn't seem to find written rules, but here is what I think was intended, extrapolating upon other abilities and rules and looking for something that makes sense in terms of intent :

1) Unless otherwise specified, for martial characters that gain spells from a feat in an archetype that doesn't give or require spell proficiency or the ability to otherwise cast spells, I would treat the spells gained as innate spell. Therefore, the character would simply be trained. If they somehow find ways to increase their innate spells proficiency, I would apply it to this DC.

2) Snares are items. There is no specific snare proficiency. However, the Powerful Snares feat does specify you can use either your class DC or the snare's original DC. I've noticed none of the spellcaster classes have a specified class DC, but all other classes do. I might be wrong, but I think that's an oversight (I don't think anyone should be untrained in their own class), and that the class DC of spellcasters should be the same as their spellcasting DC (for the few instances in which it will matter). If that is the case, the snares would use either the DC specified in their entry or the DC you use for your spells.

3) In this case, it is more straightforward. It says to use your class DC (class DC is always from your original class). Fighters start off trained, so the DC early on would be 2 + level + STR or DEX. Starting at level 11, the fighter would be expert, so the snare DC would be 4 + level + STR or DEX. And at level 19, it would become master.

I know this lacks definitive answers, but I hope it helps you and your group decide on a way to adjudicate this rule.

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The "unique" tag is purely a game term indicating a unique stat block, which makes sense to me. It is usually quite easy, then, to look up the type of creature (orc, green dragon, drow) and see its rarity and what they have in common, which is what would be obtained through most Recall Knowledge checks. Of course every orc is unique as a person, but it's a game term, with some orcs not being named and differentiated as a way to simplify the game. They use the tag only for npcs that don't have just the stats from the Bestiary or GMG, so you know to check the specific new stat block.

Graytusk is a specific orc in an adventure, who doesn't have the same level, stats and abilities as the orcs from the bestiary. Someone encountering Graytusk shouldn't know the specific abilities (oh, this one is especially good at reflex checks and has these ranger abilities), but they should still know about orc ferocity. You don't need to look up a specific class of orc, since she is unique exactly because she is not one of those classes. You only need to know in general what orcs are, and that they are quite common.

I have not found a very elegant way to do this with my VTT games, though it could likely be solved by having my players fill out their online character sheets. Instead, I just ask players to tell me what their stats are when I need to roll.

However, in person, I've found a mix of various things works really well for me.

First, our initiative tracker consists of folded papers on top of the DM screen. On the players' side are just names. On the DM side are stats that need to be referenced very often, like AC, and stats that may be relevant even when the players are not aware of it, like Perception and saves. So I can quickly roll a dice when I need to and reference those little sheets.

For secret checks that players trigger with their actions, like Stealth and Recall Knowledge, I just ask them to remind me of their stat. However, I have found I need to ask it less and less, as I remember the most used stats after a while thanks to the limited number of buffs and precise "range" of possibilities for characters. I might actually ask players to add their most often used recall skills to the initiative tracker when we go back to in-person games, but I have yet to decide. It would go slightly faster and avoid any possible mistakes on my part, but it hasn't bothered me all that much so far.

There are also some occasions in which I just let the players roll for themselves, mainly if the result will be obvious very quickly anyways, like rolling Stealth to try and bypass an encounter, or if I don't intend to give false information after a Recall Knowledge anyways and just want to know how much information people get about some lore stuff.

I'd probably have most of the events happen, maybe keeping the end of the strike (going from memory, here) for when they come back from the sea hag's lair. It might seem to the players like it's a lot, but it will also make it feel like the village isn't in stasis while the player characters are gone.

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I'll take the liberty to respond to that latest question :

It's a matter of the system itself, not lack of options. So far, new feats have been ways to allow yourself to do more things or do them in new ways. Very few options actually change numbers, and those always work with the basic idea of proficiencies and the three types of bonuses. There are also new things to pick out at every level, so there is always something new to look forward to as you level up.

As options accumulate, it might be easier to find more situations in which you can make use of those max stats or more situations in which you can get small bonuses, but the math in this iteration is super tight and you can't stack semi-infinite numbers of bonuses.

I do get the feeling, as Staffan said, that the most important decisions (or at least a large number of them) are made around the table, during games.

Same problem here. I changed my settings on the 4th. Back then, I had some trouble with the website's front page, so the link sent didn't work. I cleared my cache and history on my web browser, which made the site show up properly for me again, after which I clicked the link to confirm again and it seemed to indicate that the changes were successful, but I still have not received any other e-mails from Paizo. I checked my spam and promotion boxes. Hopefully this will be sorted at some point. I look forward to the rest of this story. :)

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