James Hunnicutt's page

RPG Superstar 7 Season Star Voter, 8 Season Star Voter, 9 Season Star Voter. * Starfinder Society GM. 206 posts (521 including aliases). 7 reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 9 Organized Play characters. 1 alias.


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thenobledrake wrote:
"That's would take you a minute of conversation to earn a roll for, which you are fully allowed to do - just keep track of the rounds that pass during combat, and keep in mind that your ability to speak is being dedicated to the effort so you can't be casting spells with verbal components or doing your bardic performance in the mean while," for the player to realize that I was not kidding when I said "diplomacy doesn't do what you think it does."


The GM should exert more authority, and re-read the Diplomacy skill, which has several "loopholes" that reinforces the primary principle that the GM can do whatever he wants. For instance, the skill description says "Some requests automatically fail if the request goes against the creature’s values or its nature, subject to GM discretion." All the GM has to say is "that request is against this NPC's nature."

Players should never really argue with GMs. As a player, succinctly state your objection, let the GM engage you in debate if he wants to, but as soon as the GM rules you move on.


Sounds fun!


Huzzah! Thank you Jeremy for your hard work. Thank you Endzeitgeist for taking the time to review it. Congratulations Rick Hershey on the killer art.


FilmGuy wrote:
I was very sorry to see I missed the Kickstarter on this product - I would have liked to have pledged.


I'm hugely excited for this product. I cannot wait. 8^)


True 'nuff! Thank you again 8^)


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Thank you again for all the great advice. At the end of the day, my players generally went with fairly pedestrian options, so maybe I over-thought this. But here is what we did with each PC's trio of wishes:


Three of the players wished for one contingent true resurrection and added a +2 inherent bonus to their primary ability score. (So I ended up making the contingent-res only 1 wish rather than 2.)

My fourth player wished to add evasion to his ring of protection, one contingent true-res, and one permanency (the party wizard supplied the underlying "see invisibility" effect for the permanency).

GM and players were happy with the outcome. Thanks again!


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Thank you for the follow-ups!

Yes, making clear it's inherent bonuses makes perfect sense.

I guess I was thinking to max at 3 because genies cast wishes in 3s, but I like your approach. If the wish spell can get you up to +5, or if a Tome of Understanding can, 5 makes sense.

One reason I don't like allowing new traits is the idea that they're supposed to be inchoate, something a new character has within him or her from the very beginning. So, more of a flavor/role-playing objection rather than a mechanical one.


We wrapped up Impossible Eye last night, and shall start The Final Wish next week, so we'll see how it all goes shortly. Thanks again.


Thank you very much, Tacticslion! Your comments were exactly what I was looking for, and much appreciated.


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What are your "house rules" on wishes?

Here's my rough draft set of house rules that I'm thinking about:


Presuming the wish-granting genie is friendly (such as Nefeshti), I was thinking that the following types of self-buff wishes are okay (in addition to what the description of the wish spell specifically says):

- wishing to improve your saving throws (each wish gives you +1 bonus on all saves, up to +3)
- wishing for natural armor or DR (each wish gives you +1 up to +3, which may stack with pre-existing natural armor or DR)
- wishing for greater prowess in battle (+1 to hit with a particular weapon group, rays, unarmed attacks, CMB, or CMD per wish, up to +3)
- wishing to improve a particular skill (each wish gives +2 bonus, up to +6)
- wishing to change your gender or race (provided it's a standard race)
- wishing for one contingent greater resurrection (costs 2 wishes, can't have more than 1 at a time)
- wishing for wings (fly speed 30' & poor maneuverability; additional wishes to upgrade speed & maneuverability, up to 90' & good)
- wishing for claws (climb speed 20' and natural attack 1d4 damage)
- wishing for fame (+2 on certain social Cha-based checks; drawbacks apply)
- wishing for youth (reduce your age 2d4 years per wish, no limit)
- wishing for a dream home (a permanent "secure shelter," costs 2 wishes)
- wishing to add spells to your spellbook (3 spells per wish)
- wishing for a cosmetic change to your character's appearance (no effect on Cha or skills, except possible bonus to Disguise)
- wishing to change prior character-build decisions other than classes and traits (switching certain feats, spells, rogue tricks, oracle revelations, etc.)
- wishing to increase a spontaneous caster's number of spells known (only 1 per wish, up to +3 new spells known, of any level you can cast)
- wishing to improve reaction time (each wish gives you +1 to initiative bonus, up to +3)
- wishing for a permanent spell effect: I'd probably allow any of the effects listed under the Permanency spell (darkvision, see invisibility, tongues, etc.) or any zero or first-level buff spells at CL 1 (shield, mage's armor, entropic shield, etc.) (costs 2 wishes: Permanency + other spell… if you spend one more wish, you can turn the effect on-or-off as a standard action)
- wishing to enhance one's spellcasting ability (1st wish: +1 bonus on concentration checks, 2nd wish: +1 bonus to overcome SR, 3rd wish: +1 to DC of spells from one school)
- wishing for good luck (1st wish: +1 luck bonus to all saves, 2nd wish: +1 luck bonus to AC and CMD, 3rd wish: reroll failed save once per day)
- wishing for spell-like abilities (any two 0-level or one 1st-level spell, 3 times per day, caster level one-half your character level)
- wishing for energy resistance (get +5 resistance to one form of energy per wish, up to +15)
- wishing to upgrade a familiar or animal companion in a way consistent with the above parameters

I was thinking to forbid these wishes:
- wishing to increase your base attack bonus
- wishing to increase your level or hit dice
- wishing for an extra feat or trait
- wishing to ignore prerequisites for a feat or prestige class
- wishing for an extra revelation, domain, judgment, etc.
- wishing for evasion or any other class or racial ability
- wishing for spell resistance, or to increase spell resistance
- wishing to change your class, archetype, traits, oracle mysteries, cleric domains, wizard's specialization schools or opposition schools, sorcerer bloodlines, cavalier orders, favored enemies, favored terrains, etc.
- wishing to apply a template to yourself
- wishing to change your creature type
- wishing to convert any racial or class ability from a standard action into a swift action
- wishing to make "haste" permanent
- wishing that a feat, trait, skill, combat maneuver, or magic item operates differently than normal
- wishing to change any other game rules (e.g., "I wish it doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity when I stand up from prone.")
- wishing to increase daily uses of class abilities, e.g., spell slots, wild shapes, ki pool, channel energy usages, rounds of bardic performance, arcane pool, etc.
- wishing to boost your caster level

What do you think?

I'm not planning on giving the players this list. Rather, I've compiled this list to help me pre-think about how I'm going to handle wishes once the players start making them.

Thank you so much!


Maybe to ease past your racism toward elves, dip your toe in the pool with a half-elf. That's how I overcame my own erstwhile elf-antagonism. I enjoyed playing a Diplomacy-focused half-elf cleric, and later moved on to an elf wizard. Some ideas:

- pure-hearted cleric, above notions of snobbery or inter-racial politics (maybe because he wants converts)

- explorer/Pathfinder type of elf wizard who likes to study the curious ways of humans, and like an anthropologist is careful not to condescend directly to the humans' faces

- amnesiac, raised by humans beginning 20 years ago, so the age thing isn't as weird (and maybe actually a sleeper agent originally kidnapped and brainwashed by drow)

- noble leader warrior, like Tanis from Dragonlance... maybe his hometown was saved by humans 100 years ago so the elves from that town today have a special bond with those humans' great-grandchildren, and there is a bond of honor connecting them.

- or just play an elf that you hate, and try to role play a really cool demise.

Good luck and have fun!

Wayfinders Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

I think I submitted one of the items that led to this auto-reject category. Oddly, I like that. It's nice to know my entry had some affect on something... even if not for the best of reasons. But I've learned a lot since then!


I think the 3.5 Draconomicon had some really nasty feats that boosted dragon's breath weapons.

Grapple 'em. Constantly. Barbed devils (CR 11) are some fun grapplers. Add monk levels to make them nightmarish.

Greater invisibility. That's only a 4th level spell, and invisibility has tons of benefits.

Ray of dizziness. Spell Compendium page 166. 3rd level brd/wiz/sor spell, no save, medium range, staggers one PC for 1 rd/caster level. (SR does apply.) If your PCs are 14th level, 5th level wizards are mooks who can swarm the party and greatly impede them with this spell.

As others have mentioned, attack ability scores, especially Con. 3.5 dread wraiths are only CR 11. Night hags are CR 9 and you can add class levels. Awakened dire weasels or stirges with monk levels. Advanced gibbering mouther. Ghosts with the draining touch ability.

And when their Con is low, hit them with blindness and hopefully they fail their Fort saves.

If you want to be nice and attack mental scores rather than Con, feeblemind em, then someone finishes the job with ray of stupidity from SC.

One thing to watch out for (and I know because I've been in your position) is that the tougher you make these fights, the more XPs the PCs earn, the quicker they level up and make your job even harder. Remember that summoned monsters don't give XP. There's nothing wrong with your NPC summoning monsters just before the fight starts, without the PCs realizing they're summoned.

Finally, if the PCs have a lot more party wealth than they really should, trim that back. Throw them in a pit swarming with advanced rust monsters. Put them in role-playing situations where they need to give away magic items. I loved the sunder-fest previously suggested. Or stop handing out so much treasure, and when they whine vaguely imply it's their own fault because they should have done something they didn't do.


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Propane wrote:
32: Roll randomly and grin.


42. Old school: teleporters that send the party somewhere totally naked with no gear, no spell components, nothing. It sounds unfair, but so long as all the PCs are affected it's actually a lot of fun.

43. Effects that stagger the party for lengthy periods of time.

44. Run a murder mystery, and set it up in advance that one of the PCs actually was the murderer. (I did this in a CoC game and blew everyone's mind.)

45. Include a one-shot magic item in a treasure trove that is terribly overpowered. Like a scroll of greater shout or summon monster VII for a 3rd-level party. The players will fret over whether to sell it, or when to use it, the risks of using it, etc.

46. Evil pixies with character levels.

47. Advanced stirges.

48. Counterfeit treasure.


Calandra wrote:
"Hey, I only need 100 more XP. Let's go kill a random monster!"


Balfic-graa wrote:
"That Succubus looks so hot!"

Or maybe:

"So GM, you're telling me a smoking hot babe is being all sweet and romantic with my Charisma 3 half-orc barbarian and she's puckering up? Throk kiss!"


I was DMing a homebrew campaign, and came to learn that the players were snooping into my notes, maps, etc., which were pretty detailed. I kicked 'em to the curb!


Runelords of Dogtown
The Skinsaw Redemption



gbonehead wrote:
I think a grimoire is a GREAT idea. While the Spell Compendium was much maligned, it was also very heavily used.

Exactly. Something like the Spell Compendium without all the broken spells and cheese is my #1 gamebook desire.


Hartbaine wrote:
Every person who games with me knows the Cardinal Rule: if you can do it, they can do it too. Rarely do I say 'no' to a player when they ask me "Hey, could I do this?" when the request is completely by the book. The game is meant to be fun and challenge the PCs. I'm supposed to be having as much fun as they are so when I start getting bored because they're wiping the floor with the same combos over and over and other players are just sitting there doodling on their notebook with their chin resting on their hands waiting to be useful... I then introduce them to the Cardinal Rule.

Ditto. I like the way you roll.

My group, like most groups I like to think, has all sorts of personalities. Some players are really only familiar with the core books, aren't looking to change that, and having fun. A couple of the players really enjoy digging into 3.5 splatbooks to come up with new ideas. I don't want either type of player to feel put upon or disappointed that he/she can't play in his/her style. That said, it's the second group of players that tend to get surprised when the DM pulls a rabbit out of his hat with an evil grin.


James Risner wrote:
Don't switch out during an adventure.

I agree with that, for sure. Switch it up between adventures.

aeglos wrote:

just used these simple rules:

-the DMPC plays by the same rules as every other PC
-the DMPC should be of a helpfull class, rouges and wizards are bad choices, cleric, bard the best once
-the DMPC choses items last but gets the same share of money as everyone else
-DMPC spellcasters have a standard choice of spells, if he should learn something else, the other PC's have to think of it and ask him to learn that spell

All good advice. In that same vein, let your overall goal be that the DM's pet NPC never steals the spotlight from the other PCs. Let them be the ones delivering the killing blow, discovering the big secrets, and doing all the social-interacting with NPCs.


Jandrem wrote:
The OP has already responded! To kill players or not...

I want to hear how the OP ultimately handled things. Mr. Tarvoke?


I've allowed all Spell Compendium spells in our Pathfinder campaign, and so far it hasn't been a problem... but maybe I'm biased because NPCs use SC spells more often than the PCs do. Muahaha. But if it turns into a problem we'll deal with it. I've actually been pushing the PC bard to dig into the SC more.


Studpuffin wrote:
In fact, one of the favorite characters of one of my players when running Star Wars was an underaged Padawan character, and the "classic hero" is either a child or just out of childhood in many cases.

The original Star Wars d6 RPG even had a character template called "Kid." I have the mini: little dude with a huge blaster rifle.

You should definitely play a kid! Fun fiction is full of 'em. Short Round, Teen Titans, Goonies, crazy kid in The Road Warrior. I'm a big fan of this idea.


tejón wrote:
I disagree. But then, I'm not scared of UMD. :)

Totally. Bards generally have high Cha and get Use Magic Device as a class skill, and in my experience tend to use this skill more than anyone else. Every type of wand and scroll is accessible.

Rather than "gish," I prefer "Jedi" or "Sith".

Does nobody like the psychic warrior (Expanded Psionics) or swordsage (Tome of Battle)?


True. Keep in mind that if the PCs are fighting a cult, they'll be up against multiples of clerics. Multiple evil clerics who all have Selective Channeling, even if they are CR-appropriate and have fewer character levels than the PCs, could be a delightfully steady drain on party resources.


If we're looking for a house-rule, I like the "resist energy" thing.

How about a cooldown period? Clerics can only channel once ever 1d3+1 rounds. I'd stick that to PCs too, to be fair. As the DM, I frequently get frustrated when the dang cleric undoes all the damage done by my monsters in a single round.


Viletta Vadim wrote:

Under 3.5 rules, Quicken is not an option to spontaneous casters by default. To quote...

"This feat can’t be applied to any spell cast spontaneously (including sorcerer spells, bard spells, and cleric or druid spells cast spontaneously), since applying a metamagic feat to a spontaneously cast spell automatically increases the casting time to a full-round action."

Rapid Metamagic (Complete Mage), on the other hand, is very nearly one of the must-have feats for spontaneous casters if you want to use metamagic in combat. Shame you can't get it until high levels.

Whoops, sorry, I didn't realize this was a 3.5 thread. The new Pathfinder rules allow spontaneous casters to use Quicken normally, which is huge.

Re Selective Channeling, I still disagree. Every cleric in our group takes it as a matter of course, and they certainly do use positive energy bursts during combat, both at low, medium, and high levels.


Viletta Vadim wrote:
Selective Channeling? Not really. Other than undead, no one's around the party to exclude when you channel energy, because healing is not a combat action; it's too small to be significant, almost always less than a single attack would deal, and it's generally more efficient to just smack enemies in the head with your metal stick to make them die sooner or cast some spell to incapacitate 'em.

Well, when you're doing a positive energy burst to heal multiple party members at once, it's advantageous not to be healing your non-undead enemies at the same time. And at higher levels, it can be a lot of healing you're doling out.

I'd add Quicken Spell for sorcerers, and I like it a lot for all other spellcasters too.


Druid: Natural Spell
Cleric: Selective Channeling

I feel silly even bothering to mention these, they're so obvious, but they define "must-have feats."


Set wrote:

Necromancer Games;

The Tome of Horrors, Revised.

I second that. This was a great book (even before it was revised) and really helped grognards like me who choked over the omission of certain monsters in the 3.0 MM. I would add Tome of Horrors 2.


ShadowChemosh wrote:

Their is fan based rules FAQ already that does list if the answer came from an official paizo member. Its located on the d20 PFSRD wiki.

Nice! Thank you for the link. Most handy.

I think somewhere it should say, "Those Sp abilities clerics/sorcerers/wizards may take at 1st level are the equivalent of 1st-level spells." Similarly, I'd like some errata clarifying whether spell immunity works against all spell-like abilities, including those class-based Sp abilities.

And maybe some more guidance on Hide in Plain Sight.


LazarX wrote:
The DC of each roll will depend on how many of the opposition threathen the particular square. Example you're tumbling through two threathened squares A and B. If three folks threathen square A, you add the dc for the extra two, if you're tumbling a long distance and square B is threathened by one foe it's the standard DC.

I disagree. The Pathfinder description of Acrobatics provides, "This DC increases by 2 for each additional opponent avoided in 1 round." So even if the opponents threaten different squares, the +2 DC hike stacks.


The Grandfather wrote:
the table states move through a threatened area or enemy's space - in singular. The implication of this is that you must make a skill check for EVERY threatened or occupied square you wish to move through.

I agree, but that seems maybe too harsh, and maybe involve too many rolls. Often, getting past one enemy means going through multiple threatened squares. Sometimes one square is threatened by multiple foes, but in general I think one check per enemy rather than one check per square is going to be more generous to the PCs.


DM_Blake wrote:

I cite the Stealth rules as precedent: if you were stealthing past the same foes, you would only roll one stealth roll, and each foe would oppose that one roll with his own perception check.

Ergo, in both cases, one skill being used, one roll being made.

I don't think they're all that analogous. For example, with Stealth each opponent has a chance to notice you with its Perception skill. When you use Acrobatics to tumble, the opponents don't get any sort of opposed roll. Also, while Move Silently in 3.5 called for only one skill check by the one being sneaky, 3.5 explicitly required one check per enemy when using Tumble to move past multiple foes.

DM_Blake wrote:
Rolling for each foe dramatically increases the difficulty.

Absolutely, but hey, I have no problem making it tough on PCs to tumble around multiple foes. The choice is theirs: if PCs want to tumble, they know the risk and can gauge the DC themselves.

Most rogue/duelist types of level 5+ can make themselves pretty incredible at Acrobatics, and will be able to tumble past or through more than one enemy, even with the double-jeopardy of the +2 DC and the need for multiple checks. Finally, the downside really isn't that horrendous: you provoke an attack of opportunity. That's not so bad, especially if that rogue/duelist has Mobility and if the foes lack Combat Reflexes.


King of Vrock wrote:
It states it explicitly that you add +2 to each foe beyond the first at the bottom of the DC table.

True, but that was the case in 3.5 too. Even so, 3.5 also required multiple checks if you're trying to tumble past multiple foes.


Related question: can I assume everyone is still requiring a skill check per opponent tumbled past?


The description of Acrobatics doesn't really explain what happens if you fail the check when attempting to move through a square that's threatened or occupied by an enemy. Am I missing something? Are folks falling back to the 3.5 rules on this? (3.5 was explicit that if you try to tumble through a threatened square and fail, you complete your move but provoke an AOO. If you try to tumble through an occupied space and fail, you stop before entering the enemy-occupied area and provoke.) Thanks!


We house-ruled that dismiss-able spells end upon death, which is a favor to the PCs. It just seemed more fun that way, because it was kind of anti-climatic to defeat an evil wizard but then still have to deal with an ongoing enchantment or mop up his summoned creatures, which aren't even worth xp.


Other than lawyerly interpretations of the language of the spell, I haven't heard any good reason that spell immunity shouldn't block class-based spell-like abilities. Allowing spell immunity to block class-based spell-like abilities won't upset game balance, and seems fair all around. In fact, I think the converse is true: allowing Bleeding Touch and similar low-level abilities to bypass spell immunity (or globe of invulnerability) seems unfair and unbalanced. So if you come to my gaming table, the house rule is that if someone wants to cast spell immunity (Bleeding Touch) they certainly can. Thanks folks.


ShadowChemosh wrote:
Though with the wording of innate all over the sorcerer and their bloodlines Sp would be affected by Spell Immunity. LOL

That is hilarious. I hadn't noticed, but you're right: the Sor description repeatedly says that the sorcerer's abilities are innate.


Zurai wrote:
There is no way to permanently and irrevocably lose innate spell-like abilities short of intervention by a deity.

Death. That gets rid of em pretty quick. ;^)


Regarding all the spell-like abilities clerics, sorcerers, and wizards now can acquire based on their domain/bloodline/school, I don't think it's much of a stretch to assume they're the equivalent of 1st-level spells, since 1st-level characters can use them.

My attitude is that a normal or lesser globe of invulnerability should block all those Sp abilities you can get at character level 1.


James Risner wrote:
ShadowChemosh wrote:
And spell-like abilities.
Except that it only protects against spell like abilities that duplicate spells, which Bleeding Touch isn't one of those Spell Like Abilities.

Other than the interpretation of the language of spell immunity, is there a sound reason to exclude spell-like abilities from what spell immunity protects against? You only get to block a couple spells with spell immunity, and those clerics with Death domain have plenty of other nasty things they can do to you other than Bleeding Touch.

If I were to research a new spell, "immunity from spell-like abilities," wouldn't it be fairly balanced to treat it just like spell immunity, i.e., a 4th level cleric spell? And since clerics have access to every spell on their spell lists, aren't we splitting hairs making spell immunity and "immunity from spell-like abilities" two separate spells?


The Grandfather wrote:
James Hunnicutt wrote:
Anything else out there? Thanks again.
Anti-Magic Field

Well sure, but a 6th level spell in order to block a 1st-level spell-like ability? Yowch. I was hoping for something lower level.


Thank you for your thoughts.

Any suggestions on something that does block spell-like abilities that aren't necessarily tied to a named spell? Such as all those spell-like abilities clerics, sorcerers, and wizards now have?

I already thought about spell resistance, which gives you a decent SR, which does apply to spell-like abilities whether or not they're tied to a specific named spell. Anything else out there? Thanks again.


LE is a great PC class, in my opinion. You're a total SOB, but can play nice with others to get where you want to go. Frequently, it's the LE guy who can get things done.

I've let players play CN, but happily they tend to play them more CG or TN, as opposed to a true CN nutjob.


In Pathfinder, there are a lot of spell-like abilities granted by classes. In WotC's Spell Compendium, the language of "lesser spell immunity" was revised in such a way that it blocked all "spell-like effects." PF Core Rulebook uses the traditional 3.5 language, which is more ambiguous: spell immunity "protects against spells, spell-like effects of magic items, and innate spell-like abilities of creatures. It does not protect against supernatural or extraordinary abilities, such as breath weapons or gaze attacks." I don't think a spell-like ability from a class is "innate," but it seems totally appropriate that spell immunity could and should be used to block specific class-based spell-like abilities. For example, if I'm about to enter a temple full of priests I anticipate have Death as a domain, I'd like to be able to cast spell immunity against their nasty Bleeding Touch spell-like ability. Thoughts?


1. Level 6
2. You start getting the "good stuff" - 3rd level spells, multiple attacks, another feat, plenty of HP and skill points, you can handle cool monsters, your Diplomacy and Disable Device skills are good enough to accomplish lots of cool stuff, you can afford nice but not overpowered magic items, you're still weak enough that there is lots to fear, etc.
3. Seven Days to the Grave... because I'm running it right now and everyone is loving it, and it's fun DMing because the players are constantly distressed by all the disease going around.


I love the change.


Shifty wrote:
The only time it has ever really worked for me was in the Dark Sun setting where it was engineered to be integral to the game, and it was actually loads of fun.

QFT. Dark Sun was a blast.


Ross Byers wrote:
With Clerics now having Channel Energy as an additional source of healing, is it still necessary to stagger Cure spells one level behind for Druids? Is the game going to break because a Druid can cast Cure Moderate Wounds as a 2nd rather than 3rd level spell?

I couldn't agree more. Give the druids some love.

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