Karuth's page

Organized Play Member. 392 posts. 1 review. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Organized Play character.

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Many feats for ranged combat only apply to Bows and Crossbows.

I'd love some more feats that give bonuses to Slings and thrown weapons. To make them a more interesting option.

I also think feats that allow casters to pick up spells from other lists (with reasonable limits of course) should exist.
This option exists already for many casters anyway but it is highly unpractical or difficult in most cases.

All divine casters can get arcane spells via Eldritch Heritage (which requires 3 feats and high level).
Clerics can get certain arcane spells via their domains, but sometimes a thematically fitting spell does not fit within the restrictions of the domain options.
With the White Mage Archetype you can have an arcane healer now as well (Or False Priest to some degree).

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If you can get Dimension Door as an ability somehow you could take the Dimensional Combat feats until you get Dimensional Savant and then give yourself a flanking bonus. This lets you reliably get flanking bonus, attack with two weapons and evade the wrath of your enemies.
And you could also get some distance between you and the target after your last attack.
It would be a combination for high level play though.

The way with the least class levels would be via Horizon Walker. You need 3 levels to get to "Terrain Dominance Astral Plane" which unlocks this ability. Then you need to spend 4 feats to get the ability.

For a full Rogue the only possibility to take those feats would be to use UMD and a wand of Dimension Door. However that carries the problem that the GM has to approve that using a wand allows learning the feats. And it is very expensive.
Another possible option would be to allow a progression into higher level spells via the Minor, Major Magic Rogue Talents... however that is homebrew material.

The only real way to get to this more quickly with a pure rogue is a race that has Dimension Door as an ability. And those tend to not be low level enough for a PC race.

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The goal of this thread is to list all options players have to make more from their ability scores, reduce MAD or simply for optimization.
I made this list because some of those are hidden well within class archetypes and other places.
Also it's nice to have everything in one place and I plan to use this myself as reference whenever needed :)

If I have overlooked anything please tell me and I will update this list.

Key to the entries:
F = Feat
C = Class Special Ability
E = Equipment

Symbol – Name – Effect – Prerequisites – Limits & Restrictions

Options to replace one Ability Score with another:
F – Weapon Finesse – Dex for melee attack – none – light weapons only
F – Guided Hand – Wis for attack and damage – Channel Smite, Proficiency with deity’s favored weapon – Only works with deity’s favored weapon
F – Agile Maneuvers – Dex for CMB checks – none – none
F – Dervish Dance – Dex for melee damage – Weapon Finesse, Perform(Dance) 2, Weapon Proficiency Scimitar – Scimitar only, 1 hand must be free
C – Wizard(Universalist, Hand of the Apprentice) – Int to melee/thrown attack – none – limited uses
C – Witch(Hex, Prehensile Hair) – Int used instead of Str – none – hair only, can’t wield weapons, secondary attack
C – Witch(Scarred Witch Doctor) – Con instead of Int as casting stat – Orc race – scars are obvious
C – Sorcerer(Sage Bloodline) – Int instead of Cha as casting stat – none – lose DC bonus for metamagic
C – Sorcerer(Empyrial Bloodline) – Wis instead of Cha as casting stat – none – lose DR bonus to
E – Guided Weapon – Wis for attack and damage – none – costs money
E – Agile Weapon – Dex to damage – none – costs money

Options to add one Ability Score to something usually not applied to:
F – Kirin Strike – 2x Int to damage – Int 13, Kirin Style, Improved Unarmed Strike, Knowledge(Arcana) 9, Knowledge(one other) 3, – only 1 per round, Knowledge check dependent
F – Focused Shot – Int to damage with ranged attacks – Int 13, Precise Shot – 30ft range, bows/crossbows only, precision damage
F – Intimidating Prowess – Con to Intimidate checks – none – none
F – Monkey Style – Wis to Acrobatics checks – Wis 13, Improved Unarmed Strike, Acrobatics 5, Climb 5 – none (has additional bonuses above that)
F – Monkey Moves – Wis to Climb checks – Wis 13, Improved Unarmed Strike, Acrobatics 8, Climb 8 – none (has additional bonuses above that)
F – Fury’s Fall – Dex to CMB checks – Improved Trip – trip maneuver only
C – Gunslinger(Guntraining 1) – Dex to damage – none – only for selected firearms
C – Gunslinger(Mysterious Stranger, Focused Aim) – Cha to damage – none – costs grit
C – Barbarian(Rage Power, Raging Brutality) – Con to damage – Rage, Power Attack – costs rounds of rage
C – Barbarian(Rage Power, Raging Throw) – Con to CMB checks – Rage, Improved Bull Rush – Bull Rush only, costs rounds of rage

Options to use a skill instead of something else:
F – Mounted Combat – Ride check instead of AC – Ride 1 – your mount only, 1 attack per round
F – Indomitable Mount – Ride check instead of Saves – Mounted Combat, Ride 5, Handle Animal 5 – your mount only, 1 save per round
F – Snake Style – Sense Motive check instead of AC – Acrobatics 1, Sense Motive 3, Improved Unarmed Strike – uses immediate action
X – Escape Artist – Escape Artist check instead of CMB – always allowed

Would be cool to add which options are PFS legal and which aren’t. But I don't know PFS gameplay well enough for that.

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From my experience people tend towards more exotic races the longer they play. You have 7 core races. If a group is rather active then you can get play all of those races in quite a short while (even more so when you consider not everyone likes every core race).
There are of course many more classes to explore but also trying a new race can be exciting.

There is of course the Optimizing and the Marry Sue'ing. But that can happen with any race. We have one player in our group who plays nothing but elves (I think the most deviation I have seen was Half-Elf). In every game, even outside of Pathfinder. If Elves don't exist he makes the most elvish character he can within the system. And let me tell you, he couldn't be farther from an Elf in real life.

The argument the human is one of the best races mechanics wise also speaks against that. Often when I build a character with an exotic race I have this thought: "Dang it. If I just had one more feat."
But I have played a lot of humans and so I try to focus more on the races I have not played yet.

I often I have a certain theme in mind when creating a character and choose a race that fits that theme best from the standpoint of mechanics and flavor.

But in the end the choices of race (and class) depends on the setting and the players (including the GM). It is okay to say no to certain choices. But it should be with reason. And it shouldn't be a categorical "No" to every proposal of a player.
If a concept does not fit this game, maybe it will be fitting for the next game.

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Since Polymorph Any Object is an often debated spell, I tried to find and list all creatures types with their appropriate transformation spells and the duration according to the duration factor. If a creature type was not covered by a spell I tried to find something as close as possible.
If you notice any errors or if I overlooked a spell or a creature type, please tell me.

Basis for calculation is a medium humanoid with average (10) intelligence.
Since Polymorph Any Object is a level 8 spell, I excluded all spells of level 8 and 9 (such as Form of the Dragon III and Undead Anatomy IV) because it would make those spells obsolete.
Also I assumed you want to change into the maximum size allowed by the spell. Smaller sizes could increase the duration factor (DF) by 2.
I also added some notes how relations could be added to increase the DF by 2.

Type: Animal, Spell: Beast Shape IV
For a mammal -> Permanent (DF=9: Same Kingdom, Same Class, Lower Intelligence)
For all others -> 1 week (DF=7: Same Kingdom, Lower Intelligence)
Relation: Animal Domain, Wild Shape ability, Aspect of the Beast feat, Beast totem Rage power and similar abilities/feats

Type: Magical Beast, Spell: Beast Shape IV
Stupid Beast -> 1 week (DF=7: Same Kingdom, Lower Intelligence)
Intelligent B. -> 12 hours (DF=5: Same Kingdom)
Relation: Aspect of the Beast feat, Beast totem Rage power and similar abilities/feats.
If you can argue that a creature like a unicorn is a mammal then the DF increases by 2.

Type: Dragon, Spell: Form of the Dragon II
Stupid Dragon -> 1 week (DF=7: Same Kingdom, Lower Intelligence)
Intelligent D. -> 12 hours (DF=5: Same Kingdom)
Relation: Dragon Bloodline, Dragon Disciple Class and similar abilities/feats

Type: Humanoid, Spell: Alter Self or Giant Form I
Humanoid -> permanent (DF=9: Same Kingdom, Same Class, Related)
Often they will have the same size and intelligence as well giving it a DF of 13.
Relation: Already related.

Type: Elemental, Spell: Elemental Body IV
Elemental -> 1 hour (DF=2: Lower Intelligence)
I classified an elemental as a mineral since they are made of Stone, Air, Water etc.
Relation: Elemental Bloodline, Player race with ties to elemental planes, Horizon Walker class features and similar abilities/feats.

Type: Plant, Spell: Plant Shape III
Plant -> 1 hour (DF=2: Lower Intelligence)
Relation: Plant Domain and similar abilities/feats.

Type: Monstrous Humanoid, Spell: Monstrous Physique IV
Stupid Monster -> 1 week (DF=7: Same Kingdom, Lower Intelligence)
Intelligent M. -> 12 hours (DF=5: Same Kingdom)
Relation: Drawing a blank here, but since it is a monstrous humanoid, they could count related due to the humanoid shape.

Type: Undead, Spell: Undead Anatomy IV
Stupid Undead -> 1 week (DF=7: Same Kingdom, Lower Intelligence)
Intelligent U. -> 12 hours (DF=5: Same Kingdom)
Relation: Death Domain, Undead Bloodline and similar abilities/feats.
I am not sure how to classify Undead. An animated human is still a mammal right? Or does it count as mineral now?

Type: Vermin, Spell: Vermin Shape II
Vermin -> 1 week (DF=7: Same Kingdom, Lower Intelligence)
Relation: Desert Druid or Blight Druid Archetypes and similar abilities/feats.
The following creature types have no special polymorph spell.

Type: Construct, Spell: Iron Body?
Construct -> 1 hour (DF=2: Lower Intelligence)
Relation: Artificer Domain and similar abilities/feats.
Iron Body is not too bad a replacement for this, but is also a level 8 spell. So allowing it’s effect to be covered by PAO would make it obsolete.

Type: Ooze, Spell: Fluid Form?
Ooze -> 1 hour (DF=2: Lower Intelligence)
Relation: Another blank. There is not much love for oozes.
Fluid Form is actually more of a water elemental spell than anything else. Still it is the closest I found to an actual ooze.

Type: Fey, Spell: No reference spell
Stupid Fey -> 1 week (DF=7: Same Kingdom, Lower Intelligence)
Intelligent Fey -> 12 hours (DF=5: Same Kingdom)
Relation: Fey Bloodline, Gnome Magic and similar abilities/feats.
Small characters can have the advantage here since Fey creatures are often small. However a Fey’s main assets are their spell-like abilities, which you can’t get via polymorph.

Type: Aberration, Spell: No reference spell
Stupid Aberration -> 1 week (DF=7: Same Kingdom, Lower Intelligence)
Intelligent Aberration -> 12 hours (DF=5: Same Kingdom)
Relation: Aberration Bloodline and similar abilities/feats.
Since Aberrations usually represent twisted versions of other creature types just use the appropriate spell and work from there.

Type: Outsider, Spell: No reference spell
Stupid Outsider -> 1 week (DF=7: Same Kingdom, Lower Intelligence)
Intelligent Outsider -> 12 hours (DF=5: Same Kingdom)
Relation: Horizon Walker class features and similar abilities/feats.
An outsider can be almost anything. Often the differences are mostly spell-like abilities and such. Just like with Aberrations, use the creature type closest and work from there.

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Can you reduce the area to make the wall thicker?

Since the spell has the special "shapeable" and the text says you can give it almost any shape you want (such as bridges, cranellations, etc...) you can do that yes.
Even if it weren't possible, you could just place two wall squares with normal thickness directly behind each other, thus creating the double thick wall again.

If you entrap a creature but the wall does not actually boarder him does it still get a save?

That is a tricky question. Per the rules it always gets a save (you get a save also when hit by a fireball even though it has a 20ft radius).
But at some point it would get rather ridiculous (for example a staggered merfolk with 5ft land speed and you build the wall 10 ft away... it would take it 12 seconds to even reach the wall).
If I remember correctly, a note on Reflex saves says that the GM may disallow a save under certain conditions, so best is to ask him.

As a rule of thumb, if the edge of a wall is within 1 move increment of said creature it should get a save... but that is not official ruling. While the game treats it as an instantaneous appearing wall, I assume it looks much more like earth bending. The wall descends from the ground or something giving fast characters a moment to hop over it.

If you make a disk protruding from a wall that will break of and fall and there is a creature below what happens?

If you are good enough to build something like that (I as GM would call for a Knowledge(Engineering) or maybe Craft(stonecutting) check for something like that) it would then deal damage according to the table "Damage from Falling Objects".

Can you thin it more then once?

While it is not explicitly stated I think you can. If you are for example 16th level your wall has a thickness of 4 inches. Halving it twice result in a 1 inch wall, which is what a 1st level caster could do. If you have a 3 inch thick wall you could also drop it to 1 to get 3 times the wall squares.

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I too think that poisons are far too harmless in Pathfinder, but of course game balance is important too. If poison would be as effective in the game as it is in real life, everyone would play a nature guy harvesting poison from animals for instant kills (one scratch is enough).

My personal explanation for the low DCs of poisons is that they are "catch-all" poisons. Meaning they work against all living creatures.

But as you know vastly different biologies react very different on substances. A mammal is not that different from a reptile or a fish (interior skeleton, skin, flesh, blood) and still capsaicin does not work on a shark at all (Mythbusters episode ^^).
And then there are strongly different biologies like an insect (exterior skeleton, chitin plating, different blood, etc..) or an abberation (???? alien lifeform ????).

But within Pathfinder you can use the same poison against an ankheg, a human, a troll, an aboleth and a dragon. Creature so vastly different it is hard to believe it would effect them all the same way.

As such I would allow a player to create a specialized poison. Using the favored enemy list of the ranger, a player with craft(poison) can transform a normal "catch-all" poison into a specialized poison effective against one type of creature using a small amount of special herbs and ingredients (10% of the original price). DC to transform is the same as the DC to create the poison.
This poison get +5 on the DC against the correct creature and -5 against all others.
This way a character that wants to use poison can, if he knows whats coming, increase his chances.

Outside of homebrew you could try getting a poisonous creature and boost the DC as high as you can, then harvest it from there.

Some things I can think of:
Wizard - Viper familiar
Feat: Ability focus (poison) (+2 DC)
Item Con +6, Permanent Enlarge Person (+2) (all together gives +4 DC)
The familiar should have a poison DC of: 15 + half your wizard level
Then milk him for the poison (with eye for talent from a human you can get another +2 Con)
Summoner can do something similar with the poisonous bite evolution.
Viper animal companion works too of course and has even higher DC I think.

Barbarian/Alchemist and/or Summoner:
Somehow get poisonous bite attack (Race, Poisonous Bite Evolution transferred to Summoner by his special ability)
Then stack Con bonuses on yourself (Rage, Alchemist Mutagen, Spell, etc..) to boost the DC.

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There are only 7 weaknesses in the Race Building guide (well, 8 if you count slow). 4 of those are about light and/or sunlight. And the other 3 are of rather limited use as well. That is hardly a useful variety.
As such I made up some more weaknesses to use. Feel free to add your own or comment on the ones posted so far.

Voracious (–1 RP):
Prerequisite: Race must have a con modifier of at least +2.
Weakness: Members of this race must consume 3 times as much food than is normal for their size. Treat starvation with the same time limits as thirst (1 day instead of 3). Wearing a Ring of Sustenance merely reduces the food consumption to normal levels.
Races with this weakness prefer to eat fresh food and care little for 'fake' nourishment created by spells.

Fast Metabolism (–2 RP):
Prerequisite: Regeneration or Fast Healing
Weakness: Once members of this race have healed an amount of hit points equal to their total amount of hit points they begin to starve immediately. Each time they heal 50% of their total hit points while starving counts as 1 day of starvation. Remember that non-lethal and lethal damage from starvation can't be regenerated unless food is consumed. Their body effectively digests itself to repair its wounds.

Heavy Breather (–1 RP):
Prerequisite: Creature must need to breathe.
Weakness: This race's body burns through energy fast. They suffocate twice as fast compared to other races. This means they can only hold their breath for 1 round per point of Constitution and lose 2 rounds for each full-round action.

Magic Magnet (–2 RP):
Prerequisite: No spell resistance.
Weakness: Members of this race are very susceptible to the forces of magic. They suffer a -2 penalty to saves against spells and spell-like effects. This race also can't benefit from spells or effects that grant spell resistance.

Magic Magnet, Greater (–4 RP):
Prerequisite: Magic Magnet
Weakness: When a spell is targeting a creature within 30 ft of this race and misses, it automatically targets this race instead. Also the AC against spells and spell-like effects is reduced by 2.

Short winded (–1 RP):
Prerequisite: Must have Con score. Endurance feat has no effect.
Weakness: This race runs out of breath quickly. They have a -4 penalty to all stamina based fortitude saves (such as forced marching, starvation, thirst, saves against fatigue and exhaustion etc.)

Bleeder (–4 RP):
Prerequisite: Must be living creature. No regeneration or fast healing.
Weakness: When taking lethal damage members of this race begin to bleed and take 1 point of bleed damage each round until healed or treated with the heal skill (DC 15). Heal is always a class skill for members of this race and they get a +2 bonus to treat their own wounds.

Cursed Wounds (–4 RP):
Prerequisite: None.
Weakness: This race carries a terrible curse which prevents healing magic from working properly. Members of this race have SR of 6 + character level against all healing spells. Unlike normal SR, this SR can't be voluntarily lowered and is active even when unconscious. In addition all heal checks to aid members of this race (treat wounds, longtime care, cure diseases, etc...) have their DC increased by 5.
Heal is always a class skill for members of this race and they get a +2 bonus to treat their own wounds.
Creatures that are healed by negative energy gain SR against negative energy instead. For undead the RP gain is reduced to -2.

Rotting (–2 RP):
Prerequisite: Creature type undead.
Weakness: The bodies of this undead race are permanently rotting away. Each day they lose 1/4th of their current hit points (minimum 2). To survive this race must consume the flesh of the living or the essence of other undead. Magic can be used to reverse the rotting as well.

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As a big fan of Tengus I thought it would be very cool if you could fight using your own feathers like throwing darts. Thus I created this feat chain.

What I am looking for is feedback regarding powerlevel (especially fitting prerequisites) and maybe better names for the feats. Other input is welcome of course too.

Also I can't shake the feeling that something like this exists already. But a quick search hasn't turned anything up. Maybe it was in 3.x? Or a different game system altogether?

Iron Plumage
Prerequisite: Feathered Race (such as a Tengu)
Effect: Your feathers grow stiff and hard almost like iron. You gain a +2 Armor Bonus to AC (does not stack with armor worn). This bonus increases by 1 for each feat in the Iron Plumage Chain. During winter your plumage grows fluffy and dense which increases the AC by 2 but also gives an armor check penalty of -1.

Feather Dart
Prerequisite: Feathered Race, Iron Plumage
Effect: With a flick of your arm (or wing) you can fire a feather as sharp as a blade. Treat the feather like a dart appropriate for your size, except the range increment is 25. It can deal slashing or piercing damage. Also the feathers regrow fast enough to neglect the impact on plumage, although extended fighting with feather darts gives the user a ruffled or even plucked appearance.
Feather darts count as natural weapons for spells like magic fang, but are limited to 50 shots as if they were ammunition.
A Monk can treat his own feather darts like shurikens for his monk abilities.

Improved Feather Dart
Prerequisite: Feathered Race, Iron Plumage, Feather Dart
Effect: Your feathers gain the ability to penetrate damage reduction. Choose one type of DR: silver, cold iron or magic. Your feathers count as weapons of that type. This feat can be taken more than once, each time it applies to a different type of DR (up to 3 times). In addition the feathers also deal 2 additional points of damage when used against a creature with DR they penetrate.

Feather Storm
Prerequisite: Feathered Race, Iron Plumage, BAB 5
Effect: Instead of a single feather you can lose a whole volley of feathers. This creates a 30-ft cone of razor sharp blades. The cone deals 1d6 damage per character level. If used against an enemy whose DR is penetrated with Improved Feather Dart you deal 1 additional point of damage per die. A reflex save halves the damage. The DC for this save is equal to half your character level + Dexterity.
Using this ability does use up a lot of feathers however. Each time you use the ability the AC bonus from Iron Plumage is reduced by 1. If the bonus sinks to 0 you can no longer use this ability. The full plumage regrows over night.

Large Feathers
Prerequisite: Feathered Race, Iron Plumage, Feather Dart
Effect: Your Feathers increase in size. This has several effects. Your AC bonus from Iron Plumage increases by 1 (in addition to the +1 you get automatically). If you have a fly speed, increase maneuverability by one step. If you have no fly speed your plumage now catches enough air so that you only take half falling damage. And lastly the damage of your feather darts fired increase by one die size and their range increment increases to 30.

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I just wanted to say something about the tactics of the specters.

Just because they have an Int of 14 does not mean they all have to attack the same person. From what I read about spectres is that they were once evil humans and retain some of their identity.

As such try to think of them as mean gangmembers.
Now the three gangmembers have found a group of 4 tourists that have somehow ended up in the wrong part of town. They grin and begin whirling their chains and put on their brass knuckles and whatnot.
The tourists are scared to death, shivering.

And then all gang members pile on top of the one guy that looks a little tougher than the other guys and pummel him while the rest run away. That's not how they would act. Each one would grab one victim, feeling totally superior and invulnerable compared to some scrawny and unarmed tourist. One would probably try to grab two at once so no one escapes.

I imagine the spectres would act similar. They don't see you as potential danger. The are immortal ghosty people now. Weapons can't hurt them and if they touch something it dies. What would they have to fear?
You are just a container of delicious lifeforce they wanna suck out. Why should they bother all ganging up on a single one, when each could have his own feast?

I know it doesn't help the situation since it already happened, but just arguing that because of high int they would coordinate attacks, does not take into account how a creature sees and interprets the world.

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I wonder though why people are so strict with Shillelagh.
Sure it would increase die size by two steps if you allow it to work without restrictions, but its weapon selection is very limited even if you are generous (blunt, non-magical, wooden weapons)

Lead Blades works on any weapon, even if it is magical. It only increases by one step, but since you can use a bigger/better weapon to begin with it comes to the same result.

I don't see why you guys are afraid of an oversized great club with Shillelagh (4d8?), when you could have an oversized great sword with Lead Blades (4d6 I think). The damage advance is minimal (and could be countered with a +2 enchantment) and it has other advantages like the threat range of 19-20.

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While the classic dungeon run is only against a few opponents at a time, sometimes a large battle is very fun and satisfying too.

But when the dice rolling orgy begins many players (and GMs) begin to moan. And not because of excitement.

I'm going to write some of the shortcuts to large dice amounts we use in our games and I hope to hear some from you as well. Some of these come from rules from 3.5, are homebrew or may even be in Pathfinder (I don't know the whole PRD and what things have been added)

Into battle!

1) High level spells or diving in lava or falling from high places. Rolling 20d6 takes a while (or 40d6 for a failed Desintegrate).
So to make it faster, just roll 4-5 dice and average the rest. This also has the nice side effect of preventing extreme highs and lows (if you prefer some predictability in your games). If the number of dice is even roll 4 dice and if it is uneven use 5 dice (this makes averaging easier cause there are no fractions). To quickly average an even amount of dice just take half the number of dice and multiply it by the die size +1. So 16d6 is 8 x 7 = 56 damage.

2) Attacks by large groups of weaker monsters. Just calculate the odds.
Especially good for groups of archers. You can calculate the chance of 1 archer hitting (lets say 25%) and multiply it with the number of archers (lets say 20) and then you get the number of hits (5 hits) without having to roll a single die.
You can even use the average AC of the whole party to calculate and then distribute the hits as its seems most logical (so if fighter stands in front guarding the others he would take more hits even though his AC might be the highest).

3) Combine groups into mobs. Mobs are like swarms just with larger creatures. If your hero is totally surrounded from every side just assign damage that seems appropriate.
Or use a single modified attack (like with a +4 or +6) to see if the mob can hit the hero.
I don't think definite rules will help much here. Just go by feeling.

4) Again this one is mainly for archer groups. Coordinated archers can make an area attack instead of a direct attack showering a square (or several) with pointy death. Hero just needs to make a reflex save to reduce the damage, only 1 dice roll needed.

5) Lots of saves.
One houserule we have is if your save is higher than the DC +10 you don't need to roll at all (so rolling a 1 is like you rolled a -10).
Because when the player who pushed his fortitude save to 25 wades through a pit full of tiny snakes with poison DCs of 11, let him have his glory of being a tough guy.
Or a high level rogue just dancing through a series of "beginner traps" without breaking a sweat.
Apply rule of cool here.

That's all I can think of for now. Looking forward to hear from you ^^

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I am currently GMing a group that is paying Alkenstar a visit. I tried to find material and info on this area, but it seems that it is a rather undocumented territory.
So I thought I'd share the things I came up with for the area.
Maybe some of you would like to share your descriptions of the Manawastes and Alkenstar as well :)
Of course you are equally welcome to give feedback on my stuff ^^

The Manawastes and the Magic:

After googling for images of the Manawaste I could use, I stumbled upon this image: Mana Wastes
And even though it is actually from a computer game I liked the look with the crystals and such so I used that as my base.
Then I remembered an old article about blight burn here on the Paizo, which is basically a radioactive material that prevents teleporting (and is usually found in the Underdark). And guess what, it is also green an glowing.
It was a perfect fit. If it prevented teleport spells it could surely also disturb other magic. In the Underdark it is only sprinkled around in smaller amounts, but here in the Manawastes its everywhere. Huge pillars of blight burn litter the area and destroy the fabric of magic.
So in my setting Alkenstar, in the center of the Manawastes, is not only magic dead, it is deadly to magic. Items brought to the city lose their power over time till they become non-magical items. Spellcasters staying a long time in the city lose their ability to cast even after leaving. They have to regenerate their magic abilities over the course of days, weeks or even months (depending how long they stayed there).
The mountains the city is built into contain huge amounts of those crystals which is why the city is absolutely cut off from magic.
The area between Alkenstar and the outer rim is magic suppressing. The closer you get to Alkenstar the lower your casterlevel gets (and the more crystals litter the area). So you can cast, but you are much weaker. I did this so the spellcasters in our group could still use their abilities and do not feel totally useless. The reduction in casterlevel does not prevent you from casting high level spells however. This means it is possible to shoot a 1d6 fireball if you get reduced to caster level 1. The magic is simply absorbed/destroyed as soon as you manifest it. The most dangerous thing here is the Sandkraken.
The outer rim of the Manawastes is a Wild Magic Zone and inhabited by aberrations, elementals and mutated versions of the animals living here before Geb and Nex hit it with their magic fallout. Most creatures with magic abilities avoid the weak magic zone as it suppresses their supernatural abilities as much as it suppresses spellcasting. Instead they inhabit the zones that are to their liking. Due to the Wild Magic some areas enhance fire magic for example, which means fire elementals gather there. Same goes for other creatures.


In Alkenstar there are of course a lot of guns. They hold the monopoly on the black powder technology and ask horrendous prices for weapons and ammunition that is sold outside. Every person that wants to make their own black powder needs a license to do so. You can get licenses for a single gun, a canon, a whole ship or even a whole city. Alkenstar employs a large network of assassins that kills everyone trying to make black powder on their own without a license or that breaks his non-disclosure agreement. As such they have managed to keep the guns in the world under control so far. Only few people use handguns. Canons (especially for ships) are more common.

Also found in Alkenstar are the Automatons (non-magical Golems basically). They are not as intelligent as their magical cousins and can do only the simplest of jobs. They use blight burn crystals as energy source (or fire/steam).

Impacts on the world:

All this has to have some effects on the world and most emerged automatically as I was thinking about the setting.
Vaults for magic items: Since visitors surely don’t want to risk getting their precious magic items destroyed, crafty merchants built vaults near the main travel routes where they can store those items. For a lot of money of course.
Taking the train: To make it easier for Alkenstar to trade with the outside world, they built train tracks and a huge armored train. Of course riding the train is expensive and attacks are common, but it is still the safest way to get to Alkenstar. The tracks are currently built through Nex towards Katapesh to make trade even easier and faster.
The Pathfinder Society: The PFS has discovered the magic destroying effects of Alkenstar for themselves. They use the caves beneath the city to store dangerous artifacts that could not be destroyed otherwise. Centuries of highly concentrated blight burn radiation can crack the magic on even the toughest magic relics.
The Gnolls: From what I read about Katapesh there are many clans of Gnolls there that claim this area for themselves. I gathered I’d let them be active in this area too. And they are the only ones that work with blight burn as a magic catalyst (meaning the magic items the create contain blight burn crystals as focus). The main effects they can create are spell turning, spell reflecting and spell immunity enchantments.
Katapesh: I made Katapesh the main distributor of wares from Alkenstar. Thus the gun ratio there is higher than in the rest of the world, since they sit directly at the source.

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In our games we always used cold iron as sort of anti-magic material.

Manacles made from cold-iron could impose a very high spell failure chance on the caster (80 or more %, even with still spell). So the character still has a chance to cast, yet it is very narrow (and dangerous if you use spell fumble cards)
In one adventure I played in the really powerful casters would be encased in a coffin of cold iron (kinda like the Earthbender-King from Avatar).

Other ways would be one person constantly watching and having a ready action to strike when a spell is cast. For a normal guard that would be not really feasible, but a construct or an undead would have the patience.
One way it could be implemented for example is an Iron Cobra construct physically bound to the caster (maybe the shackles themselves are part of the cobra body) that will bite him, injecting lethal poison if he casts a spell.

Third option depends strongly on setting and the place it happens. But if the BBEG has access to a wild magic zone he can put the caster there. Casting is dangerous in such zones and the caster might kill himself trying to flee.
Such a zone could come from many things. Chaos node. Trapped chaotic outsider. A mysterious cave the BBEG found by chance.

Outright denying magic via anti-magic is a hard thing to as it completely negates a character's abilities. Make it hard for magic to be used or add a harsh penalty to it. This way it can still be used tactically.

Also it could make great roleplaying material. The cleric healing a dying friend even though he knows the manacles will shoot poison into him when he does...

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We handle this issue rather simple in our adventures.

You just talk with the GM. You tell him, this item or this would fit well with your character concept and that you'd like a chance to acquire it.
And unless it is totally unreasonable the GM tries to incorporate the item into the game. Sometimes you even get a modified version with some extra's ;3

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Hm... right from the top of my hat.

If everyone only gets 1 character, then they can't make alts to harass others to keep their "main" character clean.

Ingame crimes should have ingame punishment. If somebody kills you, steals from you (and gets caught), that sombody has to go to jail. Pouding rocks to rubble or something for 8 hours (manually by the player of course for 8 hours real time).
And if you want to play a proper evil person you could form a bandit group and your fellow bandits could bust you out of jail ... might be interesting.

Not being able to see level/class HP etc. of other persons makes it hard to spot weak victims that can't retaliate (and for stronger ones to pose as easy victims ;3)

General "being a jerk" could be punished with Penalty Points that increase the costs for that person or some NPCs even denying service. So the more people you annoy the more money you have to spend on everything you buy and might not get critical services at all.

Metagame crimes are usually fined by the gamemasters. But that is time consuming.

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I voted epic, because I think every level range has its appeal.

At Level 1-4 it is challenging to scale physical obstacles (Walls and stuff since there is no fly yet) and to get creative using what you have at hand to solve problems (I call them the MacGyver levels ^^)

As Level 5-10 progresses you can solve already a lot of problems with your abilities and face off with many different enemies. Yet you are not really so powerful that you do not have to fear rather "mundane" dangers.

When reaching Level 11-15 you have become sort of a little out of place with the normal world. Things that would outright kill any NPC is only a flesh wound. Higher authorities consult you (or hunt you... depending what you did) and your word weights heavy.
You can own an army or fight an army (by yourself).

The final levels of 16-20 (and beyond) are truly out there. You go to places normal mortals can't even dream about (Planes other than the Material Plane). You mingle in the affairs of deity's and the rulers of the Demon lands.
You might even become a deity yourself.

Every level range has its own appeal and I wouldn't want to miss a single one. I prefer to start at level 1 and ending around 20 (+/- a few levels to wrap up the storyline).

Of course the instances are rare where you can really go from 1 to 20 (In only managed once in 3.5), so I sometimes join games at higher levels too. In those cases I often use the opportunity to play a monster race with high CR so I still only have 1 class level.

Going into epic levels mostly happens as means necessary to finish a story arc. I haven't started at level 20 just to play at epic levels. Maybe I will try that sometime, but I doubt I will do it more than once.
And fighting alone should never be the sole focus of any level range. I don't think I have ever leveled up by pure monster bashing XP.

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Using "Stone to Flesh" repeatedly over a long time to turn a whole mountain into a pile of meat and then animate it into a colossal++++++++ creature. ^^

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A baby puts a heavy strain on a woman's body. But don't forgot you are talking about an adventuring woman here. One that can take a blow from a sword without breaking a sweat (well depends on her level and what class, but I assume she has a few levels under her belt).
So she would be able to continue adventuring.
I like the idea with splitting it in trimesters as some previous posters have done it. This is what I'd give her after a few minutes of thinking.

1. Trimester:
-2 penalty on saves against effects that cause the following conditions: fatigued, exhausted, nauseated, sickened.
+2 moral bonus on saves against fear effects (nothing is more dangerous than a mother protecting her children)

2. Trimester:
Penalty and bonus on saves increase to 3.
-2 Dexterity
Carrying capacity is halved.
Speed reduced by 5 feet.
Armor doesn't fit as well anymore (increasing the armor check penalty by 2)

3. Trimester:
Penalty and bonus on saves increase to 4.
-6 Dexterity (-4 that were meantioned seems a bit too weak. but that depends on the race. I can imagine a Dwarven woman (who are very used to wearing heavy armor) to be less restricted)
Carrying capacity quartered.
Speed halved.
+2 moral bonus against enchantments (since there are now two minds in one body a spell that tampers with the mind could get less effective)
Normal armor doesn't fit at all anymore. You'd need a custom armor.

So a highly pregnant character will be strongly restriced, but that is to be expected.
The real problem I think is how to handle negative effects (like damage, energy drain, diseases etc). How do they influence the child? What if she is reduced to negative hitpoints? Is the baby at negative too?