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Dekalinder wrote:

So it's wielded in some cases, and is not wielded in other? How in all 666 infinite layer of the abyss is someone supposed to arbitrate with such contrieved and literally opposite rules? Coin flip?

I heard emotions are hard to read on paper so let me explicitly state that i'm quite pissed.

It's because they're drawing a line between what they consider "letting it be useful" and "letting it be abused."

Mind you, I'm not saying any given example would or wouldn't be abusive, in my own opinion (reserving judgment there). But from a game design standpoint, you tend to want to let some stuff go through (e.g. Kineticists aren't likely to use STR at all, so not allowing Weapon Finesse means Kinetic Blade gets dumpstered). While also remembering that you usually can't let *everything* through (e.g. It's probably not a great idea in the long run to let Kinetic Blade qualify for things like Weapon Training, Weapon Versatility, etc).

Minor edit: I was referring mainly to a more vanilla blast-you-all-day Kineticist when I mentioned that they aren't likely to use STR - though, one certainly can play a STR-heavy Kineticist.

Honestly, let me start off by saying that I personally don't take much issue with Dazing Spell metamagic. To briefly explain why...

1) It's not something that a really low-level magic user will ever gain access to, unless the DM (foolishly) hands him a rod of it during an adventure.

2) High-level wizards and sorcerers already have a billion other ways to break an encounter. Is one more really changing the game that much? Hell, even a level one wizard can break a level-appropriate encounter by just casting Color Spray.

3) It lets casters with less direct control be able to hold a candle against wizards and sorcerers in that department, thus opening up and expanding the role to other classes... which is probably a balance concern to some, but I never minded it all that much. Why let the kingpin arcane casters have all the fun?

4) I gave up on the idea of any game built from the 3.5 ruleset ever being balanced a long time ago. The core of the system is just too broken by its own inherent mechanics, and explaining why would take more effort than I plan to give today. Pathfinder is leaps and bounds better than 3.5, but it can't patch every hole. There's just too many. One has to accept a certain number of them to actually enjoy playing it. That's not to say that I don't still want balance wherever it's possible to achieve it, just that I've learned to accept that the system is hilariously far from ever being perfect.

With that said... Dazing Spell is pretty high on the power curve, and this is undeniable. As such, its found itself in a troublesome spot at our table. Some of our DMs don't mind if it's used (such as myself), others are in a tricky spot where they kind of don't want to ban it, but feel it's a bit too good as it is.

So, I'm proposing a house rule for that particular metamagic feat -- and by extension, the appropriate metamagic rods. I want to allow the feat to still grow into a powerful ability, but limit how powerful it can become, especially in the earlier levels. I believe that it's fine for Dazing Spell to wreck a few creatures, but perhaps we should consider how many a "few" is.

Dazing Spell (Metamagic)

You can daze creatures with the power of your spells.

You can modify a spell to daze a creature damaged by the spell. When a creature takes damage from this spell, they become dazed for a number of rounds equal to the original level of the spell. If the spell allows a saving throw, a successful save negates the daze effect. If the spell does not allow a save, the target can make a Will save to negate the daze effect. If the spell effect also causes the creature to become dazed, the duration of this metamagic effect is added to the duration of the spell. Spells that do not deal damage do not benefit from this feat. This feat adjusts the spells total level by +3.

This metamagic feat can only affect a maximum number of creatures equal to the original level of the spell. For example, a Dazing Fireball can only daze up to 3 creatures that were affected by the Fireball.

In the case of spells that apply damage across a duration, you may choose which moments to apply the dazing effect, up to the maximum allowed. For example, when using Call Lightning, you may choose which lightning strikes will apply Dazing Spell, bearing in mind that no more than 3 total creatures can be affected by this use of Dazing Spell (because Call Lightning is originally a 3rd level spell). This feat does not allow you to modify a spell after it was already cast.

I feel the best way to weaken the feat, without making it useless, is to address the number of uses you get out of the effect in a single cast. Though, I do fear that my given example may cause the feat to be too weak to be worth taking when it initially becomes usable.

So, if anyone has any feedback on this idea, or other ideas for it, by all means, reply and let me know.

Question from my home table. Maybe we have an older print of Ultimate Combat, but I don't see anything in the FAQ about it, so I'll go ahead and ask.

Ultimate Combat, page 67 wrote:
Distract (DC 20; bird only): The animal companion flutters wildly around any enemy it would normally attack with the attack trick. It makes an attack roll against that enemy. On a hit, the enemy is shaken.

What is the duration on the shaken effect here?

I'm actually one of the members of Idward's playing group. We're very long time table-top players. Many of us have played since D&D 3.5 was still current, and some of us go back as far as AD&D. The point here being, we've been around the block a few times at our table. We're also experienced DM's and players, as we frequently rotate who DM's what.

Id asked me to have a look at the thread because he's added a few things that we haven't discussed before, and wanted my input, as well as the input from our fellow Pathfinder players.

So Id, here's my input:

How I feel about the feat-tax issue:

I wholeheartedly agree that one of Pathfinder's fundamental weaknesses as a system is how feat chains are set up. Way too many potential builds are hampered by the number of feats required, and really, all this does is enforce the "best feat build for my character" issue. You know, the one where you have to pick an exact sequence of feats to make your build effective. (Looking at you, archer builds). More required feats equals less freedom in how you spend your feats. Less feat freedom will then equal less build diversity. Less build diversity hurts the game mechanics, and produces that "samey" feel between what would otherwise have been different characters.

How I feel about Id's inherent feats:
However, even with the previous section being said, I'm kind of against inherent feats. I don't really think that giving Power Attack for free when you gain 13 STR is necessary. I do think that removing it as a pre-requisite for certain other feats is a good idea, though. This goes into an area that a friend of ours came up with. See below

Another consideration:
It makes sense that a feat like Furious Focus would require Power Attack, because the two feats are linked mechanically. One depends on the other. It does not, however, make a great deal of sense to require Power Attack before you can take Cleave. Aside from an extremely weak connection in the flavor of the feats, the two aren't related at all. "But, you have to swing really hard to cleave through a person, right?" That kind of weak connection isn't enough to enforce mechanics around.

You don't have to use Power Attack to use Cleave, and Cleave isn't so groundbreakingly powerful that it would require an extra feat just for balance reasons. If you want to take Cleave, but don't want to take Power Attack, you should be allowed to.

This is just the tip of the iceberg though. Pathfinder has a lot of nonsensical feat requirements, many of which are archaic copypasta from 3.5 (where some of them still didn't make a lot of sense). Many others make sense mechanically, but simply take too long to be viable for a lot of classes. Some of them are long enough to make a Fighter have second thoughts, and that's just a damn shame.

Id, I may end up making a thread of my own on the issue, because our philosophies seem to diverge a bit, though we both agree that the feat taxes are problematic.

Also, a side-note,

Idward Evanhand wrote:
I don't allow Greater Two-Weapon Fighting to be taken if you have to use a Belt of Incredible Dexterity to get it since if you lose the belt you lose the feat.

I actually find it funny that you point that out, Id, because the last time we had that discussion (which was ages ago), you agreed to start allowing it.

After I showed you a post where SKR stated that he felt players should be allowed to do exactly that; and also agrees that players can take feats that they "sometimes qualify for" provided that they only benefit from that feat during the times they do qualify. (Such as a druid taking improved natural attack for one of his wild shapes). Hence the reason why belts and headbands are specifically noted as being permanent bonuses after the 24 hour mark. You are meant to be able to use them that way. The rules were specifically written to allow it.

Kazaan wrote:
Again, what, exactly, is that plain/common-sense reading? Does Spell Combat allow for Iterative Attacks even without utilizing full-attack as a sub-component of the Spell Combat full-round action and Haste is being changed to work with Iterative Attacks rather than Full-Attack? Or is Spell Combat being changed to allow for Full-Attack as a sub-component so that Haste, along with fight defensively, flurry of blows, and any other ability that comes into play when making a Full-Attack, is remaining the same but now works with Spell Combat because Spell Combat is being changed?

It means that Spell Combat is functionally equivalent to a full-attack action, with the addendum being that you also cast a spell. (Provided that the spell would have normally used a standard action).

This means that if you have a +6 BAB, then you are allowed to make both of your main-hand attacks (one at +6, and the second at +1), in addition to casting a spell (and that spell can potentially grant one more attack via Spellstrike, for example, if you cast Shocking Grasp).

Technically, yes, because it is being treated as a full-attack action, you SHOULD be allowed to fight defensively, or use Combat Expertise, and the like.

Because it's being treated as a full-attack action, Haste now interacts with it, the way it always should have. One extra attack at full BAB, and the other side benefits that haste gives.

You absolutely cannot combine Spell Combat with Flurry of Blows, for the same reason that you cannot combine Flurry of Blows with the Two-weapon Fighting feat. By the written rule, you're already (technically) two-weapon fighting when you use Spell Combat, and your "off-hand" is reserved for the act of casting a spell -- thus it cannot also be used for the purpose of an entirely separate mechanic.

Edit: In regards to natural attacks, that is indeed a bit unclear. I'm of the opinion that adding natural attacks to Spell Combat should work, similarly to adding them to TWF. (As it doesn't specifically exclude them, like FoB does).

You've essentially stumbled on the precise reason why spellcasting in 3rd edition (and by extension, PF) is irredeemably broken, at least from a mechanics perspective. The upper limit of what is possible is just too high. As a result, many monsters are built in ways to specifically negate or hamper a lot of the better spells (for example: the hundred thousand high-fort monsters, and the tons with immunity to mind-affecting). Which results in specialists having to go out of their way to make the tactic work; but then you have the problem of the spellcaster who's too good at what he/she does. The middle-ground is almost non-existant, because if you're "in the middle" when it comes to making your spells work, you're probably not very good at your job. Such is the unbalanced magic system we've grown to love and hate. It's almost a necessary evil at this point.

Knowing this, I generally feel that you've either got to disallow some things from the get-go, or relax and let the player have their fun.

For the purpose of keeping spoilers unspoiled, I second the idea of the mooks not knowing a great deal about what's actually happening. How many evil masterminds are actually honest to all of their minions? Many lie to their own second-in-command people.

Elamdri wrote:
Yes, Pistolero does not replace Gun Training.

The RAI on that is extremely questionable, even though the RAW doesn't replace it. I've houseruled that it does replace it, and will continue to houserule it because I see no need to let guns benefit from dex to damage twice. They already do insane damage.

Princess Animal Parts wrote:
Keep in mind One applies to Reflex and the other Applies to CMD another Reason why the Original Question was Brought up

That's the other reason for why I'm pretty sure the "max dex" limit still applies. Both abilities seem to be intended to give two benefits with the same drawbacks. It's a classic editing mistake for our beloved Paizo.

Generally speaking, though, when you use one ability score in place of another, all the same restrictions of the original still apply -- you're just substituting the relevant modifier; for example, when you use an ability that lets you substitute Wis in place of Dex for skills (there's a trait that does this), the armor check penalty on that skill still applies even though the modifiers were swapped. Unless it specifically states that a pre-existing restriction no longer applies you're usually supposed to assume the restriction is still there. As with everything else: exceptions do exist, but in this case I do believe this was the intent. Hence, at my table I'd still enforce the max dex limit.

Considering Paizo's editing habits, I'd say that the intent was for all the normal rules of dex to apply, just to cha instead. Meaning maximum dex bonus of your armor still applies. Could use a clarification, though.

Flavor-wise, the reason why it still applies is because you're not actually using your "force of personality" to deflect the attacks. (The attack doesn't miss just because you willed it to). The idea is that you're using cha because you're so in tune to your surroundings, that you can feel the right time to dodge an attack, as opposed to simply reacting to it. That feeling does not, however, allow you to ignore the restrictions of your armor. Your body doesn't become less restricted just because you have a sixth sense about incoming attacks.

That's my interpretation, at least.

lemeres wrote:
Another thing to note is that you can that the Extra Hex feat once you get your first hex.

Not quite; you're partially incorrect.

Hexcrafter does not have the Hex class feature, and therefore does not qualify for the Extra Hex feat. (Hex Magus and Hex Arcana class features do not equal Hex class feature; similar but not the same).

However, as written, Hex Arcana states that anytime you would gain a new Arcana, you may gain a new Hex instead. Therefore, you can use the Extra Arcana feat for the same end result. ;) Splitting hairs? Probably, but if you're gonna do it, do it the way the rules support.

Grayfeather wrote:
Lets not overreact now. I usually summon a bit before and buff them but then again a conjuration + extend MM rod makes that nice and long (1 round/caster level * 1.5 * 2).

Only problem is, how often you actually have the "summon and buff up before combat" advantage will vary extremely wildly, based on the campaign, and more importantly: the GM. I'm going to tell you from experience: when a GM (who is apt at playing monsters to their fullest) loves to shove fights in your face often without warning, any round spent needing to cast buffs on a summon, of all things is likely a waste of a round. Including the full-round used to summon in the first place, the time consumed adds up when the GM knows how to kill you. (AoE buffs are en exception, of course since the whole party benefits too). That's why Augment Summoning is such a popular feat. It helps saves you a bit on your action economy, which is crucial to many. Also, it only burns 2 feats to take Augment Summoning, not 3.

Individual mileage will vary, but remember that not everyone plays in the same group as you.

Grayfeather wrote:
But honestly MT is not great for summoning badassertry (yeap thats a word now, coining it).

People already say "badassery" but if you really want to put the extra "tr" in there, help yourself. ;)

In any case, though, I agree. Summoning is one of those things you really need to be right on level for. Delaying access to the summon spells by taking MT (or any prestige that results in a net-loss of caster levels) is going to really hurt.
Semi-on-topic Tangent:

It's a shame that the Tatooed Mystic (Paths of Prestige book) gives up 3 caster levels, otherwise that Pouncing Beasts ability would make them excellent for summoning builds. Want to buy: prestige class focused on summoning in Pathfinder. (Not that it's needed, just would be nice to have).

Grayfeather wrote:
But its rare you make a class that can summon a T-rex, strong jaw + animal growth it then haste and Call the Void/silence/darkness centered on them. I can tell you thats a frightning combo.

That's a whole lot of required set-up. Too much to be practical unless done before combat. Neat if you pull it off, though.

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
It's no offense to the Bard; they are still fun characters, especially when bubbling a smoke pipe in hand while laughing at all the enemies that are uncontrollably crying when the big bad frontliners go and beat them senseless. That's definitely a character I'd enjoy playing for sure, but the issue is that they must focus one or the other, and the Bard's casting capabilities (and Bardic Performance features) are one of a kind, whereas being a frontliner ignores such powerful and useful capabilities, and the party (as well as the character, especially if poorly played) suffers as a whole because of it.

The logic of "Magus does melee caster better" isn't much of a point. Wizard does caster better, so does that also mean that bards shouldn't try to be good casters?

There's nothing about the Bard's spellcasting that's unique, aside from the spells that directly relate to Bardic Performance (I'll come back to that). Wizard has been a superior spellcaster from day one, and Witch is hot on his heels for the "arcane buffer" spot, and already surpasses him in numerous ways. So, no, a Bard need not concern himself with being the best caster he can be to stand out. (I'm not saying no one should play caster bards. I'm just saying your statements about a melee bard are rather misguided. "Magus does melee caster better," true, but Wizard and Witch do stay-back-and-focus-on-casting better.)

Next point: being a frontliner doesn't ignore the thing that actually separates the Bard from his contemporaries: Bardic Performance. Being in melee doesn't hurt this at all.

Next, experience teaches one the finer points of playing a "flank buddy" role. Having an extra melee presence is more than just "I do damage." Proper positioning leads to the establishment of meta-control over enemy positioning and movement. Bards may not be full-on tanks, but they can still hold their own quite well if they need to; enough to be a solid skirmisher, and that's all that's needed here.

Lastly, there are ways to achieve other sources of control without even needing to focus on saving throw DCs, however this often requires creativity. The classic example is using the spell Silence. Don't cast it on an enemy caster, because he gets a Will save, and his Will is most likely his best save. Don't cast it on an area near the enemy caster, because he'll just leave the area. Cast it on the Fighter, and let him get in the caster's face. Doing this effectively silences the caster, and circumvents the saving throw.

There are other examples of how to use soft-control and meta-control to turn the tide in a fight, but I'd have to be writing a guide to really go into great detail about it. Point here being, there's nothing suboptimal about a Bard who doesn't focus fully on casting. You just have to know what you're doing.

Ravingdork wrote:

Despite the disgusting habit of mounting his own tumor, Skivven can be quite scary for a host of other reasons. First and foremost, he is an apt poisoner, carrying a variety of deadly doses at any given time, many of which cannot be cured naturally.

He even possesses some amazing tools of manufacture which allow him to rapidly create 5 doses of poison in only half an hour (1 hour per the item's description, then cut in half due to swift alchemy, multiplied by his Intelligence modifier in doses thanks to his Master Alchemist feat).

He also specializes in "biological warfare" utilizing a variety of poison gas attacks to ensure that his enemies either die quickly, or suffer for lengthy periods of time.

He also excels at infiltrating locations using his small size, stealth skill, unassuming cap of human guise (posing as a servant or army laborer), and/or gaseous form spell (to sneak past guards and to get into secure areas) in order to wreak havoc with siege engines, weapons, or steeds/vehicles via his disable device skill.

If he has his way, the enemy forces will be absolutely crippled before they even realize there's a threat about them.

You may have given birth to a new NPC in my home campaign...

Gloves of Dueling increase the bonus from Weapon Training by an extra +2.

Instead of burning a feat on Tower Shield Proficiency, take Shield Focus and use a heavy shield. Net loss of 1 AC, but gain +2 to hit by avoiding the extra attack penalty that tower shields give you. Tower Shields aren't worth it for any Oracle. Shield Focus is still a debatable value compared to certain other feats, but its leagues above trying to force a tower shield on yourself.

martryn wrote:
I personally hate both Instant Enemy and Pearls of Power. I hate Instant Enemy because every Ranger uses it. It's a silly reason, but anytime you talk about rangers, you talk about a spell that's not even in the Core RB, combined with expensive Pearls of Power. It's never even been used in one of my campaigns, but I still hate hearing about it as much as I hate seeing Egzimora avatars. I don't even think it's broken (unless a character can somehow afford more than one Pearl of Power), I just don't like it. I hate it as much as I hate every caster in any campaign I'm a part of having Glitterdust and casting it more than twice a combat.

You must really hate Haste then. Every Wizard, Sorcerer, Magus, Summoner, Alchemist and Bard takes it. Even certain Witch builds have it.

I wouldn't advise combat maneuvers if you're not playing a class with a full base attack bonus. High level monsters have ridiculous CMD's, to the point where even the full BABers can have problems landing them, not to mention that a lot of the better maneuvers flat-out don't work on a lot of high level stuff. (Can't trip the flyer, can't disarm the demon who uses a crazy number of natural attacks, etc). They do become more valuable if your GM has a habit of only throwing medium-sized humanoids at you; but most GM's I've seen don't do a lot of that at the upper levels.

Gunslingers are in a tricky spot, balance-wise. The general problem with gun builds in Pathfinder is that the line between the build sucking and being extremely powerful is razor thin. The very moment the gun becomes perfectly viable as a main weapon is the same moment it starts topping the DPR charts. Essentially, you either don't build it right, or you build it to wreck everything. The middle-ground is almost non-existent (unless it's just a back-up weapon for a build).

Flavor is always key to roleplay, so do what works for you. I do want to point out, though, that Inspire Courage does wonders for the entire group's combat ability (including your own), so full Bard would actually still fit pretty well into your group. Adding feats like Arcane Strike and Power Attack (or Deadly Aim, if you're archery based) can make a Bard a pretty solid damage dealer, in addition to having spells and such.

But yeah, flavor > mechanics, as long as you build it well enough to do your part in the group. Having fun takes precedence over everything else.

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GureiKun wrote:
Hey all; if you're here to say bards suck i know lol,

Since when did bards suck? This is news to me. Unless you meant, "only having 4 levels of bard sucks," then I might be able to agree.

I'm a little curious why your warrior poet couldn't be a single-classed Arcane Duelist Bard, but I won't go into all those details. (Just a suggestion).

As for your actual question, Vital Strike will always be inferior to any equally optimized full-attacking build, if you're looking for high damage. Go crits.

Regarding the whole "new content should be tested first" thing, it bares repeating that Snowball is not a broken spell. It bares repeating that this spell is not the source of the conjuration > evocation issue.

It is, however, a case of "rich getting richer." As in, the best school of magic getting another one of the best spells for its level. You people's rage is rather misguided, however. With or without this spell, evocation would still be the weakest school because the mechanics of spells in 3rd edition (and by extension, Pathfinder) just don't favor it. It could also be seen as a power creep, but one of the most harmless creeps I've seen thus far.

Redirect that fanrage towards getting new evocation toys, not complaining when the rich conjurers get a new one. Removing this one spell doesn't fix the problem that already existed years ago. All this school vs. school crap is starting to remind me of the caster-martial disparity arguments.

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News flash: all spells aren't created equal.

The solution is quite simple. If you aren't comfortable with the spell, don't allow it in your games. It doesn't phase me, personally. Level one blasts suck (except for corner-cases, like a Magus using Shocking Grasp). If a caster at my table wants one that isn't crap, he's welcome to it. It's not going to have a gigantic impact at low levels, and at higher levels he has better options anyway. It's not allowing him to do much that he wasn't already capable of by other means. Just my two cents.

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Kazaan wrote:
So who's correct in interpreting the intent of the people who wrote the content? You? Me? Baring some kind of official FAQ from the actual rules people (as was the case with the full-attack sunder question), we have no reliable way to determine intent; therefore, logically, you must default to RAW.

Statements like these are the reason rules-lawyers have bad reputations.

Saedar wrote:

1.) I would say no. Basically, you are using the same ability and like abilities don't stack. That said, I can see the argument that they are different effects. In my home game, we said no.

Evil Eye doesn't stack for the same penalty (meaning multiple Evil Eyes can't all be targeting AC, for example), but you are allowed to give multiple Evil Eyes to the same target as long as they are debuffing different statistics. It's in the FAQ for the Advanced Player's Guide, question answered by Sean K. Reynolds.

It might sound broken at first glance, but you have to consider how many rounds of setup it takes to get numerous Evil Eye's off. For the time investment (and remembering that said witch is spending all this time on one enemy), it's perfectly fine balance wise.

As for healing, you do not want a witch as the primary healer unless you have access to Ultimate Magic. The Hedge Witch archetype plus the Healing Patron from that book makes primary healer witches very much viable. But with APG only, I'd stick with secondary "pinch" healing. The Healing Hex is still a good investment either way, though. A free, essentially spontaneous heal for each party member goes a long ways, even if it is once per person per day.

For Sorc Bloodline, I'd either go Elemental or Marid. Being able to turn any spell to cold, on the fly, will help versatility. Allowing you to take up some spells that aren't traditionally cold-based (just in case you come across that white dragon which may or may not have blue eyes), without breaking the character theme.

Make sure you get Icy Prison when you, eventually, get 5th level spells. Elemental Focus (Cold) should be a no-brainer here. As with any type of energy blasting tactics, Dazing Spell is always a nice pick-up.

Fnipernackle wrote:
...anyone in that cone is entangled for two rounds unless they make their save AND have evasion.

Or a good amount of cold resistance. Or immunity. Keep an eye on those too.

AtomicGamer wrote:

Important Caveat, the game in question is a first level only game. Characters will not advance from level one until many many sessions in at the earliest.

I'm considering making a bard, I link my GM to the dancing dervish going "Hey, this is cool, should I make this variant of a bard?"

and he says. "A bard that only boosts himself and nobody else? And retains spellcasting, that's OP. No, core only!"

I realize the GM is the ultimate authority, I just felt like I should probably get a second opinion, since I think the dervish is actually something of a step backwards from regular bard in terms of raw power.

Your GM strikes me as the kind of GM who calls something broken on principles, rather than mechanics. Meaning he'll probably be giving you the eye anytime you have a build that goes too far outside of the expected normalcy of a class. Which, consequently, is the mark of an inexperienced GM. I may be wrong though. But still, anyone who applies analysis of the mechanical ability, as opposed to the concept, can see that bard archetype isn't overpowered. I'd much rather play vanilla bard over the D-Dancer any day.

Blueluck wrote:
* People denigrate the Elements patron because it's all about blasty spells, and "blasty is bad". Witches have lots of save-or-lose, and great ways to target willpower and fortitude saves with their hexes and core spell list, but adding a single direct damage spell at each level really rounds out their choice of weapons.

Depends on the goal, really. Unless you're hard-pressed to do damage right now when your turn comes up, you're better off using Summon Monster spells if you want to provide extra damage output to the party. A spell that continues offering damage + extra utility every round for several rounds will almost always beat casting something like Fireball in terms of damage output; unless you intend to bump it with maximize and empower, that is.

But, that being said... A very good way to make the Elements patron very useful is a little thing called Dazing Spell metamagic. A regular Fireball is lackluster. But a Dazing Fireball is something that rocks the battlefield pretty hard. It helps provide the witch with ways to dish out several reflex-based SoL's, in addition to all the will and fortitude SoL's they already possess. If that's the plan, then the Elements patron gains a lot of weight.

Arizhel wrote:
Low levels, Slumber hex first, then everything else. Slumber never gets old or useless. It is so much better than the spell:

I'm just going to say, it's okay to not have Slumber at levels 1-2, but it's a great pick-up at 3rd (via Extra Hex) or 4th level, and beyond.

At level 1, Slumber is a single-round SoL, which is useful, but not outstanding. The spell is just better here (one round versus one minute). At level 2, the spell is still relevant, and still has the same save DC. Level 3 and beyond, though, is where you'd want to make that tactical switch. Being a pseudo-spellbook caster, using a spell known on a HD limited spell doesn't hurt nearly as much as it would a Sorcerer, for example. If you really need a single-round SoL at level 1 (or 2), use Daze. The HD limit is, again, quite workable at levels 1 and 2.

Adamantine Dragon wrote:

I have to say that I generally dislike any gender-specific items that push players to conform to outdated stereotypical gender roles. My witch is male, and I don't think he's going to want to wear the corset. Yes, I can flavor it as something else, but I shouldn't have to. The items should just be generic items that provide a mechanical benefit and the player should decide the gender and the fluff.

I get enough sexist silly jokes as it is.

Is re-flavoring something really that much of a hindrance? Paizo doesn't make books with mechanical crunch without putting their own flavor to it. Flavor-adjusting should be a regular consideration for any table-top RPGer in my opinion, as you can't expect every item to be a generic item, or every feat to be a generic feat, etc etc.

Useful gear from Ultimate Equipment:

Cackling Hag's Blouse:

This loose-fitting blouse is adorned with grotesque fetishes and trophies, granting the wearer a +2 competence bonus on Intimidate checks. If the wearer is a witch, she gains the cackle hex. If the wearer already has the cackle hex, twice per day she can use her cackle ability as a swift action instead of a move action.

In a high-level game, you can use it to gain easy access to Cackle without needing to take it manually. However, Cackle is so useful that most witches would probably still take it manually regardless. In which case, you gain the ability to use it as a swift action twice per day. Can be helpful in situations where the action economy is tight.

Corset of Dire Witchcraft:

This slimming garment is fastened with laces, buckles, and buttons and reinforced with ribs of leather or bone. A corset of dire witchcraft grants a +4 armor bonus to AC. If the wearer is a witch, each day when she communes with her familiar to prepare spells, she may enhance one hex she knows, increasing its caster level by +2 for 24 hours. This enhancement ends if the corset is is removed or if she uses it to enhance a different hex.

What's hotter than a witch with high charisma? One who wears a corset. This little beauty is a great way to put a little extra oomph behind a hex, and the awesome thing is that you can change which hex you apply it to each day. The wording in the description is questionable, since most hexes aren't based on "caster level." My interpretation is that it was meant to say class level, because well, the alternative is far too restricted to be worth the gold (only a few hexes are based directly on spells, many of which just aren't worth a CL bump at this price). Consult your GM, but if he makes the same ruling I do, then this little gem becomes a fantastic pick-up. Skip it if he stays RAW. Oh, and you'll never need to cast Mage Armor again, if that matters to you at all.

James Jacobs wrote:

I certainly love it when folks get into the game and post character builds on these forums. I don't read them as a general rule, since I'm not really into character optimization for the sake of optimizing... but by all means, carry on!

And to Lune (spoilered to try to keep the thread somewhat on track):

** spoiler omitted **

I would like to say, for the record, that my Shoanti character has a backstory explaining how he came to favor defensive tactics, and eventually turned his defensive prowess into an offensive style involving two Klars.

Ventnor wrote:
Honestly, I think a dual-klar wielding Shoanti Ranger could be a pretty fun character to play.

You hit the nail on the head, my friend. ;)

I've made a character who dual-wields Klars. I think it's awesome. And I'm not ashamed of it.

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shallowsoul wrote:
I've been gaming for 28 years now and in all those years min/maxing almost always leads to DM vs Players. This happens because each side keeps upgrading their optimization to keep up with one another.

Not really. The only fights that need to be directly challenging are boss fights, and that alone hardly counts as "DM vs players." If your GMs are egotists who can't stand being one-upped by their players, they should consider retiring from GM status. It's not a crime to be happy for your players if they find ways, mechanical or otherwise, to get through your encounter with minimal damage taken; nor is it a crime for them to do so. 3.5 and PF can often turn into battles of resources; as many items and abilities are limited by daily use. It simply makes sense that you find ways to proceed without having to blow half of your loadout in every fight.

shallowsoul wrote:
I don't run cake walk games, period. If I am not having fun in a game then I won't bother running. It's as simple as that.

I find this statement intriguing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying every encounter of every campaign should be a cakewalk. But you seem to be implying that your fun stops the very moment your party finds a way to blow through an encounter. Not to be offensive, but this is entirely the wrong mentality to have when you run a table. That is what causes GM vs. Players Syndrome in the first place.

Pendagast wrote:

My only look at Skirnir magus has been twice:

A conceptual Phalanx fighter/Skirnir. Which REALLY won't do what you are hoping it to do.

and a player who wanted to play a character based on Allevrah Azrinae (saw the pic)

Shield and whip Magus.

In that case it didn't do what she wanted it to do. as she wanted to spell combat/spell strike with the whip and have the shield AC. But it wont work unless you lose the shield AC or use a buckler.... her vision of the character (based on the pic) didnt have a buckler, and she didn't want to wait until 8th level to do it , which can take a while, pretty much the third AP.

She was really keen on spell combat , spell strike and a shield with a whip.

It also wouldnt mesh with hex crafter, and she wanted hexes and I think she wanted a familiar at some point as well...

So again it wouldnt let her do what she wanted it to.

So that's batting 1000 (atm) for not doing what you think it will.

Which prompted me to think about a Skirnir to make on purpose, but havent found a scenario where it would work how Id like it to. (so actually three times)

It's not that it's sub optimal. unless you're speaking strictly from a concept point of view.

Please don't take this the wrong way but... All this really shows is that you both went in with the wrong expectations, and blamed the archetype for not meeting them. Your friend is trying to combine an awful lot of stuff there.

By the way, here's some roleplaying advice: just because the stat sheet says "buckler" doesn't mean you have to roleplay it as one. You can pretend the shield is any kind of shield you want, you just have to treat it mechanically as a buckler. The rules only limit mechanics and suggest roles, but it's up to you how you actually roleplay it out.

LazarX wrote:
I wouldn't call Mystic Theurge a "bad idea" it's just a path that can't be built on assumptions of raw power. It's not a power build path. It's a versatile path for the right kind of role, but not one for raw might.

With that being said, having beyond a certain amount of versatility becomes moot for a large number of builds. Having options is nice, but when a noticeable amount of them are already significantly stronger options than others, the reward of extra options starts to diminish, very quickly.

The only hard advantage that I'd say the MT has at the end of the day is a greater number of total spells per day... most of which he'd probably still not need at the upper levels if he's optimized. MT is a great idea, it's just not executed well.

Matthew Morris wrote:

I disagree gustavo,

A druid doesn't 'look like an archer' but we've seen an example of a good archer build.

A Lore Warden doesn't look like it is a good JOAT.

But they can be.

Trying to make a class be something is isn't designed to be, can be suboptinal (a core only fighter can make for a poor swashbuckler, especially if you decide to never go duelist). But again, the D-archer we've seen isn't 'designed' to be an archer, and is effective.

You missed his point. He's not saying those concepts aren't possible, he's saying those concepts must be optimized for that concept. When a class isn't created in a way that makes the concept viable from the get-go, you must then make the proper choices to create the needed viability. I.e. optimizing.

Druid Archer is still an optimized character. He's still going to pick the correct archery related feats, and make build decisions to make the concept work. That is what character optimization is. Take a concept (even if its a wildball concept), and use one's understanding of the rules to make it work. It doesn't have to be the best of the best top tier character. We're not making "maximized" characters; we're making "optimized" ones.

Gustavo is saying that knowing how to optimize makes a broader span of concepts become viable. And I agree wholeheartedly. The Druid Archer is a great example.

Pendagast wrote:

No. Skirnir isn't a sub optimal choice, it just doesn't do what it look like it does at first glance.

If you really like spell combat, the classes main feature, this archetype isnt for you.

Skirnir gets to use Spell Combat at level 8. It's late access, but it's still there... just try not to get your Bonded Shield sundered. Which, honestly, is somewhat easy to avoid if you keep it well enchanted. If the enhancement of your magic item is higher than the enhancement of the weapon that strikes it, that weapon cannot damage it (and you don't often see NPCs with super high enhancements). Since Magus can step up the enhancement of his weapon or shield on the fly, with a swift action... Shouldn't get stolen either, if you know what spells to protect it with when you're sleeping. The archetype works, you just have to be on your toes. As long as your DM isn't intentionally trying to ruin you, that is.

Rynjin wrote:

Hahaha oh wow.

Guess he's never heard of Fortune/Misfortune, or Evil Eye, or pretty much any of the other Hexes.

He's never read the spell list, or the patrons list either. Because clearly, Witches never get any good control spells ever, right?

He's stated, several times in fact, that Witches don't get Heal or Harm.

ORLY? Advanced Player's Guide page: 72

7th-Level Witch Spellsarcane sight (greater), chain
lightning, control weather, cure moderate wounds (mass),
harm, heal, hold person (mass), inf lict moderate wounds (mass),
insanity, instant summons, phase door, plane shift, power word
blind, regenerate, scrying (greater), summon monster VII,
symbol of stunning, symbol of weakness, teleport (greater),
teleport object, vision, waves of exhaustion.

I'm deeply amused by this guy's existence, to be honest.

Tom S 820 wrote:
Why no Druid ... The lost of class abitly and pet not advanceing is to much for small gain of spells.

No Druid? Pet not advancing? Heaven forbid that a Druid takes a domain instead, and not have to deal with that problem. Heaven also forbid acknowledging that the Druid spell list is actually pretty darn good, so using this strategy is quite valid if you want your MT to be able to use the nicer Druid spells. Sheesh.

@Rumpus: Why are you still arguing with Greyfeather? He's only going to ignore the points that he can't argue against while continuing to assert false statements. I still laugh every time he says a Witch can't cast Heal or Harm. Just let him be the one person in the entire community who has absolutely no idea how the class works.

gustavo iglesias wrote:
Pendagast wrote:
skirnir magus is interesting but it "pays" too much for the shield even when you do get spell combat and spell strike and catch up to a regular magus it doesn't work the same... it's really kinda blah.... I wish it had had some tweaking better.
In other words: it's a suboptimal choice compared to other magus builds.

And heaven forbid that we evil optimizers ever make a suboptimal choice for... -gasp- FLAVOR REASONS! (-Hears the apocalypse approaching in the background-)

Matthew Morris wrote:
Artanthos wrote:
If higher crit multipliers were allowed, I'm sure you would see many magi with keen falcata and at least a few magi swinging keen picks.

I think I mentioned this earlier. Right now it seems.

"Hi, I'm a Quadiran magus, I fight with Dervish Dance and a scimitar."

"Really? I'm a Taldoran magus, I fight with Dervish Dance and a scimitar too!"

If the Taldan magus wants to fight with a Falcata and buckler, don't penalize him!

Am I the only one who actually likes the Skirnir Magus? (Though, Falcata is still questionable, due to the issue Arthantos mentioned.)

It's not as bad as you think, considering the feat tax involved. If a person is willing to pay the feats just to make the build viable in the first place, there's no reason to then tell them "guess what? you're still MAD and you hit like a child." We're not giving them dex to damage for free, we're giving it them in feat form. Not every class has enough bonus feats to do it without putting thought into it first, and it's even worse on TWF. Count up all those feats, and tell me how many non-fighters will make the full investment before hitting the double-digits. Meanwhile, the 2hander is viable all across the board.

Edit: I'm including Improved TWF and the like when I said "full investment."

gustavo iglesias wrote:
Kazejin wrote:
chaoseffect wrote:
The question I think is whether or not it would be unreasonable to allow such a feat to apply dexterity to damage if you are dual wielding; I personally don't think so as long as the offhand attack did diminished damage like normal (which could then be mitigated by the feat that I can't recall the name of that let's you deal your full str mod in damage for your offhand).
I'd allow it, personally. The game is too firm against dexterity-based melee characters, (and kind of hard on two-weapon builds for that matter) and there's really no reason for it mechanically. It won't be the end of the world to let the finesse people have nice things too.

Theres's a reason, though. Dex is better than STR in anything but damage. If you add DEX to damage in any circumstance through a feat, then STR is obsolete as a stat. DEX gives you AC, Initiative, REF and a few good skills, plus to hit and damage. STR gives you to hit and damage. Oh, and encumbrance. At least until you use handy haversack, muleback cord, and portable hole.

Dex to damage with a condition (such as single hand weapon) is ok. If you can use it in every situation, then STR is useless. Unless you rebuild the game to allow STR being used in saves (like 4e Fortitude) or AC (Parry, like Conan d20 RPG)

I'm aware of the advantags of using a dex character, however to say STR is useless in that case is hyperbole. STR builds are still favorable for damage (because dex damage doesn't, and shouldn't ever benefit from two-handing.) That's before counting the feat tax involved in making dex builds. What I meant was, finesse builds have to invest more in feats or other resources, and then still meet the short end of the stick in any DPR race. Letting them have dex to damage (in exchange for more feat investment) isn't going to break anything. Hence: Greater Weapon Finesse.

chaoseffect wrote:
The question I think is whether or not it would be unreasonable to allow such a feat to apply dexterity to damage if you are dual wielding; I personally don't think so as long as the offhand attack did diminished damage like normal (which could then be mitigated by the feat that I can't recall the name of that let's you deal your full str mod in damage for your offhand).

I'd allow it, personally. The game is too firm against dexterity-based melee characters, (and kind of hard on two-weapon builds for that matter) and there's really no reason for it mechanically. It won't be the end of the world to let the finesse people have nice things too.

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Adamantine Dragon wrote:

I haven't commented so much about my witch. Perhaps I focused too much on role playing optimization for my witch. His build is primarily focused on social skills and potion making (he's only level 3). Of course he has hexes, but I have deliberately avoided taking the more commonly acknowledged overpowered hexes (no slumber). He has virtually zero combat oriented optimizations. He has average strength and con, so his hit points are not that great. I've put his favored class bonus into skills because there are so many social skills (and UMD) that he needs.

Now, is he "dead weight?" By some definitions I see on this thread, he absolutely would qualify as "dead weight". He does piddly damage with either a dagger or crossbow. In fact his "prehensile hair" is his most powerful melee attack, and that's d3 based I believe. In combat he typically sort of cowers in the back and uses "ill omen" and "misfortune" on the enemy. It's hard to tell sometimes how effective those are since the GM rolls behind a screen. On rare occasions he might fire his...

That doesn't meet anyone's definitions of "dead weight" from what I'm seeing. Misfortune is one of the most powerful hexes the witch has, and by itself contributes a lot if the enemy doesn't make the save. No one expects the witch to do damage, it's not his/her job. You found a fun way to play one, but you're still very much doing what people might expect of one.

A witch can have 10's or below in all three physical scores, be built without any source of damage, and still contribute meaningfully; I think we all know this. People were saying a fighter with those low physical scores would probably be dead weight. If we assume that fighter was intended to be a front-line combatant then, yeah, he'd be a contender for the "dead weight" title, specifically in combat. No one said he couldn't make a good party face, or provide other contributions to the game at large.

In any case, your post was a good read. Just wanted to give a little more clarity to how people actually perceive "dead weight" characters. It's more about the planned role vs. the implemented role.

@Matthew: That's perfectly reasonable. I disagreed with you earlier in the thread because I disagree that the concept of using dexterity over strength should be prohibited that strictly. It's one thing to say Dervish Dance doesn't exist in a world, because this world doesn't have spinning dancing zealots that serve Sarenrae (who may not exist in that world either). But it's a different matter to say, "no one, anywhere, ever, in this entire world is capable of conceiving the idea of using their skill at finesse to strike better." Hence re-flavoring, or even redesigning the feat entirely. And, of course, talking with the GM before making any assumptions.
(Greater Weapon Finesse needs to be a thing. Seriously.)

Maybe I could have explained that better, though.

Touc wrote:
As I discussed, in a prior campaign one player built that invincible combat machine, but no one else did. The solo artist carried the party (they would have gotten by, challenged, without being carried. The other players weren't making stupid characters). My observation is that no one wants to be "in the shadow" to a perfectly optimized character who has all the synergistic feats and so forth, so they react in kind. I don't want to address this in-game by upping the challenges (which is what I did last campaign, a mistake), or taking options away. ** spoiler omitted **

Did you try talking to that person about their character?

I think he meant things like "If I cast Charm Person, do I know if it worked, or if the person is just pretending to be friendlier?"

(...Yes they could attempt a Sense Motive check in that specific case, but I'm just giving a generic example here.)

To which, it's really up to the GM to decide if players should or shouldn't know whether their enemies made the save or not. It's worth noting that some spells are made useless (or close to it) if you don't know when they are, or aren't, successful. It is, however, bordering on metagame knowledge which not everyone is comfortable with.

I think it needs to be pointed out that you can't "limit" min-maxing by rules alone; not without addressing the intention that causes it. If you're just going to enforce stricter rules, under the impression that you're fixing the problem, you're just going to make it worse; and it starts with the point-buy. Lower point-buy games are just an excuse to min-max harder because it became harder to get the desired stats. Suddenly the person now has an excuse to abuse more unusual combinations of tactics, because he still wants the same end result. How he gets it isn't the problem, it's the fact that he wants it.

You have to address the intent, not the method. Which is just another way of saying talk to your players about it. People seem to be afraid of some big bag evil villainous powergamer who intentionally cheeses everything he does, but they forget that this person is a person, and might just need to asked to tone it down.

Matthew Morris wrote:
Tor Sasun wrote:
I don't see the problem with Magi using the Dervish Dancer feat. It's pretty much designed to shore up their weaknesses, and you can just as easily fluff it as how Magi are trained to fight. It's not "Dawnflower Dancer" or "Saranraen Disciple of How To Hit Things With a Scimitar" so the only reason to argue IT'S AGAINST THE FLUFF is if you've got a big ol' stick up your ass about changing fluff. And 3.X/PF is practically DESIGNED to LET you change the fluff as you please. As long as the crunch is the same, who cares if you learned to use speed over brute strength with a scimitar from a tanned guy in a turban or a mage-warrior?
We may disagree, but I read this as an argument that the feat is legal and take it automatically.

I read that as him attempting to give examples of how the feat could simply be re-flavored to fit in different settings. He was a bit aggressive about his point, though, so I see where you're coming from.

The concept of using one's dexterity, speed, and/or precision is hardly campaign-specific, so putting your own flavor to it is rather easy. (The feat may be specifically flavored, but the general concept is not, a generic concept can be applied to anything). The feat need not even be called "Dervish Dance" in your setting, and it need not even be for a scimitar. You could homebrew a feat called "Greater Weapon Finesse" that uses the normal Weapon Finesse as a prereq, and follows all the same rules as Weapon Finesse, save for also now adding DEX to damage instead of STR. I doubt anyone would have a problem with using that instead. Again, though, I'm just tossing suggestions.

Matthew Morris wrote:
If I'm running/playing in Golarion, then you have to learn it from a 'tanned guy in a turban' (or if I introduce someone you can learn it from, he learned it from said turban guy) Just like you're not going to find hunga munga in Irressen, or Katana in Mwangi, except in exceptional cases.

If I were in this game, I'd be perfectly fine with that. In fact, I'd have been talking to you about it before the first die even hit the table.

Seriously, I've not met these gamers that just assume they can do whatever without making some attempt to talk it over first. I guess they exist, somewhere, but I'm pretty sure they're a rare minority.

Pendagast wrote:
and it becomes cheese when everybody and their brother wants to use it

Is it cheese when every two-weapon ranger chooses to take Two-Weapon Fighting?

Pendagast wrote:
and push it because it's real goal is a optimization thing and I can get more bang for my buck by dropping my STR to 7 and pumping my int and dex and yadayda.

Still waiting for my answer, is it cheese when a Fighter takes 7 CHA? Is it cheese if the Wizard has 7 STR? If you say "yes" that's perfectly reasonable. A lot of GM's don't like stat dumping, as a universal rule. But if you allow the Fighter to dump CHA, then you're literally saying "he gets to dump, but you don't." If you don't allow anyone to dump, then it's silly to blame one feat for a gaming practice that existed long before the feat was ever written. So which is it?

Pendagast wrote:

It's not cheese when you come with .... I got this idea for an Kosac from Irrisien wastes.... And you want to play it in SS? Yes... ok.... why is in the jungle. I dunno, he's lost, finds himself on the ship.... ship wreck, blah blah blah.... Ok

In this case you would have a PC who is (initially at least) stated out etc from...

I don't recall anyone in this thread asserting (or even suggesting) that someone was just supposed to assume the feat was legal and take it automatically. Even optimization guides are nothing but guidelines and suggestions. That isn't the reason people are challenging you about your statements, we know damn well that players and GM's are supposed to discuss ideas first. People are challenging you because you've (seemed to be) asserting that the feat is cheese, period.

What gaming table do you people go to where the group apparently doesn't have any discussion about what everyone wants to play, backstories, reasonings, etc? I was under the impression that group discussions were a standard practice at any reasonable table.

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