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Mark Hoover 330 wrote:

Do your players actually have their characters interact with their backstories? Over the weekend I was reviewing some old stuff in my megadungeon campaign and I came across the email chains showing each PC's backstory elements. I generated two obvious side plots from them which resolved over a year ago now.


I don't know; am I the outlier here?

I don't think you're an outlier. In my experience, the biggest problems with backstories are two-fold:

1. GMs expect so much detail that characters starting at 1st-level makes no sense. (I find this a barrier to working with new GMs.)
2. Different PCs want different things but the campaign is about all the PCs wanting to work together to accomplish a common goal. Different goals starts to split the party, even if not in a combat sense, just in a spotlight sense.

The second problem can be "fixed" but it helps if players cooperate not just on picking appropriate builds but on their individual goals.

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I figure the diamonds aren't destroyed but vanish, being distributed amongst diamond-rich regions. So effectively diamonds that are "used up" by magic become a renewable resource.

Diamond prices only go up due to hoarding.

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I never knew that item existed. Needed for every horror/Cthulhu campaign!

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Mysterious Stranger wrote:
The real reason is game balance. Being able to attack while invisible is a lot stronger than a 2nd level spell should be. The standard invisibility spell is designed to allow you to sneak around and avoid danger. That is why it has a duration of 1 min. per level. Greater Invisibility is designed for combat and has a much shorter (1 round per level ) duration. Vanish has an even shorter duration and caps out at 5 rounds no matter how high the casters level is, but is only a 1st level spell.

This is the right answer. Furthermore it has a poor history with game balance. IIRC in 2e AD&D and earlier, you could make an Intelligence check to "see through it" or realize someone was there, but prior to 3e D&D was so messily written that people got confused by the rules. In 3e and Pathfinder, you can make a Spot or Perception check, but with such huge penalties (especially in Pathfinder, since you can't make an unmodified Listen check) that virtually nobody will ever see you. Put it on a wizard and they will probably not be spotted, put it on a rogue and nobody will ever see them (unless somebody has Perception +30 or something like that). A skill rolloff isn't balanced if somebody has such an unfair advantage.

The most balanced version I saw was in 4e. In that edition, invisibility (the condition) is basically Displacement combined with Hide in Plain Sight. There's no bonus to Stealth. Unfortunately they overnerfed it, raising the level significantly and making maintaining the spell more difficult than was necessary. I did like the Displacement + Hide in Plan Sight combo.

I think it's something similar in 5e, but without the level nerf. The invisibility condition there works just like in 4e.

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With all this death and danger, I'd thought they might realize that they aren't diversifying their options. They spend all the money they get on four things: better weapons, better armor, scrolls (for the wizard to copy and that's it), and crafting (wizard crafts wondrous items and armor and weapons, occultist crafts healing potions). They aren't interested in anything that isn't those four things.

Haven't they even heard of the Big Six? They have no stat boosting items? No cloaks of protection?

If they refuse to learn, you should start a new campaign using inherent bonuses, so no need to spend money on boring but necessary pluses. That would also take care of the Cloak of Resistance issue.

The party reminds me of my 2e AD&D days. Instead of a metal wizard, we would have a death cleric who didn't have the Sphere of Healing, and we only found out when the player showed up. (This was before most of us had email. Those were the days.) To this day, I hate bloat, because it makes such things more likely to happen.

DeathlessOne wrote:

I am curious about your players. Have ANY of them been involved in higher level play? My gut is telling me that you have a table full of players that have a "I've read a few guides and know what I am doing" vibe going on.

This is probably going on. There's also mismatched expectations. A friend of mine plays RPGs, but not D&D or Pathfinder. Her players did not learn not to split the party over the course of *five years*.

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Two PF1e GMs will often track if NPCs survive. Sometimes they even become recurring NPCs. However, I cannot recall a time when we gave mercy to an NPC and they came back to being a thorn in our side.

For instance, in a homebrew adventure we killed a kobold "king" and knocked out his son, plus the troglodytes who were secretly controlling them. Because the kobold "prince" survived, he was able to tell us what actually happened. We felt kind of bad. He took his people and left. I doubt we will ever see him again unless we specifically seek them out.

For the kobolds levelling up, I think that's a great idea. Chances are the PCs won't even notice they keep fighting the same kobolds. Maybe tell them at the end of the game!

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I see the magic item market the same way as the housing market.

Where I live, houses are overly expensive. Yes you need to pay for a place to live, but now you need to be rich or have a house to sell to buy one. Many people bought a house decades ago, and literally could not buy the next-door neighbor's identical house since it's "value" has increased so much. There's a lot of Fear Of Missing Out, so people will overspend in bidding wars (they fear the house will just get more expensive if they try to save more). Picture a noble who wants to buy a Wand of Cure Light Wounds, 750 gp. They try to do so, but a team of adventurers, fresh from selling off the loot from a dragon's hoard, show up and make an 800 gp donation and get the wand instead.

Many people treat houses as an investment. However they won't downsize (sell the house for a cheaper house) when they retire. So the house was treated as an investment while working, and as an (overpriced) good while retired. I figure many adventurers will not let go of their magic items post-retirement, since many of those items help keep them alive. Why would the retired fighter give up his Cloak of Resistance?

I figure you have to buy "rare" components when you make a magic item. It's magic, not technology, so making things more efficient probably isn't possible. When making a Wand of Fireballs, you need all that bat guano and sulfur and several thousands of dollars worth of other components (red dragon blood, perhaps?) which could only be obtained, at high risk, by a higher level adventurer. Dragons are greedy enough to sell their blood, but are too prideful to actually do it. (Plus it's dangerous to give a spellcaster your blood.) I'm not seeing an "efficient" way of getting true dragon blood (as an example).

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1 gp is worth far more than $1 US, which means even a simple Potion of Cure Light Wounds is incredibly expensive for a serf. Having said that, the modern economy is totally different than that of the past. Consider, in the medieval period food was very expensive relative to today, while shelter was cheap. There were homeless people in the medieval period, but they were wandering looking for work or to beg for food, not because they didn't have a hut to live in. Today's homeless people rarely starve but even if they're working can't afford a place to live. D&D (and so Pathfinder) mundane item costs don't make sense compared to real life medieval prices.

Probably more importantly, when it comes to Pathfinder is the magic item economy. If there's little magic there's no comparison. If there's lots of magic, a gun's price should be similar to a sword's price, which means nothing compared to getting it enhanced as a magic item.

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VoodistMonk wrote:

I mean, what's so bad about being a Mindflayer anyways?

You get free Tentacles and Mind Blasts, can Extract Brains... you can still become a Lich (always awesome).

The part where you lose your personality and become an NPC :)

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In Star Trek, the underground colony Terra Nova would use the word "shale" as a swear word.

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I assume a standard action is over 3 seconds, because you can only do one within 6 seconds. A move action has to be more than 2 seconds, because you can only do two of them (and less than 3 seconds, because you can do one and a standard action and still have time for a free action, etc).

So I guess a standard action is 3.5 seconds, a move action is 2.5 seconds, and a swift action is less than a second. I don't think any action not involving magic takes less than a fifth of a second, because of human reaction speed. (Yes, some PCs are not human, but generally human PCs can do the same things non-human PCs can.)

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rabbi82 wrote:

Hi all,

I was wondering how to play a proper orc.

So, if you are playing an orc, what behaviour or attitude do you focus on, to make your group mates "feel" that you are an orc.

Looking forward to hear from you

Best regards

Orcs respect strength and aggression, charisma, and cleverness in that order. An orc chief isn't necessarily the best warrior but they have to be tough enough to survive challenges. Expect cheating.

Orcs are tougher ('arder) than humans, and don't understand their frailty.

Orcs are loud and often have trouble sitting still. An unoccupied orc is often lazy. Of course, an energetic orc finds things to do with that energy. A not-so-energetic orc might spend much time drinking or sleeping. Note that a loud orc still tends to have low Charisma.

Orcs assume everyone understands their culture (obviously untrue). An orc throws their worst swear word as a warning to someone to STFU or get slapped upside the head. A human might just assume the orc is being rude, and gets surprised when they get slapped upside the head upon failing to close their mouth. Note that humans (and other such races) rarely understand orc culture, either. Obviously an orc who has had much contact with other races will learn how other cultures work.

Orcs can be civilized, but the most civilized orc tribes are usually less advanced than their neighbors. Orcs typically avoid cavalry or complicated magic, though their smithing isn't bad (warriors depend on their equipment, and an old warrior might "retire" to become a smith). Low levels of literacy means there are very few orc wizards; many orcs see writing as the "province" of shamans, so literate orc warriors are rare. Orc shamans (just any divine spellcaster) learn magic through oral tradition. Bosses often demand shamans use foreseeing magic for every significant action, and the bosses, being untutored, can be led astray.

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Alchemist 23 wrote:

We’re playing Rise of the Runelords, so minor spoilers I guess? If you seriously haven’t played that yet? Or like seen any P1 artwork.

Long story short, we’ve got a Paladin of Iomedae who is like the rest of the party, 110% DONE with goblins. The GM has been merciless with the bastards. We’ve seen them light old people on fire, they killed the kids who were chasing butterflies, and have majorly screwed up one of our parties NPC wifues. The Paladin even tried sparing some of them from the raid and they just ended up burning a farm and killing the family in ways I can’t discuss on this forum.

So when we went rocking into the Goblin camp we have shown 0 mercy and are at times using terror tactics on the buggers. And then we get to the room with the goblin kids. General call was to just go Goblin Slayer on their little green butts. However the GM is stuck on whether or not the Paladin can take part, which he kind of wants to since his NPC sister also got badly burned and lost her house in the attack.

There is also the fact that there are no Goblins alive to take care of them and there an't none gunna come back cuz the huts are trapped. The our Oracle has been using the term Exterminatus.

The paladin should fall if they participate or even allow Exterminatus. Honestly, the entire party sounds like they're evil.

Goblins aren't particularly educated, but they've survived generations dealing with stronger creatures. They're not suicidal. They would surrender before every last goblin gets killed, so there will still be some goblins alive to take care of the offspring, including at least one lactating female. (Circumstances where an entire city have fought to the death or committed suicide are vanishingly rare in history. I've only heard of that happening twice, to the same city. How was that culture transmitted?)

So shame on the party for not accepting their surrender (or shame on these goblins for being particularly stupid). Now the party are stuck with children. Killing children should be taboo. (For this reason I outright refuse to allow child adventurers. Children should not be put into such dangerous positions.)

Baby goblins aren't evil; that is a violation of common sense. Show me a statblock that says they are evil. There aren't even stats for humanoid babies. They certainly don't detect as evil (they are not clerics, are not supernatural, are not outsiders or undead, etc). I wonder if paladin smite-botting happens in campaigns that follow the rules (where 1st-level evil bartenders who water down drinks don't get smites).

Even though their parents are evil, those parents aren't around to raise them. Said goblins would probably end up as a kind of undercaste in the nearby (demi)human community (while the paladin shouldn't appreciate this, this is better than abandoning them to die). When those goblins grow up, other goblins are less likely to attack. (They probably won't even be able to talk to these "civilized" goblins as they would forget what little Goblin they learned.)

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A stone golem is immune to any spell or spell-like ability that allows spell resistance. In addition, certain spells and effects function differently against the creature, as noted below.

A transmute rock to mud spell slows a stone golem (as the slow spell) for 2d6 rounds, with no saving throw, while transmute mud to rock heals all of its lost hit points.
A stone to flesh spell does not actually change the golem’s structure but negates its damage reduction and immunity to magic for 1 full round.


Slow (Su)

A stone golem can use a slow effect, as the spell, as a free action once every 2 rounds. The effect has a range of 10 feet in a burst centered on the golem and a duration of 7 rounds, requiring a DC 17 Will save to negate. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Magic resistance only applies if spell resistance would apply. Spell resistance does not apply to the supernatural Slow ability.

Not only are golems not immune, they aren't intelligent so they wouldn't think about not harming their allies. They absolutely would use Slow in this case, and would Slow each other (and they would fail their save more than half the time). Of course this hardly matters because the poor tank is being squished by five golems.

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Kaouse wrote:
Guns should target flat-footed AC instead of Touch AC. Thematically, it makes more sense that it's hard to physically react to guns and thus you need to rely on your magic armor or natural scales to deflect the blow. My guess is that the only reason this isn't the case, is because sneak attack exists.

This is one of the problems with guns in D&D; attempts to be realistic (which often interfere with attempts to be simple or balanced). In D&D, archery is not realistic, it is simplistic. In D&D, sword-fighting is not realistic, it is simplistic. You don't have to come up with a whole new set of rules for wielding a spear. But guns...

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Melkiador wrote:
I had forgotten that some people didn’t like gunslingers. That usually seemed to be more about theme than anything else though.

The touch attacks might have something to do with that too.

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I've done that kind of thing for 3e, PF, and 4e before. Usually I went too far trying to convert everything exactly, which is not a good idea.
The differences in editions are large enough that that doesn't really work.

I can't find the thread, but I once saw a description of encounters in various editions, involving (I believe) a tribe of goblins. In 1e, the PCs had a lot of henchmen and hirelings. The goblins all had the same stats, except the chief was 1+1 HD and had a magic sword. By contrast the 3e encounter had no henchmen or hirelings, a smaller number of goblins, most of the goblins were warriors and the chief was a rogue. There may have been some 1st-level fighter bodyguards and a shaman (1st-level cleric or adept).

2e doesn't support wealth by level, so doing treasure is a PitA. Even low-level Pathfinder characters are more powerful than their low-level 2e counterparts, and they have to be: a level 1 orc warrior in Pathfinder is more powerful than a 1 HD orc in 2e (which was basically 1d8 hit points dealing 1d8 damage, with variable AC based on equipment, which was often rolled).

Saving throws worked in a very different manner. There wasn't a save DC in 2e. Generally low-level characters failed saves, and high-level characters made their saves. In Pathfinder, a high-level wizard would have high save DCs relative to target saving throws, and the more sensible saving throw system means a wizard PC (or NPC) can "guess" an opponent's best and worst saves. (You could be reasonably certain that a character wearing heavy armor won't be so good at dodging the worst of a Fireball spell, for instance.)

Another wrinkle are the usefulness of wizard-specific items. The 2e version of Elminster uses his items first if brought into combat. His 3e version shouldn't, because the save DC of a Wand of Fireballs in Elminster's hands isn't any different than the same wand in the hands of a 1st-level apprentice. So NPC tactics would be ... different.

The biggest difference, IMO, is pacing. PCs gain levels a lot faster starting in 3e (you were supposed to gain one level roughly every 13 encounters in 3e!) while in 2e, you might have to train, duel, or something to gain that level (since apparently XP is not enough?). A dungeon in 2e should be paced differently than one in Pathfinder. (In PF or 4e, you would likely just remove less interesting or plot-relevant encounters.)

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Thri-kreen... but this is aspirational, as I don't know if thri-kreen even exist in Pathfinder.

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My "go to" are the core four. In effect, if one of those roles are covered, I usually go for one of those classes.

In a current campaign I played a brawler, only to find I was the only "front-line character". I can handle the role now (and we have an extra fighter-type too) but a 1st-level brawler is not a substitute for a fighter.

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The GM was perfectly okay with the stat boosts, and the dog performed very well last session. We actually got our butts kicked, due to bad luck and panicking over the bad luck, but the dog did very well. Until he was reduced to four hit points!

PCs: my brawler, alchemist (gun chemist), wizard (evoker), cleric, and cavalier/hellknight with a griffon mount. The cleric is a really weird build.

We were supposed to rescue "the Jerk", who was being attacked by a magical ballista on one of three watchtowers. "The Jerk" was in one watchtower and there was an empty one as well, near a bunch of shrubbery (difficult terrain). Team Spider Climb "sneaked" through the shrubbery (the Haste essentially negated the penalties for difficult terrain), climbed up the watchtower and started beating up drow. At one point a drow sergeant escaped, after being blinded by a spell, and emerged from the base of the tower. Fetch literally runs down the tower's wall and grabs him, pulling him up the tower wall. The sergeant shrieked (because he couldn't tell what was going on). He managed to escape when he regained his vision but was almost immediately killed due to not having many hit points left (between the spell and being attacked by said dog). IIRC Fetch killed three drow in the course of the battle.

Unfortunately he got flattened by a Huge stone golem (which also killed our cleric, almost killed our hellknight, knocked out his mount so he couldn't easily escape, and threatened our gun chemist... and laughed at us when we took control of the ballista to shoot it). Fetch was dropped to four hit points, which would have killed him had it not been for the Con boost :)

The GM had a quick discussion about Fetch, and we decided he was worth the XP we were essentially giving to him. (He is part of the XP split.) Even the wizard player agreed, since (in meta terms) he realizes the dog is now worth it. (The wizard PC still hates Fetch though.)

Fetch doesn't have any new items yet. It's going to be a while before we can shop for armor, his current biggest weakness. He's about 200 XP from gaining a level, when he will gain Mischievous Tail and will essentially have one functional hand (plus he'll be a 5th-level fighter, so get an extra +1 to hit and damage on top of the usual increases). Also, I'm seriously thinking of buying him Slippers of Spider Climbing, when he has enough feats for Extra Item Slot.

I've calculated the price of Dwarven Plate for him. I think when he gains his 7th-level of fighter (one level + 200 XP more) I'll take that Advanced Armor thing so he can gave DR 5/- against weapons. However it might not be possible to get him such really cool armor, as we don't have a source of adamantine. (We have a bunch of mithral chain shirts though, as Golarion drow typically wear those.)

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4: climb with both hands occupied

I think all suggestions are fine but this one.

I don't think the rules specifically say you need "both hands" to climb, but IMO you need two grasping limbs to climb (at minimum). I think it's fine to climb with one hand and a tail.

If I'm wrong, I'll be happy. My party has an NPC who will soon have those feats, but no working hands. I don't want to have to buy him a Monkey Belt so he can climb. (That would also give him two tails...)

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Bob's Feet wrote:

Sorry - I have to ask. Does Fetch speak with a Scooby accent?


Yes, that's exactly how the GM portrayed him.

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I'm playing Second Darkness and I'm in book three. Back in the first book we stole a dog from a bad guy, the dog being named Fetch. We used him to find someone, and decided to keep him around.

We put a Headband of Vast Intelligence +2 on the dog. With an Int of 4, the GM declared that the dog could take character levels. He took a rank in Linguistics so he could understand Common, and when he reached Fighter 2 (4 HD) he put his Int boost in Int. Then we gave the headband to the wizard. Sadly, this means the dog could not boost his Strength, Dex, or Con (all at 15).

The dog gains XP as a PC of his Hit Dice, but seeing how he couldn't pick stats and doesn't get much treasure, he's far behind us in terms of power. So ... I want to pump him up. Our characters are currently over the WBL by a bit due to some loot we found, so I'm going to spend gold on the dog instead.

So this is what the dog has so far: Fighter (Savage Warrior Archetype) 4, Strength 15, Dex 15, Con 15, Int 3, Wis 12, Cha 6. He has almost reached 5th-level, and I'm certain he will reach that before we can go shopping again. (We're in the middle of nowhere right now.)

AC 19 (chain mail barding, riding dogs get +1 natural armor). Way too low! I feel like an idiot for not making him noqual armor. (My character is wearing that, but is... not a dog.)

Savings throws: Fort +9, Ref +6, Will +2. Also too low.

Attack: Bite +9, Damage 1d6 + 6 and trip (+9, but can go up to +13 when flanking)

For skills, he's taking a Favored Class bonus skill, and gets Perception and Survival each level.

Gear: +1 wrappings (makes a single natural attack +1, and as he only has one, that's not a problem)
Circlet of Speech: lets him speak a single language (Common), which the GM ruled allows him to use command words for magic items. He has no such items; so far this just lets him be useful. (For instance, one time we cast Invisibility on him and told him to track a bad guy. He spotted them, reported what he saw, then chased them and held them until we could get to the bad guy. They were so surprised. LOL!)

Feats: Dirty Fighting (this is really cool), Skill Focus (Perception) (bonus dog feat), Improved Trip (just for the +2, might just switch this for Vicious Stomp), Weapon Focus (bite), Weapon Specialization (bite)

Canine abilities: low-light vision, scent, trip, speed of 40 feet

Fighter abilities: bonus feats, qualifies for fighter-only feats, Armor Training I (he can move at 40 feet despite wearing medium armor)

Savage Warrior Abilities: Spark of Life (+1 to saving throws against negative energy/death). At 5th-level he effectively gets Weapon Training I with natural weapons, including to CMB for grappling.

Feat ideas: You probably have better ideas than I have, but I'm thinking Blind-Fight, Dodge, Greater Trip, Improved Natural Attack, Iron Will, Vicious Stomp, and Vital Strike. I could not find any feats that would boost his charge damage, which is relevant because he only ever gets one attack.

Canine magic item slots: armor, belt (saddle), chest, eyes, head, headband, neck, shoulders, wrist.

Magic item ideas:

Armiger's Panoply, which lets him store one suit of armor (which my very strong PC would carry) in a bag. Three times per day the user could speak the command word, and the armor appears on them in one round. This is crucial for a character who cannot put on their own armor (due to not having hands).

But what armor should we buy? I'm thinking either Rhino Hide armor (but the AC would still be quite poor), +1 Mithral Plate of Speed (decent AC; he can't wear Boots of Speed, and he could get two attacks per round if he uses Haste when next to an opponent), or Dwarven Plate (Adamantine Plate), which would give him DR 3/- along with decent AC. The Dwarven Plate would reduce his speed, but he would get that back when he reaches 7th-level as a fighter. Those are just my ideas; you probably have better ones.

Greater Dire Collar. Give him Animal Growth. This only works once per day, but we could literally buy him several and just switch them as needed, or make a custom one that works 3/day.

Greater Hat of Disguise. Between his low Charisma and very low Intelligence, he wouldn't buy this for its disguise ability. Even if he never talked, people would notice his odd behavior. This uses Alter Self, and could temporarily turn him into a "human" and so ... give him hands! It's almost completely RP, but is necessary, a bit like teaching a child about money. He needs to learn to climb a rope and open doors at minimum, which he can't do in the form of a dog. It's combat ability would be pretty terrible. It gives him +2 Strength (Medium) or Dex (small) but he would lose his bite attack.

Those three we have to buy. But other suggestions:

Low saving throws. While we could just buy him a Cloak of Resistance, it would look really silly. Of course anything that looks different is either silly in other ways (such as a cracked pale green ioun stone), or is just expensive (lucky horseshoe, four-leaf clover).

Low ability scores. I'm thinking of either a Belt of Physical Might or a Belt of Perfect Excellence. If he wears Dwarven Plate, bumping his Dexterity would seem rather pointless. If he wears Mithral, then boosting all three stats are worth it.

Cloak of Fangs: +1 resistance, and 5/day can boost his damage by one die size. It's cheap. (Also he could technically bite in "human form" 5/day, although that's really silly.)

Dusty Rose Ioun Stone: looks silly, but who gives up AC.

We have a wizard PC who can craft any wondrous item, but my PC has to buy him any magical armor. The wizard hates the dog and always makes him the lowest priority :(

Note: I tried to post this in "Advice" but there was literally no new thread button. There was one last week when I asked for advice...

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Character building takes me a long time in PF1e, but that's mainly because the rules had gotten so bloated.

I suspect PF2e characters can be built more quickly, but eventually the system will inflate and character building will take longer.

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Kyrone wrote:

So, how much dangerous the world is for PCs now? Some stuff that we know from some leaks to help:

Characters have more HP, even the most fragile caster in the core books will have at least 12 HP at level 1, while the more sturdy one can reach to impressive 25HP.

IMO this is better for low-level PCs. IN PF 1 and 3e, PCs go from "rocket tag" (very low survivability) to being survivable and then back to rocket tag over the course of the game as they gain levels.

I didn't participate in the playtest, so I don't know if hit points will be inflated at high levels.

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Melkiador wrote:
Kimera757 wrote:
Another PC is an unchained summoner. If the DM had let him play a chained summoner I would have left the game.
That seems silly. Especially since the power level difference is very small. The only meaningful nerf was making pounce slightly harder to get. But instead of getting to make fun combinations of things, the eidolon has been roped into arbitrary limits that don’t actually make it any weaker. And the multi limbed pounce monstrosity is still the flavor of the day, which was the one thing I’d hoped they’d try to fix.

The previous summoner was complicated and confusing. I am convinced that, much like previous editions of psionics, it got a bad reputation because players were, either accidentally or on purpose, not following the rules as written and making overpowered character.

If I were a GM I would just start foaming at the mouth if a player wanted to play one of these things. I would just say no. I would point out I only have so many hours in the day to plan a campaign, and I don't want to spend half the time on just learning the capabilities of one PC. (The GM for a generic cleric has the same problem though!)

JiCi wrote:

I get that the Monk and Rogue got unchained, but... were there serious issues with the Summoner and Barbarian?

The Fighter should have been unchained prior to those two...

The fighter could have used unchaining earlier in its career. The style feats seem pretty good, IMO, but it's a bit sad that the fighter is missing some out-of-the-box abilities.

I like bravery, but most of the fighter's abilities that it gained beyond what 3.x fighters had (out-of-the-box) are just numbers. It's nice having higher AC, but ... fighters already had pretty good AC. That kind of bonus doesn't give them something like Pounce.

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DRD1812 wrote:

Have you ever put on a magic item without properly identifying it first? The common wisdom state that this is a bad idea and a one-way ticket to Curse Town. But think about the assumptions at work. What exactly are we trying to encourage with this style of play? Tedious identification rolls? Are we trying to emphasize the importance of Ye Olde Sage and her identification services back in town? Make the caster's skill points feel important?

I tend to think that "daring play" is more fun, but that flies in the face of "intelligent play" and the aforementioned common wisdom. So I turn to my fellow Pathfinders for perspective. Why is it important to keep item identification in the game? Is it worth it?

Comic for illustrative purposes.

Wearing an unidentified item is a hassle. How much of a bonus do I have to... I might not even know if it's giving a bonus. The GM might have to secretly bump up every saving throw or attack bonus I make. Now multiply this by every other item the GM has given us that we haven't been able to identify.

An item is pretty useless if you don't know what it does. I don't find "testing out" what an item does to be fun, not compared to RPing, fighting, or other aspects of adventuring. I remember the miscibility table and potion identification rules from D&D 2e, which basically told me "you might as well throw away that potion".

Identify is expensive. You have to pay a permanent cost (even if it's a small one) just to use it. It's a waste if you use it on a generic item, or one you can't use. I think items should be easy to figure out unless there's a specific reason why it shouldn't.

In my current game, the GM just tells us what the item does. Our last session involved fighting seven named NPCs (although one was just an expert), netting us two really cool magical swords, a magical trident, and a hat that can turn into a boat! (Alas, the hat can only be used by worshipers of a particular evil deity. Even selling it might be difficult!)

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In real life, people gain skills at varying rates. Intelligence is a part of this, but also talent (at least in the area they're talented in), drive, access to training (whether self-taught or taught by someone else, and you probably learn faster if someone helps), whether they have been exposed to relevant challenges, and so forth.

For this situation, I would suggest the following house rules:

Most NPCs have a "cap", not necessarily to levels, but to skill points. So say no more than 8 ranks for a typical NPC, if they live a long time (which these will). After they have gained the maximum ranks in one skill, they instead switch to another skill. After a few hundred years, there will be many fairly high level characters (5th, in this example, compared to the more typical 1st to 3rd), but with a broad rather than deep skill distribution.

In addition, skills get rusty with lack of use, although Pathfinder does not emulate this. I'm picturing a doctor, who used to be a blacksmith, carpenter, and scout. I'd give them 8 ranks in Heal and 4 ranks in the other skills. They used to have more in the non-doctoring skills, but those have gradually declined.

NPCs with PC classes would gain levels faster and don't rust as slowly. A two hundred year old fighter is a high level badass, with items made by their village's two hundred year old wizard. In fact, the village "PCs" might consume so much magic (in terms of scrolls to add to spellbooks, components for items, etc) that this might be noticed. They can't send a wizard to be "apprenticed" elsewhere as that wizard would quickly turn to dust, and inviting a senior mage to tutor them would quickly reveal the secret.

High level, but not top level. This community is small, with a low talent pool. They also probably don't face the kind of challenges needed to change a 10th-level fighter into a 20th-level fighter (as an example). Still, even a small number of 10th-level characters can deal with any mundane threat (bandits, goblins, and so forth) without needing to ask for assistance from outsiders.

These characters would get attached to their life. Picture a stealthy druid who summons animals whenever a threat approaches. A high-level cleric could use Planar Ally for some serious magical firepower. A high-level bard spreads rumors that there's an unkillable monster around, which reduces the number of threats, but might attract the occasional fairly high-level villain party.

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I would let the players know their characters are going to "die" before session one, and the killing sequence is just something scripted, so it's like watching a cutscene to explain why they're all in hell. (Not only would this be a horrible surprise if you don't tell the players, but there's a chance a PC might survive the encounter, if only to run away!)

Hell is ... hell. The environment isn't exactly great. There aren't people there, not exactly. You can't go to the grocery store or tavern. If you go hunting, you find the prey are trying to eat you. I hope this isn't for 1st-level characters. Even if warned, I would think my character is going to die in-game, because the environment is going to kill them.

There won't be interesting low-level NPCs to fight, either. IIRC most very low CR fiends aren't very intelligent. They can't plot, or plan surprise attacks.

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Consequences: the (formerly) intimidated guard tells his superior about it. They investigate, and notice the dagger wound (I doubt a rock would obliterate that). Some magic, and they confirm who did it.

The guards assess the PCs' capabilities. They're not powerful enough to bring them in. They call for help. The local religions lends some paladins or even inquisitors in exchange for favors. They pay an other visiting adventuring band for assistance. They contact the noble in charge for troops, who might have to go to their senior noble, up the chain.

They use magic and carrier pigeons to distribute descriptions, so now that PC is an outlaw. Everywhere that PCs goes, people refuse to serve them food or rent to them, at least not without being intimidated, and of course the local guards would be contacted a few minutes or hours later. The PCs can read, so they'll see these posters, and might decide to turn the PC over as they realize they've been found out. (Or maybe the CE PC did this secretly enough the other PCs are shocked?)

And all of this assumes the guard is just a guard. What if they're related to someone important? Like a high-ranking nobleman, or a powerful former adventurer? What if they're dating someone important?

Eventually the PCs are surrounded by superior-seeming forces, and told to hand that PC over. Either there's a fight, or the CE PC surrenders. If there's a fight, and the PCs win, they've now committed a much larger crime. There's angry paladins hunting them. An adventuring party is hunting them, recruiting new members if necessary. Troops are hunting them.

I once had PCs do something this stupid in a Modern campaign (they killed a customs inspector who annoyed them). They were hit by a SWAT team. They lost, but only after killing half the SWAT team, which only made things worse.

I don't see why the alignment issue is such a big deal in this case. It's not like said PC was a paladin or a cleric. The real-life consequences are a bigger deal.

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doomman47 wrote:
HeHateMe wrote:

Your GM sounds like the problem. First, never, EVER roll stats. I've never seen that work out well; there's always the one guy who doesn't roll under a 16 and the other guy who doesn't roll over a 12.

Second, it sounds like he or she is not providing you the items you need to be successful.

You just need to not have bad stat rolling generation methods.

There are no balanced stat rolling generation methods. You only roll stats once, whereas you roll dice that are modified by these stats (attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, etc) many times.

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Rycaut wrote:
My nomination is a rule that until earlier today I didn’t know was rules as written---

Maneuvering in the air.

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Locate Eggplant.

It's, of course, a homebrewed spell, and it actually has a combat use. It doesn't locate eggplants. It replaces a random uncast spell in an enemy wizard's mind with a spell that locates eggplants, and it's insidious enough that the wizard doesn't notice. It could activate when the wizard tries to Dimension Door out of a lost combat, or when they're to cast a Fireball spell, etc.

"See you later heroes. 'Dimension Door!'"

"I'm still here... and the nearest eggplant is 300 feet northwest... WTF?"

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When I started playing 3.0, only the DM had the rulebook, since we were all kids at the time. We thought an adamantium weapon, designed for Large characters, had to give a +4 bonus because "logic". The more adamantium, the bigger the bonus. That was wrong, which I discovered when I saved up enough to buy the books. I've never once heard someone complain about that though, not even people in the same group.

Reksew_Trebla wrote:

Look, I get it. As balanced currently it would break the game. You could use a Mithral Large Greatsword as a Medium character as just a two-handed weapon, without having to take one of the archetypes of Barbarian and Fighter that let you do so with any two-handed weapon for a size category one size larger than you. Or you could duel wield Mithral Medium Greatswords, without having to take the Barbarian archetype that lets you do so.

But you also have to consider that it is going to cost a significant amount of money to do these things, and if the game were rebalanced to make it cost even more, then it wouldn’t break the game anymore.

The reason why I’m confused is because Mithral armors lower the weight category by one, so logically, if Mithral weighs so much less that it noticeably affects armor weight category, why wouldn’t it do the same for handedness of weapons?

It wouldn't cost that much money, except at low levels. A mithral +3 keen flaming greatsword costs almost the same as a steel +3 keen flaming greatsword but gives a +2 damage bonus on average.

Another reason might be to fend off the giant size sword headache. Back in 3e (3.0?) the Monkey Grip feat was invented. The feat let you wield a weapon one size larger than normal, at the cost of -2 to hit. So basically you spent a feat, took -2 to hit, and got +1 to +2 damage on average. It wasn't horribly unbalanced by itself; if anything, it was weak. If you wanted -2 to hit and +2 to damage, why not take Power Attack, which could increase that range further if you needed to, and also acted as a gateway for other feats?

It was unpopular with DMs because of flavor issues (a Medium size character wielding a troll-sized greatsword looks ridiculous) and because it didn't play well with Two Weapon Fighting. People were willing to dual wield greatswords with this feat, despite the -4 penalty to hit. Or maybe -6 to hit, it depended on who you asked.

In Pathfinder, a barbarian with an archetype that lets you wield a bigger weapon could wield an even bigger weapon by getting their hands on a mithral weapon (if this idea was allowed). How much damage is that now? 4d6? Someone cast Enlarge Person on me. Now it's 6d6 damage. I can have someone cast Lead Blades on it. Now it's 8d6. The mithral weapon is basically giving me an extra 2d6 (+7) damage, and the cost of the mithral hardly matters when I've got enough levels to have an expensive weapon.

Generally I'm a bigger fan of character abilities than equipment abilities. While I may loathe the silliness of skyscraper swords, I would be more comfortable with Monkey Grip instead of mithral uber-swords. Someone who took that feat, or (in Pathfinder terms) an archetype that lets them wield oversized weapons deserves that ability.

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Low-CR monsters whose effects can only be treated with magic, such as swarms that pluck out your eyes, leaving your permanently blind (ran into these in Kingmaker).

They were CR 1 or 2, so nobody had Remove Blindness, and making matters worse... there are a lot of classes now, making it difficult for adventure writers to guess what PC composition is. If you had a cleric, they could prepare the spell the next day (if they had enough levels), but not if they're an oracle (either they know the spell, or they don't).

We faced a lot of them too, so it wasn't just one blinded PC. A blinded oracle cannot read scrolls or even look for a temple to buy scrolls from.

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Gnomes are the victims of too many types of flavor. Too many cooks, etc.

Gnomes used to give Int bonuses, because Int was the only stat used for arcane magic, and because in some settings gnomes made good engineers (who also use Int).

But this changed in 3e D&D. At that point Charisma became a spell-casting option, and made sense for creatures with natural spellcasting abilities. Although IIRC 3e gave gnomes a boost to Con.

Paizo decided to play up the natural magic angle but not the intellectual angle (in other words, gnome sorcerers, not gnome wizards/alchemists/etc) so they gave gnomes a boost to Con.

I don't think gnomes made much sense due to the flavor bloat. Better at studied magic (at least illusions) and natural magic (part fey) and better engineers? Other than the illusion stuff they're stepping on the toes of elves and dwarves. They even step on the toes of halflings.

I think the Eberron setting had the best "fix" for gnomes by giving gnomes a completely new origin story. They're not "naturally" good at illusions, but their lifestyle makes that very useful (lots of paranoia among Eberron gnomes). They gave up the mechanical stuff, except for ways to hide things (the paranoia again) although they could somewhat replicate this by binding elementals into powering wagons, etc. They can speak with burrowing animals because their background is similar to wererats... a really big issue in Eberron. (There was a literal crusade to wipe out lycanthropes, even though lycanthropy is not connected to alignment in Eberron, and the force that started the crusade is still active.)

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Merellin wrote:
As the title asks, What one of the four classes would you rather have in your party?

The cleric is flat-out best at condition relief. Not even the oracle can match it (one level behind, and might not know the spell in question, and might not have an available scroll).

In terms of emergency healing, the cleric is the best of the four, but the witch is really close. I've found Channel Energy to be quite good at healing, but it takes feats and Charisma to work properly. My last cleric character gave up Strength (using spellcasting instead) for higher Charisma, so I could dish out some emergency heals, plus the AoE makes the after-combat healing pretty efficient.

In terms of between combat healing, all you really need is a Wand of Cure Light Wounds. An evil arcane caster is actually slightly better at this, if your DM likes certain non-core rules.

In terms of other spells, clerics don't have enough of a "theme". There's too much option paralysis. I found picking spells somewhat easy for my cleric only because I was picking the types of spells a 4e devoted cleric would use. I avoided buffing and self-buffing spells, but a more "standard" cleric could have done a lot with those.

I guess I don't find bards all that useful prior to 8th-level. I like Inspire Courage, but the bonus is basically invisible to me until it reaches +2. Bards have a lot of other spells and abilities, but I focus on Inspire Courage because it's unique, unlike the other abilities which are basically sorcerer with a lot of enchantment, illusion and light-effect spells.

I find alchemists more self-focused than clerics or bards, and I find the witch very useful at "hard control" (Sleep Hex is probably too useful) but I keep thinking that a wizard could still easily replace one. They just have a somewhat broader spell list but no healing.

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I believe your scent will not change.

The older versions of polymorph said that anything that left your body would go back to normal (so if you had green blood, and polymorphed into a human, you would still bleed green blood).

So this would mean your scent would not change. If your half-elf druid turned into a dog, dog scent particles coming off would turn into half-elf scent particles, so you smell like a half-elf. Not that creatures without Scent are likely to notice.

It also prevented cross-breeding without further work. (Half-dragons were so common because dragons are "special" and could break that rule.)

The equivalent spells in Pathfinder are silent on this topic, though. Since polymorphing is not "perfect" (it merely gives you a huge bonus to disguising yourself) I think the scent would not change to match the new form... at least not completely. There's no "scent" skill, merely Perception, and even dogs don't have that much Perception... unless you decide (Keen) Scent gives a huge bonus to Perception.

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I think the undead horde becomes a plot device. The PCs can easily defeat them, but the PCs cannot be everywhere at once.

The monsters can ravage the countryside, bottle up the knights, eat anyone who tries to bring food to the besieged cities, etc. If the PCs strike one group of undead they aren't striking another.

I'm not sure if the necromancer even needs to control these undead (eg not care about HD limits), except when they're nearby (to avoid getting eaten, of course).

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I saw the concept referenced in a Conan story, but it seemed only to work against mesmerism.

I'm not sure how being illiterate in magic protects you from being Lightning Bolted.

Link: rage-powers/superstition-ex (flavor is slightly different)

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On occasion I've had PCs disarm, but I've never attacked them during this period. The DM only abuses trust like this once and you get paranoia. Sort of like those players who must, must, must search every 10 foot square for traps.

I'd get a handy haversack and put the rapier in there. Maybe cast a spell on it to make it seem non-magical if anyone uses Detect Magic on it.

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Here's one I stole from another gaming system:


1. Always keep word

2. Avoids lies
3. Never kill OR attack unarmed foe
4. Never harm an innocent
5. Never torture
6. Never Kill for pleasure
7. Always help others
8. Works well with others
9. Respects authority, laws, self-dicipline and honor
10. Never betray a friend
11. Never break the law UNLESS conditions are desperate.

Clear, direct, gameworthy, does not cause you to auto-fall if you tell someone those clothes don't make their butt look big.

Point 11 is probably a little too black-and-white though (and maybe point 3, if your target is a spellcaster or monk or you're unarmed yourself), but it's far better than the D&D and Pathfinder codes.

I think you might only need to match 7 or 8 of these too (eg you might just drop #3 and #11 anyway, note that #9 is perfectly reasonable, since you would respect reasonable laws).

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Opponents should try this, but it's not always possible.

The last encounter I ran, a PC healer was keeping the PCs up despite the heavy damage they were taking. The attackers were fanatics who hate divine casters of his religion and wanted him dead, even if it wasn't good strategy, although in this case it was... but the battle took place in very cramped confines and there was no way past the defending PCs beyond overbearing (which they failed at).

Of course, the attackers were (deliberately, part of the plot) dunces. They were all knights with not even a javelin among them. Still, the PCs were about this close to being beaten.

Had the attackers been an adventuring party instead, with ranged attacks and decent tactics, the PCs would have lost. Target the healer with some direct damage spells or arrows and he's either dead or healing himself. The PCs should be facing a competent adventuring party in about two sessions. Let's hope the level-up helps them.

I figure opponents with Intelligence scores of 8 or higher would automatically know to target casters first. Lesser intelligent opponents, such as trolls, might not realize this until the casters mess them up a bit. Creatures with animal intelligence would probably run away, and indeed are unlikely to attack a group of people. (In my campaign, whenever low-intellect creatures attack the PCs, they always try to go after someone who isn't wearing a layer of completely inedible metal armor, which just so happens to mean they're trying to target the squishies.)

I think taking AoS to go after the squishies makes sense, especially if the attackers have good morale or a commander shouts that kind of order. Everything you do in combat is risky, and I think the risk of being gutted by that fighter's axe might be less than the risk of being mind-controlled or otherwise crippled by the wizard. But PCs are usually too smart to make this easy. Even in the middle of an open field (monsters hid in the tall grass?) the wizard often has enough warning to use a good defensive spell or two to evade martial attackers.

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The fiendish template gives them spell resistance too, right? The things have loads of hit points and spells just wash off them. And just think of the huge size bonuses to grapple. Houses aren't remotely balanced.

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Gazebos are just houses with templates. Overpowered templates. I mean, it literally infinitely increases the number of attacks that houses get. Busted!

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There's a swarm of birds in Kingmaker book 2. They inflict permanent blindness at-will. Our group had a druid and oracle but no cleric, and so no Remove Blindness. Did I forget to mention the blindness was permanent? Every BBEG should charm flocks of these things.

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Marthkus wrote:
Didn't someone say AoOs were a thing in 2ed too?

There were, but since no one could find those rules, they didn't come up. (Well, that was my experience.)

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Alleran wrote:
Apocryphile wrote:
Have the encounters happen in daylight!
And that's when the vampires start wearing rings enchanted with continuous protective penumbra.

Enemies could dispel the ring. Only for 1d4 rounds, but that's 1d4 rounds of "holy crap!" (Staggered, then destruction.) Enemies might notice the "slightly in shadow" bit too, and if they're genre aware will do something about it. A vampire shouldn't go outside in the daytime, period. Of course, they may have interests they need to protect, or targets they can only get at in the daytime (such as an opponent who lives in a well-guarded house but works in a public place).

Looking at the whole template:

AL: Any evil.

Paladins are good opponents then. Especially archer types (since vampires are generally very mobile).

Type: The creature's type changes to undead (augmented). Do not recalculate class Hit Dice, BAB, or saves.

Minimal differences. I don't like "person" spells like Charm Person anyway. Vampires are nearly immune to Enchantment spells and death spells but little protects them from Conjuration.

Vampires are immune to exhaustion. Does a vampire barbarian even make sense? And if so, there's little cost to raging.

Senses: A vampire gains darkvision 60 ft.

So do dwarves. No real issue.

Armor Class: Natural armor improves by +6.

This is a pretty big buff. On the other hand, it's just numbers. Use higher-level opponents. It is a pretty big buff for the level adjustment (if there even is one).

Hit Dice: Change all racial Hit Dice to d8s. Class Hit Dice are unaffected. As undead, vampires use their Charisma modifier to determine bonus hit points (instead of Constitution).

Unfortunately this buffs vampire wizards. Then again, wizards rarely have Charisma. Vampire sorcerers get kind of scary. What classes are we talking about here?

Defensive Abilities: A vampire gains channel resistance +4, DR 10/magic and silver, and resistance to cold 10 and electricity 10, in addition to all of the defensive abilities granted by the undead type. A vampire also gains fast healing 5. If reduced to 0 hit points in combat, a vampire assumes gaseous form (see below) and attempts to escape. It must reach its coffin home within 2 hours or be utterly destroyed. (It can normally travel up to 9 miles in 2 hours.) Additional damage dealt to a vampire forced into gaseous form has no effect. Once at rest, the vampire is helpless. It regains 1 hit point after 1 hour, then is no longer helpless and resumes healing at the rate of 5 hit points per round.

The channel resistance isn't a big deal, especially since Pathfinder has a sensible turn undead system, unlike its predecessor 3e.

The DR would have been a big deal in 3.5, but with equivalent bonuses quickly fades into the mist when facing intelligent opponents. Creatures that can't penetrate DR (eg earth elementals) aren't much of a challenge, unless backed up by a druid who can cast Greater Magic Fang repeatedly. Good thing it's a long-lasting spell. Alter encounters accordingly.

Fast healing isn't a big deal in combat, but means no resources need to be spent outside of combat. Adventurers must travel, so to keep gaseous form from being ridiculous ensure that PCs are challenged when finding places to sleep.


Weaknesses: Vampires cannot tolerate the strong odor of garlic and will not enter an area laced with it. Similarly, they recoil from mirrors or strongly presented holy symbols. These things don't harm the vampire—they merely keep it at bay. A recoiling vampire must stay at least 5 feet away from the mirror or holy symbol and cannot touch or make melee attacks against that creature. Holding a vampire at bay takes a standard action. After 1 round, a vampire can overcome its revulsion of the object and function normally each round it makes a DC 25 Will save.

Vampires cannot enter a private home or dwelling unless invited in by someone with the authority to do so.

Reducing a vampire's hit points to 0 or lower incapacitates it but doesn't always destroy it (see fast healing). However, certain attacks can slay vampires. Exposing any vampire to direct sunlight staggers it on the first round of exposure and destroys it utterly on the second consecutive round of exposure if it does not escape. Each round of immersion in running water inflicts damage on a vampire equal to one-third of its maximum hit points—a vampire reduced to 0 hit points in this manner is destroyed. Driving a wooden stake through a helpless vampire's heart instantly slays it (this is a full-round action). However, it returns to life if the stake is removed, unless the head is also severed and anointed with holy water.

This is the most irritating part of vampire NPCs or even PCs, especially the invitation part. Vampires can hide out in hotels or other public places, but if you carry a coffin into a hotel, it draws attention! Bags of holding can carry lots of stuff, but I don't think you can put something that big into the bag. At the very least, vampires need to spend resources on such items.

And of course, you can't go out in the sun. This is such a devastating weakness I don't know why anyone would willingly submit to it. Only if your choice is "turn into a vampire or die" should a mortal consider this.

Speed: Same as the base creature. If the base creature has a swim speed, the vampire is not unduly harmed by running water.

No big deal. If anything, vampires should be faster.

Melee: A vampire gains a slam attack if the base creature didn't have one. Damage for the slam depends on the vampire's size. Its slam also causes energy drain (see below). Its natural weapons are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

The energy drain is actually pretty devastating. This is why I prefer the fleshbound vampire template:


Special Attacks: A vampire gains several special attacks. Save DCs are equal to 10 + 1/2 vampire's HD + vampire's Cha modifier unless otherwise noted.

Blood Drain (Su)

A vampire can suck blood from a grappled opponent; if the vampire establishes or maintains a pin, it drains blood, dealing 1d4 points of Constitution damage. The vampire heals 5 hit points or gains 5 temporary hit points for 1 hour (up to a maximum number of temporary hit points equal to its full normal hit points) each round it drains blood.

At-will Con-draining that isn't poison damage? Pretty devastating if your vampire is a fighter or other strong martial type.


Children of the Night (Su)

Once per day, a vampire can call forth 1d6+1 rat swarms, 1d4+1 bat swarms, or 2d6 wolves as a standard action. (If the base creature is not terrestrial, this power might summon other creatures of similar power.) These creatures arrive in 2d6 rounds and serve the vampire for up to 1 hour.

These don't scale, and you can't even talk to them plus they're not intelligent so they don't make good scouts. Not a big deal.


Create Spawn (Su)

A vampire can create spawn out of those it slays with blood drain or energy drain, provided that the slain creature is of the same creature type as the vampire's base creature type. The victim rises from death as a vampire spawn in 1d4 days. This vampire is under the command of the vampire that created it, and remains enslaved until its master's destruction. A vampire may have enslaved spawn totaling no more than twice its own Hit Dice; any spawn it creates that would exceed this limit become free-willed undead. A vampire may free an enslaved spawn in order to enslave a new spawn, but once freed, a vampire or vampire spawn cannot be enslaved again.

About as broken as Simulacrum. Isn't one PC a slave of the other, and therefore an NPC? Defeating powerful opponents and then turning them is something the PCs should be doing.


Dominate (Su)

A vampire can crush a humanoid opponent's will as a standard action. Anyone the vampire targets must succeed on a Will save or fall instantly under the vampire's influence, as though by a dominate person spell (caster level 12th). The ability has a range of 30 feet. At the GM's discretion, some vampires might be able to affect different creature types with this power.

The spell lasts 1 day/level, and this is at-will. It needs a nerf. Actually this is pretty broken in the hands of an NPC, as there's nothing preventing a single NPC from taking over a whole castle that way.


Energy Drain (Su)

A creature hit by a vampire's slam (or other natural weapon) gains two negative levels. This ability only triggers once per round, regardless of the number of attacks a vampire makes.

Hardly balanced on the DM side, not at all balanced on the PC side. There's no immunity to this unless you're not alive either. Do your PCs seem likely to want to make slam attacks?


Special Qualities: A vampire gains the following:

Change Shape (Su)

A vampire can use change shape to assume the form of a dire bat or wolf, as beast shape II.

This isn't nearly as good as casting Fly, since you can't cast spells or make good attacks while shifted. Great for scouting. Note that dire bats are really large, and wolves stick out when not in a forest.


Gaseous Form (Su)

As a standard action, a vampire can assume gaseous form at will (caster level 5th), but it can remain gaseous indefinitely and has a fly speed of 20 feet with perfect maneuverability.

You can be damaged by magic weapons, and your DR is weaker than your regular DR. Even the at-will flying isn't so great considering you could just turn into a bat.


Shadowless (Ex)

A vampire casts no shadows and shows no reflection in a mirror.

Enemies will quickly figure out what you are and revoke invitations and the like. How genre aware the NPCs are determine how great a weakness this is.


Spider Climb (Ex)

A vampire can climb sheer surfaces as though under the effects of a spider climb spell.

This is incredibly powerful if the vampire PC is a spellcaster or archer-type, since you can often make yourself safe from enemy melee warriors while raining death on them.

Ability Scores: Str +6, Dex +4, Int +2, Wis +2, Cha +4. As an undead creature, a vampire has no Constitution score.

These are just numbers, and can be countered by using higher-level NPCs.

Skills: Vampires gain a +8 racial bonus on Bluff, Perception, Sense Motive, and Stealth checks.

+8 to Perception and Stealth is actually kind of ridiculous, considering the level adjustment of the template. (Actually I don't know how level adjustment works in Pathfinder. Did they have to give up any levels?)

Feats: Vampires gain Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, and Toughness as bonus feats.

In the grand scheme of things, this isn't a big deal.

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Domestichauscat wrote:

I find it kind of weird that there are topics all the time about whether a Paladin should or should not fall. But I've never seen a topic discussing whether any other class character should fall for violating their deity's teachings or whatnot.

Barbarian I can understand. Seems like it would be extremely easy to keep in character in a nuetral or chaotic alignment when compared to lawful. Monks less so because of this, but I suppose even if a Monk did go chaotic they would still have thier previous powers. So I figured for this case it just wasn't worth talking about all that much.

But what about Clerics and Druids? I think ultimately the Paladin has it worst in this situation of course. Though honestly I don't think Clerics are that far behind. They are restricted to three alignments so there is more wiggle room here. However they still are in the same boat as Paladins because a good Cleric could violate his god's values and do a grossly evil act just as easily as a Paladin could. In the same way a Druid could do an extremely lawful or chaotic act as well and lose their powers.

While clerics are restricted in terms of alignment, there are dozens of gods to choose from. If someone doesn't want to play a lawful good cleric, just pick a chaotic good good. Or a chaotic neutral one. Or lawful evil... it really depends on what alignments the DM is allowing. Even if a cleric falls, they can find another god that matches their new alignment, so really no cleric needs fall for long.

Unlike the paladin, clerics do not have a pre-written code of conduct. I've never seen a D&D cleric code of conduct outside of 2e Forgotten Realms, and most of those clerics didn't have nutty restrictions. (Neutral good clerics of Mielikki have to plant a tree once a week, or something like that. That's not much different from going to church and praying, which a cleric of another deity might have to do for an hour a week. That's not going to significantly impact RP or gaming.)

Druids actually did have this problem prior to 3e. Then you had to be true neutral, and the description of that in the 2e PH was utterly insane. I think Mielikki became a popular druid deity because her druids could be neutral good. Starting in 3e, the alignment became relaxed. Druids generally don't have to be militant vegans, and while they're required to be tree-huggers, they only have to control egregious PC behavior. (Druids aren't likely to go nuts if someone starts a campfire. Maybe they'll insist you use already dead logs rather than cutting down a tree, but that's common sense anyway.)

Druids have a really simple code of conduct - must revere nature. That is all.

I've never seen a topic dedicated to the falling of any class besides Paladin like I've said. This makes me think that DMs go easy on the treatment of classes falling aside from Paladins. Or heck, they may even forget or even outright ignore these rules. I've seen it happen in a game I'm in. One of the PCs is the most chaotic Monk you could ever see. I even brought it up once that by the rules I was surprised the GM kept allowing him to progress in Monk levels. The GM just chuckled.

Monks don't have to be religious, so in-game there's no NPC watching over and deciding the monk must fall now. Monks are also rarely annoying (in terms of RP) so other players don't try to "police them".

By contrast, the paladin is religious (so has a powerful NPC watching them), must be lawful good, and then has even more restrictions based on the poorly-written code of conduct that explicitly says they can fall. Parts of the CoC essentially force the paladin to regulate the behavior of other PCs. (While in theory lawful clerics might be expected to do the same thing, in practice there's no written code of conduct saying "make it so".) The CoC shackles the paladin with dumb rules such as only using stealth when there's no other option. And that's before the paladin starts wrecking plots by spamming Detect Evil.

Classes need to be designed to play nice with others, because you generally can't adventure by yourself. Many classes have been "made nice" to get this to work. Mythical berserkers could rage at any time and wake up and find bits of their friends' bodies around them, but D&D barbarians don't suffer from this. (The Frenzied Berserker prestige class from 3rd Edition is hated because it emulates this, which means it does not play nice with others.) Unfortunately the paladin (and pre-3e druid) were not designed with this design concept in mind.

The paladin could be fixed by writing a proper code of conduct, but said CoC needs to be written with the idea of playing nice with others and that D&D and Pathfinder are games that value clarity and take player psychology into account. Most fan-written CoCs I've seen are written in an unclear poetic language.

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kyrt-ryder wrote:

I see this all the time on the boards, GMs who have this expectation that players should 'step in line' and 'play by the script' and find myself wondering...

Where are the other GMs who do away with the concept of a script entirely, and play improv-style along with their players?

I can't be the only one on these boards.

I'm not a fan of player-driven, as a player. That's because there's no such thing as a player-driver game, but a players-driven game. Far too often, you have different PCs heading in different directions, unless they all agreed to a common goal before the game even started. (To impose a common goal, have a good session 0.)

I'd rather have a railroad than try to compete with 3-6 other players for the DM's time.

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