Mother of Beasts

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A few remarks on guides for PF2, from a reader's perspective.

1) Stick to the point.
Given how PF2 feats fall into various categories, going through all of them in a class guide is a lot of pointless work. It is better to focus on class feats and only mention ancestral, feat and general feats that are specifically relevant to the class in question.

2) Mention what feats and features do.
When you discuss a feat (or class feature) make sure your reader is on the same page as you. For a guide to be useful to someone who knows the system less well than you (and why would you write a guide, if that is not your intended audience), you need to provide some of that knowledge. You don't need to quote the whole crunch, but at least say what it is for and how it works.

3) Make your reasoning clear.
This connects to the second point. A guide is more useful, if the reader learns something about why options are good, bad or ok. Writing on an option should contain more information than what is already present in the rating. "(red test) this is useless" is just stating the same opinion twice.

4) Give example partial builds and explain combos and interactions.
Doing this will help the reader to see how your reasoning applies to actual character building and to understand how various feats and features work together. Here too, it would be helpful to give more information than just listing the feats/features involved and stating an evaluation.


Since if A and B are flanking you, at any one time one of them is behind you and the other in front of you. So if the narrative for flanking was focused attention, that woukld not justify the person in front of you receiving the advantage from flanking.

So, I would prefer it if flanking just counted against all enemies once you are flanked at all.


BellyBeard wrote:
Most low level flying enemies will melee attack, so you can ready actions to hit them when they swoop by. But if they are flying and have ranged options, your only response is to either get flight yourself through a spell or use ranged attacks, even if you're bad at it.

Or choose not to fight, lure them somewhere they can't use their advantage, ...


1) Make the battlefield interesting. Choke points, paths to flank, different elevation, difficult or. Dangerous terrain, cover,...

2) Better to have one interessting set piece than four boring dice fests with little tactics and little danger. Just ignore minor battles, make big fights bigger.

3) Show off options by having enemies use them against the PCs. Experience is the best corrective for faulty intuitions.

4) Give battles goals other than killing ist enemies. "Stop the goblin spy from escaping with the war plans!" or "Extinguish the fires before the palace burns down, while the fire newts attack!" and so on.


A mace with a smallish ball, with a chain and pulley contraption at the pommel and a release switch at the hand guard.


the wizkids minis are less detailed and the pre-priming makes it worse. After working repeatedly with both, I much prefer Reaper and on top of that the bones black material is much better than the old, floppy plastic.


Since shield fighting requires specialization on the side of the character, in general only thusly specialised characters will use shields and those will know and want to use Shield Block, locking them into sturdy shields and mostly leaving the other kinds of shields without potential users.


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Maybe a game like Hero System by Hero Games or The Dark Eye by Ulysses might better support the style of play you are after. They both do away with the class and level structure that you find limiting and are not focused on balanced gameplay. TDE in particular takes get care to fit the rules to the game world.


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Ed Reppert wrote:

Somewhere on these forums someone posted a while ago his bemusement at the idea that Mary the Master Seamstress down the street can craft a magic sword that requires Master in crafting, even though she's never made a sword and knows nothing about making them, while Joe the Expert Swordsmith can't do it. I'm with him.

Of course she can't. She also does not have master profciency, nor does the swordsmith have expert. These are rules for PCs, meant to regulate and define their actions and options, they should not be taken to be descriptive of the world beyond them. After all, a smith does not have to do quests and murder monsters in order to get better at smithing and goodness gracious will not be a grat warrior just because he is a goos smith.


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I find it a bit irritating that Pathfinder never bothered to correct the old 3E error of having bucklers not use a hand.
In general, a shield is a weapon, something you need to actively use to defend yourself. A hard thing you wear on your arm is called a vambrace.

To make my irritation worse, larger shields, that you actually do strap to you arm allow you to much more easily grip and even use something else in you shield hand, since a leather strip is not very thick.

It's all backwards and topsy turvy :(


My point is rather that this kind of fluff suggests a narrative logic that is vastly at odds with the ludonarrative logic of the zero-to-demigod adventuring career in something like a year at most that lies at the core of the pathfinder game.
It would be much better to not have these kinds of fluff associated with the crunch of developing characters since it only serves to create cognitive dissonance. Pathfinder characters have neither teachers nor (narrative) reasons for the vast majority of their development. Instead, they have players.


Quote:
Characters that complete their Perquisite gain the rank of Attendant, which allows them to begin advancement in Magaambyan fields of learning such as halcyon magic. Attendants are also expected to choose what branch of the Magaambya—specialized faculties within the school—the student wishes to pursue.

This suggests that these events (becoming an Attendant and studying at the school) are intended to happen during play, more precisely after level one since that is the earliest time these feats can be acquired.

If so, the archetype seems pointless to me, since I do not want to play someone studying at an academy but an adventurer who maybe has studied at an academy.

Such a character however should already possess the skills to be learned there.


So, let's see:

Command an animal:

- Spend a command action, make a check, on success:
- Mount performs one action as ordered on its turn.

Ride feat:
"When you Command an Animal you’re mounted on to take a move action (such as Stride), you automatically succeed instead of needing to attempt a check."

That's pretty clear.

"Any animal you’re mounted on acts on your turn, like a minion."

Now here things get FAQ worthy.

Does this imply that with the mount feat you get two mount actions for one command action ("like a minion" modifies "act") or does it mean only that the mount acts on your turn ("like a minion" modifies "acts on your turn")?

I think it more plausible from the text itself, that the latter is the case. When mounted, you trade actions one for one. The Ride feat only helps you coordinate better and autosucceed.

So basically, being mounted let's you use the mounts speed, gives a -2 to reflex and "if the mount is in the way" +2 to AC. The latter seems dubious to me. Is the mount in way of an adjacent infantrist? They would have to fight upwards, but "in the way"? Not so much. So this is completely to GM interpretation.

Finally, a warhorse, being a level 2 creature is pretty soon going to be much more vulnerable than it's rider.


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Is there any advantage to fighting mounted? Am I missing anything? It seems that the rules on page 478 list only a disadvantage (-2 reflex).

This may ewxplain the downfall of Taldor, though.


PF2 crafting is a downtime activity which is balanced against other downtime moneymaking activities with the only difference being that you can get an item instead of the money. So if the tiem you want is for sale, any downtime money making activity is exactly the same as crafting.

If crafting were more economical than money making and shopping, that would create an exploitable asymmetry, which the designers explicitly do not want.

Alas, this does not fit well with what I will call 'heroic crafting', making special things such as your personal sword or the potions and scrolls you use. These things often feel like they are part of your character, rather than part of some economy and are defined by their use value, rather than by their exchange value.

So my advice for house ruling: allow faster crafting for such 'personal items' under the agreement that such items cannot be sold. The cost, however should not drop below the price minus the general income that could have been made while crafting.

So make an earn income crafting check, reduce the cost by the earned amount and rule the item crafted in the time spent.


As with anything done together, you owe the people you do it with some effort to make it come out fine. And learning the basic rules is kind of the minimum investment for playing a game together.


I think it's fine. Disarming an opponent of equal skill should be hard and it should primarily be effective against weaker enemies (who might you not have to kill, having disarmed them, further showing your superiority).


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Every day earlier that a book comes out is one day earlier that money starts to come in. If one assumes that total lifetime sales are independent from release date, any publisher has reason to release as early as possible, that is as soon as the product is in a state that will not seriously impact sales. The money to make it has mostly been spend after all and profit is a function of time.

Paizo has been following a successful sales oriented strategy for many years now, continually testing out how many books their audience will.

They will not switch to a quality first strategy. And honestly, for a system designed for bloat, Pathfinder quality tends to be fine.


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It's really simple. Golarion obeys the rules of pathfinder only localy, that is where ever you are currently playing. As soon as something comes into play, it necessarily fits into the rules (how else could it be in play?). But when it is not featured, the rules do not apply to it.
Being level 20 and all of the powers and options that characters Have within the rules are meaningless when not part of a game.
That which is outside the current game appears from within the game as background narrative and while PCs never get weaker in the game, they may be much weaker when the appear again, being just at the right level for whatever the game currently needs.

Because really, how else would it be plausible that encounters tend to be level appropriate, 200 year old elves can be level one, someone can go from dying to a dagger stab to surviving being chewed on by a dragon in the scope of a few months. And so on and so on.

No, Golarion clearly is a Kantian world where what appears is determined by who is being played.


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So, it's like a killer chain yoyo.


Thanks. That was helpful.


My prima facie impression is that shield block beyond the earliest levels in general means: lose your shield to prevent a little damage.
Is that how it plays or am I missing something?


A lot of the pictures look like concept art for a computer game of movie production.


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The entry on bloodline spells and the bloodline listing does in fact add confusion as now the term "bloodline spell" refers to focus spells and the new term for what was called bloodline spell is now "granted spell" (this is probably an artefact of the term "bloodline spell" in 1st edition).

But, your focus spells are independent of your spell slots and have a very different structure. Thus they cannot possibly satisfy the condition that your spell repertoire is to mirror your spell slots.

The "spells granted" are the only viable candidates for what was originaly, in the entry on spell repertoire, called "bloodline spells".
This is further supported by the likely explanation that the author was confused by the change in terminology from first to second edition.


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Signature spells are picked from among your repertoire. This could have been stated more clearly, but the explicit reference to "spells you have learned at a higher level than its minimum" implies that signature spells are spells you have learned.


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I think it's pretty clear.

PF2e wrote:

At 1st level, you learn two 1st-level spells of

your choice and four cantrips of your choice, as well as
an additional spell and cantrip from your bloodline

Note that you have 5 cantrip slots and 3 1st level spell slots at first level. So your number of "spells known" mirrors your spell slots.

Then:

Quote:

Each time you get a spell slot (see Table 3–17), you add a

spell of the same level to your spell repertoire. When you
gain access to a new level of spells, your first new spell is
always your bloodline spell, but you can choose the other
spells you gain.

So with every new spell slot gained, you add a spell of that level to your repertoire. IF that slot is the first of its level that you gain, that spell is determined by your bloodline, if not, you get to chose.

So for any level of spells you have access to, you always have the bloodline spell of that level in your repertoire as well as a number of spells chosen by you equal to your spell slots of that level minus one.


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Behind this "Historical Accuracy" fallacy as described lies the fact that the image most people have of the (European) middle ages and by extension of "fantasy fantasy" settings is informed not by actual historical research but the long shadow of nationalist romantic fiction of the 19th century. As these writings attempted to both construct a golden past and a historical justification for their own societies, the result is an idealized "past" for white, industrial age European people, including racial exclusion and the absence of anything reminding people of industrial age technology.

So the fallacy is double: Once taking the fiction for the real thing and secondly accepting the fiction as an authority without reflecting on its origins.


Can you dual wield flame blades?


Solution: Increase number of acts per spell.


Mauler is secondary. Figment is where its at. Having a wand monkey is almost better for a fighter than for a caster.


In an isolated community, anything that is consumed must be produced locally and vice versa. This means that for any economical branch, there is a strict upper limit, this goes in particular for things like mining, of which only so much is required to satisfy local needs. Once the soldiers and craftspeople are equipped all you need is enough for repairs and maintenance.
Since there is no profit to be made from producing surplus goods, production will stop once needs are satisfied. This in particular will make it difficult to develop highly specialised production, since specialists need to focus and spend a lot of time on one thing and that is an inherently wasteful approach under the circumstances given.


Age of Worms AP....................B+
[has it's low points but a great theme, great villains and one of the best first adventure dungeons I know)

.

Rise of the Runelords..............B
[really cool ideas: rune giants, the new goblins, the ogres...]

Second Darkness....................C-
[really cool first adventure, decent book two and then there is that pointless plot twist and every goes south from there]

Legacy of Fire.........................A-
[cool theme, cool twists and a very fitting design]

Kingmaker.............................D
[suffers from the kingdom building rules, the 15 minute adventuring day and a general lack of plot integration]

Serpent's Skull.......................F+
[great first adventure followed by 4 books of the same thing again and again and a boring finale. it makes two cardinal mistakes: in an exploration and discovery adventure there is practically nothing to discover but combat ocassions and to add insult to injury, all of the important discovering and investigating that could have been done by the player characters - instead of clearing three and a half cities block by block - was presented already done by an NPC]

Jade Regent...........................B-
[a very weak first adventure but some good ones along the way, sadly, yet another non-functioning sub system]

Skull & Shackles.....................C-
[well, pirates. nothing seems to stand out as particularly good, but the sandbox parts are better than in Kingmaker]

Shattered Star.......................D
[If only the dungeons in the endless sequence of dungeon crawls were really interesting...]

Reign of Winter......................A-
[I like almost everything about this one, the theme, the villains, the hut, the visual design,... only the Triaxian part seemed uninspired to me]

Wrath of the Righteous............D
[The plot and most of the adventures are easly B, but the mythic rules are just so horrible. challenge wise, this path is a joke]

Iron Gods..............................A
[So far. Currently playing book three]

-
Zeitgeist..............................A+
[The best adventure path of them all is not from Paizo. This one does everything right and almost nothing wrong.]

General statement: I like the off-kilter stuff because Golarion is already an everything but the kitchen sink patchwork world with no common theme and very little integration between regions and the DnD/Pathfinder rule set is so unrealistic and over the top that I really do feel that anything goes.


Yeah, that Dragon from the opening scene? That better be the boss of the fifth adventure...


It seems that the changes you have made to the artificiers enables them to cast any spell a full caster of two levels lower could cast at the drop of a hat and without any meaningful expenditure of resources. That seems grossly unbalanced to me.


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Quote:
Naderi is strangely growing closer to the goddess of undeath, Urgathoa, due to Naderi's belief that love lasts beyond death, a position that Urgathoa can support.

This my new favorite sentence.


Turn it up:

X's Father wants to politically marry X to some Hellknight/Noble/Darkwizard Y. X feels oblige to submit to her father's will and Paladin, faced with the honor in that is torn between his feelings and his sense of duty.

Unbeknownst to all, Y's child/apprentice/something-or-other Z is in love with A and unlike everyone else so far is utterly psycho, willing to abduct A and worse.

Y is none too please with finding out how crazy Z is and presto, Paladin and Y might be forced to make common cause to rescue A. Meanwhile, X grows increasingly certain of their feelings for Paladin.

During the ensuing finale, the outcome is wide open. Paladin may get the chance to get rid of Y without anyone getting wise about it; Y may show supreme cruelty in punishing Z, whom Paladin would have taken to court; Y may save X's and/or A's lives. Anyone may die.

Here's my favorite outcome:
This happens after X and Y are married.
Finale happens, Y turns out to die somewhat heroically.
A, already unstable, suffers a serious case of PTSD (or a curse, or the after effects of charm person gone horribly awry, or gross phyiscal mutilation, maybe Z even infects them with a magical desease).
X, ever mindful of duty must order Z's affairs, but is truly in love with Paladin. Paladin, feeling guilty because A first flirted with Z on rebound from Paladin, and of course because he truly cares, takes it upon himself to care for A during her recuperation.
Thus they part, Z widowed and Paladin dedicated to caring for A.


Even just making the claws permanent will not be problematic. They really should have been to start with.


Thymus Vulgaris wrote:


And how much you can carry, your ability to hold on to something (so you don't fall down during your climb) and pull yourself up (so you actually make progress), your ability to swim, your ability to knock doors down, not being blown about by storm-level winds... tug-o-war, trying to keep a door shut as someone is trying to force it open from the other side, you name it.

"stuff like"

i.e. effects defined and measured within the rules.

There is no rule relating strength with muscle mass, appearance or even weight/height ratio. In fact, the de facto independence of weight/height and ability scores in general implies conceptual irrelevance.


There is a category mistake being made here. The crunch is not there to describe the fluff. "STR 18" is not a description of appearance, nor is a description of past nutrition, training exercise and so on.
What it implies is stuff like +4 to hit and damage in melee.
RPG rules are not theories of nature.


Pick something that is deadly and where the rules encourage avoiding conflict. D20 modern will just create a constant suggestion that you're playing a game of DnD, where players are supposed to win violent conflict basically unharmed.


This is the game:

Players each controlling one character fight monsters controlled by the DM on maps. After 4-6 such fights, the characters level up an fight harder monsters. Equipment is just part of levelling up and not really gear in the common sense sense of the word.

This determines the unavoidable structure of a Pathfinder game, it's very skeleton. Around this structure, a story is told, a piece of fiction, often merely simulating player choice, which is supposed to make all the fighting have some meaning and give some explanation to what's happening.

But this story is bound to follow the basic structure of the game. E.g. you cannot begin with fighting dragons or demons, you being by fighting orcs and goblins [...]. Even the most improvised and artfully told story in Pathfinder will have to follow this blueprint.

And mind you, this blueprint is utterly ridiculous and purely there for abstract reasons of rules and gaming tradition.


It's not that difficult. A druid has such a powerful base that even an unoptimized build can still be strong.

So, a druid gets 4 skill points per level, a human with INT 12 gets 2 more and six should suffice. You could max bluff, diplomacy, intimidate, sense motive, perception and stealth with that.

The Serpent Shaman archetype get access to the Trickery domain, which adds bluff, disguise and stealth to your druid class skills as well as a number of stealthiness spells.

Such spells can also be acquired via the Nagaji specific Naga Aspirant druid archetype.

You can also consider a swashbuckler dip, which will add bluff, diplomacy and intimidate to your class skills while at least not costing you a point of BAB.

Even a level of rogue would not be horrible and 1d6 sneak attack can be a good advantage when you get 5 attacks as a velociraptor.

A level of Inquisitor is probably your best choice, though. It gives you all the skills mentioned as class skills, a few 1st level spells per day as well as access to the Conversion inquisition, which keys social skills off wisdom instead of charisma. Taking the Sacred Huntsman archetype will stack with your druid animal companion while Sanctified Slayer will get you the studied strike ability, which is better than a 1/d judgement.

Finally, there are always traits and the Extra Traits feat, which can make most any skill a class skill.


In this kind of economic situation one wonders what the common people do.


Principle of Charity, the.

Always interpret any text in such a way as make it as rational, strong and consistent as possible.


Reach/Strength is complimented by a lot of the extracts, even at low level (long arm & enlarge person) and strength works better with the powerful polymorph extracts at higher levels, since the better forms are larger and hence give strength bonuses.


A Dwarf Ranger with a one level dip into Living Monolith using a reach weapon.

Set Up:
1 Combat Reflexes, Fav. Enemy Orc
2 Combat Style: Power Attack
3 Endurance, Iron Will
4
5 Lunge, Favored Enemy Giants +4
6 Dipping Living Monolith

And you're set.


Jodokai wrote:
ryric wrote:
You can be LG and still be intimidating. A lot of it can come from the implication of force - actual torture isn't really effective at getting information anyway.

Don't believe everything you see on TV. It's extremely effective.

Funny, in almost all the movies and TV shows I've seen, when it comes up it's shown to be really effective, while every serious article I've read about it tells me that it's really ineffective and unreliable.


There are two economies in pathfinder that have nothing at all to do with each other:
One is the everyday, normal economy, where craftspeople craft, farmers farm traders trade and so on. In this economy, one's wealth is measured by one's social status and it will most likely never change very much over one's life.

The other one consists of objects of personal empowerment won by killing things and taking their objects of personal empowerment with a little dash of crafting your own objects of personal empowerment or buying them from some source of OPEs. Every single magic spell is part of this economy. In this economy, one's wealth (appearing as OPEs) is not really economical value but just one aspect of the strange property called level. And as one's level changes (it only ever rises and it typically rises very fast, it can go from 1 to 20 in a year or so) one's wealth changes geometrically.

Do not succumb to the illusion fostered by both kinds of wealth being measured in "gold pieces". These two economies must never be allowed to interact! Even small, seemingly inconspicuous interactions can cause disaster if anyone should make the mistake of applying logic and reasoning to it.
A kings vast fortune is part of the first economy. He is rich in normal things, objects or art and the service of able people. He is not rich in OPE because he is not of high level.


Addendum:

Lawfulness doesn't really figure into it, unless there are laws prohibiting or prescribing intimidation (hard to imagine in a general case, but a government could outfit its military or police force to appear intimidating e.g.). It is ime purely a matter of good vs evil. And thus, a neutral or chaotic good character might have more issues with it, since they would not by equally inclined to excuse their actions by recourse to laws.

Imagine e.g. a lawful good torturer in a generally good country where the law prescribes torture as punishment for some crimes.


Intimidation, that is causing fear in others, is in general not a good action. Fear is typically less bad than physical harm, but it is an evil. Also keep in mind that torture is 90% intimidation.

There will be situations where intimidation is the lesser evil, but speaking in a general manner, intimidating someone is causing them to suffer an evil and is such at the very least not a good action.

On the other hand, 99% of all essentially good outsiders are combat monsters, which kind of suggests that good and evil on Golarion are less moral categories but rather just sides of the lower/upper planes distinction. Angels and Demons all kill, torture, maim and intimidate, it's only their justifications that differ.

Or you can adopt an imperial ethos: everything I do is good, because I do it and I am the good guy.

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