Great comments everybody! Very interesting to see how others view the game.
Like many things in Pathfinder, variety is the spice of life. I don't want to always play on Hard mode, but I don't want to always play on Easy mode either. I think one of the most important parts of being a game master is knowing when to push the players and when to let them feel invincible. Too much of either and the game becomes frustrating or boring.
In terms of dice, our group rolls out in the open. When I GM, I may alter monster tactics, but once a roll needs to be made, the dice decide. With that said, if I want to direct the story, I generally won't call for a roll. Often some rolls (such as diplomacy checks) will have a subtle effect rather then deciding the outcome of a situation. I don't enjoy save or die type play however, so I tell my players up front that stuff like hold person/coup de grace tactics will be frowned upon.
Bad rolls generally don't have lasting consequences. In a recent game, a low level character got taken out by a long bow crit in the first round of a difficult combat. The player was really enjoying the PC and wanted to keep playing, so we basically brought the character back as the avenging twin brother. At later levels, a raise dead isn't that much of a burden.
Fergie here, using my girlfriends computer.Yeah, that is THE question. I think the best answer is to define the things the monk can do fairly well, compared to the other classes.
-Scout. Monks can have good stealth and excellent perception.
*Getting a way to have mage armor and enlarged person cast on you every once in a while really helps when playing a monk. Buying the casters pearls of power or wands really benefits the monk, perhaps more then most other classes.
Anyway, those are the things a monk could do well in most campaigns. It is admittedly an odd list. They may not be the best at all those things but they don't have to be to be a viable class. They have a few issues, and completely lack a decent ranged attacking option, but monks are closer to being balanced against the other classes then they have every been in the history of the game.
I see two issues here:
2) The nature of alignment. In "the real word" morals and ethics are highly subjective and subject to change. Pure Goodness and Pure Evil don't really exist in the way they are depicted in Pathfinder. Everyone is born capable of good, evil, and eveything inbetween. Someone could start life commiting evil acts, relize the error of their ways, and become a good person, and even the definition of what is good and evil can change quickly. In the game, things are much more divided. There are whole races and planes of existance that are Good and Evil. Which god is evil isn't a matter of perspective, they are proudly and completely evil. Now, I don't know the specifics of the campaign, but in most circumstances teifling bandits are Evil by birth, choice, and actions. There is almost nothing that can change that, especially a little time in jail. So why is it wrong to kill these creatures of evil in a sword fight, or execute them with a coup de grace? I think the only thing that would push the characters alignment toward evil would be if they lied to the bandits, then went back on their word and killed them. Some enemies have the potential of redemption, but many, (most?) are far beyond saving.
Another thing to remember about summoning is that it is a fairly "fixed" spell. The summon cast by a 30 pt buy wizard with 2X normal loot is the same as the summon from an adept with nothing but a loin cloth and spell pouch. Now that I think about it, summon is a good spell to put on a scroll or in a wand because it doesn't use anything but caster level.
Party composition also has a big effect on how useful a summon is. Bards, channeling clerics, and rogues add to the power of a summons, while some other characters or (large) groups might not really benefit as much from a summon.
To me, the biggest benefit is the versitility of the summon spells. There is nothing else that can do as many different things as a clever use of a summon.
vvv EDIT: james, you are right about that, but I find a scroll of summon 4 for a 9th level caster, for example can still be effective on a budget. You are probably right about the wands though. vvv
That is a nasty skeleton or zombie to control at 11th level, but it is about the top of what is posible. Since the paladin would not be happy to have an evil creature in the party, the caster could create it, then ship it off somewhere. It could guard his tower, deliver a message, or airlift the party, or just kick someones ass. As long as the paladin doesn't know about it.
But as a GM, I would not really want a creature like that always with the party.
Oh yeah, I just remembered how much dragons love to see their family members turned into udead an bossed around by humanoids. No reason they might get revenge, nope, nope.
"So, then, the issue that occurs is that a gauntlet isn't listed as a monk weapon."
"This metal glove lets you deal lethal damage rather than nonlethal damage with unarmed strikes. A strike with a gauntlet is otherwise considered an unarmed attack."
How about something related to the dwarven miners in part 6?
PS That whole homebrew/brewery thing is amazing! Best players ever! And I love the idea of downing a few cure-light-wounds beers, and being drunk after the fight!
R_Chance - The huge difference is that it is another player taking a dis-proportionate amount of game time, rather then team monster. Also, it is a problem that is going to happen over and over again in most combats. I expect fellow players to be patient, but there are limits.
Odentin - Creating a class who's whole purpose is creating more actions for that player is NOT "addressing the problem." If a player chooses to play an effective Summoner, he is going to be taking between 5 and 10 times as many actions in most combat rounds then the other players. Even if he has everything pre-stated, pre-rolled, pre-etc. it is still going to take much longer then the other players. If he isn't a pro at time management, then the game will gind to a halt EVERY time it is that players turn.
The problem is NOT the player. The problem is a class that has 5-10 times as many actions to take, in every combat, in every session, for every level. You can say the problem is with the other players, for not wanting to play for a fraction of the time of the summoner, but it would not be an issue if the class was designed with a limit to the number of actions per round.
As nice as everyone's suggestions are, they really don't solve the problems that the original poster brings up.
First off, while other classes are capable of summoning a bunch of creatures, that does not somehow mean a problem does not exist. Creating an entire class around a mechanic that is known to cause problems (and giving it a strong companion!) is a recipe for disaster. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it is a balance issue, but rather a fun-at-the-table issue.
A single summon spell can add up to 5 creatures to the battlefield, each with spell like abilities, multiple attacks, DR and immunities, unique abilities, etc. Throw in another summon spell, the Eidolon, and the PC himself, and you have a turn that is going to take 10 times longer then the the other players turns. Even if you have every stat pre-made, every die pre-rolled, etc. etc. it is still going to take much longer for that player to get through a turn then any other player.
You can ask the player to not summon out of respect for the other players, or some other "out of game solution" but this class is going to cause people not never want to play again, and I really haven't seen any solutions or even a recognition that a problem exists.
My car had been having troubles, and needed a specialist. When I took the car in to a small independant repair shop, I told the owner/mechanic that I had a lot of friends who had parts cars, and that I could get some of those $300 sensors and stuff for cheap.
Turns out my car did indeed need an oxygen sensor, that I was unable to locate used, but found that it can be had for about $90 new at the local auto-parts store, and arrives the next day.
Would I be the bad-customer if I show up to the repair shop with this part new in a bag? Or would would they not care where the part came from?
When I used to work at the bicycle shop, we frowned upon customers getting stuff from mail-order or other bike shops, then asking us to install it. Anyone in the car industry know what the right course of action is here?
Treantmonk - "Also working on a Monk guide."
I look forward to it. A monk was the first character I played when I first went from 1e AD&D to 3.5. It really fell behind compared to the other characters. Looking over the Pathfinder version, I think the class has some great options, and can't wait to test one as a player.
OK, that is the "rules", but as a DM, I would doubt that a druid wildshaped as an air elemental would fall faster then a feather fall. I would also allow a character to attempt to catch another character (or at least split the falling damage and maybe make it non-lethal.
Wow! I just looked over that bloodline, and it has some great options!
Here are some quick thoughts:
Since you get the acid darts to start off, point blank shot isn't bad.
I would avoid the weapon focus feats, because you might do a lot of shapeshifting (Polymorph)later on. This is also why you want decent ability scores. Note that you can cast in some forms, but not others. You might be able to still use some your spell like abilities when in beast and elemental forms.
In terms of picking spells, try to go for stuff that offers multiple options from a single spell, and avoid spells that might piss off the dm, as you will be casting them over and over.
Morgan - I think you are absolutely right. However, there are some characters that really need a little armor boost to aviod sucking. Eldritch Knights and other Fighter/Magic-user types need a little AC help in order to stay viable once shield and mage armor have fallen far behind. Not anything that gives them a great AC, but something... Spells are best at first, but starting every combat with three rounds of buffing just to get a moderater AC isn't a fun way to have to be a fighter/mage. Finally there are situations where the illusion spells don't work, or may not be available and the mage is left almost unprotected at higher levels.
Arcane Armor training is a nice step, but just doesn't need the whole swift action limiting factor, and could be less restrictive in other areas as well.
And you could always use the still spell feat to avoid the whole issue if you wanted to go that route.
I don't think it is unbalanced, because there are clearly more powerful ways to build a character and better feats. This would just be a different option.
I'm pretty sure that the best options for light armor would be elven chain, which is light by description the same way celestial plate is medium armor. Not 100% sure this will be true in the final rules. But those are the "best" armors.
While those "best" armors, may seem sweet (even over powered), remember that getting armor proficiency requires at least another feat or two or at least one level in a class that won't increase the characters caster level. And caster level is key. If something doesn't increase caster level, it sure isn't the most powerful option!
Also, all those armors weigh a lot. What caster has much more then a 10 or 12 strength? And armor won't work with the Form of and Beastshape spells.
Finally, armors and shields are pretty low on the list of a casters purchases, and in almost all adventuring parties there will be a few others in line before the mage. I think this is most likely to affect EKs (which need a little help in the AC area) and NPC villains such as gish and drow.
I wish spell failure had gotten a little attention, and even dropped the percent system. I think it would have been much more elegant to simply have a feat that lets you automatically cast with bucklers and light armor, then another feat that lets you cast with light shields and medium armor (although you still need a free hand). If it seems too powerful, have defensive casting or still spell or something as a prereq.
Spell failure is an annoying mechanic because it is almost always a "don't roll a 1 or 2" situation, and usually ends up getting ignored.
Having played the hell out of an EK, I can say that armor is a major weak point. Even if you had the best magical elven chain you can afford, your armor class is still not going to be that impressive. Also, now that mithril breastplate is medium armor, I can't see a way to abuse this.
"I cast disintegrate"
Defensive casting roll
I just want to get a quick response about how much time people have spent playing or DM'ing at high levels, how they got there, and why they stopped.
1) What is the highest level that you have played at for a few sessions?
2) Did the campaign start at low levels?
3) What ended the campaign?
For me, it is about 16th level as a player, and only about 7th level as a DM. The high level campaigns started at 1st level, and ended due to power differences between characters.
Thanks for taking the time to post this. I find that the battles with outsiders really stress test the system well.
How do you feel the party did based on the EL? Did they use a quarter of their resources?
I had always interpreted the rules strictly when it comes to space and reach. You occupy the 5' cube, (or 10x10 cube with enlarge) regardless of weapons or limbs leaving that area.
Remember that in order for Pro Evil/Good to hedge out outsiders, Spell Resistance applies.
Did the devils buff up before the combat? Did the PCs have free rounds to cast buffs?
As for the Eldritch Knight, my experience playing one was as you discribe - good for minor fighting, but lacking when things get really tough.