Ring of Force Shield I probably won't include: it's a bit too niche/build dependent. T will put the dex stone/ snakeskin tunic in though.
Armor breakdown I'll probably put a bit more detail into as well, eventually.
Lord Foul II wrote:
I feel like the ring of seven lovely colors should get a mention alongside the ring of deflection, given the size and dex bonuses to AC it can provide
I'll consider it, but I intended the article to be fairly class/build agnostic, and the ring isn't viable for combat for most characters. Those it benefits it also tends to benefit in a cheesy manner that I don't really want to popularize.
This is an article I wrote because one question I see all the time from newer players is basically, "what should I buy to be tankier?"
This answers that questions fairly thoroughly without being so exhaustive as to dive into every niche item that happens to work for a tiefling paladin with the X archetype and trait Z.
Just the staples, not a lot of frills.
I don't really understand the 'timer' mechanic. It's said that if the PC's spend longer than two days, they lose. I can't find how much time these conversations take, though. It seems like they could spend a few hours talking to everyone, and move on.
EDIT: More notes as I notice things or have questions.
The Sellswords do not have exotic weapon prof with bastard swords, but are using them one handed without penalty. Would it be within GM adjudication to have them ditch the shields and wield their swords two-handed?
My lodge's delegated reporters can't...you know...do that. They had previously been able to use the event, but any attempt to access the event's page or report directly just winds up in a redirect loop or shunts them back to the main page.
Was wondering if anyone else had this issue, or knows of a fix/workaround.
Thank you for your time.
Pirate GM wrote:
It looks like SelterSago withdrew. Other than that I think you got everyone.
I really like several of those ideas. Funnily enough, I've actually done a couple of them. Would be cool to have a contest to put them in.
Erik Keith wrote:
Add me to the list. All my sessions are gone.
Well, a few sessions remain if I look through individual characters, but none show up in the global sessions view for my account, and the majority of my sessions are gone even when I look through characters.
In any case, I don't intend to report sessions until the issue is resolved.
Peace of mind. Someone on reddit said something to the effect of, "Be aware that a clever GM can have ghosts burrow up from underneath the shell," and several /r/Pathfinder_RPG regulars concurring. I found that odd. Why would a spell be designed to be useless? I argued that hemispheres have flat bottoms, as I found a number of mathematical definitions of the surface area of a hemisphere indicating that.
But it felt like an insubstantial argument, as Pathfinder doesn't use strict mathematical definitions for things. I wanted clarity in Pathfinder jargon and logic.
So I worked it out in my OP here, and came, I think, to the correct reasoning behind the burrowing-ghost's impossibility. I considered just deleting the post, but I felt that I might get good counter-arguments, clarification from developers (or at least fellow players), and because when this question is asked by others they might find this thread through Google and settle the argument in their own games.
I am satisfied that my logic was correct. A sphere or hemisphere occupies all points within its radius if it is a burst, emanation, or spread. If its effect is none of those, it occupies only the points equidistant from its center (though it may have some thickness defined by the spell).
I think you missed one possibility, which is that the hemisphere acts as in case one but includes the plane that nominally divides the sphere in two, but not the interior volume. That solves your anti-X issue, and you can rationalize wall of ice in that most situations the ground (or creatures thereupon) would block the "floor" from forming.
I did consider that, but Wall of Ice has the stipulation that if attempted to form intersecting solid objects, the spell auto-fails. So if we imagine it as trying to make a floor but running into the ground, the spell can't be cast as a hemisphere.
Originally I had thought of hemispheres as you describe, and that is an acceptable definition of a hemisphere. In fact, mathematicians often define the surface area of a hemisphere as 3*pi*r^2, which takes that surface into account.
But hemispheres can also be defined without that surface, so I thought it was too much of a 'mileage may vary' definition.
Shell spells for example; the name suggests we're talking about surfaces, not volumes. But clearly Anti-Incorporeal Shell isn't meant to allow entry from below.
I dunno about this one. The description of emanations in the Magic section of the CRB is fairly clear. That said, it really doesn't jibe well with the textual description of those spells, as you mention.
Yes, that's what I'm trying to convey.
I know what you're thinking, "It's half a sphere." Bear with me, because in terms of Pathfinder spell effects, that definition requires a bit more precision. Unfortunately, I'm having trouble coming up with a precise definition that doesn't do wonky weird things with one spell or another.
I'll start with the three definitions I see as plausible, though all have their issues.
1) A hemisphere is shaped like a dome, and has no flat-plane surface. This is as if you cut a hollow sphere in half.
2) A hemisphere is shaped like a dome with a flat surface, typically beneath the caster's feet. This is as if you cut a solid sphere in half. In other words, the spell effect fills the entire volume described as its area of effect rather than act as a 2D lens.
3) Because Pathfinder has no facing rules, a hemisphere faces all directions simultaneously, and is therefore equivalent to a sphere. I reject this definition because there are spherical spells and abilities, and as a distinction has been made by calling certain effects hemispherical, I must assume that this distinction corresponds to some real meaning.
Most GMs I have encountered expect that the first definition is true, but there are too many contexts where it makes no sense. I'll begin with the biggest example.
School abjuration; Level cleric 4, shaman 4, witch 4
Casting Time 1 round
Components V, S, DF
Range 10 ft.
Area 10-ft.-radius emanation centered on you
Duration 1 minute/level (D)
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance yes
You bring into being a mobile, hemispherical energy field that incorporeal creatures cannot enter.
This spell can be used only defensively, not aggressively. Forcing an abjuration barrier against creatures that the spell keeps at bay collapses the barrier.
If we use the former definition, this spell accomplishes nothing. Any incorporeal creature can simply burrow under the dome, and pop up from the unprotected ground plane. As I can't imagine the author's intent was to make a 4th level slot-waster, the first definition is nonsensical. Another corner case would be a caster standing upwards from the ghost on a steep staircase or ramp. In this situation, part of the dome would end in open air, allowing the ghost to duck under it and enter the forbidden area. Of course, the dome could re-orient such that its radius is orthogonal to the normal plane, but that still doesn't solve the burrowing ghost problem.
The same issues arise with Antilife shell. However, as only a small subset of living creatures have burrowing ability, it seems less absurd that this vulnerability of the spell exists. Every type of creature that anti-incorporeal shell should hedge out could bypass the spell entirely if it does not fill a volume.
However, this volumetric definition runs into a problem when we talk about Wall of Ice.
Wall of Ice:
School evocation [cold]; Level bloodrager 4, magus 4, sorcerer/wizard 4, summoner 3, unchained summoner 4; Bloodline boreal 4; Elemental School water 4
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
This spell creates an anchored plane of ice or a hemisphere of ice, depending on the version selected. A wall of ice cannot form in an area occupied by physical objects or creatures. Its surface must be smooth and unbroken when created. Any creature adjacent to the wall when it is created may attempt a Reflex save to disrupt the wall as it is being formed. A successful save indicates that the spell automatically fails. Fire can melt a wall of ice, and it deals full damage to the wall (instead of the normal half damage taken by objects). Suddenly melting a wall of ice creates a great cloud of steamy fog that lasts for 10 minutes.
Ice Plane: A sheet of strong, hard ice appears. The wall is 1 inch thick per caster level. It covers up to a 10-foot-square area per caster level (so a 10th-level wizard can create a wall of ice 100 feet long and 10 feet high, a wall 50 feet long and 20 feet high, or any other combination of length and height that does not exceed 1,000 square feet). The plane can be oriented in any fashion as long as it is anchored. A vertical wall need only be anchored on the floor, while a horizontal or slanting wall must be anchored on two opposite sides.
Each 10-foot square of wall has 3 hit points per inch of thickness. Creatures can hit the wall automatically. A section of wall whose hit points drop to 0 is breached. If a creature tries to break through the wall with a single attack, the DC for the Strength check is 15 + caster level.
Even when the ice has been broken through, a sheet of frigid air remains. Any creature stepping through it (including the one who broke through the wall) takes 1d6 points of cold damage + 1 point per caster level (no save).
Hemisphere: The wall takes the form of a hemisphere whose maximum radius is 3 feet + 1 foot per caster level. The hemisphere is as hard to break through as the ice plane form, but it does not deal damage to those who go through a breach.
As we see, if the hemisphere creates a volume of ice, we succeed only in entombing ourselves like a woolly mammoth. Just as obviously as Anti-incorporeal could not have been intended to be useless, the hemisphere version of Wall of Ice couldn't be made as a suicide trap for unwary evokers. Even if we allow it to be a hollow hemisphere, it seems odd that there is no mention of the slippery floor those inside the sphere will have to navigate. One would assume that is because Wall of Ice acts as a simple dome, according to our first definition.
I can think of only one method of reconciling these definitions, and I would like input. Hopefully I can get a dev to chime in (so hit the FAQ button!)
- By default, a hemisphere is a two-dimensional dome oriented such that the bottom of the caster's feet would be the 'sphere's' center, and the radius is parallel to the caster's vertical axis. The caster may alter this orientation, but must specify that they are doing so when the effect is created. (In other words, it's like an igloo all around you, but you can flip it upside down or make it like a shield if you mention that's what you're doing when you cast.)
- However, if the effect is an emanation, the hemispherical effect occupies the entire volume within its radius. The effect otherwise works as before. (In other words, while the 'shell' spells are described as 'barriers' and evoke images of 2D surfaces, they are in fact volumes that the hedged creature-type can't enter. This prevents burrowing baddies and the like, and even teleportation effects from working (potentially).
I think this has to be how things work. I can't make sense of it otherwise. Thoughts?
For what it's worth, I think this scenario did a far better job with a new mechanic than Bid For Alabastrine did. I even got to try to be social with my bloodrager, since I had a positive CHA modifier and trained intimidate :)
I actually didn't hate the social parts of BfA. There were flaws, but at least the characters were fairly well developed.
I agree with Lau about performing the debate with a smile on your face. It can help people have fun.
That said, I do want to vent a little spleen on here at least about this BS. You want to introduce a new mechanic? Fine, go for it. What I'm not as fond of is introducing the rule-set with an additional and scenario-specific rule-set (having to use your best skills, no conceding, etc.) on top. On top of this is the reversal of intent (trying to lose) making this even more unnecessarily confusing, and then another scenario specific mechanic (the masks) just to make the GM want to kill themselves.
It's deeply, deeply idiotic to introduce a new mechanic-set this way, particularly given the verbal duel's default complexity.
If I never run this scenario again, it will be too soon. I'm going to try my damnedest to make sure my players walk away smiling, thinking it was a great scenario. It will be a considerable test of my progress as a GM.
Let me see if I have this straight. They players have to lose. The only method of losing the have available to them is legitimately losing sufficient exchanges to arrive at 0 Determination. This is because they cannot concede the duel, and cannot concede exchanges until the ante >= 2.They are allowed to choose ineffective tactics, and Eynemb will also attempt to use ineffective tactics. They must use their highest Skill mod within a given tactic.
Once a player has won an exchange, they cannot attempt another until everyone else has attempted one. Enyemb is the one to decide which PC is debating him on any given round of an exchange.
So, as a GM, I basically choose Enyemb's tactics based on what I think a given PC would be good at countering. So, if I know a PC has an extremely high Diplomacy modifier, I might use Presence targeting that PC. This is because Diplomacy is a skill for Flattery, which is strong against Presence.
However, the PC would not want to use Flattery, since they are also trying to lose. They might want to counter with Allegory instead, which has a -2 when used as a counter.
Exchanges go back and forth until someone fails the DC set by the last counter (or opening), at which point they lose the ante in Determination. Both players and Enyemb are attempting to fail the DC.
interesting theory - def worth putting spoiler tags on the RoW bit though
I thought about it, but nothing I said is information beyond what can be found in the Product Description on this website. It in fact contains, "... the Dancing Hut travels to Baba Yaga’s homeland of Russia on the planet Earth. The year is 1918, and the First World War rages throughout Europe. The heroes find themselves in the wilds of Siberia..."
Using some inferential reasoning and semi-recent events, I think I can say with some confidence that I know which star Golarion orbits. Below I will outline my reasoning.
In the 5th book of Reign of Winter (Rasputin Must Die!) the PCs are transported from Golarion to Earth, specifically in 1918 Russia. This seemed odd to my GM, as the events of Reign of Winter take place in 4713 AR, reflecting their 2013 publication date. Why, then, are the player's thrust approximately 95 years in the past? It couldn't be intentional time travel; there is too much urgency in resolving the events for them to have awaited the players for nearly a century.
It dawned on us, however, that there is no particular reason magic should obey Einsteinian relativity, especially where the teleportation sub-school of conjuration is concerned. Had we instantaneously accelerated to c and traveled to Earth, we would have arrived in 2013. Having simply 'popped' over, we went back in time. This implies that Golarion is around 95 light-years from Earth.
We had a good chuckle, and kept playing.
My roommate then remembered those odd signals coming from a star known by the designation HD 164595 from a couple of years back. HD 164595, strangely enough, is of the exact same star class as our own, a G2V. It is also 94.4 light years away.
The only thing I can think of that would be sending out a radio signal would be the Silver Mount, blasting an endlessly looping distress signal.
Paizo developers are actually Pathfinder field agents establishing their first interplanetary lodge after Aram Zey finally got to 17th level and could cast interplanetary teleport. This is my canon now.
You're not wrong. I might need a good sentence or two to stick in about how to judge when Acro is worth rolling.
I'm running this on Monday, and I'm a bit confused by the final fight. Specifically, I'm not sure how to handle the chains. I'll quote their text here:
Delirium's Tangle page 14 wrote:
Abysiel animates the workshop's many chains to grapple a single target, as if using the animate rope spell, with the exceptions that the chains can reach any opponent in the workshop.
This is only confusing after reading animate rope. I'll quote the relevant text here:
The rope can enwrap only a creature or an object within 1 foot of it—it does not snake outward—so it must be thrown near the intended target. Doing so requires a successful ranged touch attack roll (range increment 10 feet). A typical 1-inch-diameter hemp rope has 2 hit points, AC 10, and requires a DC 23 Strength check to burst it. The rope does not deal damage, but it can be used as a trip line or to cause a single opponent that fails a Reflex saving throw to become entangled. A creature capable of spell-casting that is bound by this spell must make a concentration check with a DC of 15 + the spell's level to cast a spell. An entangled creature can slip free with a DC 20 Escape Artist check.
I'm assuming that the 'only a creature or an object within 1 foot' is the part that is there is an exception to, I don't need to worry about enemy positioning. The parts that I'm not sure about:
Do I need to make a ranged attack roll? Would this be with Abysiel's ranged attack modifier?
Do the PCs get a Reflex save against the entangled condition? What is the save DC?
Do they become grappled, or entangled? The scenario says grappled, the spell says entangled.
Love the scenario as a whole, thought it packed a lot of content in 12 pages of adventure. I suspect that this ability made sense with 3.5 rules, which I believe PFS was still running in at time of publication. Still, don't know what to do now.
When I wrote Bench-Pressing, only paid lip-service to skills. To get into more detail was just beyond the scope of that article. Every skill works differently, has different character options that help, there's a huge variety in the magnitude of the DCs we'd typically face, etc. I have decided to write fairly detailed analyses of the more complex and important skills in Pathfinder as stand-alone articles.
This article focuses on Acrobatics.
The rules in the PRD on this subject seem clear upon a superficial reading, but become somewhat strange when one realizes that the special size modifier applied to combat maneuvers is never stated to replace the typical size modifier applied to all attacks. I'll go into more detail.
When you attempt to perform a combat maneuver, make an attack roll and add your CMB in place of your normal attack bonus. Add any bonuses you currently have on attack rolls due to spells, feats, and other effects. These bonuses must be applicable to the weapon or attack used to perform the maneuver. The DC of this maneuver is your target's Combat Maneuver Defense. Combat maneuvers are attack rolls, so you must roll for concealment and take any other penalties that would normally apply to an attack roll.
Bolding mine for emphasis.
This paragraph fairly clearly spells out that any and all bonuses and penalties associated with a normal attack (using the same weapon) are also levied on combat maneuvers. One such bonus is, of course, the size modifier. Notably, the "special size modifier" table presents bonuses/penalties that are the exact inverse of those in the size modifier table (which is in the Combat -> Armor Class section of the PRD).
Hypothesis: Size category has no impact whatsoever on CMB; the special size category bonus/penalty merely cancels the normal size penalty/bonus.
Evidence for hypothesis: A Dire Wolf's CMB is +8. It has a +4 STR bonus, +3 BAB, and +1 from Weapon Focus (bite). It is Large sized. If the "special size modifier" were applied without the normal size modifier, it would have a +9. That it does not implies that my hypothesis is correct.
Evidence against hypothesis: The Gegenees has a +30 CMB. It has +8 STR modifier, +20 BAB. It is Huge sized. Its highest BAB weapon attacks are made at a +26, reflecting the normal size modifier penalizing its attacks. The CMB, however, is 2 higher than BAB+STR, implying that the special size modifier was not cancelled by the normal size modifier.
Analysis: Monster blocks are inconsistently written/edited for correctly derived combat statistics, and should not be relied upon for answering questions like this. A meaningful answer must be attained from developer commentary, published rules text, or an errata/FAQ.
CMD presents even more weirdness.
This, again, seems sensible on first reading, and puzzling upon a careful second and third. The special side modifier is once again the exact inverse of the normal size modifier to AC. Unlike CMB bonuses, all of the bonus types to AC that can also be applied to CMD are specified here. 'Size' is not among these bonuses. This means that a Diminutive creature, for example, really does have a -4 penalty to its CMD. The odd part is that the applicable penalty types received transitively from AC are not specified. This means that a Gargantuan sized creature does not receive a bonus to its CMD, the 'special size modifier' simply cancels out its size penalty to AC.
Hypothesis: Size hurts CMD if you're Small or smaller, and does nothing from Large and up.
I will note that I have never seen a combat run using this counter-intuitive (but I believe textually correct) rules interpretation. RAI is obviously that the size modifier typically applied to AC/attacks are replaced by the 'special' size modifier when evaluating CMB/CMD. However, I have not found this explicitly stated anywhere.
I would appreciate clarification from anyone who can provide rules text from a published source, an FAQ/errata, or a comment from a Paizo developer.
Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
No, it's terrible. Yes, it is a second level spell. Those aren't meant to be powerhouses, but let's look at what we actually get in a numerically rigorous way.
1d10 fire damage is blatantly pathetic, even given the 30 foot spread. Given that none of the classes that can use this spell are in any way likely to be save DC focused (and its only level 2), the DC is almost certainly in the 14-16 range. Given a 50% average successful save rate (generous to the caster even at level 4; by level 6 when the caster is still locked in second level spells, the save rate will likely be much higher), this is 4.125 expected damage, and in the most commonly resisted element. Even Fire Resist usually negates this, or at best lowers it to 3 (1 on a successful save).
The other component is, for all intents and purposes, a Dazzling Display usage with slightly better action economy. That middling advantage of freeing up your move action is, I think, ameliorated partially by it not actually being a Dazzling Display and therefore not combining with other feats that change one's DD attempts (such as Disheartening Display).
You have to actually make the demoralize roll at this point, it doesn't automatically make them shaken. 10+HD+Wis mod at this level is likely to be around 19. A 5th level character in these classes likely has a +3 stat modifier, 5 ranks, class skill, and maybe a MW tool for demoralize. That's a healthy 75% chance of success, but only a 25% of getting a second round. So, on average, it will demoralize a hit enemy for 0.875 rounds. This is if we accept my rough, but fairly generous ballparks. A character could hypothetically min-max for this BS spell, but nobody ever does.
Demoralizing gives the shaken condition, which is a -2 to all checks (other than damage). This means that any enemy hit successfully by this effect is a 10% worse character. They are 10% less likely to succeed at whatever they were likely to attempt. So, if a single creature is in the range of this spell, this clause of the spell made your standard action worth 8.75% of an enemy turn. You are essentially 8.75% of a useful party member that turn.
Let's value the fire damage as being worth 16.25% of a worthwhile action (a comparison with a 5th level fireball's average damage modified by the fireball's higher typical save DC gives approximately this result) and wind up at 25% of worthwhile per target.
So, if you can get 4 enemies in your 30' spread (with no fire resistance, fairly low Reflex saves, middling or lower HD+Wis modifiers, and no immunity to fear, mind-affecting, or mindlessness), it was worth your time I suppose. Only when we get to 5 targets is it actually what I would call a good usage of one's turn.
In those EXTREMELY RARE conditions, Blistering Invective is good.
But, as I said, it is terrible in nearly all circumstances.
Alright, I'll try to do the metamorph alchemist by the actual rules of the thread this time. Note that level 11 is a massive power boost for the metamorph. I'll try to ameliorate losing that a bit with a level of Slayer.
Levels: Fighter 1/Metamorph Alchemist 9
Bumps obviously go into STR, for a total of 19 before items, morphing, and mutagen.
I'm going to make a list of resources at my disposal first, to make this an easier process to work through.
62kgp (no consumables nor limited-per-day magic items), 2 traits, 6 feats, and 4 Discoveries (which are severely limited by the archetype).
I will be assuming that the metamorph's mutagen and polymorph abilities are both active. I'll get into my defensive benchmarks first.
Fort saves are already at +8 off the bat, but Will is only at a +4. Fate's Favored+Sacred Tattoo alternate racial trait, Freed Slave trait, and 1,000 gp on a cloak of resistance +1 take care of that.
While under a mutagen and metamorph, AC is +1 Dex (lowered by size increase), -1 size, and +6 Natural armor. To get above our defensive floor, I just need to buy a set of full-plate. I'm proficient from fighter, and I don't really have any class abilities that would make me care about tanking around. So, 25 total AC. Good enough.
So for offensive stats, I still have 57.5kgp (after the Handy Haversack), 6 feats, and 4 Discoveries.
Discoveries: Feral Mutagen, Rag Doll Mutagen (mostly because this class tends to be Large or bigger, and it will be useful not to get stuck places), Spontaneous Healing, Healing Touch. Other than Feral, none of these are really helping with DPR, but they're neat.
Feats: Weapon Focus (bite), Weapon Focus (slam), Power Attack, Furious Focus, Hurtful, Cornugon Smash.
Items: belt of giant's strength +4, pale green cracked ioun stone, amulet of the might fist +3, and 500 gp in something else. Maybe some mundane gear.
He will metamorph into a Calikang with a Feral Mutagen. This gives him 6 slams and a bite, increases his Strength to 31, and of course gives him reach (and some other stuff already mentioned or irrelevant to DPR).
When Power attacking, his attacks will be +7 BAB +10 STR +3 amulet +1 ioun stone, +1 weapon focus, -1 size, -3 Power attack for +18 on all but the first attack, which is ate a +21. Bites deal 2d6, slams deal 1d8. Both have a static modifier of +19.
Bite (Furious Focused) attack EDV = (26 * 0.85) + (26 * (0.05 * 0.1)) + (52 * (0.05 * 0.9)) = 24.57
Slam attack EDV = (23.5 * 0.70) + (23.5 * (0.05 * 0.25)) + (47 * (0.05 * 0.75)) = 18.506 x6 = 111.04
Potential attack from Hurtful (some slight reworking would give this a much better chance of working than I have outlined. Namely, 3000 extra gp would get the Maiden's Helm for a +5 Intimidate, and a MW Tool I can afford to bring my Intimidate modifier to +11. Could also sub Furious Focus for Intimidating Prowess. Still, I have 7 attempts to succeed a demoralize check.) will be a Bite attack that does not get furious focus for another 20.475 EDV.
This brings the total to 156.085. I think someone else could probably tweak what I've got here to get a little more performance, but I think this is enough to showcase how little creativity or effort needs to go into making an absolute monstrosity with this archetype.
I wasn't doing it to compare with other entrants in this thread as much as for my own edification. That said, similar results could be attained at level 10 by using the Calikang form. I might go through that later.
The Will save shouldn't be an issue. He's got plenty of feats to spare, no traits spent, a fair amount of gold, and one could always be a Half-Orc for the sacred tattoo.
I'm sure other have probably already examined the Metamorph alchemist, but I wanted to take a crack at it in fairly high level (LVL 12) to see the silliness for myself.
I statted one with 20 starting STR (7 CHA, 12 Wis, 14 Con, the rest 10s), put all three bumps into STR, got a +6 belt, and assumed the following buffs:
He is using his boots of speed for +1 attack and an extra slam.
This puts him at 41 STR, with 7 slam attacks and a bite.
He has weapon focus and power attack as far as feats contributing to his melee bruising, as well as a [pale green cracked ioun stone[/i] and an amulet of the mighty fists +2.
His total attack is 9 BAB +15 STR +2 amulet + 1 haste +1 Weapon Focus (other than the bite), +1 ioun stone, -2 size, -3 Power Attack for a total of +24 on all seven slams and a +23 for the bite.
His damage is 2d6+15+6+2, or 30 on an average slam hit and 3d6+23 (33.5 average) for the bite.
The average AC of a CR 12 monster is 27, so the EDV formulation for a full attack looks like this:
((0.85*30) + (30 * (0.05 * 0.1)) + (60 * (0.05 * .9))) * 7 + ((0.8 * 33.5) + (33.5 * (0.05*0.15)) + (67 * (0.05 * 0.85)))
The total is 228.35 expected damage. I should also note that each slam attack gets a free +30 CMB grab attempt, and that AoOs are pretty likely with his 15' reach from being a tall Huge sized.
I am satisfied that the metamorph is downright silly.
I typically benchmark with full attacks, but it isn't a bad idea to do both if you have options like Hurtful or Vital Strike that can improve your damage without using a full-attack action.
Matt Lewis wrote:
1. One of my roommates has a pretty sweet mini collection, including a ton of Hellknights and orcs. I brought 50 minis with me, and I think the sense of atmosphere was improved by it. That said, you by no means actually need them.
2. Yeah, I have no idea where they're meant to start. I started with the Hellknights in the NW corner battling a horde of 'off-screen' orcs, while they PCs stood back to back with them fending off the ones on-screen. I had the 6 coward orcs flee into the small cave area in the NE corner. It worked pretty well, though the orcs are a bit too spread out for my tastes.
3. Because there is no Linguistics DC or languages-known barrier specified, I think it is most sensible to assume they are in common. Furthermore, were they in Orc it would grant PCs an unintended advantage in that they would not be able to trigger the runes. My thought is that the original creator of the wand spoke common, and it has sense gone through a few hands, namely the Strix and It-That-Peels-Flesh.
4. PCs are never forced to read the open runes (hidden runes require the check to avoid). If they ask what the runes say, have them roll the Perception check and see what happens as if they were intentionally triggering them.
The reason the open runes are dangerous is because Orcs stay up until they hit -CON, so while the little dudes only have 6 HP, a PC needs to do 18 damage or the Orc reads his own sins. Most GMs run that speaking aloud can be done as a free or at least immediate action, so an Orc can potentially do this at any time.
5. I don't think so.
6. I wondered about that too, but I wound up running the other encounter.
I really like this scenario, particularly how well organized all of it is. That said, I have several questions about how a few things work:
1) During the scree climb, does a single 60 foot length of rope grant the +5 bonus to all characters, or is it per character? If the former, do the Hellknights get this bonus as well? Does the survival check to reduce the DC by 5 apply to the Hellknight rolls as well?
2) In the Search for Tracks portion of Battles and Bindings, the DC "increases" from 25 in the 5-6 tier to 20 in the 8-9 tier. Either the 5-6 is meant to be DC 15, or the 8-9 is meant to be 30. Give the other DCs in the scenario, the general difficulty of tracking a horde of orcs through mud, and the tier, I think the former makes more sense.
3) To clarify about the open sin-carved orcs, they only detonate if someone (including suicidal orcs) actually reads them, right? Just seeing isn't sufficient to pop the orc? Otherwise this encounter is basically 72d6 of force damage that can't really be avoided, saved against, or survived.
Tony Lindman wrote:
Thanks for the tips, Tony. How long did your tables run? Given the single combat encounter (and it being an incredibly easy and simple one with no consequences) I feel like the entire thing could be done in about 90 minutes.
Jack Brown wrote:
Le Petite Mort, when Andy, our GM at Paizo Con, explained this to us, it took about 5-10 minutes, tops. Shouldnt be too bad.
I can see that now. It's really complicated from the GM's perspective, but there really isn't all that much of the system that needs to be related to the players.
I'd like to make sure I understand how the bidding section works, as there are a lot of conditional modifiers to things, information to be hidden or revealed, and checks to make. I would appreciate anyone willing to read the below synopsis of the section, and corrections to any misapprehensions I might have.
Before each event (or maybe just once before Passad's event?): Each PC can make a Knowledge (nobility or local) check at a -5 penalty as a discovery for any of the five NPCs. The +4 bonus for 'particularly prominent NPCs' isn't mentioned within the scenario, but I feel it would be appropriate at least for the Lord-Councillor lady.
At each event, each PC can first attempt the Recognize check to get the background information on a given NPC, and grant a +4 bonus to the party's future discovery checks against that NPC. This check is not considered as that PC's influence/discovery check for the event. Additionally, Passad will tell the players the contents of the Introduction section for whatever NPC they wish to speak to.
After that, each PC can attempt either to discover information about one of the NPCs or to influence them. Each PC gets to make 1 such check in any given event, unless noted otherwise within the event. For example, at Passad's event each PC can attempt a discovery check AND an influence check or additional discovery check. Notably, Discovery checks made at the events themselves can use Sense Motive in addition to Knowledge (local or nobility), and no longer suffer from the -5 penalty.
Discovery checks can reveal a single skill that can be used to influence a given NPC (in ascending order of DC), their Weaknesses, or their Strengths. The Biases and Impressing the Host sections are not revealed by discovery checks.
I am unclear on how information within those sections should be disseminated to players. My thought is that it should occur organically through room descriptions and dialogue. For example, I would take great care to describe Passad's lush gardens, and describe him looking at various rare orchids with pride when the PC's enter the event. If a PC from the Exchange faction failed an influence check against Passad, I might have him say something along the lines of, "Your words have reason, but I can't know your motives. I know you are loyal to that conniving Trade Prince, and can't be sure this isn't one of his ploys for a greater stake in Druma's mercantile industries."
Influence can be made with a set of skills that varies from one NPC to another. Furthermore, different skills have varying DCs within any given NPC's influence section. Beyond this, a variety of factors provide circumstance modifiers to influence checks, namely: biases, strengths, weaknesses, Event Adjustments, and if they have been impressed as a host.
It is therefore important to note exactly what a given PC is saying and doing when influencing a given NPC.
Example: A PC at the Petronax Gala attempts to influence Passad again, after having already garnered one success during Passad's own event. This PC says, "What a lovely masquerade! Though, I do prefer the shaded boughs of your own beautiful garden. Trade Prince Hakam would surely benefit from the advice of such an accomplished botanist as yourself when investing in agricultural futures. I'm sure he'd make it more than worth your time, though helping us to keep the Courts of Abstinence out of the Consotrium's hands would go a long way towards improving potential consultation fees."
This PC is using Bluff, as Hakam has no interest in working with Passad. The PC gets a +2 bonus for mentioning the gardens, a +2 bonus from Passad's bias towards those spending a lot of time with him, a +2 bonus to Bluff from the masquerade's event adjustment, and a -4 penalty from openly flaunting association with the Exchange faction. Therefore this PC has a net circumstance modifier of +2. The PC rolls a total of 29 in the 4-5 tier, and the +2 circumstance modifier takes it to 31. He therefore succeeds despite being loyal to Al-Hakam, and by 10. The PC decides to use the second success (granted by exceeding the influence DC by 10) towards convincing Passad to invest in the Luminous Docks district in addition to the Courts of Abstinence.
I feel that the influence system truly requires that PCs roleplay their influence attempts fully, rather than just report the total die roll. Given how brief this scenario is outside of the bidding process, I feel it is doubly important here. I am considering levying significant circumstance penalties (like, -5) against PCs that do not roleplay, and potential bonuses beyond those specified in the scenario for truly well thought out dialogue.
In short, the GM does the following:
Is that the gist?
Are GMs for this scenario allowed to advise players to read the Influence system ahead of time? I'm to GM this in 6 days, and I'd rather not spend a ton of time at the table explaining what's going on with that. I'm imagining the 45 minute explanation of mass combat and troop rules from Assault on the Wound. I'd rather not repeat that experience.
That is not a counter-argument. It still gets characters past a wealth of challenges when out of combat, and once past the obstacles the duration can be waited out trivially. With seven usages daily, that is a lot of non-combat utility to add.
Is your argument here really that Stealth modifier isn't important for stealth reconnaissance? Seriously? I'm not even going to address that. That's like saying your Perception modifier isn't important for finding things, as you usually can't find it because you're in the wrong building.
And yeah, you need to find concealment...for a bird. Not exactly tough to find an out of the way nook for a bird to hide in, and you still haven't addressed the fact that if someone spotted the bird, their likely reaction would be, "Oh hey, a bird."
So now your argument is that martials don't get full attacks, so martials shouldn't concern themselves with how much damage they can do on full attacks? Well, I guess I'll stop ever taking two weapon fighting, rapid shot, fast bombs, pummeling strike, or absolutely any character option to increase a character's damage.Even if full attacks didn't exist at all, it would still increase the damage on my blocked out character's by about 42%, which is still massive.
Did I black out and present a crazy multiclass monstrosity? I certainly don't remember doing that. In fact, I think I made a pretty bare-bones monk without any archetype, about half the feats missing, 4000-8000 gp unspent, no traits, and an un-optimized Dex.
If taking away this single wondrous item can, in your own words, 'effectively kill peoples characters' then you have articulated my own point admirably. If a single item worth 4k is SO OVERWHELMINGLY GOOD that characters entirely fall apart without it, then that is a pretty good indicator that it is poorly designed. I can't think of any other item at that price point this powerful, as you yourself just unwittingly admitted.
I will examine the strength of the item from two angles: the benefits that any character can receive from this item, and the benefits that characters well suited to its ability receive.
First, we will subtract the cost of the ring of protection +1, meaning we are valuating the unique aspects of the ring (beast shape to be a bird) at 2,000 gp.
So, for an additional 2,000 gp when purchasing a ring of protection, a character that is poorly suited to leveraging the ring of seven lovely colors can (seven times per day):
1. Bypass the vast majority of physical obstacles.
This includes climbing things, water crossings, chasms, holes too small to fit through, dangerously rickety/narrow/slick surfaces, guard outposts, all traps that don't trigger on a three-dimensional volume, dense undergrowth or other difficult terrain, etc. Most of these can be accomplished with any flying methodology, the only thing special about the RoSLC is that it can be used so frequently, and with such a lengthy duration. An 11th level Wizard with 24 INT could fill all their 3rd level slots with fly and still need to spend 9,000 on a pearl of power III to achieve this much flight, and would still be slower.
2. Scouting/reconnaissance. There are four elements granting any scout with this item a significant edge over would-be spotters. It grants low-light vision, potentially negating penalties to Perception, it increases the Stealth score of the wearer by +10 (and eliminates any potential armor check penalties), the ability to fly extremely quickly will be helpful if a quick retreat becomes necessary, and birds are innocuous. Even if spotted, I can't really think of what check an NPC would make to identify a wayward bird as a deadly intruder. Taken together, this can make any recon character virtually undetectable, or take the more loud-and-heavy guys innocuous enough not to give away their stealthier companions.
3. Chasing something down/running away/escaping a burning building/etc. The 120' movement speed is an incredible trick to have at one's disposal in and of itself, especially with this many uses. It would take a remarkable amount of character resource allocation to achieve that speed without the ring.
These are benefits that even a heavily armored greatsword wielder would receive when out-of-combat. I think that individually each of these would be worth more than 2,000 gp, and together they are quite potent. This is especially true given that they can be implemented for 70 minutes a day, in not necessarily consecutive increments of 10 minutes.
Now we can consider a character well suited to benefiting from the ring. Let's take a LVL 6 Unchained Monk with a starting Dex of 17, +1 at level 4, +2 belt for 20 Dex total. He also has a +0 agile amulet of the mighty fists because he super wants Dex to damage, and he is finessing his unarmed strikes, has weapon focus with them, and has Piranha strike. So, a somewhat typical dex-based monk.
His attack bonus is +6/+6/+1 on a flurry (could spend ki for one more attack), +5 from Dex, +1 from weapon focus, -2 from Piranha strike for a total of +10/+10/+5. Each attack is 1d8+9, or 13.5 average damage. This makes the monk's overall EDV (against an AC of 19, the average AC of a CR 6 creature) 22 if he does not use ki for an additional attack, and 30.5 if he does. By my benchmarking methods this character's damage output would be considered well into green, but doesn't hit Blue even when ki striking.
If this monk bought and used the RoSLC, the monk's attack bonus will increase by 5 (+2 size bonus, +2 from the Dex increase, +1 height advantage), his damage die will go down to a d4, but he will make up that average damage with the Dex increase.
In other words, it is now +15/+15/+10 1d4+11 (which is still 13.5 average damage). His EDV against AC 19 increases to 32.6 when he is not ki striking, and 44.65 if he does. This is more than a 68% increase in expected damage. I can think of no item even remotely close to this price range capable of so greatly increasing a martial character's expected damage output.
The ring also increases the monk's AC by 5 (2 from Dex, 2 size, 1 natural) beyond the +1 deflection bonus, dramatically improving their defenses. The monk's mobility, as has already been discussed, is also significantly improved.
Beyond which, the monk is still capable of reaping the out-of-combat benefits noted above.
After examining this item rigorously, I must agree with Barton's thesis. The item should be banned, or at least errata'd. If it were usable 1/day for 1 minute, it would certainly be less problematic (though I'd still put at least an 8,000 gp price tag on it).
Honestly, with those tanked physical stats, but 18 Wis and Cha, it seems like you'd be much better off as a Cleric in full-plate than Inquisitor. You're always going to be a terrible martial character, but that doesn't matter if you're casting spells every round. With the animal domain, you can even have the companion. Deception would be good too, as you would get mirror image at lvl 3.
EDIT: There is actually one super effective martial pseudo-Inquisitor build I can think of, though you'd need to get your GM's approval for a guided amulet of the mighty fists. Basically, you go Monk/Paladin and get your Wisdom to attack, damage, AC, + your CHA to saves, and when smiting to your attack and AC. You can even get CHA to initiative...there's a lot of shenanigans you could pull with that.
I think Sacred Huntsmaster is a really good idea. Be an archer, and you can go Wounded Paw Gambit with him. That should generally keep you well enough away from melee. I'd also put 3 ranks in Acrobatics so you can switch to melee and fight defensively in a pinch.
Even as a backliner, with so little CON, you really need to be up on your AC game. If you're going Archer anyway, that probably means mithral chain shirts, perhaps switching to Celestial Armor in high level play. That should give you a decent mix of touch/flat-footed, and considering how many Fort save effects are touch attacks, you'll be glad for that.
If there's any way an Inquisitor can use mirror image, it's worth pursuing. Similarly, displacement, shield, shield of faith, and even blur or fog spells can dramatically increase your survivability.
I'd also recommend carrying a lot of antitoxins and antiplagues, investing heavily in a Cloak of Resistance and Pale Green Cracked Ioun Stone, and potentially going Orc/Sacred Tattoo/Fate's Favored.
The table linked here has AC benchmarks by character level. You'll want to be at or near the Blue number for whatever level you're at. By level 10, a 33 buffed AC is a good target for a 6 CON archer, for example.
If it were my campaign, I'd absolutely allow for cosmetic changes. If, for example, your statues were made to look elven, people would treat you as an elf upon your re-corporation. However, you would not suddenly become proficient in elven weapons, have a +2 racial bonus to INT and Dex, etc.
Any change made in this manner would be cosmetic. If you were given angel wings, they would look real upon re-corporation, and you might even be able to move them slightly. However, they won't give you so much as a damage reduction when falling unless you do something more to magic them up.
Mechanically speaking, I think this solution allows for creative players to get some limited mileage out of the technique (basically, a pseudo alter self with no duration limit) without becoming unbalanced.
In terms of flavor, you can think of flesh to stone as instant fossilization. The cells of the body have the same shape, all the veins are hooked up, the muscles still meet in all the same ways...just made of stone instead of living material. When stone to flesh reverts this process, all the pieces work together still.
Using something like stone shape to add wings onto a creature-cum-statue could make visually elegant features, but upon reversion the wings would have no vasculature, no muscles, no vitality. They may look like wings, but without internal anatomy they would be useless.
If players REALLY wanted to pursue this, I would regard it as 'invention' within the world as well as meta-game. For example, if a wizard really wanted to be able to alter creatures' anatomies in this manner, he might need to put a lot of ranks into Heal, Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (arcana), and Craft (stonecutter). Once he had, say, 6 ranks in each I might make a feat that allows them to permanently give things analogous to some eidolon evolutions to other creatures. It would be a crafting feat, and work along similar restrictions.
It's basically about letting players get creative without overbalancing everything.