LuniasM's page

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Straight to the point - I'm not a fan of PF2's current balance between Light and Heavy Armor. I'll list what I see as some pros and cons of both below:

Light Armor Pros:
* Easier to gain Trained proficiency
* Low weight
* Higher possible TAC
* Low/No Armor Check Penalty

Light Armor Cons:
* Requires higher investment in DEX to make it effective
* Lower maximum Proficiency means lower AC and less effective Shield builds

Heavy Armor Pros:
* Requires minimal investment in DEX
* Higher potential AC with Fighters and Paladins due to proficiency

Heavy Armor Cons:
* Higher STR requirement to use
* Higher Armor Check Penalty means lower bonuses on many Skills
* Lower potential TAC
* Speed penalty reduces mobility
* Clumsy trait significantly limits the benefit of higher DEX
* Higher monetary cost
* Delayed access to Expert-quality armor and the +1 Armor Potency Rune
* Harder to gain Trained proficiency

It just seems to me that the Heavy Armor options are more heavily penalized despite having few benefits. In pretty much every situation I'd prefer to invest a little extra into DEX and take a Medium or Light armor instead. Is there anything glaringly obvious I'm missing? What are everyone else's thoughts?

The subject of Mutagens comes up a lot and I have some thoughts on the topic that I figured would make for interesting discussion.

Mutagen Duration and Onset Time:
The PF1 Alchemist's Mutagen was a long-duration buff that took a Standard action to activate but took effect immediately, making it a useful buff both in and out of combat. In PF2, Mutagen duration and onset times vary based on the item's Level. Here's a list with Duration and Onset by item level:

5: 1 min
9: 10 min
13: 1 hr
17: 1 hr

5: End of next turn.
9: 1 min
13: 1 min
17: End of next turn

For Alchemists that take the Fast Onset feat at Level 6, the Level 5 and Level 17 Mutagens can be used easily as combat buffs while the Level 9 and Level 13 Mutagens are too punishing to activate mid-combat but have a long enough duration to pre-buff. However, due to the number of abilities in the game which take 1-10 minutes of rest to use, the shorter-duration buffs may not last more than 1-2 combats. For Alchemists who don't take Fast Onset, none of the Mutagens available take effect quickly enough to activate mid-combat, making the Level 5 Mutagen useful only for certain skill challenges while relegating the rest to pre-buff options.

Personally, I'm fine with either short duration buffs with no onset time or long-duration buffs with a longer onset time. I like the idea of Fast Onset, but it doesn't do much for the Level 9 and 13 Mutagens which would still require 2 rounds to activate.

Mutagen Duration and Onset Fix Ideas:

Idea 1: Instead of varying Onset time by Item Level, give all Mutagens a 1 minute onset. To offset the longer onset time, increase the duration of the Level 5 Mutagens to 10 minutes so that the durations look like this:

5: 10 min
9: 10 min
13: 1 hr
17: 1 hr

Finally, change the Fast Onset class feature to allow all Mutagens to take effect at the end of the turn the user drinks them. This allows the Alchemist to use Mutagens as a combat buff while still allowing them to have a slight drawback in activation time. However, since the Alchemist can spend their actions to allow an ally to drink the Mutagen, you can buff an ally before their turn starts!

Idea 2: Instead of varying the Duration by level, make all Mutagens last 10 minutes as a baseline with the option to spend a limited resource (such as Focus) to make them last 1 hour. This gives the Level 5 and Level 9 Mutagens some potential use as long-duration buffs and makes it easier for players to remember the duration of their Mutagen.

Mutagen Bonuses and Penalties:

The PF1 Mutagen granted a bonus and a penalty to one ability score each, and as the Alchemist gained levels they gained access to Discoveries which increased their Mutagen's bonuses and allowed them to apply to more ability scores at a time (while also taking a penalty to more ability scores). The penalty received never increased, and there was an item which removed the penalties entirely when worn.

The PF2 Mutagen grants its bonuses and penalties to the rolls and stats that their associated ability scores affect rather than applying to the ability score itself, which is a welcome change for new players trying to figure out exactly what it applies to. However, the PF2 Mutagen is an Item Bonus. This means it doesn't stack with bonuses granted by other magic items. Among these, the most common conflicting items are Weapon and Armor Potency Runes, Handwraps of Mighty Fists, and skill-boosting magic items (just trust me, there's a ton - not willing to type that whole list again. In situations where you're already benefitting from the highest-available bonus at your level (such as a +2 Potency Rune at Level 10) the applicable Mutagen will only grant a +1 bonus, meaning the more you invest in these stats the less a Mutagen will help.

Furthermore, unlike in PF1 the Mutagen penalty increases at higher item levels, and unlike Item Bonuses there aren't any conflicting Item Penalties to match them. The only way to negate the Mutagen penalty is via a Level 20 class feat, and at that point they only grant bonuses on things you don't have the highest-available magic item for. However, what this does mean is that an Alchemist can prepare Mutagens for situations where they'd be forced to use weapons and skills they don't excel in, which would allow them (and party members) to contribute on skills they normally wouldn't be capable of. That said, this stacking issue limits the offensive uses of the Bestial and Quicksilver Mutagens to Unarmed and Bomber Alchemists only, outside of fringe cases where a character loses their weapon, Handwraps of Mighty Fists, or Spell Duelist's Wand. For fans of the PF1 Alchemist, this is a huge shift to a very popular build type towards support and skills rather than offense.

Mutagen Bonuses and Penalties Fix Ideas:

Idea 1: Give Mutagens their own Bonus and Penalty type and lower the bonus / penalty. Most long-duration buff spells grant somewhere between a +1 and a +4 already anyway, so the following chart could work:

5: +1/-1
9: +2/-2
13: +3/-3
17: +4/-4

This has a few immediate beneficial effects. First, new players are going to be confused if presented with large numbers that don't actually stack - this removes that issue. Second, this makes it so that Mutagens grant the same level of bonus and penalty at all times, rather than applying a minor bonus with a major penalty at later levels. The main issue with this idea is that it increases the cap that characters can reach on attack, damage, and skills above the current levels, which would require a ton of rebalancing and make the Alchemist too powerful at force multiplication.

Idea 2: Limit the Bonus and Penalty of each Mutagen to a +1/-1 and allow it to stack with other bonus types. This has the same benefits as Idea 1 above while also avoiding the major drawback, but it presents its own issue as the Mutagen would no longer be very useful as an option to support by filling in on situations where the party is lacking. Other Elixirs could be made to fill in the gaps left by removing higher-level Mutagens without changing page space too much, but it would still make Mutagens less interesting. Perhaps higher-level Mutagens could be given alternate effects to compensate, such as increased reach, flight, additional senses, etc.

For now, that's all I can write. I have more ideas that'll probably have to wait until Wednesday, but in the meantime if anyone has any thoughts or ideas to share then I'm all ears.

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In a continuation of what is swiftly threatening to become my day job, I've taken my data from my Average Monster Stats by Level spreadsheet and created another spreadsheet. This time, I'm looking at the average hit rate for each class with every possible starting ability score (8-18 for classes with a STR or DEX bonus and 8-16 for the Alchemist plus spellcasters).

Notes on the Process
All characters are assumed to use one Ability Boost on the ability score they use for attack rolls whenever possible, and purchases items which improve their attack bonus as early as possible. This grants the following bonuses at the listed levels:
- Item Bonus (Weapon Quality) at Levels 3 (Expert) and 8 (Master).
- Item Bonus (Weapon Potency Rune) at Levels 13 (+3), 17 (+4), and 20 (+5).
- Item Bonus (Spell Attacks vs TAC) at Levels 9, 13, 17, and 20 (Spell Duelist's Gloves / Wand)
- Ability Boost at Levels 5, 10, 15, and 20. Starting ability scores of 12 or higher do not benefit from every Ability Boost.
- Ability Boost at Level 15 (Anklets of Alacrity or Belt of Giant Strength).

* When determining the level an item could be accessed, I referred to Table 11-2: Character Wealth on Page 348. Based on this table, items such as high-quality weapons and magic items can only be gained if you are one level higher than the item. For instance, an Expert Weapon is a Level 2 item, but you do not get a Level 2 Permanent Item until Level 3 and cannot afford to purchase one with the currency given.
* Spellcasters have access to spells which target normal AC. For the moment, these are not included in my tables. Such attacks will have a lower hit rate than the attacks listed in the AC table up until Level 12 and start to pull ahead at Level 16.
* The Alchemist, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, and Wizard have access to attacks that target TAC at all levels. For such attacks I've included a TAC table below the AC table.
* All classes have access to the Fighter Dedication, which can grant Expert Proficiency in a weapon group at Level 12 at the cost of a class feat. However, all non-spellcasters (save for the Alchemist) already get Expert Proficiency, and the only classes that don't have it by Level 12 (Barbarian and Rogue) get it at Level 13, making it a wasted feat for them. Furthermore, spellcasting classes don't get a class feat at Level 12, so they can't access this until Level 14 at the earliest. The only class that can really make use of this feat at the level intended is the Alchemist. I do not include this feat in my numbers, but if your character is a spellcaster or an Alchemist then I definitely suggest picking it up if you plan on making weapon attacks.

* While at first it seems that the Alchemist has difficulty hitting with their bombs when compared to spellcasters of the same level, their numbers are much closer to those of characters making weapon attacks. This is likely because alchemists are capable of throwing multiple bombs per turn, while most spellcasters can only make a single spell attack per round. That said, I find it odd that the Alchemist's Empower Bombs class feature doesn't stack with the Alchemist's Goggles item, which seems tailor-made for the class.

I may include a DPR sheet at some point, but with the varying weapon damage dice that could get very complicated. Maybe a project for next week. For now, enjoy!

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So I did a thing.

I took a look at each monster's HP, AC, TAC, saves, Perception, Stealth, attack bonus, damage, and save DCs. I still need to add the Save DCs of the lowest-level monsters, but everything else should be there. I have two tables - the first is just the raw averages, and the second is an attempt to remove any outliers (typically high or low HP, and Ooze AC / TAC).

There are a few things I should explain first:
* Whenever a creature would have a higher Stealth score due to terrain, I use the higher bonus.
* I do not include Persistent damage or Splash damage in my damage calculations.
* High-level averages are less accurate due to the lower number of high-level creatures available for the playtest. This is especially evident in the HP numbers around Level 16, which has a couple major outliers.
* Monsters with lower HP tend to have special defenses such as Fast Healing, Regeneration, and Resistance that balance their lower HP. NPCs tend to have lower HP and damage, but the rest of their numbers match up reasonably well.

If you find any errors, post them here and I'll update the spreadsheet.

So I had some free time tonight and got sidetracked. This is the result of that.

List of skills and things that grant bonuses to them:

Physical Boost (Conditional; +1d4; Applies to one roll only)
Quicksilver Mutagen (Item; +2-5; 1 min to 1 hour)
Slick Rune (Item; +2 or +4; Applies to either Escape or Squeeze checks)
Anklets of Alacrity (Item; +4)
Boots of Elvenkind (Item; +2 or +4)
Cloak of the Bat (Item; +2 to +4; Applies to Maneuver in Flight)
Daredevil Boots (Item +3 or +5; Conditional +1 or +2 to Tumble Through only)
Electric Eelskin (Item; +3)
Salve of Slipperiness (Item; +4; Applies to Escape or Squeeze only)

Alchemical Savant (Circumstance; +2; Applies to Identify Magic checks on Alchemical items only; Alchemist)
Cognitive Mutagen (Item; +2-5; 1 min to 1 hour)
Hat of the Magi (Item; +2 or +4)
Ring of Wizardry (Item; +2)
Robe of the Archmagi (Item; +3 or +5)

Crane Stance (Conditional; +4; Applies to Jump checks only; Monk)
Climbing Kit (Item; Expert +1; Climb only)
Crowbar (Item; +1; Break Open things that can be pried open only)
Knock (Conditional: +4; Break Open a door, lock, or container)
Physical Boost (Conditional; +1d4; Applies to one roll only)
Beastial Mutagen (Item; +2-5; 1 min to 1 hour based on item level)
Armbands of Athleticism (Item; +3 or +5)
Belt of Giant Strength (Item +4; Conditional +2 to lift heavy objects, Break a Grapple, or Break an Object)
Boots of Bounding (Item; +2 or +4; Applies to Jump only)
Bronze Bull Pendant (Conditional; +2; Applies to Shove only; Single-use)
Horseshoes of Speed (Item; +2 or +4; Applies to High Jump and Long Jump checks only)
Mattock of the Titans (Item; +5; Increases the Belt of Giant Strength item bonus)
Plate Armor of the Deep (Item; +3; Applies to Swim only)

Specialty Crafting (Circumstance; +2; Applies on one type of Craft check only; Skill Feat)
Alchemist’s Tools (Item; Expert +1, Master +2; Alchemy only)
Artisan’s Tools (Item; Expert +1, Master +2; Any single Craft type)
Repair Kit (Item; Expert +1; Repair only)
Snare Kit (Item; Expert +1, Master +2; Snares only)
Cognitive Mutagen (Item; +2-5; 1 min to 1 hour)
Alchemist’s Goggles (Item; +2 or +4; Alchemy only)
Crafter’s Eyepiece (Item; +2 or +4; Applies on checks to Craft only)
Inexplicable Apparatus (Item; +5; Applies to checks to Craft or Repair only)
Ring of Maniacal Devices (Item; +3 or +5; Applies to Craft and Repair traps and snares only)

Lie to Me (Circumstance; +2; Applies once vs enemies that fail to lie or conceal something from you; Skill Feat)
Disguise Kit (Item; Expert +1, Master +2; Disguise only)
Face in the Crowd (Conditional; +2; To go unnoticed in a crowd of similar creatures only)
Silvertongue Mutagen (Item; +2-5; 1 min to 1 hour)
Cape of the Montebank (Item; +3)
Circlet of Persuasion (Item; +3)
Clandestine Cloak (Item; +2 or +4; Applies to Impersonate a forgettable person)
Ring of Lies (Item; +2 or +4)
Whisper of the First Lie (Item; +5)

Animal Whisperer (Circumstance; +1; Applies to Make an Impression vs Animals; Gnome)
Fey Fellowship (Circumstance; +1; Applies vs Fey only; Gnome)
Green Empathy (Circumstance; +2; Applies to Request vs plants; Druid of the Leaf)
Cultural Familiarity (Circumstance; +1; Applies vs members of one ancestry or ethnicity; Skill Feat)
Lie to Me (Circumstance; +2; Applies once vs enemies that fail to lie or conceal something from you; Skill Feat)
Silvertongue Mutagen (Item; +2-5; 1 min to 1 hour)
Belt of the Five Kings (Conditional; +1; Applies to Make an Impression or Request vs Dwarves)
Breastplate of Command (Item; +2)
Celestial Armor (Item; +3; Applies vs non-fiends)
Circlet of Persuasion (Item; +3)
Clandestine Cloak (Item; +2)
Messenger’s Ring (Item; +3 or +5)

You’re Next (Circumstance; +2; Reaction to Demoralize an enemy only; Rogue)
Intimidating Prowess (Circumstance; +1 or +2; Applies when you can physically menace the target of Coerce or Demoralize; Skill Feat)
Lie to Me (Circumstance; +2; Applies once vs enemies that fail to lie or conceal something from you; Skill Feat)
Silvertongue Mutagen (Item; +2-5; 1 min to 1 hour)
Belt of the Five Kings (Conditional; +1; Applies vs Giants and Orcs)
Demon Mask (Item; +2 or +4)
Gorget of the Primal Roar (Item; +3)

Cognitive Mutagen (Item; +2-5; 1 min to 1 hour)

Healer’s Kit (Item; Expert +1; Administer First Aid, Treat a Disease, and Treat a Poison only)
Bullheaded Mutagen (Item; +2-5; 1 min to 1 hour based on item level.)
Doctor’s Marvelous Medicine (Item; +3 or +5)
Healer’s Gloves (Item; +2 or +4)

Rough Rider (Circumstance; +1; Applies to Handle vs goblin dog or wolf mounts; Goblin)
Awakened Intellect (Circumstance; +2; Applies to Recall Knowledge checks only; Alchemist)
Bullheaded Mutagen (Item; +2-5; 1 min to 1 hour based on item level.)
Primeval Mistletoe (Item; +2 or +4)

Oddity Identification (Circumstance; +2; Applies to Identify Magic with the mental, possession, prediction, or scrying traits; Skill Feat)
Cognitive Mutagen (Item; +2-5; 1 min to 1 hour)
Phylactery of the Occult (Item; +2 or +4)

Stonecunning (Circumstance; +2; Applies to notice unusual stonework only; Dwarf)
Keen Hearing (Circumstance; +2; Applies to Seek vs creatures within 30’ you can hear; Elf)
Discerning Smell (Circumstance; +2; Applies to Seek vs nearby creatures you can smell; Gnome)
Fey Fellowship (Circumstance; +1; Applies vs Fey only; Gnome)
Illusion Sense (Circumstance; +1; Applies vs Illusions only; Gnome)
Attentive (Circumstance; +2; Applies on Seek checks to notice enchanged or possessed characters only; Halfling)
Keen Eyes (Circumstance; +2; Applies to Seek checks to sense unseen creatures within 30’ only; Halfling)
Hazard Finder (Circumstance; +1; Applies on checks to find traps and hazards only; Ranger)
Trap Finder (Circumstance; +1; Applies on checks to find traps only; Rogue)
Magnifying Glass (Item; +1; To notice minute details only)
Spyglass (Item; +1; Notice details at a distance only)
Discern Lies (Conditional; +4; To detect lies only)
Bullheaded Mutagen (Item; +2-5; 1 min to 1 hour based on item level.)
Eagle-Eye Elixir (Item; +1; Increases to +2 to find secret doors and traps)
Eyes of the Eagle (Item; +2; Applies to checks involving sight only)
Goggles of Night (Item; +2 or +3)
Robe of Eyes (Item; +4)
Third Eye (Item; +5)

Cultural Familiarity (Circumstance; +1; Applies vs members of one ancestry or ethnicity; Skill Feat)
Lie to Me (Circumstance; +2; Applies once vs enemies that fail to lie or conceal something from you; Skill Feat)
Virtuoso Performer (Circumstance; +2; Applies to one type of Perform check only; Skill Feat)
Musical Instrument (Item; Expert +1, Master +2; Any single Performance type)
Silvertongue Mutagen (Item; +2-5; 1 min to 1 hour)
Dancing Scarf (Item; +2 or +4; Applies to Dance checks only)
Maestro’s Instrument (Item; +3; Applies while playing the instrument only)
Persona Mask (Item; +2 or +4; Applies while acting, orating, performing comedy, or singing)
Virtuoso’s Instrument (Item; +5; Applies while playing the instrument only)

Awakened Intellect (Circumstance; +2; Applies to Recall Knowledge checks only; Alchemist)
Bullheaded Mutagen (Item; +2-5; 1 min to 1 hour based on item level.)
Phylactery of Faithfulness (Item; +2 or +4)
Thurible of Revelation (Item; +2 or +4)

Cultural Familiarity (Circumstance; +1; Applies to Recall Knowledge about members of one ancestry or ethnicity; Skill Feat)
Cognitive Mutagen (Item; +2-5; 1 min to 1 hour)
Choker of Elocution (Item; +2 or +4)

Face in the Crowd (Conditional; +2; To go unnoticed in a crowd of similar creatures only)
Quicksilver Mutagen (Item; +2-5; 1 min to 1 hour)
Shadow Rune (Item; +2 or +4; Constant)
Clandestine Cloak (Item; +2 or +4)
Cloak of Elvenkind (Item; +3 or +5)
Cloak of the Bat (Item; +2 to +4)
Electric Eelskin (Item; +3)

City Scavenger (Conditional; +1; Applies to Subsist in the Wild checks made in cities only; Goblin)
Winter Clothing (Item; +1; Survive in the Wild to endure cold only)
Compass (Item; +1; Navigate in areas with uniform magnetic fields only)
Fishing Tackle (Item; Expert +1; Fishing only)
Bullheaded Mutagen (Item; +2-5; 1 min to 1 hour based on item level.)
Coyote Cloak (Item; +2 or +4; Applies to Cover Tracks and Survive in the Wild)
Oathbow (Circumstance; +2; Applies to Track checks vs your sworn target)
Tracker’s Goggles (Item; +2 or +4; Applies to Sense Direction and Track checks only)

Thieves’ Tools (Item; Expert +1, Master +2; Pick Locks and Disable Device only)
Knock (Conditional: +4; Open a door, lock, or container)
Quicksilver Mutagen (Item; +2-5; 1 min to 1 hour)
Ring of Maniacal Devices (Item; +3 or +5; Applies to Disable a Device checks only)
Skeleton Key (Item; +2 or +4; Applies to Pick a Lock checks only)

Bit of Luck (Conditional; +1; Only triggers if a check is failed by 1)
Competitive Edge (Conditional; +1; Applies if DC is 11 higher than your bonus)
Guidance (Conditional; +1; Once per day per creature)
Heroism (Conditional; 3rd +1; 5th +2; 8th +3; 10min to a single creature)
Inspire Competence (Circumstance; +2; Aid Another using Perform)

Recall Knowledge
Lorekeeper’s Fortune (Fortune; Roll twice on a Seek or Recall Knowledge check)
Loremaster’s Recall (Fortune; Roll twice and take the higher result)
Cognitive Mutagen (Item; +2-5; 1 min to 1 hour)
Diadem of Intellect (Item; +3)
Possibility Tome (Item; +5; Requires activation to use, applies to one skill per day)

There may be more that I missed, but for now this is pretty comprehensive. One thing I noticed is that Mutagens grant a pretty significant bonus compared to most items, especially since you can craft them as needed rather than use permanent magic items. I also noticed that very few spells grant bonuses to any skills - incredibly few, in fact. Most sources of skill bonuses appear to be permanent magic items, and there are actually a lot of options available.

In the interest of my sleeping schedule and my sanity I will post this as-is and post further comments in the near future. But for now, enjoy.

There were threads in the pre-playtest forum about characters you wanted to play once the rules were released, but now that the rules are out I'm interested in what people want to play. Post your ideas here!

I have a few ideas of my own.

Arcane Archer (Elf Wizard / Multiclass Fighter) - Takes Fighter Dedication at Level 2, Magical Striker at 4, Weapon Expert at 14, and maybe drops another feat in there somewhere for Basic Maneuver: Point Blank Stance. Magical Striker is pretty strong up until you can afford a +5 legendary weapon, but you could also save the money and keep using it. Spellstrike Ammunition also helps deliver Touch spells at long range!

Eldritch Knight (Fighter / Multiclass Wizard) - Same general concept, but spending a total of 7 feats (ouch) to get spells and Magical Striker on a Fighter. This one looks harder to build due to the number of feats spellcasting costs and the prerequisite for Advanced Arcana. However, the bonus talents Fighter grants ensure they can still have a couple martial tricks in co.bat, and the increased proficiency rate means they can still hit pretty reliably.

Mystic Theurge (Caster / Multiclass Caster) - I haven't really decided what two casting classes to combine for this, but I want to see how viable it is. I've noticed that most class feats do not appear to be limited to use with spells from your primary class, so in theory you could mix metamagic feats from different classes like this. Except Quickened Spell, which is probably fair.

I'll post more once I have a break from work!

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During my reading I noticed that this class feat is listed in the 4th Level feats but the feat itself says it's Feat 1. I don't see a thread for potential errors so I figure this is the best place to post this.

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So I haven't been able to watch the whole 2-hour video yet, but there were a number of reveals at a playtest panel yesterday and I wanted to convey that info to the forums for everyone! Here's what I can remember:

* The final item of the "Big Three" is a stat-boosting item. Magic items that boost skills do exist, but they aren't strictly necessary.

* Developers are moving away from magic items that just grant a numeric bonus. For example, the strength-boosting item also lets you throw rocks and grow in size.

* Trinkets are a new consumable described as "scrolls for martial characters" - you can expend a trinket to get a bonus/effect on its associated class/skill feat, and your Proficiency level improves the benefits granted.

* There are no slots anymore, so wear as many items of one type as is reasonable (20 rings? Sure. 2 pairs of boots? No.).

* Magic items with a passive bonus require you to invest resonance in them at the start of the day to benefit from the item. This helps balance low-level gear and high-level gear. The given example was that you could buy a ring that grants Resistance to multiple elements or you could buy one ring per element. The single ring is more expensive than buying multiple, but it only costs 1 Resonance instead of 1 per ring.

* Mage Armor can be Heightened, and at higher levels it also grants a bonus to saves.

* There's a Legendary skill feat for Intimidate that lets you attempt to literally scare someone to death. They get a save, and on a success they're still pretty scared but you can't target them again for 24 hours.

Feel free to add more to this! I won't be able to until late tonight anyway!

I'm about to start a Roll20 campaign for Kingmaker with a party of mostly-new players - a LN Druid who worships Abadar, a CG Fighter, a CG Occultist who worships Milani, and... a LE Bard who worships Norgorber (secretly, of course). Naturally I have my work cut out for me.

I've known the Bard's player for years so I'm comfortable with them running this character and we've already discussed that we need to find a reason for him to be working with the rest of the party and vice-versa, as well as having the "Don't be disruptive" talk. I trust them to run this character in a manner that won't cause inter-personal problems, and welcome the challenge it will provide. The question now is this - what reason would these characters have to trust each other and work together, especially with regards to the Occultist whose morals and deity are practically the antithesis of the character in question? It's time I got these gears turning and worked out something compelling!

My brother is going to run a few games for myself and a small group soon. One player is new and two are a bit rusty so I am planning on running a short session to introduce the basic concepts and refresh their memory.

I'm thinking about positioning, AoOs, natural hazards, difficult terrain, spells, skills, and roleplay as the main topics to cover. I'd like to make skills important throughout the session and for simplicity I'm splitting them into 5 groups - Athletics (STR skills and Acrobatics), Knowledge (INT skills, Profession, and maybe UMD?), Perceptive (Perception, Sense Motive, and Survival), and Social (CHA skills, probably not UMD though). In the spoiler below I go over the basic concept for the session I have in mind and a vague description of the challenges faced.

The Burning Orphanage (Because Why Not?):

An orphanage owned by a wealthy noble is burning down! Party members ought to jump at the chance to participate either for the purpose of saving children or for personal gain by seeking a reward from the owner later. After finding a way in (INT or WIS ability check to realize they should look for an open window or door because backdrafts) they will discover a group of bandits setting fire to drapes and blankets as they go. Combat will see the enemy trying to push PCs into burning squares, trip them as the fire spreads, etc. Fallen furniture and burning debris will create difficult terrain, players can get a height advantage on stairs, smoke will force Fortitude saves to avoid taking penalties as creatures get smoke in their eyes, etc. Reflex saves will allow creatures to dodge falling debris and backdrafts.

After a set number of rounds the enemies are either beaten or they intentionally collapse a support beam on their way out, which may make the following skill challenges harder. The party will need to locate the children and find their way back outside. Some will be behind locked doors, some will require Acrobatics or Climb to reach, and some may require coaxing through Social skills. Once everyone is out of the building Phase 2 of the session begins as the players try to find evidence on the bandits to determine why they would target the building. During this time the players are given a number of potential avenues to pursue individually - Knowledge, Perceptive, and Social checks may all turn up evidence - until they pass a certain number of checks and piece together the clues to determine the noble recently took out insurance on the building as a result of increasing costs and concerns about the building's safety.

In Phase 3 the group will locate the noble and take down him and his goons before being presented with a moral quandary - do they turn him in to the authorities for trial, knowing his status and money may give him a chance to escape justice, or do they take matters into their own hands? A short epilogue will be ran depending on the choice to tie up the story.

So, what do you think? If you have any suggestions or alterations in mind, or even a completely different session that you think (or know from experience) will work well, please post them here! The practice session is on Thursday around 4:30. Thank you in advance for your ideas!

So my group is going to be liberating the Sky Citadel of Jormundur in one of my upcoming sessions and considering its original inhabitants and current Draw, Supercar, and demonic host I think some traps are in order. The city is built into a mountain in northwestern Sarkoris Worldwound, was taken over by a demonic Cleric of Shivaska who's in the process of renovating the place into the world's largest temple to his goddess.

Traps should include a mix of traps from both dwarves and the drow/duergar/demons living there currently. Interesting ideas may include dwarves traps which have been "improved" by the new residents, poisons, mechanical marvels, or use aberrations as part of the trap. The party will be Level 11/MT 3 upon entering and will finish at Level 12/MT 4.

For context, the party consists of a 2H Dwarven Paladin, a WIS-based Human Cleric of Sarenrae, a Human Psychic (Abomination), and a certain Bow-wielding succubus Master Spy. Hallways are typically 10' wide, walls should be at least 5' of stone, doors are typically made of iron (similar to Drezen's architecture, actually). Lots of winding corridors to make ranged attacks less effective inside.

At some point in the future one of my two players will run Iron Gods for the other and myself. I heard that this is one AP where Rogues are actually pretty useful and after reading up on the Scavenger I thought I'd do a test build using UnRogue as the base. Here's the rudimentary backstory and stat block:


Lark was once part of a small -Thieves'- "Retrievers'" Guild. The difference between them and regular burglars is that the Technic League occasionally sends a guy out to the city to request the -theft- "retrieval" of certain items and baubles deemed valuable enough by the League. In exchange for locating, stealing, and delivering these items to the League the guild gets a cut of the profits, access to nifty gadgets for their jobs, and special treatment from local law enforcement. Members are given a pin to wear on the inside of their left sleeve for identification which can get you out of minor offenses and cause the guards to look the other way once or twice if you cause trouble.

Lark has a single father who is often away from town for work, although he never says what. In his spare time Lark often hung around Khonnir Baine's place where he picked up lots of random knowledge about mechanical devices and the Androffan language. He would use this information to help identify the guild's marks, bypass rudimentary traps, and occasionally get rough translations for older runes. He was considered something of a tech-savvy expert despite not handling an actual piece of machinery once in his life.

One day a newbie who joined the guild was assigned to Lark to complete a retrieval. The mission took them to a house on the outskirts of town. While Lark searched for their mark the newbie snuck off to take care of a job of his own - killing the home's owner as she slept. When Lark noticed blood on the newbie's clothing as they left he doubled back and discovered the grisly scene. This was a turning point for him, and Lark ratted him out to local law enforcement.

What Lark didn't know was that the victim was one of the League's people. They decided not to cover for the guild this time, leading to most of its members being tracked down and taken in - all except for Lark who was granted amnesty. This was not entirely a good thing however as the members who weren't caught spread the word, branding him as a Snitch and barring him from entry or cooperation with any other guilds. Lark's skillset lent itself to burglary, but as a Snitch he couldn't get jobs, tools, or allies. When it seemed that he had nobody left to turn to Khonnir brought up the idea of venturing into the caverns below Torch. Lark was taking time to decide whether or not to agree when the town's torch stopped working.

Stat Block (Thanks Pipedreamsam):

Lark, Scavenger UnRogue 1
CN Medium Humanoid (Human)
Init +4; Senses: Darkvision 60' Perception +5
AC 17, touch 14, Flat-footed 13
hp 11
Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +3
Defensive abilities
Speed 30' Land
Melee Rapier +4 (1d6) or Light Mace +4 (1d6)
Ranged Dart +4 (1d4) or Shortbow +4 (1d6)
Special Attacks Sneak Attack +1d6
Before Combat Due to his Dimdweller trait and Sneak Attack Lark favors environments of low light and darkness, making it easier to sneak up on enemies and catch them off-guard.
During Combat Lark capitalizes on every advantage. During the surprise round he uses ranged attacks with his darts or shortbow against flatfooted enemies. Once combat starts he prefers to flank enemies with his Rapier, switching to the Light Mace against DR/Bludgeoning. If flanking isn't possible he attempts using Stealth, Feints, and weapon-based Combat Maneuvers to create openings.
Morale Typically, Lark fights until at or below 3 HP then withdraws from combat and attempts to use stealth to escape. If cornered he fights to the death.
Str 10, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 10
Base Atk 0 CMB 0 CMD 14
Feats: Iron Will, Technologist, Weapon Finesse, +1 Feat
Skills Acrobatics +7, Bluff +4, Climb +3, Craft (mechanical) +5, Disable Device +7, Knowledge (engineering) +5, Linguistics +5, Perception +5, Stealth +7
Languages Common, Hallit, Androffan
Combat Gear Rapier, Darts (10), Shortbow, 40 Arrows, Studded Leather Armor Other Gear 56 gp
SQ Finesse Training, Sneak Attack +1d6, Technic Training
Racial Traits Dimdweller, Bonus Feat

I am having a few issues right now.
1) Lark's damage is abysmal due to his DEX 18. I figured that without BAB, Weapon Focus, class features, or special items to boost my attack bonus I would have too hard a time hitting things at Level 1. I was planning on taking Combat Trick: Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Estoc) for my Level 2 Rogue Trick then using that as the main weapon. Biting the bullet and going STR 13 / DEX 17 to gain access to Power Attack seems like an option, but with 3/4 BAB it scales poorly and further decreases my attack bonus (plus I have no idea if the GM would let me use it with DEX-to-damage or not).
2) I can't think of a second feat to take. Great Fortitude seems like overkill as I could take a +1 Fortitude trait, and while Toughness is a must-have on melee d8 classes I'm not sure if I should take it early or later. I was certainly debating on it, but if anyone has another feat idea I'm all ears.
3) I'm debating on campaign traits between Local Ties for the sweet +3 bonus, Robot Slayer for the bonus to attack and AC against robots, or Against the Technic League to supplement my damage.
4) I'm worried about whether I'll regret choosing a Piercing weapon for this campaign, as my gut is telling me mechanical creatures probably have some form of DR/Bludgeoning

Although Slayer would probably work better for combat purposes I'd prefer to find a way to make the UnRogue work. Does anyone have suggestions?

The Woundwyrm's Maw of the Abyss says that it opens a portal to the Abyss, sucking in unattended objects automatically in addition to a free Drag attempt (at a HUGE CMB!) and sonic damage to anyone in the cone. However, the ability doesn't say what happens to creatures pulled in close. Is it just a Drag attempt plus damage, or could the Woundwyrm also suck in creatures? And in the event that it could, how would a party without access to Plane Shift escape or rescue an NPC who got sucked in?

I'm heavily modifying this AP's story for Book 3. The group's Paladin was informed of the lost Sky Citadel Jormundur's location and they've decided to go and reclaim it for the crusades. They cannot bring an army with them thanks to the distance, terrain, and host of demonic creatures on the way - besides that, Drezen still needs to be protected.

This journey will take them across the Lake Lost to the Sun, which they will avoid crossing by boat at any means necessary since even the demons don't come near the lake. I wanted a couple aerial combats and I've got one down, but with all this talk of corrupted creatures I was thinking of some kinda flying dinosaur... but there aren't any. At all. And apparently the list of flying animals is both pretty small and not very thematic for the area.

Does anyone have an idea? The game is tomorrow night, the party is Level 9 / Tier 3 with an average encounter difficulty of CR 14 (they're really good at combat). The group is traveling with the barbarian Jestak and a druid NPC who won't be able to participate (he has to keep the weather from destroying everyone). We're using the Spheres of Power system, so any spellcasting creatures would have to be rebuilt.

First off, I'm running this campaign with Spheres of Power and Automatic Bonus Progression. Second, the party consists of the following characters:

Dwarf Paladin of Torag - Strength-based 2-Hand Champion. High defenses and damage, Divination and War spheres (Divination for the senses for Blindsense and Improved Uncanny Dodge, War for mass combat)

Human Cleric of Sarenrae - Guided Hand Hierophant. High crit range and strong party buffs plus some healing and condition removal. Has an AoE debuff that only works on evil creatures.

Half-Elf Card Caster Magus - Thrown Weapon Trickster. Took Path Dabbling for Limitless Range. Has Destruction for blasts, Time for group Haste and Blink/Displacement, and Warp for positioning allies and preventing demons from teleporting away.

Human Psychic - Control and Support Archmage. Has the Death sphere for debuffs, Mind for buffing and control, and Telekinesis for damage and utility. Took the Abomination discipline for thematic reasons and can hide his spellcasting.

I've already done a lot of work retooling fights and converting NPCs to the new system - it's a lot faster than it used to take which is nice, but thanks to Mythic I'm having some trouble challenging the players. We're about to finish Book 2 and while there have been some dangerous moments most of the villains can't compete. Staunton lasted 2 rounds, then rose as a Graveknight and died in 1 round afterwards - that was after I increased his level and tier then added two more powerful NPCs to the combat. I can do character builds easily enough, but I need some ideas for countering the party that don't just cause arbitrary difficulty - I want interesting combats that last longer. I've even been maximizing enemy HP for a whole book - nothing has been working so far.

So at level 12 the Mesmerist gains access to Masterful Tricks. The text states:

Masterful Tricks wrote:
At 12th level, a mesmerist can choose one of the following masterful tricks in place of a mesmerist trick. He gains an additional masterful trick every 2 levels thereafter.

It seems straightforward - like most classes, you take your "advanced" option or your normal options - but read that second line. Ever 2 levels you gain an additional masterful trick. For some reason, this line doesn't include the same wording as the first - it doesn't say you can choose from them instead of from the mesmerist tricks, it says you gain "additional masterful tricks". From a strict RAW perspective it appears to be saying you gain a Mesmerist Trick and a Masterful Trick every 2 levels starting at Level 14 rather than one or the other.

I don't think this was the developer's intent, but I do think the wording is misleading. Some specification would be very helpful.

The Stamina system isn't perfect by any means. Some feats have a very expensive cost for little benefit, while others are extremely powerful for no apparent reason. Other Stamina Feats have very odd benefits that are too specific to benefit most builds (Weapon Finesse, for instance). Additionally, there's nothing for characters who don't use many different feats in combat, making the system feel rather limited.

While I was looking at the discussion thread for the Weapon Master Handbook I had an idea - what if each weapon had a short list of abilities you could spend stamina to activate? Not only would that enhance the system, but it would also fix issues with certain weapons and styles being overshadowed by giving them their own unique features.

Take Two-Weapon Fighting, for instance - lots of lower-damage attacks with reduced accuracy that suffers from severe lack of mobility and difficulty dealing with DR. Here's what I've come up with so far.

TWF Stamina Tricks:

* 1 Point - Make an attack with both your main and offhand weapon as a standard action.
* 2 Points - Apply DR once per two hits this round, starting with the first hit (so it's only applied on the 1st, 3rd, 5th, etc hits rather than all of them).
* 3 Points - You may move up to half your speed and take a full attack action this turn.
* X Points - Choose an enemy. This turn their Dexterity bonus to AC against your attacks is reduced by X. If their Dex bonus would be reduced to 0 or less (but no lower than -5) they count as flatfooted for your next two attacks.

Maybe you're wondering why anyone would ever use a Shortbow if they have Longbow proficiency? Check these out.

Shortbow Stamina Tricks:

* 1 Point - Your ranged attacks don't provoke this turn.
* 2 Points - Your next attack hobbles the enemy, reducing their move speed by half for 2 rounds.
* 3 Points - You can flank with your shortbow as if it were a Reach weapon (threatens out to 10') until the end of your turn.
* X Points - You can move up to your base land speed and make up to X ranged attacks at any point during the movement. This movement does not provoke AoOs, and you may not make more ranged attacks than you are normally capable of making during a Full Attack action. You may make extra attacks granted by effects like Haste and feats like Rapid Shot.

I'm sure these could use some balancing, but the idea is to expand on a system primarily used by martial classes and give them some nice things. That said, what do you think? Does anyone else have ideas for stamina tricks?

I'm going to be playing in a Skulls and Shackles campaign on Friday. We have a Gunslinger (Musket Master), Wizard, Kineticist (Water, Kinetic Whip build), and Hunter (Roc companion, played by me).

Does anyone have advice for the party or anything that would make our experience with S&S better? No spoilers?

When the playtest was released the Flame Jet power for fire kineticists inspired me to make Tsuna from "Katekyo Hitman Reborn!" using Kinetic Fist. Upon release I found the Elemental Ascetic archetype and figured it would fit him perfectly - his best skills (Perception and Sense Motive) are both Wisdom-based, his training methods certainly fit the monk archetype (climbing cliffs, sparring on low stamina, learning self-control, etc), and it would let him do Kinetic Fist from level 1. I didn't realize until much later that this archetype gives up way too much for what it gains.

For free Kinetic Fist and Flurry you lose access all targeted ranged blasts and Elemental Overflow - Tsuna only has 1 ranged attack and the Ascetic can still use it so that didn't matter much, but the loss of Elemental Overflow means lower physical stats and no in-class attack bonus, putting it solidly in Chained Rogue levels of accuracy. You also lose that crit and sneak attack negation, meaning you're actually more vulnerable in melee than normal. Tsuna's signiture move, the X-Burner, would be stronger using the normal kineticist due to the loss of Elemental Overflow. That is a hard pill to swallow.

For WIS to AC and a scaling AC bonus (up to +4) you lose Elemental Defense. While the bonus AC seems worthwhile you cannot wear armor of any kind, meaning without a DEX/WIS build you have rather low AC early on. You also lose access to all the defensive utility talents like Heat Wave and Shimmering Mirage that require your elemental defense.

You lose 3 infusions for the ability to take burn to increase your Kinetic Fist damage dice. I suppose if you use a Composite blast on your Kinetic Fist you could get up to +6d6 (or +7d6 if the diadem boosting your blast to 21d6 is legal for Kinetic Fist) and then increasing the dice size could be neat, but after running the numbers it's still pretty weak.

Damage and Burn Calculations:

Assuming a Composite Fist adds 6d6 damage, boosting the dice to 6d12 costs 4 burn and gives you 18 more damage (6d6=21, 6d12=39). Using Empower instead costs 1 burn and gives 10 more damage (9d6=31). That 3 burn is definitely not worth 8 damage per hit.

2 Burn gives me Maximize for 15 damage (6d6=36). 3 Burn gives me Empowered Maximize for 25 damage (36+3d6=45), Targeted Dispel Magic (Unraveling Infusion) on every hit, or Will Save vs Blind (Flash Infusion) on every hit. These are all better uses of your burn than increased dice size on such a low number of dice.

After working out details on the build I came to the conclusion that what I see as an iconic example of the Elemental Ascetic would be better represented by a Kineticist with a 1-level Monk dip. So what's the deal? Am I missing something? How would you go about building this character?

One of my favorite things to do when a bunch of new classes and archetypes hit the shelves is to read through it and see what I'm inspired to create character-wise - not necessarily the build itself, but the person. I think it would be really cool to see what sorts of things others are coming up with! Please, post your ideas here!

This is what I've come up with so far:

(Melee Occultist) A young boy finds his father dead in bed, a gandasa sticking into his back. He reaches out, grabs the weapon, and pulls it out of his father's cold body. He sits there, waiting, hoping that without the weapon lodged in him that his father will get right back up as if nothing happened. It doesn't. The guards all think it was one of his "business partners" he had swindled one too many times, but somehow the boy knows that is not true. His father was killed by someone very close, someone he trusted completely. But how could he prove it? He only knew because the sword told him.

Over the past week Pipedreamsam (a player in one of my games) was working on leveling up and decided to take levels in Tetori Monk. While working on his character he noticed something odd.

Counter-Grapple wrote:

At 4th level, a tetori wrestler may make an attack of opportunity against a creature attempting to grapple him. This ability does not allow the tetori to make an attack of opportunity against a creature with the Greater Grapple feat. At 6th level, he may use counter-grapple even if his attacker has concealment or total concealment, at 8th level even if he is flat-footed, and at 10th level even if his attacker has exceptional reach.

This ability replaces slow fall.

The ability seems to say that you cannot make attacks of opportunity against creatures with concealment, but no matter where we looked neither of us could find a reference to this in the rules. Does concealment really prevent attacks of opportunity?

My girlfriend recently got me into this show and I've been having a blast so far. We just finished Season 2, and the plot's been really intense in the last few episodes and I'm really excited for the next season! Has anyone else on the boards watched this show?

I'm playing a Grenadier Alchemist in a campaign right now and having a blast using various alchemical weaponry, remedies, and items. Naturally I purchased the Alchemy Manual when it came out and I'm really excited to use some of these new options. While looking through, however, I noticed a trend - alchemy is becoming more combat-viable. Poisons have new methods of delivery & a few new options, you can change the fuse length of fireworks and light multiple as a full-round action, and Kyonin's alchemical arrows can now be made as other weapons and ammunition.

These new options are just begging to be used somehow, and it has inspired me to make an alchemical soldier. Imagine a guy who fires off a salvo of fireworks one turn, throws a bunch of splintercloud shuriken the next, then tosses out a vial of Shard Gel to coat the ground in spikes and halt an enemy's advance.

Is there a way to make this kind of combat viable?

An interesting situation just came up in our session tonight. Our party cleric was surrounded by four enemies - three of them used Aid Another to assist the fourth on a grapple check, which succeeded.

On his next turn, the cleric wanted to use Sound Burst to kill the guards without attempting to break the grapple first. This is when the question came up - the check for casting while grappled is d20+Cl versus a DC equal to 10 + Grappler's CMB + Spell Level. Would the guards who used Aid Another add their bonuses to that check's DC, or is it specific to the initial grapple?

Hello again, I was wondering if you'd like to help me make a decision about something. My alchemist Kethrad is approaching Level 8 and just picked up Rapid Shot for something to do when using a bomb isn't a good idea. He's been using a longbow since I started at 2nd level and just traded it in for a +1 Adaptive composite longbow for some extra damage. I'll post relevant stats below:

Elf Grenadier Alchemist 7

Str: 12
Dex: 18 (+2 bonus from a Dex belt)
Con: 10 (A poor choice, I've rolled VERY low on health)
Int: 19 (+1 going into this at Level 8)
Wis: 12
Cha: 8

BAB +5

Fort - +6
Refl - +10
Will - +5 (+1 from Indomitable Will trait, +2 vs Enchantment)

Magic Items:
Cloak of Resistance +1
Eyes of the Eagle
+2 Chain Shirt
+2 Belt of Incredible Dexterity
+1 Ring of Protection
Ring of Swimming
+1 Adaptive Composite Longbow

Precise Bombs
Explosive Missile
Smoke Bomb

Point-Blank Shot
Precise Shot
Extra Discovery (Wings)
Rapid Shot

My group consists of a melee Barbarian and Monk, a ranged bow / bomb Alchemist, and a Cleric to provide spells and healing. The thing is, our Barbarian is better at dealing ranged damage than I am thanks to a +1 Adaptive bow, high strength, and a good attack bonus, yet I'm the one who's supposed to be good at it and I feel like I haven't been dealing enough damage to be considered a threat.

Hence, I've been debating a dip into another class (possibly Fighter) for more BAB and feats to back up my damage potential. Of course I'm a bit worried about delaying my CL, infusion progression, and bomb damage. I'm willing to give some things up if it makes my contribution to the team more worthwhile, however. Can anyone more experienced help me make a decision?

Another issue is the lack of CC in our group. Are there any options (beyond Stink Bomb, of course) I can take to help with that?

I'm starting a Kingmaker campaign soon and had my players send in a detailed background to me in preparation. My most experienced player is testing out the Arcanist, and as part of his backstory he's related to one of the houses in Brevoy. As a child his education included instruction on formal duels, and it wasn't until later in life that he discovered an aptitude for magic. This player has expressed interest to participate in duels during the campaign, both spell duels regular duels. I think the flavor fits nicely given the new country's proximity with the River Kingdoms and Brevoy.

Unfortunately, I'm certain a straight-up sword duel could kill him considering his low health and BAB. I'd like to find a way to even the playing field and give him a sporting chance here, and since he's a 9-level caster I figured something that allows him to utilize his magic while not putting his blade on the back-burner would be neat. Does anyone have a suggestion for a swords-and-magic duel format?

My Pathfinder group recently leveled up and I'm trying to decide on a feat to pick. I'll list any relevant information below:

Kethrad (Elf, Grenadier Alchemist 5)

HP - 20 (+1d8 next game, my DM needs to see the rolls)

Str - 12 Int - 19
Dex - 16 Wis - 12
Con - 10 Cha - 9

BAB - +3
AC 15 - 10 + 2 Armor + 3 Dex

Fort - +4
Reflex - +7
Will - +2

Feats - Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot
Traits - Strong-Willed, Stargazer
Discoveries - Precise Bomb (class), Infusion, Smoke Bomb
Weapons - Bombs (9/day, 3d6+4), Masterwork Longbow (1d8), Kukri (1d4)


Our party consists of a Half-Elf Barbarian, a Dwarven Monk, a Human Cleric (worships Erastil, has Good and Community domains) and myself. The barbarian and monk are fighting in melee and the cleric sits back with me and buffs the party.

My playstyle thus far has been to use bombs only when I can hit multiple targets or need to take down a specific target quickly. I've never run out of bombs during the day before, and I don't anticipate needing more than I have just yet. Our group goes up against poison and stat damage pretty often, which is why I do not have a Composite Longbow - 1 point would make the weapon useless for me. I rolled horribly for health in the last 2 levels, which has nearly been the death of me multiple times.

I'm trying to decide between Rapid Shot and Extra Discovery for feats at this level, and beyond my Lvl 6 and Lvl 8 discoveries (Wings and Fast Bombs) I'm not sure what is the best course of action for future levels. Any suggestions would be appreciated!