Tell the players to create new PCs of their current level for a side mission. When the players come next session, have an NPC relate a tale of ancient times, when a mighty group of adventurers challenged the beast. Bam! The PCs play their new PCs for a mission, and see how fast they get munched. If and when the real PCs defeat the beast, make sure they find the treasure from those ancient PCs.
The ONLY class I enjoy playing is sythethesist summoner. In D&D 3.5, I really enjoyed playing gish classes, and there were a lot of options I enjoyed for doing so. In PF, only synthesist really scratches that itch. Every other option I've tried has been lackluster. Which kind of sucks, because it locks me out of PFS.
Mission accomplished, yes. But I'm not bitter or angry about it (just depressed). I've played with bad GMs and good GMs, and this one was certainly the latter. GMs make mistakes from time to time, and I forgive them that, because they are human. I can totally understand how someone might think, "These PCs are super-powerful! Time to ramp up the challenge to the max!" without also thinking this was a deliberate bid to end the game. Eh, it's fine. These days I get the high-powered gaming I like with the Mutants and Masterminds system. Pathfinder just isn't well-suited to playing at higher levels, because it stresses GMs out way too much.
I think the GM knew he had made a mistake. Talking about it more wouldn't have helped, or changed anything. It was a learning experience for us I guess. We've all moved on, several of us literally, so there's no chance of bringing the game back. I completely stopped playing Pathfinder after that, until just a couple weeks ago. Maybe some day I'll have a chance to bring that PC back in a high-level game, but such chances are rare as in my experience, D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder cause way too much stress on GMs after about 12th level, and GMs start looking for any excuse to end a game. Understandably, but it's unfortunate.
I'm the synthesist summoner in this game. Sorry to resurrect an old thread. The GM gave me permission to read the thread and update you all on the outcome, but I didn't bother until now because the outcome was just depressing. Why? Because the game ended, and the entire ambush session was just not fun.
Not because the PCs lost. We survived the ambush just fine. Only the cleric died, and the PCs would have been able to resurrect her. If we'd been able to continue the game, the PCs would have probably gone up a level or 2 from that huge mess, and come back stronger than ever, particularly when armed with knowledge about the sihedron rings (which after teleporting into the ambush, I deduced could be the only possible way the enemy had this much knowledge about us).
I think the GM just lost interest in the game after his huge ambush failed. After that, he felt that PC victory would be nearly certain, so there was no point in continuing. I disagree, but there's nothing I could do about that decision. So, IMO the ambush was a bad idea in every possible way. It was a game-ender no matter whether the PCs survived or TPKed, and that's just not a good thing.
To clarify: the players DID NOT ask for this. ONE of the players asked for more of a challenge, but the other players (including me) were just fine with how things were. Even that one player (the wizard) was just asking for smarter, more tactical enemies, not for anything crazy. Speaking only for what *I* want, I just want to experience and overcome a module as-written. For me, the fun is in roleplaying my PC, and overcoming a pre-set challenge, NOT having the challenge "level up" to my power level.
Really, the whole session wasn't much fun. Making progress, and playing the game from day to day, leveling up, and defeating enemies was all the players really wanted. Not to be thrown into an artificially inflated meat grinder. The whole ambush had so many things going on, that it was impossible for the GM to remember everything. He made multiple rules mistakes, that both benefited the party and harmed them. Maybe that balances out, but who knows what would really have happened if the rules had been followed? I also feel like maybe he pulled a punch or two during the fight, but that's harder to tell. I don't blame him for the mistakes... no GM could have remembered everything that was going on, and he's otherwise a good GM.
Anyway, the party survived 2-3 rounds in that meat grinder before deciding it was too much, and teleporting out. We survived half a dozen symbol spells (with pugwampis), endless attacks, and dimension doored to the land over the crypt, before retreating to a city to get our cleric back on her feet. It was pretty nasty, and it wasn't really fun. Who would want to vicariously experience something like that? Players play so that they can overcome their enemies and be challenged while still winning. We did "win" in the sense that we survived, but it still wasn't fun to spend an hour on each combat round making save after save after save and surviving wave after wave of enemies. The GMs turns took way too long. I felt like... what is the point of any of this? And this was vindicated when we "won" the battle, but "lost" the war. Oh well. It was just such a shame to have to stop playing a PC I really loved, and abandon a game that was really a lot of fun until that last disastrous session. I'm still depressed about it.
1. While the rules say that caster level can be lower than the caster's actual level, nowhere does it say it can be set higher than the caster's actual level. Your friend's staff magus is only 10th.
It actually does say that CL can be set higher. As per "Lipto the Shiv" above, all prerequisites other than the feat itself can be ignored for +5 to the Spellcraft DC. CL is just another prerequisite. Unless you are aware of another specific rule that overrides this? If there is one, I would be interested to know about it.
Correct, all staffs always have 10 charges. However, each spell on the staff may consume more than one charge per invocation, as per the rules:
"If desired, a spell can be placed into the staff at less than the normal cost, but then activating that particular spell drains additional charges from the staff. Divide the cost of the spell by the number of charges it consumes to determine its final price."
The 800 gp price is correct, you do divide the cost of the staff by the number of charges consumed by the spell. However, Magical Knack doesn't raise CL above hit dice, so that doesn't work. Still... not that big a deal to have a +5 staff at 11th level. You blew a feat on it, after all. It's a nice trick, but not broken. It might be a problem if your DM is allowing you to just buy the custom staff at low levels, though.
Yes. Don't buy Large or Huge size. Save your points, buy Strength at the cheaper cost, and then cast Evolution Surge to grant Large size. You say you have time to buff, after all. The major disadvantage of this method is that you can never go Huge size (too expensive, and Evolution Surge doesn't stack), but that's not so bad actually.
Do both. The investment is minimal: an extra pair of hands to wield (preferably) a reach weapon, and have all your natural attacks available too. Switch between these attacks as desired. I did this with a biped eidolon, and it turned out very, very well. Once I got multiattack, I started using both at the same time: the natural attacks only have a -2 penalty. The Push evolution can be useful to push enemies that get close into range of your weapon, and forces them to take an AOO again if they want to close with you.
A mounted+charging summoner can be quite effective, but does require a bit more player skill to pull off, and the player won't be nearly as tanky. Overall though, I still wouldn't worry about it much. Kingmaker can be successfully completed with a party of 4 using 15 point-buy and no extra feats. Even if they don't optimize at all, your party will significantly outpower most encounters. There is no reason to believe you will experience any more than the "usual" number of deaths, i.e. very few barring really bad luck or really bad tactical choices. In other words, play whatever you think would be fun and don't stress about it too much.
If you ARE worried about party survivability, the best thing you can do as a wizard or sorcerer is make sure you have a few good battlefield control spells ready.
Don't worry about it. A synthesist doesn't need to pick good spells or feats to kick ass in combat. It helps, but they'll be just fine even with 0 feats and 0 spells (just playing at a lower tier). Much more important are the evolutions he picks, but even if those choices are terrible, he'll still have more HP+temp HP than anyone else in the party.
Where did you get that impression of gishes? They are generally stronger and more useful to the party than typical fighting classes, not weaker. There is no particular reason your party should suffer unusually from PC deaths, though a random crit is always possible. A synthesist, in particular, is especially tanky if built reasonably competently.
Draco's Question 1 is relevant. This is exactly what I would do with a paladin that had the helm: offer an evil entity the choice of execution, or conversion. This is only assuming there are no better methods of dealing with the creature, such as handing them over to a justice system that is realistically able to handle them.
As for Question 2, it depends on the situation and the paladin. In general, I don't consider it a a problem if paladins default to slaying evil... that's their main job. They have full BAB for a reason.
This barbarian doesn't sound evil. Nothing in the character background makes her evil (getting ostracised from communities doesn't make you evil, though your actions in response to such events might), and her behaviour so far is neutral at worst. Talk to your player and ask her why she thinks her barbarian is evil. If she doesn't give a good reply, change her alignment.
Two of those effects are roughly equivalent to Bestow Curse, and the other is a minor special effect no more powerful than Continual Flame. All of these are easily within the power level of Limited Wish.
The non-dispelable part may or may not be tricky depending on what you want. Either you want to give the house a glow-in-the-dark paint job, in which case the paint is non-magical and thus non-dispellable, but works just like glow in the dark paint would and could be scraped off or otherwise similarly removed, and perhaps stop glowing after a few hours in the dark, or you want something more magical, in which case depending on how generous your GM is, it would probably be dispelable.
I know multiple bonuses from the same source don't stack, but what about multiple penalties? Specifically, does the penalty from Riving Strike stack if you hit the same enemy multiple times in the same round?
(Edit) And how long is "1 round" in this context? Does it last until the beginning of my next round, or until the end?