Mark Hoover 330's page

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Morals in a game is a 2 way street.

Lawful Good wrote:
Lawful good combines honor with compassion.

As I said, I tell my players if this is a "heroic" game and what that means for me as a GM in session 0. My expectation is that, after the game starts and the players are aware, they will actually form up some idea of the values and morals for their PCs, then stick to them unless a significant campaign event changes their outlook.

I'm not saying every LG PC has to play like a boy scout in my games, but every LG PC should have that core compassion and express it consistently. The players running those characters should be aware of this ahead of time and plan accordingly.

It is frustrating that like in Lilliyashania's assessment, players in my games only seem to consider the rights and autonomy of villains I as a GM have to put special care and attention into RPing. One guy joked that "if the GM gives an NPC a name, they're worth talking to." Like, if you're playing a good character in one of my games, it shouldn't take me tricking you into starting a dialogue with an NPC or villain.

Whatever; playstyles vary, I get that.

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I don't know how anyone else runs their games so I don't know how morality plays into yours. Every game that I run, at session 0, I let my players know what I'm looking for narratively. I might tell the players anything goes, or this is an evil campaign, or you need to pick some kind of Good alignment and in this campaign you're trying to be heroes.

If I haven't set rules from the start or this is an evil campaign and a PC whacks an NPC because they look gross and act rude, I don't care. If however this is one of my "heroic" campaigns and the same thing happens there will be immediate and lasting consequences.

PF1 has its own pantheon based on the Golarion setting. Among those deities is Sarenrae, literally a goddess of redemption. Redemption is also a Domain and an Inquisition. If this path is so potent, so possible that it literally manifests as a source of power to clerics and inquisitors, then "heroes" should be aware of this power as a tool in their belts.

As for the consequences: arrest or sanctions by the local law, loss of reputation and respect by the populace at large, active enmity by local intelligent foes made aware of the PCs' actions, or active attempts to recruit the PCs into more evil. Sustained evil acts can lead to alignment changes which, in turn might affect some classes.

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This one hurts a bit more. Pee Wee's Big Adventure was an extreme favorite that united my entire family as kids, in the face of childhood trauma. Rest in peace Paul Reubens.

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General combat spalls, and we're specifically talking about Arcanist 1?

Acid Splash.

Seriously; the benchmarks for a CR 1 foe, barring Swarms or Resist/Immunity Acid are avg AC 12, less for Touch AC, and 15 HP. That means in a party of 4 PCs you owe 3.75 avg DPR. Acid Splash targets Touch and with an Acid Flask for 10 GP you're dropping 1d3+1 Acid damage per hit.

Everything else is optional. Mage Armor seems obvious, but then you might have Stone Shield: in case a foe ACTUALLY gets to you after hitting them with Acid Splash, you've got an Immediate action to give yourself Cover from their attack. You might also choose Windy Escape; another Immediate action in case your foe gets up to you, except this time you turn into a vapor for a couple seconds gaining DR 10/Magic and Immunity to Poison, Crits or Sneak Attack.

Like, being a Wizard or Arcanist isn't about having the right spell; it's about KNOWING the right spell, having it written down, preferably on a scroll, so you've got a TON of resources. My advice to most prepared spellcasters is as follows:

1. Take/Keep Scribe Scroll
2. Spend starting gold on extra L1 spells in your spellbook/familiar, and (GM willing) scrolls you've created at 1/2 cost

You never know when Expeditious Construction or Jump might come in handy for you or another PC in the party at low level, but when it's needed having it in your book/familiar and also on a cheap 12.5 GP scroll would be fantastic.

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Tie in your minion with your shtick. That's great advice Tim Emrick. If you're, say, playing a Fire Elementalist Wizard, picking an Improved Familiar that has to do with fire is a safe bet.

Another key, IMO is to not think of these creatures as another set of numbers for actions in and out of combat. They're your friends, confidants, possibly more. They have a connection to your PC, perhaps a very real, mechanical connection like a cavalier's mount or a witch's familiar.

Tip for GMs: ENFORCE some of the soft skill areas of the Leadership feat. Does the PC have a good reputation? Well, if their cohort goes with them on adventures, what info is that Cohort bringing back with them? Does this PC maintain a level of integrity and honor even with foes, or do they systematically wipe out whole lairs of intelligent humanoids for no discernable reason other than looting the corpses with all the emotions of a siege engine?

When there are consequences to their PCs' actions, players will often remember that the combat spreadsheet they take with them on quests has a name, a personality, a home address and so on.

Last but not least... daydream. Take 5 to 10 minutes every once in a while, think about your character and their story. I'm not talking about feats they need to complete the build or what their DPR is, but answer questions like what do they wear, what does their signature weapon look like, what does their voice sound like when they're afraid and so on.

Taking some time every so often to actually consider who your character is can help you zero in on relationships this PC has with important NPCs in their life, such as these minion types.

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Melkiador wrote:
Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
Melkiador wrote:
Enemies appropriate for a party of 9+ level characters should rarely have much issue with this spell.
Rarely? SR is the number one deterrent for this spell
Not really. Numbers is the number one deterrent for this spell. Especially, if those numbers are intelligent enough to just attack the ice and free their friend.

See above suggestions of foes having friends. I agree w/you on this point and I'll go one better: if we're talking about dealing damage to the ice as a solution, any group of foes containing a kobold adept 7 should be able to not have much issue with this spell.

Kobold Adept 7 is a CR4 foe, not much of a threat to APL9 but it has 2 L2 spell slots. If one of those slots is Scorching Ray and the kobold rolls avg damage per ray, this CR4 kobold has just delivered 28 Fire damage to a block of ice with 0 Hardness and 27 HP.

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Wasteland_Betty wrote:
I have a player who has maxxed out the save DC for Icy Prison as high as she can get it. She spams it on every encounter. But. . . the save DC is so high that the target usually fails and the Strength DC to bust out is too high for most creatures. It effectively shuts down most fights within a few rounds. Other players feel it makes them irrelevant. Any suggestions on how to handle it?

I'm also a huge fan of "talk to the player first" as others have mentioned. These are hard conversations but necessary. If the player is willing to get on board and dial back their use of Icy Prison, problem solved. If not or they relapse and you want this player to continue in your campaign, some things to consider:

SR: as others have mentioned, the spell is subject to SR

The subject is Helpless but can breathe: the Helpless condition doesn't explicitly remove or restrict your opponent's actions, just simply says they are at their foes' mercy. Obviously the spell binds the victim in place but if said victim still has a Standard action and has abilities like Teleport at Will or Gaseous Form that they can use w/out needing V, S, or M components to use, they should be able to escape

Incorporeal creatures would be immune to this spell for obvious reasons. I understand the Str DC is difficult but that IS still an option as well. As other have said, anything dealing Fire damage might be able to melt out, but also Acid damage or even Electricity damage should have an effect if the creature doesn't have to move to use it (like an Aura or something).

I can't second it enough that CR 9 or bigger foes should have friends. A kobold Adept 10 is only a CR 7 foe. This creature could potentially have Invisibility pre-cast on itself and have a lesser rod of maximize on it for casting a Scorching Ray on the prison their leader gets stuck in.

Do your players specifically call out they're using a coup de grace on EVERY foe they down in combat? If not, maybe one stabilizes and lays on the dungeon floor long enough to heal back to 1 HP. Then they stagger off, surviving long enough to pass along what they know about the PC that casts Icy Prison.

Point is: the PC's reputation may begin to precede them. If this is the case and the PC has become famous/infamous for their one trick, a Knowledge: Local might inform enemies what to prep for if the PC comes calling. You can foreshadow this; in taverns tongues wag about the kobolds or giants or whoever that are hunting for "Captain Cold" or whatever.

Then, when your player comes across monsters that ALL have shirts or rings of immolation, have maximized Scorching Ray cued up or summon demons to 'port all around the battlefield, the player isn't crying foul. The monsters figured out who the PC was and prepped for them, just as a good band of adventurers might do when facing a dangerous mission.

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What's the goal here, when the player crows about their PC being indestructible? If we're just trying to reinforce that the PC is "vincible," there's a TON of ways to go about it. I've got a U Rogue in my megadungeon campaign: while she's a switch hitter, the lion's share of her feats and GP have been spent on her rapier and she often throws her bow on the ground and moves into melee after the surprise round.

Disarm. Nothing fancy, just the Disarm maneuver. She's L11 so a monster with, say, 15 HD, 3/4 BAB and Reach along with some of it's feats repurposed around Improved and Greater Disarm should have a decent chance of beating her 26 CMD and if they do, she literally would have no weapons on her besides alchemical flasks.

Like, it won't be certain death for the rogue, but it'd be a reminder that her invincibility is contingent on items, not the character itself. APL 12 now in this party and they still don't have a way to see through fog or mist; a simple Obscuring Mist spell could potentially hold devastating consequences and they wouldn't know.

The point is: reminding players their characters are still mortal isn't really that hard. Thing is, if a player is WILLING to see their character that way, what's to stop them, once they lose their rapier in battle, to pout and claim the GM is SO unfair cuz they're just targeting THEIR character? In other words, if they're going to act like a child screaming "I'm the BEST!" how do you know that once you disprove their assessment they won't continue to act like a child?

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Claxon wrote:
I mean, that works okay for certain kinds of backstories, but what if you just want to play a character that doesn't really have any negative elements to their backstory and the character just decided that adventuring sounded cool and decided to do it.

Ok, in that case no mechanical changes but the external forces working on the PCs illustrate the drudgery of civilization while offering glimpses into wonder of the world beyond: PCs are pranked by a pseudodragon who says "I'm sorry" with a treasure map; the nobles the PCs encounter aren't necessarily disrespectful but require inane rituals of supplication from the PCs; their day jobs are boring to the point of nausea. Oh yeah, and I'd have some mercenaries do a musical number along the lines of Tomorrow from Annie about the joys of adventuring.

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I'd go to the opposite extreme of some of the folks in this thread. Add a child level or an NPC level? Naw... delete your PC level.

Everyone starts at the table with the heroic NPC array: 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8. You can arrange them however you'd like. Everyone gets one level in an NPC class. Finally, you get a total of 75 GP to spend on any gear.


All encounters you survive, be they social, combat, skill challenges such as traps or puzzles, etc, will all be CR1/4-CR1/2. you need 500 XP to obtain level 1 in a PC class. At that point you receive +4, +4, +2, +2, +0, and -2 to your stats in whatever way you'd like.

Along the way, as a GM, I'd make a point to abuse the PCs by whoever I want to be the first running villain of the game. Not abuse as in unaliving the PCs mind you, but bullying, harassment, robbery and so on. Oh and also, I'd really play up the drudgery of "civilized" life. The PCs would be suffering fines, taxes, tithes and levies; they'd be forced to work a day job; guards and officials would threaten them with extremely oppressive laws, and the nobility would absolutely look down on them.

The point would be to make the players absolutely hate living in towns or cities, hate being productive members of society. I'd also try to engender in the players a burning desire to get after whatever enemy has been bullying them.

This way, when they finally hit level 1 in their PC class the players are motivated to leave on adventures and seek revenge. Oh yeah, and they'd earn a pair of Traits during the NPC level too.

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Case in point: last night I ran 3 PCs and an NPC, APL2, against a ghast. The setup was that the ghast was hiding behind the remains of an overturned cart laying in a sparsely wooded culvert off a main road. Nearby was the carcass of a draft animal the ghast was feeding on.

The ghast waited for the PCs to draw near, revealed itself to move to an area with Cover 10' from one PC, and remained in Cover for the rest of the combat. It used the downed cart and surrounding foliage to its best advantage, turning a 4-on-1 combat where CR was equal to APL into a fight which, after the fact the guy playing the druid genuinely thought his warcat AC was a goner.

Ghasts have an Int of 17; there's no reason it's going to be dumb enough to sprint out into the middle of the party and start hacking away. It baited the PCs to come closer, used it's environment, used its Climb and Acrobatics skills and so on. While the fighter made all his Fort saves, the warcat AC failed both against the Stench and the Paralysis, leaving it entirely vulnerable. The fight was finally ended b/c the wizard cast a Dancing Lights into the foliage and then followed that with a Magic Missile the next round.

If your monster has a Climb speed, especially if it also has Reach or a 1-handed ranged attack, why would it ever be on the ground, out in the open? If there's walls or trees or boulders around, use 'em. If your monster relies on multiattack or has iteratives with melee attacks, wait somewhere for the party to come to you.

Finally, and I can't say this enough, use the Skills of the monster. For example, did you know that Knowledge (Local) is a Class skill for the fey? I don't think you see it on a lot of their stat blocks, but if you're giving them class levels, maybe think about giving them ranks in the skill.

Knowledge (Local) can help ID humanoids, local inhabitants, customs and traditions, and notable personalities. PCs have a local reputation? The fey might ID them. Depending on their backstories, 1 or more of the PCs might've learned their adventuring skills from local mentors or organizations; maybe the fey knows one PC is a wizard of x or the barbarian comes from y tribe. Any of this could in turn give the fey an advantage, like guessing who's going to have a low Will save or if someone's combat may be more Dex based.

Skills like Climb or Swim can get your monsters into Cover or Concealment; Sleight of Hand from out of combat to remove a PC's favorite light object on the exterior of their person; Use Magic Device so monsters or NPCs can use a piece of their own treasure. Instead of giving your players challenging fights by just adding +4 to the CR, see if there are ways to really exploit everything a specific monster can do to ruin the party's day.

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Ooh, here's another one that's kind of half-serious: permanent Weaponwand spells! Essentially certain guards, say, elite soldiers with levels in a class to cast the spells on a given wand, are assigned specific weapons with a wand infused in them.

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For military or home defense purposes, probably a rack. However, here's some other suggestions, just cuz:

1. In a cup, like paint brushes
2. Hovering in the air, with permanent Silent Image spells showing a sign around them so guards can ID them
3. Held in the mouths of statuary; bonus points if the stonework is actually another defense such as gargoyles or golems
4. In a vending machine
5. Laying on a shelf, but said shelf is locked behind a gate; NPCs need to have requisition paperwork filled out and approved, go to the gate guard, hand off that paperwork, then also sign out the wands on a daily log which is reviewed by their Sergeant at Arms on a weekly basis
6. in flatboxes; change the gate room in 5 to a shop and name the gate guard Voliander; he's a weird old man that seems to know WAY more about the requisitioner than he has a right to
7. In a pool of water that appears to be on fire (Legend reference)
8. In a lockbox accessible by playing musical notes on a keyboard
9. On a bandolier
10. scattered among hundreds of fake wands, all much fancier than the actual wands, upon several stone shelves in a cave; a holy knight meant to guard over the wands tells the entrants to choose, but choose wisely for the wrong choice will bring death

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I love L1 adventures. I love playing them, running them, designing them and so on. Literally anything is possible; no PC has an established "niche" yet, scores are so low that luck is just as important as skill, and threats are still threatening.

At Level 1 a familiar is JUST as squishy as it is, comparatively at L20; 1 good hit takes it out at either end. Despite that a Tiny sized flying familiar with the right Wisdom and Perception skill is just as valid a scout as other PCs, meaning that such a familiar doesn't just have to be a freaking talking paperweight that gives you a bonus to Initiative.

Burning Hands and Sleep can still be relevant. Let that sink in; these 2 spells that are so lame they are given to NPC classed Adepts can actually turn the tide of battle in a single casting. Such is the joy of L1.

And don't get me started on martial types. L1 is both a time of dominance and utter fear for these PCs. Monsters from CR 1/4 - CR4 don't typically have teleportation and even Fly speeds can be uncommon, so in a fight where foes are on one side and PCs on the other it's super easy for a spellcaster to take cover, spam Acid Splash and call it a day.

Martial types? Every action they take needs to be a chess move. Your AC isn't ridonkulous yet so you've got to anticipate every AoO. If you're a ranged martial, so what? You've still only got 1, MAYBE 2 attacks if you're a human fighter. Every attack roll counts and there are no guarantees of success like there are when you are hitting on a 2 or better.

At L1, the game has stakes and accomplishments come from hot dice, good strategy, and the contributions of everyone in the party. And at last, when you get that first taste of treasure, consumable magic items, masterwork weapons and such, there is a genuine sense of improvement. Take pride in your L1 folks, you won't get that back again until the next campaign.

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4 words: Dust of Broken Hearts. If Sorsha and Mad Martigan can make it work after the effects wore off, anyone can.

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Kasoh wrote:
Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
So... there's THAT strategy.
As inconvenient as it is as a GM, it is the fair way to play it. Especially if not all of them are armed or armored. It takes 5 minutes to don medium or heavy armors, so even if they are alerted, they might not arrive in a timely fashion anyway.

1. Perception: measuring distance generally from where the PCs first engage in combat, the sounds of battle requires a DC -10 Perception check. This is modified by +1 for every 10' of distance between the listener and the combat, closed doors, solid walls, or the favorability of conditions; are the listeners engaged in labor, leisure, sleeping or worship activities, are there other noises like rushing water or wind, are the listeners in their own combat at the time, etc.

2. Distance: a creature, dependent on weapons and armor in combat, can double move every 6 seconds. If they thought their comrades were in danger of being slain, they might even be motivated to move at full speed and ignore stealth, or even to move at a Run action. A creature moving at a Run in Light or Medium armor could move anywhere from 60' to 120', maybe more.

3. Timing: if a creature is dependent on weapons and armor in combat, it likely knows how long it takes to gear up. It may even have an understanding of how long a combat round is compared to a minute's time. In other words, the creature may be able to weigh the pros and cons of taking 1-5 minutes, or 10-50 combat rounds to get properly geared up, then leave the safety of wherever they've been allowed to don all of this gear in order to get to a battle site.

During this exorbitant amount of time, one of three outcomes has likely already taken place: the PCs easily trounced their initial foes and have good positioning to repel others coming to reinforce the area, the PCs defeated their initial foes and are weakened, but either left the area or are clever enough to use the environment to their advantage, or the PCs are slain and the reinforcements aren't needed.

My point is this: if creatures are dependent on weapons and armor in combat and AREN'T geared up, they likely aren't going to notice the sounds of battle b/c they're engaged in other activities or they will notice but likely wouldn't arrive in any meaningful time frame to reinforce the initial fight.

On the other hand foes prepared for combat, wearing the gear their stat block gives them, can move 60' to 120' in a single round if moving with great haste, or 15' to 30' per round if moving with extreme caution. I would say the overwhelming majority of scenarios in which reinforcements arrive in a PF1 fight scene are ones in which the PCs' foes are prepared for combat and close enough to hear and respond to the sounds of battle, getting them to the fight scene within 1-4 rounds.

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So it ended up being fine I guess. I think I was intimidated by Mr Old Skool for a couple of reasons, both of them personal. He has views which tend to be a very far cry from the other gentleman playing in the game and 2, Mr Old Skool has a need to be right all the time. I think this somewhat controlling nature is why he's the perpetual DM with his other friends.

He was able to tone down his personality for Wed's game session which was nice. Still there was ONE weird thing: he's played PF1 before. Not only that, he claims he even tried running a couple sessions but didn't get into it b/c there were "too many rules to keep track of."

That's weird for a couple reasons. When I first started hanging out with this guy a few years ago he said he'd never played PF1. He even kind of bad mouthed the system as being too crunchy, which I always thought was funny b/c his default system is D&D 3.5.

Also, he insisted he was pretty familiar with the system but then played like a total noob. I mean, fine, I run on "easy mode" apparently so the rules he missed I just slowed down, explained things, let him re-choose his character's actions a couple of times, it was ok, but either he lied to me back in the day and had in fact played PF1 a long time ago, just forgot some stuff, or he lied on Wed and isn't super familiar w/the rules from having played around with the system and such.

Either way, I have the distinct impression Old Skool is misrepresenting himself. Again, I think this is weird. It's weird b/c he's told me, on a personal level he wants to be a friend. Like, outside the games. We've hung out, I've gotten to know him and I'm already friends with his wife so I feel like there's no real reason to be fake or misleading or something.

Anyway, the actual game play went fine. I was nervous right up until I pulled up the "boxed text" I'd given myself for the start to my homebrewed adventure. The mechanics were ok; a few missteps here and there as Mr Old Skool got into the swing of things but otherwise smooth sailing.

He's playing an oddly complex character for his first PF1 campaign in however long, or if ever. Its a Samsaran Wizard (Universalist)1 with an eye towards also picking up Cleric levels to go on into Mystic Theurge. I mean, fine, if you WANT to keep track of a bunch of spells and powers while you're ostensibly learning or re-learning how to play the system, that's fine, just figured playing a Martial PC would've been easier.

As of right now I am planning to make this into an ongoing campaign. We'll see how long it lasts. If anything else weird comes up I'll circle back.

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This owl is smart enough to write it's own name, and this black cat can spit gobbets of fire... but for now, they live a life of solitude, left behind by those they were originally bound to. Hi, I'm Lady Sara of MacLaughlynn, and for just 1 SP a month, you can help these former Familiars find a home...

In the arms of the angels my friends, in the arms of the angels...

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I recently asked someone to leave my games. They took it well in the moment. Since a few days after however, this person has messaged those of us remaining in the game so aggressively we blocked them. They still found ways to contact us around the blocks through social media.

We've been accused of "throwing the baby out with the bath water;" we have been called names; questions have been asked such as "are you happy now?" and "how could you act so normal when you were all actually getting ready to throw me out?" I could go on.

The most frustrating one however was in a list of grievances from this person that made its way to my email, the player asked "how was I given NO WARNING?" in just that way. No warning.

I was asked to join this group by a mutual of mine b/c this problem player was running their last campaign and doing it poorly. Weeks before I was asked in as GM, another player at the game, a person usually regarded as mild-mannered, threw a book on the floor and raged at the top of their lungs about the problem player's issues.

This problem player was told numerous times BEFORE I joined that they either cheat or randomly make up numbers on their dice rolls; they routinely ignore or pretend to not understand rules that would hinder or penalize their character/NPCs; they sleep or otherwise tune out during non-combat scenes; their behavior in-character is often socially awkward, explicit and off-putting, or otherwise makes players or NPCs in the game uncomfortable.

There were other things. That was all BEFORE I joined.

After I joined, I didn't feel it was appropriate to boot this person from my campaign since I joined THEM, but on 2 occasions I took this player aside and talked about their issues around cheating/incredibly poor math skills and ignorance of the rules. I get that PF1 is very crunchy and it can be hard to keep things straight but this player for example would have me explain the Grapple rules to them, then an hour later in a different fight they'd try to do something that wasn't rules-legal in a Grapple.

It was... hurtful, to say the least. This problem player blames me for their being ejected and more to the point claims in one post that I was one of the best GM's they've ever played with and then sends me an email suggesting I'm narcissistic and controlling.

IF you have been asked to leave a game and you are angry and need to vent I get that, believe me, but I would ask two things. First, direct that negativity at other things, healthy outlets, until you feel strongly you can control it without unloading on your former gaming group. Second, when you feel like you have that kind of control, don't immediately go and confront your former group but take that time of clear-headedness to actually LISTEN to their reasons for letting you go, try to understand why they took the actions they did and how everything got to that point.

We are all fallible. We all make mistakes. Sometimes we need to admit when WE'RE wrong instead of just blaming everyone else. Self-reflection is scary, and sometimes dangerous to our self-esteem, but it is necessary to grow and improve, not only as players and friends but as human beings.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

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So like, are you looking for current sales numbers?

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Advancement from L1 to L2 requires 3k XP for slow advancement, 2k for medium and 1300 for fast. Maybe your GM doesn't use XP so leveling is even quicker, but using these totals we set a baseline for how fast our PCs move up.

A standard CR1 encounter hands out 100 XP to each PC in a 4-5 person party. Therefore it takes 13 CR1 encounters on Fast, 20 on Medium, and 30 on slow for PCs to get to L2. Based on the number of spell resources available though in any party containing a full caster where that caster relies on their spells almost exclusively, most parties can only survive, what... 4-6 encounters a day? Figure half of those the full caster is using Cantrips, Orisons, Class Abilities or a consumable, but they've got 2-3 L1 spells they can use in a day and then they're done.

So if an adventuring day is an average of 5 CR1 encounters, or 500 XP/day for the PCs, it's gonna take 3 days on fast, 4 days on medium and 6 days on slow. Granted I'm assuming a lot and only looking at CR1 encounters; these might vary a bit. Still, I'd say PCs will likely spend 2-8 in-game days at L1 if the campaign uses XP.

If a game was going to take months for my PC to go from L1 to L2, I'd ask to start at 3rd level. Again, if we were following the XP rules, even if we assume the GM is using the slow track, taking 30 in-game days to reach L2 would mean that my PC was only gaining 100 XP/day, or put another way, the PCs averaged a single CR1 encounter a day for 30 days.

Now, that might be explained as the party finishes a short dungeon, goes back to town, takes 1 week of Downtime, then gets out after their second quest and so on for a month, but like, that's a TON of Downtime and I'm a guy that enjoys PCs taking time to craft, scribe scrolls and so on.

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What do the PCs do? Like, what's a day like for them in other people's games? L1 vanilla Human Fighter with Int 12, Craft (Weapons)+5; what does this PC do all day?

Every APL1/CR1 fight lasts, on average, 2-3 rounds. Based on healing resources from, say, a dedicated full caster but barring Channel Energy or consumables, this PC can potentially start the day at 12 HP and survive approximately 7.40 combats in the day before a PC with a Healer's Kit would have to resort to trying a DC 20 Heal check to keep this PC alive and in positive HP.

So, figure an adventuring day featuring somewhere between 3 greater than APL fights in a day to up to 10 lower than APL fights in a day. That's what THIS fighter could sustain with their party before the spells ran out for the day. That's what, between 72 to 150 seconds of their day spent in battle? 72 + 150 then divided by 2 is, say, an average of 111 seconds, or roughly 1.85 minutes.

So... say the PC spends 2 minutes in battle in a given day before these battles threaten to outright kill the PC. Figure another 58 minutes' worth of time spent searching around the site of each battle, scouring every inch of the scene for any potential clue, hidden treasure, NPC to save, etc. Generously, that's an hour out of this character's day spent "adventuring."

Even if this PC is spending this 1 hour of adventuring in the middle of a barren wasteland contained within a Tundra environment type, removing another 8 hours for sleep leaves this PC 15 hours unaccounted for in the day. What do they do with that time?

Traveling? Maybe they wax on with the other PCs about crafting techniques until he bores his compatriots to death. Eating lunch or resting between encounters? Could be eating w/1 hand, pouring over an old journal from his mentor on how to fold metal into runes BETWEEN layers of the blade without weakening the piece. Striking camp in the morning? Well, might only take about 15, 20 minutes, but the prepared casters need an hour; the extra time could be spent repairing nicks and scratches in your weapons, tapping a masterwork weapon to hear how it "sings" to gauge its suitability for enchantment (working towards later feats) and so on.

There are narrative ways to explain the PC growing into the feats. There are mechanical ways around the mechanical challenges of mundane and magic crafting.

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GM: I'm going to make a game where you're all immortals. The game begins in the Scottish highlands, but we'll also flash forward to D20 Modern.

Player 1: I'm going to be a fighter... a highlander!
Player 2: I'll be his cousin, also a highlander!
Player 3: I'll be from Russia, a barbarian... and can I be evil?
Player 4: Ok, so I'm going to originally be from Spain, but I'll also have traveled to Egypt and Japan, where I married a princess and won an honor sword... a katana! But now I'm here with my Breadth of Experience feat to be a kind of mentor to player 1!
GM: No to player 4

And thus, the 80's classic Highlander and subsequent series never existed.

Maybe that's not the best example but there are ways to let a PC have a katana in a Viking game. Or you can say no. If the player is using a katana to game the system, they're a powergamer and they want to absolutely destroy the combat balance so they are never hit and deal all the damage while the rest of the party is secondary to that character... probably a good idea to say no.

If they're just trying to be the chief metallurgist to the king of Spain and wear a fancy hat though...

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Do you wanna get Squirrel Girl? B/c this is how you get Squirrel Girl.

Also, I like to make plots around a big evil vs a big evil, w/the PCs in the middle being manipulated like pawns. I did it once using an Imp former familiar with class levels in Sorcerer (Infernal Bloodline) vs its former master, now a lich.

The Imp was charged with concluding the lich's contract and collecting its soul. Somehow though in the final days of his transformation, the lich had excluded the Imp from his mind and dismissed it as a familiar so while the Imp knew what the phylactery was, it had no idea where it was hidden.

For decades the Imp, in Raven form, would appear to adventurers using Diplomacy, Bluff, or straight up charming them to coerce these NPCs to try and find the phylactery. To protect himself the lich unleashed terrible evils upon the world. This arms race led to all sorts of half-truths, myths and rumors about the region and its dangers, attracting even more adventurers.

Unfortunately the campaign imploded at 3rd level but it was going to be the Imp as a Raven, guiding the PCs to the first few quests while learning about them and gaining their trust. After this, the imp would begin actively manipulating the party, directing them straight at the lich's minions. Meanwhile the imp, as a devil, would be negotiating contracts with former NPC minions to help them gain power and goading them to do terrible things, all so that the damned souls could be collected by the imp to pad it's prestige for when it finally returned to the greater devils it served.

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Ryze Kuja wrote:

Familiars are completely mundane creatures that become magically enhanced through a special magical bond with their master, granting them all the ability score bonuses and special abilities we've all come to know and love. So familiars are very much magically-enhanced creatures, and that magic never ends even if the master dies; for example, if a Wizard dies and the familiar survives, the familiar still retains all of its magically enhanced ability scores and languages known.

So, if you abandon a familiar for a new one, that familiar would retain all of its magical enhancements like increased Int, any known spoken languages or sign languages, HD, HP, Saves, Skills, Improved Evasion, Spell Resistance, but it would lose the ones that directly include/require the Master, such as Empathetic Link, Deliver Touch Spells, etc..

This is actually a really good idea for a story hook tbh... PC's meet an abandoned, distraught familiar and the ex-familiar wants.... vengeance? to re-unite? find a new master?

Most familiars, outside the Sage archetype, only ever achieve between a 6-15 Int. Many of the mundane, animal types however have decent Wis, say around a 13. Take a magical beast with JUST enough Int to be sentient but a decent Wis, make them upset, feel rejected... now add Evil Outsiders that might be able to give powers to their faithful, based around Wisdom as the primary casting stat.

I think it would be great, and tragic, and flavorful to have an embittered, evil cleric or shaman in the form of a Tiny sized animal like a raven. A shaman would be so delicious, so the former Familiar has it's own bonded servant. "This is my rat, Mrs Frisbee. SHE'LL never leave me... never abandon me for some sickly sweet Outsider just because it's got Fast Healing..."

Or you could go another route, still just as dark. The familiar takes levels in Druid, but as part of its exile from its master the creature was abandoned in a city, had to survive on garbage. Now as a Swarm Monger Druid the creature has bonded with a spirit of entropy and decay, looking to infect everything with rot. They have a vermin familiar, can speak to things like cockroaches and flies, and they will have their REVENGE!

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DL, I apologize for the words I chose and the implications of selfishness. I can try to justify it or explain it away but I won't. I hurt your feelings, made you feel insulted and I apologize.

You can be... direct in your responses on these forums but I genuinely appreciate your input. I suppose I centered myself and my own anecdotal experience in this when I should've just been open to other styles and methods.

I've often joked in threads I don't want to be on your bad side. Now I know what it is and I hate it. I still hesitate every time I open PFSRD from a response you left me so believe me when I say I will remember this thread and try to be more tactful in my posts in the future.

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Ryze Kuja wrote:
Mark Hoover 330 wrote:

Here's what I'm getting: the only reason to ban/restrict crafting is to benefit the GM. Maybe it's a "playstyle" that the GM gets to decide whatever items the PCs are worthy of having; maybe they're trying to protect game balance or force PCs to accept McGuffin quests they have planned so that the plot stays on their track. Maybe the GM just doesn't enjoy Downtime scenes/scenarios or doesn't want to detour their plots for lengthy crafting times. Whatever the case, the only real reason to remove the crafting is b/c the GM doesn't like it.

Fine. This isn't MY cup of tea but at least most of respondents in this thread say that they tell their players these things up front. Chell's post in this thread however brings up the concern I have; when GM's run games based mostly on their own whims vs those of their players, there is the temptation to derail previously established crafting capabilities for the sake of the GM and nothing more.

That is... frustrating.

Tbh, I find the compulsion for a GM to ban crafting or certain items to take away from the PC's experience. There are some items that are absolute campaign wreckers though, so I understand why GM's would ban things like Deck of Many Things and other similar items. But if it's not a "campaign-wrecker", it should be available.

Here's my thing R to the K: unless my players are absolute total noobs, they likely know some items like the Deck of Many Things are campaign-wreckers. If they still want them... its' EVERYONE'S campaign to wreck, including theirs. If the players are nihilists or shenanigan-types that just want to see the campaign world burn, let 'em.

There is NO story I've ever written for any of my home games that is so sacred and sacrosanct that it should be considered completely immune from player devastation. Period. Now again, as HR upthread says, this type of playstyle isn't for everyone and I don't expect everyone to get on board with me. At the end of the day though, I run games so I can hang with folks I like and play PF1.

If I allow crafting, completely remove all my own safeguards and the PCs end up with gobs of items? Fine; I'll start scaling up foes, scaling back loot drops, and maybe throw in creatures with a super-high Sunder or Steal maneuver. If the players pull a Deck of Many Things and each grab 3 draws, so be it. Did they have fun?

I'm reminded of a Rifts game way back in my childhood. My brother gave our very weak, non-megadamage PCs an Abolisher: a giant mech robot vehicle that can blow holes in continents. We piloted it around, completed the mission my brother wanted us to have it for and along the way cheesed off MANY enemies.

Soon after completing our mission a "random" rift opened, portalling us into the middle of a giant desert. Upon surviving the Abolisher had suffered minor electrical damage, we could've reparied it... but we were sinking in the sand. We could stay and fix it, hoping we didn't suffocate in the process, or we could eject. When we all landed safely on the dunes and watched the last of the mech disappear under the sand, we just shrugged and kept going.

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Here's what I'm getting: the only reason to ban/restrict crafting is to benefit the GM. Maybe it's a "playstyle" that the GM gets to decide whatever items the PCs are worthy of having; maybe they're trying to protect game balance or force PCs to accept McGuffin quests they have planned so that the plot stays on their track. Maybe the GM just doesn't enjoy Downtime scenes/scenarios or doesn't want to detour their plots for lengthy crafting times. Whatever the case, the only real reason to remove the crafting is b/c the GM doesn't like it.

Fine. This isn't MY cup of tea but at least most of respondents in this thread say that they tell their players these things up front. Chell's post in this thread however brings up the concern I have; when GM's run games based mostly on their own whims vs those of their players, there is the temptation to derail previously established crafting capabilities for the sake of the GM and nothing more.

That is... frustrating.

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Is it to run away though? 4 PCs, they rolled their stats; one is a paladin 1 with a 20 Cha. This PC took a Trait for a +1 on Diplomacy checks. Rolling out the door at L1, this PC has a Diplomacy +10.

As the party is moving through Hills terrain, they realize that a hill giant has taken up residence right beside the road. This giant is out in the open, tending to a flock of "dire sheep." PCs can see a cairn, pile of stones marking a grave roughly the size of the male giant and said giant is observed to have been crying.

The area of the road w/in about a mile of the giant's steading is too open for the caravan the PCs are guarding to pass through undetected. The area is steep and rugged, but they COULD try to off-road it. That being said the merchant leader of the caravan is in a hurry and has promised the party extra pay if they get his wares to the city on time.

When I threw this encounter at my L1 players they looked at me like I grew a second head. Despite all being veteran TTRPG players, they figured they were either going to have to fight the giant and die or try and drive 2 teams of ponies hauling heavy loads SUPER fast through the area to avoid rock throwing. I said "maybe he just wants someone to talk to."

What followed was a painfully slow introduction to my play style for these players. The giant started at Unfriendly, not Hostile, and had just recently buried his wife due to a band of hobgoblins raiding his farm for sheep. The PCs had slain a couple hobgoblins earlier and I noted how starved they looked.

Eventually the players just... talked to the giant, or at least said how their characters would talk to the giant. He was gloomy, vengeful; he wanted to pay the hobgoblins back in kind. The party also learned that the main bulk of the humanoids were still ahead and that there were a lot of them.

The PCs took a few hours' detour out of their caravan travel, sought the hobgoblins, challenged for an honor duel, the paladin won (barely) and so the giant had his vengeance. The paladin however took it a step further, negotiated a truce between the giant and 'goblins saying that the warband would pay the giant for 1 of his sheep each year and find a way to otherwise survive while leaving the giant in peace. In return, the Hill Giant had to ignore the 'goblins crossing the hills near his steading in order to go hunting.

Finally in the end the giant gave them an NPC boon; the PCs gained a +4 on a Knowledge (Geography) to find a hidden way through the hills to make up the time they'd lost. They pulled it off, circumvented an area of the main pass and ended up actually ahead of schedule.

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And don't forget, this is a team game: L1 martial types will likely be eating up most of the attacks, but then they also likely have an AC 15 or better so they can survive about 5-6 combat rounds before they're under 0 HP. Got a "healer/revitalizer" type? Have them prop up the martial type to extend the # of combat rounds. Ranged attackers or arcane spellcasters are likely more squishy but targeted less often by enemies.

Are the players noobs? Reduce the number of combat rounds they can go before a TPK. Veterans? Increase the combat rounds by half again. Loot drops are important, access to Downtime is critical, and the GM has to really focus on encounter balance and how many encounters to throw in on any given adventuring day.

Players: there are more options than attack or run. This is very important at L1. Scouting and pre-combat prep, even if all you're doing is casting Resistance x4, that's still a way to protect yourself. Meeting intelligent creatures you might be able to speak to, consider Diplomacy or Intimidate.

A CR1 encounter with 4 kobolds is 4 individual kobolds. Depending on their access to reinforcements, the build of their class levels or their narrative motivations, this band of kobolds may have no desire to actually fight the party. Perhaps they can be reasoned with, bargained with, or frightened into fleeing.

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A Level 1 vanilla Wizard optimized for spellcasting has, say, an Int 18. This gives them 3 Cantrips and 2 L1 spells to cast per day. Depending on your school specialization you've got an ability there to exploit. If you don't dump stat your Str you might have a 55% chance to succeed in an Aid Another check if you're stuck in melee, but considering how many attack spells have a range component, it's likely that you've got at least a Dex 12 or better for ranged touch attacks.

Arcane bond is also a thing. Either you've got another spell to cast through an item or you've got a familiar for tons of non-combat or even combat functionality, depending on how you build. Finally, Wizards start with 2d6x10 GP by RAW (avg 70) unless your GM starts you differently. You automatically get clothes and a spellbook containing all Cantrips and 7 L1 spells.

Oh yeah... and Scribe Scroll is a bonus feat. I know this is controversial, but I houserule to allow PCs to use Craft or Profession skills along with Item Creation feats when spending their starting GP, representing pieces of gear the PC might've made themselves. Assuming most folks don't use that rule though, consider the following gear package:

common survival kit, dagger, x2 flasks: acid, 1 scroll: Mage Armor. Spend 10 GP on one extra L1 spell you've transcribed in your spellbook for a total of 8 L1 spells

Starting off this way, this PC has a 1d3+1 Acid ranged touch attack, x2 L1 spells/day but a decent variety from which to prepare, a potential Touch of Fatigue DC 14 (at least) if you want to put it on a Familiar and risk sending it into battle. You can either attempt Aid Another checks with the dagger or set up Flanks w/the weapon if you want to risk yourself in combat.

I'm guessing, top of my head, this PC could survive 3 rounds of CR1 melee combat. Barring that, at a range of 25' they've got unlimited Acid damage. Against swarms they throw the extra Acid Flask, keeping one for their Acid Splash spell. They can armor themselves to at least a 15 AC with a scroll, immediately increasing their # of melee round survival to 5.

Any time you've got GP, a Settlement or otherwise access to the resources and 2 hours to kill, this PC can spend 12.5 GP and scribe a scroll. Any day that ends w/you not having cast one of your L1 spells, take the time to scribe. If your GM won't let you, figure out why and take steps to mitigate that in the future. From L1-L3, scrolls are important.

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Matthew Downie wrote:

I run prewritten material, the players find a ton of magical junk, they sell most of it for half-price, they buy the magic loot they actually want at full price, and that takes them to full WBL because of the generous quantity of gold and 'trash' available.

Assuming shops and NPC crafters are available, this lets the players get the specific gear they want, and doesn't make any extra work for me.

Do APs or canned adventures always provide a ready source of Settlements for PCs to buy and sell what they need? For that matter, you say "NPC crafters available;" are the PCs off adventuring while the crafting is done back in town, or are they waiting for items to be created, in which case why wouldn't they just craft their own items?

Technically the RAW on Settlements of smaller sizes you're supposed to randomly dice up what few magic items the place has and then if the PCs show up to sell their "trash" there might be limits on what the Settlement can actually afford. If you use that RAW, the PCs might not have what they want available or the PCs might not be able to offload their "trash" until they happen upon a larger Settlement.

I've only played Reign of Winter but there weren't a lot of chances to buy/sell magic items in the 9 levels' worth of play we got through. I also know of the first book of Rise of the Runelords but as I understand it the PCs spend a lot of time around Sandpoint which is a Small Town.

Small Town means PCs can only find 1k GP items to buy and the town's Purchase Limit is 5k GP. I'm guessing from 4th level on the AP assumes the party is traveling to Magnimar to buy/sell stuff? Well, that's what, 50-60 miles away? Until PCs can overland flight or teleport that means a couple days' travel, then buying selling for a day, then a couple days back to Sandpoint right?

In that time a generic PC with an Item Creation feat could have just crafted a 5k GP base cost item.

Again, I don't know how easy/hard it is broadly across all the APs to buy and sell magic items or to have items crafted for you while you adventure. I do know though that if you're not using the RAW to randomize what a Settlement has to offer the PCs, that means that this is another area where the GM is DECIDING whether or not the PCs get to have the gear they want, not the players controlling their own PCs and making decisions for themselves.

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Derklord wrote:
Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
If you're running a PFS game or just don't want to deal with Item Creation feats so you ban it in your game, fine. That's not what I'm getting at here. If you didn't tell your players at character creation that Item Creation feats are banned, or that there likely won't be downtime portions in this campaign where expensive mundane or magic items can be made, then later you impose such restrictions on them, why?

I don't think anyone was talking about stealth nerfing players. Your opening post makes no mention of this discussion being about after-the-fact prohibitions, and I don't imagine anyone arguing in favor of doing that.

Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
Downtime is boring? Ok, handwave it.

Handwave what, the time required, to make those feats even stronger? Or do you mean handwave the time spend? That's impossible in my campaign, becasue I don't GM a video game-esque campaign where the mosnter sit around doing nothing until the PCs get into aggro range, and the only objective is killing monsters for gold and experience.

Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
Crafting breaks WBL? Give the PCs less wealth

Do you also increase all enemies' AC by 1 when the PCs take Weapon Focus? Because this is basically the same thing, de facto removing what the feat grants. The player paid for a feat that, due to the GM negatively compensating for it, has no benefit (or at least not its main benefit).

Crafting feats are like Leadership - it's not that I can't balance the game around it, it's that they give the PCs something I don't want PCs to have.

Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
Like I said, there are ways to do it, if you're willing to use them.
What's the gain, though? Why do I need item creation? What good does it do? You're describing the GM doign a lot of changes, up to outright breaking the willing suspension of disbelieve in an obvious "it's here because it's a game" plot device, just so... what? The min-maxer can have the exact perfect item that is supposed to be only found in a...

I understand now why you restrict crafting. I appreciate your response as always Derklord, as well as your candor. Never stop being you.

When I say "handwave it," I'm talking about narrating the Downtime. I still follow the RAW of item crafting in my games; 1 day per 1000 GP of the base cost for creation time. I haven't yet run into situations where the players are cranking out so many items that it becomes disruptive to gameplay but I will admit that after a couple of levels PCs in my games usually end up with a mountain of cheap consumables.

Do you realize, the Cleric Cohort of one of the PCs in my megadungeon game has 32 scrolls of Bless now? He's made so many over his 9 levels that he ended up not using that he's got an accordion file folder JUST for these scrolls! Fear doesn't really affect the APL 11 PCs anymore and a +1 to attack for a minute rarely comes up but just in case... 32 scrolls.

Anyway, yeah, now at APL 11 the PCs are looking to craft expensive rings and armor. 1 item can take, like, 16 days of Downtime. I handwave most of the narration but the PCs still have to deal with the any consequence of hanging around the city for 16 days. If they go off adventuring, the item is still being crafted in 2 hour increments but that's just delaying things further.

Yeah, it takes a bit of work to manage loot drops. If I want to hand out a CR11 pile of loot, the average would be 7k GP. I could normally just drop a 10,000 GP magic item and then a chest with 2000 GP worth of mixed coins and gems, but this might put the PCs over WBL. Normally what I do then is set the average loot drop back by -1 CR. A CR 11 encounter drops 5,540 GP instead. I can still include the 10k GP item, except now the "chest" is a coffer with 540 GP worth of mixed coins and gems.

The Diablo comparison I particularly love. On the one hand, you're suggesting Item Crafting may enable players to load their PC with "best in slot" items while players at my tables expect monsters to turn into piles of gold and items regardless of whether they want to craft items or not. When I reduce the "obvious" loot in a scene, my players get upset.

Treasure in my games isn't always a pile of gold and a magic item. I might have stuff hidden in secret compartments and such, but there might also be furnishings in the scene to make up for the lack of coins and such, an NPC that will pay them for the story rights, broken gear that can be salvaged and repaired and so on.

Point is, I'm already putting a lot of work into treasure. Having the PCs craft their own versus me having to add one more step to make sure the PCs have the RIGHT gear for their characters is a benefit, but mileage may vary.

As for the negative behaviors you reference: greediness, excessive optimization, circumvention of WBL and such... I'm not naive. I get that players like this can and will happen. Thing is, I don't think item crafting is what enables it or acts as the impetus. Players willing to negatively disrupt gameplay with these behaviors are going to do them whether or not they are making magic items.

I can restrict item crafting to motivate them to change; I can also switch to ABP or take other steps but in the end if the player needs to hoard wealth and power to a level where it impacts the campaign, they're going to mine for loopholes and exploits regardless of whatever obstacles are in place.

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Matthew Downie wrote:
Why didn't you ask during character creation?

I do. Lots of players don't. In instances where the GM didn't restrict crafting up front but also the players didn't ask... then we fall back on RAW. By RAW, crafting mundane items is a pain in the rear unless you're using the optional rules or houseruling, but also many mundane and even Masterwork items don't really upset the balance of gameplay.

Magic Item crafting though, as others have pointed out above, can be done in tiny increments as ongoing work all the time in the background by RAW. Maybe you only get 2 hours' worth of work in, maybe you get a full 8 during a day of light travel; I don't care. Fact is, there's RAW to cover that. I started this thread b/c the person I was reacting to seemed to indicate that the GM was ignoring RAW and disallowing crafting altogether.

Belafon wrote:
All the PF1 campaigns I have played or GMed (outside of PFS) allowed crafting. However time spent crafting was time the BBEGs' plans were advancing unchecked. . .

So, every single adventure, as it ended, led directly into the next adventure? There was no "well, we destroyed this low level demon, but Lucifer's plans are still on track. We should try to research his next move..."? For that matter, every single villain/adversary the PCs ever faced had no villainous rivals, no scheming upstarts in their ranks, there were no NPCs of the party's general power and skill level, there were no Outsiders like Inevitables or Daemons looking to meddle in their affairs and so on?

For me, I strongly believe in player agency. The RAW others have cited above on magic item crafting exists for a reason. Even if they're only getting a tiny 2 hours' worth of crafting in during an adventuring day, that's still 2 hours by RAW. Me removing that, AFTER the player spent their PC's feat on an Item Creation feat I didn't tell them would be functionally useless in my game, is like saying to them "fine, if you WANT to go down THAT hallway in the dungeon, be my guest... you died."

I want my players' build choices and in-character decisions to have meaning and impact on the campaign. I want the players to be working WITH me to build the narrative of the campaign, and part of that is the pacing. This encompasses crafting, but it includes other personal choices too: Handle Animal to train pets or unique monster allies; creating strongholds in the wilderness; building relationships and truces, even with adversaries.

If the players are just there to take what treasure I give them, buy whatever I allow them to buy, advance my story at my pace, and otherwise follow the direction I lay down for them, I wonder what the point is of having players at my table. This is MY take though; you all have your own games and I'm not trying to point fingers here. This is just how it works for me.

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If you're running a PFS game or just don't want to deal with Item Creation feats so you ban it in your game, fine. That's not what I'm getting at here. If you didn't tell your players at character creation that Item Creation feats are banned, or that there likely won't be downtime portions in this campaign where expensive mundane or magic items can be made, then later you impose such restrictions on them, why?

Also I get it; some GMs run APs. If the path runs at a breakneck pace with time clocks on many of the missions, obviously crafting opportunities will be few and far between. Again here though, I think its important that players know that up front.

Beyond this though... all the other challenges have solutions, if the GM is willing to work with the players. Downtime is boring? Ok, handwave it. Crafting breaks WBL? Give the PCs less wealth, or reward them in other ways (houses, titles, followers, a free Trait, the knowledge that, on their deathbed, they will know total enlightenment...). The campaign never makes it back to town...

That argument I love. They are never heading back to town. Ok well... who says the PCs need town? Oh look, the PCs are out in the middle of the wilderness, but a traveling salesperson is approaching. They just happen to have a bunch of "Magic Capital" the PCs can buy to do some crafting on the road. Maybe the PCs save a lone ratfolk from evil orcs, and the ratfolk just happens to know of a traveling troupe nearby. PCs are stuck in a megadungeon, but they're jonesing to use the new Craft Magic Arms and Armor feat the paladin picked up; oh look, they just happened to stumble upon some abandoned dwarven forge rooms.

One suggestion I stole for resting in dungeons you can adjust to crafting: the convenient door. This was in a Dungeon magazine from Paizo back in '07. If the party is stuck in the wilderness or in a dungeon but they need stuff like Restoration and such, they spot a door with no earthly reason to be there.

Turns out this leads to... and then there was a chart. Maybe its a tavern in Sigil, or a mead hall in Valhalla, or an elven court in the Fey Realms or whatever. The PCs can go there briefly, heal up, and the days they spend in this realm are actually only hours in the dungeon. After they finish whatever healing, or crafting they needed to do, the GM contrives some reason the PCs are ejected back to the Prime and the door disappears.

Like I said, there are ways to do it, if you're willing to use them.

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Whoa whoa, I never said prestidigitation is equal to a professional cut and style job. I figured the PC is cleaning someone, maybe trimming split ends or doing a little beard shaping. If a client wants a perm or a dye job and blowout, unless they want their hair monochrome (insert basic color here that Prestidigitation can do), they need to go to Ye Olde Salon.

As for skills used in conjunction with Prestidigitation, that'd be entirely up to the GM in the houserule territory. There is no "skill use" called out with the spell. Incidentally, Profession is a skill that cannot be used Untrained so DR, sorry, no Profession (Salon Stylist) available without putting a rank in it.

Craft skills though...So Prestidigitation is avail to Psychic casters where Int may or may not be a factor of the PC, but otherwise it's a Wizard/Sorcerer, Bard, or Magus spell. Wizards and Magi need Int for casting and Bards that keep their Lore usage or bard-like casters who have a Lore component might have at least a +1 Mod from Int.

Craft is an Int based skill usable untrained. Craft (Clothing) is one option for the skill. A PC then with a high Int might attempt a Craft (Clothing) skill, maybe not to professionally style or even mend clothing worn by their client, but at least to professionally launder it well. Similarly you might rule the same thing for Craft (Armor), Craft (Weapons), Craft (Leather) and so on.

Again, I'm NOT suggesting that this kind of cleaning would grant bonuses to a Disguise check, grant any sort of combat bonuses or otherwise mechanically alter game play; Prestidigitation has specific wording that it can't do those things. As for getting the client and their gear really, REALLY clean though... I think the case could be made that 1 minute with Prestidigitation and some Craft skill checks could pull that off.

Lastly, I don't think Prestidigitation just RANDOMLY assigns smells or flavors. The caster needs to choose those. Again, these cannot have explicit mechanical impact on gameplay per the spell, so no poisoned drinks or giving someone a Stench ability. However, the case could be made that assigning a foul odor to a person might give creatures with the Scent ability the opportunity to count that person as having a "strong smell" for detecting that person at 60' instead of 30'.

So, if I can choose the scent or flavor I deliver to my clients, then for 5 GP and 1 minute of a person's time, I can: expertly clean and launder their person, clothing, gear, armor, weapons etc; trim (not style, but trim) any hair to uniform length; put a single simple color on their nails; leave them smelling of jasmine, lavender, patchouli, etc for at least an hour after leaving my care.

I'd consider a service like that worth 5 GP.

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So in another thread a poster made a point about GMs that severely restrict or disallow the crafting of mundane or magic items, or restrict giving the PCs adequate resources or time between adventures to do so. Why?

If a player chooses to put ranks into a Craft skill, or a Profession skill like Baker or Woodcutter that might have some crossover into crafting, or they take an Item Creation feat, chances are they intend their PC to be making stuff. Some classes rely on these functions; a prepared full arcane caster might be under-resourced for spells to cast in a day without scrolls and what is the point of an Alchemist having Fast Alchemy and a portable alchemy kit if they are never allowed to use them?

So what reasons or justifications are we GM's using to prevent PCs from using these skills and abilities? More than that, why don't we WANT them making their own gear?

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Chell, the point I was trying to make is that there is MORE that a L1 PC can do than cast a couple spells/day, eat and sleep. You're right though, the ability to do those things requires GM buy in.

If your GM won't allow you to craft items, scrolls, potions etc while adventuring, find out why. Not the surface answer, like you don't have the materials or the time; those things can be solved in game. No, find out why the GM refuses to let you play your character.

Are they afraid of power creep? Maybe they're inexperienced or they're punishing you for the bad behavior of some previous player. Maybe they just don't understand the crafting rules. Whatever the case, engage with your GM and figure this out.

Oh, and if you're fighting a lot of foes who don't have treasure... Survival and Heal checks as well as other skills for harvesting and preserving Trophies; collect Poison or other such materials from monster corpses; use Knowledge (Nature) or similar skills to watch for rare plant resources while you travel; Mending or later Make Whole along with Prestidigitation for more than just keeping your own gear intact.

The list goes on. What I'm getting at is that a L1 PC is more than just their combat abilities. The GM and players all need to work together to capitalize on the totality of what those PCs can really do.

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Any game, regardless of level, is as boring as the gamers playing make it. Boo hoo, your L1 wizard has 7 HP, a 10 Con, and 2 L1 spells. Only, after spending 10 GP on a flask of acid, this PC has a 1d3+1 ranged touch attack they can spam all day; they can start a fire in nearly any conditions with a Standard action; if they survive their first couple encounters, they've likely got enough GP to scribe 4 scrolls with that bonus feat you hopefully didn't trade away.

Not only the resources of L1 wizards... REALLY think about what they can accomplish with enough GP and time. I've watched survivalists IRL craft a comfortable dugout structure capable of surviving multiple seasons in the woods using only hand tools and about 3 days's worth of dedicated work. A PC with a couple scrolls of Expeditious Excavation, Unseen Servant and Expeditious Construction could create the same structure in an hour.

There is more PCs can do in a day than slay monsters, get treasure and talk to important NPCs. Do you have Craft or Profession skills? How about personal goals? What item creation feats did your class give you? There is so much your PC can accomplish that doesn't involve making an initiative roll.

If your GM is intent on leveling the PCs to 3 quick, they'll do it. If not, take your time from L1-L3 to appreciate the game world the GM has given you. Oh yeah, and as for full arcane casters being weak from L1-L3:

If the GM is tracking XP, a Medium progression campaign requires 20 CR1 encounters to make it to L2, another 20 CR2 encounters to make it to L3. A PC with access to Acid Splash and a single Acid Flask has a 1d3 +1 Ranged Touch attack they can spam all day. On top of that, they can potentially start fires with a Standard, hand out +1 Resistance bonuses, give yourself DR 1/Cold Iron for 1 hit and many more minor abilities usable all day so long as you have a Standard to spend.

Oh yeah, and don't forget about scrolls. A 5 room dungeon generally has 4 conflicts, with CR's between APL-1 to APL+3. If a L1 spellcaster survives just one of these, they likely have enough money to buy if not craft scrolls which are free spells they can cast in a day.

If a 5 room dungeon provided the four PCs, say, 1040 GP, the L1 full arcane caster now has 260 GP to spend. That buys 10 L1/CL1 scrolls right there, but does the PC have Scribe Scroll? If so and the GM is willing to give the PCs the time between adventures, that's 20 scrolls. Is the GM using Downtime? That's potentially 40 scrolls.

My point is only that there are plenty of resources and potential to keep players and GM's engaged at L1, but if the folks at the session don't WANT to engage, it won't be fun.

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Kevida wrote:
ErichAD wrote:
Fastidiousness's recurring cleanliness is the best, shame it's self only. I could see a character making large statues as command word magic items of fastidiousness to improve local health.
That's an interesting. Perhaps an entrepreneurial PC or NPC could create various magic items to create a business like a bath house or laundromat that that has the implements of cleanliness cast that spell.

As for making a business...

1. be a class that can spam Prestidigitation all day; check w/your GM to see if multiple castings will allow you to clean an entire person, a Large sized creature like a horse, etc.

2. if you've got GM's buy-in... get a stool

3. Park yourself on a stool near an entrance to the settlement. As travelers enter, covered in road dust, dirt smatters and so on, offer to clean them for 5 GP

Spellcasting services in the Core book state that a PC can hire an NPC to cast a L1 spell for 10 GP. By that logic, an NPC can be hired to cast a 0-Level spell for 5 GP. Normally under the Downtime rules, a PC earns a daily wage by making a Skill check and dividing the result by 10 for the number of GP you earn. If a PC uses Craft +5 and takes 10, they earn 1.5 GP in a day.

Well, if just ONE person hires you to cast Prestidigitation from your stool, 5 GP in one day is the equivalent of a 50 on the skill check

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I don't enjoy being manipulated and I recognize the blame-throwing in this player's messages. That player has always displaced or pawned-off their bad behavior either on others or circumstances. Nothing was ever THEIR fault, but they'd act remorseful just long enough to give the illusion of penance. To be honest, I'd been calling for them to be removed from our gaming group far sooner than now but being the "new guy" in the group I didn't push it real hard.

No, it's not removing that person that gets to me. Toxic folks like that exist in my life; they are still connected to me on FB or other social media though, they can still call or text me if they choose. I might not ANSWER them, but I didn't cut them off at the source.

With this player though, I've blocked them on everything. They are the first person I genuinely think may try to weaponize those toxic behaviors against me or my friends. I don't think we're in any kind of physical danger but I can see this person showing up at someone's home or local gaming store to chastise that person.

That's... new, and weird, and gross and I just want to take a life shower and be done with it.

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Incorporeal undead... the "underwater adventure" of monster slaying. I say that b/c most PCs in a land-based game need to know and prepare for going aquatic in an adventure, and I find it's the same with incorporeal undead.

4 L1 PCs in a game involving Undead (incorporeal or not) should have Holy Water on them and someone that can cast Disrupt Undead at least. Does anyone in the party have Craft(ALchemy) or class abilities around this skill? After their first loot pile, PCs should have ghost salt weapon blanch or other anti-undead gear. Of course, players are going to forget these items are out there or not buy/craft them if they don't KNOW they need to have them.

Adding onto what Azothat was saying, it's on you as the GM to tell your players what to prep for in an upcoming adventure. Maybe don't go as blunt as "the mayor tells you that in the third cell from north to south of the dwarven ruin you'll find a shadow" but maybe don't be as subtle as "some say something vile resides in that chamber."

There's lots of ways to do this. Note: a rogue can somehow detect magic traps with an Area trigger; in essence, the rogue is making a Perception check to know that an open area is warded by some kind of negative spell effect. If they don't roll high enough for the rogue to detect some indication of what the spell does, all they know for certain is "area: bad b/c reasons."

Ok, well, if there's a mechanic around traps that can be that vague but still give the party pause, why not with incorporeal undead?

Say the PCs enter a tomb containing a wraith. Currently the creature is hiding inside a wall. Perception might let a PC get a sense of some kind of disturbance in the surface of the wall or a very faint ectoplasmic residue. Taking it a step further, Survival (Tracking) might allow a PC to trail such a creature; Knowledge (Religion) could reveal likely strategies for the undead and so on.

Those are all mechanics at the encounter level. Scaling back a bit, at the narrative level there can be a lot of ways to let players know what's coming so they can study the right spells and buy the right gear. Myths or legends learned from Diplomacy checks, Knowledge rolls and such can give an indication - tales suggest that furniture in the old Graverly House moves on its own and that otherworldly moans can be heard from the cellar... that kind of thing.

Haunts are a GREAT way to impart info, but this is a Hazard or Trap of some kind, another mechanic. Taking the danger out of it, what if there's just a psychic echo of past events in an area? PCs enter a spot and suddenly it's a night 30 years ago; they hear two men arguing, the prying open of a coffin, then a scream of terror from one and a terrible choking sound from the other. Suddenly the PCs are back to normal; no Wisdom damage, no saving throws, they just heard a person being slain by an undead. Later when they find skeletal remains with the windpipe of the humanoid crushed the players can put 2 and 2 together to understand what happened. Finally, when they encounter a ghost grasping it's throat and constantly gasping for air, the players might understand that simply blessing the bones or otherwise respectfully dealing with them may end this encounter without an hour of buff spells and half damage attacks.

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Also, can we take a minute to look at the Sarenrae's Mercy technique? No penalty for dealing non-lethal with a scimitar or spells with the Fire, Light or Good descriptors as the initial benefit. But then, if you hit 10 ranks in Heal, have Great Fortitude and Weapon Focus (Scimitar), you heal 2d6 1/round on ANY round you deal non-lethal with a Scimitar. Like, that's a very weak amount of healing I know, but it is ALWAYS on!

And if you're REALLY metagamey... after combat ends, smack someone in the party multiple times for non-lethal Scimitar damage, healing yourself a little every time, until either you're fully healed or the person is KO'd. Whenever you hit either condition, use Cure Light Wounds on the person you bonked healing them full. Super cheap healing!

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There's the Eldritch Scrapper Sorcerer if you need Martial Flexibility. If you're a Sorcerer you're likely Cha based; using Desna's Shooting Star divine fighting technique you're subbing Cha in place of Str or Dex for attack and damage with a starknife. In this way you could refocus your Cha as your highest stat, Dex and Con as secondary, and use your spells either to buff yourself or, with a high Cha, to debuff enemies you're about to attack.

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Halfling cleric, just vanilla cleric, with the Community and Healing domains. If I have to be in a fight I'd focus some of my feats on optimizing the use of a halfling slingstaff, but I'd also include a feat to give myself a cat familiar; not an improved familiar, just a standard Tiny sized cat.

I'd give the cat the Valet archetype. I'd take an item creation feat, probably Scribe Scroll, and a couple different professions like scribe and tanner. Then I'd spend my time making books and paper, writing professionally, and handing out my healing to anyone that needs it.

More than anything I want to help rather than harm, but I'm not about pure pacifism and healing. Along those lines though, I want to deal non-lethal damage. There's no reason in this world to add more carnage than we already have.

Last but certainly not least, I like that gentle combination of Wisdom and Charisma; the ability to listen to people, understand them, and then communicate with them diplomatically to help them understand others and themselves. I may be naive and not cynical enough yet, but I still think there's merit in conversation, dialogue, and empathy.

And why a Halfling? The Hobbit has been my favorite book since I was 5 years old. Bilbo for me is the prototype for what I consider a hero; reluctant at first, but inspired by his own sense of wonder and curiosity in things greater than himself. On the road to adventure he's not the strongest or the fastest, not an action hero, but he's always there for his friends, when he's needed. Everyone counts him out, from the dwarves to the dragon, but this unlikely burglar is praised in the end by a dying Thorin for his wisdom and courage nonetheless.

Oh, and what did Bilbo take home from his adventures? The ring, of course, obviously, but what else? Just enough to be comfortable, nothing more. THAT'S the kind of person I want to be when I grow up.

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Darkmoon250 wrote:
Is there any way to justify a Ketephys Cleric who doesn't use his longbow much, if at all? The lore says that people who choose to enter Ketephys's church get a bow as soon as they are initiated, and that more experienced priests are actually the ones who tend to train elven communities in archery.

In my own home games there are as many types of worshipper philosophies as there are Domains and allowed alignments. Ketephys for example allows NG, CG, and CN alignments with the Animal, Chaos, Good, Plant and Weather domains. Ok, well, think about the kinds of mindsets those would yield.

Take a CG cleric of Animal and Chaos. They believe in the underlying good inherent in all free beings but acknowledge that the universe is driven by random chance, not divine fate. They also revere the ability of animals to adapt to change while still remaining true to themselves. This sect of the faith might embrace hunting with a longbow to honor predatory animals and to weed out the sick or the weak. They might also perpetuate a hunter's culture pursuing the enemies of the faith.

On the other hand, imagine a CN cleric with the Weather domain and Moon subdomain. This is a capricious, somewhat selfish worshipper who also sees the randomness in the universe but more importantly they revere the primal powers external to the existence of plants and animals. They might feel at the whim of these natural forces and their worship is more appeasement than reverence. For them they have no need for a bow; their god provides them spells to create water and purify the leavings of scavengers or victims of the elements. Instead the raw power their wisdom affords them is more potent than any arrow could ever be.

Each deity might have an orthodoxy along with mystery cults, monastic sects, pagan traditions or modernized interpretations that create any number of worshippers. A group of urban half-elves, mostly thieves, wastrels and outcasts of the city looking to preserve and foster the minute greenswards in an unnatural landscape would worship Ketephys a lot differently than a high elven priest born with a bow in her hand. Still others like a cult led by a trio of huldra fey who venerate the eldritch woodlands and whisper that their god, Ketephys, is one of the beings who allows the First World to bleed into the Prime for his amusement might hold moonlit revels in his honor but in practice might look more like druids than clerics.

Point is; its YOUR character. Play them however you want, and justify it in any way you need to.

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Looking through CR 11 monsters on the SRD (that's right Derklord, I'm still using the SRD! *runs for cover*) I see 82 monsters that are Paizo specific, not 3pp creations. 22 of these have either Resist Fire 10, Resist Fire 20 or Immune: Fire. This means roughly 1 in 4 monsters the PCs face would need another energy type from a blaster caster to deal with them.

Yes, that IS a lot of monsters to build contingencies for, but that still leaves 3 out of every 4 monsters vulnerable. In fights when your Fire spells aren't as effective you could

1. Still deal SOME Fire damage unless the monster is immune
2. Use admixture or some other similar ability/feat/metamagic item
3. Buff your allies or debuff the foe(s) in some way

I haven't run a comparison to other energy types but others before me on these threads have mentioned that Fire is the most resisted energy type. This glance at CR11 monsters though gives us an idea that being fire based doesn't INVALIDATE your entire PC beyond this point, it merely puts a wrinkle in your attack plans.

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My favorite thing to do with Bloodlines is not make them Bloodlines. Instead, look at them like comic book super hero origin stories. Maybe your Aberrant blooded PC bore witness to some alien arrival from the Far Realms and was warped by Void energy or something. Maybe your Draconic sorcerer underwent an elaborate rite and had their heart replaced with a dragon's and now they have these powers. There's mad alchemists with super sorcerer serums, vermin (spiders) that could bite the PC and pass along powers, vats of alchemical waste a PC could fall into and so on.

I'm saying I like the flavor of bloodlines as much as I like the powers themselves.

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Once again, it'd take several levels to come on board but

Human Hunter 6; you need Int and Dex both at 13, and then pump Str as high as you can

L1 Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes
L2 Bonus Outflank
L3 Archon Style
L3 Bonus Paired Opportunists
L6 retrain any L5 feat to Archon Diversion
L6 bonus Pack Flanking

At this point in melee with your AC the Hunter and AC are considered Flanking even if adjacent. They're also threatening the same foe. Your PC can use Archon Diversion and a free hand to deflect on weapon attack from their AC as a move action, directing that attack to themselves. As a result, this triggers an AoO for the AC.

With Paired Opportunists this gives the PC an AoO as well. All AoO's are at +4 to hit for both of you. If anyone crits and confirms, thanks to Outflank, that's another AoO trigger.

In a full attack round that's an attack from you, then an attack from your AC, followed by you or your AC diverting one of your foe's attacks, delivering 2 more AoOs (one from each of you). Add in Haste and baby we got a STEW goin'!

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What exactly is your measure of success here? I'm guessing this thread is more of a grenade toss to gather responses, but I'm genuinely curious why you'd say there's "no point" to a Str based build using a 1h weapon.

You will certainly not win the DPR Olympics with this build, but the PC is far from useless. Take ANY Medium sized, 3/4 or Full BAB PC, start them with an 18 Str (after racial adjustments) and give them a d8 weapon. This PC is already guaranteed to hit 60% of the time or more against foes whose CR equals the APL of the party, if you're using the benchmarks laid out in the Monster Creation rules. That's before you factor in class abilities or feats, but if you follow WBL.

At least, you'll keep that up for L1-L3. After that you'll need damage and accuracy boosters. Good thing WBL and feats provide magic items, Power Attack and Weapon Focus. But why are you leaving the other hand empty though?

Maybe you're also focusing defensively through shield use, Dirty Trick or Free Hand Fighter. Maybe you've got a bunch of Style feats dependent on either having an empty hand or partnering weapon attacks with unarmed strikes. Could be an unchained monk or a brawler; maybe like you said you are a Magus; maybe you're built around Precision damage when a foe is denied their Dex bonus but you went the Grapple/Greater Grapple so you can pin AND deliver a chunk of damage with a light weapon in the same round.

Thing is, NONE of those are going to look appealing if your goal and benchmarks revolve around DPR optimization at all costs. If you're just theory crafting and want to hit the highest possible number, 1h weapon just isn't going to get there. That's my 2cp anyway.

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