Warren Chief

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A very good observation, I had actually not considered this part. It adds even more weight to what I already strongly suspected. Well, this archetype is... honestly quite bad, unless you have absolutely no use for Nature bond and just want to switch it for something else.

The Feral Shifter druid archetype gives us the Animal Focus ability from the Hunter. But is also replaces the druid animal companion.

Considering that Animal Focus on the hunter is used in large part to buff you Animal Companion, this is a pretty weird design choice. Without an AC, those druids are only left with a lack luster ability.

What if this character actually has an animal companion either from feats or other class levels ? Will this Druid get the permanent Animal Focus buff to his AC the same way a Hunter would ? It sounds like it would not work but I would like to hear what others have to say.

Temperans wrote:
wasn't it supposed to be from opposite sides? Ex: normally crossing front and left side doesn't count as flanking.

Yes you are right, Ryze Kuja did not quote the rule properly. Flanking is normally quite restrictive and you can only do it from the very opposite side.

It allows you to be one square away from your normal Flank zone and still be considered flanking, as long as you are still threatening the enemy.

Thank you for you responses so far, I would like to push my exemple a bit further.

What about the ability of the hunter companion to use skirmisher tricks ? Unlike the previous exemple, it is just added on top of all the other things without specifically replacing something else.

Another problem with the ''wield'' part, is that the Call weapon spell states that it can be used on unconscious allies, as long as they are still in contact with the weapon. Those allies are most certainly not Wielding the weapon while they are unconscious.

I drop a weapon during combat. My unseen servant is instructed to go and pick up the weapon.

A bit later I use the ''Call weapon'' spell to call that weapon back to my hand. Is the unseen servant a valid ''ally'' for using the spell ?

Let's say I take 1 level in Cavalier and 1 level in hunter. I chose an animal companion that is available to both classes. So the two classes effective druid level stacks for statistics and abilities of the companion.

Cavalier's companion gets light armor proficiency instead of Share spell.
Hunter's normally has the share spell.

Does that mean that my companion will have both share spell and light armor proficiency ?

Here is a representation of my 3.4 ft tall Gnome cavalier carrying his 10 ft reach lance on his back.

Ok joking aside this discussion is a mess :p

Let me just focus on 2 points as to why I think this is an unreasonable use of the free action system. And then I'll be done here.

1. It is very unbalanced compared to getting equivalent results with the buckler, which requires quite a bit of investment. With this technique, using a buckler is mostly obsolete, unless you are forced into it by other restrictions. Such as being a monk, or using a two-weapon build( you can still go with the quickdraw shield trick by using a glove of storing) or maybe if you really want to make AOO with a 2-Handers while keeping the shield AC bonus. These builds however are overshadowed by all the great possibilities you get out of cheesing with you Quickdraw shield. This immediately creates a balance issue within the game as any build starting with the quickdraw shield vs. the buckler is at a clear advantage.

The whole point of using a buckler is that it allows you to use your hands for other things while you make use of shield equipment. To get the full advantage out of your buckler, you need specific proficiency and feats that you can only unlock over the course of several levels. OR...According to some people here, you can just use QuickDraw Shield + Quick draw and get the full cheese at lev 1 or 2 depending on your class. Heck, you don't even need shield proficiency. Just grab a darkwood quickdraw shield and you are good to go.

2. It makes about zero sense as an actual fighting technique. Using this is ridiculously gamey. The combat is turn by turn, but it is supposed to be an approximation of something that happens in real time. When you make full round attacks, you are pretty much attacking continuously with hardly a break, beside dodging around and parrying attacks, which a trained fighter will do fluidly through their combat form.

Using a buckler that is permanently attached to your arm in order to protect yourself while doing full round attacks with two hands is honestly a bit sketchy. But at least it can still make some sense. You can orient yourself in a way to give you some cover from the enemy in between your strikes. You do need to have a specific combat form and training and expertise to do that, as represented by the proficiency and feats you need.

Now picture yourself someone with zero shield proficiency hacking at an enemy with a two handed sword but somehow managing to pull out a shield in between sword strikes just in time to intercept an enemy blow, then somehow making that shield disappear immediately after and free their hand in time to grab the sword again and complete the swing at full power with two hands... I have trouble maintaining my suspension of disbelief.

Free actions are for the most part supposed to be actions that you can do at the same time as your other actions, so they don't actually slow down your normal action sequence. Like Throwing insults at your enemy as you attack. Drawing a weapon as part of a charge. Letting go one hand off the shaft of your 2-H weapon as your raise it to cast a spell with somatic component. A barbarian becoming enraged as they are attacking. Granted that there are some exemple of legal free actions that stretch this concept quite a bit, but few would be as gamey as the quickdraw shield.

You need to draw a line somewhere, hence, it is perfectly legit for a GM to rule that such a use of the free action system is unreasonable, for all the reasons I listed. If your group is ok with using that mechanic nobody is stopping you. But I would be annoyed if someone did that In mine.

Doing this would actually be a great help to my current build, I had that idea and considered using it for a few minutes, but then I decided I would not be the cheese guy. I will be going for the buckler feats.

Arachnofiend wrote:
baggageboy wrote:

It's not the penalty that is the issue, it's the fee armor class.

The abilities that allow a buckler to still be in use while two handing are very specific and are gated to be fairly difficult to get, either buy requiring specific class features or multiple feats. Quick draw provides it's own benefits and can be taken by any character at BAB +1.

The armor class isn't free though? You're paying a feat for it. You wouldn't take Quick Draw if you weren't doing this.

It is "free" because you would get this benefit for free alongside the benefit of Quick Draw. Quick draw can be super useful on its own, especially if your character is built around it.

Slim Jim wrote:
MaxWar wrote:

"Reasonable limits" is the keyword here.

What is "reasonable" will always have some degree of subjectivity. But I think a good GM will try to actually use "reason" to assess what is reasonable. As opposed to ruling by a whim of emotion or by the taking of a piece of rule texts at apparent face-value.

I definitely think that using the quickdraw shield in the way that is described by OP is outside this reasonable limits.

I don't understand the desire to consider it unreasonable when being able to do so appears to be the reason for the shield existing in the first place.

* If you have Quick Draw, with this shield you can avoid the -1 penalty to attacks with two-handed weaponry that wearing a buckler full-time would otherwise entail. ...and that's basically it.

It's a nice little doodad that makes a less commonly-taken feat more useful, at the expense of forgoing all the buckler-related feats and class abilities (of which there are a considerable number sprinkled throughout the game).

What Buckler specific abilities or feats would warrant taking a buckler instead of going for Quickdraw Shield + quick Draw ?

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baggageboy wrote:

Exactly, by RAW, it is up to the GM. The CRB also gives us some advice on how to work this out.

CRB Page 181 said wrote:

Free actions consume a very small amount of

time and effort. You can perform one or more free actions
while taking another action normally. However, there are
reasonable limits on what you can really do for free, as
decided by the GM

"Reasonable limits" is the keyword here.

What is "reasonable" will always have some degree of subjectivity. But I think a good GM will try to actually use "reason" to assess what is reasonable. As opposed to ruling by a whim of emotion or by the taking of a piece of rule texts at apparent face-value.

I definitely think that using the quickdraw shield in the way that is described by OP is outside this reasonable limits. I could again go into details about why, but I do not want to write a wall of text right now. If I were a GM I would rule this out pretty much the same as baggageboy

After thinking on it some more, I believe it was never intended for an attached tumor familiar to be subjected to a blanket rule regarding how it is targetable or not during combat. I think it is meant to be addressed on a case by case basis depending on how the tumor is described and used. Just like for a normal familiar actually.

If you say your viper familiar is hiding coiled in your bag during combat and it takes no action, it would be a cheap move from the GM to claim it is also affected by an incoming fireball. But if you have a parrot sitting on your shoulder, throwing insults at the enemies and hurling magic missiles with a wand in its beak, it is fair game for the fireball. Same thing for your tumor, if it is a nut sized mole on your back, under your armor, hidden from sight and doing nothing during combat, I think the fireball should not affect it. However if you describe and use your tumor as a monkey torso sticking out of your shoulder, picking up stuff in your bag and throwing alchemical weapons around, It becomes fair game.

That is easy enough to deal with when you have rather obvious exemples like those I gave. But some exemples are less obvious. Such as my beard idea I guess. Even if it does nothing during combat, it is still there, exposed. To what degree should a player be penalized for fluff elements?

I suppose you could solve this issue in a reasonable way by using the same rules as for sundering and damaging items. From the standard rules in the CRB, your equipment is considered safe from an AOE spell effect until you roll a 1 on a reflex save. Then one of your item is potentially damaged. You roll more dice to know what happens. I think a passive familiar on your person could be considered as equipment in such circumstance. If the familiar is somewhat visible, and an enemy knows it for what it is, it can attempt an attack on it by using the same rules as for sundering items. Making a Combat maneuver to sunder vs the Masters CMD to try to damage the tumor, little bird in your pocket or whatever familiar setup you happen to sport. If the maneuver succeeds, make another attack roll VS the familiar itself, considering it as Flat-footed.

I will discuss it with my GM.

MisterPlacebo wrote:

I'm more interested in what happens when you get a critical failure

Roll a d4

1. You wet yourself.
2. You lose control of the stream and accidentally splash a team-mate.
3. Your willy gets stuck in the zipper.
4. You pass a kidney stone and lose consciousness from the pain

I would also vote for the dirty trick maneuver rules. So it provokes unless you have the improved dirty trick feat, and maybe some circumstantial support to justify that this is indeed something that you can quickly pull out in combat without dropping your guard (or your pants).

Firebug wrote:

I mean, in the ability description it states that 'when detached' it functions as a separate creature, implying that its not a creature when attached.

Tumor Familiar wrote:
As a standard action, the alchemist can have the tumor detach itself from his body as a separate creature vaguely resembling a kind of animal suitable for a familiar (bat, cat, and so on) and move about as if it were an independent creature.

I can see the merit of this interpretation. From my perspective, I interpreted "separate creature" as opposed to a "conjoined creature". I pictured the tumor familiar as some nasty conjoined twin. A kind of growth with a snarling face and maybe some tiny hands protuberating out of you. ( Hands If you took monkey familiar ). I imagined it acting on its own, maybe handling things like a wand or holding stuff for you during combat. I felt that such a thing would be targetable during combat. I think this interpretation was compatible with RAW.

But I now think your interpretation is the intended one. I just read an additional bit on the "Protector archetype" page that seems to indicate that the tumor, while in tumor form, is intended as just a part of your own body that is not specifically targetable.


Restriction: Tumor familiars can’t take this archetype since they are originally part of an alchemist’s body.

Protector familiars are so devoted that they would give their lives for their masters. A tumor familiar can’t be a protector.

The wording here not only says that the tumor is just part of you, but also there would be no real reason to deny a tumor the taking of this archetype unless the tumor is indeed untargetable. Then using this archetype would allow for a massive amount of cheese and would basically make you super tanky for free. Hence, they blocked that possibility.

This being said, I think that for all this to make sense, an attached tumor familiar should not be allowed to make unrestricted actions during combat, beside maybe some cherry picked stuff that makes sense and some specifically allowed stuff like using the "die for your master feat". If a monkey tumor is out on your shoulder poking around your backpack and throwing alchemist fire around, the thing should be targetable in combat.

But I am quite happy to let my beard mostly idle during combat and just give me some passive bonus from teamwork feats, that would already be very nice. If I want it to do funky stuff it can always fly off and become independent, at the risk of being killed.

Shouldn't that be in the ''rules question'' subsection ?

Anyway, funny that you mention it, I was looking up the very same question just yesterday. I was considering using that trick for ranged attacks actually.

Make full round attack with longbow -­­­> Don shield for free -> End of turn -> At the start of next turn Take off shield for free -> Grab longbow in two hands and make a full round attack -> Repeat

This does seem like it is totally RAW legal at first glance, but I think it is not RAI. I would call that a loophole and if you ask me, I think this is super cheesy. If I were a GM I would definitely be annoyed if a player tried to pull that off. The best argument I can give you in favor of this not being allowed is that in most ( if not all ) instances where you are allowed to use your shield hand to do anything else than just wield the shield, you lose your shield AC bonus until next turn.

Make a shield bash ? You lose shield AC bonus.
Attack with two hands while wearing a buckler ? You lose shield AC bonus from buckler.

There are some specialized feats to go around these limitations, such as unhindering shield or shield brace and both are rather costly and have some limitations of their own. If it was intended that you could simply go around most of these penalties by simply taking quick draw feat, then it makes little sense that they design these specialized feats.

I really like Spark. The ability to light a fire at will, at a distance, with the mere power of your mind, is definitely something that should be useful in most campaigns.

A few ideas regarding poison use:

-Craft alchemy allows you to make some poisons for cheap
-If you have a familiar that has a poison attack, you can milk it daily for free poison. The DC of animal poison scales up when the creature gains extra racial hit dice. Many say this applies to familiars as you level up but it is a bit unclear. But if it does, it gives you potential access to a daily supply of free poison with a DC that scales with your level.
-There is an alchemist discovery that allows you to combine 2 doses to boost the DC by 2.
-Demoralize opponent with intimidate is kind of easy to do and debuffs their saves by 2.
-An advantage of poison ammunition is that you can have a bunch of em prepared and you don't have to use extra action to apply them to weapons during combat.

If what you guys are saying is true, then that would solve a lot of problems. But I am not sure that the tumor is intended to be untargetable and/or otherwise immune to AOE when it is attached to you.

This is explicitly described as being the case for the Synergist familiar, but I see no such detail in the tumor familiar description.

Any solid reference on the question ?

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Long story short, I am making a gnome character whose distinctive feature is having a lot of hair. Thick Hair, facial hair and body hair. For fluffy reasons I want some of his abilities to be related to his hair. That is how I came up with the beard familiar Idea.

Before you go at me saying there is no such things as a beard familiar, this would actually be a tumor familiar. I am just going to pretend it is my character's beard.

The character is multiclass and his main role is melee combat mounted on a wolfdog animal companion. I plan on taking 3-4 alchemist levels for strength mutagen and utilities + the tumor familiar discovery.

I am interested in taking the Thrush as the animal template for the familiar. This would give my character + 3 to diplomacy thanks to his magnificent beard. The beard would also have the ability to talk and fly and possibly use wands ?

I am also interested in taking the ''valet'' archetype for the familiar. My character will sideline as an alchemy crafter so the bonus to crafting would be welcome. I also have the ability to share teamwork feats with my mount, so having those feats also work with the familiar would be icing on the cake.

My main concern is protecting the said beard from being killed during combat. It would be rather exposed if just sitting on my face. This is where the valet archetype becomes a problem as it removes the Improved Evasion feature and makes the familiar even more so vulnerable.

Here are some relevant points I can think of:

-This campaign is already started. My character is now Cavalier 2, Alchemist 1, Brawler 1. I will get the beard familiar upon taking Alchemist 2.

-My character has decently High HP. 17 constitution + most of his HD are d10. So that should help the familiar tankiness a bit.

-I could always have the beard fly off to safety during combat to prevent it from taking damage, but I would rather if possible have the ability to keep it on my face.

- I suspect my GM will be amused by the beard familiar concept and probably will give me a break by not specifically targeting my beard all the time. However that does not help vs AOE attacks.

-I am not sure how people usually protect their tumor familiar when they are about their bodies. The +5 fast healing is nice but that does not protect you from a fireball one-shot when you do not have Improved evasion. Can they be considered as having ''cover'' from your body ?

-The Thrush template and Valet archetype are not mandatory. At this point those would be my preferences but if you have better ideas I am listening.

- An Idea I had was taking a 1 level witch dip with the Synergist archetype to protect the familiar from damage, but I am not even sure this would stack with the tumor familiar, and I would rather not take a witch dip ideally.

-I am also looking for ways to benefit from my familiar in combat. With a valet I could get some benefit out of teamwork feats. The feat ''Shake it off'' for exemple would be of interest. If both my beard and my mount have it, that means +2 to all saves to everybody. If that is allowed but I think it is.

-What about equipment? Can a tumor familiar have armor or other things that could help it survive one-shots by AOE spells ?

So there you have it. I am looking for interesting suggestions and ideas on how to get the most out of this concept. Any help is welcome!

The Bloodrager Archetype ''Bloodrider'' gives you the fast rider (ex) ability instead of fast movement.

Fast movement affects only land speed but Fast rider is not clear on the subject.
Would the speed upgrade also affect flying speed ?

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This is an annoying one.

Strictly RAW it seems the rider would not provoke: The AoO rules in the CRB seem to imply that you need to make an action to provoke. In game terms, the rider is not making an action when being ''carried'' by the mount. All the rider does is use ''Guide with knees''. A DC 5 skill check that is specified as not being an action in the CRB.

But I have a feeling that is not RAI. Is it not possible that the word ''action'' was used in a generic way and not in a game keyword specific way?

I think that allowing the rider to not provoke when mounted might open a can of cheese. I feel that the best way to rule this is by letting the unit making the attack of opportunity choose whether it attacks the rider or the mount. But it cannot attack both at the same time, even with combat reflexes, unless you provoke twice. Such as when moving through more than one threatened squares in a row.

Nyerkh said wrote:

Thank you for this insightful answer.

Meirril wrote:

I'm wondering why the OP didn't check Brew Potion feat. As it clearly states "Brewing a potion takes 2 hours if its base price is 250 gp or less, otherwise brewing a potion takes 1 day for each 1,000 gp in its base price."

So no Concocters don't have any special ability to make potions faster. If you want to make 2 mutagen laced potions in a day they need to be 250gp or less in value so you can make them in 2 hours each. Since you are limited to 250gp or less in value, that means a 1st or zero level potion as the cheapest 2nd level potion is 300gp. A 250gp potion could be a CL 5 1st level spell, or a CL 10 zero level spell.

Funny that you assume I did not read the Brew potion feat or something. Nowhere does the feat say that you can make more than 1 cheap potion per day. Only that cheap potions takes you less than a full day of work. You are still bound by the magic items creation rules which limit potions to 1 per day whatever time it takes. It even says explicitly that the time requirement for crafting does not affect the 1 item per day limit. I actually even quoted that very part in my original post. My very first quote of the post.

This rule would apply unless a specific exception comes along, as Nyerkh pointed out.

Technically here are the exact stats for a Dog animal companion.



Size Small; Speed 40 ft.; AC +2 natural armor; Attack bite (1d4); Ability Scores Str 13, Dex 17, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6; Special Qualities low-light vision, scent.


Size Medium; Attack bite (1d6); Ability Scores Str +4, Dex –2, Con +2.

To these stats, you add up the animal companion stats and progression. Therefore no trip. Personally I am using a wolfdog for my Gnome cavalier character. I think it is well balanced if you want to keep you mount of a manageable size for running into dungeons with it. You can also use a wolf and not use the 7th upgrade to keep it medium, but I feel using a wolfdog is better than doing this. Unless you really want trip.

Edit: Just realized OP posted this 10 years ago, lmao.

As per the magic item creation rules, it seems it is impossible to craft more than one magic item a day. This should include potions.

Regardless of the time needed for construction, a caster can create no more than one magic item per day.

This seems incompatible with the Mutagenic Mixology (Ex) ability of the Concocter alchemist.

It says that when you brew a potion, you can infuse it with mutagenic powers. At lev 4, you can make this twice a day.
A concocter can make one such concoction per day at 2nd level and a second per day at 4th level. A concoction becomes inert 24 hours after it is created.

For this ability to work as written, you need to be able to brew at least two potions a day. At first this seems to be incompatible with the magic item creation rules, but I can see a few possible things going on.

1. This is a specific exception to the rule. When using this ability you can brew more than one potion a day, but only when they are being infused with a mutagen.

2. The original rule states that a CASTER can create no more than one magic item per day. Here they refer specifically to casters. But in the FAQ, paizo says that alchemists are basically not casters.

FAQ wrote:

Alchemist: Is an alchemist a spellcaster for the purpose of crafting magic items other than potions?

As written, no, alchemists are not spellcasters, and therefore can't select feats such as Craft Wondrous Item.
The design team is aware that this creates some thematic problems with the idea of an alchemist creating golems and so on, and plan to examine this in the future.

If we go pure RAW based on that, would it not imply that alchemists are exempt from the 1 per day limit for crafting potions? They cannot take other crafting feats anyway as they lack the prerequisite of having caster levels.

3.Somehow we are all wrong about the 1 per day limit applying to potions, scrolls and consumable magic items in general, this rule was intended for other things. I say that is very unlikely as the rule seem quite clear. But really this rule is weird. Why would a lev 20 cleric be unable to brew more than 1 potion of cure light wound a day? This is silly and if I was running a game I would house rule that you can, as long as you stay withing the 1000GP per day limit. Unlikely to see any kind of abuse with that, potions are expensive and situational. Wand crafting is already a lot more powerful than potion crafting, even with the 1 per day limitation.

Please help me make some sense out of that.

Interesting, I think Ill get one :p

I would also say lawful neutral but you could probably make up a background to have that character fit other alignements.

I'd like to see some practical macro exemples too.

Java Man wrote:

The two pertinent quotes from the CRB glossary under Ability damage, drain etc... are:

"Some spells and abilities cause you to take an ability penalty for a limited amount of time. While in effect, these penalties function just like ability damage, but they cannot cause you to fall unconscious or die. In essence, penalties cannot decrease your ability score to less than 1."

"Intelligence: Damage to your Intelligence score causes you to take penalties on Intelligence-based skill checks. This penalty also applies to any spell DCs based on Intelligence."

So, no lost bombs per day, no bonus extracts lost, and no lost access to extracts.

By raw, it seems you are right. But I recently played the Pathfinder - Kingmaker video game on PC and my alchemist definitely lost the usage of his extracts from the intelligence penalty of his mutagen. I know the video game is not always using Raw rules from the tabletop, but that is still food for thoughts. Also, by the same RAW rules, it appears strength damage does not lower your carry capacity. Which is definitely weird to me. ( in the video game once again it does lower your carry capacity )

Something to note:

When you take a strength mutagen, you get -2 to intelligence. This might prevent you from using an extract if you no longer have the minimum intelligence to use the extract ( 10 + extract level )

SRD wrote:
To learn or use an extract, an alchemist must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the extract’s level.

lmao what is going on here

PCScipio wrote:
You should RP in combat. You should not build a PC that other people wouldn't want on their team.

^ This sums up my opinion pretty well. It is fine to make some suboptimal choices to stay in character. But being a nuisance who makes disasters happen is a different story.

Sadly, ways to scale alchemical items are few and far between.
For the most part you are supposed to use more expensive alchemical items to get stronger effects. But it can get expensive and even then those wont scale all that far. Some alchemical items like tanglefoot bag can stay useful for a long time but those are not the norm. At some point your alchemical items become mostly a source of cheap utilities that can help situationally. It is still interesting in that you can probably carry a ton of gadgets at that point, but don't count on doing a lot of combat damage with them. They were never meant to be as strong as magic.

Otherwise here are a few things I have in mind.

-Using an hybridization funnel to concentrate your alchemical weapons

-Some feats and class abilities can upgrade your use of poison.

-Some abilities let you combine alchemical weapons with your regular attacks such as the Grenadier's alchemical weapons ability, this can help make the alchemical weapon relevent for longer. For sling users there is also the Slipslinger Grenadier feat, But the requirements are very restrictive.

-Use abilities that can debuff enemy saves before using poison or other alchemical stuff with a DC on them. Such as Demoralize.

-Having a GM who lets you be creative with your alchemical items and do things that are not quite part of the rules, like bundling several alchemist fire together with alchemical adhesive and hurling the thing at an enemy.

Evilserran wrote:
but i need the feat for them, or i get those without the feats? Thats what i am confused about.

You don't need any feat two use the two slots I mentioned.

But you can get extra slots with the ''extra item slot'' feat.
However I think you cannot take that feat for your animal companion unless it has at least 3 intelligence. ( Not 100% sure if you need the intel or not )

Evilserran wrote:

This thing about magic items on companions still confuses me. Can i get a reference or siggestion for items for my large scorpion to wear/buy magic items for?

According to Paizo faq, you have Belt and eye slots for a scorpion.

Go to Paizo faq..