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1,356 posts. Organized Play character for Neil Carr.

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Sovereign Court

There are some projects that I've been developing and was wondering if I could get thoughts from others on formatting them in a particular manner.

The idea is to make a hybrid of an adventure path and organized play format. That is, develop an adventure path, but break it out into a format that looks more like something that you would come across in Pathfinder Society play. The AP would be broken down into single session chunks with all of the stat blocks and maps for that session detailed. Players would also get a certificate at the end of the session that would detail campaign development for their character.

The AP would be abbreviated, it would not go from levels 1-15, but a spread of 5 levels. The entire AP would result in 15 scenario modules. These could be bought individually or in a bundle.

In addition there would be a campaign guide that would help frame some rules and themes to give structure to the whole campaign.

The point to this hybrid approach is to give a format that is both very accommodating to the busy lives of gamers, who would find single session scenarios easier to prep, schedule and even rotate GMs if needed, but also provide a campaign arc that is more focused around specific themes.

What do others think of this approach?

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I may have a chance to run several PFS modules for old friends in a tight frame of time. They've played in organized play before, however they didn't enjoy the experience very much because the modules felt too linear and "set piece" in design. Most of their RPGing was old school in style and period.

I know I've run and played some PFS modules before that were "sandboxy" to a degree, where the module essentially set up a situation and the players were able to approach the broad situation on their own terms, rather than being driven from one point to the next.

Now that there are many seasons out there of material, is there a best-of list of these sandboxy style modules that I could cherry pick from to run for them? I'd like to give them something that feels a little more familiar to them so it helps bridge between the old and the new.

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I'm trying to breakout the cost of the Broom of Flying and it isn't making sense according to the formulas. Having searched on the forums a bit people say that it follows it, but I'm not seeing it.

Overland Flight (spell level 5) x caster level (9th) x 1800 or 2000.

It either comes out to 81,000 gp or 90,000 gp depending on how you look at activation, and that's before you add in the additional power of it flying on its own, that it's slotless, etc.

How is 17,000 gp being determined beyond eyeballing legacy costs?

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This is something I should have asked a month ago, but what do people suggest for RPG related twitter hash tags for projecting your game out into the world of twitter?

I've been using:


along with broader things like:


You can get a sense of their use at, but it would be great to just hear what others are using. I have yet to see some comprehensive list of roleplaying game hastags to use for systematically getting the word out as wide as possible.

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37 people marked this as a favorite.

In my local Pathfinder Society community I found that we were getting a healthy influx of players who were new to Pathfinder, or even new to roleplaying games in general. The knowledge gap between experienced players and new players would often be vast.

While everyone in our community has been very helpful to new players, a lot of play strategies and options would often take months for new players to become aware of them, or get them spelled out in a clear fashion.

Because of that I began writing essays to our local PFS email list to help people get jump started into the game, providing advice along with play aids that could help accelerate players into the finer nuances of PFS.

Another factor in this influx of new players is that a lot of our sessions have been low level, and so I also focused on primers that would help low level characters be able to have a broader range of tools at hand to be able to provide solutions to challenges in modules.

While I've mentioned some of these resources I created on the boards before, for some reason I never thought to just devote a thread to them with everything laid out in a single post. Since Paizocon is just about to start, perhaps some of these articles and downloads would be of help to people now and in the future.


Good & Cheap Equipment, Part 1 and Part 2 – I really enjoy having characters that can provide “lateral” solutions to problems. While having a lot of gold can buy a character lots of options, even low level characters can have a broad utility box of inexpensive widgets to solve problems. Both of these essays provide packages of inexpensive and lightweight items that expand play beyond waiting for initiative to begin.

Action Economy: Time Savers – This article examines a core but rather unstated layer of the system, the action economy, and how you can help make your character more efficient in that economy.

Linear Fighters & Quadratic Wizards – For new players with dreams of replicating some fictional hero of theirs, the system can often throw at them results they were not expecting. This primer on some of the more fundamental power scales in the game can help them make more informed decisions on the kinds of characters they want to create and how they will perform in play.

Animal Companion Comparisons – The druid, ranger and other pet classes are very popular with new players. It's natural to want to have a furry buddy at your side when adventuring. While some players jumped for whatever flavor of animal they liked, others kept asking me what was the best. I'd say, “it depends...” It ends up that laying out a numerical scale at least gives better information for players to pick an animal that suits their concept and performance in play.

A look at cheap Ioun Stones – In the first handful of levels you end up crashing into the reality of how expensive magic items can be. This article highlights a slew of inexpensive Ioun Stones that anyone can get a use out of.

Don't Forget the Use Magic Device Skill – The UMD skill is one of the more complicated subsystems in the game, at least conceptually, and so getting it highlighted and demonstrating that any character can make real practical use out of the skill can broaden the options of any character in the game.

Wands for Everyone! - In light of the UMD skill being useable by anyone, it makes sense to highlight one of the most inexpensive yet potent magic items in the game, wands. In PFS it's really good sportsmanship to buy your own Wand of Cure Light Wounds to take care of your own injuries, but anyone can push beyond that and become a much more adaptable character with a few utility wands.

Point Buy Arrays – With this article I went through scores of iterations of point buy arrays, trying to figure out which distributions give the broadest value for the bonuses and penalties that one can get for your character. Rather than re-inventing the wheel each time a character is made, you can zero in on a set of arrays that provide the most economical set of bonuses depending on the amount of penalties you want for your character.

DOWNLOADS (Found Here)

Organized Play Character Build Sheet – This sheet is there to help you map out character concepts. I've been using sheets like this for years and have found it very useful to find figure out how different builds function over time, or whether something is mechanically possible. Not everyone wants or needs to map out their character in advance, but these sheets can be useful for those who either want that advanced planning, or simply like a quick way to level up when the time comes.

Mundane Mounts and Work Animals – While plenty of players want pet classes, not everyone wants to follow that specific track in character development. Nonetheless people still want a pet. I decided to just make premade sheets of mundane mounts and work animals so that if a player just wanted to purchase a horse or dog, they could and then have all of the information on the animal ready to go immediately. I know I have sold some new players on the game by having these sheets already printed out an in a folder. “I want to buy a dog!” and I would present them with the dog sheet and the player was ecstatic at “getting” their dog like that.

Good, Cheap and Essential Item Checklist – It can be a real drag having to go through all the equipment lists to buy the standard fare of items, or even the suggested ones in the articles above. To save time and make it easy to organize and reference, I just made checklists to make it easy to purchase a whole set of items at once that will prove indispensable on adventures.

Discount Adventuring Kits – Just as with the checklists in the above download, there are also the Discount Adventuring Kits from the Pathfinder Field Guide. Getting these into a simple one sheet checklist really helps to speed up acquiring them and not having to re-write all of that information down again.

Arrow Packs – I enjoy playing archers and there are a few other players that also really enjoy it. As you gain levels and can afford more exotic arrows it the recordkeeping on these items becomes rather elaborate, especially when you can reclaim them 50% of the time. Once you get up to mid-levels and are outputing several shots per round it really helps to have all of this information pre-organized for you.

The Handy Haversack Pack – This is something that people with plenty of GM credit will find useful. Starting a new character at a higher level means needing to spend a lot of gold. While picking up all of those expensive items, it's worth getting a lightweight Handy Haversack filled with essentials for those just in case moments. The problem is all of that tedious calculating and writing down the same information you've written down again and again. This sheet lets you grab a pack and go without any fuss.

That's it for now, but I'll be doing further revisions to articles when needed and I'm really looking forward to the new Equipment Guide that will be out soon. I'm quite sure that will provide a wealth of really cool mundane equipment to add to the existing lists.


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It wasn't originally planned this way, but since I launched my Kickstarter on RPG Day, to help celebrate I just wanted to point out that the preview that I'm showing for the KS is, what I would deem, on a similar level to the kind of product one might get today in your FLGS.

If you want a bit more swag, feel free to download the Wyrm Rider Archetype.

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1 person marked this as a favorite.

Companions of the Firmament – A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game compatible supplement

BOMBS AWAY! It's time to test all of that work that I did with the Crowdfunding Report a couple of months ago by putting out my own Kickstarter.

Companions of the Firmament is a roleplaying game 144+ page book that is compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game by Paizo Publishing. CotF is meant as a supplement for both game masters and players that focuses on creating adventures and characters that involve flying.

Kickstarter Project Page: der-rpg-compati

Campaign Dates: June 16th, 2012 till July 22nd, 2012 at 11:30pm EDT

Thanks and enjoy!

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I'm gearing up to get a Kickstarter beginning soon that focuses on flight. One of the things I've been doing in downtime is popping in various movies that really capture a sense of flight, where you're mounting up, strapping in, and heading off into the sky. So far I've gone through:

Neverending Story
Star Wars
Empire Strikes Back (asteroid scene)
Return of the Jedi
Avatar: The Last Airbender (the series, NOT the movie)
Top Gun
The Rocketeer
Kiki's Delivery Service
The Harry Potter movies (at times)

What other movies am I missing? And what I'm looking for are movies that really get at the sense of flight. Just because there are planes in the sky isn't enough. As much as I like Air Force One, it isn't really about flying.

Any suggestions?

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It struck me when I was teaching the BB the other day that without attack of opportunity and full actions, is there a need for the five foot step in BB games? I'm straining to think of scenarios where it has any relevance.

Sovereign Court

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The toil is at an end! At least partially...

Around a month ago I began collecting the data on RPG related Kickstarter projects from from various sources on the net, including this forum. In the end I dumped onto a spreadsheet a year's worth of data totaling 150 projects. Then I began crunching numbers to see what larger patterns are at work in the RPG crowdfunding world.

I've finished part one which looks at the larger patterns, such as the average backing for RPG related material is $45, rather than the $70 for Kickstarter as a whole.

You can see the report here, beware... it's long.

Part two of the report is still under construction. That will looking more closing at the various bands of backing and goal tiers from the survey.

Hopefully this will help people as they map out their own projects.

Sovereign Court

I've been collating data from a large number of RPG Kickstarter (or similar websites) projects to get a more accurate view of the "Best Practices" in doing an RPG patronage project. So far I have over 130 projects being tracked. I want to get as big a sample as possible for my analysis and so I'm just wondering if I have all of the Pathfinder compatible projects that have come out so far:

Rogue Glory – A Pathfinder Supplement

Cerulean Seas

NeoExodus Adventure: Origin of Man for Pathfinder RPG

Advanced Encounters: Alternate Objectives

Martial Arts Guidebook PFRPG

Age of Lords Campaign Settling Rulebook & Player's Guide

Sailing the Starlit Sea

Free RPG Day NeoExodus Adventure for Pathfinder

It Came from the Stars: Bringing the Weird to Pathfinder RPG

Admiral o' the High Seas - Naval Adventures (Pathfinder, 4e)

I'm actually surprised at the rather short list. I'd have figured the PF 3pp scene would have more quickly embraced the Kickstarter approach.

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This came up last night. The situation is a mounted character who is being threatened by a medium creature with no reach. The mount was squeezed in a corridor.

If the mount does a withdrawal action, pulling back just five feet to avoid an AoO, how does this affect the rider?

Does the rider likewise need to perform a withdrawal action to avoid an AoO?

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What is the best way to be able to draw up a list of spells, get the key details about the spells and then export them?

I've got some monster NPCs with spells and I'd like to have all of the key spell details on a single sheet of paper. Ideally doing this through the power of copy and paste or export. It would really help speed up prep.

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I've always wanted to do an undead apocalypse type of campaign, where the overall theme and backdrop is a land overrun with undead. What's always held me back though is how, if undead are so pervasive in the campaign, what prevents a group of players from just stacking up the party with clerics and paladins, and I guess rangers, and then just rolling over encounters with all of the advantages those classes have with undead. If a bunch of clerics can just pump out positive energy bombs or turn undead turn after turn, it'll make for very uninteresting encounters.

Have people come up with ways of dealing with this in their own games? I'm trying to aim for 50% of all encounters involving undead. The end goal is to be able to do a fantasy zombie apocalypse, but with all the other undead trimmings mixed in, and so there really needs to be a frequencies to undead.

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I know these things have been cited before, but search isn't finding them.

What are the point buy equivalents of 3d6, 4d6 drop low and 2d6+6. My statistical understanding always implodes. I'd think that 3d6 is equivalent to 0-6 point buy as everything averages out to 10 or 11, but I'm not trusting that conclusion.

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3 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

One wrinkle that recently came up in one of our games. What is the encumbrance while flying of a creature who is technically a quadruped, such as a dragon, but can fly?

In the encumbrance section of the PRD:

Quadrupeds can carry heavier loads than bipeds can. Multiply the values corresponding to the creature's Strength score from Table: Carrying Capacity by the appropriate modifier, as follows: Fine ×1/4, Diminutive ×1/2, Tiny ×3/4, Small ×1, Medium ×1-1/2, Large ×3, Huge ×6, Gargantuan ×12, Colossal ×24.

So normally a creature like a dragon, who is a quadruped would have an increase in their encumbrance factor. However one would think that this is assuming creatures walking on the ground where all four limbs are able to distribute the weight more evenly, thus increasing the carrying capacity.

However, when a creature is in flight, typically they only have two wings and in a sense are "biped" at that point in regard to their encumbrance.

I've been hunting around to see if there is any RAW clarification, but so far I haven't found any.

In a home game this isn't that big of a deal, the GM just makes a ruling, but this is coming up in a PFS context, in which there is an endless demand for RAW. By gamist/RAW viewpoint the creature is a quadruped and in a video game like fashion it just gets it's encumbrance boost, but when looked at in a more simulationist/RAI viewpoint you're looking at the creature typically being biped as soon as they lift off the ground.

Is there perhaps an official clarification? For in RAW we trust.

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How situational is favored enemy for the Ranger?

I know... I know... "It depends" is the actual answer, but it's unsatisfying for my broad stroked mind.

How the campaign is shaped by the GM and what the player selects has a wide ranging impact on how often it can be used. Still, the mechanics were designed with the idea that it would be situational on some level. I guess I'm trying to get an idea of the intent of how situational it was meant to be for play. Was the aim for 30% of encounters? 50%?

There is also system mastery at play. A newbie might pick a creature type at level 1 which they won't see for a dozen levels. A veteran player might just select outsider at higher level just to deal with nasty things when they come up, not concerned with frequency, but instead contingency.

Some GMs might help a player out by giving a clear overview of the campaign so that a ranger player can pick some early favored enemies that will likely come up on a frequent basis. Another GM might leave the player in the dark and they have to hope it comes up.

What do people think, in the most general terms, was the intent of favored enemy frequency?

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Is it going to be like Oblivion/Skyrim with a kind of FPS action, or more like Diablo where you click on target and watch animation?

Are you going to have the classic MMO cooldowns, clicking on various icons at the bottom of the screen to create combo effects such as with Guild Wars?

Mass battles with NPC armies, will it be like Total War where you can get an aerial view to create battle lines, flanking maneuvers, etc?

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I came across this thread with a post by James Jacobs that mentions that there is some material that has been published by Paizo that is derived from Lovecraft.

I'm just wondering where I can find this material? Halloween is rapidly approaching!

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AD&D had a morale system. Each creature had a morale rating; which sadly was not included in the actual creatures stat block, but instead had to be calculated before hand or on the fly. There were also a number of circumstantial modifiers, such as being outnumbered, which could further modify the morale rating. There was ANOTHER set of modifiers that affected not the rating, but the morale roll.

Finally, there were guidelines on when to make morale checks. For players used to every creature in the fantasy world fighting to the death, they'd be quite surprised to see that just losing a lot of hit points, or just having one opponent drop might be all that is needed to see the enemy scatter. It is realistic, but does throw off the conception of 3.x combat.

Once all of that was established then there was the roll itself. It was a percentile roll and had degrees of failure that delivered the results. If you failed by up to 25% of your rating (percent of a percent... I've already lost almost everyone) you just fell back fighting. If it was 26 to 50% then you ran and fled, and then finally if it was 51% or less of your rating then you'd surrender. Players never made these rolls for their character's, just the baddies.

I want to try out morale in Pathfinder, and AD&D (or more specifically the OGL version OSRIC) is a good base layer to see what the dynamics of morale are about. However two big design hurdles need to be overcome.

First, you have to simplify the system. Even back in the day when we did use morale, it was a stripped down version used at the DM's discretion, such as when fighting mobs of weak willed opponents, such as goblins.

Do you make a new sub-system, or do you integrate it into existing systems, such as making a Will save? How to you modify for the wide array of psychologies in the game, such as constructs which would never make morale checks? How do you deal with battle hardened vets who have a poor will save if you go that route?

There are a wide range of factors to try and distill down into something that is easy to monitor. Plus you need to have nice clear conditions in which a morale check is made. When x% of hit points are gone for an individual? For a group when one of their number drops? Where is the fine line between abstraction for ease of play, but accounting for enough of the broad factors that it doesn't feel artificial?

Pathfinder does already possesses in a very fragmented way a morale system with the condition effects of shaken, fear, and panicked. Shaken can be done by basically anyone with a intimidate check, but the fear and panic conditions can only be triggered in a very specific and fantastical fashions, something that any common person has no access to. You can be a big brutish warrior and spend all day intimidating someone, but ultimately you're only going to be able to make the target slightly uncomfortable and never actually drive them away or make them cower. A morale system would intentionally dismantle this assumption and make it possible for a common warrior, under the right conditions, make people bow down and surrender.

The second hurdle is how does this affect the CR system? If you can “win” an encounter by just performing a shock and awe alpha strike in the opening round, triggering the opponents to all scatter, then this makes opponents potentially more brittle and thus the CR system needs some kind of adjustment.

AD&D got away with this because there were other core assumptions at work, such as wandering monsters every 30 minutes, and a great deal of experience points being earned for gaining treasure. Thus, time was of the essence and getting past monsters quickly was more important than outright defeating them. With Pathfinder both of these assumptions are not in any significant way stressed. Instead the emphasis with experience points is in defeating the CR specific encounter.

You can bring back an older system of rewards, but that is a whole other sub-system of math that would need to be evaluated. You could bring back wandering monsters, but it might not fit with the vision of a campaign, and the time it takes to resolve combat is longer, and thus it might not be practical to start grinding through encounters... not unless you have a morale system that can speed them up.

Some basic alterations to the CR system might be to simply up the scale by a point or two. Give more of a pool of points to construct an encounter, and thus increase either the number or potency of the opposition, but in turn now there is a mechanism to drive them off without going through all of their normal defenses. If certain creatures are immune or highly resistant to morale then their particular CR value would need to be adjusted to fit this new scale. That might be tedious to go through the catalog, though the number of creatures like that would likely be small in number compared to the overall number of creatures in the system.

Overall, the challenge is finding an easy and reliable morale check and being able to calculate how much of an impact this has on the overall CR.

One possible approach:

Say one trigger is when an opponent falls then any other opponents that can perceive the fallen comrade need to make a check. It's clean and simple and draws upon hits points being a rating that gives a binary “on or off” status to a creature. When a creature goes down it even has a measurable effect on the remaining CR of the encounter.

If you have a CR 2 encounter (600xp worth of creatures) with four goblins, then when two goblins fall unconscious the encounter is in some murky way becoming a CR 1 (400xp worth) encounter from that point out, assuming the party hasn't really drained much of their resources to get those two goblins to drop. With a morale system where a check were made and the final two goblins flee, then in a sense (it is more complicated and murky) the encounter was more of a CR 1 encounter to begin with.

If you wanted to make an adjustment with morale in play; then if you upped the APL rating by one, and thus upping the CR by one, then the party would be facing 5 or 6 goblins (depends on how strict you want to be with rounding xp values) which helps bolster reducing the effect of dropping the goblins and could also create adjustments in terms of when the trigger comes into effect, or the morale rating itself.

Another element that might help keep a break on the system is to use the existing conditions as a break mechanism. First failed check causes the shaken condition only to an individual, the second check causes fear in the individual and triggers a shaken check for the rest of the group. A third check causes panic. What is good about this is that it slows down the overall effect, but the downside is a lot of individual checks which can also slow down play via dice rolls and keep track of conditions. For ease of play it would be preferable if there was a more global check for the encounter as a whole, rather than at a individual level.

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So I went ahead and put together a cheesy race to just stress-test the system:


These incredibly muscular green skinned people are generally loud, brash, and when provoked will suddenly grow to the size of an ogre.

Type: Humanoid [+0]
Size: Medium [+0]
Speed: Normal [+0]
Abilities: Weakness Modifiers (+2 Str, +2 Wis, -4 Cha) [-1]
Languages: Standard Array [+1]
Racial Abilities:
Advanced Strength x 2 (+4 Strength) [+8]
Spell-Like Ability x 2 (Enlarge Person 2/day) [+2]

10 RP total

The end result is a race that has +6 Strength, +2 Wisdom, -4 Charisma, and can Enlarge Person twice a day.

This is a martial's dream come true. Crank up Strength to an absurd amount, patch up Wisdom to get rid of that pesky low Will save, and be able to enlarge yourself twice a day to get more strength, a bigger weapon, and reach.

The only cost is to have a low Charisma, which a martial character would be dumping anyway. True, the GM might go after the Cha 3 character all the time... or they might not.

All of this is supposed to be in the same relation and scale as the core races. The problem though is that it was rather effortless to make something that is completely out of step with the core races.

The ability score options are far too liberal. If you're dealing with a Standard Power Level for a race then it should be amazingly expensive to get a stat to +4, and impossible to get it to +6. On the negative end, there shouldn't be an option for going to -4 for in any stat. The problem is that once you get to -4 in a stat it's basically an auto-dump stat for any player that is making any effort at keeping the math behind the system involved.

With a -2 stat you can dig yourself out of the whole a little bit, but once you get to -4 you'd need to pay for a 14 stat just to get it to 10, which is so expensive that you'll forgo that, but then you've got a -6. If the stat is already that low then you might as well get some points out of the abysmal score.

Regarding spell-like abilities, I think one thing that is really problematic here is that the RP point system lacks so much granularity that you don't really have any room to differentiate between a wide array of spells. Heck, 0-level spells cost the same as first level spells due to the low-res RP scale. If you were to stick to this low-res scale then at least give more uses per day to 0-level spells.

Ultimately, the cost for ability scores and the ease with which you can stack them up is a real problem. It takes the assumption, of +2 for Standard Power Level, and pushes well past that assumption, making the system come crashing down.

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I'd imagine software like I want exists, but google is failing me.

I'd like to have a piece of software that can generate a lot of the gritty details of a hex-crawl style sandbox game, so that at any given time I can have the "conditions on the ground" at my fingertips with a laptop.

Basically you'd have software that would let you import a map and then define regions via hexes, which would group the area into climates, even micro-climates. Then we just hex-crawl away and as the GM I can tell the players at any given time:

Date (have a whole calendar defined)
Time of day
Cloud cover
Lighting (as affected by the sun, moon, stars, clouds)
Visibility (from fog, haze, etc.)

Along with that, being able to do regular survival rolls to see if they are lost, and if they are randomly move them into a different hex.

Generate random encounters, which would be defined by region, CR range, creature type, and any treasure. All of this would be modified by speed of travel, visibility, etc.

Keep track of food and water expenditure (at the party level, not individual level).

Keep track of this on an interval set by the GM, so it could be minute by minute, 10 minutes, half-hour, hourly.

Finally, keep track of the route they have passed through visually with the hex map.

Is there anything software out there that does a least a good portion of this?

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I'd like to bring some old school feel back to Pathfinder with the use of hirelings and henchmen.

The real stumbling block I have though is that the battlegrid system isn't very friendly to large numbers of combatants. 5-foot steps, attacks of opportunity, and so on already bog down combat as is with a handful of actors on the field. If you add in another dozen or so you can make things drag out far too long.

So I'm trying to figure out ways to make hirelings and henchmen have a special stripped down status that removes a lot of the tactical decision making that you normally do with the system, and in that way hopefully be able to have these small mobs have a presence in combat, but not cause it go move at a glacial pace.

Has anyone tried to tackle this before?

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This is one of those ideas that keep percolating in the back of my head, but I know it would be a fairly deep project, so maybe someone else has already foraged a path.

What I'm thinking about is to create a rarity system for spells, based on a mixture of potency and utility.

Thus, rather than having a wide open list of spells that are available anytime, instead everything would be rated with a rarity (common, uncommon, rare... and maybe very rare and unique).

Two benefits of categorizing spells in this manner:

1. There would be a cost adjustment in gold pieces on this rarity. Perhaps it might be that common spells would be cheaper than the RAW rate, uncommon would be the RAW rate, and rare and above would be more costlier, though still cheaper than the next spell level up.

2. The rarity categories could provide a more rich system for how spells are distributed within the world the GM is devising. So when players go to a town and want to see what the local sage has available, it wouldn't just be totally random for that spell level, but instead be adjusted for the rarity also.

That way searching for spells within the world is a bit more organic, and it provides a better framework for the GM to use in how to shape the "magic marketplace."

It also represents what I would think would reflect an older ancient and medieval mindset, where information is something that is guarded and secretive. The open ended nature of how spells are presented in the current system is a modern "information age" mindset in which the more open the content is the more lucrative and dynamic the marketplace can be. That's fine and all if you want that modern tone, but a traditional draw for the whole D&D genre is to get back to the quasi-medieval tone.

I can only imagine these kinds of discussions were happening in houserules and at cons back in the 70's, so people have to have fussed with this approach before. I'm just wondering if someone has tackled this in the 3.x age?

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Alchemists with the Explosive Bomb discovery:

PRD wrote:

Explosive Bomb

Benefit: The alchemist’s bombs now have a splash radius of 10 feet rather than 5 feet (see Throw Splash Weapon). Creatures that take a direct hit from an explosive bomb catch fire, taking 1d6 points of fire damage each round until the fire is extinguished. Extinguishing the flames is a full-round action that requires a Reflex save. Rolling on the ground provides the target with a +2 to the save. Dousing the target with at least 2 gallons of water automatically extinguishes the flames.

Does that fire damage stack with successive explosive bombs?

As an example: an alchemist has Fast Bombs and I toss multiple explosive bombs on a target in a single round. On the following round are there multiple d6 fire damages being taken by the target due to the multiple hits from the previous round?

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2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

Looking through several books I can't seem to find a cost for them anywhere.

Also, with the Adventurer's Armory there are weights listed for all the animals, so getting a weight would also be fantastic.

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I've always felt that the conditions laid down in the system were incomplete or did not work as well as intended.

As an example, the fatigue mechanic simply isn't satisfying. Because of the 8 hours of rest needed, it' becomes basically a binary situation. You're either drained for the rest of the day, or you're fine. It simply isn't granular enough. It ought to have either had a variable rest time associated with it, or create a shorter version of it, say "Winded" that one could recover from after just some rest.

Another one that I'm kind of baffled never got put in is something that specifically reduces movement. 99% of the creatures in the game have some form of movement, it's a value that is basically ignored by all the effects in the game, instead folding slowing someone down via the action economy.

There ought to be some kind of "crippled" or "gimped" or some other term that basically dings your movement and represents that you're limping about.

What else have people seen as either missing or not properly functioning in the system?

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I think a lot with the system as I tweak and houserule. One thing that has stumped me for awhile is how much a spell is worth in the system. Obviously, it varies due to a number of variables, but getting some general idea is something that I keep plugging away at.

Some of the things I've been taking into account:

The Action Economy

In 3.5 you had a dev formula given that basically a four combats ought to be expected in any given day, and further that each combat averages about five rounds. So four combats times five rounds gets you to 20 rounds per day. I don't buy that estimation, particularly for Pathfinder, but for simplicity I'll stick to 20 rounds a day for this discussion.

In terms of the action economy, you have 20 actions to perform each day. A fighter can pick up a sword and can reasonably be expected (between charges and standard attacks) of being able to perform 20 attacks in a given day.

Spells however, barring cantrips, can only be done once per day. Once a spell has been cast then it can't be replicated again, at least without other magical resources being used, but I want to ignore that because a fighter can perform attack actions the whole time, even unarmed strikes, without any additional help.

So spells at a base level are worth 1/20 of a standard attack. You could say that an attack is worth 20 points and a spell is worth 1 point.

Spell Levels

Spells are not equal to one another. You have a wide range of effects, so varied that you're reduced to eyeballing things most of the time. However they are grouped into spell levels, which at least gives a numerical scaling of their value that we can play with.

You could basically take the spell level as its point value, with cantrips being worth half a point. Thus a first level spell is worth 1 point. A ninth level spell is worth 9 points. Cantrips, because they are at-will, can be performed every round, and thus they are worth 10 points (20*0.5).

Caster Level

Spells quite often also scale with caster level in a variety of ways. This isn't always the case, which muddies the water, but in general you can expect some kind of scaling for effect and/or duration.

With 20 levels this means a 9th level spell is worth at least 153 points (9*17) and goes up to 180 points.

This all seems like it's going ok, but then you look at how you have to scale standard attacks. They scale also, directly with increasing BAB, but in general it will be assumed that additional damage will also accrue in the system in various ways.

If you scale up a standard attack it has a value of 400 points (20*20).

Iterative Attacks

Going back to the action economy. The fighter at 20th level is getting more actions in a round when performing a full-attack. That has to be factored in also.

The first attack is worth 400 (20*20), the second is worth 300 (15*20), the third is 200 (10*20), and the fourth is worth 100 (5*20), for a total of 1000 points for a full-attack at 20th level.

This is where the math starts to fall apart for me. The problem is that you have a full-attack worth 1000 points, and a 9th level spell worth 180 points. While it's true that the 9th level spell is fired off once per day, and the full-attack just keeps chugging along, but those values seem off since 9th level spells might, in one casting, solve the entire fight with save effects, or the duration of a spell is so long that the spell is in fact in effect through the whole combat or multiple combats.

Aside from tediously costing out every spell in the core book, I haven't been able to wrap my head around a baseline that “feels right” in regard to how spells, from 1st to 9th, have the potential of having a wider impact then they have on a per round basis.

Any thoughts are appreciated.

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One of the more nuanced elements of the system is that the class spell lists are not all created equal. Each class has a list that is tailored to the class, both in terms of content but also in quantity of spells.

In the core book the quantities are:

Bard 164
Cleric 233
Druid 169
Paladin 43
Ranger 51
Wizard/Sorcerer 388

And of course part of that is the difference in how many spell levels the class gets. The nine level casters have 388/233/169, while the six level caster gets 164, meanwhile the four level classes have 43/51.

However, just looking at the full casters there is a huge volume disparity, which is definitely going to be playing into the overall value of the class spell list.

I guess what I'm interested in hearing is less in the "quantity" factor, and more in the "quality" factor. Druid spells are focused on a specific theme, and tend towards buffing/controlling and less on raw attack power. Meanwhile the Wizard list has an abundance of ways to cause a bad day to someone.

Has anyone looked at this in detail?

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You have the problem of MAD (Multi-Attribute Dependency) and SAD (Single Attribute Dependency) classes. SAD can dump a bunch of stats, boost up their one stat that drives the whole class and be set. Meanwhile, the MAD character has to make a lot of painful trade-offs, either spreading things out in a humdrum manner, or being very slanted and having complicated liabilities.

So how about just rating the classes on the MAD/SAD scale and then tagging a certain point buy to that rating? For multiclassing, the point buy that you select also restricts the classes that you can pick going forward, so you can dip one level into a highly MAD character, and then jump into a high SAD character for the rest of your career.

As an example, a Wizard, who is highly SAD (Int), needs to use a 15 or 20 point buy (depending on how draconian the GM wants to be). On the other end, a Monk, who's highly MAD (Str, Dex, Con, Wis) gets a 35 point buy. Basically, whatever the base is (15 or 20) and then add on +5 points per extra attribute needed.

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I know... I know... Additional Resources page does not list them.

However, there are instances... or at least there were instances, in the PFS rules where if a class granted access then it was accessible.

With the Beastrider in UC, it's very prescriptive on what is allowed, listing the specific companions. An example would be the Allosaurus, which is in the B2.

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So HP has decided to dump much of their hardware line, and that includes the Touchpad, an iPad like device that was normally selling for around $500, but is now being liquidated for $99.

If you want a solid PDF viewer, along with email, web browsing, and some apps to fill out its use, then... heck... this is the time to snatch one of these. It'll still be at least a few years before tablets are regularly around $99.

You do have to act fast, as the feeding frenzy has commenced. Here is a good place to keep abreast of the firesale:

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1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Under the Barbarian Lesser Hurling rage power we have:

PF SRD wrote:
Benefit: As a full-round action while raging, the barbarian can lift and hurl an object up to one size category smaller than herself with both hands or two size categories smaller with one hand as an improvised weapon with a range increment of 10 feet. This inflicts damage as a falling object plus the barbarian’s Strength bonus.

So if a medium sized barbarian wanted to pick up and throw a rock one-handed, this would mean that the rock would have a tiny size category.

If you zip on over to the falling object rules however the table doesn't give the whole spread of size categories, only going down to size small that causes 2d6 damage.

This becomes more of a problem if you have a small sized barbarian who has this rage power and wants to throw a one-handed rock, as now the size category of the rock shifts down to diminutive.

So at the very least it would be helpful to clarify the fall-object damage chart. Since a small sized barbarian could have reduce person put on them, it might as well get the damage all the way down to fine size.

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The RAW does a great job of defining the categories for melee weapons in terms of how they are used and their encumbrance factors in combat (light, one-handed, two-handed) and they then extend this set of definitions into "size categories" that help to give an idea of the actual size of the object. Thus, a light weapon (such as a dagger) for a medium character is two sizes categories smaller than the character, and so a dagger is roughly a tiny sized object.

All this works well at giving a rough estimation of how big various weapons are in the game.

However ranged projectile weapons don't fall into the handedness categories, and so you can't easily extrapolate the size of the object.

Is there any commentary or analysis that helps flesh this out a bit, either from Pathfinder or 3.x sources?

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Obviously the answer is "depends" but I want to unpack that depends a bit more.

Assuming the to hit bonus and damage bonus are falling in a similar range of value to each other, rather than being skewed to one extream or the other, how much more important is the to hit bonus? Statistically is it twice as valuable, a third, a tenth? What do those with the power of math have to say?

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I'm trying to flesh out a PFS build some more.

Halfling Magus Dervish Dancing with Blackblade and being a Hexcrafter

Str 5 Dex 20 Con 12 Int 16 Wis 9 Cha 9

(Feat), [Archetype], {Arcana}

1: (Weapon Finesse) Traits: Focused Mind and ?
3: (Dervish Dance) [Bladebound]
4: [Hexcrafter] >+1 to Wisdom<
5: (Extra Hex – Flight) (Bonus Feat - ?)
6: {Hex – Slumber or Evil Eye}
7: (Feat - ?)
8: >+1 Dex<
9: (Feat - ?) {Arcana - ?}
11: (Feat - ?) (Bonus Feat - ?)
12: {Major Hex – Agony or Retribution} >+1 Dex<

I know... the strength is low. However with Mule Cords out of the APG that solves the encumbrance issue by getting the Strength up to 13. The other factor is that since this is PFS play there is no GM that is tailoring encounters to target and mess with that really low Strength, so I'm willing to take my chances with Shadows, Poison and the like.

I'm building this character up with GM certs to avoid the 1st and 2nd levels when the build's design doesn't actually work. Once I have enough certs to get to 3rd level then I'll start playing it with all of its Dervish Dancing goodness.

The key things that are appealing to me are the Dervish Dance. I want to finally play an all-Dex finesse character and so this feat pulls that off mostly. The Magus Spell Combat allows for the one handed use of the weapon to not be crippling as I go up in levels.

The other big draw is the Hex Flight. I basically want to have a character that is a mixture of a Jedi, Hit Girl from Kick Ass, and Wuxia wire-fu in terms of general abilities.

Finally, I just want to play with the Black Blade for the cool factor, plus I can ignore one element of the tedious magic item treadmill. Since the Blade is intelligent I can also milk roleplaying flavor out of it with conversations with the blade itself.

Picking Halfling allows me to get a +1 to hit and +1 AC, both of which help compensate a bit for the Magus not being a full martial class. Plus, the idea of having this small nasty creature floating about with a nasty sting will help flesh out the personality as I move along.

I just haven't totally absorbed the Magus yet or see it's potential. How do I hone this small mobile creature into a whirling spell tossing black blade of death?

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After reading the Called Shot rules in UC what struck me as an interesting approach is to go a step further and make every attack be a called shot. There is no "normal" attack, but instead whenever you make any attack you have to choose where you are aiming and applyiing the appropriate modifier.

If you used the called shot rules as is this would basically shift the base AC in the game to 8 as everything would be -2 to hit to begin with.


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My wife is working on a new PFS character and she really likes the Ninja.

However, there is no "Extra Ninja Trick" feat and she wants more than the six tricks she would get over the course of her PFS character's career.

You can go Rogue and with the Extra Rogue Talent feat be able to get more Ninja tricks that way.

The major conflict she's having is that the Ki that she can get with Rogue is diminished over what the Ninja's can do, plus a lot of the Ninja tricks are still Charisma based in terms of DC saves and the like. She's starting to get into MAD territory if that's the case.

Any suggestions on navigating through this?

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So now with all the splat books out, how can you quickly amp up Strength at low levels? Obviously you could spend a fortune on potions and the like, but in terms of reliable, cheap and repeatable boosts, what can you do?

You could:

Human/Half-Elf/Half-Orc with a Strength of 20, plus Barbarian 1 and Alchemist 1

At second level have a 28 Strength.

There is the Cleric Domain of Strength, but it would take 4 levels of Cleric to squeeze out +2 more in Strength. There has to be a quicker way.

There is the Strength Surge Rage Power for the Barbarian, however it is situational and doesn't feed a direct bonus into Strength as a whole.

You could squeeze out another +2 Strength with the Ragechemist in UC by taking one more level of Alchemist, that would get you to 30 Strength at level 3, though the Ragechemist has some serious vulnerabilities that go with that boost.

Anything else? Is there a way to get to Strength 32 by 4th level without relying on magic items or spells?

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So I was happy to hear about the Beast Rider, thinking “Finally, they'll patch the class so that we can get the interesting stuff and finally have the mounted martial character for any fantasy setting!”

Unfortunately, it comes with a lot of caveats that really undermine the imagination.

First, you do get an exotic mount, but you have to wait till 4th level to get it. So at low levels, you're stuck with the same ho-hum mounts. When you do get to 4th level you've got a restricted list... sure it's expanded, but the RAW is defining what you can pick, rather than opening up the whole Animal Companion list. The problem here is that future bestiaries, unless they specifically note them in those books, are going to but cut off from this list.

The other big problem is that it keeps this discursive argument going on what ought to be a proper mount. Rather than tackle it head on and just define what makes a “suitable mount” that is referenced in the Ride skill, instead we keep getting lists. I wish that there had been a section on combat mounts in the book that could finally detail all the nuances of the rules in one place and help define what is a suitable mount and what is not (which then gets a -5 ride penalty check). If there were clear rules on that then we'd have a better tool in the toolbox so that GMs and players can do the fantastical stuff we want to do, rather than have it prescribed to us.

The big part though that really bugs me about the Beast Rider is how it explicitly denies the use of flying mounts. The UC was supposed to be the last best hope for all things cool, but it slammed the door shut on having solid RAW support for flying mounts.

It's a foundational trope that we have mounted flying knights. There is just way too much fantasy literature that dwells on this imagery and it ought to be something that is locked into the rules at this point.

What's completely puzzling is that it is already via the Summoner... but once again we have this weird bias where martial character's just don't get to do the cool things. You always have to be some spellcaster to get the good stuff. On balance the Summoner even wins out because that flying mounted Eidolon is still going to be nastier than a 7th level Roc, Dire Bat or Pterodactyl.

I can see at least the argument that you couldn't have a flying mount prior to 4th or 7th level, since the rest of the system doesn't normally allow for flying before 5th level. Why... [text doesn't do a good job of conveying exasperation, but imagine it] Why... can't we have a martial character that can have a flying mount? Why can't we have this classic trope?

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So in Ultimate Combat there is the Boar Style feat:

Ultimate Combat wrote:

Boar Style (Combat, Style)

Your sharp teeth and nails rip your foes open.
Prerequisites: Improved Unarmed Strike, Intimidate 3 ranks.
Benefit: You can deal bludgeoning damage or slashing damage with your unarmed strikes—changing damage type is a free action. While using this style, once per round when you hit a single foe with two or more unarmed
strikes, you can tear flesh. When you do, you deal 2d6 bleed damage with the attack.

Now, I do ascribe to a manifest destiny of awesomness, particularly for Monks, but this seems a bit crazy.

True, you have to hit twice, and true, bleed damage doesn't stack, and true, not everything is vulnerable to bleed.

However if you're playing in a heavily humanoid type of game, this Monk is going to literally be ripping new holes in people. 2d6 damage per round after the fact is quite a bit starting at 3rd level.

My DPR kung-fu can't work out how to calculate this, is there someone who can sort out how this stacks with more conventional attacks?

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Ah well... I'm looking over Ultimate Combat's final version of the Gunslinger is very similar to the Playtest 2 version. It's tweaked in a few placed, such as the Nimble ability at level 2, but overall the list of Deeds you get is largely unchanged, plus your Grit is still capped at your Wisdom bonus.

The end result is that the dynamism that I'd hoped to emerge with the Gunslinger just isn't there. In the first six levels there are very few Deeds that really come into play on a consistent basis during sessions.

The thing I was hoping to see the most was more mobility for the class. Having Shot on the Run baked into the class would have fit well with the nature of firearms, and it would have helped to better define the class' gritty dynamism. Unfortunately the Leaping Shot feat is still the angle taken to do this. It is a more spectacular ability, but the Grit cost and ending prone at the end of the action just knocks it out of contention as a serious feat.

The other thing that I'm rather surprised about is that the Rapid Reload feat is still something disconnected from the class. The absolute need to take this feat for the class to function at just a marginal level of performance really ought to have meant that you should be getting it for free at level 1. One of the mantras that came out of the playtests were that the class is "feat starved" and at least giving the class Rapid Reload would have been a way to acknowledge that criticism and help mitigate it the issue somewhat.

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On page 7 it describes the access from the Belfry into the dome as a narrow wooden staircase and opening to the dome's viewing gallery and that this is marked on the map as "B."

I've stared at this map over and over again and I can't see any lone "B" and so I'm not all together sure where this is linking up on the map. Any suggestions?

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I was searching and couldn't find any class tier discussions that incorporate the APG classes and the Magus... so, why not kick this fascinating subject off again!

I'll go ahead and use Treantmonk's Tier classification from this thread just for the sake of providing some framework:

Treantmonk wrote:

Tier 1: Wizards. Still the top of the chain. They can't fufill every role as well as 3.5 due to changes in Polymorph, but I think they are still powerful enough to place them at the top of the pyramid.

Tier 2: Druids, Clerics, Sorcerers. Druids have been demoted due to changes in wildshape, while Core Clerics were never tier 1 - it took Divine Metamagic for that tier placement. All remain very powerful classes though.

Tier 3: Paladins, Bards, Rangers. Paladins have to be pushing tier 2, while Rangers didn't get boosted quite as much, but still did well in Pathfinder. Bards are a mixed bag, but certainly deserving of a tier 3 position (in spite of rumors to the contrary)

Tier 4: Rogues, Barbarians, Fighters, Monks (The Monk is arguably Tier 5 - I haven't evaluated it closely enough)

Tier 5 and 6: Nobody.

So where do the rest of the classes fit in?


and in terms of playtests:


The main reason I want to hear what others think is that I've got a slew of fresh-to-PF players and want to get them up to speed on relative power levels of the classes and how they impact their learning experience of the system. So rather than have them blindly stumble through the the system mastery, just give them a more informed choice in what they end up choosing.

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In light of the Pathfinder 4E thread, one thing that is interesting is the counterfactual situations.

From my remote vantage point in the whole period building up to 4E there was a window of time in which Paizo was still seriously aiming to write for 4E, but because the GSL hadn't been released, and because of publishing schedules, it simply wasn't tenable to wait any longer.

Because of that my impression is that if WotC had quickly announced that 4E was using the OGL license then we wouldn't have a Pathfinder RPG at this point.

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I know this question was asked before but my search-fu isn't finding an official answer.

With Ultimate Magic we got the Magus base class and also the Magus archetypes, but we didn't get racial favored class options for the class.

Are these going to be published in a future product? Errata?

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That is...

Small or Medium Humanoid which has as many of:

Low Light
Swim 30

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Has anyone done this?

The thing that I'm trying to work out is how much it would be worth? 5 points? 3 points?

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We know that Vow of Poverty is on the low end of the spectrum, but what about the other side? What seems to achieve or surpasses the Paizo benchmarks that Jason Bulmahn mentioned?

I know about the infinite spell loophole, but that isn't really intended to work that way and will be errated soon enough.

The Alchemist's Cognatogen seems like a present into my lap right now. I have a bomb focused Alchemist and the Mutagen was just a withering vine of an ability. Now you can crank up the damage of bombs an additional +2 points, and losing strength isn't a big deal as the Mule Chords magic item, which is cheap pretty much solves carrying things around.

The Confusion Bomb sounds like it'll be errated also, so strong, but not no-save strong.

The Tumor Familiar gives the Alchemist Fast Healing 5? Sure...

The Pack Lord (Druid) and Broodmaster (Summoner) both seem like they could surpass the normal power of the class at low levels as you're dramatically increasing the number of attacks your character's little group can output, though at higher levels these creatures are going to have a hard time surviving.

The Qinggong Monk seems interesting, it seems to be an acceptable patch for the Monk in that you can tweak what you can do and slough off some of the stuff you don't want, however the benefit is still very constraining as you're giving up an always on ability for something that feeds off a limited resource. It seems like it's getting close to the benchmark, but not surpassing it. If the Qinggong Monk was just given each of those lists as a larger pool of Ki power options at all of those levels... well, then... that would have been a worthy upgrade!

The Paladin's Oath of Vengeance seems like a good trade off. With Wands of Cure Light Wounds, and Clerics about, the energy channeling for the Paladin isn't that big of a deal, but getting that extra Smite is a real upgrade.

There is so much stuff in this book, what are other people finding is rising to the top in terms of power scale?

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I know this is a bit controversial, and honestly I don't have the time to go into long debates about it, however I did just want to say that I found the feats Implant Bomb and Remote Bomb in the Ultimate Magic book to have stepped over my own line of taste.

Why? They echo and reflect back onto the real world in a way that hits too close to home. In our current socio-political world suicide bombers and IED devices are something that far too many people have to confront on a personal level and these game mechanics, particularly the opening sentence of the Implant Bomb, "You may implant a bomb in a willing or helpless creature" feels far too insensitive to the reality people face today.

True, the vast bulk of Pathfinder is oriented around violence, but it's pretend violence that quite often has little correlation to reality. These feats emulate a direction that just crosses into my own "ick factor." People can argue and pick apart that logically I shouldn't feel this ick factor when there is a plethora of other ways to kill things in nasty ways in Pathfinder, but why I'm writing this isn't motivated out of logic or reasoning, but out of emotion.

I'm not intending this to be some heavy handed judgment on the Paizo folks, I just want to give my input that, "Whoa... that's a bit too much."

As I said, this is an issue that is open to a vast range of interpretation and debate, I just wanted to state how I felt about it.

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