1. I would very much like to see guidelines on scaling the expected wealth and magic item availability, allowing for easier implementation of low-magic games. As it stands, the level of magic (and associated wealth, since that's really all that cash is for) is difficult to adjust without the whole rules set getting a little wiggy. I'm not holding my breath, since I know how deeply engrained expected wealth and magic levels are in the game.
2. More behind-the-curtain explanation of why certain magic items are priced the way that they are, and why some magic items don't exist. Honestly, I'd love to see more behind-the-curtain stuff in every book. I'd like to know the intent of the designers, because I feel that it would help avoid some of the questions that come up in these forums.
I see your point, but it can easily be fixed by changing the "order of operations", as it were.
1) Type changes to undead.
I think the shift to Neutral Evil is implied to take place after the shift to true Neutral.
Incidentally, I don't have a problem with mindless undead being evil, despite not having the capacity to understand or chose their actions. In fantasy, some things are evil not by choice, but by the circumstances of their creation. Undead are nearly always evil because they are conduits to unholy, destructive energy. Likewise, their very creation is usually tainted by some evil act. It's the same logic that dictates that a magic item (with no Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma) can still have an evil aura, even though that suit of Demon Armor doesn't have a means of debating the moral or ethical ramifications of its use.
Shedeo, I would like to reiterate what others have said before: You are in charge of the game, not your player. That isn't license to make the player's life difficult, but it must be remembered that this sort of game is a collaborative effort. If something rubs you the wrong way, it should probably go. Don't be afraid to trust your instincts in these situations, especially when you have a player so obviously cherry-picking for mechanical benefit. It is a difficult thing to do, even more so when you are playing with friends that you associate with outside of game, but it needs to be done or your game will suffer in the long run.
I don't know... I wish I was able to acquire a broader perspective of this sort of thing, but that's the problem with a linear existence. I can certainly understand the OP's point of view, and I'm initially tempted to agree, but I'm sure that my parent's generation said similar things about mine.
I think that electronic gaming has been a double-edged sword. It has been a "gateway drug" to actual RPGs (I really don't like the idea of calling the Final Fantasy-styled games "RPGs", because they aren't) for several decades now, but it does sort of seem to propagate a sense of laziness among some.
The difference I see is that electronic gaming is continuing to advance and improve and an astounding pace, while pen and paper RPGs really haven't fundamentally changed all that much since their conception. Sure, the rules are different (often being more accessible and involving less complex mathematics, these days) and the errata keeps piling up, but I feel that far less difference exists between Chainmail and Pathfinder than lies between Adventure and Skyrim. Could just be my perspective, though.
I love using terrain to make combat more interesting, especially since the PCs are nearly never the home team, so to speak, so the smarter monsters tend to have the advantage of knowing the terrain and being able to compensate (or fill it with traps). It can bog down gameplay, though, with instances of looking up the effects of light vs. heavy undergrowth, for instance. Planning ahead for such encounters is key. My next game session is going to be underground in natural caverns, so I'm going to be getting some mileage out of the squeezing rules.
I think terrain rules are why I don't bother charging when I play. I've gotten so used to not having a clear line to run...
A paladin's code explicitly states that only under "exceptional circumstances" can a paladin associate with evil beings, and only then temporarily, with liberal application of atonement. Being a member of an organization known to the paladin to include not only evil, but willingly created undead counts as "allying with evil associates".
Negative energy is not evil.
Negative energy doesn't have the capacity to be good or evil. It is, however, a tool of evil. It is anathema to all living things and has a corrupting influence. Channeling negative energy is not automatically evil, but I typically rule that any player that makes a habit of using the energies too frequently risks an erosion of alignment (I'm talking serious spamming of Harm spells, here, not occasional Inflict Light Wound use).
Also, baelnorns and archliches.
These are absurdly rare (if the DM chooses for them to even exist at all). Also, I really don't count anything that happens in Forgotten Realms. It is a silly place, what with a good 30% of the inhabitants of Faerun being epic-level spellcasters. ;-) My guess is that baelorns and/or archliches are actually creatures of the deathless type, but sages simply assumed that they were "good liches". That's my personal retcon.
IMO, Liches = Evil. Period. If you weren't evil when you started to become one, you will soon be so as a result of the condition.
No, the paladin wouldn't fall simply for not assaulting a lich at first sight. Personally, I think that the best plan (remember that paladins are individuals, not robots, so some may do things differently) would seek to have the lich removed from the society, as others have more eloquently demonstrated. After that, the paladin would need to find the lich's phylactery and destroy it, followed by the lich.
John-Andre, perhaps you are playing the wrong game. I don't mean that to sound offensive or insulting. Some games just don't work for some people. I know of at least a few low-magic sort of games (Iron Heroes comes to mind) in which a character may meet your criteria. Plenty of options, absolutely no Vancian spellcasting.
I think that if the player of the caster is really playing his character based on his mental stats, no problem. Besides, people and characters have idiosyncrasies. A given wizard may always prepare Grease every day (even if he knows better spells) because it saved his life one time. Or maybe he just enjoys watching people fall down, who knows.
I love clerics. Always have. I guess I enjoy the idea of having some personal connection to something bigger than my character. Not being a particularly religious person in real life, I found it fun to play a character who did, in fact, have unshakeable faith in some entity, even if he didn't get to directly communicate with said entity (until he could cast Commune).
A great deal of variety exists in possible character types for a cleric, too. I had a Forgotten Realms cleric/Techsmith(a unique PRC for the faith) who was a human (raised in a Gnomish community) worshiper of Gond who walked around with a +2 Holy Musket and a construct sidekick named Lucky.
And, lets be honest, I love having the power over life and death. Good times.
I had an old WOD Mage character who was blast to play. He was a Euthanatos with a thing for revolvers. I originally planned on him being a psychopath, but he played out as a really nice guy who fell desperately in love, despite the fact that he spent so much time killing people for the greater good. It helped that the guy running the game was an amazing storyteller.
I like this idea! I would recommend using the Animated Object entry in the Bestiary as a starting point. The problem is that the Apparatus doesn't really conform to those guidelines very well. It has far more hit points than most objects of that size (Large) and a formidable hardness, to boot. My gut tells me to go with a CR 8-10, depending upon the environment in which the encounter occurs (underwater, for instance). Its defensive abilities far outstrip its offensive capabilities, so expect a longer-than-normal fight with lots of slow, deliberate chipping away of HP. Consider giving it some novel abilities, like Trample or Grab, since it's now an honest-to-goodness creature and not just an extension of a pilot and it will break up the monotony of "I attack, you attack". I don't know what you plan to do with ability scores, but if you decide to make it intelligent/Awakened as well as animated, that opens up a whole new world of complications in terms of feats and skills.
Dude, buy a bow. I know it must feel like everyone is ganging up on you, but any adventurer who doesn't at least carry a bow (or a crossbow or, gods forbid, a sling) is just being foolish. Sure, you won't be dealing quite so much damage when you are fighting a ranged-combat specialized flying creature, but as others have pointed out, rogues are in the same boat when they face anything that is immune or even resistant to critical hits/sneak attacks. One cannot be at 100% optimized effectiveness 100% of the time. Yes, the class is called "Fighter", because they are excellent combatants. They represent the maximum human(oid) limit of combat capability without turning to magic. They are not, however, called "Combat Gods Who Have Massive DPR In All Conceivable Circumstances And Conditions Even When the Beasties Are Flying". The name is just an out-of-game conceit, so that players have a common reference point when describing the class. Perhaps a more accurate title would be "Man-At-Arms", despite the term being a little sexist.
On that note, no one in-universe should be able to automatically tell what class a character is. Class names and features are strictly player knowledge, not character knowledge. The only exception to this might be certain well-known PRCs that are renowned or notorious. It isn't too much of a stretch to assume that the bookish fellow in the robes who looks like he's about as durable as a rice-paper wall is more susceptible to poison than the hulking woman with the greataxe and full-plate. She's obviously a tougher individual. In-game, no one should be thinking "Oh, he's a Wizard so his Fort saves are rubbish. Hit him with the poison, rather than that woman who is obviously a Fighter". They're thinking "That guy spends more time with his nose in a book than actually exercising. His body won't be able to fight off this toxin as well".
The character's Distraction ability could manifest as him just spewing distracting dissertations in a very trumped-up fashion, leaving the audience mesmerized but confused. Read any real-world academic paper for examples of how to speak or write a great deal using impressive-sounding language while actually saying very little. ;-)
Perhaps a location could be considered masterwork for the purposes of giving speeches (dramatic lighting, good sight-lines, excellent acoustics, etc.), but that is more, as you said, situational.
I suppose that the difficulty in coming up with a masterwork prop for things such as oratory or singing is the price one pays for not relying on instruments or props in the first place. Your Archivist may have to be a bit more devious (seeding the audience with supporters who can cheer him on, for instance) in his search for bonuses.
I've learned to condition my players to talk to me about new stuff in the game. If a new book with a bunch of potentially disruptive spells come out or maybe an errata that modifies an important class feature (like Flurry of Blows), we talk about it before it is implemented into the game. If the players and I all agree that it works in our game, we use this new material. If not, we simply ignore it.